John Steinbeck on Wisconsin

John Steinbeck on Wisconsin:

It is possible, even probable, to be told a truth about a place, to accept it, to know it and at the same time to not know anything about it. I had never been to Wisconsin, but all my life I had heard about it, had eaten its cheeses, some of them as good as any in the world. And I must have seen pictures. Everyone must have. Why then was I unprepared for the beauty of this region, for its variety of field and hill, forest, lake? I think now I must have considered it one big level cow pasture because of the state’s enormous yield of milk products. I never saw a country that changed so rapidly, and because I had not expected it everything I saw brought a delight. I don’t know how it is in other seasons, the summers may reek and rock with heat, the winters may groan with dismal cold, but when I saw it for the first and only time in early October, the air was rich with butter-colored sunlight, not fuzzy but crisp and clear so that every frost-gay tree was set off, the rising hills were not compounded, but alone and separate. There was a penetration of the light into the solid substance so that I seemed to see into things, deep in, and I’ve seen that kind of light elsewhere only in Greece. I remembered that I had been told Wisconsin is a lovely state, but the telling had not prepared me. It was a magic day. The land dripped with richness, the fat cows and pigs gleaming against green, and, in the smaller holdings, corn standing in little tents as corn should, and pumpkins all about.

John Steinbeck

I don’t know whether or not Wisconsin has a cheese-tasting festival, but I who am a lover of cheese believe it should. Cheese was everywhere, cheese centers, cheese cooperatives, cheese stores and stands, perhaps even cheese ice cream. I can believe anything, since I saw a score of signs advertising Swiss Cheese Candy. It is sad that I didn’t stop to sample Swiss Cheese Candy. Now I can’t persuade anyone that it exists, that I did not make it up.

Beside the road I saw a very large establishment, the greatest distributor of sea shells in the world–and this in Wisconsin, which hasn’t known a sea since pre-Cambrian time. But Wisconsin is loaded with surprises. I had heard of the Wisconsin Dells but was not prepared for the weird country sculpted by the Ice Age, a strange, gleaming country of water and carved rock, black and green. To awaken here might make one believe it a dream of some other planet, for it has a non-earthly quality, or else the engraved record of a time when the world was much younger and much different. Clinging to the sides of the dream-like waterways was the litter of our times, the motels, the hotdog stands, the merchants of the cheap and mediocre and tawdy so loved by summer tourists, but these incrustations were locked and boarded against the winter and, even open, I doubt that they could dispel the enchantment of the Wisconsin Dells.

-John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley (1962)

Old Diary

The Paradox of Neatness

I don’t know what possesses me to be infinitely fussier about the appearance of these Campsites than I am about the appearance of my own RV? Or about my my desk?  Seeing the smallest speck of manmade material on the ground I’m compelled to pick it up.  My desk is usually something like a disaster area!needed less stuff

What’s up with that?

This quotation is something I should have realized a quarter century or more ago.  I really don’t need all this stuff. (Except maybe my ‘puters.)  Even the minimal version of our stuff that we drag along in Serendipity. We don’t really need all the stuff that remains.  There’s more we could simplify.  All it will take is some dry days in the summer sun when I can set that stuff in the basement out in the open and give it a good looking over.  I know without question that we have some duplicates of things; we have other possessions we haven’t used in the 5 years we’ve been RV’ing — I just don’t realize they are there.  I need to see them!

It’s fitting that this post follows on yesterday’s post about litter picking.  But I’d like to know how it is that I developed a passion for keeping man-made bits off the ground.

Those who make the most litter are usually families with kids — but you know — I love to have the kids here and I don’t mind even the messiest of kids.  wrappersThat’s thebest time in life — when you’re care free and learning everything in the world and kids are supposed to make messes. So, I don’t mind picking up after them a little.  I don’t have to do it for 18 years. 🙂  It’s a volunteer gig — it will last as long as it lasts and then it will be over. I don’t mind a little litter picking.

