Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Wish

As we all prepare to celebrate the magic of Christmas, a song by Rascal Flatts from their album entitled “Me and My Gang” expresses perfectly how Jim and I feel about all of our family and friends.  It’s not really a Christmas song, but it seems to fit today and we wanted to share it with you:

“My Wish” (Steve Robson, Jeffrey Steele)

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,

And each road leads you where you want to go.

And if you’re faced with the choice and you have to choose,

I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.

And if one door opens to another door closed,

I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window.

If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.

But more than anything, more than anything,

My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to.

Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,

You never need to carry more than you can hold.

And while you’re out there gettin’ where you’re gettin to,

I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things too,

Yeah, this is my wish.

I hope you never look back but you never forget

All the ones who love you and the place you left.

I hope you always forgive and you never regret,

And you help somebody every chance you get.

Oh, you find God’s grace in every mistake,

And always give more than you take.

This is my wish.

I hope you know somebody loves you!

We wish each of you a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It’s Winter!

ellie 008 We’ve passed the winter solstice, which means that we will soon celebrate Christmas, New Year’s, and then start the march towards Spring.   I love being where we are, being together, our quiet days and slower pace.  But I also miss family and all the chaos that goes along with the busy times.  We will celebrate Christmas day with our friends who live in the area, and their family, after we have our own celebration here.

Jim is progressing quite well after his major dental ordeal.  He is up to eating soft foods, trying a few more things every day to see how he tolerates chewing.  The long healing process has begun, and as he heals, he will be making frequent trips to the dentist office for adjustments to the temporary denture, until he and the dentist figure he’s ready for the step of finalizing the implants.  At that point we can be on our way.

Jasmine had a visit to the veterinarian to get a quick check-up and  renew a medication she takes.  The vet noticed her paws have a dark brown staining to them, and suggested she has some kind of allergy.  At first she thought it might be something outside, but when we discussed the fact that we move all the time, it may come down to her dog food.  Of course, there is an alternative food, just that it’s about twice as costly as her already expensive prescription food.  There’s always something!   While she and I were out, we did some Christmas shopping for her and Mr. BoJangles.  She helped pick out her own Christmas presents, but we put them away when we got home and I think she’s forgotten about them for the moment.

I got my eyes checked and found that my prescription has changed a bit. I’ve picked out new frames and should get my new glasses in a few weeks.

We’ve been enjoying beautiful, sunny and warm weather, so I’ve had a chance to visit the outside hot tub and soak up some sun.  Today we got a turn at a few rain showers, just to even out some of the bad weather in many parts of the country, a reminder that it is winter, even here.

Tomorrow is my weekly Weight Watchers meeting and a last shopping trip before the Christmas celebration.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Three Years and Counting

 Ellie 010 A storm was coming.  The weather people were promising a big one.  It was December of 2006 and we had planned to spend Christmas in California, followed by the winter in Arizona.  We already pretty much knew we would be going fulltime in our 2004 Fleetwood Bounder motor home, just not all the details of how and when we were going to make that transition.  But meanwhile, we had signed up for the Good Sam Club’s annual Rose Parade Samboree in Pasadena, and my sister and brother in law also had signed up.

With the storm coming, we decided to try and beat it, so we left Colorado Springs a day earlier than originally planned, packed up the motor home, closed up the house, and hit the road on December 17, 2006, one day ahead of a massive storm that ended up causing Denver International Airport to close down for the first time.  We beat the 3 feet of snow that hit Albuquerque the day after we drove through there.

We made it to Arizona in early January.  We settled in to our RV site at the Meridian RV park in Apache Junction and planned our official launch to a life as full time RVers as we floated around in the heated swimming pool there.  In March of 2007, we made our way back to Colorado Springs and parked the motor home next to our house.  We never moved back into the house, however, choosing instead to live in the motor home parked next to it while we readied the house for sale.  Once it was on the market, it sold to the first person who looked at the first morning it was listed.

