Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NO!

CONTENTS
TENNESSEE LIFE
RV
PETS
PROJECTS
BOOK REVIEW
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TENNESSEE LIFE aka Sweet Asylum:
It's the end of October and I'm still able to sit outside even during happy hour with short sleeves and sandals. Is this normal for TN life? I don't know. It was in the 30's in NJ last night, but I doubt we went below 50° here last night. We enjoy the color changing of the leaves, yet still have warm enough temperatures to relax outside.

Scott is freaking out about all the different kinds of spiders in our yard. I'm fine as long as they stay in the yard and don't hurt our dogs.
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RV:
Yes, as the cartoon above states, I need a hug. In lieu of a hug, I'll have a shot to make me feel better.

I truly miss my connection with the RV community. I think I miss that a lot more than the actual RV'ing. I like the luxury of having the space and privacy of a house, but I do miss that possibly of meeting up with someone in our travels. When I walk into our RV, it smells like "home".
I was just communicating with an RV friend we met in Washington. I blogged about them before. Mike was very generous with some crab legs that were given to him. He not only gave Scott a bunch, but he cooked them to perfection also. We had told them about Wintering in Deming, NM at Hidden Valley Ranch. Lo and behold, they stayed there for 3 months last Winter with us crossing paths for a few weeks.
Sadly, Mike passed away in June of this year. I recently asked Maryanne how she was doing.
"Life after Mike is like going from Technicolor to black and white."
I have spoken before about how nice the residents at Hidden Valley Ranch are. Well, Maryanne is now living there in her RV! If something ever happened to Scott, I would consider that also, although I really hate the desert, but oh the community is wonderful!
I think living in an RV by myself would be much more liveable. I don't need as much as Scott did, well, it feels like that. He needs all his electronics and big screen computer monitor, etc. I'm happy just finding a cozy spot to read or craft or work on my laptop.

I would need a community to have some socialization. As long as I'm with Scott, I'm fine being a loner, but if I was without Scott, I would be lonely.
I'm always trying to plan for the future, so when things happen, I won't be like a deer stuck in place in front of headlights.
I've even thought that I'd move to Oregon if I got cancer. They allow prescribed suicide. I think it is ridiculous for humans to have to suffer when it's terminal.
Oh boy, I guess I lost track of the RV subject.

There's also the Care Center in the Escapees RV park in TX. Another area that I really would rather not live in.
Any RV'rs know of other nice places to retire to?
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PETS:
I can't believe it's been a whole year since we picked up Dina, the reservation dog. Last I heard, she was happy living with her adoptive family in NJ. We still miss her and we both agree, we shouldn't have given her up. She was a surprisingly great dog, especially being an outside dog.
Ryan & Lou
Our puppy, Ryan has fit into our pack. He is both a pain in the arse and a sweetheart. We must say "no" over 100 times per days. I love the saggy jowls of the Setter breed and his jowls are already pinchable. With long droopy jowls, comes drooling also. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure as he matures the drooling will begin.
He still has pee accidents once in awhile. It's almost like he is too preoccupied to bother going outside. He pees while he's running in the house. Ugh! But then other times, he'll push his way through our new doggie door. Thank you hubby.

It only takes one dog to ruin a good thing though. Lou is the only one that does not use the doggie door. He will bark and bark and bark to come in. Coaxing with treats doesn't work either. But 4 out of 5 dogs isn't too bad. Even our little one pushes with all he's got until he makes it through the door.
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PROJECTS: Recycle
Because we have basically started all over again, acquiring "stuff" for the house, we have accumulated many, many cardboard boxes. I've looked at Pinterest and it's amazing what you can do with cardboard. If you layer and construct property, you can actually make furniture!
Since I have 3 garages, I have plenty of space to save all this cardboard. Unfortunately, brown recluse spiders love to make their home in cardboard.

I decided to experiment. Our dogs are having a difficult time getting up on our bed. We placed a plastic drawer by the bed, which works ok, but looks ugly. I thought I try my hand at cardboard construction.
 Two boxes filled with corner styrofoam pieces to cardboard placed upright for stability.
 I have lots of this paper filling. I tore it up and covered the boxes with this and watered down white glue.
Enough completed to try it out. it slipped around when the dogs would step on it, so had to had some rubber stuff to the bottom. Once I'm sure the dogs will use this, I'll cover it up much nicer and you'll never know it's cardboard.

