Monday, June 30, 2014

Long and short of it, short on time, life's too short, so am I.

500 coaches t Goshen Fairgrounds RV Rally,
we are here. Jerry hooking us up
Bloggers catch up,,,finally so you say...Yes, we are back  a couple weeks now, from a  grand time at the RV trip to the annual Fleetwood Motor Coach Association's RV Rally in Goshen Indiana where we had a great time gathering with friends as we do annually somewhere in the country. Friends we see only once a year, all Fleetood owners and all retirees.. This year the rally location switched from initial plans in DuQuoin, IL to Goshen where we gathered two years ago and because of the scheduling changes the Rally was combined with the Midwest Great Lakes gathering of the  Family Motor Coach Association of which we are also members.  Yes we enjoyed ourselves and then some, but  we all agreed we prefer to have our annual Fleetwood gatherings restricted to just Fleetwood members.  No more combos, too many people. Perhaps we are snobby, well we have lived long enough and worked long enough to be so....we all agreed we prefer exclusion with ourselves, co Fleetwooders, it's only once a year after all; most of us are retirees or empty nesters and not into kids about, different with Family, we though  are on our adult playtime. 

Walking path at Hickory Hollow RV

On our way there and returning we stopped overnight at a nice RV spot, where we have stopped before,  Hickory Hollow in Utica Illinois off interstate I 80, a lovely peaceful spot with  access for our rig, all hook ups,  as well as wooded areas dandy for walking and hiking.   I felt  quite smug that I had avoided any mosquito bites  with my wooded walks, until the next day when I had those tell tale red welts  on my shoulders, I never  felt nor saw them so I have  decided these are the sneakiest mosquitoes I have ever encountered.  We live in MN where the skeeter is the state bird!  Very visible and we all know their presence while the buggers at Hickory are stealth biters. 

This time we ate at a local Utical IL restaurant, Joy & Ed's, a 53 year old family run place...outstanding food everything is home made.  I enjoyed the very best fried chicken there and that includes the delicacies in the south it was not greasy and simple with merely a  dredging in flour I believe.   I have some other photos and tales of the abandoned area nearby which I investigated this trip, but another time.

Another road path at Hickory Hollow RV

More IN Amish country near Goshen
Most of the rally activities I have covered and shared daily on Facebook so I  will not repeat them here, but the Rally was tops.  While there we went directly to the Lambright Factory, an Amish business which makes the world famous leather wall hugger  recliners which we  wanted to replace the two euro recliners with separate  hassocks currently in our motor home. 

Surprisingly I found a website for Lambrights..our GPS could not find it  but we could easily in the back roads of the countryside....the place is Amish and while we had a nice visit with Verne, the Amish owner and  the next day when we  returned with a check for payment,  because he does not do credit cards, as he said, without apology, he is old school.  Although he was willing to wait for us to return home and mail him a check, it was an easy  drive there and back through the countryside. We write so few checks that we really forgot to take along the check book.   The next day was another sale for them as our friends from AZ, Gene &; Irmie  also drove there for a look and purchased the same for their coach.  Here is a lnk to a website with their  information,  Ours are the cream colored leather on page 17 of the catalog; I ordered the side computer table for mine but Jerry decided he did not need that.  We shall see, he will likely wish he had later. 
Our friend Irmie, German, who lives in AZ with her
 retired USArmy hubby Gene. She is
 trying out the recliner style which we bought.
 Another customer walking behind.

 Our current ones are definitely for taller people and we have decided they are just not for us shorties, we feel like our heads are pushed forward at an uncomfortable angle when we lounge in them.  We  thought the vendor would be at the Rally but not so, and the others were not what we wanted  so we drove the short distance to the site and our custom built order will be shipped to our home late July, custom dura leather.  Jerry will have to install them himself as well as remove the two existing. 

Me with  Lambrights windchimes
I was fascinated with the huge windchimes, another business Verne had which he has since sold.  The tones from these are almost mystical.  I am considering ordering a smaller set to replace the old chimes we have here at home.  

