Archive for August, 2009

A Little OCD for Everyone

First, thank you Marcie at Ramblings for this one. I wanted to post it to Facebook along with the pictures, and this is the only way I figure out how to do that.

So, everyone, please enjoy this. And, don’t forget to send it to 150 of your closest friends.

I just want to thank all of you for your educational e-mails over the past year. I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery.

I no longer open a public bathroom door
without using a paper towel or have them put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I can’t use the remote in a hotel room
because I don’t know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.

I can’t sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands
with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking ones nose (although cell phone usage may be taking the number one spot).

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of Trans fats I have consumed over the years.

I can’t touch any woman’s purse
for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom.

I MUST SEND MY SPECIAL THANKS to whoever sent me the one about poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings
because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all,
but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul
because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa’s Novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC
because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline
without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer won’t crawl in my back seat when I’m pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper
since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put ‘Under God’ on their cans.

I no longer use Saran Wrap
in the microwave because it causes cancer.

AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW I can’t boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face… Disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones
because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer go to shopping malls
because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or Fed Ex
since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target
since they are French and don’t support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone
because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica , Uganda , Singapore , and Uzbekistan .

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus
since I now have their recipe.

I can’t use anyone’s toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

I can’t ever pick up $5.00 dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

I can no longer drive my car
because I can’t buy gas from certain gas companies!

I can’t do any gardening because I’m afraid I’ll get bitten by the brown recluse and my hand will fall off.

If you don’t send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 p.m. Tomorrow afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor’s ex-mother-in-law’s second husband’s cousin’s beautician . . .

Oh, by the way…..

A German scientist from Argentina , after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.

Don’t bother taking it off now, it’s too late.


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Last year I left early because walking on concrete floors ten hours a night was just too hard on my feet and legs. But, I loved being here and meeting so many great people. Plus the money was great. So, this year I decided to try again, this time in Shipping instead of Picking. I just got back from taking care of all the preliminary paperwork and drug test at the employment agency in Independence, Kansas, and am all set to begin work Monday night.

They gave all of us early birds the donut shift, which means we’ll work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday off. For me, that’s the ideal shift. And, in talking with others today, it seems that shift is also their favorite as well.

Saturday evening there’s going to be a Watermelon Social here at Walter Johnson Park, given by Express Personnel. At that time we’ll get to meet people, make arrangements for carpools, get our name badges, and so forth. Plus eat our share of more than 20 watermelons direct from a farmer’s field in Independence.

I got here early in order to get settled in and hopefully get the camp site I had my eye on last year. And, I was lucky: one site by the covered area was still open.

There are two of these covered spots here; the other one is at the other end of the park, and they not only have roofs, but concrete floors, picnic tables, and electrical outlets. This is going to be great, a perfect place to sew and do other things that need more space than my motor home has. I understand they’re also the place where lots of people like to hang out. Perfect. I’ve already met the couple in the RV at the other side and I think we’re going to be good friends.The man has found a direct source for straw bales, perfect for insulating the underneath of RVs during the winter and has offered to join my order with his. The farmer will deliver them here directly. Again, perfect. One of the biggest problems here last years was the extreme cold weather around November on, so I’m hoping the straw bales will help. I’m also going to get some insulating board from Home Depot and some shrink-film for the inside windows.

It’s been okay living in a house again and trying to garden. However, I knew as soon as I hooked up the pickup to tow behind the RV this morning that it’s a good thing my house lease is only until the end of the year. It’s also a good thing I didn’t sell this RV. Somehow, this lifestyle has gotten into my blood. There are so many wonderful people to become friends with, so many places to explore, so many spots to stay for a while and work, so much freedom.

Many people just don’t understand that need for freedom. Let’s face it: up until three years ago, I didn’t either. I rented and owned homes for many, many years, raised two generations of kids, and was married for a total of 36 years. However, when the empty nest raised its head, the marriage ended, and it became too expensive to continue living in San Diego, living in an RV and workamping just made too much sense.

I love this life. Who knows what will happen in the future. Perhaps if the right person came along, I might consider living with him or perhaps even getting married again. However, that isn’t high on the agenda right now. My brother and sister-in-law have invited me to park my RV by their barn in Ohio, and that is a very tempting idea, at least when the weather is decent. Like most RVers, I don’t do cold weather well, mainly because these metal boxes aren’t known for their insulation. However, I would love to be around lots of family again. So, we’ll see.

In the meantime, a new segment of this life begins Monday evening—and with it, the chance to do some major bill-paying and maybe even some saving. It will be hard work, but the rewards will more than make up for that.

Time to take a walk around the park and see who else is here.

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Short and sweet

It was a long driving day today, but it seemed effortless. The weather was beautiful and, because it was Sunday, there was little traffic, even through large cities such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and St. Louis.

I left my youngest niece’s place in Cincinnati, Ohio around 7:00 this morning, Eastern Time, and drove 475 miles to St. Robert, Missouri. To keep sane and rested, I stopped at every rest stop along the way to get out and stretch a bit. That helped a lot.

