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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away

Sunday morning we heard a strong rapping on our door. I opened it up to find Sandy, the campground owner, standing there.

"Just wanted to advise you that there is a severe storm heading our way. The police just stopped by to warn us. There will be 70 mph winds, possible hail and heavy rains. So you might want to 'batten down the hatches,'" she said, glancing up at our Yogi antenna.

"Thanks for letting us know," I said, and shut the door.

Immediately I wanted to puke.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

I'm not good in storms.

And living in a trailer just adds to the drama.

Jim, of course, is never phased by any storms. "Ah we'll be fine!"are his famous last words.

Meanwhile I'm sprinkling each room with holy water and mumbling Hail Marys.

You know, it wouldn't be bad if we had a storm every ONCE in AWHILE, but geez-louise they are happening all the time now!

So Sunday we got the HELL out of Dodge. I called up my daughter, Jessica.

It was only 10:30 am.

"Yeah, hey, uh, we're coming over."

"Ookay. We're still in our pajamas..." Jessica said.

"I don't care. I don't care what your house looks like either. There are bad storms coming and we are LEAVING now!"

I grabbed my computer, camera, flashdrive, purse and raincoat. Jim just grabbed the hard drive with all our photos on it. I think he was just humoring me.

We spent the day at Jessica's. One storm came through with heavy rain and some lightening and then moved out. That was it.

We came back to the campground around 7:30 pm. The sun was just about setting. People were sitting around campfires; the campground didn't look bad at all. There were no leaves or broken tree branches on the ground. I asked our neighbors how bad it had been and they said that a couple of heavy storms had moved through the area, but the winds didn't get as high as expected.

Our trailer was fine.

These are photos from a storm a few days ago.

The clouds are starting to gather.




Looking out over the farmer's field behind our trailer. Look at the band of clouds rolling in!




Things are stirring up more.



Yikes! I'd better get inside!


On Monday, Memorial Day, the sun ACTUALLY came out and there was NO RAIN in the forecast. I sat outside for a few hours and read. It was wonderful.

But today, back to the same dreary, forecast. Actually here's our 5 day forecast.








Scattered Strong Storms / Wind Mostly Sunny Scattered T-Storms Partly Cloudy Isolated T-Storms
Scattered Strong Storms / Wind Mostly Sunny Scattered T-Storms Partly Cloudy Isolated T-Storms
88°F 85° 84° 94° 87°
High High High High High
60° 62° 66° 68° 63°
Low Low Low Low Low
Chance of Rain:
50%
Chance of Precip:
10%
Chance of Rain:
50%
Chance of Precip:
10%
Chance of Rain:
30%

I wonder if our trailer can float?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ready, Wi-Fied and Able

As you heard me complain here more than once, the Wi-Fi at our campground wasn't working properly. Okay, so lightning STRUCK the antenna that is near our trailer. That was LAST summer and it still wasn't fixed. Probably nobody complained as much as WE did because  a) people are here usually for only the weekends and probably don't care about the internet, or b) the big motor coaches that pull in usually have their own satellite internet and don't use the campground's Wi-Fi.

There IS another antenna nearby, but it faces in a totally different direction. We barely get a blip on our computer to hook on.

We also have an "air card" that we use to connect to AT& T for internet services when we travel . As long as we have cell service - we have internet. We were as happy as a pig in mud - UNTIL AT& T put the kabash on our unlimited service! The nerve! Now we are allowed only 5 GB per month; if we go over that amount we get charged dearly. I'm not a computer geek, and I'm not really sure what a gigabyte IS, but let me tell you, with Jim and I SHARING the air card here, we almost surpassed that amount within a week.

Yeah.

So Jim said, "That's enough of that!"

I was about to die. This is what I discovered.

The internet is my CRACK. 

I want NEED it EVERYDAY!

But there were days I had to do without it.

I was pretty cranky.

I will be the first to admit it.

