Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm dreaming of a new name

First I want to thank all of you who left comments on my last blog.  I feel like a member of a wonderful community full of thoughtful kind people.  Someday I will meet some of you.

For now I'm back to trying to do something everyday that will bring me closer to the RV life.

The other day I was thinking about the name of my blog.

 For now I am a Dreamer, and any dreams I have may be easily blown away like smoke.  But someday those dreams of going fulltime WILL come true and the blog name might have to change.

As I blog and comment on other's blogs, I often use the old expression  "When our time comes..."

 It has occurred to me that  "Our Time Has Come!" might be a good on the road blog name.

But for now I will remain just a dreamer, following your adventures and cheering on others who are also still stuck in the sticks and bricks.

Daily countdown:
427 days, or 1 year, 2 months, days. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Doing a Happy Dance

I feel like I can breathe for the first time in weeks.

  I just got a call from my HMO informing me that I do NOT have cancer again.

The story is this:

  • Three years ago I had breast cancer and after surgery and radiation treatment, I was cleared and told I should just be sure to keep up with the yearly mammograms and self examination.
  •  August 11, I had my mammogram for this year.
  • August 16, got that dreaded letter in the mail that told me I needed to call for a "re-imaging."
  • August 19, had a second mammogram, complete with the magnification series.  Hoped they would just send me home, but no, the doctor wanted to talk to me.
  • He pointed out some very small spots that weren't on the images from last year.  Called them suspicious.  WALKED me over to the appointment desk and asked them to set up a biopsy as soon as possible.  (This HMO is known for long delays)
  • August 26, Had a double biopsy.  I had to lie on a very hard table, with my breast in compression for almost an hour.  I couldn't move.  It was horrible.
  • They gave me a sheet of paper telling me they would call on Wednesday September 1, with the results. 

  • I tried to remain somewhat positive all of these days.  Reminding myself they were probably not malignant. But three years ago they found a very tiny, tiny, mass of cancerous cells. 

  •  I was very relieved when the call that came today started with "I have good news for you." This is the forth time I have gone thru this.  Three have been negative. 
 No one except Craig and my daughter knew about it.

I am writing about it for two reasons,  one is to celebrate the good news, but the other is to remind all of my female friends, and my male friends who have a woman they love in their lives, that every woman should get a mammogram every year!    I know some of you either do not have insurance, or only have limited insurance, but believe me, it is one test you should not skip.  If there had been something there it could have been treated.  I will not die of breast cancer this year!

A squish in time, saved mine.

Daily countdown:
429 days, or 1 year, 2 months, days. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I haven't posted much this week, because not much is moving forward.  I feel a bit bogged down.

It is almost 9:00 am and Craig has just left to go get the rented log splitter.  We will split the wood we cut last week,  and perhaps I will get some time to work  on the Tiger.  I need to get it finished and ready to ship out on Monday.  It was supposed to go yesterday.

 I find I am less and less driven to do my art work these days.  It is not good to have your "work" seem like a drag.

The weather is quite cool this morning.  a good day for hard work outside.

Daily countdown:
431 days, or 1 year, 2 months, days. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Heat Wave Finally Arrived

Well, the heat wave has finally arrived, although it is not as hot up here as it is in San Jose.

It got up to 90 yesterday and is 95 today.

Needless to say I have only worked outside until about 11:00 each day.  This is actually good since I also have two large animal sculptures to work on that were ordered last week.  One is a Tiger that I should have done by the weekend, and the other is an elephant that is a Christmas order so I can take my time on it.

The hot weather is great for drying the sculpture parts, and also keeps me down in the cool of the studio.

Not much else to say today . . .

Daily countdown:
435 days, or 1 year, 2 months, days. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Weekend in August

  What's this blog going to be about?  Maybe I should make a list, since that seems to be the best way for me to function these days!

  • Welcome to a new follower Me and My dog.  Looks like she is really going full steam ahead on reaching for her dream.  Good inspiration!

