Old Diary

And suddenly it’s the end of summer… NOT

Our minds play tricks with us.  Or on us.

We were walking from the pool tonight and peggy says to me, “I know it’s weird, but with all the people leaving the campground now it seems like it should be the end of summer!”  And you know… I does kind of feel that way.

You know that feeling when the weather starts to change, when your neighbors at the lake start packing up their summer stuff and start closing down their summer cottage for the winter and you know that they will soon all be gone and the winds will blow cold and the summer will be over.

Well, in a weird way it feels that way right here, right now.  The Season is almost over. I guess that’s the way people here think about it: the season.  Not the winter.  Just the season. There are conversations about “Are you  coming back next season?”  Not next fall, or next winter.  In fact, come to think about it I don’t think I have heard anyone utter the word ‘Winter’ since we’ve been here.  (Well, not unless Peg or I might have done it.

How does a person’s mind get out of sync by 1/2 a year?   I know that as we are expecting a cold front to go through tonight a lot of folks are talking about their body parts announcing the cold front’s approach — just as you might do up North.  But it’s a curious phenomenon that should happen primarily (for us) because of the association of departing friends with the end of summer.

Don’t Rush the Seasons

polar-vortex-nasa

Momma Nature is bigger than us all! Don’t fight with her — you’re guaranteed to lose.

Monday seemed to be the day for a few early departures from the campground — but sometimes it doesn’t pay to rush the season.  Our neighbor to the North is preparing to leave in the coming week.  Their neighbor to the north left a few days ago — about the time of the last weather advisory for Ft Worth & Dallas.  Well, we heard from them today and they are still stuck just North of Ft Worth — parked at a Casino  — waiting for the weather to improve before driving on home.  It doesn’t pay to fight with Mother Nature.  Which is a lesson a lot of us RV’ers learn pretty quickly:  Don’t drive in bad weather; which is to say, get off the road wherever you and and just wait it out.  A lost night’s lodging reservation isn’t worth an accident.  And if you don’t have a reservation it’s even less of a good idea to soldier on and risk an accident.

That’s it for today.  Talk to you tomorrow. And thanks for stopping by.

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Old Diary

Shoring Up!

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Judy & Don

Our friends Don & Judy left yesterday.  It was they whom we pulled in immediately behind when we arrived  on December 1, it was they who waited along with us for a dry spot to park on, and it was they who pulled in the second site to the South of us and have been neighbors all winter long.    They’re from Springfield IL (near our good friends Debbie and Delbert) and they are off to participate in their first ever Escapees Escapade. We’ll miss them.   We hope they return next fall.

Upon their departure we scarfed up some 2 x 10’s they left behind — too long to fit in the trunk of their car — and placed them in front of our drive axle in case the spring is wetter than it is now.  When we pulled in the workamper chintzes on how much caliche he put down for us to drive over and I’ve been pondering whether we would have any difficulty in May getting out of here — or if we move sites in April.  Now with something better to drive across — and up to the point where the caliche begins — we should be hunky-dory.

2015022510414101Spring is taking over wherever one looks things are greening up — and  I love it. 2015022511200403In spite of a high of 44º  forecast for later in the week this is lovely!

Any comments from the Bluebonnet Sightings Page have stopped.  Not sure where the flowers stand right  now but with bad weather across the state from Dallas (as I’m writing this a couple days ago) I doubt there’s much activity on the wildflower front.

We had our last monthly seasonal meeting today.  The proceeds from the Hog Roast and other donations were distributed to both the local EMT squad — who make ample trips over hear each year — and the local battered woman’s shelter.  Each group received a check for $550.  That was nice.  It’s good to see a community of temporary ‘neighbors’ doing that much good.

It also looks like most of the activities here will wind down by the end of March and most of the Winter Texans will be leaving this month.  By show of hands, there won’t be many left by April 1.  In fact, after Don & Judy left yesterday two more neighbors on our street left this morning.

At the moment we have a nice beef brisket in the slow cooker and we’re looking forward to a nice quiet meal tonight.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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Old Diary

May Showers & June Flowers

It’s been said that there’s no such thing as an average anything.  Averages are composites that rarely occur as real life  entities.  Well, whether or not that’s the case we are not having an average Spring.

20140510-085510.jpgThe substantial rains we should have had during the winter, those same rains  which didn’t appear,  have been the name of the game this past week.

Most of the rain we’ve seen so far since arriving in Oregon has been either gentle (almost mist-like) or wind-driven.  This week we are getting solid downpours — heavy rain — vertical rain.

20140510-085549.jpgOn a positive side the new RV is quieter in the rain: better insulation for sure.

On a negative side we have been having an issue with the rear heat pump… It seems not to be working.  I’m not sure if we’ll do anything about it at the moment.  I’ll wait a bit and see whether it’s a periodic short, or whether it’s just quit.

