Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

DoG DaYs

And I’m nOt TaLkInG  weather.

It’s still COLDER than a………
Here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains

But in addition to all the tossing and sorting and packing and
Well you know…….

I’m still running every other day
(even in 26 degree weather)

and on a
I went on a LONG walk
with my friend Helen
and her two lovely golden labs

Here’s Helen and Piatt and Paxton
(LOVE that hat Helen)
While we were walking and walking and walking and…..
TrYiNg tO kEEp WaRm

we talked about the trip she is taking
to hike around the Ring of Kerry in

Boy does all that GrEEn look GrEaT and WaRmmmmm

I don’t think Piatt and Paxton get to go
(Shhhh don’t tell)


I absolutely
Y loved Y
when I was there

and the west coast in particular.
I would love to hike for a week
or 10 days or 2 weeks or….
around the Ring of Anything
in Ireland

there’s always those FUND$$$ in the way.

I can’t see the USA in my Chevrolet Winnebago
hike the Ring of Kerry.

More of life’s choices…
I’m particularly lucky to have so many!!

The very next day

my friend Pam brought over
the latest addition to her family to introduce us.

Zach is the elevendybillionth golden retriever
she has had in the 25 years I have known her.

Currently there are Abby 9, Jasmine 6, Caleb 3 and now Zach 1.
Nice spacing for children I told her.
it has actually taken 4 goldens
to fill in
for her 2 grown children Kate and Peter.
But she was and is a wonderful mother to them all.

Now I was AmiSS (shame on me)
 in not getting a pic of the 2
when they were here but
thanks to the
long suffering doggie-daddy
I have this great one of
Pam and her GOLDEN gang.

Hmmm where does doggie daddy sleep???

Now I ask myself


am I

getting enough done
around here?

My life is going to the dogs

That’s why!


You ask.....
(didn’t you??)

What HAVE I been doing
in the wonderful
peace and calm
following my narrow escape
from the Arch Villain Malware?  

practicing making choices.

I have finally  managed to make
all the choices in what to

 and what to
in the clothing department. 
Keeping all shorts and bathing suits –ocean here I come
And my favorite polar fleece (just in case Florida acts up next winter too)

Sure I hope I have weeded out enough. 

Took a  l o n g  time
but wasn’t nearly as hard for me
as packing boxes of books
to be either donated to the local library book sale
or to be stored

depending on how near and dear they are to my 
Donate or store??
Donate or Store??
This is taking FORever!

I know I know….can’t take them all with me….too heavy
but I can’t bring myself to toss them all either. 
And I’m having a hard time with the choices. 
I have a huge personal library that I also
Here’s one of the twenty bookcases that have to be emptied.
Some built in, some stand alone……..
Lots of them really do have empty shelves, just not this one YET

So the moral of the story is I’ll
 take my best and leave the rest
for my daughter to do.
As you can see from this picture taken on the day she was sworn in to the Maryland Bar,
She won’t have nearly as
much trouble as I’m having.  
Actually She won’t have
any trouble at all……..
and anyway
isn’t that why we have children
to ultimately pick up after us
for a change???

Today's Episode

And so we return to our saga of  yesterday where the
beautiful young heroine  was
very unhappy

As the result of an attack by the
Arch Villain 

Monsieur Malware

Beautiful young heroine  steps into Vicki's Secret closet and steps out as SUPERHEROINE

She fights valiantly with every weapon at her disposal

to no avail.

But wait..............here comes  her superhero
to save the day

Handsome isn't he??

In a flash
 he starts up in safe mode,
slays that INTSEC
and after FIVE days of warfare
all is once  again well in Blogville.

 Hooray !!!!!!!!!


I’ve been totally absorbed in fighting off the enemy.   Yes that’s right.  I was innocently typing along, doing I can’t remember what,  when this
flashed upon my screen

I’ve worked in IT long enough to know that no matter how “official” this looks, it’s Malware.  I quick hit the panic button and slammed the laptop shutdown.

