Day 1161 – Girls Day

Tin Butterfly

Do you remember our friend Linda? She lives in Silverton, Colorado during the nice time to live at 9,305 feet in elevation.  But when it isn’t nice to live there (say, October – April) she is an RV’er.  Linda and her late husband John were some of the first friends we made when we started working at Amazon in December of 2012. They introduced us to this LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area), and we have looked forward to seeing them whenever we got the chance.

Linda is now adjusting to flying solo, and we have had the pleasure of her company a couple of times this season.  She is currently traveling in a Class C trailer like this one:

Home On The Road
Home On The Road

It’s just the right size for her and her dog, Hope, but it can be a bit large to run around town in.  I had been looking at the local events calendar to see what she and I could do for a girl’s day out, and we found a craft fair that was scheduled on the same day as the farmer’s market, so we made a plan and off we went.

David was so sweet to stay behind and provide doggy day care to Hope (Linda’s miniature Australian Shepherd).  But honestly, who was watching whom? Hope’s job was to make sure David didn’t go up on the roof while we were gone!

Linda and I put on real going-out-in-public clothes, and I even put a little mascara on so that I didn’t scare people too much. Then we were off to the Farmer’s Market at the “Mall”.  It wasn’t a large market, but we definitely scores some sweet deals.  I picked up an assortment of 3 red/yellow/orange bell peppers for $1.00 – for all 3, not each! Also, a head of cauliflower for $1.50. And finally, a bunch of asparagus ) labelled “Sparagus” for $2.00.  Linda found some lovely tomatoes, too.  It was a good haul for a short and sweet stop.

Well, all that shopping left us parched, so we hit the Starbucks drive-thru.  I think this was my first Starbucks of the year (I have chosen Dunkin’ Donuts, Coffee Bean & Tea, or something local) and an iced coffee hit the spot.  Next, we headed to the Yuma Potpourri Artists Arts & Crafts Show at the Foothills branch of the Yuma County Library.  The facility was just beautiful:

Foothills Library
Foothills Library

The crafts show was very small, which surprised us, as this was advertised heavily.  We may be spoiled by the size of crafts shows we have attended in the past.  There were three self published authors, several beaded jewelry makers, pressed flower cards, a pastels artist, and a lady who sold recycled aluminum cutout ornaments, like the butterfly you see in today’s featured photo.  I purchased this lovely butterfly for $1.00.  I thought it was appropriately made from an Arizona Iced Tea can. It is now affixed to the screen door of the rig.

One of the cutest moments of our day out was when David sent us a text from Doggy Day Care letting Linda know that Hope was doing great and that they were out on a walk.  That was so considerate of him!

Linda didn’t find anything that she couldn’t live without, so we next went off to find the Foothill Shoe Store, home of an endless offering of shoes by Keene, Birkenstock, and SAS.  We didn’t look up the address, but since Foothill seems to be a smallish area, with really just one main drag, we figured it would be easy enough to find.

And this is where the day got really interesting.  As we hit the end of the main business artery without spotting the shoe store, we went to turn around and discovered a lovely new-ish RV/residential development called “El Rancho Encantado“. Now, I don’t want to turn into a salesperson on you, but if I was in the market for a lot to park the rig on, I probably would have written a check.  This place was gorgeous! Linda and I walked around to each of the lots that have been built on and are for sale, and looked at the second phase lots.  Here is an example of a 754 sq ft casita that is built on a lot.  This still allows for 2 RV full hookups.

Casita
Casita

Like I said, we are not in the market to buy, but Linda is looking at where she is going to start her next chapter; maybe it will be here.  And if it is, I know there are hookups for when we visit (and David is always available to work on that outdoor kitchen or sunroom).

After we swooned over this development, we google mapped where the shoe store really was! Just one exit down the highway, and we were squeezing into a packed store.  They were having a sale where they pay the 8.25% sales tax, so it was a popular place.  Linda found what she wanted, and we were out of there as quickly as possible.

Now, with grumbling tummies, we decided on…you guessed it…Chipotle for lunch. Mmmmm.