At the moment it looks like we won’t be going to the tall ships; not with the rain we’re getting now.  But then that may not be a bad thing.  After hopes that this week would be easier than last week it played out as less hectic but not much shorter.  Our hoped for weekend rest-up didn’t happen last weekend — we spent too much of that weekend working on the new TV and not enough time sleeping.  We’ve both been pretty tired. It might be better if we don’t go to the tall ships.

Peggy spent much of Friday making out a uniform order for volunteers.  It’s funny — we have gazillions of uniform parts, pants and shirts, for all the wrong sizes of volunteers.    I’m not sure what the order will do to Da Boss’ budget for the year.  I’m surprised at how little money they have to do their job here.  And considering the number of water leaks this has been an expensive year already — and we aren’t into the high season.  We are, however, past the midpoint of the fiscal year.

Da Boss spent Friday training new volunteers.  Little by little she’s getting to the point that she knows who our volunteers are.  We hired so many new volunteers in the last two months that she’s been feeling a little out of touch.

We should have another seasonal employee show up on Monday.  We’re hoping anyway.

On the volunteer front I had two new inquiries on Friday — I am optimistic about one of them.  Sounds like they have a clean police record and they say they’re going to make a reconoitering visit over the weekend — so we’ll see. I have just the place for them if they are interested.

 

 

 

 

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Old Diary

Some First-Day-of-Spring Thoughts on Winter

FlowersSpring may arrive on the calendar today, but my heart has been Spring-ing for a long time already.    I might say, I’ve been Springing ever since last October!

I have always gotten incredibly pent-up by winter.  A bad case of frostbite years ago has made any kind of cold almost unbearable and as a result all the things that normal Wisconsinites love about winter are not for me.  With that aversion to cold worsening every year I am not very good at putting on a smiley face and going with the flow… or…  Ice Flow.

Spring approaching shocked me into realizing how much I’ve been rambling on about the weather — ever since arriving in Oregon.  I have to assume that such an obsession is a function of just how much  I have hated the winters I spent in the cold.  First-Day-of-Spring

Perhaps its just that this is our first winter without snow, but it’s been almost impossible to keep from appreciating how pleasant it has been here — even with the fog and the rain! We have had uncharacteristicly  cold days (in December) and all I could think of was “this is so much better than back in Wisconsin.”  We’ve had incredibly fog and all I can think of is how beautiful it is; because it’s different every day and it’s not just an impenetrable bank of obscurity like it is back home.  Wednesday morning it was dense enough that from the top of the hills the valleys were completely shrouded — but at valley level the fog was a couple hundred feet above the earth creating a sort of warm cocoon feeling.  Tuesday I had to scrape ice off the car windows.  Not much, but I had to do it if I didn’t want to wait 15 minutes for the defroster to do the job.  I didn’t ming getting my hands cold — because it didn’t last and I knew that it was just one of those odd man out moments.

All of which makes me think about how it is that our subconscious comes to the fore when we least expect.

I was in my late 20’s when we moved to Toledo and I managed a Lock & Safe company.  We’d been there some time and as always I was carrying on several written correspondences (No internet back then).  When a time came that we decided to move back to Illinois from Toledo, one of my correspondents commented that they knew we’d be making the change.  I asked how they knew? “You so much as said so, in your letters,”  I was told.  I know very well we never spoke directly about my job or our plans.  But clearly the events that lead up to our departure had been working on my subconscious and I revealed things about myself I never intended.

It is always the case, I truly believe.  No matter how hard we try it’s not possible to completely mask what’s going on IN-side by covering up our OUT-side.  I know poker players think they can do it — but I suspect they may succeed while playing poker but may not be as successful in other parts of their life.  Married cheaters do — whether or not they reveal what’s going on to their partners is a different story, but it’s hard to hide emotional attachments — no matter how hard you try.

I guess I’m that way about the cold.  I can’t not talk about it.

I wonder if I’ll be the same way 5 years into RV’ing (assuming we continue spending our winters in the warmth — an assumption I can see no reason not to accept unless our health fails).

As for the Forest… Life is never boring.  But sometimes it also seems like we never make any progress.