  • My latest area of concentration on the house painting project is the front door area, including the overhang which is not shown and a small overhang area above the garage door corner.
The door is very rough.  For years I have pointed out the fact that we can see little slits of light between some of the vertical sections.

I've been sanding it and working wood filler in the cracks.  I think it will look OK when done.

Of course there is dry rot to deal with.  The dark area on this detail is where I have drilled some holes and soaked the area with a wood hardener before working with good old Bondo to create new bottoms for these decorative beams.  The edge of the yellowish siding is also ragged.  I didn't have to deal with this on the deck painting because those areas are protected from the rain and fog. Again Bondo to the rescue.

  • Meanwhile Craig has been working on painting primer on the fascia boards that were replaced by the roofers with all new pressure treated wood.   He is standing at the top of  20 foot ladder that is standing on an additional 4 foot wood box!  This is NOT the highest part of the house, but it is the highest he will do.

     My stomach is in a knot all the while he is doing this!

     WE WILL HIRE SOMEONE for the really hard part!

  • On Saturday the weekend plan to keep painting was interrupted.  My to do list is written in pencil after all.  A tree came down at the top of our road on the Electric company's right of way.  It also took out a wire!  In late afternoon on Saturday I had to run to the store for something.  When I came back I saw the pile of cut up wood and a big trunk.  I asked the PGE flag man who owned the wood and he shrugged,  "who ever picks it up."  When I got home I told Craig about the wood, but he wanted to eat dinner.
After we ate, we did go up to try and get it, but all of the cut up stuff was already taken.  We went back home, got the chain saw and went back to cut what we could.  The PGE men watched out for us and helped us avoid traffic on the road.  Or, rather  he helped the traffic avoid hitting us!

We worked until it was dark and the PGE guys even helped us load up the wood into my van!

  • Sunday, Craig had to re-sharpen the saw and go for more gas. The remaining trunk of the tree was balanced on the top of a hill at the edge of the road so nobody else had tried to take it.  A small tree was keeping it from rolling down.  It was a bit scary for Craig to be cutting away at it as I watched for traffic coming from three different directions.  Two were easy, but one was around a curve from the cutting site.
 He did get it all cut up and down to the road safely.   Loading it was no fun.  It was green, wet, oak. Some of the rounds were over 22 inches in diameter and very very heavy, but we managed.

This is a picture of the wood unloaded at the house.

We will rent a splitter in the next week or two so it can be spread out in the sun to dry for winter use.

We use several cords of wood each winter.  We usually  collect it down on our own wooded hillside, but this year we had decided to buy some because we have been so busy with the painting.  But we can't pass up FREE firewood, even if we had to cut it ourselves.

So that was our weekend!

Daily countdown:
436 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 10 days. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Crickets, and an answer

I heard the crickets for the fist time last night.  It was early in the evening and still pretty warm.  Later (around 11:00) I again stepped out onto the deck and they were quiet.  A cool ocean fog was rolling in.  Maybe it has just been too cool in the evenings for them to sing.

Have you heard them where  you are yet?

A couple of my friends have asked me if I'm still walking and keeping track of the miles.

The answer is no for now.  It's a long story, but in a boring nutshell it has to do with the fact that both my knee and ankle have been really painful for the last two months.  I know that going up and down the ladder repeatedly during the day is a big factor.  I can't stop working, so for now I have stopped walking.

I went to the doctor for the knee awhile back and he said it was Arthritis.  He put me on an anti-inflammatory that really did a number on my stomach.  At one point last month my ankle was so swollen in the evening that it looked like I had an egg tucked under the skin.  Ice packs have helped a great deal.

I also think I might have a bit of Gout.  The doc says no, but I know that my joints are much worse when I drink wine, eat red meat, and a variety of other foods.  So for the month of August I have been abstaining.  The ankle is better.  I'm hoping to get back on the treadmill soon.

 Daily countdown:
438 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 12 days. 

Friday, August 20, 2010


A busy day, a busy week!

