Monday, February 28, 2011

the Hunger Games

I know I haven't been posting for a few days, but I have a truly valid excuse.

I've been reading the Hunger Games.

Officially, this is considered a YA (Young Adult) novel, but I must say, it never felt like it was talking down to youngsters. If it hadn't been labeled as YA, I would have just considered it a great read.

It's a trilogy of books (including the Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay). I haven't been so immersed in a series in recent memory. Now I'm sorry that I'm done with them.

I've never read the Harry Potter books (maybe I should?) and I tried the Twilight sagas, but found them pretty boring. This kept me from reading this series for a while, since I thought it was just a "kids book". But trust me, this is a fine adventure.

Set in a not too distant future, the characterization is superb, and the story involving. Speaking to various topics like ecology, war and reality television, it subtly weaves these themes without ever getting preachy. And I really loved the characters

If you have any other recommendations (YA or not), please share. I don't know what to read next!

I also wanted to mention that we've had visitors. Russ and Donna, who have just taken delivery of their brand spanking new 30 foot Lazy Daze stopped by for an afternoon on their way home to Oregon. If you'd like to hear more about their new rig and their adventures, (including pictures) you can read their blog here.

We took another load down to the auction today, but we want to start getting ready for our short vacation next week when we'll be visiting Morro Bay. We need to clean the rig, inside and out, and hopefully give her a bit of wax (maybe). If we can't get her spin 'n' span to our specs, well, what they hey, we're going anyway!

Hopefully, I'll get a bunch of pictures to share with all of you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just a Few Shots

Today we took another load to the auction. This week will be their first auction at the new site. It should be kind of cool, but we won't have a whole lot in this one.

I know I say this a lot, but I really can't believe how much stuff we have. I've been busy finding art. Oil paintings, watercolors, pen and ink, photography, woodcuts, lithographs, engravings, the list goes on and on. Right now, I'm just lining them up, but I'll probably take some photos before we take them away.

And the Disney. It is everywhere! I must have at least a dozen sets of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, some really beautiful, others not so much.

It's always bothered me
that the Dwarfs are
fairly easy to portray.

But, boy howdy,
there's some really bad
Snow Whites out there.

And this is one of them.

This really isn't one of the better sets, but I found it hiding under my coffee table, so it had to be moved. One thing can be said of it, it's pretty big! Snow White is probably a full nine inches tall. I thought I'd snap a picture before it goes in to the big wrapped up box pile.

Speaking of the wrapped up pile, I found a gigantic box of old Disney shirts. Ranging in size from medium to one size fits all, several of them are brand new, and most of them worn maybe once. Some have sequins, there's at least one Hawaiian and just a huge assortment. Anyone want them? I kind of hate to just dump them at the Goodwill, but I guess that's the best thing to do with them.

I've also taken a few shots while we were out and about. I have to admit that I do love the ocean here, but I so miss the blue of the southwestern skies . . . It's a toss up, but we'll always be able to visit.

This is a small park
down by the Santa Cruz Wharf.

Same park,
from another angle.

Doesn't this look idyllic?
Well, it was.
But remember,
it was in the middle of the week
in the middle of the winter.

This stands right behind the park,
and while scenic,
it gives you a better idea
of the commercialization of the area.

I'm getting excited about our trip to Morro Bay in a couple of weeks. It'll be great to once again be with a bunch of Rvers. Maybe looking out my window and seeing a brand new view will inspire us to work a bit faster?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Much Less Blah . . .

Well, I can't say that my morning funk is completely gone, but I do feel better.

The transformation began when I spent some time with a friend this afternoon.

After a while I re-realized how very happy I am not to have to get up every day and go to work at job I don't love. And working with people not of my choice, who I may or may not get along with. And having my time not be my own.

I guess sometimes I forget to count my blessings.

In musing this over, other thoughts keep popping into my mind.

A lot of our local friends ask how we can stand to live like we do, expressing disbelief that we could be happy living in such a small space with no "home base".

Then I listen to them talk about how much everything here has changed. How it bears no resemblance to the place they thought they wanted to live. How crowded it is, how expensive, how the social climate has changed.

