Feb 17, 2015

How to Feel Younger in a Week

How many steps did you climb today?
Do you miss being young....er...ish? If you do what is it that you miss the most. I miss being active and seeing something accomplished at the end of the day. For that reason, I think the thing that I miss the most is the work...work until you drop into bed at night totally exhausted. When I was younger I would work until I absolutely could not even think. I loved pushing myself to the limit each day and get up in the morning and do it again.

My husband and I have been restoring an Arizona room on our park model. We have lifted and demolished and measured and planned until we both are ready to drop. I have only participated in the really hard stuff for a few days. It is coming back to me now how I love to work that hard. I embrace the pains and stiff muscles each day. Sleep? I sleep like a baby at night and wake in the morning refreshed and ready to go again. And I slim up really fast...notice I did not say lose weight. Muscle mass weighs more but is less bulky.

Could it be that the retirement that is all about "not working" is very bad for our health both mentally and physically? Do we feel older when we are not "working"? I think so. The truth is that we all need purpose and goals no matter what we are doing in our lives. I am not saying that you need to go back to work. I am saying that you need to get up and work, move, accomplish something. If for no other reason, do it because I said so and just trust me. You will feel better, sleep better and be mentally sharper. In fact I can almost guarantee that you will feel younger in one week!

Give it a try and let me know.


Feb 15, 2015

How to choose the right RV park! 10 Ideas

I saw an article yesterday talking about how a person can regret their choice of apartments. No electrical outlets, noisy streets, dark rooms and shrinking space that become more apparent after moving in can send renters over the edge.  Renters remorse sets in but a lease has been signed so the tenant is stuck.  Finding the right resort to spend the winter in can be just as hard. I have some ideas that will help you narrow down that long list of "perfect" snowbird locations.
  1. Okay I'm here. What do I do now? No matter how fancy a RV resort is it cannot be a stand alone location in most cases.  You can sit in the sun for just so long then you are going to want to get out and enjoy the area.  I for one do not want to be parked in the middle of the desert with nothing to do.  Think about that when you decide to settle into a location.
  2. The railroad tracks are where?You can only hide the railroad tracks for so long.  Then that ugly beast with rear it's head at the most inopportune time. Just ask about railroad tracks and freeway noise before you make a reservation. Maybe you won't mind but at least don't be surprised.
  3. I don't know anyone. If you decided to spend the whole winter in one spot you might consider finding a place where you have an acquaintance or two. I say this especially if you are new at the experience.  Friends can help make your winter experience  more enjoyable.  If you like to golf for example, it is nice to have another couple to play with. I don't see this as an absolute necessity but it is nice.
  4. Cars are not welcome? We stayed in an RV resort in Needles, California one year. The owners didn't like for their renters to have visitors and would not let them park near our motor home.  If a visitor pulled in behind our car the owners would come immediately and make company move.   It was such an unfriendly atmosphere.  I think if we had asked if we could have company or invite people for dinner in the beginning we would have saved ourselves a lot of grief.  We didn't even consider that when we committed ourselves.  It was a beautiful park.
  5. Pets are allowed where?  Pets can be a contentious point when you live so close to other people. A park that does not assign a special section for pets is inviting problems.  A dog that barks night and day can drive the neighbors nuts.  Check on that.  If you are a dog owner remember to be considerate of others.
  6. You cleaned the laundry room last year?  Take a look around before you commit yourselves to an extended stay. A filthy laundry room or unkept pool area can be a deal breakers in my book.  We have stayed (one night) in some pretty iffy places.  Thank heavens we did not commit ourselves sight unseen.
  7. Where is the pool, pickle ball, bocce ball?  When you look at Camper Life or an online website to see what is available at a park, be sure that the activities you enjoy are available in the park.  If you golf a course should be close by.
  8. Quiet hour starts a 7 pm?  Unless you are dead you are going to want to talk or even dance in the street once in a while.  Remember that!  If the park is designed for very old quiet people think about whether that is going to work for you.  
  9. It gets how cold at nights?  Just because a location is in the southern United States does not mean that it will be warm.  Check into the weather, average temperatures, wind/rain before you rent a park model or commit to a month in one location.  You will not regret it.
  10. The grocery is how far away?  Is there anything worse that being stuck in a place that has no services?  I mean I like solitude as well as the next guy but no grocery store save the one in the RV park does not work for me.  It is just a thought.
Do you have any suggestions.  I would love to hear them.


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Feb 11, 2015

Woman Gives Birth to a Plastic Doll or the Great Flamingo War of 2015

My husband and I are the proud owners of a flamingo. She first came to our RV resort 12 years ago. About 7 years ago I made the mistake of admiring her beauty and asking who her owner was. The very next day I became her custodian. The neighborhood had been waiting for a sucker like me. I have taken very good care of her since the very first day.

She had a little short somewhere so if you touched her when she was plugged in you got a little buzz. People liked that at lot. I was told that she move her head up and down when she was plugged in. I didn't like the shock so I didn't plugged her in very often after the first time. I did not notice a moving head. The old bird was showing her age I think. I named her Theodora because she seemed to represent all the ghosts that inhabit our little park.  She came to life in my mind back in the day when I wrote fiction.

Eventually she found her way to the rear of our park model behind the propane tank. I even forgot about her she was so well hidden.


A few weeks ago a neighbor built a fish pond in front of their park model complete with goldfish, metal frogs and a fountain. The pond was the talk of the neighborhood. A neighborhood prankster spotted the flamingo and asked to "borrow" the pink darling and give her a new home. Our caveat was that the new home was to be the new home beside the pond...we did NOT want her back. Besides she looked so perfect near that pond.

But I guess the pond builders didn't recognize her charm. Within a day or two Theodora reappeared in our front yard and the new flamingo owner was seen disappearing around the corner of our house. My husband jumped out of his chair, grabbed the bird, flew down the street returning her to her rightful place next to the fountain and the goldfish. That is where she remained for a while. I almost forgot her again.

It was the quiet before the storm...The Great Flamingo War of 2015 erupted on a Tuesday afternoon after a bocce ball game. We yelled at each other from a distance and I even think I saw the new owners shake their fist at us and yell, "It isn't over yet." I'm not sure I heard them right but I was pretty sure we might be in trouble. In the middle of it all sat my beloved Theodora. I was sorry that no one wanted her even though I didn't want her at all.

This morning, low and behold, Theodora reappeared on the corner of our lot holding a baby wrapped in a diaper. It seems that I am the proud mother of a small plastic doll. I was told that the baby had already received a haircut so that was very nice.

Best of all I love the note that said,
It has become quite obvious to us that you two do not have enough to  keep you busy and out of trouble. So here is our solution.
Please don't forget the 2 AM feeding! Good luck with Baby Torris 
Best of all the envelop told me to "smoke this in a blog post". So here I am.

As for not being busy enough...that was said tongue in cheek. See we just finished remodeling our little kitchen, recently threw a party for over 100 people complete with band and popcorn, and are in the process of upgrading our Arizona room. When people come by, I just let them in because I am too tired to argue. But I am consoled by the fact that plastic dolls don't really need to be fed at 2:00 a.m....right?

Funny thing is someone wanted Theodora as soon as they spotted her this morning. Maybe she will find a new happy home after all.

Golly, I love this place!


Thank you to anyone that helped in the conspiracy. You made our day a lot more fun! You are all very unique...in a good way. :)

Theodora, the baby and the proud new mother...me!
Our new kitchen!

Feb 7, 2015

How to Find a New "Career" Using Your Inner Child.

When I saw the wonderful video from iVillage Australia, I was reminded of the advice given us so many times in the past; you need to get in touch with your inner child.  This little boy hears music somewhere inside his head and heart that most of us would not even understand. He was born that way. I have often quoted Popeye's piece of wisdom when he said, "I yam what I yam." I honestly believe he was right on the money. We all are born with a love for something...but how do we turn that love into an vocation or avocation? Given the fact that working is a requirement to survive, finding that perfect niche is the trick.

I have always wondered what I would have done if I had been given the choices beyond being a teacher. I popped out of the womb being teacher-like but being in the classroom did not make me happy for very long.  Once I had figured it out, I was ready to do something different. I could not be a secretary. I used to tell people that the trouble was I need a secretary to keep my life in order. I have a creative and scattered mind that can get things a little muddled.

So today I went to a career quiz website and took the test. I wondered what my inner child was really up to. The question was "What would you most like to do?" Not what I am trained to do or what I have experience in but what do I like to do. It was very interesting because I was so tempted to check those things I can do and actually have a talent for. It turns out that while I can do a lot of things, those skills can also move over to an area that would give me great satisfaction and make me happy day after day.

The quiz had some very unusual options but I just didn't over think it. I liked the idea of shearing sheep and laying out a building before it was built. I wanted to do the interior design in an office building. I thought painting cars might be fun but then I also chose counseling for stressed employees as a possibility. I also thought that editing and writing was interesting.

Was there any commonality between all of these. I think there was. And that goes back to my inner child. As a child, I did not like being bossed but did like bossing. I did not want other people to copy my ideas and I loved beautiful things right from the beginning. I remember disliking clothes my mother chose because I thought they were not beautiful. I thought it didn't matter if I was cold...but when I had my own choice I chose practical shoes and warm coats.

My father's workshop called my name so many times. The idea of building something totally original fascinated me. I loved to be outside and even sat against the back of our Oregon house in the winter sun to read even when the temperature was very cold. My desk bulletin board in college was decorated with pictures from magazines of flowers and interiors. I began writing a book when I was about 10...it was about naughty children and a slamming screen door.

So I like to be my own boss. I love to be creative. I want to see the outdoors and let light into my life. I scored very high on creativeness on the quiz. But the quiz also revealed a practical side that I don't acknowledge very often. In the end I would choose to be in interior design or architecture if I could start over with my life. But now I will read and write and study (interior design?) and continue to do what I love on a daily basis...create a beautiful home for my husband and I.

