Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy Update - Sunday


I think this will be short because I feel like I’m finally winding down and getting a bit tired.  No wonder; we were busy from the get today, securing our rig and the property as it affects our home.

We have been here at the hotel since around 3:30 PM or so.  It’s pretty much of a dive, but we knew to expect that.  We have WiFi in our room and cable TV, and got a little microwave and very tiny fridge.  Glad I brought the Handi Wipes; I’ve wiped down everything in the room, including microwave and fridge, and we stripped the beds of the bedspreads.   Good news is it is easy to take Maggie out for walks.  We were just looking for someplace nearby and for shelter for the next couple of days and nights.

We brought food for our own makeshift dinner of sorts.  There’s two queen beds, so this evening Dave and I each claimed one for a bit of lay down quiet time.  Maggie, as usual, split her distribution of affection between us, going from one bed after a while to the other.

Food, snacks, drinks, beer and Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur . . . and I still have a few pain pills, which may be a good thing after doing a lot of physical work the last couple of days.

Sandy is an historic storm, being about 900 miles in diameter.  If it wasn’t troubling, it would be a thing of awe. 

Starting tomorrow morning through Tuesday afternoon should be interesting, a bit rough and perhaps even a bit scary if things pan out like they say. 

We have done all we can, so all we do now is wait, monitor the situation, trying to stay safe and praying for a good outcome for ourselves and others in Sandy’s path.

Thanks for stopping by!


 I am a Warrior.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27, 2012 - Updated Plans for Hurricane Sandy


After looking for a viable evacuation route yesterday morning for about two hours – checking forecasts for interstate highways and possible landing spots, talking with campgrounds about their forecasts and seeing that the weather there would be dodgy also – we altered our plans and will be hunkering down here.

We will close up, lock down and secure our rig and then move to a local hotel tomorrow.  We plan to check on the rig and property daily if weather conditions permit us getting out and about safely.

We spent the morning clearing the property around us of potential flying projectiles, taping windows in the office trailer and gathering items to take with us to the hotel. 

Staying or leaving is a crap shoot.  Our concerns with leaving included being out on congested highways with panicked folks and quite possibly encountering rough weather while traveling. 

Destinations I considered also had rough weather coming in either the form of Hurricane Sandy or wind/snow from the front approaching from the West.  We could conceivably end up in worse conditions than here. 

Even in ideal weather, there is always the risk of mechanical breakdown, blowouts, etc. when towing a 40-foot RV.

It’s a crap shoot either way and always has been in situations like this.  Living on the Texas Gulf Coast, I have sheltered in place and I have evacuated.

At least here we know the area and the resources available to us.  There are no trees directly around our rig to fall on it.  The Musconetcong River is 1-2 feet lower than it was prior to Hurricane Irene last year, so we are hoping that it will not escape its banks.  (Even during Irene when the river came out of its banks, the water did not threaten our rig at all.)  I have the iPhone app Flood Watch, which monitors river levels, so I can keep an eye on the “Muskie” from the hotel.

We are located essentially on the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border, inland from the coast (so hopefully Sandy will weaken a bit before reaching us, as hurricanes typically do once making landfall)  and in a valley with a mountain right behind us; therefore, we are  somewhat protected from winds, although we do get weird swirling winds here which could ultimately prove to be an issue. 

We have contacts to call who can see the property from their home nearby, so we can be in touch to monitor our rig and status of the property if need be.  If we have to come pull the rig out due to potential flooding, we should be able to haul it about a block up the road to higher ground like we did last year during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  (That spot, although higher ground, leaves our rig much more exposed to winds, so we will only do it if flooding is a direct threat.) 

Our generator is construction-grade and too big to transport with us (and too heavy for just Dave and I to lift), so at least we will have a source of power here after the storm passes.  Genny got moved into the mill and higher ground today to stay cozy and dry.

Dave taking generator to mill

We have several full cans of gas for Genny.  We have four propane tanks; two are in the rig (and will be shut off prior to our leaving) and two full surplus tanks on-site.  That’s our usual routine, especially during Winter months.

The company we are contracted to has very graciously offered to pay for our hotel stay.  Although we are “only contractors,” they treat us with the most concern and caring from an employer I have seen in decades.  We all do seem to work together as a easygoing, respectful and fun team in both trialing times and when the going is easy.  We were even given the option of putting our rig in the mill; the boss would have sent guys up yesterday or today to move stuff out of the way if necessary.  We decided against this for various logistical reasons; besides, it would be too tight a squeeze getting it in.

