Sunday, December 28, 2014

Greetings from Oregon

Nope, we're not in Oregon. But we might as well be with the weather here in Tennessee. We have only had two days of sunshine in the past couple of weeks it seems. Rain, dreary, overcast, more rain. Muddy floors, chill that I can't get rid of.

My mood is definitely being controlled by the weather. I'm blah. I need a nice, soft, comfy, warm bathrobe to wrap around me. That is another item I purged for the RV lifestyle. A bulky bathrobe took up too much room in the closet. I sure miss it now. One of these days, I'll go into the larger town to a higher quality store than Walmart and get a thick bathrobe.

With faceplate
Our heat pump is running all the time, yet I'm still chilled. We have a large fireplace that we've been enjoying many fires, but it is definitely an energy waster. We had a roaring fire the other night, but the room didn't go above 71°. We are going back and forth about a wood stove. Do we sacrifice the beauty of a roaring fire for the efficiency of a wood stove? Wood stoves have come a long way and have more glass area for a better view of the fire. The wood stove, accessories, and installation will run between $4000. - $5000. Ugh! It will take us about 5 years to start seeing the savings. But the house will be toasty in the Winter. Is it cold enough here for a wood stove? We rarely get below freezing here so far.

Rustic without faceplate

Another question...should Scott install the chimney tube part? I just assumed we would pay for installation. I am at a stage in my life, that I'd rather just pay someone to do it for us. Scott still considers it a doable challenge that will give him a sense of satisfaction. My thoughts are we're dealing with fire, high temps, etc. I don't want our house burning down or being smoked out. Leave it to the pros.

Opinions please: Do you prefer the wood stove with a faceplate above or more rustic on the left. I THINK I like the more rustic.

Christmas as with really all holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. is a non-event for us. We stopped exchanging gifts and now even cards years ago. I don't feel cheated. I don't feel unloved. I don't feel unappreciated. We both feel relieved to not have the pressure of having to buy gifts. Again, we are at that point in our lives where if we want something, we just go get it. What can we give each other for Christmas, etc? Love is enough.  If anyone feels bad for us, then just pretend that the bedroom chests I bought were a gift to Scott.

Another mail order purchase. We love our 2 chest of drawers, made from cedar. These items were purchase from JHE's Log Furniture Place.

With all the free wood on our land, I'm hoping to be creative. I've got a scroll saw. I just purchased wood carving tools and a "draw blade". A draw blade is a blade that you pull along the raw tree to remove the bark. I don't plan on doing large projects, just small branches, small creative pieces. We'll see. Right now with the blah weather, I barely get off the couch!

I did make a simple set of bedroom end tables. My goal this time around living in a house is to keep the dust, dirt, clutter under control. That means a lot of vacuuming. Vacuuming means a lot of moving items around. So the less items on the floor the better.

What do you think of my idea? It may not be the best wood working, but it'll do and fulfills it's purpose. We have end tables, without dust collecting behind them or having to move them to vacuum. I am very happy with them.
I took 2 12" x 10' boards, screwed them together, curved the corners, sanded and stained. Slip these under the mattress. The mattress holds the boards and the ends stick out for the table. I hope to add a 2nd tier to the table, but for now, it'll do nicely.
Always With YouAlways With You by Andrea  Hurst
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You get involved with who you shouldn't, the heartache is your own fault. Nip it in the bud.
On and on, sneaking little secret touches, on and on about this is the love of my life, but I can't have him/her.
A romance book and I actually skipped over much of the romance. I was more interested in the workings of the little cafe and what new creations would be served to the customers.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Our 1st Tennessee Christmas

Ho Ho Ho? Bah Humbug.
Christmas morning

I don't think Santa came last night. The cookies were still laid out for him. Or maybe he's full or dieting. Santa dieting? No!
Either way, if it's good enough for Santa, it's good enough for me.
Ahhh, a quiet Christmas morning, with cookies, and coffee in my favorite mug. My parents live at "Lakeview Terrace", so when I drink from this mug, I always think of Mom & Dad.

I am enjoying Christmas in a house rather than in New Mexico in an RV like last year. I am shocked at how severe I was in my purging of our stuff in NJ. I swear Scott forgot some things from the storage unit. But in reality, I think I just really was bold in my purging. We have very little Christmas items left. I am desperately trying to keep it that way. While out shopping for Christmas tree lights, I saw so many cutesy things for Christmas home decorating. NO! The more you buy, the more you need to store, the more you need to display, the more cluttered it will look.
KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid! 
We have no need for outdoor lights or decorations. You can't see our house and yard from the street and that's the way we like it. We have 5 large dogs, so that's enough "clutter" around the house.
I have managed to just purchase a Christmas Tree for $20.00, Christmas Tree lights at Walmart for $9.00 and a table runner at the thrift store for $2.00. That's it. If I want anything else, it will be crafted with items on hand.