The campground store had a strong signal and the owner said that it was okay for me to come down and sit there.

She probably didn't realize that I'd be there for 3 hours at a time! And even then I didn't get to all your blogs to comment. Once in awhile I'd post to Facebook, check my mail, and try to write my OWN blog.

It was rough.

One day when I was pedaling my butt down to the store (with my computer in my bicycle basket!), Jim said, "Ask at the store if I got a package."

"What are you expecting?" I asked.

"I ordered a Yogi antenna to see if that will help us get a signal."

So the first thing that came to my mind was this:



And I'm thinking, "Is there room for Boo-boo?"


And weren't we humiliated enough with the "cantenna" on our roof without putting a couple of dancing bears up there?


I guess not.

You might ask what happened to the cantenna. Well, it worked well in AZ, but here in IL it just wasn't strong enough to pick up a signal. It looks pretty rough, too.



The Yogi antenna DID come in that day and it wasn't a very large box. Unless Yogi was a blow-up bear, I was mistaken as to exactly what this antenna looked like. Here it is.

You can barely see it against those gray skies! The only problem we have with it is that if it is real windy, that antenna whips around and then Jim has to go back outside and adjust it.

So after I plunked my big ole butt in the office a few times and for several hours, the campground took the hint and got the Wi-Fi repaired.

A couple of weekends ago we had full service (5 bars!) and I did a happy dance. I called the office and told them that the Wi-Fi was up and running and that I was a HAPPY CAMPER!!

But, alas, that was the LAST weekend we had FULL service. We're down to only a few bars, but at least we still can connect.

It's pretty bad when Jim walks into the kitchen and the first words out of his mouth are "How many bars do you have?" instead of "Good morning, hon!"

What can I say?

I guess we're both crackheads.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And the Award Goes To.......

It's Award Time! This past week I was lucky enough to receive two awards! Coincidentally they are the same....."Good Bloggers Pay it Forward Award", (does that mean I REALLY deserve it?). The first comes from David Waters at Alokoli. His blog is a wonderful mix of poems, stories, recipes, movie reviews, photos, and just about anything else you can and CAN NOT think of! In fact, you never know what David will write about! And that's the fun of visiting his blog!


The second comes from IWASNTBLOGGEDYESTERDAY, who hails from Australia. It's interesting to read about her corner of the world and I like her sense of humor!


So here are the rules:

Our fellow bloggers present us with a lot of opportunities for furthering our blogs and gaining followers. Here is a way to Pay It Forward to them. When you have been bestowed with the honor of the Pay It Forward Award, insert this award at the top of a blog post, along with these rules, and find FIVE fellow bloggers to bestow it upon. Thank the person who awarded you, mention them in your post, along with a link to your favorite post on their blog, and a short  blurb about why you like it. Next comment on their blog to let them know you are bestowing the award on them, and that they should do the same. And remember: Good Bloggers Pay It Forward!

Whew! Well, that seems like an awful lot of rules. I'm changing it a wee bit. Here are five bloggers that I think you will enjoy! Go ahead and click over to them! I'll wait!

1. Eva from Wrestling with Retirement - This blog is one of the funniest out there in Bloggerland! If you aren't following Eva, you should be! You will instantly feel good EVERY morning, once you read her post! I guarantee it!


2. Wendy from On the Front Porch. A mom of two, Wendy is funny, sarcastic, and a wonderful writer. You will truly enjoy her blog.


3. Gail from At the Farm. Gail lives on a working farm with her husband, 2 sisters, I believe her daughter and 2 grandchildren. Throw in several dogs, cats, cows, horses, and chickens, and you know there's going to be excitement! Add to that Gail's wicked sense of humor and you've got one fun blog!


4. Richard from Boehmcke's Human Condition. This young man hails from New York and is HILARIOUS with a capital "H"! I love his stories about New York City, and his stories about "nothing" in particular. He reminds me of a young Seinfeld. He is a very talented writer and has written and produced two plays and has won a few video contests. Try his blog out. It is thoroughly entertaining.