Small steps, but they are going in the right direction.

Daily countdown:
439 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 13 days. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Six months of progress!

Six months ago I started writing this blog.  I said it was to help me examine my feelings about wanting to go full time someday, or not. And to help me stay on track with all the jobs that needed to be done in order to accomplish that dream.

After six months of focusing on that goal, I would say I am 99% sure I do want to do it.  There will always be that very small part of me that would rather stay safely at home in a house!

I started this journey much longer ago, but only in my mind.  I was doing very little to "make it happen."  

But once I made the first few steps, and put that first items into a box for a flea market, things started to move along. 

 I really feel I have gotten a lot done in six months, and if the next six can be as productive, we may actually be able to sell the house and GO!

What We have Accomplished:

  • Hired someone to tear down the shed  and take ALL the old stuff in it  away.
  • Hired someone to replace the  roof, rain gutters  and do tons of dry rot repair.
  • Done about 2/3rds of the needed exterior painting.  (The inside is another story!)
  • Set aside many things and have done my first Flea Market.
  • Gotten rid of most of my unwanted clothes, and a few of Craig's.
  • Donated all of my old yarn and cleared all but one of the shelves in the back of my studio closet.
  • Boxed some of my fabric and will get rid of it after one year if I don't need it.
  • Started to sort old tax documents and other papers. Taking some to the shredder.
  • Started to empty the attic, and am determined to only store empty boxes!
  • Gotten rid of all of the old VCR movies.
  • Sold or donated most of my art reference books. (Same information and picture on the internet)
  • Taken my first trip to the dump.
  • Donated most of my old magazines to the HMO offices, and am not getting  any new subscriptions.
  • Done some research on what rigs we might be interested in.
  • Been to a RV show.
  • Changed a major habit in the kitchen.  I now do ALL of my dishes, wash and put away, every evening.  No more stacking in the sink or letting the pans soak overnight.
  • I have started a list book where I jot down daily "to do" lists, "what needs to be done" lists, and lists of "stuff" with notes on what to do with them.  I call it virtual sorting.
  • Sold the MG Midget.
  • Ordered new garage doors.
  • And much much more.

Most importantly, Craig is helping with the house repair and painting. 
He has not yet let any of his "stuff" go, but I think it will happen in his own time.  He is starting to "talk" the "talk."  When people ask were we want to go after selling the house, he tells them we want to full time RV for a couple of years!

  What is exciting is that we are moving forward.  The house is getting a much needed facelift. 

I also feel like I have found a very special group of virtual friends. 

 Friends that have encouraged me and who I know I can ask for information about almost any RV problem I may run into in the future. 

Friends I look forward to meeting someday.

I have found encouragement in reading about others as they got their homes and lives in order before they were able to take off.  I do hope that if any wanna-be's  read my blog, they will find it helpful and motivating.  If I can do it, anybody can.

So I'm looking forward to great progress in the NEXT six months!  I wonder what will have been accomplished by  February 19, 2011.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Virtual Sorting

Shortly after I started this blog, I mentioned the idea of doing some "virtual" sorting and purging of our stuff.  I thought it might be a good idea to go thru the house, room by room, and make lists of what was there and what I wanted to do with it. 

 I started such a list on one of the "pages" of this blog, and kept it as a draft.  The problem with that approach was the computer I use is not portable, and if I had an idea at an odd moment it was quite inconvenient to go down, open the blog, and make the note.  So the project went no where.

Recently Craig gave me a 2010 "Time Management Portfolio" book he had gotten from someone at work.  I've kept it next to "my chair" up in the living room.  This is where I relax almost every evening.

I started making short, daily "to do" lists for myself in the dated section of the book.  About half of the pages are simply lined with a wide blank margin, much like a journal.

I'm using this part to  start make lists of things that need to be done, and stuff that needs to be either gotten rid of, taken along, or stored when we are ready to go.

I've made up a little key of abbreviations.  GT = go thru, AC = Ask Craig, TA = take along etc.

