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.







Friday, September 12, 2014

All kinds of Critters


RV'ing:
Can't really call this section "RV LIFE" anymore. Who know when we'll take our RV on a road trip again. By the end of September, we'll have FIVE dogs! I TOLD you that would happen! Shouldn't be any surprise to Great Escape blog followers.
But, I'd still like to keep some kind of section about RV'ing.
It is a very melancholy feeling to unsubscribe from some RV newsletters or delete the emails without bothering to look at them. There was a time when I sucked in all the info I could. Fulltime RV'ing was a constant learning process and modifying the RV to make it more livable and comfortable. I was also trying to learn about odd places to visit or great farm markets or restaurants. All that is unimportant now because the chances of actually going there are low. Here are some of the items I used to subscribe to.
Camping World This is the go to store for newbies. After a while, you can find RV supplies from other resources, but Camping World has sales, a wide selection, etc.
Good Sam Good Sam club is now linked with Camping World. As a Good Sam Member, I believe you get discounts at Camping World, 10% discounts at participating RV parks, Emergency Road Service available, which we had. Used it once and was satisfied with the service.
RV plus card To get an RV Plus credit card, you need to be a Good Sam member. This is a GREAT credit card. It is a gas/diesel credit card only for Flying J and Pilot. You not only get a discount for using the card, but by using the card, you also get the cash price at the pump. Our latest bill was ZERO. While fulltiming, our diesel charges were as much as our current mortgage payment!
Escapees  Escapees is great for full timer's. I'm not sure of the benefit for recreational RV'rs. 15% discount at participating RV parks. Only about $15. per night at Escapees/Rainbow RV parks. We also used their wonderful mail service as our address and mail forwarding.
KOA  I won't bother with the link. This is an ok membership. You get a discount at KOA's, but KOA's have become super expensive, so we usually avoided them.
RVillage I was thrilled when this site opened on the web this past year. My main interest was to find out where fellow RV'rs were. You can list where you are currently staying and others in the park can see that and message you via RVillage. Unfortunately, since it was only in the beginning stages, I did not have much use of it. I'm sure as it grows, it will be a wonderful resource, to find fellow RV'ers with similar interests, park reviews, etc.
GoPetFriendly Traveling with two permanent dogs and a couple of times picking up a stray dog, Go Pet Friendly is an informative site letting you know where dog parks are, what sight seeing places allow dogs, whether a place is safe or fun for dogs, etc.
RV Life Magazine You may have seen this large sized magazine free at many RV parks. It's an interesting read with info on places to see.
Roadtreking RV Newsletter I've really enjoyed Mike's newsletter. He is a journalist and does quite a bit of long term RV'ing in his Roadtrek with his wife and dog. Even though they RV differently in a small glorified van, he does visit interesting places and also has news items about RV interests, whether it be crime, RV accidents, safety, etc. A very informative newsletter that I used to enjoy.
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COUNTRY LIFE:
Scott is still "enjoying" mowing the lawn. He just pops his headphones on and saddles up on his John Deere riding mower. Two hours later, he's done. Oh how he used to complain about mowing our 80' x 40' lawn with a self propelled push mower. It took all of 1/2 hour! That used to drive me crazy! He'd come in after mowing and blow out his breath,like he was so tired from a long day's work. I guess it was all about pushing/walking as to riding that makes the difference.

We are finding all kinds of critters around here. Deer sometimes in the front yard, although the dogs have pretty much frightened them away. Sigh.

Lots of big black crows picking dinner from the front lawn. There seems to always be about a dozen and only come around about 5-6pm & sometimes in the morning.

My first encounter with the Blue tailed skink or five-lined skink was while working camping at Four Paws Kingdom RV Park in Rutherfordton, NC. I thought these little guys were beautiful! Well, we have them scurrying around our deck, cement walkway, and garage. They don't seem to cause any trouble, so I enjoy the flashes of bright blue as I walk around.

We also have some kind of dragon fly that flit around while we are on our walkway. I thought they needed to be near the water. Again, these guys don't seem to cause any trouble and they are beautiful with their large multicolored wings.

Scott has put up 3 hummingbird feeders and all are being used. I sit on the couch and look out our window and the hummingbird feeder and thistle feeder are within view.