When this comes up, I ask them if they've ever considered leaving? Almost to a person, they express surprise and say of course they'd never leave, this is their home, they love it here!

Am I the only one who is hearing mixed messages here?

What happens to so many of us as we age? Are we afraid to try new things? Do we become so comfortable (even when we're not really happy with our circumstances) that we no longer see that we have options? Do we lose our sense of wonder?

Or are those of us
who choose the nomad lifestyle different?

Not better,
not worse,
but just different?

I have to wonder.

And be happy
that we've made the choices we have.

I'll be very happy when we leave,
my spirit is feeling renewed.


Will we ever be free again?

I've spent this morning catching up on travel blogs, and it makes me pine for the time when we were free. The idea that if the mood strikes us, we can leave and search for a new place to be.

It's been interesting entertaining our friends. They love the area and can't understand why we want to leave. Sometimes, I look at it and can't quite grasp it either. The area is quite diverse and truly beautiful. It's just that after sixty plus years, I want something else. Like turquoise skies, red rocks and endless horizons.

I really do feel like we're trapped here. We've done a lot on the house, but it seems like there is so much more to do, will we ever get through it all?

I miss waking up with that sense of adventure, places never seen before, people who love the lifestyle right outside my door, DRY WEATHER!

Yes, it's raining again, and that may have something to do with my mood . . .

Also, the fact that we haven't been able to take things to the auction house. We're hoping next week. Moving things out of the house really gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Sorry, I just needed to vent.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Catching Up

A-I've had a cold
B-the auction has been unavailable
C-it's been raining
D-we've had guests

Pick one and use it for the reason
I haven't been posting!

In any case, they're all true, plus, I just haven't had a whole lot to report.

We've been really enjoying visiting with our Lazy Daze friends, and sadly, they're leaving tomorrow. BUT, the good news is that we're got online friends coming next week. Theyll be driving home from picking up their brand new 2011 31 foot twin bed Lazy Daze! We've been communicating by phone and email for a while now and I can hardly wait to meet them. It's always fun to meet online friends, don't you think? And I can't wait to see the new rig.

Meanwhile, we did have a couple of days of beautiful weather and we spent a good deal of it showing our friends around Santa Cruz. Brad is a dedicated metal detector person (whatever that title is eludes me) and he talked Terry into going out with him a couple of days.

Here they are all suited up.

We dropped them off, then went out looking
for photo opportunities.
We found one,
right on the cliffs overlooking
where they were searching.

For some reason,
I've never been to this tiny park before.
Look at this view!

Here's the view in another direction.

In addition to a great view,
there are tons of beautiful flowers
hanging from the cliffs.

These beauties are growing
all along the coastline.
I don't know what they're called,
but I love them.

I know it's kind of boring
to always post pictures of flowers,
but I just think they're so perfect.

I also have a thing for palm trees.
Fortunately, I wasn't driving
so I was able to stick my head out the window
for this shot.

And for whatever reason,
I kept going back to this shot.
Again, it was taken from a moving car.
I guess I just like the composition?

That's it for tonight.
Hopefully we can take a carload
to the auction tomorrow
and get back on track!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Good Morning (and Happy Valentines Day)

I usually post at night, but I've had a bit of a cold the last couple of days.

This morning, I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof. I've been enjoying all the blossoms on the fruit trees lately and my first thought was, I hope they aren't all gone. We have a lovely old plum tree out my window, and I was so pleased to open the shade and see all the blooms still attached.

Will I ever get used to looking out the window and being able to see again? I hope not. The sense of wonder is a mighty thing, I hope to hold on to it.

I haven't mentioned before, but since we've been back, we've had some problems with moisture in Cholula Red. The Lazy Daze is so well insulated (in addition to the thermal pane windows) that condensation and moisture have never been an issue (unlike every other motorhome we've ever owned). I was a bit concerned about this, but spoke to a knowledgeable RV friend, who confirmed that since we were in a wet climate, and under the trees with not much sun to boot, the Lazy Daze would probably retain a bit of moisture inside. Not from leaks, but just from the climate, and our living in it.