Each accumulated bucket of trash that I pick up it seems a metaphor for all the stuff we accumulate through life.  Like those Hershey’s Kiss wrappers that we are forever picking up alongside the fire pits.  They get crumbled up and tossed.  A thoughtless, meaningless act for the camper; but for me it’s a repetitious reminder of all our possessions that we throw around, eventually discarding them only to get more “stuff” than we really need.  We could fit into a smaller RV if I would take the effort to dispose of more of our belongings.  We really don’t need as much as we have — even now.  Granted, the biggest reason we have the coach we do is to be comfortable when inside — to have a little escape room, a little breathing space, a little room to stretch.  So I don’t see us ever downsizing our traveling home — just the stuff we carry along with us.

now matter how simple, or disorganized ones’ life may be, keeping a sense of humor about it all is helpful.

The paradox, it seems to me, is that the more we have, the less we believe we are able to divest.  When we owned our last house — all 6500 sq ft of it — we had rooms filled with objects I hadn’t used, or even looked at since we moved into the building 7 years earlier.  Moving into our first RV — Journey — being much smaller than this — seemed a real challenge but even when we were fully moved in we still had storage space down below.  Now, in Serendipity we have more room to move about and more storage space down below — and I fully intend to free up even more.

The process of simplification is quite amazing.  I find that the more we simplify the easier it is to carry the process further. Before we left our house, heck, before we started the whole downing process it all seemed quite impossible.  We’d lived with so much clutter for so long that emotionally we weren’t willing to believe we could live with that we intellectually knew was quite easy. Even now, we forget about staying simple and acquire more items — that only need to be disposed of all over again. There are times I say to myself, “why did I do that, or buy that”  Living simple it’s addictive.  Or it can be. But it does take regular thought and a little discipline. Maybe it’s just my personality.  Maybe I’m an addictive personality?

I have another three months here to sort downsize a little more.  I know there is “stuff” that we’ve carried around in the basement of the coach for 2 full years now without ever touching it.  I can do better than that. Before we leave Milwaukee in early October I want to be able to say I met the challenge.

I lived here for about 2 years in the very early 1950's

I lived here for about 2 years in the very early 1950’s. The sign up front used to say, JP’s Lakeside Hardware

When I was about 2 years old my parents bought a hardware store in Algoma Wisconsin.  We lived there for a couple years but they found that the new Polish couple in a Danish town weren’t quite as welcome as they thought they might be; the locals were more willing to drive to another town with store owned by another Dane than to give their hard earned farm dollars to the new folks in town. The family’s decision was to move the whole hardware store from Algoma to Milwaukee.

When Peg & I sold off our possessions in an estate sale before going full time, I came across items that had travelled with us, moving from house to house, … yup… for the better part of 60 years. And not just stuff from the store; stuff from other places and other family members.

We needed to simplify.  For sure.  I’m glad we did, and the decision to go full timing was one of the best in our life — if nothing else we rid ourselves of 60 years of ghosts and leftovers!

How we actually did it still seems impossible to me.  Yet, having downsized, I feel as if the downsizing mentality is stuck in my blood. I don’t want to stop.  Even when I think about the eventuality of coming off the road as RV’ers and returning to some more normal life, it’s always an abbreviated version of home that I see in my mind’s eye.  So, if I allow myself to be a little obsessive about picking up every little shiny speck, don’t mind me.  I’m just exorcising demons that have followed me my entire life.  And enjoying every minute of the process.

Thanks for stopping and why not stop by tomorrow to chat?

Old Diary

A Few Hacks

I’m always on the lookout for good RV’ing ideas.  Some of the ones I come across are better than others — but some seem to me to be a waste of time and money.

Camping Hack UpdateUglyFloors

I just don’t buy this as a good RV solution. But if you ARE going to do this, at least strip off the old flooring and do the job right.

For instance, there’s the idea about using stick-on flooring tiles to improve the look of your old linoleum flooring. You know, that sounds like it should be a good, cheap fix.  But, I’m here to tell you that I have used stick-on flooring tiles in the past and to me there are some real flaws to this as an RV’ing solution. They might be better in a sticks & bricks home where the temperatures are more controlled, but I don’t think it’s a great solution for the varied environments of an RV. The idea of putting your new tiles ON TOP OF the old ones is never a great idea.  For one thing if there is any other flooring material in your RV the levels of the adjacent materials will be off/different.   More importantly, you’ll never get the old material clean enough to insure a good bond. If you could get it clean enough, our old linoleum squares are textured, so if yours are like ours, you aren’t going to get a firm bond all the way across the new tiles.  Finally, given the fact that RV’s can go through pretty extreme changes in temperature our experience of flooring tiles would indicate that the bond will fail a lot sooner than you’d like to think.  Ok — enough of negativity.  Here are three more that I like — depending on your application.

camping hack ParacordAwningTrackHolder

Paracord hangers work quite well.

