Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's catch up!

In Texas we're proud of our cows! 
This one's on the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum
in San Antonio!
 I had to re-read my latest post to see where to start this next update.  Catching up, we had a gorgeous fall, at an Unnamed Resort - a resort it ain't!  It was ok, but not great.  The only reason we were there was because of our cat, Barney.  He was allowed to roam free and that was important to us since we brought him from 3 acres in Arkansas to a 33 ft. 5th wheel RV.

The fall did not go as I had planned, playing with my friend Jody. Why?  Because her daughter became engaged and she was busy planning a wedding with her mom and friends in Fredricksburg where the wedding took place.  Christina & Marcus married 2 days after Thanksgiving and the wedding was gorgeous as were the happy couple.  I took pictures of the wedding and loved every minute of it. 

Then, the holidays were upon us and our 6 oldest grandkids came for almost a week during Christmas break.  The weather was beautiful so Bill set up a tent beside the RV and he spent the night with 3 of them in the tent and they rotated between sleeping in the tent and RV.  Only one was smart enough to figure out that the RV is more comfortable than a cot in a tent.  But it's different and that's what counted - the experience of sleeping outside with their cousins and grandfather, listening to the crickets and telling stories. 

We returned the grandkids to Katy and spent the Christmas holiday with their parents, our twin daughters and their husbands.  Lots of fun was had by all.  My son in law, Phillip who is a carpenter made me some drums as a Christmas gift.  I played drums in school for 8 yrs. and he made me Cahones - they look like square boxes and can be viewed on  They are very cool!  Thanks Phillip!

Prior to Christmas we decided to move back to the better campground that we were at in 2008, Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground.  We talked with the owner and explained the situation about Barney and he agreed to let Barney run free since he would put us in the back part of the campground where he wouldn't bother anyone.  What a gift from God!  The campsite he assigned to us is the largest one in the whole campground and also the largest and best of all the campgrounds in our area - we know, we drove through them all!

We have approx. 1/4 acre of woods right out our front door and behind us with a long dog run behind that.  It is peaceful and quite, cool and shaded and Barney and Jack love being outdoors together and put on the afternoon "Jack & Barney Show", romping and playing, Barney teasing Jack and Jack running figure 8's around Barney.  It's absolutely hilarious and I've been trying to video it to put it on you tube for others to see.  Who knows, maybe it'll get picked up by America's Funniest Home Videos and I'll win $10,000?  That is, if Jack & Barney will cooperate!  The minute I bring out the video camera they stop playing!  It's as if they know my ulterior motive!

We moved back to Yogi Bear on Jan. 2nd.  This campground is very large and shaded, pristine, well cared for and has many activities for children - it's geared towards families and children. No rowdy college drinking crowds here. Speed limit is 5 1/2 MPH!

Our neighbor at the other "resort", Richard, a retired dentist towed our 5th wheel here.   I owe that man a steak dinner even though we bought him a couple of bottles of his favorite wine.  He's a great neighbor and loves Jack and Barney and after a vacation in Cozumel he will be moving to this campground as well I believe.  He has already said he would take care of Jack for us if we travel...which we will be doing this summer, quite a bit I hope.  But we'll take Jack with us some too - that's why we got him - to be our first line of defense...problem is, he's so friendly that he'd invite the thieves inside and show them where we keep the safe! Poor Pitiful Pretty Puppy.....(that's what I call him!)  He's grown up since the picture was taken with all the's the latest picture taken today: 

Jack was 1 yr. old in January

We will be trying to consolidate the two small storage units we have soon.  One is in Hot Springs and the other is here.  Our youngest son will be moving into his own apartment in Tulsa, so we will be giving him a bedroom suite from storage, some dishes, etc. and the rest we'll bring back here in a U-haul trailer. 

As I stated in a previous post on this blog, we were undecided as to what we want to do - buy a house or not.  We're still not positive, but the campsite we have at this wonderful campground makes us want to stay here - for now.  We have everything we need or want - beautiful yard, great neighbors - some permanent, some come and go.  "Snowbirds" from up north are here in the winter and we gather together constantly.

Every afternoon, weather permitting we gather from 3-4 PM under the oak trees for coffee and visiting, catching up.  There is a Monday afternoon Bible study for the ladies, Tuesday game night, Thursday night Covered Dish Dinner.  Some of the ladies get together and go

The local brand new library has activities almost everyday of the week and on Wed.'s I go to geneology classes. At lunch time you can come and watch a video about various subjects - some cooking demonstrations, etc. 

So as you can see, we have a very full life and that doesn't even include our church!  We have been to several churches since being here and finally have settled I believe at Renew Church in New Braunfels.  The pastor and his teaching is awesome and their main thrust is to train up leaders to go into the world and preach the gospel.  There are no viewers at this church, just do'ers! 

I hope to keep this blog up and keep our friends informed on our "doings".  I hope you'll leave your comments so I can see who's reading all this. 

See ya down the road - REALLY!  (We're still getting ready to HIT THE ROAD, (with) JACK!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

The end of summer is here, finally!

After a Spring and Summer of moving from Arkansas to Texas, extensive repairs on our RV that we live in, two return trips to Arkansas and 3 week long visits from grandkids and a one week visit from my cousin and husband, we currently have 1 day left of summer - tomorrow - Labor Day. 