Our last stop was at Imperial Date Gardens to pick up one of their 11 lb boxes of dates to share.  These are just so yummy, and they freeze well, so I decided to get a box before they were sold out.

Once home, it was really time to get cooking!

With the latest episode of “Glee” playing on my laptop, I decided to make the recipe that my friend Sharon posted on my Facebook wall for  Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower.  It was tasty! And HOT! I served it over a bed of fresh spinach, but did not make the ranch dipping sauce, as I have not found an oil-free Veganaise.

It was a full day, topped of with watching the boy’s high school soccer AZ State Championship match on TV. Yes, that is reaching for entertainment!

I hope you had a good day, and night, and that the Hallmark holiday didn’t get you down.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

 

 

 

Day 1159 – What’s Cooking

Hobbie Cat

Hello there, old friend.

I have been slacking.  I truly have no excuse for not keeping up.  In fact, I have started writing posts every single day – in my head, as I wake up each morning.  And then, well, I get up and get going and suddenly it is 2 pm and I have very little idea how I lost track of time, or why I didn’t have the discipline to sit and write out my thoughts and experiences.

Am I in a funk? I don’t think so.  I actually think I am doing well with this whole empty nest thing.  Except that I am keenly aware that I am in need of being needed.  Now, I have managed to do things for Hannah (and to a much lesser extent, Kit and Tami) practically every day.  And I am in constant contact with the girl even though we have a 7 hour time difference.  And it would not be a far stretch to say that I check my phone as soon as I wake up to see what little note or update I have received (thanks, “WhatsApp”) from jolly ol’ England.

But there are many, many things that I must get wrapped up, and stop all this dilly-dallying.

The first of which – what did we do yesterday (which was Thursday, Feb 12, 2015)?

Well, in my head I wrote the post about the need for Structure.  With a capital “S”. But you see how well that went (not posted).  David and I then went for our every-other-day run/walk.  I tried to push it harder than I have in the past, as David gave me permission to run at my speed, as he feels that I have the ability to run faster than he does at this time.  It is only for one minute at a time, so there really isn’t that much distance between us.  We are running on a narrow, rocky path, so it is exceptionally hard to run side-by-side, which means one of us has to be in the lead.  I am fatter than David, so I feel like I need to work harder to get in/keep in shape, so I need to expend more effort on these runs.  We added two more run intervals, and even tried one stretch of running for 2 minutes at a time.  This means that we are both getting back into better shape.  Not In-The-Prime-Of-Amazon-Season shape, but definitely better than Sloth-In-The-Desert shape.

We had our usual morning oatmeal and (for me) coffee breakfast, and I ran down to the Christian Service Center to pick up a package for David. (Ah shoot.  Post Day 1145 is still in Draft, so this sentence does not make sense.  Roll with me on this.  I will update that next, I promise).

David continued to work on his solar hot water heater project, and I got going on bookkeeping.  That lovely FAFSA is due any day now, and I am feeling the pressure.

The winds are coming and going here, and the temperatures have remained in the 80’s. I mention this not as filler, but so that you can share in the questioning of the wisdom of baking biscotti when it is warmer outside than inside, and one does not have the ability to fire up the air conditioner.

I make biscotti because David loves it, and I am trying to fatten him up.  The problem is that it really isn’t very high in calories, since it has no oil.  But it is high in fiber, which sometimes is not the best thing for a person with Parkinson’s (PWP).  So, I make something he loves to eat, but he needs to increase his fluid intake to go along with the consumption of these hard cookies.  And that, my friend, is a challenge.  Even though we are in the desert, with all this flying sand particles, he just does not seem to increase his fluids as much as I would like.  When I say something, he points out that coffee is a diuretic, and that I drink way too much coffee, and there you have it.  Male Brick Wall.

Lunch salads were made, and we had leftovers burgers for dinner.