This hack to make awning hangers from paracord and short sections of aluminum or copper tubing is a good idea.  I tried it with Journey when we still had her and it works wonderfully.  The tubing slides into the spare awning track and you can make the paracord loupe any size you want depending on your project.


We’ve got one of these — which works fine for getting up on top of the coach.


but if you want to hang awning groove hangers you need something like this.

The only drawback to this approach — as we found with our new coach Serendipity is that if the awning is too high you have a hard time getting the paracord loupes into the track — we’ve given up using them as we don’t have the right kind of ladder to hang the little buggers.   C’est la vie.

Camping Hack StringLightHanger

I would never in a million years thought about using ID badge hangers!

When I saw this idea… using ID Badge hangers instead of the paracord loupes I thought that’s not a bad suggestion.  But now unless I stand on a picnic table I still can’t reach the awning — the newer coach has it’s awning mounted both higher on the body, as well as being a design that doesn’t extend low enough to reach from the ground.  We no longer have legs that we can walk into — but we can’t reach the end of the awning — seems with RV’ing there’s always a TRADE OFF!

Flea CollarOne thing that has perplexed me a lot while RV’ing has been the way that wasps seem to love to crawl into the air vents for our furnaces.  We haven’t had them build a nest in there yet but Peggy is scared to bits about wasps and they aren’t fun to have flying around the RV and I have been wondering about ways to rid ourselves of them without restricting the air supply for the furnace or some other equally stupid idea.

The next buying trip we make we’re going to try this one out.  Flea Collars, are supposed to contain chemicals that will mask the propane aroma that seems to be the wasp attractant. We don’t have a lot of wasps here in the forest — so it may be a while before we know for sure if this works.  There are other camping sites where the wasps have been much more of a problem than here.  But I’m eager to know if this works.

window screen repair tapeHere’s another that looks good but I haven’t tried yet.  Window and Door Screen Repair Tape!  Even though it’s easy enough to replace the small screens on your RV, there can be times that the repair isn’t possible and you need a temporary fix (because goodness knows if you drive down the road with a damaged screen it’s going to tear before you get where you’re going!  High speed is tough on screen fabric.

There you have it,  another day in paradise looking for new ways to make paradise a little bit more paradisiacal.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be here to chat tomorrow.

Old Diary

“Fit” as a “Crown”

Tuesday and Wednesday being off days we got a lot of chores sorted this week.  We also got a taste of living in rural Wisconsin with three more extended power outages.  With our rooftop solar it’s not as if we are completely without power, but we’ve been reminded how iffy rural power supplies can be.

2016_HR-V_1 Not only did we get our airbag recall taken care of, we also took the time at the dealership to check out the Honda Fit and the HR-V.  With 135,000 on the odometer (not counting tow miles) we still have some life left in our CR-V but having some idea what might come next is always a good idea and I’m glad we checked them both out.  If we have to make a change at least now I know what Honda has to offerhummingbird feeder.

We also added another hummingbird feeder to our array.  We had a suction cup mounted feeder last time here but the windows in the coach are too high for me to replace the nectar from the ground and I wanted one we could hang from a coat hanger wire.  The little beggars are already drinking us dry — but we love seeing them around and I’d rather have them buzzing the feeder than buzzing US!  Those red CORPS vests attract them and the little blighters can scare a person to death!

dental-crownAnd Wednesday the dentist installed my crown — so I can chew again!  I really like this dentist.  If we come back next summer (still just thinking about it) we may visit him again.

Time in River Falls meant another grocery trip and another trip to Home Depot.  Our fold-out step is rusting.  While we’re here it would be nice to get the step sanded and painted, with a new safety grit strip installed.  I now have the supplies I needed; if the weather stays dry maybe I can get that job done in the next week or so.