How different Christmas is here. First, since we are away from the larger towns, the only place to really shop is Walmart and it is hardly ever overcrowded. There were only two places to buy live Christmas Trees...Walmart or Tractor Supply. A couple of days after we purchased our tree from Tractor Supply (cheaper than Walmart), I stopped at Walmart and they had already drastically reduced their tree prices. The trees originally $30. were reduced to $5.00!!! Damn!

In NJ, every other corner, masses of Christmas Trees were being sold. No tree under $29.99 and most in the $40.-$50. range. In NJ, store parking lots were so full, you had to wait for an open spot. I really love living here in a quiet part of Tennessee.
All but the center one hand made by me.
What's Christmas without a gaudy Christmas sweater/sweatshirt?
Cold FearCold Fear by Rick Mofina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I looked forward to my time when I could read further into this book.
The book keeps you thinking. What is the monster? Is Mom crazy? Is Dad a child killer?
Reading about the upper Montana area was interesting also. This was one of the places we missed during our RV travels.
A little romance, a lot of suspense, suspicion.
Even better, a 4 star book was a free kindle download!

Crave (Fire and Ice, #1)Crave by Violet Vaughn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely a young adult book. But so what? I'm a young adult in my heart. Some steamy, somewhat explicit sex scenes. I really enjoyed all the characters in this book. Most were likeable and the ones that weren't, is because that is how they were supposed to be portrayed. No silly teenage flirty crap. This is more of a mid to late 20's romance. They are mature enough to not play silly games, but young enough to have the times of their lives. At a time in their lives that they are thinking of the future also.
Set in a ski town in Colorado, much of the subject is about skiing, and the lifestyle of ski instructors. Light reading, enjoyable. Another free Kindle download.

Dark PlacesDark Places by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not an exciting book, but I definitely enjoyed reading it. Narrator did an excellent job.
A young woman that has been living off the proceeds of her family's murder, has finally come to the end of the cash cow.
She resorts to selling family memorabilia, and giving talks to murder "fan clubs". But in so doing, questions arise as to who really killed her family 20 years ago. In opening up the long ago sealed family items, questions arise and the search of the past begins.
A fairly dark book, with sad characters, but the mystery of & search for who killed her family makes for interesting reading.

Death DealerDeath Dealer by Ashley Robertson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A quick read. Free kindle download.
A different approach than the other paranormal books I've read. I like the take on the grim reaper or guide to heaven or hell, but enough wasn't explained in the beginning.
I still can't figure out if the death dealers are alive or dead or in between like vampires. A little bit more of an explanation into how they evolve into Death Dealers would have been nice. Since this is #1 in the series, I can't use the excuse I skipped the first book.
Nice little romance, with some hot intimate scenes.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Accept the inevitable impending hardship and endure the resulting pain with fortitude.
My Father sent me an email...
"Your Mom & I miss your "Blog" since October 29; what's up?  Love you, Dad" 
I was going to title this blog "Bite the Bullet". The blog is on my mind often, but I just find myself and my life not very interesting anymore. I have to keep reminding myself, that this blog is for me as much as it is for friends and family.
And really, the blog is not a hardship, but it is not as enjoyable as it once was.
It seems every time I post now, I'm trying to explain myself. I'm sorry.

While I was outside on "poop patrol" (cleaning the yard of poop), and Scott was laying stonework, we heard an unusual sound. I went to investigate. As I got closer, I recognized the sound. It was something burning! Oh crap! Then I heard voices. I walked a little closer to the sound and a Pit Bull came after me, I mean greeted me. Yep, even a dog lover like me is cautious around certain dogs. Ends up the Pitty was a sweety. So I've now met another neighbor. He was burning the edge of the corn field to get rid of the overgrowth. Yep, part of living in the country. Nice guy. His Father built our house.

I'm in nesting mode. Last year I was somewhat depressed, because the weather was so frigid and I don't enjoy cold weather RV'ing. I DO look forward to RV'ing again. I just don't know how we'll do it with so many dogs!!!!

I've found myself purchasing for two households. It really bothers me to buy duplicates of items. I still have a clear memory of purging 22 years of stuff out of our house in NJ to prepare for full time RV'ing. I purchased two alarm clocks. We've been using the one from the RV in our bedroom. Well, when we do take the RV out, I don't want to have a long list of items to remember. I want the RV to be occupant ready so we can hitch up and go. So 1 alarm clock is for the master bedroom and the original itty bitty alarm clock can be returned to the RV. The 2nd alarm clock is for the guest bedroom since I've been spending so much time there and have actually had to use the alarm clock. Huh??? There is a comfy king sized bed in the master bedroom and why would I need an alarm clock when I'm retired?
Puppies, that's why!
Anyone following my blog knows I volunteer for A&B English Setter Rescue. A good chunk of my day is dedicated to keeping info organized for the rescue. Well, now that we have a house, I've adopted two English Setters, posted earlier. But, I've somehow had the opportunity to foster one puppy after another.
1st puppy at 8 weeks arrived and stayed about 2 weeks before she was adopted to a family in PA.