What does your inner child tell you?


Feb 6, 2015

What can we learn from LITTLE Red Riding Hood?

#RedRidingHood By #SkottieYoung

Once in a while I wander around out in the hood just looking to see what I can find. #fairtales was the tag I happened onto on Google+. I had been reading a blog called The Owl's Skull written by a Jessica McCort, an educator out there in the world somewhere. The name of the article I read was Let's Have a Little Chat about what "Cinderella" Really Means. She pointed out that her students interpret what they read based on life experience and preconceived notions and do not see the words on the page. I found it very interesting. The label she used on Google+ was #fairytale.

So there I was on the #fairytale page on Google+ when the image you see above caught my eye. This innocent little girl is the one that helped out-fox that very evil looking wolf lurking in the background...with a little help from a woodsman with a very sharp ax! The story had all the components that make up a perfect tale about good vs evil. The little girl's name was Little Red Riding Hood.

I have always thought that each fairy tale tells two stories; the one on the page and one that lurks in the back ground. That is why I am always looking for a back story. This is the one with a very old bedridden grandmother left on her own in the woods to deal with any "wolf" that came to her door. As I remember in the story I read in my Grimm's Fairy Tales book, she ended up getting eaten. Every grandmother alive is hoping that no such fate comes to them. Like all fairy tales there are many versions but the one I know has the woodsman cutting the wolf open so the grandma can live to see another day. Old fairy tales didn't shy away from gore and blood.

So, how did it happen that the bed-ridden grandmother ended up living such a lonely life? Why would a little girl be sent off into a dangerous wood alone? Where are the parents of the child and the child of the parent in this story? And, I always wondered how any one wolf could be that greedy and hungry! I also wondered if a wolf eats a person, is he a cannibal?

While a lot has changed since the first version was written, a lot has not. When you think about it, our children still wander through the forest. They go a home where there are no parents to be seen. And there are many grandmothers living in the woods waiting for Red Riding Hood and opening the door to find the wolf.

There are lessons to be learned from those old tales even today. I wish the grandmother in Red Riding Hood had been stronger and maybe excised a little more so she didn't end up in bed. If she was cranky and mean and ended up alone for that reason, I wish she had been nicer. If society and family turned their back on her, I wish someone had seen her need. And I often wonder where that woodsman was BEFORE the wolf ate everyone up. We need to destroy the big bad wolf that scams and that eat the weak and helpless alive as quickly as we can.

So I am still learning from the fairy tales. Give your own very old fairy tale a closer look and see what you can find. Remember to think about the back-story and see what it has to teach you.

Be well.


Feb 4, 2015

How Many "Projects" Do You Have Left In You?

My husband and I are in the get-up-and-build mode right now. We have just about finished our kitchen and are moving on to our Arizona room. We invited some friends in to see how we were doing and as they left I had the thought that on the day we die, there will be a project in the offing. Our children will be left holding the hammer!

Front Porch is completed and we enjoy it so much.
Exterior looks much the same as it did when we bought it.
Unfortunately, the Saguaro tipped over soon after we moved into it.
We moved three park models down about 7 years ago (I think). We now live on the corner across from the pickleball and tennis courts. The little doll house was built in the 1970s and naturally needed some work to restore it to it's former glory. But, like the good golfers that we are, we put it off for several years. There were other things we wanted to do. But now, we have noticed what a wreck it is needs to be done. I suppose that comes of sitting in the house when the weather is cool and it has been cool this winter.

I think that we are so lucky that we love to create and change things. At this time in our life it is a gift that we are grateful for each and every day. It is what keeps us healthy and reasonably young.

So how many projects or books or volunteer options do you have lined up?  Remember, they keep you alive and happy.

Have a wonderful day!


Feb 3, 2015

How to Know If You Are a Part of the Solution

My beautiful family.
When one of our family is ill, it is the first impulse of a parent to rush to their aid. It is as natural as having babies. We can read our children's voices and know exactly what their face looks like and how they are coping. It come from the close bond that happens when they are born.

The question is if we do rush in; Are we part of the problem or part of the solution? I am at the age when I have given up control of my family and am letting them nurture me. I am not a help when a crisis arises because now my children know more than I do.

I remember when my aunt lay dying of a heart attack, my mother interfered in the family dynamic and caused some very hard feelings. While her intent was pure her words were unkind. That lesson is still with me today. Backing away is hard but intruding would not change the outcome and would, in fact, add to the problem.

My son-in-law has had a heart attack and will be receiving the care he needs. My heart is in my throat and my first impulse was to fly to the aid of my daughter. She is a very wonderful daughter and her gentle reminder was "We will be OK. Thank you for the offer but not now." She has a grown son and a mature daughter. It is their time to solve problems. It would not be a help.

So, there is a lesson for you here. Always remember that if you are not a part of the solution, then you might become part of the problem.

I am just saying.

Get well Doug. We love you.


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