Being close by, we also tried one of the local Chinese restaurants.  I was in need of a Hot & Sour Soup fix.  The soup was surprisingly good — both Hot-er and Sour-er than we’ve had for quite some while. The prices were reasonable. The resto is small and their menu is limited but it was an OK lunch on a day when we still had a lot to do and didn’t want to take a long lunch-break.  The quick lunch made it possible to sneak in our weekly laundry and to finally hang that other bird feeder — which has been sitting on the counter for 2 days.  The one thing we forgot in our weekly shopping rounds was…. more sugar for the hummingbird nectar.  sigh.  We always manage to forget SOMETHING.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat.



Old Diary

Litter Picking to Develop Eye Hand Coordination

Picking up litter is a humble activity.  It’s the kind of thing that most folks don’t spend much time thinking about.  Oh, from time to time you may notice crews alongside the highway — picking up litter — but more often than not those crews might be convict labor.  I don’t know anyone who ever said, I want to grow up to be a litter picker.

And yet that’s one of the things we do here at Highland Ridge as part of our volunteer duties and you have to have a sense of humor about such things as these.  It’s not like it’s a job that offers much intellectual stimulation.  You hold the stick, you see a piece of litter, you place the litter picker over the litter, compress the handle, bring the picked up litter to the container you’re carrying, and release the handle.  Big deal.

So, knowing me, I have to find more of a purpose to picking up litter than just litter picking!  It dawned on my Sunday while doing our weekly cleanup after the weekenders left — that picking up litter has positive physical benefits.

For one thing, litter picking is good for eye-hand coordination.  I’ve never been great with my hands — I would love to draw, but everything I draw turns out looking absurd and unlike what it’s intended to be.  Litter picking is a good way of tuning those muscles so that the jaws some 28” away from my hand picks up just what I want, and nothing more.

Then there’s challenge of picking up multiple objects all at the same time.  That started by trying to pickup two cigarette butts at the same time;  then I tried three; occasionally I’ll go for four or more.  Or I’ll pick up on item, then pick up something very different in shape and see whether I can manage two or more items.

It’s good for your eyesight.  It’s one thing to see what’s on the ground — we all think we see that’s there, but oftentimes I came to realize that I’m blind to many objects right in front of me.  Often I’ll overlook a piece of trash because it’s partially hidden by a leaf, or embedded in the gravel, or the material doesn’t catch the light and it’s nearly invisible to the eye.

I’m learning that I’m drawn to small shiny objects.  No, I’m not talking about jewelry.  I’m talking about pop-tops and pieces of broken glass, bits of shiny mylar packaging and cellophane.  It’s amazing how many pieces of that stuff a family of 6 — meaning 4 sweet, lovable, but litterbug children.  I have never been into jewelry but I’ve become obsessive about shiny objects.

If it’s man-made and on the ground I want it not to be there.  Peggy is teasing that by the end of the summer 1/2 of the campground will be missing — as we will have litter-picked it up and it’s been hauled off to the dump.  We aren’t that bad, but we do take pride in a clean campground.

The message?

Have fun with whatever you do.  It doesn’t have to be sophisticated.  It doesn’t have to be respectable.  Whatever you’re doing — throw yourself into it and have fun doing it.  I’m sure by the end of the summer I’ll be glad to hang up my litter picker for a few months; perhaps forever — how should I know how I’ll feel in 3 months — but this thing is sure:  I will have had a ball all summer long doing whatever we’re doing.

All of this came to mind today while talking with a camper who kept peppering me with questions about what our duties are.  And it dawned on me that, yes, we do have a list of duties to perform here, but we’re here by choice, we like this place, and we want it to look the best it can for our guests.  As a result I don’t really think about what we’re doing as our ‘assigned’ duties.  In fact the list of our duties is quite vague and general.  We add something to it, we might skimp on a couple others, but bottom line, net-net, the campgrounds look good, the campers are having a good time and our bosses are happy.  What could be better than that?

It’s all about how you see the world around you, and what you give of yourself.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here to chat again tomorrow.