But alas not in time.   The bugger had my machine in its grips

and I spent from 6pm to 11pm on Sunday night and from 9am to 4pm on Monday doing little else than investigating all the info on this thing and trying to get rid of it.  Yes that’s a total of 12 FRUSTRATING hours and if felt exactly like some of my
days in the past.  And that ain’t a good thing.

BEWARE – IS2011  turns off Windows Restore so that’s not a possibility AND it disables Internet Explorer which makes investigating the problem a real inconvenience.   Should have had a 2nd Browser I know, I know, but Firefox has been even more trouble than IE for me in the past.

Bit by bit and little by little I banished the beast and everything seemed normal until I tried to post this blog.   Blogger.com would not come up….”Internet explorer cannot display the webpage” I was told.

And SO I spent the next 6 hours going through all the security settings, googling for advice and finding that the gmail logon page would also not load.   Everything else I tried

all the blogs I read on blogspot
including my own
would come up
but not blogger.com or gmail.com.

Launching IE without plugins did nothing to help.  Neither did running Microsoft Security Essentials in safe mode.

SO I’m posting this from our friendly library’s computer since I cannot bring up blogger even NOW on my own. 
Am I REALLY going to have to hire someone to fix this for me after working 20 years in IT??

Just How Mad am I?

I wonder if this has the makings of a blockbuster hit….
Attack of the Killer INSEC.
Should I start writing the script while I wait for one of you brilliant folks to send me an idea I haven’t tried yet or do I use the RV Tire money (GASP)  to pay someone?  What do you think?

(with BIG kudos to Nellie for inspiration and helping me see the laughs in this two days ago after I thought I had it fixed.  Not  funny at all just now)

More Birthdays

 Sometime in 2009  my neighbor, Diane, gave recipe cards with matching envelopes from a group she'd had leftover from a work project to all the members of our neighborhood book club.  They were very cool and I wondered for a long time, how I would use them. Aren’t the envelopes great?

Then later that year, for the holiday in December of 2009, another friend, Martha, got together with David on the sly.  He provided a recipe card and she made this apron with an actual print of the pie crust recipe my mother could never teach me to do correctly but David learned perfectly.  (a better learner?  More willing?)  Anyway the pie crusts with spelt flour are as flaky as Betty Crocker, but the really wonderful thing is that the recipe card on the apron is in my mother’s handwriting. It is an exact copy.  The gift was particularly special for me because my mother died of ALS in 1988 and I miss her every single day.   The apron is a standard size but the wearer is size small so the recipe is down just above her knees rather than up just below her waist. J

That gift helped me to know just what to do with the recipe cards.  So this past February 7th for my daughter’s 30th birthday I gave her the gift of  a  recipe per month sent to her on the 7th of every month of her 30th year.  She would then have a dozen recipes in her mother’s handwriting where as I had only a couple.   This week I sent off the 12th of these gifts.  It has been fun for us both and I’m very happy I did it.  #13 of the baker’s dozen will go to her on her 31st birthday February 7th.  Yes it's true, a birthday in December, one in January and one in February.

But today was David’s birthday.   Our family has all of its parties during the bleak winter time.  Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, New Years, David’s birthday,  Carrie’s birthday and then we’re pretty much out of parties for the next 9 months.  An additional downside to that is no more excuses for moist yummy chocolate cakes with butter cream icing.  But after two cakes in December, one in January and one in February if Carrie should come home, it’s probably time for a break from cake.  J

But today was cake day again and here I am whipping it up dressed appropriately and dancing along to the sound track of Mama Mia.  Those Abba songs can definitely get you stirring!

All decorated (using the term VERY loosely) and ready to go.

If you have your birthday with us, you get to be Royalty for a day.  Do anything you want, have anyone do anything for you, cook anything for you etc.   David chose to play racquetball and because he liked the December home made pizza so well, he wanted another and of course cake for dinner.   Nice and nutritious birthday dinner don’t you think?