Tomorrow will be a fairly short trip from here, in the middle of Missouri, to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, about 200 miles.

After catching up with a week’s worth of mail, I’ll pack some more things into the RV, attach the pickup to the towbar on the RV, and take off for Coffeyville, Kansas to work at Amazon.com for four months. What a life!

I’ve driven by many places I’d like to take more time to explore on a longer trip. For example, it would be fun to check out the St. Louis Gateway Arch as well as the confluence of the Mis sissippi and Missouri Rivers.

So many places!

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It’s a doggie heaven here. Let’s see: five female dachshunds, one male dachshund, and one huge male lab. The logistics are absolutely amazing, especially when my brother and sister-in-law go to work in the mornings. The girls get herded into the bedroom and adjoining bathroom with newspapers on the floor. There are several little ladders onto the waterbed for the little ladies to climb. The boys get to stay in the other bathroom during the day. Then when SIL gets home, the boys get to go outside first. Then they’re brought back in the house and the girls get their chance. Everything is securely fenced, from the side garage door on, including one strand of very mild electric wire along the bottom to discourage digging.

The girls usually get to have the run of most of the house when people are home, and they are usually very sweet and well-behaved, especially when brother and/or SIL are home. However, Monday was “fun.” They both go to work really early, so Linda left me a note explaining that the girls were in the bedroom, so after I took my shower, would I please let them back into the bedroom when I left, otherwise they have tendency to “get into trouble.” Well, those girls were way too fast for me, and all of them escaped into the dining room (fenced off from the kitchen) when I opened the door. Since they’d only been around me a little the night before, I was still a stranger and they went crazy. Wouldn’t stop barking, yipping, and snarling, and there’s no way I was going to even try to pick any of them up.

I took my shower, to the barking chorus, and when I came out, it got even louder – fortissimo. There was absolutely no chance I was going to be able to herd them back into the bedroom. So, I finally gave up and just left the bedroom door open for them, figuring there really wasn’t anything they could do in the dining room. No wires or anything to chew on, nothing to choke on, etc. I fastened the gate into the kitchen securely, at least I thought. As I left the house, I let the two boys out into the garage, and they could go from there into the fenced yard. I went back to my RV, secure in the knowledge that everything was okay.

However, I had to go back into the house for something about 30 minutes later and knew right away something wasn’t quite right. I opened the door from the garage into the kitchen and was greeted by all five girls waiting for me at the door. One or more of them had managed to open the darned gate. Oh, geesh! So now I heard the reprise of the constant barking and snarling concerto. I rounded up a couple of kitchen towels, managed to get the girls back into the dining room, and tied the gate shut with the towels. Finally!

Everything was okay for the rest of the day as long as I didn’t go back into the house. I did let the boys back into their bathroom, to the chorus of female voices.

The little monsters were so beautifully behaved when Linda got back–they even nuzzled my legs, licked my arms, and one even climbed into my lap. What’s that old saying – “Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths?”

Yesterday morning I made sure to get into the house while Linda was still there, and took my shower after she’d finished getting ready for work. Ah, those girls were perfect little angels. Before she left, she stuck them into the bedroom and left the boys outside. Those boys love me for some reason. I have no problems with them at all. The girls stayed in the bedroom/bathroom all day, and I used the boys’ bathroom. I even managed to get some sewing done in the dining room.

Interesting critters.

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Today I discovered part of Amish Country in Central Illinois and felt myself slowing down as soon as I got off I-70 on the way to Arthur, Illinois. It wasn’t very peaceful driving north on I-57, the highway that eventually ends up in Chicago. However, when I turned onto Highway 133, my body kind of said, “okay, time to relax a little. You’ve been doing too much freeway driving yesterday and today.” So, take it easy I did.

After checking out Jurgen’s City Park where I was planning to stay overnight – water and electric hookups as well as good showers for $10 a night – I found that they now charged $20, a little out of my price range. So, I parked downtown and walked around a bit, stopping first in a gift and furniture store.

One of the clerks there, non-Amish, was a very friendly youngish man who has lived there most of his life. He told me lots of interesting things about the Amish people he knows, such as how the bishops of each church group there are allowed to decide what is allowed and what isn’t. Since there are twelve bishops in the area, there are a wide variety of rules, such as these:

1) One doesn’t allow telephones that are hooked up to wires. However, since cell phones are not, he allows them to be used.

2) One person owns a motor boat. The bishop asked if it had a steering wheel or a rudder. Boats with rudders are okay; those with steering wheels are not.

3) Amish people are not allowed to own automobiles. However, one person leased one and figured it would be okay since he didn’t technically “own” it. But, several bishops decided that wasn’t right.

4) Amish are not supposed to drive cars but they can ride in them. So, a whole group will get together with a non-Amish friend with a van or large car, and the whole bunch of them take trips, such as into Mattoon to Wal-Mart.