Old Diary

Dodged a Big One

The rolling, rolling, thunder had been just around my consciousness level and I wasn’t sure if I was hearing things or dreaming.  When I got up the rolling, rolling, rolling thunder continued and I hopped online to see what was going on.

It was forecast to be a quiet, dry night. But overnight the storms ‘magically’ appeared — from cooling temps after a 90º heat — and the Weather Channel said they had already had 3” of rain fall just to our immediate south.Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.58.25 AM

Normally I’d have worried that we’d be right in the path — but this storm was traveling NW to SE so we missed it.  Well, we missed the worst of it.

Strong storms like this always make camping-departure-day an interesting experience.  We get the option of avoiding the rain if we choose — we only have 4 arrivals today — but those folks who get to go home today face the ugly choice of how wet they want their belongings to be when they pack up.

I find this fascinating.  In a sociological sort of way.

How do we deal with unpredictable?  Are we loosey-goosey and devil-may-care about packing up — figuring we can dry things out at home in the basement/garage?  Or maybe we don’t have a basement/garage and if our gear gets wet the only place to dry things out is in the condo?  Or maybe the kids are screaming because they don’t like thunder and your partner has a headache from sleeping on one of the kid’s Transformers/dolls/legos?  It’s fascinating to recognize the various campers — as families — and watch who goes home when:  during the downpour, after the downpour, way past check-out time — you get the idea.

We had a lot of children in the campground this weekend.  I love it when there are kids here!  That was one of the things I loved about our house in Cudahy.  Living next to an elementary school I had the distinct treat of listening to the sounds of (mostly) happy kids on the playground 9 months of the year; and when I went out to work in the yard during school hours (always my preference) the kids would line up along the fence line and pepper me with questions…. “Hey Mister…”

WE had but one child.  And I was an only child.  I can’t say I missed having a sibling — what did I know — I had no experience of a sibling so I didn’t know what I was missing.   But I love seeing siblings playing together.  They are so diverse!  Sometimes I think these are going to be lifelong friends — they seem to get along so well.  Other times I swear they must hate each other — even at such young ages.

Yesterday 5 little ones were camping in what we call the Electric Circle — 11 sites that can be rented out as a group for family gatherings or small RV rally’s.  The playground is about 1/8 mile from their site; they and their bicycles had made it almost all the way there before we saw them turn around and head back towards their campsite.  We were out in our golf cart at the time and they stopped to ask where the playground might be.  We gave them directions and followed them all the way there to make sure they found it.

One of the five was a little bit chubby — he reminded me a lot of myself at that young age… always the guy wearing the “husky” version of boys wear …and he was at the end of the parade of bikes.  The others were off their bikes and onto the play equipment in a shot … but this young fellow hung back and just watched.   We were done with our rounds and heading back to our campsite when he came up to us and with tears trying to escape his eyes asked how to get back to his campsite.  We’re not sure what the problem was but the other four were having fun and he wasn’t.  On the way back to his site he said he had a migraine — but when I was his age I didn’t even know what a migraine was.  Then again, had they even invented migraines in the 50’s?  I don’t know.

We half followed him and half led him back to his site.  I remembered that sometimes lonely feeling of being the ‘husky’ one, and maybe not being all that athletically inclined.  He finally recognized where he was and took off on his bike  — probably so that he arrived at the site not looking like he needed someone to help him find his way back.  …yeah… I remember days like that.

A week ago we had a family with four kids and the kids were all over at that same playground.  One child of the four had returned to the campsite and I heard a parent loudly inquire as to where the youngest of the four might be.  The little one answered that he was at the playground.  And then the parent shouted, quite loudly (for us to be able to hear) “Don’t you ever leave your brother at the playground along again!”  Being an only child myself, my first thought was, “Well, isn’t that your job — to make sure your kids are safe”  and not the little kids’ job?  But then I wasn’t a sibling.  And I had very, very different parents.

You know that I love diversity.  I love being around different people, different kinds of people.  But that doesn’t mean that I understand them all.  Or that I think they are all good people, or good parents, or good siblings.  Fortunately, it doesn’t make any difference whether I approve — to borrow that old expression:  I’m not the boss of them. They can live their lives any way they want.  And I can be happy I had the parents I had, and the family I had, and the opportunities I had.

This is the kind of Jungle Gym I remember as a kid!