5. Sharon from A New England Life. If you ever want to see beautiful photography, this is the place to go! Sharon's photos make me long for the beach. She has such a knack for spotting the perfect photo op. Go and visit her blog and see what I mean.


Okay. Whew! I picked 5, I know I probably should have picked 10. But this is a lot of hard work. I am truly awful at passing on awards. I really, REALLY appreciate receiving them. Don't get me wrong. I received about 5 of them over the last year and I never passed them on.


So I have decided from this point on to make this blog a no awards blog. I love you all, really I do, but I can barely keep up with all you prolific bloggers, let alone follow rules and pass on awards. I hope you all understand!

Friday, May 27, 2011

He's Baack!

You know what? I'm getting awfully tired waking up to someone (or someTHING) knocking on my kitchen window at the break of dawn. Or should I say "pecking?"

We had about a week or so reprieve from this guy:


So when the "pecking" began last week,  that's who I expected to see when I opened the blinds.

But, SURPRISE!

This is who was staring back at me.


He flew to the bottom of the window and clung to the one inch ridge and stared me down. I have to admit that I blinked first. It was kind of creepy.

Then he flitted up to a branch. Stared a minute.



Put on his angry face,


Got ready for take off,


and he's off like a bullet!


and then he was at the window!


He did this over


and over again.


Sometimes he just hovered by the window.


Here he is in all his winged glory!


I really don't understand the attraction birds have with my trailer, but I'm beginning to wonder what will be coming next. Thank God these are extinct!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

From the "You've got to be kidding me" File

A New Meaning to Peeing on a Wall

This is a heat-sensitive wall that changes colors to how hot your pee is....seriously! The urine drains into the trough below.
photo courtesy of the website gizmodo.com

I have only two things to say about this:

1) Wouldn't you be tempted to write your name on the wall? and,

2) I am SO JEALOUS! This is not an equal opportunity for women!

A Bedtime Story You May NOT Want to Read to Your Kids/Grandkids

When you are feeling frustrated cause your kids just won't settle down, and you've read them story after story, it's time to reach for this book. Kidding!

Although I think this would be a good gag gift for a baby shower!

Available at Amazon.

Jewelry Made from Your Cat's Hairball!

No, not the kind that he throws up, silly! His hair rolled up into a BALL! You, too, can have jewelery that looks like this:

Or this:

Who wouldn't want to proudly display their cat's fur? Hopefully it doesn't come with fleas. If you are interested in wearing your cat's fur, contact the designer here.

A Man Named Stupid



Wait. Did I type that out loud? Sorry. I have no clue what his name is really. I have a couple of questions. The most persistent one is, of course, "WHY?"

The second one is, do you think when he sits down to eat a steak, he whips a knife out of his nose to cut into it? Just wondering.....

If you want to see some more horrendous piercings, click here if you dare. Let me warn you - it's pretty gross!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Day at the Grocery Store

It seems that we are forever running to the grocery store to pick up a few items. Of course, I don't ever leave without spending at least $50, because those "few" items seem to grow.

As soon as we get to the store, there usually is a battle of wills as to which of us will push the cart. I've been winning lately because I tell Jim to drop me off at the door while he parks the truck. (My Mama didn't raise a dummy!)

I like to push the cart because:
  1. I have a bad back and it feels good to lean on the cart;
  2. I don't trust Jim to push the cart with my purse in it because I don't think he watches it close enough when he "wanders" off to get an item off the shelf; and
  3. Let's face it - it's a control issue and I want to be in control of at least ONE thing in my life!

So I push the cart around and Jim follows me. Closely. Like THISCLOSE. If I should stop suddenly he runs right into me. This irritates the heck out of me. That's when I send him on little errands. "Oh, Hon, I forgot to pick up sugar. It's in aisle 5. Would you mind getting it?" So what if it's really in aisle 10? It will keep him busy for a little bit and off my back literally and figuratively.