We have 7 acres and 4 acres is probably wooded. I'm determined to make use of any downed trees and branches. I'm starting small, but I'm very happy with my first little project.
Just take a small branch, sand, more sanding until you reach the beautifully bare wood.

The above photo was an afterthought, so this of course is not the same branch, but you can still see the steps. Left is raw wood, middle is taking off the first layer, left is down to bare wood. I did not realize that there is another layer under the bark until I began sanding.
Finished drying towel rack. I'll also use this to dry ziplock bags when I reuse them. I get a great sense of satisfaction from making something from "nothing".
I think this is where the blog will be heading toward...my projects.
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BOOK REVIEW:
314 Crescent Manor314 Crescent Manor by M.  Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This took a long time for me to read. I did not look forward to reading it. It did not take me away...
But it held my interest because it was so odd! So I plodded through.
One event changes the ways things are for a building with a life of it's own. Evil escalates, and causes bizarre things to happen to the buildings tenants. Can things be made right again? Well, maybe not right, but just different.
What am I talking about? Exactly. That's how I feel about the book. I ended with "Huh?".


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Insanity

CONTENTS
PETS
RV PRODUCT REVIEW
TENNESSEE LIFE
BOOK REVIEW
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PETS:
What did I expect? Something different this time around?
Through some rescue contacts, I found out about an "oops" litter from a reputable Gordon Setter breeder. The oops was simply the coupling too early. Ahhh, when nature calls, a dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do! That is why anyone with "just a pet" should spay and neuter their animals.
So we are the proud parents of an 8 week old (as of this writing, 3 month old) Gordon Setter puppy.
What the hell was I thinking??????  Are we insane???Puppies are a lot a work. I must have been temporarily insane to agree to get a puppy again!
 It was sort of a thank you gift to Scott for putting up with my rescue work and taking in homeless dogs. Scott loves puppies, I prefer older dogs.
So that makes for the pitter patter of 10 feet besides Scott & myself. In case you can't calculate, that is FIVE dogs. Yep, RVing is over for a while. Sigh.
Since we've had the puppy about a month now, much progress has been made. I was hoping for a puppy like our Flat Coated Retriever, Chance. He was house trained in 3 days. Nope, not this one. I am so glad we do not have carpeting!!!! He is 90% house trained. At least he makes it to the mudroom, which is on the way out.
We named him Ryan. Sort of a tribute to Scott's "heart dog", Ryley. Ryley had eye problems since age 3. He went blind at 9 yrs old. His opthamologist, Petra called him "Ry, Ry". I have started calling Ryan, Ry Ry. I also call him Ryan Rue Roo! I sometimes rue the day I agreed to bring him home and he roos, as is a Setter trait.
Ryley as a pup