Geoff & Marci out for breakfast
at Perkins last day of their visit. 
Only  home a couple days with the 6 loads of  laundry caught up when our friends Geoff and Marci arrived.  They live in Oregon now but had been to Mackinac Island, MI for several days and drove over to  visit us.  Their first time here and it was wonderful although very bittersweet because Geoff has a malignant brain tumor, so far the  surgery and chemo have bought him time, but  it's all too short.  Their visit and much can happen in such a short time. Marci and I go way back to 1973 when we both began our careers with Ca state government in the same office.  
Jerry hooking up at Hickory Hollow RV

Jerry had his first cataract surgery Thursday and will have the  2nd eye done July 11, so it's busy here for me as I swing yet again into my Nurse Cratchitt or  Ratchet mode, giving him eye drops 3 each, 5 minutes apart 4 times a day.  Of all things he  simply cannot put drops into his own eye and is the blinkingest with the upper lid; it is a challenging experience to go through and one alien to me as I used to wear contact lenses.  Back then he could not understand how I could poke things into and out of my eyes because he is absolutely averse to anything nearing his eye.  He has already noticed  very improved vision in the right eye post surgery commenting on the brightness of colors and how he has an easier time reading while his cataracts were not that bad and could have waited under normal circumstances, he insisted they be fixed so he would be in best shape driving our big rig.  . 

We have been besieged with rain & wind storms and while I do love a good storm, enough already. We have been blessed not with the big trees down as has happened elsewhere and across the river in La Crosse.   Of course this keeps us green and lush but just now the power blinked and I thought I might have lost some of this post.  Fortunately not, so I best publish and get off here.  Dinner tonite on the stove simmering  is a pot of refrigerator soup--that's what I call the clean up, when it all goes into a soup-- some left over pork roast, a partial burger left over cooked into broth, tomatoes, fresh corn off the cob, shredded cabbage, kale, basil, onions, celery, peppers and whatever other tidbits are in the refrigerator including some cold pasta.  I have been hungry for this and with the darkened skies and wet afternoon it will be a great evening meal.   Not sure who will read this as I have been blog absent for awhile and likely that will continue.  I have ideas but no time to sit and post...sigh, what happened, when I retired I was supposed to have all the time in the world, hah, surely you jest,  time is too short...

 Maybe the Amish are right, keep it simple you can't take it with you.

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.     Henry Van Dyke


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Busy time of year out doors

One bleeding heart bush in the back flower box
It has been all  about spring time outside chores galore; this year as Jerry has recuperated from his April back surgery I was  left to my own on all weeding, mulch removal, trimming and garden flower bed clean up.  Rounds 1 and 2 accomplished but continuance mode is now in effect. Bird feeding is full speed ahead as the orioles have returned, the grape jelly feeders.  I have shown them before on this blog and although they were off to a late start this delayed spring, when we thought winter would never leave, they have been consuming the  32 ounce jars of Welch's Grape Jelly which we  buy at Sam's at the rate of two jars per week.  They have a delightful song and watching the young newly hatched at the jelly feeder is a lot of amusement right out the kitchen window.  In the photo below two orioles at their jellly house feeder while a gold finch sits  aside.  This year the red headed wood pecker and finches as well as occasional warblers have tried to snag some jelly but the orioles are quite defensive of their territory.  They bicker among themselves so do not tolerate any other species, except for the woodpecker who merely shows "my beak is bigger than yours so don't start with me."  

Orioles at their jelly house finch aside May 7.
I enjoy working outside but find that I don't want to spend as much time at it.  Instead with my morning work out trips to the YMCA, Zumba class and yoga, the morning is usually gone.  I would rather continue my physical fitness path adding a morning  walk.  Then by afternoon there are errands to run, appointments for hair cuts or medical, shopping to do, more social activities and then well, the  day is gone and we approach dinner time. My neighbor Diane,  who just returned from winter in AZ,  and I discussed how we are wanting more play time and less to do time. You get the drift, the day is gone. This has eliminated most computer time other than Facebook and email and newspaper reads all of  which I can do handily and  directly from my smart phone and tablet.  So the blog has been absent and looks like it may well continue to be for a time.  While Facebook is so handy allowing a quick photo post, there is  neither time nor space for me to ramble there about whatever  thoughts are fleeting, but it will have to do. It facilitates quick contact amongst multitudes of friends and family, cousins, nieces, nephews all who can merely click on their smart phones or iphones as well.  