She was only an itty bitty thing at 9 pounds, while our Gordon Setter puppy who is only one month older, was 33 pounds.
Because I'm the one fostering and Scott doesn't want to lose sleep with another puppy, I was sent to the guest room for the duration of fostering this pup. Our Irish/English Setter mix, Devin was the only one to join me during my banishment to the guest room. We went through a lot of paper towels and enzyme spray. Neither puppy was fully housebroken yet.
Puppy's new Mom & Dad
The above photos is the good and bad part of fostering. The good in that I was able to save this dog from living in a shelter, or being adopted by someone who doesn't know the breed. The bad, it is so difficult to give them up. She got along beautifully with our dogs, she was a great cuddler too.

No sooner does the 1st foster pup get adopted, I was made aware of a Setter puppy on a site similar to Craig's list. Puppies are highly adoptable, so they are good for our Rescue.  The dog was 3 hours from me, so off I went.
2nd Puppy was one day older than our own puppy. But he had been an outside dog, so no potty training, but luckily our Ryan, has finally become 100% potty trained and uses the doggie door.
1/2 Gordon Setter & 1/2 English Setter

Our pup on left, foster pup on right, recent adopted dog in center.
So I had a few night's sleep in our wonderful Master bedroom and then wham! Back to the guest room on the air mattress.We were very close to keeping this 2nd pup. But we really don't want 6 dogs. We really don't even want 5 dogs, well, we really don't want 4 dogs. I think 3 dogs is the perfect # for us.

Can you picture dinner time with 6 dogs? Even the normal 5 is quite a production.

We go through 30 pounds of food in 2 weeks.

All the dishes are put on the counter. The dogs begin to get excited. Luckily, we have taken the time to train them to hold their excitement. Our puppy Ryan, used to jump up against me to try to get the food. We put an end to that. Now he quietly lays by my feet while I fill the dishes with their food.
I then stack the dishes according to the order they will be served. I need to get the dishes from the kitchen into the mud room where they eat. I don't care if the floor in the mud room gets messy.

Can you find the SIX dogs eating their dinner?
And finally, I put the food bowls down in order. I'm sorry to say the most behaved dogs are fed last. That is because, they are so behaved, they will wait for their bowl to be placed down and not go to the other's bowls beforehand.
Training is the key to a enjoying a dog.
And why did I need an alarm clock? Because I had to get up very early for each of these puppies to go the their new homes. The first pup was adopted by a family in PA. They drove 7 hours and met me in KY, which was a 2.5 hour drive for me. The 2nd pup was going to another foster home (didn't I say I didn't want 6 dogs???) in upstate NY. We have a wonderful volunteer who coordinates a volunteer transport system where many, many volunteers tag team. I drove 2 hours to Nashville, and dropped the pup off to a driver who was then going to drive an hour or two and pass the pup on to the next driver and so on. It takes many volunteers to make dog rescue work.
Last year at this time we were in Deming, NM. We were trying to avoid the cold. Yea, right. Here's a link to photos of what we experienced. I believe this may have been the start of the end of RV'ing. We thought we had planned things out nicely. We were to stay in NM only about 30 miles from Mexico, for 2 months through the Holidays. Good company, decent weather....well at least the company was good.

I wonder if this would have been useful during our winter RV'ing. Yes, there ARE wood stoves made for RV's and boats. Oh, how cozy warm I would have been last Winter...
Here are links to a couple of resources.
Kimberly Wood Stove
Marine Stove
And here is a you tube link of a DIY installation.

24 Hours (Mississippi #2)24 Hours by Greg Iles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book catches your attention from the start and just keeps going.
A kidnapping that last "only" 24 hours, but so much happens in those 24 hours. A climax, then fails and leads to another climax. Suspense, likeable and annoying characters, all which meld together to make a great read.

Big TroubleBig Trouble by Dave Barry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Starts out very confusing. Multiple story lines going on at once. I had a difficult time keeping track of which character was with which storyline. By the middle of the book, I started getting the hang of it and by the end, the book was great. Very much like Carl Hiaasen, with the odd characters, and stupid actions.
I believe this is Dave Barry's first adventure into novel writing. I will look into other books of his hoping that they get better. He's definitely got the knack, just needs some tweaking.
Born to Be WildBorn to Be Wild by Patti Berg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I am red faced and have a silly smirk on my face as I give this free Kindle book FIVE stars. Very sweet Romance about a couple from two different walks of life. Can they make it work? Is she too snooty? Will he be accepted?
Easy reading..."take me away, Calgon" book.
The 5 stars given because it was such an easy read. I enjoyed a few hours cuddled under an afghan with some coffee and this book.

Our Travels