Ryley as an Irish Setter breed ambassador
Well, we may have been insane to get a puppy again and expect it to be easier this time, but we know once he matures a little in a couple of years, we'll have a wonderful dog.
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RV'ing Product Review:
When planning our route we would use many resources...Good Sam trip planner, Google Earth, &
RV Trip Wizard,  $39.00 per year
My rating 4 out of 5
I tend to be the frugal half of this relationship. I would not have paid the membership fee for this service. But Scott has. Yes, we still have "our own money", plus "joint money". Since he paid for it, I have enjoyed the benefits. You enter your start and destination. RV Trip Wizard maps the route, but also includes the RV parks/Campgrounds along the way. They include Good Sam, Escapees, KOA, etc. as well as private parks. It does save time to have the parks already listed in the area instead of having to search the net for nearby campgrounds. Although I've had great luck with mapping our route on Google Earth and just picking towns we want to stop near and use RV Park Reviews.
RV Trip Wizard will be featured on the Discovery channel on Nov. 18, 2014 on the show "Trending Today".
I must admit, that I would not pay close to $40. for a trip planning program. I would just do the research myself, but having the use of it has been very very convenient.
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TENNESSEE LIFE, missing F/T RV lifestyle:
Did anyone notice, the new title under our blog title? "Sweet Asylum living in TN". I'm calling our homestead "Sweet Asylum". We escaped NJ and have found sweet Asylum in TN.
Adjusting to TN life has been easy, but in a way, surreal. I keep thinking we are going to hop back in our RV and take off. That this is just a "snowbird" stop.
I've been feeling quite melancholy. I want it all and right now I can't. Mainly because Scott is not one to leave the house unoccupied. Sure, it would be very difficult with 5 dogs, but people do it! We'd have to research RV parks that would allow 5 dogs on one site.
I see commercials of beautiful scenery out West. When in the RV, I would say, "we've been there". Now that we are settled in a house, I wonder if we'll ever be that way again.
I do believe we stopped full time RV'ing too early. Three years flew by. I feel we failed because we did not see the Upper Peninsula. We should have gone along with our plan to not look for a house until the fall. Oh well. I am happy, just somewhat melancholy. I'm not part of that special group of F/T RV'rs. I'm just a "normal" person.
Our 5th wheel has been neglected. We've only been in there to take things out. Well today, I gave a pep talk to our traveling home. Every time I go in the RV, it has a unique smell. No it does not smell of dog, or dust etc. It does have a special RV odor and it brings back so many good memories and feelings of contentment and HOME. I still feel that the RV is our home and the house is just temporary. In time, it will reverse, but the adjustment is taking a while. I gave our Rv a good sweep. I took my time and enjoyed thinking of the happy times we spent in this small traveling home. I never named "her", but she has been very good to us. Thank you Missy Silverback.
I've already started putting it in Scott's head that in 10-15 years, we may do this all over again...our "last hoorah!" before moving into a retirement community. We'll be about 70 yrs old. Maybe travel for a year or two in an RV and then settle down into our final senior living place.

It's sad that I take websites off my toolbar like RV Park Reviews. I used to use that regularly. My stomach gets all knotted up and I almost go into panic mode realizing we are not going to be traveling for a long while. That part of our life is over. Planning to F/T for 6+ years, and actually doing it and now it's over. Yep, melancholy.

Our neighbors invited us over to take a walk through their property to see the 80 acre lake.
View from neighbor's property
I still have not seen the lake from our property. We're still waiting for the foliage to drop to make way for easier trail blazing. The forest area has thinned and we are able to see a glimmer of the lake from our back porch. We hope to clear enough for a view of the lake year round.
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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW:
Mean StreakMean Streak by Sandra Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can't say this was an exciting book, until near the end. But, the mystery man/kidnapper really intrigues! Is he good or bad? What is his background? Should we like him or hate him? Is he a sexy hero? Is he a sexy criminal? Well, bottom line, he's sexy, which of course held my interest.The questions gripped me and kept me listening. I wanted to know his story!
A well to do woman, from her dead parent's inheritance is quite the philanthropist. She is a practicing Dr. even though she does not need to work. She donates money and organizes fundraisers for causes close to her heart. How did she end up with this mystery man? Should she be afraid of him? She isn't. Why won't he let her go home?
Yep, lots of questions to keep you interested until the end.





Sunday, September 28, 2014

Failures

CONTENTS
PETS & Dog Rescue
BOOK REVIEWS

Oh what did we do?
PETS:
Scott, Lou in lap, Ella by his side

Well, we decided to adopt Lou & Ella. This is what rescue calls "foster failure", which should not be used in a negative sense. It simply means we opened up not only our home, but our heart to a dog (or two) in need, in hopes of finding an adopter for them. But sometimes, they work deep into your heart and you can't let them go. Therefore, you failed at fostering, because you didn't find a new home for them. But of course, they have found our home and that is a positive. So, we've doubled our pack within about only 2 months of settling down.
Other past foster failures...Sophie, Pillsbury (both now deceased).
My heart is with the older dogs. I think this is where my maternal instincts lie/lay?. I never wanted human children and thankfully never had a "accident" (in my opinion). I love the stoic demeanor of the senior dogs. They somehow seem to appreciate the care I give them.

If you're not interested in dog rescue, you can skip over this of course. But this is just ONE  dog's story. This is what Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue does. We get so many heartworm positive dogs also. Our adoption fees do not cover the cost of health care for the dogs that come in to our rescue, so we depend on generous donations. Donations can be made through our PayPal account or by check sent to our Treasurer (email me for address).