Currently there is a praying mantis keeping the hummingbirds away from the feeder.
Are these Goldfinches?
As I was performing my nightly routine in the bathroom, I noticed something out of sorts in the bathtub. I look, I look again, and "Sccccotttttt?"

What the...? How the...? Where the...? Very cool, but how DID it get in the house? There must be a gap somewhere!

Poor thing was so scared when Scott was trying to capture it, he pooped all over the tub! Damn! We don't even use this tub. Now I have to clean it!

Now for the more creepy crawlies. Of course there are ticks around. As I'm clearing the backwoods, I do bring home a couple. So far they've been the larger dog ticks...still yucky, but easier to find. Luckily, they prefer the overgrown areas outside our fence, so the dogs have not had a problem with ticks.

As we do our "poop patrol" in the yard, we've come across...YUCK! EW! I'll never walk barefoot again!!!! Yes, you could say that about the piles of poop we clean up, but that can be washed off. But oh no...
 
These guys are beautiful in their own way, but still kind of creepy since they are so large, about 3" long!
and...

Eeeeek! Now that is creeeeeepy! We have no idea what kind of spider. He was only about 1/2' long, but still, I wouldn't want to step on him!
Different strokes for different folks...or dogs. Devin loves all the critters around.


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BROWSING THE WWW:
MEETUP
This is a good place to start if you are looking for like minded people to get together with. I found a Social meet up in Jackson, which is the closest larger city in the area. I was hoping to meet local people who would be a wealth of info about the area. Unfortunately, in this case, the group is much younger than me and are looking for people to socialize/date with. I went bowling with one 20 something girl. Very sweet girl, but she was only here for the summer, so no local info from her. Last night I went to dinner with 5 other people. The oldest being 33 years old. All single.
In NJ, where it is more populated, you find meetups for all kinds of things, from specific crafts, to dog breeds, to wine makers, etc.
I'm glad I signed up, but it hasn't been very helpful. At least it got me to try a new restaurant.
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RESTAURANT REVIEW:
Sakura Japanese - Jackson, TN
I can't rate since I don't like sushi. But according to Yelp, their sushi is very good.
I went here with a group from Meetup. I was the "old lady" of the group, but we all got along fine and enjoyed trying new items.
SAKE to you!

Sunset roll

Sakura is well know for the excellent sushi. I will say the presentation is impressive. But you will have to rely on other's reviews, since all I had was the scallop fried rice. Very good fried rice, but nothing that I would make a special trip to order again. Very stingy on the scallops. Basically one or maybe 2 scallops sliced on top of the rice.







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BOOK REVIEW:
She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum StoryShe Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story by Rhonda Cornum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not an action packed book. Nor is it a book about being tortured as a POW. It is simply a dedicated army doctor that loves her job and her country. We read about how she went from private research to join the army and follower her career through different areas of army life. Ms. Cornum does not want special treatment being a woman in the army. She takes pride in her work in what ever area she is assigned and will fulfill her responsibility.
She was highly respected among both male and female fellow military.
It was very interesting to read of her strong mind set and how she compartmentalizes to deal with what is at hand and not waste time worrying over what she cannot change.
To read of the bonds formed by having the common thread of their freedom taken away and how it was dealt with.
Interesting read.
On a personal note: I found out about this book because Ms. Cornum is a breeder of Gordon Setters, of which I am getting one of hers.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW:
Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

How sad that I've grown to dislike this series. Books #1-5 were probably in my top 10 list of best books I've read. I was obsessed with the series. All 5 star ratings. By book #6, still a great book, but rating dropped to 4 stars. Books #7 & 8...only 1 star. This last book, I couldn't even finish. I returned it to audible for a credit.
Maybe it's my simple mind. I just could not keep up with the concurrent past and present time lines. Then to add to that, the family has grown, so we have the original character Claire and Jamie, but complicated by a 2nd husband. Claire's daughter Brianna is grown with her own hubby and children. Brianna is in the present, but her husband is in the past. Claire is in the past, but her 1st husband is dead, or is he? I couldn't keep all the characters straight and the past and present going on at the same time. Yep, I must be simple minded. I'm sure others would thoroughly enjoy this. Good exercise for the brain!
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CRAFTS:
September is a month of much knitting. I've joined FOUR knit a longs, three of which are mysteries. And out of the four projects, I only bought yarn for one. The other 3 I'm using from my stash.
Updates to follow.

Our Travels