This is the kind of Jungle Gym I remember as a kid!

Yup — we missed the storm this morning.  I think that as we go through life we miss some of the storms and we find ourselves right in the middle of others.  We all get to react to whatever is happening — storm or calm — as best suits us.  Sometimes we make good choices and we have a blast on the jungle jim. Other times we get a migraine and after we arrive at the playground it doesn’t look nearly as appealing and all we want to do is go home.  Sometimes we aren’t kids when we make those choices.  Sometimes we’re retirees!  Sometimes we’re RV’ers. time and chance

It’s easy to get all self-determined, to let one’s ego rise up and appear to be in control. But the facts of life are simple.  We aren’t always in control; the best don’t always win; misfortune happens to us all and it’s not in succeeding that we prove who we are — rather it’s in how we handle what comes our way that demonstrates to all around us who we really are.

kids playing in the mudI tend to remember the little children who have been here from week to week sometimes better than I remember the parents.  It tickles me when the kids remember us too.  They are so open, honest, and creative.  I love when they are so excited about nature that they end up filthy in mud collecting snails, or when they dream up stories about a kangaroo in their ear.  It’s great to be excited about life.  It’s great to see opportunity at every juncture.  These are the minds of the future. And if they have anything to do about it — it may just be a pretty great future!  At least it will be interesting.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here tomorrow to chat. Why not stop by?

Old Diary

The Battle of the Bulge

I’m winning.  At least I think I’m winning.  It’s a lifelong battle and for a couple years I stopped fighting, but steady-on wins the battle.  or is it the batter…. No… battle.pot belly

That recent heart-problem “thing” from last fall put determination back into the battle with my waistline.  I have been losing.  Not as fast as I have on other occasions — but it’s been a slow, steady reduction and at the moment I’m 27 lbs down from my high.

I have a long way to go, but I’m optimistic. All I have to do is keep after it, and keep active.

I don’t know about anyone else — and I know weight loss people tell you to weigh yourself only once a week — but I have to get on the scale every single day.  If I don’t I neither hold my weight nor lose weight.

Fact of the matter is:  I enjoy eating. I love eating.

All my life I have avoided sandwiches. I didn’t grow up with them — aside from necessary sandwiches in my lunch bag at school — there were NO school lunch programs that I remember — they may have been there but I never ate at them.  My dad didn’t like sandwiches so mom never made meals at home involving sandwiches.  Not even for picnics or roadtrips were there sandwiches. There was  always HOT protein and COLD salads for roadtrips: a lot of fried chicken and fried breaded pork chops with good old tangy german style potato salad. The males in our family, famished as we must have been, always had hot food at our fingertips.steam-food

The lesson behind all that hot food was if it’s served hot it should be eaten hot.  And growing up I learned to dislike LUKEWARM or tepid food.  I’ve always been the guy who might have had time to converse while eating, but who had a priority whilst at the table:  eating my food while it was HOT.

I’m usually close to the first person done with a meal — and I enjoy my food intensely — and I enjoy it while it’s still hot.  No doubt I eat faster than I should.  I remember reading all the good things that happen when you chew your food.  **** — and I’ve been noticing recently that the more I slow down the less food actually satisfies me. My brain has a chance to realize that the stomach is no longer asking for food — and it’s able to send those signals before I’ve wolfed down more food than I needed in the first place.

The doctor was encouraging Clean Eating with the 6 meals per day routine — but we haven’t been able to get the hang of that.  Most of the time we’re lucky to get in two meals — one mid morning and one mid afternoon.

overweight beach

it’s a good reminder of what I don’t want to look like any more.

RV cooking continues to be different from cooking in any of our old houses.  Granted, the replacement of our NeverCold refrigerator (Norcold when I’m not being sarcastic)  with a household refrigerator has made a little difference in how we cook but not a lot.  We continue doing the 20 minute meal — almost exclusively from raw, un-processed ingredients (other than frozen vegetables).  I can’t remember the last time I fried anything — I do a lot of sautéing but we stay away from deep fat.  The biggest impediment to normalizing our meals is the fact that we keep moving around and finding the kind of raw ingredients I’m looking for changes from place to place.  I never realized how ingrained shopping had become in Milwaukee.  It only makes sense — but unless you think about it the impact of being in different places doesn’t jump up and say, “Here look at me.”