The County Judge would not authorize the shelter to spend any additional money on the dog after they found out she is diabetic; in fact, he ordered her to be put down. Thank goodness they did not listen. 
I picked Sophia up today and she looked worse than I expected. When I got her to the vet clinic 2 Dr.'s immediately rushed to her side along with 2 tech.'s. They stated that she was the 2nd worst they had seen since the practice began.  She should be around 45 to 50 pounds but she is currently only 27 pounds. (When I began fostering her, she was about 30 pounds. She was up to 52 pounds when I finally adopted her) Her blood sugar is high, over 400, but they are most concerned about her liver. Her liver is not functioning properly. They said that it could be due to being extremely malnourished. Sophia is every bit the sweetheart they said she was. 
Her spine seems to stick out 2 inches above her back and her skin is draped over her ribs. It was all I could do to hold it together. Thanks to you all, we really saved her life. She could not hold out much longer without serious medical attention. To be honest, she looked like a dead, dog that has been killed on the side of the road--she is just still moving

Below is a video of Sophie after she regained her health.


Pillsbury was my "heart" dog. We had him 1 day and couldn't let him go. We adopted him at 7 years old. We called him the Gentle Giant. He was a large Irish Setter. He came to us at 105 pounds. We got him down to 95 pounds which was an appropriate weight for his size. He was very TALL. And so so sweet.
Watching the squirrels
Pillsbury was our Irish Setter Rescue ambassador. He would go up to people and lean in for pets. Because he was so large, hairy and such long ears, he drew a lot of attention.

In 2011, we lost both the Irish Setter pictured above. The one in the background was our Ryley, who died of bone cancer and Pillsbury in the foreground, died of a burst stomach tumor or something like that.

During Pillsbury's last year of life, he lost all feeling in his hind legs from Degenerative Myelopathy. Many German Shepherds suffer from this disease. The good news is that it is not painful to the dog. Pillsbury needed to be lifted into the doggie cart, he also had to wear diapers. I used a human type of incontinence pad which worked great. Purchasing those adult diapers I guess was preparing me for my possible future?
In January of 2011, we had our 5th wheel and truck purchased for our plan to Full Time in July of that same year. We planned to bring our blind Irish Setter, Ryley, our lame Irish Setter, Pillsbury and our deaf English Setter, Lyla. We would somehow make this work. But they both died unexpectedly prior to our full time adventure. Ryley did make it on our maiden weekend voyage though and Lyla is still with us.
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BOOK REVIEW:
21 Tales21 Tales by Dave Zeltserman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Never heard the term "noir genre" until reading this book's reviews. Oh please, be down to earth and call it "dark". On to review.
I must admit I did not finish this book. Not because it wasn't good, simply that I have come to realize, I don't like short stories. I will search out a full length book of Zeltersman to try.
Melki's review was spot on, so I have just pasted it.

Here's a fun collection of crime/noir/suspense and paranormal tales.

- A stolen fortune cookie messes up one man's fate.

- A writer takes care of his pest problem for good.

- One man deliberately gives bad advice to his fellow bar patrons.

- The desire to keep a Beacon Hill apartment becomes a treacherous struggle.

- A man attempts to scam the Nigerian Prince internet scammers.

Zeltserman is quite skilled at writing stories about people trying to screw other people. He concocts great dialogue, inserts plenty of laughs and frequently pulls it all together with a delightful twist at the end. Watch a master at work as he manages to pull off a double, triple and even a quadruple cross. The stories keep you on your toes as you're never sure who will end up with the money and who will end up dead. Good stuff!


The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #2)The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Molly Harper's series are ALWAYS good for an easy light hearted paranormal romantic comedy. I've read a number of her books and have NEVER been disappointed.
These stories are nothing deep and dark, but a lot of sarcasm about werewolves living among and even having very close happy relationships with humans.

Desert Mornings - Tales of Coffee, Cactus & ChaosDesert Mornings - Tales of Coffee, Cactus & Chaos by Kathleen Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice light reading with your morning cup of coffee. While visiting the Southwestern part of the US, we met the author at a book signing and decided to purchase who book.
An easy read about life in the Southwest and some funny things that have happened along the way. She can be somewhat sarcastic, which I enjoy.







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