Dough getting ready to be oiled for rising

Pizza going in the oven on the pizza stone.   Looks GREAT! We actually made two so we'd have leftovers.  We ate all of this one with no problem at all.

After the consumption of all those carbs and calories, YUM, it was on to opening gifts.  Well one gift since we are taking things out and trying not to add more.  He had no idea what was in the big box.

Usually birthday gifts are always “winter things” since you can’t buy anything else in December, January and February.  But this year I planned ahead.

But here it is.   A cart for his kayak so we each can tote our own down to the many, many rivers and lakes we will be visiting SOON.   I have one already since I’m the major kayaker and so we've been making two trips when we needed to tote them, but no more.

Now that we are planning an entirely new unconventional life, I think it’s time for me to change my birthday to the June one I've always wanted.   Don’t you?  So in 2011 my birthday will be moved to June 7.  Maybe David will like that so well he will change his to July 8 so that I can still be the elder and wiser one.  J

Have you ever wanted to or actually moved your birthday? 


Other than the holidays, I’ve done very little posting.  Most days are taken up with the work necessary to get back on the road and as much reading as I can squeeze in.  So today I decided to write about some of that reading and the thinking it has initiated. 

I’ve been thinking about the idea of a New Year and why it bothers me that it is so arbitrary a date.  I haven’t “celebrated” New Year’s Eve in years and always think with gratitude about the whole circle and cycle starting over on the date the days get longer.  That’s when I always want to “begin again”, “do things better” or  make too many “resolutions” that I can’t keep up with.

So this year I determined that I would learn something from the past and only make two resolutions.  And those were to get the things done that must be in order to get back on the road and to be happy.  But in the way that so many things seem to serendipitously happen in my life, a book on resolutions showed up about 10 days before January 1st.

Now it wasn’t totally serendipitous I guess since I am a voracious reader and a heavy library user when I’m in this town.  When I left for the long 90th birthday trip I had to cancel all the books I had “on hold” since I wouldn’t be here to get them.   But I wrote the titles down in a file on my desktop thinking I might find them in a used bookshop or in a park swap basket.  And when I came got back to deal with the furnace, I used the list to put them all back on hold.   They came in one at a time and I read them.  I always have one fiction and one non fiction (usually environmental literature) going at the same time but I seldom read “self help” 

And I suppose that’s what the one I’m writing about, The Happiness Project, would be classified as. 

 It’s what some critics have come to call “stunt non fiction” where someone does something for a year and writes a book about it.  A Year of Reading Proust and Eat, Pray Love are recent popular titles in this “genre”.  In this case,  the author, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor,  was motivated by, among other things, Aristotle’s quotation “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”. She says “Aristotle declared happiness to be the summum bonum, the chief good; people desire other things, such as power or wealth or losing ten pounds, because they believe they will lead to happiness, but their real goal is happiness.”   I guess that’s what has propelled me, and perhaps most of those who do, to want to fulltime; the belief that it leads to increased happiness.  But the book made me wonder, are there other changes, less drastic, that would also increase happiness??

Like her I’m not UNhappy.  And I don’t know that I particularly thought what I wanted was to be “happier” but her book certainly has me thinking, particularly about those hard to keep resolutions.  Over the year, she worked out methods to make and keep resolutions in her desire to see if she could be happier and change her life without changing her life but with the goal of improving her quality of life and the quality of life of those around her.  I do agree that everyone is happier around a happy person.

Her system definitely worked for her and apparently for many others who, according to their posts on her web site, have tried it in the more than year since the book came out.   I haven’t  figured out exactly which of her ideas I’m going to use but I found the book very interesting especially the idea of improving one’s life without changing it.

Moving your life out of a Stix and Brix home and onto 6 or 8 wheels is certainly big change but this book is more about inner change and its reflection in how one “is”.  I like the idea of both the inner and outer changes complimenting each other.  A very thought provoking read, at least for me.  Stay tuned.  Not sure what will happen next or if this will become one of those fallen by the wayside resolutions. J