So, what have we done, what have we learned, what would we do differently, and what are our future plans, now that we’re celebrating our 3rd anniversary as full timers?

We’ve never had a formal plan to our travels, choosing instead to take things as they come.  Some people have a goal to visit all of our national parks, or to visit each state, or any number of objectives for their travel.  We want to see and experience things as we learn about fascinating places and people to see.  In our travels, we’ve visited 30 states, 28 of those in our new, 2008 Tiffin Phaeton, which we purchased in March of ‘08.  We’ve made more friends than we ever dreamed we would, thanks to the wonder of the internet and blogging.  That’s something we really didn’t expect, but are extremely happy about.  As a result of some of our new friendships, we took a nearly spontaneous trip to Mexico early in 2008 with two other couples.  We’ve spent many months traveling with other people, and some on our own too.

We’ve learned a lot about the various cultures within this amazing country.  We  love and appreciate each different area and culture for different reasons.  The South is amazing, it’s people so open and friendly and welcoming!  The West, with it’s wide open spaces and endless sky, provide a rugged individualistic perspective to life.  The culture is definitely different from the South, but still the people we’ve met have been friendly and helpful.

We’ve learned to be a lot more relaxed in our approach to traveling, and we no longer have a tendency to panic at the least problem or challenge we encounter.  We’ve learned to slow down and really take one day at a time.  We have learned to be flexible.  In our working days, our travel time was always pretty limited to a week or two of vacation, so we always wanted to drive as far as we could each day to make the most of our time once we got to our destination.  Now, we can decide how slow or how fast we want to travel.  We don’t have a rule about how far or how fast, it just depends.

The most important thing we’ve learned is to cherish every day, every experience.  We know that life can and does change in an instant, so each moment of each day it’s so important to live to the fullest.  The other most important thing we’ve learned is to appreciate our friends and our family.  This lifestyle provides us an incredible opportunity to connect and reconnect with people who are precious to us.  The flip side of that is we are not always within easy distance from those we love, and we often find ourselves missing them!

What would we do differently?  I’m not sure there’s anything we would do differently.  Sure, some things have been a little uncomfortable, like being in a chilly area at Christmas time, but if we’d done that differently, we wouldn’t have had the experiences we did.  We might have stayed a little late in Oregon this year, but then again, we saw the most incredible and amazing waves during a late fall storm.  So, to say that we would do anything differently seems to me to take away from the beauty and joy of what we have done.

Now, what are our plans for the future?  We plan to continue to take things a day at a time, cherish each experience as it happens and keep on keeping on.  Right now, our plan is to sit tight while Jim heals from his dental work.  Once we’ve got the all clear from his dentist,  we may still head to Arizona for whatever is left of the winter.  We still hope to connect with friends and family there.  As to plans for Spring, Summer, or beyond, that’s anyone’s guess at this point.  We will, of course, be spending some time in Colorado Springs with family and friends there. We’ll get our usual medical matters taken care of at that time, and then be on our way, to – well, wherever!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Like Old Times

We so enjoyed our visiting with Dortha, Mark, Deb and Rod!  It seemed a little like old times.  Since time goes by so fast these days, just a few months ago is “old times!”  Early Monday morning when I last posted, we had storm warnings for the day.  We met the gang at their motel and decided to go ahead to Balboa Park and see about the museums.  It was raining, but not too hard, and the wind wasn’t blowing.  Jim and I decided not to take our cameras, so we’ll have to go back and take pictures of the park on another, hopefully sunnier, day.

When we got to the park, we found out we had to park quite a ways away from the visitor’s center, so we had a nice walk in the rain.  We decided to visit just one museum, since it was already after 11 by the time we got there, and we knew it would take a few hours to go through just one, although there are at least 15 museums there! The consensus was to visit the Natural History Museum, which is currently has an exhibit on Darwin.  That was extremely interesting, and I learned a lot about how he came to the conclusion that we are all descended from the same ancestor.  It was interesting to read about his life and studies.

After our visit to the museum, we decided on lunch at a Mexican Restaurant (of course!) at a place in historic Old Town.  That was delicious and fun!  Jim and I headed back to the Castle, and the others joined us a little later for happy hour.  By late afternoon, however, the storm really came in strong, and for awhile, it was nearly like a hurricane.  We all took it in stride, though, and enjoyed our time together.

On Tuesday, with cloudy skies, but no rain in the forecast,  Deb and Rod went to meet a family member for lunch, so Dortha, Mark, Jim and I headed to downtown San Diego for a little sightseeing and lunch.  We went to another historic area of San Diego, the Gaslamp District:

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Where we chose to eat lunch at Dick’s Last Resort:

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They must have sensed some of us are sloppy eaters, since they gave us all bibs!

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After lunch, we walked over to the convention center and on to Sea Port Village where there are many little shops, which we browsed through, looking for a few Christmas gifts.  The chosen evening activity was to  meet everyone at the Sycuan Casino after Jim and I checked on the dogs.  We played a few slots before enjoying a “free” buffet dinner.  My winnings almost evened out Jim’s losses, and we had a great time.

All too soon it was time to say our “see ya’s” to Dortha, Mark, Deb, and Rod.  It was a fun, but way too quick visit with them!  They went their separate ways yesterday, and we will miss them!

We heard from Laurie and Odel, through Facebook, that they were considering a day trip to Santee to check out this location for a possible future stay.  So, yesterday afternoon, they stopped by for a few minutes while they were taking a look at this area.  It was good to reconnect with them one more time as well.

We’re now back in “routine” mode, with enjoying this area and the (usually) beautiful weather.   I think tomorrow may be the day I get out the Christmas decorations and start preparing for the upcoming holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Settling In

Finding our way around town, settling in to our new site at Santee Lakes, dentist visits (for me too), going for long walks around the campground and taking care of business have occupied us for the past week.

This is our new "corner lot”:

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And some views around our little neighborhood, starting with one of the picnic areas near a small, man-made stream that runs through the campground:

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This is one section of the walking trail that winds its way all around the campgrounds.  There are pet stations at several locations on the trail, with bags and trash cans provided. The walk around the entire campground perimeter is a little over 1.5 miles.

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I attended my new, “regular” Weight Watchers meeting and received an acknowledgement of being a Lifetime member at goal for the past 10 months.  Has it really been that long?  Weight Watchers awards a keychain when you reach a goal of losing 10% of your starting weight.  After that, awards are charms to add to the keychain.  This year, they have started awarding a key charm to people who have maintained their goal weight over the long haul.

On Friday night we attended a Trans Siberian Orchestra concert at the San Diego Sports Arena.  We first saw this musical extravaganza in Colorado Springs a few years ago, and I just loved them.  When we found that they would be here, we immediately ordered tickets for it.  We went early and did some shopping and had a great dinner at Olive Garden before the concert.

Saturday night we joined a friend and her family at a local Christmas parade in Encinitas.  We  had a great time enjoying their grandchildren watching the parade.  We followed that up with dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

Yesterday brought a very special treat!  Dortha and Mark, plus Deb and Rod, decided to make a quick trip here for a gathering.  Dortha and Mark flew in from Fort Worth, and Deb and Rod drove their truck while their 5th wheel is getting some repair work done.  They are all staying at a nearby motel and we hope to get some fun in for the next couple of days, although today the weather isn’t being very cooperative, with a big winter storm bringing a lot of rain.  We’ll still enjoy time together, no matter what.

We fixed dinner for everyone last evening and had a great time getting caught up with all the news since we have seen each other.

Mark and Dortha:

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Deb and Rod, all visiting through dinner:

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We’re just now getting ready to meet them at their motel and see what the day holds, besides lots of rain!