From April through August we have been busy literally every day.  Full but fun, we're also exhausted!  We look forward to fall and cooler weather.  We had a mishap with our awning on the RV a couple of months ago and instead of replacing it for approximately $1,000 we repaired it for very little and now have it out.  We purchased a patio table with 6 chairs and umbrella and some new lawn chairs, 2 being loungers.  They now sit on a 39 x 12 ft. piece of indoor/outdoor carpet that we also purchased and that lays along the entire length of the RV.  It keeps dirt down as well as allows us to walk outside barefoot.  With plants around and some solar lights it is more of a porch now and all our neighbors have come and commented on how nice it looks. 

Being in our RV semi-permanently we decided that we wanted to be able to expand our living area somewhat.  We have located a subdivision we would like to live in and build a home but await the sale of our home in Arkansas and/or other monies to come before doing so.  We could go ahead and build now but we are very content in the RV and it's paid for.  So for now we wait and watch what the Lord is doing. 

In March I started Weight Watchers and in just the 1 month before the move I lost 10 lbs.  When we decided to lease our home and had to move so quickly, I sold or gave away all my dishes, pots and pans and anything that I would need to cook.  I didn't have time to cook or think of anything except getting out of that house in 10 days.  So we ordered lots of pizza and burgers and just worked like crazy to move.  I thought to myself, "Oh well, I guess I can always start the diet over again when I get to Texas!"  When we got here the RV had to go into the shop for 3 wks, we lived haphazardly for a while, so dieting was not on my agenda.  Long story short, after a summer of grandkids and other company and traveling, I figured I had regained that 10 lbs.  SURPRISE!  I bought a good scale and I hadn't regained a pound! 

So 2 wks. ago I decided to start my diet again - 1 wk. before my cousin and hubby came for a week long visit...great....we'll be eating out again!  I lost a few pounds before they came and ended up keeping it off as well.  Back on the diet again and so far, since March I've lost 18 pounds!  Now I'm really inspired and know that I have conquered some of the basics and know how to eat in a more healthy way.  My goal is to loose 62 more pounds and maintain that weight.  Being realistic, I know that I look and feel so good at a 40 lb. loss, so I'm not going to be disppointed if I don't attain that original goal by my son's wedding in May. 

On day I will post before and after pictures, but not yet...I can feel the 18 lb. wt. loss, but it doesn't show in pictures.  I look forward to swimming in the pool and biking with Bill or my friend Jody, now that the weather isn't so hot.  Swimming won't be for too long though probably - October at the latest.

Jack has enjoyed the air conditioning this very hot summer and Barney has even given up on a lot of his roaming to come lay on the vinyl flooring and cool off.  Speaking of Barney, he brought us two presents inside the RV through his little kitty door...2 female LIVE cardinals he caught.  He let them go, I caught them and let them fly off...I sure hope they made it.  Bad cat, Barney!

Tomorrow all the campers will leave by noon and the park will be empty for a few weeks until we have a Fandango in the park.  There is a large open field in the park where Jack runs and it will be filled with various bands playing Texas Swing music and the park will be full again.  Then in November there will be a Chili Cookoff and the crowds will be back.  But other than that, the park will be empty other than the occasional camper and we will have a time of quiet to contemplate, read, relax, shop, prepare for the holidays and love one another.  I look forward to having girl time with Jody and shopping.  Fall cometh!  Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UPDATE on our Summer

I think the last post I made was when Madison, our grandaughter was here.  We had a wonderful week with her.  A few weeks later we were enlisted to take her and her two cousins, Eden and Andrew to camp in Arkansas.  They had to miss out on camp due to a funeral and had to be rescheduled.  Since Madison wanted to go to camp with Eden she also rescheduled and that's why we had her a week while her older and younger sister with Eden and Andrew's younger sister went off to camp. 

Anyway, we took off for Arkansas for a week.  We drove to Houston, left Barney with our daughter Melody and with Jack in tow we left early on a Monday morning and drove over 8 hrs. to camp.  We dropped Jack off at our friend's house, took the kids to camp and got them all set up and returned to our friend's home for the week.  They have a bed and breakfast in their home and since they are good friends we stayed there so Jack could run their property and not worry about being leashed all week.  He thoroughly enjoyed the river behind their place and we enjoyed not having to worry about him.

We played a game (Joker) most of the week, and drove over to Tulsa from Hot Springs on Thursday to visit with our youngest son Mark and his fiance' Kim.  We returned to Hot Springs on Friday and Saturday after camp we drove 8 hrs. back to Houston, spent the night and then back to Canyon Lake on Sunday morning. 

Some people think we're glutton's for punishment, but we consider it a joy to have our grandchildren around us.  When we returned to Houston I realized that our daughter Melissa was going to be gone with her 3 to a family reunion for her husband's family and that Melody's 3 kids were just going to be sitting around all week while their mom worked over 40 hrs. that particular week, due to extra training.  So we gathered Madison and her 2 sisters back up and brought them back to our RV or a whole 7 days. 

Movies, swimming, swimming and movies, cookouts, games of Joker, late nights talking, another run to Yogi Bear campground for the 2 youngest made for a full week.  When their mom came and got them on Sunday we were two pooped grandparents! 

The following week I felt bronchitis setting in slowly - so slowly that I knew no doctor would give me antibiotics until it was full blown.  That happened on the weekend (of course.)  So Monday I went to the walk in clinic and there was a 2 hr. wait...uh, no...So I went home and suffered another night in the recliner sitting up, got up early on Tuesday and went back to the clinic and got meds.  So last week I spent recuperating from bronchitis. 

Now I've had our daughter Melody's 3 kids this summer (1, twice.)  But Melissa's 3 had not been here at all and being a fair minded grandparent I knew that would never do - for me or them.  This being the last week before school, I asked to bring Eden, Andrew and Oakley here, so last Sunday their dad met us 1/2 way between Katy and Canyon Lake - about an hr. for each of us. 

So we've had the 3 kids for a few days, swimming, movies, picnic, watching the stars through the telescope and playing Joker of course.  We were to meet their mom 1/2 again tomorrow afternoon, but she called today and said she needs to come get them today.  So she's on her way right now and I've told the kids "I have a really, really neat surprise for you!"  They of course are all excited and I told them they'd have to wait a couple of mom will spend the night and we'll grill burgers and roast marshmellows and they will  leave in the morning to get ready to start school on Monday.

So a very full summer for us all - Jack and Barney included.  Jack has enjoyed the kids (he loves to play chase and herd them!)  Fall is on it's way (Praise GOD!) Only 3 weeks left till Labor Day and my friend Jody will be finished with her job here at the campground and we can go play!  I'm ready for some adult company!  My cousin and her husband will come after Labor Day and we'll explore the Texas Hill Country together in the cooler weather! 

Then we can Hit the Road Jack...again!  See ya down the road!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to entertain a grandaughter for a week...

Due to a death in the family of one of my son in laws grandfather, rearranging children for camp took place a couple of days ago.  With that rearrangement, one grandaughter was going to be very alone while others were at camp or a funeral, so we were given the privilege of having Madison for the week. 

Madison is my photogenic grandaughter - the camera loves her!  However, she also loves the camera!  She's the one brunette out of 8 grandchildren - all the rest are various shades of blonde.  She's also the spitting image of her Dad's side of the family with one exception - her height.  She's going to be a petite little thing like her mom and aunt.  Melody calls her "my creamy middle", like the inside of an Oreo cookie - except the blondes are on the outside and the brunette's in the middle!

Being a middle child has it's challenges, I'm sure.  Being the baby of my family I don't know, other than having a middle child of my own.  But he was the oldest boy as well, so that had it's own advantages.  Madison is one of  3 sisters and is smack dab in the middle.  Her "little" sister, Miranda, is basically the same height and size as Madison and McKenzie, the oldest, towers over her (and her mother!)  We're all just praying that Miranda doesn't pass her clothes down to Madison - that would kill her!

So as you can see, being "special" and the only one with us this week is going to be really good for Madison.  She gets all the attention without having to share it with 5 others - we usually have all 6 together, giving their parents a break.  It also piles the entertainment factor all into one week, rather than spreading it out over the summer.

I guess times  are changing though...this week Maddy, and in a few weeks we'll probably have a couple of others and then 3 others later on in the summer.  It also breaks up the cost as well...we tend to go out and "do" stuff with them...and that costs money of course. 

When you have grandchildren you want them to have happy memories of you playing with them, so you do things with them that you didn't do with your own children, mainly because you were busy supplying all the necessities of life for them.  That's a parents job.  But it's not a grandparents job.  Our job is to play with them!  And we try to do our darndest, that's for sure! 

So far, per Madison's request, I've taught her to knit and she's made 2 headbands and plans on making another tonight.  She wants to learn to play the drums and since I was a drummer for 8 yrs., that's on the agenda this week (teaching her how to bounce the sticks and do a "roll".)  I'm also a quilter and she wants to learn how to use the sewing machine, so I'm working on something for her to sew.

Tomorrow we curl hair, get pedicures and go get "glamour shots" at Walmart.  She looks great in hats and brought a cute little fedora to wear that's going to look awesome in pictures. 

Right now she's with her Poppy at the campground right down the road that is more kid friendly than the one we're in.  It's Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park and they have hay rides, Candy Bar Bingo, Indoor and Outdoor swimming pools, Lazer Tag, Crafts, a Bouncing Pillow, Rocket Launches and gosh, I don't know what all...panning for gold...stuff!  She's having a ball.  If she's not too tired we'll go eat Chinese Food and take in Toys Story 3 in 3 D, but if not, we'll grill burgers and crash.  (That sounds wonderful to me!)

I know a lot of grandparents that don't do much with their grandkids and I find that sad.  I understand that they get tired - so do it...but I tell myself "it's just for a week..."  I can do anything for a week!  But we give them their alone time too - that's why we have the Disney channel on the satellite TV!  Cartoons are great!  Kids don't ahve to be entertained all the time, don't get me wrong.  But when they  visit you once or twice a year, you want to make the most of that time and it gives them some times to remember, rather than just sitting around all the time.

Our puppy Jack and cat Barney also help out in the entertainment department.  Lots of rocking takes place with the requiste tickling of course.  They'd think we didn't love them if we didn't tickle them...

But the best part of having your grandchildren with you is having the opportunity to share your heart with them.  We tell them what's important to us and we talk about life in general and how to treat people and what God expects from us.  We want them to know their heritage and the family stories, so they can pass them on to their children as well.  My grandparents didn't share any of these things with us and  that's why it's important that we share with our grandkids. 

So to all the grandparents out there, we say, "Embrace their youth" won't regret it!  Do it like us -  in an RV!  We've had all 6 for 1 week in the RV and it was great.  And I even set up my sewing machine and made panchos for the 5 girls and a scarf for our grandson!  Cramped?  Nah!  It's called CAMPING!  Two were on a pallet at the foot of our bed, 2 on the hide a bed couch and 2 in the recliners.  They all fought over who's turn it was to sleep in a recliner!  It's not the norm and kids love adventure!  They can sleep in a bed anytime!  Also, an RV is in a campground and there are trails to hike, bikes to ride and hamburgers to grill, campfires to build and marshmellows to roast! 

See ya'll down the road...with Jack of course!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


For all my friends out there who choose to read this blog, most of you know about our cat Barney. For those who do not, please let me introduce you. Casting your eyes to the right, you will see what I mean when I call him Barney the Blob.

Barney came to us in my son Mark's pocket about 5 yrs. ago. He found him on top of a tire at our oldest son's house. He was covered with fleas and I mean covered, as well as with oil. He was very small and was starving.

A barn was nearby our son's home and we figured that Barney had wandered into Mike's yard and climbed on top of a tire. Mark came along and found him and brought him home to me saying, "Look what I found, Mom!"

Mark knows I'm a soft touch when it comes to babies of any kind. That poor little creature immediately got a bath in the kitchen sink twice with Dawn dishwashing liquid to cut the oil. It took a while to get rid of all the fleas, but we did eventually. He looked like one drowned rat and was so scrawny that I didn't know if he was going to make it or not.

The week prior to Barney's arrival at our home, I had found another 6 week old female kitten in a parking lot in Hot Springs. I hadn't yet named her, so when a little male kitty came along of the same age, I knew I had to name them a famous couples name. Well Barney was found in a barn, so Barney came to my mind immediately for him. Her name was quickly found when I got to thinking of a famous couple's name that included Barney. Barney and Betty Rubble from the Flintstones seemed very logical to me because they both came from the Rubble.

To watch those two kittens play together after they got over the first initial 5 minute humping of backs, was more hilarious than a circus act. The best description for Barney was gawky. His ears was huge and they didn't seem to fit his smaller head and skinny body with long legs. Betty was more compact and "together", like a lady should be.

When they were approximately 6 mos. old Betty ran in front of the car as my son drove very slowly down the road by our house, committing suicide. Exit Betty - maybe Barney was too much for her to handle. Barney seemed lost a bit at first. But to be honest, he became a much better cat. Prior to Betty's death he had been very stand offish and wouldn't have much to do with us. But once he was alone, even though he didn't become a "lap cat", he wanted his lovin' (when he wanted it) and one other the time.

When I say "all the time" I'm sure you think I exaggerate. I beg to differ. He would eat constantly if we would be willing to feed him constantly. If you doubt me, look again at the picture. He has weighed 17 pounds for some time now. He seems to be holding there, so I think he's finally attained his adult size.

Barney is a Maine Coone breed of cat. They are not a normal sized cat - they are huge. They are gentle giants. His paws are larger than some dog paws. Lifting him, he seems to weigh much more because he cannot be bothered to help you - he's all dead weight! In addition he is very fluffy which gives him the appearance of being even bigger.

Maine Coone cats are very kittenish in their personality until about the age of 5 years old, according to my research. They are considered the dog of cats and they like being with their owners and will follow them around wherever they go. Barney follows the profile to a T so far. He would follow Bill out to the end of our long driveway in Arkansas everyday when he went to get the mail. And then they would play hide and seek on the way back to the house, with Bill hiding behind a tree and Barney stalking him. Here in the campground when Bill walks our Sheltie puppy Jack, you can see Barney tagging along and it doesn't matter where they go. Somedays Bill walks all over this park and the trio draws attention wherever they are.

Everyone (so far) loves Barney because he's so hilarious. They all comment on the fact that he and Jack wrestle in the dust and put on the local sideshow every evening. Barney will just lay there and allow Jack to walk up and chew on his ears and even try to put Barney's whole head in his mouth. And Barney just lays there... then he attacks Jack and the wrestling match begins!

Barney likes dogs, which in itself is weird when you're a cat. He's had his front claws removed and so I have some concern for him, but so far it has not cramped his style. I've had other declawed cats that have chased dogs out of the yard, slapping them all the way and the dog running away yelping. The dog has no idea that the cat has no claws - he just thinks he's getting hurt! Barney goes up to all the trees and scratches them as if his claws itch, but he's actually marking his territory.

But Barney doesn't chase dogs away. Rather, he walks right up to them and rubs up against them or kisses noses. I have only seen one exception to this and that was 2 days ago when he met the Great Dane "puppy", Brutus who stands 4 ft. tall. Even Fat Cat Barney was overwhelmed! I guess everyone meets their match at some time or other in life, wouldn't you say?

Barney has one little quirk that actually annoys me very much. He likes snakes. Not only does he like snakes, he brings them to us as a gift - on a regular basis. Or at least I should say he used to bring us snakes when we lived in Arkansas.

Being an indoors person I never really realized until this past year just how bad his affinity for snakes is. My first experience with Barney and snakes was last spring of 2009 when we had moved back to Arkansas for 13 mos. I walked into my living room and found a 4 ft. long jet black chicken snake (some people call them indigo snakes) lying coiled up beside my coffee table in the living room and Barney was laying beside it. Now you know that cat didn't coil that snake - the snake did it himself, meaning it was alive! When I walked into the living room and saw it, needless to say I screamed bloody murder and nearly jumped over the stair railing that lead downstairs. Barney's attitude was "See what I brought you mom?" Thanks Barney!

The snake was very much alive, but playing dead by not moving, hoping Barney would go away. When Bill heard me scream he came in and caught the snake (while I stood on a chair), held it up and it was almost as long as he is tall - it was all of 4 ft. long. Barney accessed the house by coming through a propped open door to our screened porch. Needless to say that door stayed closed from then on!

While we were moving back to Texas we were in and out constantly, taking things to the yard to be auctioned off. Barney brought us a snake everyday for 6 days in a row - all different snakes, not the same one and all alive and non poisonous. He wanted to play with them. After we left Barney for a month with the people who leased our house, they told us that Barney brought at least 3 more snakes up for them to admire.

So as you can see, Barney's a bit different from most cats. He makes us laugh so much that he's worth all the food he eats. He's actually no trouble except during the middle of the night when he wants to lay between my legs or on top of Bill's head. Or when we make a bathroom run during the middle of the night Barney jumps up off the bed and runs to the kitchen, meowing with his little sing-song voice, begging to be fed. He does have one little trait that as hard as we try we can't help but laugh at. In the early morning when we're sound asleep and Barney's ready to get up (and be fed), if we don't get up he goes to Bill's bedside table and starts knocking things onto the floor, making noise.

So our days begin with our two little alarm clocks, Barney and Jack. So much for being retired and sleeping in, huh? But we don't mind because we believe the research. Those who have pets usually live longer. I can see why...laughter doeth good like a medicine and Barney and Jack are good medicine for us old folks! Come on Jack, let's Hit the Road!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our life in the campground

We are currently sitting stationary in our 5th wheel trailer at Riverside Resort in Canyon Lake, Tx. The resort is nice enough - not fancy, but more than adequate to fit our needs.

We chose this campground basically for one reason - our cat Barney. Most campgrounds will not allow your animals to be off leash. Even here all dogs must be on leash. But since the owner has a big fluffy cat that runs the campground, she understands that cats aren't like dogs. Besides, she knows Barney from when we were here in 2008. Another campground we stayed at is a bit nicer (all roads are paved, more activities for the grandkids, etc.) but Barney has to stay inside. So, Riverside won out thanks to Barney! The other campground is within site of Riverside and we can take the grandkids there for extra activities...we know the owners and they like us! :)

We have 2 large oak trees on 1 side of our trailer that casts a lot of shade and we have a larger than normal campsite. The picture shows us in the early stages of setting up, so it doesn't properly show the final results. Our awning is extended and we have our indoor/outdoor carpet on the gravel. Our door faces a green yard so Jack doesn't have far to go when he takes a trip to the "John".

On the awning side of the trailer there are no trees, so we purchased 2 sunscreens and sewed them together. They attach to our awning and it's staked to the ground. The picture only shows 1 of the 2 sunscreens, but we found that we wanted another to go all the way to the ground. It is sewn to the bottom of the one shown and provides the necessary shade to keep us cooler in the heat of the day, but it also provides some required privacy. Eventually I will have some beautiful Bouganvilla potted plants as well as others to dress up the "porch" area.

Living in a campground isn't for everyone, obviously. Your neighbors change constantly and some are better than others. Some are loud, some are quite. But overall we have found that most of our neighbors are quite friendly and even chatty, especially in the early evening as things begin to cool off. Everyone's out walking their dog and dogs greet dogs, which leads to conversations with perfect strangers.

Here's an example of a neighbor we met yesterday with his 11 month old "puppy", Brutus. I drove by and stopped and he walked up to my window and rested his head on the bottom of the window! He has the prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen...sorta looks like a ghost dog! He was Jack's worst nightmare and the first dog our cat Barney didn't like...I can't imagine why!

For the next month we have next door neighbors out our front door that are from Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where we just moved from! They retired about 4 yrs. ago and have been full-time RVing ever since. After this month they will be moving to Glen Rose, Texas to be Workampers at a campground there. They even attended the same church as us a few times! What a small world, huh?

For those who do not know what a Workamper is, that is usually a couple that works at a campsite either in the little grocery store, the office or being a grounds keeper for the price of their campsite, which includes wi-fi, cable and electricity. The required hours are usually 20 hrs. a week per couple. Not bad, huh?

In our particular situation we do not need or want to be a workamper. We want the freedom to come and go at will and even workamping ties us down. For those who haven't discovered this about us yet, we are very impromptu people. We do not care for schedules, particularly at this point in our lives. We lived according to someone else's schedule all our lives. We retired to be able to travel and we intend to do that once we get settled.

Moving back to Texas has been our dream for several years now. We enjoyed our time in Arkansas and know that the Lord called us there, but we feel that season of our life is over. Of course we will always be back to visit our son and his family and our many long time friends there.

Texas has always been home to us and still is. This particular part of Texas, the Hill Country, is one of the prettiest parts of the state. The large oak trees provide valuable shade from the desert heat and bring back memories of the times we both climbed those trees.

Since moving back here we feel that we're on vacation because everything is new. New restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, malls, friends, the atmosphere and climate. So for now, we don't feel a need to travel. We've arrived at our destination! We've Hit the Road with Jack and we're waiting to see ya! Ya'll come!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jack's trip to the E.R.

Hit the Road Jack has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Almost immediately after posting the last blog (and it being about Puppy Poo), Jack got sick with a bug or something and I was given ample opportunity to practice what I preached. At least I'd like to think it was a bug, but I have my suspicions that I alone am at fault for Jack's "Most Excellent Adventure" trip to the Vet ER.
I promise, this blog will be about a whole lot more than my dog and his er, uh, habits. Sometimes we humans forget that dogs can't eat just anything. So knowing that, we throw them the occasional potato chip or whatever, right?

Well into my story enters Barney. Barney is our Fat Cat...(more on Barney in later blogs.) Barney, like all cats doesn't get fed twice a day like a dog (or once like some do.) No...Barney a cow. This is a cat's way of eating, except in Barney's particular case I think he has a thyroid problem because he wants to eat almost constantly.

Barney's diet is twofold...dry cat food and small cans of cat food...the really tiny cans...with gravy. It's all the gravy's fault, I'm tellin''s not mine! You see, I'm a gravy conniseur. I love gravy...on mashed potatoes, on bread, with a spoon, in a glass...I could drink the stuff.

So I see Barney getting all the gravy on his kitty food and poor little Jack has to eat bone dry Puppy Chow day in and day out and I take compassion on the poor pup. Enter grilled hamburgers. Did I give hima grilled hamburger? Are you out of your mind?! Of course not! That's people food - and expensive!

But the drippings are like gravy, right? So I think to myself, "This would make that dry Puppy Chow so much more palatable for Jack...I'll just pour it on that chow and stir it up!...Yeah...that's a good idea!" So I did. Did Jack like it? Can the proverbial bird fly? He ate that chow like it was steak!

So now I've figured out how to "bless" my puppy, Jack. Therefore, he will worship me even more, right? (Nooo...dogs don't need a reason to worship you. They will worship you because...well, just because...that's why! )

But I don't have burgers everyday...(darn!) So I don't have drippings for Jack's food. So I start to think...and look around. What can I use as a good substitute? Something that is quick and easy without grilling? I cast my eyes around my pantry until they fall upon...Wesson Oil! Of course! That's like grease, but cleaner, right?!

Again I ask myself if Jack will like it and I smile to myself as he calms my fears by burying his head in the bowl. Now I am happy. My puppy readily eats his food that he had been reluctant to eat. I am so smart...I think.

For two days all goes well. On his walks Jack "does his business" like a good dog and my thoughts never once turn to his food...until Friday night. Names are funny...why certain things get particular names. "The John" who came up with that? But I know why they call it "the runs." Cause I ran outside, came in, ran outside, came in, ran outside, came in...approximately 50 times on Friday night. Poor Jack! His tummy was so upset...from both ends.

At 4 AM, Saturday morning I called the local vet that had never seen Jack, but did see Barney in 2008. And you know he sounded thrilled when he returned my call 10 mins. later. He told me I could use the Pepto Bismol that I had but would prefer I have it sitting around all the time, which I did not. It's amazing how much we did not get down Jack. His white ruff was mostly pink when we were at the vet's office at 7 AM.

The vet neglected to say he wasn't going to be in till 9 AM, so his assistant referred us to the NewBraunfels emergency clinic, 13 miles away. No biggy - we make that drive all the time and I knew right where to go.

The patient that was before Jack was an elderly terrier had just been bitten by a rattlesnake. So my emergency didn't seem quite so bad. However, being a 4 month old puppy also made Jack a priority because of dehydration.

Kudos to the Vet ER clinic. They saw Jack almost immediately after proper papers will filled out and it was explained to me that payment was to be made at the time services are rendered. Of course, of course...

The sweet female vet was very gentle and understanding of the fact that I didn't want to run a plethora of tests when in fact we felt we knew what had caused the problem. But since the treatment for the possible bad problem was the same as a basic bug, we went with the basic treatment, hoping for the best. As it turned out, the treatment worked.

That most excellent adventure cost us over $200, a lost nights sleep and Gerber baby food stock should be heading up right now. I've watched Jack very closely for the last two days, giving him the required meds, witholding food and water except by the schedule I was given.

Have you ever seen a hungry dog look at you with those eyes? It's literally pitiful. And it was all my fault...something about pancreatitis...too much fat in his diet. Whatever! Ok, ok, so I poisoned my baby puppy.

I arose on Friday morning at approximately 5:30 AM and my head didn't hit the pillow again until 10:30 AM on Saturday morning...29 plus hours. And I still love my puppy. But best of all...he still worships me!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Moving On...

I have a very distinct memory of being nine years old and sitting on my parents couch, reading the brand new World Book Encyclopedia (with black & white pictures) they had recently purchased. The Taj Mahal brought to me a huge revelation. I realized at that moment, that the world was enormous and that I would never get to see it all! That knowledge brought me extreme frustration and it made me angry. In my innocent youth, I could not see any way that my life's circumstances would ever change so that I could even see some of it! I believe that is when God gave me a hunger to travel and that He is going to use it for His Glory one day!

As you age, you start to see patterns and stages of life that when you're younger you're so anxious to move on into the next phase that you sometimes forget to enjoy your current life events. When you're 9 you can't wait to be 10 and in the double digits. Then when you're 15 you can't wait to turn 16 and be driving a car, then it's turning 21 and becoming a legal adult, old enough to do the stupid things in life, like drink. Then comes "Who am I going to marry?" and Mr./Miss Right comes along, then you want those babies and that's all as it should be. Then the raising of those babies come with schooling, brushing of teeth, piano lessons, run here, run there, supper, work, homework, yard work, grocery shopping, do it all over again and again, work, work, work. Then it's "I can't wait till I can retire!"

Well folks, been there, done that and enjoyed most of it immensely. It wasn't all a bed of roses, but it was my hearts desire to be a housewife and mother. Not a homemaker and mother. Homemaker is the 70's terminology from all the feminists. I have never had, nor do I now have a problem with the words house or wife. It was called "Keeping House" in my day. Someone had to keep it and the word wife is a badge of honor for me.

I have a wonderful husband who has been wonderful to me. Oh, he has his faults, never fear, but I feel that he is God's gift to me and I love him dearly; and as we age, even more so. He's fun to be with, he actually enjoys shopping with me (are you jealous yet?), and best of all he lets me be me. He loves and trusts God so much that he knows that what he can't deal with in me, God can and will...and has and is...

Bill has an adventuresome spirit. He loves to travel and has taught me to enjoy it as well. When I grew up, we were very poor and we only took 1 vacation in my young life and that was to my aunt's home in Alabama for a week. Bill on the other hand took many vacations during his growing up years. His dad had 6 wks. vacation from Gulf Oil Co. as a chemist and they went everywhere.

Even though I wanted to travel as a young child, as I "grew up", I came to understand the statement, "We can't have everything we want in life." And that's true...but dreams die hard, don't they? Well along came Bill...with the same dreams as mine, but he showed me that sometimes you just have to stop doing the norm, grab the kids and say, "To heck with this!Let's Hit the Road, Jack!" (That's been a favorite term of his since we married, so this blog is named for that even more than Jack, our puppy.)

Bill and I married when I was 19 (to be fair, 6 wks. shy of 20) and he was 27 1/2. He always said he got me young and raised me right... :) My first taste of traveling with Bill was a plane ride from Houston to El Paso, Tx., then a 2 hr. drive to Alamogordo, NM, the day after we married where he was working on the Apollo Lunar Landing Radar. He worked 6 days a week, 10 hrs. a day and on his day off we'd drive to some location in NM to "see the sights." The poor guy was probably so exhausted he could barely stand, but he wanted to show his new bride a fun time and he wanted to travel as much as I did. Then, after 4 months of marriage, before driving back to Houston we took a delayed honeymoon west to Tombstone, AZ, the Royal Gorge and Disneyland in California with all points in between. Wow! I was seeing America! The training had begun!

To those of my generation: Do you remember the old Chevy commercial from the 50's? "See the U-S-A, in your CHEV-RO-LET! That song made my feet itch everytime I heard it! (And how many times was that?) Watching Walt Disney's shows about Yellowstone National Park and seeing those mountains stopped me in my tracks every Saturday night, no matter how old I was. Now finally, my dreams were coming true! In a brand new, 2 door, red and white,1968 Pontiac Tempest with GTO chrome and a new husband by my side!

So here we are today after many vacations out west to Colorado, etc. and campouts in Texas with the kids. Our first camping was in a tent (that lasted one time), then we progressed to a pop-up camper and then time-shares in our later years. The kids went on campouts with the Royal Rangers and Pioneer Girls at church and learned a lot of neat things and made lots of happy memories. We took their friends, pitched tents beside the pop up camper and went for days at a time. I can't count on my fingers and toes how many times Bill and I would say to each other, "It's a shame this has to end." So we come to the now...moving on...

After 16 plus years in a large 5 bedroom, 3 bath, home with 2 kitchens, 2 screened porches, 2 decks and 2 patios on 3 acres, we felt we had supersized our lives and it was time to go on a diet! Our materialistic society teaches us that we should want and have the dream home, the dream jobs, the dream stuff. Well, we had the stuff. And it was fun; I'm not saying it's not fun, but it doesn't satisfy the soul and it's a phase, and a stage of life. Stuff is not where it's at for Bill and I. It's not our dream.
Because we both had been raised by parents who went through the Depression, it brought a different perspective to us and those of our generation - the Baby Boomers. Yes, our parents wanted that stuff for us that they didn't have. But stuff for one is necessity for another. Being raised poor has it's advantages. Especially if you don't realize you're poor. For myself I learned the importance of little things and how to enjoy them. Which brings me to our RV.
Our RV is nicer than anything I had as a child growing up. I've had a nice big home with lots of nice things and I enjoyed them. But I Praise God that my perspective has never changed. It's all going to perish one day anyway, so don't get too attached to it!
Our fifth wheel trailer is an RV that is pulled behind a pickup that is attached to a hitch in the bed of the truck. The bedroom in almost all 5th wheels is up a couple of steps. They are roomier than the typical motorhome and that's the reason we chose it. I have decorated ours with pictures of the family, a fireplace (which actually heats the trailer very well in the winter) and the little things that make a home a home. When people step inside they are amazed that it looks like a small apartment, not a weekend camper. And that's what it is - our home.

Our dream is very simple. We grew up in a simpler time and we want a taste of that simplicity again. The simplicity of sitting on the porch and visiting with your neighbors while the kids run back and forth through unfenced yards, catching fireflies. We know that we cannot have everything back, but there are some things that are available to us and we're reaching out and grabbing it while we can. While we're still young and healthy enough to go and do, we're making new memories.
In a campground your neighbors are on vacation and have a different mindset than your neighbors at home. At home everyone's trying to figure out when they're going to have time to cut the grass, buy groceries, run the kids to meet their friends, etc. But here they've put that life on hold and are wanting to relax. They have time to talk and visit with total strangers and what's even more important, they're willing to talk to strangers.

People actually speak to one another in campgrounds. They wave to each other and they help each other out. RV'ers are renowned for seeing someone working on their RV and stepping over to say "Need some help there?" And age disappears with campers and RV'ers. Young families with children, college kids, Baby Boomers and anyone in between have one thing in common - camping and having fun, just relaxing.

Bill and I see our lifestyle choice as a mission field. Being Christians, the Lord is uppermost in our minds at all times of course. When people are relaxed, they are more open to chat and share about their lives and God has given us many opportunities to speak into peoples lives with encouragement.

Everyday I pray The Prayer of Jabez and God is answering that prayer. If you've never read the book or even if you have, I encourage you to read it again! I just recently re-read it and was overwhelmed. The author suggests rereading it every week. Being very small it doesn't take long.

I know many will find it awkward and strange that we chose to leave a beautiful home to move into a trailer. Again, it's simple - to clean, to cook, use and to move. If we decide we want to move to another campground or beside a house when we buy, we'll have a mover do so for a minimal price. A lot cheaper than owning a truck we never use.

Bill loves piddling around our campsite, and dressing it up. He finds it fun and it defines his little area. I just have to hide the pink flamingos and gawdy lights from him! It sure beats weedeating 3 acres twice like he did last summer. Besides, it keeps him off the streets, right?

We're not out to impress anyone except God and each other. If we do that, we'll be happy and so far, it seems that God, Bill and I are all on the same page! God has been gracious to us and allowed us to have time alone together after raising the 4 kids. We're close enough to visit and yet far enough away to do our thing.

We are currently establishing the trailer as home and getting everything set up just the way we want it. Our youngest will marry next year, so we'll be involved with wedding plans and that's going to be a fun and happy time for us all! Hopefully sooner, rather than later we will be able to purchase the Camp Inn 560 Ultra Raindrop camper to travel with. (, we can Hit the Road (with) Jack and See the U-S-A in our Mini-van. Uh...I didn't say the dream was perfect! But it's perfect for us! See ya down the road!

"WHO'S Jack?"

Jack is the proverbial "Bum". However, in my particular case, Jack is no bum, but my special little Sheltie Pup "Mill Creeks Texas Jackpot." - Jack. It feels like I hit the Jackpot with this little dog, hence the name.

This whole blog, titled "Hit the Road, Jack!" is about Us, Bill & Linda, and our life adventures after raising 4 children. We're not Empty Nesters - we're Gypsy Nesters and love RVing, RV'ers and the RV Lifestyle. I will be discussing all these things, and our adventures so please don't think I've lost my mind while you read about Jack. But RVing and/or traveling is the main reason I got Jack, so he has to be a part of this blog.

Now Jack isn't like the other 3 Shelties I've owned. They were all wonderful in their own way, especially Zack, but Jack's different. Being an avid viewer of the National Geographic Channel and Caesar Millan's "The Dog Whisperer", I think I know why. He's a medium energy dog. Shelties are NOT known for being medium energy. They lean towards being hyper and yappy and scared of their own shadow mostly. But SMART isn't even the word for these dogs - they're beyond smart...until they're not. But that's another story.

Jack's medium energy shows itself in some of the most wonderful ways. But let's talk traveling, since the title of this Blog is called Hit the Road Jack! This little pup, currently 4 months old, weighing in at a mere 13 lbs. rides so quietly in our mini-van that we don't hear a peep out of him on long 8 hr. rides. At about 1/2 way on the last trip we stopped to get gas and to let Jack out to "do his business." He promptly took care of business and back into the crate and off we went till we arrived at our destination.

"Taking care of business" happens very quickly with Jack. Unlike my daughter's friend who's dog takes at least 20 mins. to "Go Outside." Can you imagine standing in the rain or sleet and snow with cold, freezing weather, waiting on a dog to PEE?

Yes, I can imagine that...I've done it - with our son's dog. Did I know that Maxie takes his time? Oops! No! Someone forgot to tell me that...but that's ok, I didn't mind waiting for him. Because he's not MY dog - he's my granddog.

Grandparents do things for grandchildren and grandpets that they wouldn't do for their own. Ya ever wonder why that is? Well, yeah, love has something to do with it, but it's because it comes in short spurts - it's not everyday, 3 times a day. (That's just an aside for those parents out there who never could understand why a grandparent treats the grandchildren differently than they were treated as children (including myself until I had grandkids.)

So my little Jackpot "Goes Outside", "Takes Care of Business" or whatever you'd like to call it very quickly. As one of my friends said when she dog sat for an elderly couple, "At least you don't have to YELL "GO POO-POO!" repeatedly until the dog does the deed." But Jack does his business in a hurry because I use Pavlov's dog training technique. Ring a bell, feed the dog, dog salivates. Ring a bell, feed the dog, dog salivates. Pretty soon all you have to do is ring a bell and the dog salivates. Training.

So if you have a dog and you want to hurry up, say Hurry Up! Then you can Hit the Road Jack, get this show on the road and not embarrass yourself by screaming bathroom adjectives for the general public to hear during a rainstorm. Just don't forget to praise your dog when he/she "performs!" And be sure and train yourself to Pick up the Poop! More on Jack's excellent adventures coming soon tune in!