The back yard  is heavenly scented with the
lilacs in full bloom from Ms Kim
In my career days I pondered how much time I would have to do whatever I wanted when I retired.  Today I  realize I don't have all the time I thought I would. I envisioned a retirement of lounging, reading, etc, in reality the words of my late Aunt Jinx have arrived, "you will work more when you retire than you did while you worked."  How right she was, household chores, outside chores, appointments, financial record keeping, yikes, time consumers.  My neighbor and I were talking about downsizing, then we know we do not want to live in condos or apartments but neither do we want  to have demands distracting us from our adult play activities.  In this area there are many landscapers and lawnmowers for hire;  we have hired a college student to mow the lawns while Jerry avoids such activities for the time.  But must admit he is not doing the same quality of  work, Jerry   often would mow twice a week in this spring weather while the grass is growing heartily.  We wonder why Jarrett cannot figure out how much extra work he makes for himself because he scatters  lawn clippings and then must  go back around with his blower to get them off the walks and drive ways, where if he mowed the other direction the clippings would go directly into the lawns.  We watch and wonder, at this young man who is a college sophomore, getting educated but not gaining sense. He seems to be more interested in mowing and getting gone. I have an enormous pile of clippings and rose branches, tree limbs and the like piling up behind the garden that we have asked him about hauling off to the local dump, but so far no movement.  Usually Jerry would have done this but looks like it will wait until we return from our RV trip.  By the way Jerry has the motor coach out of its house and has spent  days  power washing it and getting it ready to roll.  
Our Excursion and Jerry tinkering
Saturday Jerry took to his  riding mower for the back hill side which was starting to look like a hayfield.  He was quite happy with himself.  I was more than annoyed when I returned from an estate sale where I purchased naught realizing their prices were too much for nothing I needed, while happy with myself for resisting adding to our accumulations, annoyed because  he was on the mower and further had taken the rototiller to the garden bed.  While tilling he removed some new peonies that I was nurturing, they had spread from the mother plants along the fence line.  This annoys me, he does not distinguish  between fora and weed , it all goes. 

Uprooted potentilla

Some mystery creature has been visiting at night and  uprooting newly planted things and then digging into the flower beds.  First it completely dug up a newly planted black eyed susan, leaving only a little  stem remaining across the back lawn. Days later it returned and uprooted a potentilla plant I had not yet put into the ground. Obviously it was not to its taste so it did not drag it off nor consume it.  I have  struck back with massive doses of crushed  hot red pepper flakes  in the beds, and that seems to discourage it.  But we shall see, others have  had the same problem. This has never happened before and is  getting on my last nerve.  It happens at night and we suspect a  raccoon, possum, weasel or the like.  

Mama robin perched atop rose bush  limb, ignoring the squawks                    
First robin  to leave the nest
 I am likely to replace the rose bushes that did not survive our awful  winter with other perennials, to simplify my gardening, eliminating the need for mulching over winter, removal of mulch in spring time and above all eliminating food sources for the nasty Japanese beetle that thrives on roses here.  I  just have much else to do and do not want to  be enslaved by my landscaping, much as I enjoy it. The robins who were nested atop the wreath outside our front door have hatched, the  birdies have flown off and we can remove the wreath and wash the siding stone...the first one to leave the nest was quite puzzled and squawked from the front stoop, "Mom, Mom now what?"  Mom merely looked the other way, unconcerned, "go get your own worms kid."  It's too bad some  human mothers do not  let their adult children grow and go, they could learn from the birds.  I wonder why some are such clingers creating a mutual lack of growth for the adult children and  lack of their own growth into something  beyond ever indulgent ever clinging parent hood. Maybe because I was raised to be independent and have always been so, I cannot  comprehend  all the  nonsense, but that's an essay for another time. 
Volunteer salsify

One last thing, the volunteer plant out back identified as salsify.  I left this to grow because I thought the  texture of the spiky leave interesting, lo a yellow flower and through Facebook, a friend identified it. The yellow flower opens in the morning but the pod enfolds it by afternoon.  I understand it is edible but so far I ma not tempted to eat it, merely enjoy the show. 

 This may  be  my update for several weeks, unlikely to have blog time  from the Goshen IN Fleetwood RV Rally. Looking forward to reuniting with friends  we see once a year from around the country.