I find it is helping me feel less stressed about how much needs to be done and how much stuff needs to be considered.

  Craig doesn't like to talk about more than one job at a time.  Right now we are working on the painting, and taking that one place at a time.  

If I am helping him with one thing, say replacing trim boards on the garage, he doesn't like me to bring up something else, like the dry rot around the front door.  He will deal with each when the time comes. 

I am always thinking about all sorts of things.  If I see it on a list  I feel like I have it more under control.   

The lists seems endless, but someday we will do it all, or just cross it off and move on.

 AND, Someday I will toss the whole book into a trash can at the edge of the Grand Canyon! 

I'd toss it in, but that would be littering!

  Daily countdown:
445 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 19 days. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Garage Doors have been ordered

Last week when we started to work on the front of the house we decided the trim boards around the garage doors were too far gone to repair.  We also decided the garage doors themselves were in need of replacement.  They are old wood doors and although it is not visible on this picture, they have some decay and water damage. (The white boards around the doors are newly replace and just primed.)

This is a better picture of the door's sagging appearance!

I don't know why it is, but whenever Craig and I have to choose something or hire someone, it becomes a major crisis. We never seem to agree right off.

I told him it was his turn, but of course I went out and picked up brochures from Home Depot, Lowe's, and Costco.

 He looked at them and then choose another  company to look at.  He wanted to get fiberglass doors, and the large home improvement stores don't have them.

 Of course the fiberglass doors  were almost twice as much as good quality steel doors.

 I frowned.  Or as he said, I glowered!

 I didn't think it was an effective use of home improvement money.

  If we were going to be here for the next 20 years, OK, but I think good insulated steel doors would find just as much favor in the eye as a potential buyer.

 I guess I watch to much HGTV.

Always wanting a decent return on our investments!

We went to look at the doors at the showroom. The doors he liked were quite beautiful and I agree, a cut above the steel.

But it turned out the doors he liked  only came with rounded windows. Rounded windows would not look right with the style of our house, so we ended up ordering the steel doors. From the company he choose rather than a Home Depot or Lowe's.

 They should be installed in about three weeks.  I'm happy with the order, and I think Craig is OK with not getting the ones he originally wanted.  But I do wish it was easier for us to work together!

So the week ends with the outside work  progressing nicely.  Hope we get lots done over the weekend!

Daily countdown:
446 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 20 days to go.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Word verification back on

Sorry folks.  I turned the dislikable feature "Word verification" back on.  I have been getting a lot of SPAM in my comments.  I hate the fact that to get rid of Spam, I have to make it harder fro real people.

I said I wanted to turn it off and to see what happened.

Now I know.

Talk to you later ...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

That was quick!

I have been researching the value of the MG on and off for months.  I knew what the asking price for a fully restored one was, and I had a range of possible prices for a non-op that was in pretty good condition other than it was put up without proper draining and had a few small dings and tears.
Craig and I pushed it out of the garage and I washed it with windex,
It looked pretty nice!


 To go on E-Bay Motors  with lots of pictures, a higher asking price, an auction with a reserve price, and wonder about dealing with people from out of the area, and shipping it across the country!

 Or to put is at a reasonable cash only price,  on Craig's list, and see what happened.

I wrote a quick Craig's list ad  within two hours I had a call.    After we talked for a while, the guy said he could come to see it this morning.

 However, after I hung up I realized I had given him the wrong information.
  I had listed it wrong on Craig's list too. I didn't have his phone number.

  I said it was a '69.  It's not.  It is a '79.

h In the morning, he called when he was ready to start, and I, with some embarrassment, told him my error.

I felt so dumb!  He seemed disappointed but he said, he's come look at it, and would probably be over in about an hour.

After three hours had passed I figured he was a no-show.  I was a bit disappointed because he seemed so nice, and I consider being a no-show quite rude.

But then I heard a car in the drive and it was he and his wife, complete with a flat bed trailer.