But I found something that will make us BOTH happy. It's called a shopping cart lounger.




Designed by Mike Bouchet, photo by Nathalie Karg

I just need one of these bad boys. Then Jim could push the cart and he would be happy, and I could LOUNGE on the cart and I would be happy. Ta Da! I could just point to the items I wanted and Jim would get them off the shelf for me. I'd never have to worry about leaving my purse alone, because, hey, I'd always be with the cart! Granted, there isn't much room for food and my arms would be full. Maybe some baskets need to be added to the side to accommodate groceries. I think I'm on to something here! 

Do you make a list before you go shopping? It's great if I have a list made up; that means I'm really prepared and have thought about what I'm planning to cook for the next few days. What's bad is when I take the time to make up the list, then leave it on the kitchen table.

Jim will ask, "Where's the list?"

And I have to tell him that I forgot it at home.

Then he'll let out this big sigh.

I know. It's really rough living with me, right?

But at least I can remember SOME of the things on the list. It's when I step into the store cold turkey and start grabbing things off the shelf that I know I'm in trouble.

Am I the only one who feels self-conscious when feeling cucumbers to see if they are fresh and hard? Or is it just my mind in the gutter? I always think that there is a hidden camera somewhere watching me as I feel, poke and sniff the cucumbers. At least I don't moan while I'm selecting one!

When my husband takes the food out of the cart he grabs whatever items and puts them every which way on the conveyer belt. I am much more anal and put all the like items together such as meat, fruit, frozen, can goods, etc. Do I need therapy or what?

Jim ALWAYS reads me the headlines from the trashy magazines on the ends of the aisles. "Oh! Angelina caught Brad with another woman!" he says seriously.

I just laugh. "Like you really believe all this crap?" I ask him.

He'll flip through the magazines and/or newspapers and throw out some more newsy tidbits.


The other day we when we were in the check out line, I told the cashier that we had some Dr. Pepper under our cart. When I emptied the rest of the cart, she rung us up and at the end I said, "Did you get the pop?"

She looked at me like I had two heads.

She didn't answer right away.

I realized that she seemed to be hung up on the word "pop."

"What do you call it? SODA?"

"Yes," she said. She went on to say that the Midwest uses the word "soda".

I beg to differ. Everyone I know from the Midwest says "pop".

But seriously, pop/soda, what's the difference, they are interchangeable, aren't they? It's not like I said to her, "Did you get the URANIUM?"

Sheesh!

What do you call "pop"?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sunday Bridges - Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge

This is the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge that spans 3,000 feet across the Missouri River between the cities of Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The bridge stands 52 feet above the water, and the two towers are 200-feet tall each. Bicycles and pedestrians are allowed on the bridge.

It was a gorgeous day when we walked up onto the bridge; there were many people out enjoying the weather, although it doesn't look like it in this shot! I was waiting for there to be NO people in the shot, but it was impossible.

This is a view from the bridge, overlooking the Missouri River. The bridge you see in the background is Highway 6.


Did you know that the Missouri River, which is nicknamed "The Big Muddy",  is the longest river in the United States? It begins in Three Forks, Montana and stretches all the way down to St. Louis, Missouri, 2,341 miles away, where it meets up with the Mississippi River. Its watershed covers one-sixth of the United States, encompassing 530,000 square miles of land.
info courtesy sign near the river


We saw this cute sculpture of a whale while on the bridge.


Here is the bridge from afar. You can really appreciate the size of it in this photo.


Right near where I took the above photo stood this huge sculpture entitled, "Labor". According to a nearby sign, "This monument is a salute to the dedication and hard work of all those who built the grand city of Omaha. It is a tribute to the men and women who worked for and continue to forge a better life for themselves, their families, and their community. The monument is a reminder of what men and women of all walks of life can accomplish by working together. Their commitment will never be forgotten."