We have almost completely given up on buffets.  The only real hold out to that is the occasional Chinese buffet — I need my Hot & Sour Soup fixes!!!!!  Well, there are also the times when Mel & her fiancé are around — Drew needs to eat and sometimes a buffet is just an easy solution for a growing young man! 🙂

We are both feeling better as a result of our efforts.  We are definitely getting more exercise than we had been.  Even though the park here is far from flat & level the roads are paved and we walk them quite a bit  — which is helping both the weight loss and the cardio conditioning.

I think we’ve kept out restaurant visits down to less than one per week — that may be a record, or near record for us.  We never did a lot of restaurant eating but two or three meals a week weren’t all that uncommon if we were in a touring-the-area mode.  It’s easier to grab a bite in a local establishment if we snooping around an area and that also gives us a better feel for the local social atmosphere.

Mostly we had been doing the high protein/low carb diet but I am a guy who craves my carbs so every few days we throw in a little this or a little that just to keep from developing a craving that might result in a binge of something — like bread or pasta.  That said, poor Peggy is struggling to get along without as many pasta fixes.  Whereas I’m the guy who needs bread — she’s the gal who needs here pasta.

I hope by the time we get to Milwaukee in September I’ll be another 10 or 20 pounds lighter.  All we can do is try our little bit each and every day.  While still enjoying life — after all, what’s the sense of getting to retirement if you aren’t enjoying it?

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here to chat in the morning.

Old Diary

The Date is Set!

weddingbellsWe got the news from our daughter that the Grand-Kid has set the wedding date for next Spring. We can begin thinking in concrete terms about post-Highland Ridge travel plans!

After last year’s medical travel delay fiasco it would be nice to have an earlier plan in place instead of ending up sort of  waiting-out-the-winter somewhere as we felt we did last Winter.

There has been the seminal thought in the back of our mind that we might inquire about returning here for another summer — seeing as the wedding is in Wisconsin, and the date is early enough — that would be doable possibility.  But, it’s not an ace-in-the-hole and we don’t know how we might feel about the CORPS by the end of the summer or how they feel about us.  So that’s just a niggling thought in the back of our minds.

11986505_10152969506017330_1306870677532854844_nAlong with the wedding date news,  we also  heard that Melanie also is trying out a new fun gig.  She has her first chance to teach a class in American Tribal Dance.  If you don’t know about American Tribal Dance it’s a amalgam of a variety of belly dance -ish styles.  She’s been involved in the scene since early in college.  (I never knew that you could get college credits for taking a course in Belly Dancing! — but hey, it’s a strange new world out there)  And it’s interesting to see and hear the things the next generation choose to get involved with.

In the meantime we still have work to do and to try doing it in between raindrops.  It’s typical Wisconsin Spring weather really — nothing we aren’t accustomed to — so we run between the rain drops and keep our golf cart covered with a tarp if the forecast is really bad — otherwise we just wipe off the seats and the windshield and go about our business.

We ‘got rid’ of a nagging problem this morning.  We’ve had a contractor staying in the campground and there have been issues about fees and dogs and various things — I was glad to see the 5th wheel pull out as scheduled — we have new campers coming in today and there was some reason to be concerned about whether he would actually have his unit out before the new arrivals.

That’s not something I normally ever fret about — departures before new arrivals.  It’s pretty neat the way most campers are cooperative in that regard.  We’ve all been the camper coming into the park and we all want to arrive to a site ready for us — but that doesn’t always happen. Last year, twice in a row, we moved from place to place and we arrived 1 o’clock-ish and our sit was still being occupied by the previous camper.  They eventually moved, but most campgrounds don’t actually have much space for you to hang out in while you wait for someone else to move.  And that’s particularly true here at Highland Ridge.  With all of our trees, there aren’t WIDE roads, or spare parking areas.  Cooperative campers make life a lot easier!

Don’t mind me if I’m a bit out of it.  Just thinking about our Grand-One getting married has me in a sentimental mood and I think I’m just going to stop here for today and bask in a brain full of happy memories!  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.