I stopped at two fabric stores. In one of them an Amish clerk was helping several other young Amish women decide which interfacing to use when making a purse. This store carried a large amount of dark gabardine and other heavy fabrics, as well as a wide assortment of modern fabrics and supplies.

I wandered through a gift store and bought a plastic bag of blue popcorn meal – had never even heard of popcorn meal, but there are recipes on the back for pancakes, corn bread, and corn meal mush. So, I’ll try it out. They also have popcorn flour and popcorn oil.

Finally, I couldn’t resist a handmade chocolate ice cream drumstick in the pharmacy with an old soda fountain.

My salesperson friend told me about a back road into Mattoon from Arthur that would avoid all the Hwy 133 traffic and give me the chance to see many Amish houses, farms, and buggies. Very wonderful drive down a one-lane paved road with cornfields on either side. I saw many large white houses and barns, none of which was hooked up to any kind of power lines. Most had buggies parked outside as well as horses in the barn area. Several families riding in horse-drawn buggies passed me, and we all waved to each other. Most of the houses had beautiful flower gardens out front.

I almost hated to get back into “normal” civilization in Mattoon, but wanted to find Wal-Mart before dark since I’m staying in their parking lot overnight. What a nice surprise to find not only a good parking spot but also a wide grassy area with lots of huge trees so I could sit in the shade and read.

I’ve been interested in Amish culture since I first began making quilts many years ago. The first ones I made were of Amish design and plain saturated colors. Of course, the quilts I saw in the gift stores today were of more modern designs since I guess they sell better. However, I still love making the older kind and hand-quilting them with intricate black patterns.

I’ve also read a wonderful book by Sue Bender, entitled Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish about ten times and get more out of it each time. Sue has written other books since, but that one is my very favorite.

All in all, a very good day. I loved finally being able to see actual Amish people and their farms and houses instead of just reading about them. Tomorrow, heading into Indiana and finally to Lewisburg, Ohio.

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While traveling, I often park at a Wal-Mart overnight and have never had any kind of problem. Good lighting, good security, and a place to buy necessities or just wander. Last night I pulled into one in Missouri that had probably the largest parking lot I’ve ever seen, and parked at the corner of the far end of the lot, exactly where the woman in Customer Service had told me to park. Everything was fine–until about 2:00 this morning. I awoke to find a large semi-truck parked about a car’s length in front of me–with its generator going full steam. I looked outside and discovered there was an entire parking lot in which the guy could have parked his rig. Why right in front of me with that whole expanse of parking available?

Since my motorhome is so small and I wasn’t towing the pickup this time, I was able to maneuver around and move as far away from the guy as I could to the other far end of the lot. But, my question is, why did I have to do that in the first place? After all, if I wanted to hear generator noise all night, I could have pulled into a Flying J or something.

To be generous, perhaps he was tired after a long day on the road and pulled in late, not realizing this little rig parked with the step lowered and the slide out perhaps had someone sleeping in it. Or, maybe he was just being rude. Sure does make me wonder, though.

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No matter where I’ve been, I’ve rarely missed a Perseid Meteor Shower. So, this morning I drove west on Hwy. 60 from Bartlesville toward Pawhuska, Oklahoma around 4:45 a.m. , figuring it would be a higher elevation, away from the low fog in the valley. Found a good spot on an off-road, parked the pickup, pulled out a chair, and waited. The half-moon was really bright, but at least it moved almost directly overhead by 6:00 a.m. Looking mainly toward Orion, I saw three very bright meteors. I listened to crickets in the field, watched the pink glow of sunrise to the east, and tried to avoid bright headlights coming up the highway. The meteor shower could have been more visible, but there are more coming up soon, such as these:

Predicted Maximum: October 21 (broad and irregular)
Moon: Waxing Crescent (no interference)

WHEN TO WATCH: From about 1:00 am until twilight gets too bright, on any morning from Tuesday, October 20 through Thursday, October 22.
Predicted Maximum: November 17, ~21:00 UT (=Nov. 17, 1:00pm PST; Nov. 17, 4:00pm EST)
Moon: New Moon (no interference)

WHEN TO WATCH: The predicted outburst, perhaps with rates of 100-500 Leonids per hour, strongly favors Asian observers, who should watch on the morning of November 18. North American observers should especially try to cover the morning of Tuesday, November 17 in case of unusual activity leading up to this peak. The Moon will be completely out of the picture and will not cause any problems.
Predicted Maximum: December 14, ~5:00 UT (=Dec. 13, 9pm PST; =Dec. 14, 12am EST)
Moon: New Moon (no interference)
(radiant map from IMO)

WHEN TO WATCH: The Geminids have a fairly broad maximum, so viewing should be productive throughout the entire night of December 13/14 (late Sunday evening into Monday morning). New Moon this year allows coverage of the entire night. Sunday morning, December 13 and Monday evening, December 14 could be worth watching as well.
The Perseids should be visible tomorrow morning as well, so perhaps I’ll try again.

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