The man looked it over very carefully and asked many questions.

He was cool, but then so was I.

Then he offered me much less than my asking price.
    I said no.
        I didn't need to sell it today.

Then he came up half way to my price.
 I said that if it wasn't the absolutely first day I had it for sale I might take it, but not today.

I suggested  he call me in a couple of weeks.

He said  he would pay the asking price.

I think it was fair.

Onto the truck it went!

Goodbye little car

I'm a little sad.  But also pleased it went so easily and to people I felt good about.

I actually got some painting done today too!

Daily countdown:
449 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 23 days to go.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A trip to the dump makes a girl happy

Only someone who is dreaming about heading off in a large RV someday can be excited by the possibility of a trip to the dump!  

Yup, that was me yesterday.

We had decided the trim boards around the  doors of the attached three car garage were too far gone to repair, and so tore them all off and replaced them.  This produced a couple of garbage cans of old wood and I decided to go to the dump rather than put them out for the garbage man. 

 I lined the bed of my van with a tarp, threw in the wood, and then happily began gathering other stuff from the garage that had seen better days.  In no time at all I had filled the van, and cleaned up this garage  as well.  The other garages are much fuller.

I also finished the job of unearthing the buried MG Midget that has been parked there since 1996!  I started that when I was getting ready for the flea market.

(The picture was taken before I finished uncovering it.)

We have decided to get new garage doors, so the MG will have to be moved soon anyway.

When we inflate the tires and move it outside,   I will clean it up and list it on E-Bay motors.

For now I  just put a word ad on Craig's list.

Getting the MG on the market  is one of my "This Summer Goals."

Anyway, I went to the dump this morning and was mildly surprised how much I was charged.  The van wasn't  full and the fee was $45.  

I'm going to have to be more consistent about filling my garbage cans! 

 And next time I go to the dump the van will be stuffed!

Daily countdown:
450 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 24 days to go.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A plumbers hint

Last week I mentioned we had a leak under the kitchen sink.  It was not actually "under" the sink, as in the cabinet below, in the kitchen.

 It was in the drain pipe, and the drips of water were showing up on the deck below.

 Craig did fix it, but it involved removing a piece of the tongue in grove ceiling and a section of the wood shell of a pillar that encloses the various pipes from above.

All will eventually be restored, but we want to make sure the leak IS fixed, and give the area a good chance to dry out before putting in new insulation.

So what's the hint?

  If you have a small leak and you don't know exactly where is is coming from, or if you think it is fixed and you want to be sure without standing there and watching it forever, put a piece of a brown grocery bag under it.  A drip will show easily.

In this case we were pretty sure the leak was at the top joint of the elbow, but there was also moisture on the straight down pipe.

Both have remained dry, so one of these days Craig will have to close it up again.

A plumber taught me this.

I  just thought it might be helpful if you needed to to track down an elusive leak in an RV or sticks and bricks.

Painting update:  I've been busy, but I have almost run out of places to paint.  There is still much to do, but repairs need to be made first.

Daily countdown:  (Corrected,  somehow it got all wrong)
        Go date is   Nov. 1, 2011
454 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 28 days to go.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I shouldn't look!

Every so often I go online and browse the Used RV sites looking at the listings for used Class A Diesel Motor Homes.  I think of it as an educational exercise to help me get an ides of what is out there and what the prices are like.  Most of the time I don't see anything that "speaks" to me.

But yesterday I saw one that I would love to see in person.  It is a 2008 Gulf Stream Crescendo 38'  with Floor plan  W/2 Slides (8356)

It has two things that are on my wish list:  A big TV that is not over the  cockpit, and it is less than 40'.  It has one big surprise feature that I would love to have:  A dishwasher!

Oh well,  we are not ready yet.  It is not time yet, if there is one, there will be others when the time is right!

I shouldn't look.  
    Of course I will,
        How else will I know what is out there!

It is OK to dream.