After dinner, I went online to Zenni Optical to have a go at ordering glasses online.  David wants another pair of glasses, going back to his titanium frame, and a full strength prescription.  Amazingly, his glasses are costing me a total of $27.90 – that is frame, lenses, and a sunglass clip-on! (http://www.zennioptical.com/318612-bendable-memory-titanium-half-rim-frame-with-stainless-steel-bridge.html) That is for a single vision lenses.  We will see how this goes.  Compare that to the over $200 for the Costco frame and lenses we purchased in 2012, and it really isn’t a risk.

The morning is getting away from me again, and I can feel the pressure to get up and get moving. I will just say that I will try to be kinder to myself today, and hope you can do the same for yourself. The pressure we put on ourselves is always greater than the pressure from those around us.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

 

 

 

Day 1153 – For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow

Kit

As you may know, our son Kit has been living in Tulsa, OK, since July 2011. He moved there because he had the opportunity to study at the University of Tulsa. His goal was to receive his Masters degree in Biology, to go along with his Undergrad degree in English Lit from UCLA and his CA teaching credential from UC Davis. (Yup, I am bragging about his accomplishments!)

I am fuzzy on the timeline, but somewhere along the way, he was switched from the Master Program to the Doctor of Philosophy in Biology program.  He has truly been having the time of his life studying the prairie mole crickets, and has finished his required courses.  All that he has left now is research, research, and more research.

While studying at Tulsa, he has been a Teaching Assistant, a Lab Assistant, a Research Assistant.  He has taught Lab classes, and spoken at conferences.

As I was looking up more details (because you know how those Keane men are all about the details – Not), I discovered an article mentioning Kit’s presentation at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain (SWARM) Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  (http://www.aaas.org/news/juniper-invasion-poses-profound-threat-prairies-researchers-say-aaas-swarm-meeting)

So, basically, he was working, attending class, and doing research.  Here is the really good part.  He has received a fellowship, the Bellwether.  Per TU’s website, “Bellwether Fellowships are to assist TU doctoral candidates in the completion of their degree. The selected fellowship recipients are expected to be leaders in their respective disciplines and trendsetters for The University of Tulsa doctoral degree.”  This will allow him to focus on his research, and not have to worry about working a position on campus, too.

His next step is to find a postdoctoral position.  But that is after graduation, and can be anywhere! We are so proud, and very excited for him.  He has truly made the most of this opportunity.

So three cheers to Kit!

We now return to our regular program:

Today was pretty much a stay-in-and-catch-up day.

There was soccer on the tv to watch, breakfast potatoes to be eaten, blog posts to write, emails to run through.

One such email was from Kathie.  She sent me some photos from Maine, and reported that her glasses from Los Alogodones have arrived.  First, the soap that she took home from Yuma:

Desert Sunrise Soap
Desert Sunrise Soap

I just love the color swirls, and  will try to replicate this.  I still think this is a hot process soap, since it is so textured.  The soapmaker was not in the shop, so I couldn’t ask in person.

And her view out her front window:

Kathies View
Kathie’s View

This is what that  view looks like in July:

KK's 2015-07-03
KK’s 2015-07-03

It’s not an exact comparison, but you get the idea. Brrrrrr.

David spent most of the day up on the roof, repositioning one of the solar panels, in anticipation of adding the solar hot water panels. He also put some time in searching online for a small travel trailer to possibly fix up and keep here as a second bedroom.  You know, for when we have guests (or one of us is in the doghouse).

I am going to wrap this up early today, and take myself for a walk.  It is a lovely 85 degrees with a slight breeze.  Just seems like what I need to shake the funk that a quiet house brings on.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1152 – Man Bliss

Home Depot

The day started off with a fantastic run on the trail.  It was so nice, in fact, that I made David promise me that we go out on a run at least every other day.  Let’s see if we can stick to it.

I spent my morning navigating through Amazon UK vs Amazon US, Puritans Pride UK vs Puritans Pride US, USPS Flat Rate box to England vs ordering online…you get the idea.  What it came down to is this: The 4 jars of peanut butter, 4 vegan chocolate bars, and 2 bags of flaxseed meal that I purchased at Trader Joe’s for Hannah would cost $50 in postage to send to her.  BUT she gets Amazon UK Student for free, so it was more cost effective to order said items online and have them delivered (one day shipping!) to her.  Now, what to do with all that chocolate and peanut butter.  I heard that they taste great together.  I’ll have to try that.