It was OK for a while, but I was getting really tired of the overall clamminess of everything. I must admit, I'm spoiled with this rig and just expect everything to be 99% perfect as it is most of the time. In discussing this with friends who also have a Lazy Daze but spend a lot of time in Washington state, they agreed that they have similar problems, but have found a dehumidifier to be the solution. They also recommended that if we were going to get one, we try a Soleus brand, as they've found them to be the quietest on the market.

Of course I looked at Amazon first, where I found the units to cost anywhere from $175-$250, yikes! So I went on Craigslist and found one for $85. The unit appears to be like new, and is working great. For the first couple of nights, we were amazed to find over eight cups of water had been drawn from the air! Now we're running it at night, and I'm happy to say, no more dampness at all, no clammy fabric, no dampness on the walls, and best of all no condensation on the windows.

We went and looked at the new auction facilities yesterday and it will be such a nice venue, we're getting excited again. We have loads ready to go to them, but have had to slow down a bit till they're ready for more. It looks like later this week, so we should be back on track soon.

That's it for this morning, hope you all have a great day.

I had to add this.
Terry brought me breakfast in bed
with a Valentines Day flair.

He's my guy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Checking In

Just a quick note.

We've been steadily working in the house, so there isn't a lot of news to report. We did finally get someone to take the giant bed, so that freed up a lot of space. We also got rid of an old couch that took up a ton of space in the garage, so it at least feels like we're making some progress.

The auction has found a new location (a huge improvement) but that means that for a week or so, they wont be taking any lots for sale. Since we now have more than they'll take when they finally reopen, we're on hold for a couple of days.

While it's a bit frustrating, it's also kind of serendipitous, since we have fellow Lazy Daze friends visiting right now. It's so wonderful to slip back into that RVing mode, I didn't realize how much I missed it. Our regular friends are wonderful, but there's just something special about those that RV. Since the auction is on hold for a couple of days, we'll play tourist and maybe get some pictures to share with you.

One bit of news, my second cataract surgery is scheduled for March 17, I'm really excited as my one eye is doing so well. I sure don't miss my gasses, but a little clearer vision will be nice.

I'm also enjoying the Literati, I'll have more to share about that in a day or two, as well as a comparison between it and the Kindle. Right now, my advice is if you can find a Literati at the $40 (or $32 with the discount) you might want to jump on it, they seem to be selling out quickly all around the country.

I wish there was more to report, but that's about it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

eBook Readers

Hey, this will be just a quick post.

As you may know, I am a huge fan of my Kindle, I think it's the bee's knees . . . with one tiny exception.

More and more, libraries are slowly converting books over to the digital format, and for whatever reason, Amazon has decided that the Kindle will not read this format. BUMMER!

But the other day I read a little something online, and today I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and you know what? They have the Literati, a color eReader (that has gotten truly mediocre reviews) on close out for $40.00!!!

Now while I wouldn't want the Literati as my primary reader, it does have it's pluses. It's a nice size, it has a color backlit display and it comes with it's own case.

AND it will read library books.

Is that cool or what?

One final note. If you go on the Bed, Bath and Beyond's website and sign up for their email list, you get a 20% coupon that you can apply to the cost of the Literati!

So of course I bought one, and while I haven't checked it out yet (it's still charging), I figured for the price, it was worth a look see.

I'll report back with my impressions later.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just a Few Pics

fan dancing in the surf

the rush of the waves
the dark water
the still bird

That's all.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Day With the Camera

Hey, I can see!

Well, lets put it this way. I can see really well with my right eye, not so great with my left. When I'm looking in the distance, or even a short distance, like watching television, my right eye dominates and I'm fine. And when I want to read a book, that's ok too. It's that distance between the the book and my computer screen that gives me a bit of trouble. I got some readers for when I'm on the computer, and they’re fine for text.

Today, a gloriously gorgeous day, we went out shooting, and I found when I got home to process my pictures that my vision isn't quite right for editing pictures.

At least that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to to it!