  • I found out the credentials process is bogged down… again.  The staffer who is handling the request has never done a non-paid request for clearance before.  The very first thing she was to have done never happened.  Other people went ahead and did their portion, and I got my computer ID, but the process isn’t complete yet — not even 3 months after we started, for a non-sensitive volunteer job.  If it’s so hard to get this done, how did we ever get a man on the moon?
  • The Boss has been out sick for three days now.
  • We have a crew of inmates cleaning up campgrounds.
  • The volunteer who was leaving next Monday is now staying an extra week and will be leaving the day I have two new recruits arriving.
  • Because of the inmate crew… the burn pile — that pile of wood and brush cuttings that are just sitting around waiting to be torched — is growing exponentially.  I’m not sure I want Journey here when they make the burn.  It’s gonna be one hot fire!  This is going to bring new meaning to “A hot time in the old town tonight!”
  • AND…. we were up in town doing some shopping and we ran into three different people we know.  That NEVER happened to me when we were in Milwaukee.  In a lifetime in WI I think there might have been 3 times that I crossed paths with people I knew.  That has happened three times already in just 5 month… KEWL!

Ok — that’s about it for me.  I hope you have a happy Spring.  I will!

Talk to you tomorrow!

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Old Diary

What’s the Deal with Coffee?

oily coffee beansSo, what’s the deal with oily coffee on the West Coast? Every grind-it-yourself coffee bean we have found out here is really oily.

I can’t be the only person having this problem.  We have ground our own coffee for decades, much of that time using the same kind of electric Cuisinart coffee grinder.  Until 5 months ago when we arrived in Oregon we never had a problem with beans that were so oily that they caked at the bottom of the grinder.  But they sure do here.

We have tried every single coffee peddler we could find.  We purchased bags of beans from coffee merchants, from grocers, from health food stores, you name it we bought some there.  I have always like darker roasts — which by nature are oily (but never caked in my grinder before). Out here I have switched to ‘morning’ blends, lighter roasts, anything I could think of to find a bean that didn’t exude oil to the same degree — no luck anywhere.

cuisinart coffee grinder

I am unsure whether to blame the problem on humidity.  That could be part of the problem.  But since purchasing the dehumidifier a month ago we have bee keeping the RV at about 40% relative humidity and that’s less than what we had in summer in Wisconsin so I gotta believe this is one thing I don’t think I can legitimately blame on the rain.  🙂

I’m not about to switch to Folgers!  Or Maxwell House pre-ground.  All I want is a decent bean I can grind myself that won’t cake up in my grinder!

Spring is Springing

It may not be Spring on the calendar but we aren’t complaining.  People have told me about how early Spring arrives here and while I have believed them — that’s not the same as seeing it with your own eyes and my eyes are mighty happy right now.   Back home in WI this wouldn’t be happening before April, or more likely May.

I wonder how much longer we need to wait before putting plants in the ground.  I keep hearing that seeds often rot before they root — so we are looking at a few potted nursery plants for our home here… We’ll keep you posted as we make our choices.  I’m sure it won’t be all that involved — KISS — Keep it Simple Stupid!  But we crave plants.

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Old Diary

67 days and counting

Yesterday was a bit of catch-our-breathe.  Peg had not slept well Saturday night so she was dragging yesterday; Kathryn was under the weather so we had postponed our Easter meal with the kids; and I didn’t have a lot of ambition either so it was a slow go.

We did have my fresh home made biscuits for breakfast.  I have been mixing the dough in the food processor and tried doing it by hand because I’m still unsure whether I want to drag that machine along in Journey.  These came out even flakier and better but with a lot more effort — cutting in the butter is the one part that I have never liked doing by hand.  So, experiment conducted, results inconclusive; do another experiment. 🙂 (Sounds like a good excuse for more biscuits to me).

We took a long walk at Lake Shore Park again.  It’s just so wonderful to see the trees beginning to leaf out!  And the migratory ducks/teal that visit for just a few days on their way North.  There were quite a few folks out enjoying the shoreline and it’s wonderful to see people having fun, and not ranting and raving over something.  Our big controversy for the morning was what is the angle of the spires on the Calatrava? (by using my rotate tool it looks like about 50 degrees off the horizontal)

Once we got home we moved the few remaining pieces of furniture that the kids want to keep into those private-not-included-in-the-estate-sale rooms.  I had two large cabinets I had to empty out and decide item by item whether they were staying or going.  That took longer than I expected but it’s done now.  I still have two rooms that I need to take another look through but then I’m done on the lower levels and we only have the top floor (residence) to sort through and make decisions about.

Each day I feel as if we are just about done with the downsizing and each day I find more stuff to deal with.  Oh well…

Images

I’ve been playing around with images from my iPhone lately. I have an APP that attempts to do HDR (High Dynamic Range) images — it actually takes three shots and merges them in the background while you are doing other things.  I decided I really don’t like it.  I’ll try to figure out how to get it OFF my phone now and go back to the old way of doing it.

If you notice on these three images there’s a lot of blurring going on  and that shouldn’t be the case.  Oh well…. computers aren’t yet as smart as people. They only do what what you tell them to.

But, that’s ok.  I have enough invested in cameras and lenses I’d feel foolish if I were able to throw that all away and just use a stupid iPhone!

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