Yes, we are taking a risk staying.  Our rig may get flooded, topple over or be otherwise damaged. 

We would have been taking a risk leaving.

We are hoping, as are millions others in the region, that we will come through just fine regarding material possessions, including our home.

It’s a crap shoot.  You weigh your options, make your decision and take your shot.  Then you live with your decision come what may.

As devastating as destruction of our home or vehicle would be, as long as Dave, Maggie and I are safe and together . . .

Life is good.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.




Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012 - Evacuating Due to Hurricane Sandy


Quick post to let everyone know our plan right now is to evacuate the area tomorrow morning.  Our destination is as of right now undetermined; I’m thinking south-southwest, just far enough to get us out of harm’s way.  We made the decision just a few minutes ago, so I’m in the process of looking at maps and checking forecasts and mileages.  We will return to our post here once it is safe to do so and we can get in.

To everyone in Sandy’s path, be safe and take care.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20, 2012 - Write 4 Ten - Appendix (How My Appendix Saved My Life)




This entry is a “Write 4 Ten” story, in which one writes for ten minutes on a given prompt.  Want to try it for yourself?  Click on the little lady up there to visit Donna B. McNicol’s site.


You can read all about this lovely little body part on Wikipedia by clicking here.  In short, the appendix doesn’t really do much in our bodies these days after years of evolution, except . . .

I went to bed on July 10, this summer not feeling all that great and with a little crampy feeling.  (Okay, you may already think you know where we’re headed here.)  By 6 PM the following day, I was headed to emergent surgery in a local hospital with what was discovered to be a ruptured appendix.  By that time, I really didn’t care, as the morphine was doing its work and I was feelin’ pretty darn mellow.

My surgeon was absolutely tickled and perhaps a bit amazed, (“You’re doing so well, considering . . .” ) that I was up walking the halls the morning following surgery and was progressing so very well.  Fast forward to my follow-up visit with him about 10 days later for removal of stitches. 

Again, my postsurgical progression was almost extraordinary, considering the condition of my appendix at the time of surgery. 

That was the good news.

The not-so-good news was routine pathological examination of the appendix showed a tumor, defined as goblet cell carcinoid.  Goblet cell carcinoid is a very rare type of cancer with less than 1000 cases diagnosed in the USA annually and an overall 5-year survival rate of 76%. 

Actually, there was more good news.  Because of the appendicitis, the tumor had been found in its early stages, Stage IIA.  Following more extensive surgery a month after the appendectomy, I’m well on the road to recovery with a decent prognosis .

Had I not had the appendicitis, the tumor would not have been found until very probably in a more advanced stage and my prognosis would be much more dire.

My wee vestigial organ was looking out for me, along with whatever angel or spirit or being in which you might believe.  Yes, my appendix saved my life.

Have you hugged your appendix today?

Thanks for stopping by!  Now go write!


I am a Warrior.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012 - Write 4 Ten - In the Ambulance



This entry is a “Write 4 Ten” story, in which one writes for ten minutes on a given prompt.  Want to try it for yourself?  Click on the little lady up there to visit Donna B. McNicol’s site.


In August of this year, I experienced my first ambulance ride.  Although I was conscious and the situation was not immediately life-threatening, it did necessitate the calling for an ambulance and EMTs.

Looking back, some aspects were funny.  Well, at least to me with my somewhat “dark” sense of humor.  Ever look at the TV show “Emergency” or “ER”?  The ambulance staff is supposed to alert the hospital that they are in their way in with a patient.

These guys did not have the emergency room phone number of the hospital.  At least one did not have their cell phone with them.

So here’s where my inner strength persona Sarah Conner of the Terminator films kicks in.  “I have the hospital main number programmed on my cell phone.  You can call it and get routed to the emergency room.”

Sheesh!  Here I am the patient, for goodness sakes, and I’m providing resources for the ambulance staff!

Talk about being one’s own advocate in a healthcare situation.

Seems like one of them might have been fairly new or in training, as he appeared a bit unfamiliar with the operation of the stretcher.  All I could think about was “I sure hope they don’t drop me” when sliding the stretcher out of the ambulance and lowering the stretcher legs.  It looked like a bit of a drop to the ground from my viewpoint and I could just see a broken arm or ankle on top of my other medical issues.

I will say that they were professional, friendly and compassionate.  The three-man crew got me to the hospital where I needed to be, safe and sound and expeditiously with no incidents. 

Thanks to the staff of our local rescue crew for an interesting experience, albeit one I hope not to repeat for a long, long, long time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16, 2012 - Look at the Picture Again


An exercise from The Writer’s Retreat Kit


“Look at the picture again.”

Rocky at My House on Chantilly Lane

Do you see the Cat?

His name was Rocky and, although he crossed The Rainbow Bridge many years ago, his love and joy still lives in my heart.

Snapshots of Our Life Together

  • Rocky was a “baseball cat,” one of the sons of Trina, the resident kitty at the home stadium of the El Paso Diablos Baseball Club in the early 1980s.  Back then, the stadium was known as “The Dudley Dome.”  I was the team’s Office Manager for a while back then. 
  • Acting more like a devoted canine companion than the feline variety, on more than two occasions Rocky positioned himself between me and a dog as if to protect me from harm.
  • His fur caught many a tear in the days mounting up to, through and following my first divorce.  He always seemed to know when to come cuddle up with me.
  • Living on my own again in the house with Rocky and his kitty pal Zeke, Rocky would go to the front door and growl any time someone would come calling.  Yep, just like a dog!
  • So many leaves in the above photo means there is a decent-sized tree around.  The branches in that tree were positioned perfectly for hide-and-seek and playing “tag” with my kitty-boy.  We shared that game the day the photo was taken and on countless other occasions. 
  • Rocky carried the feline leukemia trait from his mother and it became active when he was seven years old.  There were numerous vet visits and he was holding his own, although seriously ill. Working full-time, there came the day when Rocky was scheduled for an appointment following my work day.  In the early afternoon, I had a strong desire – a need – to check on him.  Luckily my boss was also an animal lover and understood my need to leave early from the job.  Entering my home,  I called to Rocky but he did not come to greet me as usual.  Going through the house, I came upon him in a bedroom. He had apparently jumped down off the bed to come meet me but collapsed on the floor.  Although his eyes were open and he was breathing, I could see that he was seeing the threshold of The Rainbow Bridge.  Cradling him in my arms there on the floor, I spoke softly to him.  I recalled some of our special moments together over the years such as in the photograph above and told him what a good and brave boy he was.  I told him how much I loved him and that, although I would miss him dearly, it was okay for him to go.  After several precious minutes together,  Rocky stepped up onto The Rainbow Bridge and crossed over, peacefully leaving this world for the next.
  • During the first year following his passing, Rocky would visit me during The Dreamtime.  Feeling so very real, the “dream” would be he and I strolling the streets of San Francisco together.  Rocky was never on a leash and sans that attachment in our nighttime adventures.  We were just two friends out for a stroll.  When I visited San Francisco a few years later, my thoughts turned to Rocky and our walks together.

I know that one day I’ll see my Rocky again and that we will have time for countless walks and hide-and-seek in the trees once more.

Rocky Christmas 1986 on Chantilly Lane

Christmas 1986 in Houston, Texas

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012 - Use It, Wear It


How many of us – especially us gals – have an item of clothing or a piece of jewelry, dishes or some item that we save for “special occasions?” 

In my life as a corporate professional 20+ years ago, my closet contained the appropriate clothing – suits, dresses, dress shoes, and so forth.  In addition, I had a few “party” ensembles, typically pants outfits. 

Fast forward a few lifestyles later to the one I am currently living.  Stereotypical “dressy” clothes just are not part of the scene, and I’m not particularly distraught by that fact.  Okay, I’m so totally okay with that fact!  Still, there are some nicer shirts and jackets and some jewelry that is nicer and/or has a sentimental attachment.

Well, folks, I’m here to tell you . . . if you like some piece of clothing, a set of dishes – whatever – use it, wear it, for Life is short.

What are you saving it for?  “That” special occasion?

Heeding my own words, I’m now wearing the bracelet Dave sent from Scotland for my birthday when we were still living across The Pond from one another.  It had been tucked away in my “good” jewelry box, but I took it out and started wearing it after I was told about my tumor this Summer.

What was I saving it for?  What if I was looking at my last days here on Earth?  I wanted to wear it, to have the energy, that piece of Dave and Scotland, with me at all times.  Besides, it just made me feel nice to have it on.  A little bit of pizzazz on my wrist.  After all, I am a girl . . .

It’s been on my wrist ever since, excepting when I had to remove all jewelry for surgery.

Sure, it could be damaged or come unhooked and slip off my wrist unnoticed; however, the joy of seeing and wearing it every day exceeds the risk. 

We left behind our “everyday” Corelle dishes when we hit the road as full-timers.  Instead, the ones we use are china and would be expensive to replace.  They have a Southwest pattern and colors that fit perfectly in my Texas home; previously we had used them on holidays, etc. 


When loading our rig 2+ years ago, we decided to take them along and use them.  If they get chipped or broken, so be it.  We like them and derive pleasure from using them.

Exactly why were we “saving” them?

So put on that fave shirt, jacket or earrings!

Isn’t every day a special occasion?

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012 - Write 4 Ten - A Field of Flowers




This entry is a “Write 4 Ten” story, in which one writes for ten minutes on a given prompt.  Want to try it for yourself?  Click on the little lady up there to visit Donna B. McNicol’s site.


There were few flowers the day we gathered, coming together for a bittersweet occasion.  Among friends old and new, our purpose was to honor a loved one no longer with us on this Earth.  There was gentle laughter and quiet talk, old memories shared and new ones in the making.

I began reading the tribute to our loved one I had prepared in the prior days.  Smiling and fighting back the tears as I recited the words, I knew our beloved was present in Spirit and smiling her winning grin as she heard the words sharing her life and personality with the small gathering in the bright sunshine.

Our dog Maggie was with us, having come into our lives only a short two months prior.  She was her usual friendly self, only toned down a bit in what all remarked was a showing of respect to the one we were honoring. 


As my words finished, I noted I was not the only one with eyes misted over, yet there was an atmosphere of joy and love in the air.  What more could one ask at a life celebration for a dear one?

A few months later, I received photo from my friend, on whose property our celebration had taken place.


“Baby’s spot” was now covered in Texas Bluebonnets after nourishing rains, a lush field of flowers. 

I do believe my beloved canine companion  of so many years would be pleased that her ashes are part of not only Texas and such a lovely setting, but that she is resting with friends.

October 10, 2012 - Views of the Past Week


Maggie is doing absolutely great and will have her stitches out this Friday!


October 2012 in hospital

On October 5, grandson Oisin was born to Ian and Rose in Ireland.  I am so very honored that the blanket I knitted for grandson Fionn a few years ago accompanied them to hospital and is getting good use.


Oct 5 campfire

Oct. 5 campfire honoring Oisin’s arrival


Foggy Night

We’ve had some foggy nights



Beavers are busy on the property



The spiders are still busy, too!


Birthday cards

My birthday was very nice!


Office ready to go back to work

After taking care of work from our RV for the past three months, I cleaned and organized my office.  I’m about ready to move back over to the office in anticipation of increased activity around here in the coming weeks.



Mr. Sun has been shy lately.  (Office trailer in foreground; our rig in the background.)



We’re so lucky; we don’t have to drive around to take in the Autumn colors




Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3, 2012 - Insecure Writers Support Group


Welcome to some new followers in September!  Thank you so much for joining up and for your kind comments!




Wow!  It’s already been another month and time for another post as part of the Insecure Writers Group

September was another month whose focus was on healing from my surgeries this summer.

I am thinking in a more creative direction a bit more frequently, so I suppose one could call that progress towards some serious writing again.

I did participate in a blog hop in September, The Follow-Swap Blog Hop sponsored by Katherine at Beyond the Hourglass Bridge.

Still, I just don’t feel emotionally, physically and creatively  ready to settle down to work.

Dave and I have been enjoying campfires in the evenings as often as practical and right now I’m soaking that up – enjoying our time together in the evenings tending the fire and talking; before long Winter will be here and campfires will be over for this year.

I’m back at work more (we are an on-site security team at a former paper mill, having this property and two others under our responsibility).  Yesterday, for instance, was very hectic with some issues and visitors to the property.

One of the issues is a black bear roaming the property and even being sighted inside the mill!  Yesterday the Fish and Wildlife warden delivered a bear trap with the hopes in relocating the bear.

Bear Trap 4

Additionally, our wee dog Maggie underwent surgery yesterday for removal of bladder stones.  Once she was home last evening and today, I have spent my day with her monitoring her progress and tending to her.  She’s doing fine, drinking and eating today, but still in a bit of discomfort and needing assistance in and out of our RV, etc..



My life is full and good.  I know my Muse is waiting patiently and that we will spend some quality, fun time together in the near future! 

Thanks ever so much for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.