The five bronze figures are 8 feet tall and each weigh 800 pounds. The three large ladles weigh 6,000 pounds each while the one at the top weighs 4,000 pounds. Out of the 5 statues, 3 were supposed to be women. I tried my darnedest to figure out which were women and I came up short. 


It's possible the one in the sunlight (background) is a woman!



For more Sunday Bridges, visit Louis here!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend Reflections - Setting Sun


This was taken somewhere at a campground in Iowa where we stopped for the night. It was gloomy and overcast all day, raining here and there. Finally the rain had stopped and suddenly the setting sun peeked out from the clouds. I quickly grabbed my camera  and caught this reflection in the small pond at the campground. I am happy to say this photo won 1st place in Retirement Chronicles photography contest for reflections. Click here for info on her next contest.

For more Weekend Reflections, visit James here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ramblings

On our way home to IL, we passed a town called “Wahoo” in Nebraska.




Now who wouldn’t want to be from a town called Wahoo?

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Remember how I said when we left Arizona that we’d hang our livers out to dry and not drink for awhile? Well, I found a different happy hour that’s just as dangerous/good. Steak 'n Shake Restaurant is offering a Happy Hour from 2-4  pm for half off drinks. And although their drinks do not include alcoholic beverages, they do include milkshakes and soda pop. You heard me. Milk shakes. Thick, rich, calorie-induced milkshakes. To.Die.For.



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The temperature this past week ranged from 91 hot, humid and sunny to cold, wet, windy 36 degrees. Note to Mother Nature: This is NOT FUNNY. I can NOT take a joke.

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I will never be able to read all the books I want to read in my lifetime. This upsets me.

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If the campground doesn’t fix the wi-fi here soon, I will go mad. MAD I tell you! And then I will not be responsible for my actions. I’m just saying.

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I hate, hate, HATE commercials. In turn, I love, love, LOVE my DVR. It we had a fire in our trailer, I think I’d grab my computer and my DVR.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Angry Bird



People may be playing the popular video game "Angry Birds", but I'm having my own dealings with a real angry bird.

It started about a week ago. We have a beautiful flowering bush right next to our site at the campground. I knew this could only spell trouble. You may remember Loco Louie, the crazy cardinal who kept dive bombing our kitchen window.

So the other morning when I woke up to a familiar “thump” against the kitchen window I thought, “Say it ain’t so!”

I stumbled to the kitchen, opened the blinds and this is what I saw....... pretending that he didn’t just crash into my window,  just gazing out at the countryside, whistling Dixie.



But then, quickly he changed his position.


He readied for take-off. His tail feathers went, and his expression changed. Doesn’t he look angry?

And he’s off!



Closer....

Closer....


Then smack!




He returned to the branch a little stunned.



He did this over,

And over,

And over again.

I yelled out the window, “Look, you idiot, it’s always going to be YOU!”

It didn’t help.

I actually was worried about the little fella.

He was breathing so hard.



Although I swear I heard him say, “I’ll get you, Dorothy, and your little dog, too!”

Which led me to believe he had the wrong trailer altogether. Although I tried to tell him that my name wasn't Dorothy, and that I didn't own a dog, much less one named Toto, he just turned his head and wouldn’t listen to me. Typical male.




Rudy-the-randy-robin dive-bombed my trailer for three days straight. Then it seemed as if I got a reprieve. But then the other day while I was sitting at the table typing on my computer, out of the corner of my eye I saw a big brown blob coming right at the window and BAM! Rudy scared the bejesus out of me! My heart skipped a beat, I said a few choice words, and I caught a glimpse of Rudy sneering at me as he flew out of sight.

You know, I really like the movie Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds,


but I don’t want to LIVE it.

Hopefully Rudy running into my window a gazillion times has knocked some sense into him and made him realize that it was only HIS reflection that he was seeing and not another crazy male bird.

One can only hope.

As for now I have to figure out how to wash off peck marks, bird body slams, and bird poop from my kitchen window.