Daily countdown:
400 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 27 days to go.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eyes to the Sky tonight, and can you hear them yet?

I don't know where most of you are, but it might be interesting to check out the sky tonight.  I remember seeing the Aurorae in Milwaukee Wisconsin, (under city light) in the late 50's when there were big solar flares reported.  Please let me know if you see anything, and where you are.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory snapped this X-ray photo of the Sun early in the morning of Sunday, August 1st. The dark arc near the top right edge of the image is a filament of plasma blasting off the surface - part of the coronal mass ejection. The bright region is an unassociated solar flare. (NASA)
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory snapped this X-ray photo of the Sun
early in the morning of Sunday, August 1st. The dark arc near the top right
edge of the image is a filament of plasma blasting off the surface - part of
the coronal mass ejection. The bright region is an unassociated solar flare.
(NASA)  Watch amazing video of the eruption below.
Early Sunday morning the sun woke from a relatively quiet period of activity and launched a solar flare carrying charged particles expected to strike the Earth tonight. The coronal mass ejection (CME) was one of possibly two that will light up the night sky in some places tonight and in the coming days.
What is being termed a “solar tsunami” – a wall of charged ion particles – is expected to trigger a geomagnetic storm visible in the northern latitudes. The aurorae, normally only visible at extreme northern latitudes, are expected to put on a show for areas as far south as the northern contiguous United States the nights of August 3rd and 4th.
"This eruption is directed right at us, and is expected to get here early in the day on August 4th," said astronomer Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "It's the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time."

above is from the San Francisco Examiner web site
The second subject I'm curious about is crickets.  While your out looking for the Northern Lights, do you hear any crickets?  We were out on the deck last night and it was very, very quiet.  No crickets yet.
   We thought we should start to hear them soon, and wondered if the first audible cricket night was different around the country.  So, if and when you hear them, could you let me know?

I remember an old saying from my childhood said something like first frost comes six weeks after first cricket song.  That would put it sometime in October.  Just about right for Wisconsin.
Do you remember any weather sayings from your childhood?

Daily countdown:
401 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 28 days to go.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First Flea Market

So,  my first flea market experience wasn't all that bad.  It wasn't like the big grubby sales at the drive-in's that are held every weekend.

This was a once-a-year, one-day event, held in the parking lot of a nearby church.

There were  20 sellers beside a large sales area taken up by the church selling donations, food, and fund raising crafts from Africa.

Considering I didn't have any large ticket items, (my most expensive were one $10 item and a few $5 things.) $1, $2, $3, and $.25 or even $.10 were good price points.

Anyway, I sold almost everything I had and made a grand total of $145.  After the $25 space fee and a  hot dog, nachos, and a couple of drinks, my big profit was all of $115!

Considering the number of hours I spent getting everything ready, I wouldn't say it was worth it in terms of money.

  But it did get rid of a full van of stuff, and what's left will go to Goodwill tomorrow.

I have to say the weather was pleasant and the people were nice.  I was delighted to find the space next to mine was taken by a fellow artist from the mountains that I know, and another was across the way.   So I had enjoyable  company.

We pulled our chairs together and shared the shade of their umbrella in the afternoon.

I took plenty of change and had everything priced.

A few times someone offered less than my asking price, and I just said no.  It worked everytime.  They paid what I was asking. I think my prices were fair, if not on the low side.

I knew that nothing would go back into the house, so it was good.

I got the low-down on several other flea markets in the area and will probably do several next summer when I have more and better stuff to sell.

I learned that books and VCR taped movies do not sell very well.  I did not take any clothes and do not intend to in the future.

But I had three fancy hats and they all went quickly.

So that's the flea market report for the year.

I will get back to putting thing in the garage boxes when winter comes.

Maybe I can talk Craig into doing the same.

Daily countdown:
403 days, or 1 year, 2 months, 30 days to go.

Exercise Goal:
miles on the treadmill, 
Total walked = 185 miles
Someday I will be hiking 1000 miles in National Parks!