We started out visiting a couple of local RV parks. We have friends coming in tomorrow, so we thought we'd do a bit of scouting, searching for the best spots and rates. Both the parks we visited are under huge redwood trees, so I was somewhat surprised to find a huge fantail (I think) palm right in the middle of the trees. The sun was just right so I took a couple of shots.

The light seemed perfect.

Next, we took off for
Natural Bridges State Park,
thought we'd do a little bird watching.
But we're not sure who's watching who.

I always try to catch birds in flight,
but don't always succeed.
Not a great shot,
but he's pretty much in focus,

This is a crop from a photo like the first one.
They were pretty far away,
so it's not really sharp
but I love the pelicans.

Another far off crop.
I know it's not too sharp
but I love the family dynamic.
Is that little guy a strutter
or what?

I'm fascinated with seagull's eyes.

Another not too sharp pictures,
but look at the layers.
It looked like a stacked salad.

Natural Bridges also has a
Monarch butterfly grove.
We hiked down, saw a few butterflies,
but didn't get any special shots.
Again though, I love the play of light.
(As always, you can click any image
to see a larger version).

When we were done at Natural Bridges, we decided a day in Santa Cruz wouldn't be complete without a visit to the seals and sea lions on the wharf.

This pod was playing
a few hundred yards out to sea.

I zoomed in as close as I could.

These guys were having a great time!

Here's on final shot.

So it looks like I can take pictures, but working on them in the computer will be a bit of a stretch for the next month or so. After I get my other eye done, if it still isn't right, I'll get prescription glasses for working on the computer. Not ideal, but a small price to pay for the the overall improvement in my vision.

Tomorrow night is another auction, wish us luck!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's a Miracle!

This morning was one of the most amazing mornings in my memory.

A bit of history.

I first started wearing glasses in my early twenties. I had never needed glasses, and since the loss of sharpness had happened gradually, I wasn't really aware of it. Then Terry noticed that, at night, I was driving slower and slower. Once he mentioned it, I also became aware of it. We discussed it and decided it was time for me to have my eyes checked.

I went in for an exam, and sure enough, I needed glasses.

I will never forget the day I got my first glasses. Since the degradation of my vision had been so gradual, I really didn't realize what I was missing. All of a sudden, there were leaves on the trees, and buds on the tops of flower stems. That night there was a full moon and it dawned on me that I couldn't remember the last time I had seen the man in the moon.

It was a revelation, and the beginning of my wearing glasses.

Good vision is a real gift, and eyeglasses are pretty wonderful. But they're also something extra you have to put on your face in order to see. You lose the ability to wake up in the morning and see clearly. They're almost always dirty. They're a real pain in the rain.

A true mixed blessing, we're certainly thankful for them. But wouldn't it be nice to do without them? It never occurred to me that that could be the case for me. I've looked into LASIK, but my insurance doesn't cover it and I just couldn't justify the cost. Then about seven years ago, my opthamologist told me I had the beginnings of cataracts, and lately, as regular readers know, they've gotten pretty bad.

So yesterday I had the surgery, and when I woke up this morning, I looked out the window, and the leaves were back on the trees!

I can't begin to describe what this was like. It was like a real miracle, my vision was back, and I could once again see further than two feet in front of my face.

We had a follow up with my Doctor, and I'm sure I drove poor Terry crazy. reading road signs, babbling about all the photo opportunities that I saw.

I felt reborn.

I think I might have scared the Doctor, I was so excited.

They told me that my vision would improve when I had the surgery, but somehow, I missed the idea that I might be able to see without my glasses.

What a gift.

I'm typing this on the computer, using 150 readers, and have done without my prescription glasses all day. I can drive, watch television and just enjoy the horizon. How stupendous.

If you are even considering cataract surgery, I can tell you I'm very pleased with my results (and can hardly wait to get the other eye done next month). The Doctor says there's a possibility that using a closeup lens in my left eye (giving me mono vision) I may do without glasses entirely.

But if my results just stayed like they are, I'd still be pleased.

If you'd like to read an interesting article on the evolution of eyeglasses from "reading stones" circa 1000 up to current times, you can read it here.