Vegan Musts
Vegan Musts

Last challenge to be figured out for her, and I hope she can resolve it soon, is how to get a UK-based credit card so that she can order home delivery for her groceries.  It may come down to finding a Visa or Mastercard that can be preloaded, but can’t be a “gift” card.

I was reading the Yuma Visitor’s Guide and ran across a picture that made me think about my dad.  Here it is:

Pull
Pull

Now, this goes along with today’s title, “Man Bliss”.  My dad was quite the marksman and outdoor enthusiast, and if they had this clay pigeon cartridge around “back in the day”, well, as my brother would say, “Oh, Momma, I want to turn my shoulder into hamburger.”  I can feel the kick of the stock just looking at this pic.  Thanks for indulging me.

The other part of the “Man Bliss” theme, and going along with today’s featured photo, was to take up the rest of the day.

David had a very long, detailed list of items to be found at either Home Depot or an RV supply store.  These items were as simple as O-rings for the water handle in the shower to as complicated as a 1/2″ Pex check valve.  We drove to Yuma, and spent – no exaggeration needed – 3 hours in Home Depot.  Not to be sexist, but he was surely having a better time than I was. I mean, if I spent 3 hours in a single store, I would come home with a great deal more than PVC pipe, Pex fittings, drill bits and something called “Rectorseal”.

We had a bite of lunch, because heck, we used ALL of our energy in that big ol’ warehouse of a store.  Then, it was off to the RV supply store.  Thought we found what we were looking for (a lighted switch for the water pump switch in the vanity area), but now that David tried to install it, I will get to make a return.

There was still laundry and a propane tank fill to be done, but we burned too much daylight.  I will have to cover those errands on another day. Mulling over which Farmer’s market I want to hit, so I may wait until Sunday.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1150 – Cleanup

Moonset

The day started with not only a lovely moon set/sun rise, but also a call with Hannah.  It seems that she has discovered that UK peanut butter is disgusting, that she is experiencing a real winter (vs the born-and-raised-in-California winter), and that “old” buildings in the US are not really old compared to what she is seeing in York and Sunderland. You can read more about it here, if you are so inclined: http://keanepointofview.tumblr.com/

After a lovely morning walk with David, we both got to cleaning and organizing, something that we have not really focused on while we had Hannah and Kathie as guests.  Boy, do we have our work cut out for us.  There is a very strong urge to do a complete sweep of the RV, and purge again.  Lookout Goodwill, local Thrift Stores, etc.  We will be dropping off to you soon!

It took me an inordinate amount of time to clean up yesterday’s blog post.  I tried to do it on my telephone as we were driving to Phoenix, but when I got a look at it on the computer, I knew that it was not going to cut it. So, please forgive me for that one!

David continued to work on his latest project, the solar hot water heater.  He is designing it himself, and doing prep work.  I asked him to do a complete write up when he is finished with it, much like the solar write up.(http://rvgetfit.com/2014/04/08/solar/)

We received information about our next two jobs.  First, we will be working at the Good Sam Rally in Phoenix, AZ Feb 25 – Mar 1 for Amazon CamperForce.  (http://therally.com/)  The corporate program manager, Pamela, let us know that our parking spot was secured, so we will get to stay onsite, which is very exciting.

Next, we received an email from Barbie at the Bar Harbor KOA, confirming our tentative dates (May 1 – Sept 18), job duties, and the names of other Workampers.  As it turns out, Doug and Patty, a couple we met last year in Livingston (fellow vegans) will be working there, too!  Now, they have worked for KOA before, but have not been to Maine.  This is going to be fun!

The rest of the day didn’t bring any real surprises, and the weather is starting to heat up.  We want to take advantage of the full moon, so we are planning on getting up around 4:30 am to do a moonlight hike.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy