Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christmas in July photos

Well, it is 2:45 and I'm done being Santa for a while.  I did get a few photos of our display and yours truly. I don't have time to post more ... so bye!

July 24 (Christmas In July Eve)

Here is a picture of the great-granddaughters and the swan.  I took this yesterday when we went for our walk. 
If you look closely, you can see the red cast on Charlotte's left arm.  I thought that they had recast it.  I was wrong.  The original cast had done such a good job of holding the break in the correct spot that they were concerned that removing it and would let the bones shift.  Therefore they simply added the 'new' cast over the old.
- - -
After the kids left yesterday, Ella and I started putting up our outdoor Christmas display. 
For a kid raised as a Jehovah's Witness, Christmas is a lot more fun now.  Especially since I've become Santa. 
My theology has taken some odd turns and I now attend a United Methodist church (where I am a local lay minister).  I kind of compartmentalize the 2 holidays known as Christmas: Chrismas (notice the spelling to go with the pronunciation) is a secular holiday that is all about Santa, trees, lights, gifts, and flying reindeer.  I really enjoy this fun and festive holiday; Christ Mass is a religious holy day that is all about the birth of the god-child born to take away the sins of the world.  This is both festive and solemn celebration.
- - -
8:30 A.M.
Last night or early this morning we had another round of high winds come through and collected another 1 1/2 inches of rain.  When the wind woke me, I checked the radar map on my Blackberry and it looked as if it was a huge storm.  Thankfully we were just in the lower edge of it as it passed by.  I haven't had the news on to see what has gone on in the rest of the world.
Today is going to be busy.  After breakfast I began defrosting the freezer.  Our RV refrigerator's freezer compartment is about the size of a larger microwave.  We pick up our food order from Angel Foods Ministry today at noon.  The order contains our 'Senior Meals' which are portion controlled, low sugar, low salt, low fat, and diabetic frozen meals.  With all the frost off the freezer, there is just enough room for 14 meals. (with some very careful arranging and stacking.)
Between 1 and 3 I (Santa) will be at Cutty's Des Moines Camping Club lodge handing out gifts and treats.
I am supposed to be helping Lynn at Lake Robbins Ballroom.  Depending on how things go, I could be done at 8:30 or 10:30.  They have assured her there will be 300 people for a Woodward All School Reunion.
Well, as I've said, it's going to be a busy day so I'd better get to it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 22 & 23

July 22

There are some things that we know about living in a 5th wheel RV.

1. No appliances that only do one thing. This means we don’t order stuff from infomercials. It’s also why I don’t have a garlic ricer. I mean, how lazy do you have to be to not just dice it with a knife?

2. Pots and pans have to ‘nest’. Space is at a premium.

3. Weight is also a consideration when we start traveling. It’s very easy to overload the axles.

4. The rule is “one thing in / one thing out”. If you buy something you have to be willing to get rid of something.

5. Another, similar rule is: if I can’t eat it, drink it, spend it, or wear it; I don’t want it as a gift.

6. A place for everything and everything in its place.

As I said, we know these things – however, we don’t always practice them. For instance, I will not give up my cast-iron skillets and Dutch ovens, even to save weight. I also have a problem with giving up my books. When we moved from the house, we got rid of about 10 bookcases worth of books. However, we still have several hundred pounds worth of cookbooks, Bibles and song books with a few art books and novels. I HAVE been reading more books online or ordering them as e-books to down load and Ella gets most of her books from the library.

We have a place for ‘most’ things and ‘sometimes’ put them there. Unfortunately the ‘place’ for most things seems to be our table!

We also have a huge collection of Mr. & Mrs. Clause figurines. Many of them are in storage but I’ve had to build extra shelves to hold the ‘few’ that we have in the trailer.

So, I guess we’ll continue to learn new ways to adapt our living and maybe even put them into practice!

- - -


July 23

We have the great-granddaughters this morning. I made pancakes, which everyone loves. Homemade syrup (water, brown sugar and molasses) nice and hot to melt the butter! Yummy!

After breakfast we read a little from the Children’s Bible and sang some songs: ‘Jesus Loves Me’, ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’ etc.

Then we took a walk to look at some of the Christmas decorations (Christmas in July). Then we went down by the lake and walked among the ducks and looked for our resident swan. At first we couldn’t see him but later noticed he was on the far side of the lake. About that time he saw us and swam over to see if we had food (which we didn’t – hadn’t thought of that when we left home.

It started sprinkling so we stood under a tree until it let up and then walked back home.

The girls have been coloring for a while and Charlotte has written some notes for her Grandma Cindy. Cindy is supposed to be here around noon and will spend some time with us here then take the girls back to Nathans in the afternoon. (See how easily I can build a run-on sentence!

That’s all for now – more later.

- - -

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 20, 21 & 22

July 20, 2010

Great-Grandkids didn’t get here until around 3:30 this afternoon. I had gotten off work at 2:30. Charlotte has her new red cast on so we had to re-sign it. I redrew cartoons of Ella and I. Lorelai had a ‘bug bite’ on her left eye and it was all red and swollen. The girls looked like they’d been in a fight with a broken arm and ‘black’ eye.

We took them to get ice cream and then drove around the resort hitting as many potholes as we could. They’d giggle their heads off everytime the truck bounced through a hole or over a bump. Who needs roller coasters and bumper cars? Not these kids.

July 21, 2010

Wednesday! Pie Rush Wednesday! What a great thing to have in the middle of the week! I don’t think we’ve missed going to Village Inn on Wednesday more than 2 or 3 times in the last year and a half. Buy a cup of coffee or an ice tea and get a free slice of pie. The wait staff love to see us come. Our tip is usually larger than our bill. We also like to take friends with us when we can.

Well, that was the highlight of the day, so – more later.

July 22, 2010

The day is just starting and it is very humid, 76 degrees and no wind.

Sky is gray and overcast. The good news: we didn’t have any storms last night, at least not in our area. Some pretty heavy rains to our north (upstream) so we are still experiencing flooding in low lying areas.

It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’ve been up since a little before 6. Coffee made, 10 grain hot cereal (with cranberries and raisins) fixed and eaten. Sat and drew RV designs for several hours. And now Mrs. Claus is up and eating her porridge.

I don’t have to be at work until 3:30 and she doesn’t have to be at work until 5, so we’ve most of the day together. I don’t know what we’ll do today – it’s all free time!

Monday, July 19, 2010

backdated post - I saved as a draft and forgot to post - I' not getting forgetful - I've always been forgetful

July 14th 2010
It is HOT 95 degrees and 100% humidity.
There has been a strong south wind all day which is the only thing that keeps this from being a real killer heat. Yeah! I know that other parts of the country have been having high heat also, but not with this humidity. This is nuts. The only time we’ve gone outside today is to go to Village Inn for ‘pie rush Wednesday’.

Nathan brought the girls out to see us and we met there. I drew a cartoon of Ella & I on Charlottes cast. It is on the side facing away from her so grandma took her into the restroom to look at it in the mirror. She will be getting a different cast this next week and she wants to keep this one. And have everybody sign her new one also.

Adam is supposed to be in town for work today. He’ll call when he gets out of his meeting so that we can get together.

Ella is working this evening so she may miss out on that unless we see her at the clubhouse.
- - -

July 15, 2010
This morning is starting off a bit better than yesterday. It is still warm but the humidity is down to only 80%. Yesterday the heat index was around 115 degrees.
We had lightning and thunder and some amazing gusts of wind last night. However, it appears that any storms went around us.
- - -

I did get to talk to Adam for a while yesterday. We met at Arby’s for supper. We talked about his writing and desire to earn enough from it to be able to stay home and write more. We discussed some of his plot ideas and how he’d like to establish a stable of characters that interact in different stories. (My understanding of what he wants to do). I like the idea of minor characters reappearing in various stories or becoming major characters in other stories. Sometimes I feel like a minor character in my own story. Of course we also talked about how brilliant our children are.
- - -

I’ve been burning up the data usage on my new air card this morning. I found an interesting blog called: “Wreath’s Adventures Living 1oo% Off Grid”*. I was looking for information about building a small wind generator for our RV. I like the idea of using solar and wind for our electricity. And since the RV is already set up with 12 volt lights and outlets, plus the deep cycle 12 volt batteries (I actually have 4 – so that would store a lot of energy) What I don’t have is an inverter (it changes 12VDC to 120VAC). They are kind of pricey.
The refrigerator can run on 120VAC (which it does while we are hooked up to shore power) or 12VDC or even propane. Our water-heater runs on 120VAC or propane. And really, other than for showers, we can easily heat water on the stove fast enough that we don’t need to run the water-heater all the time anyway. RV catalogs are full of appliances that work fine on 12VDC; everything from TVs and coffee pots to hairdryers and curling irons. About the only thing I would really need the 120VAC for is the microwave. We can live without it but would rather not.
I’ve been toying with the idea of capturing rainwater, filtering and storing it in our holding tanks. It should be easy enough. A small emersion pump hooked to a garden hose with a standard inline filter should work well enough.
I like the idea of being as self-sustaining as possible. (I better be careful or I’ll start sounding like a survivalist! – btw – I love their websites!) I’m not really concerned about “The Coming Revolution”, “The New World Order”, “The New Great Depression (oh, wait, THAT has started)”, or even “Life after the Sh*t H*ts the Fan”. I’m just a control freak and want to Do It Myself.

*Wretha and her husband have lived off grid full time since December 2007, there have been ups and downs, but all in all it’s been a great adventure. Now Wretha and her husband have been immortalized in an off grid book, click here to learn more about it.

Christmas in July

Next weekend Cutty's will be having Christmas In July. I happen to know for a fact that Santa will be there to hand out gifts and treats!
I'm not sure if I want to wear my traditional 'work suit' - you know, the red with white fur - or maybe my Summer suit with khaki shorts. If I get some pictures of the event, I'll post them later.

July 19 2010

I love Mondays! Seriously!

Before I retired I wasn’t so glad to see them. However now they are the day that Ella and I have off together.

We’re doing laundry at the clubhouse today.

I’ve been to the bank and deposited Ella’s (meager) paycheck and picked up a few groceries.

Once we’re done with the laundry, we are going to spend some time on the workout machines.

After that, I’m not sure what we’re going to do with the rest of the day because (surprise!) it’s supposed to rain all day. Here is the official forecast:

“Widespread thunderstorms through mid morning … then numerous thunderstorms before noon. Thunderstorms in the afternoon. Some thunderstorms may be severe with damaging wind and large hail in the afternoon. High in the lower 80s. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of thunderstorms 90 percent.” I’m not sure what the difference is between ‘widespread’ and ‘numerous’.

I think I’ll spend some time working on designs for 5th wheel trailers. I enjoy designing them but realistically I know I’ll never get them built.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 17 & 18

July 17

We made the BLTs and they were good, but not great.  I feel we should have waited another day or two to pick those tomatoes!  But, Hey! who can WAIT for the first tomatoes?

July 18

What a wild morning.  Major wind storm came through between 2:30 and 4:00 a.m.  We collected 3" of rain in that short amount of time. A weather station at an elementary school near here reported wind gusts of 53mph.  Places in West Des Moines were reporting straight line winds of 80mph. That is hurricane force winds.
Other than our patio furniture being scattered about, we escaped with no problems.  There are trees down throughout the resort.  And I haven't heard all the news from here.  I know that some had their awnings ripped off and at least one had a good size limb on their roof.
My alarm is telling me to go to work, so I will.