Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The 2017 Version of the Dreaded Holiday Letter

Copyright 2017, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

It’s time for the dreaded holiday letter, the 2017 version.

I seriously have no idea where to even begin.

So, let’s try a calendar approach.

January, February and part of March 2017 found us near Fountain Hills Arizona where Al had prostrate cancer treatments. The treatments went very well, the after affects were not as bad as they could have been. His PSA has dropped dramatically and the doctors are quite happy. He walks around telling all, I will not die from Prostrate Cancer, I will die with Prostrate Cancer.

Part of March and April took us to Cottonwood Arizona where he continued his healing process. With Sedona within miles, healing is gonna happen, body and soul.

By May we were back in SE Michigan where we tackled the acres. I had been suffering from a partially frozen shoulder for 18 months in late 2015 and through 2016, the plants and weeds went wild. Over the winter 16/17, the shoulder healed and once again I could move and work, it was quite wonderful actually.  We worked all summer long, but, failed to conquer it all.  However, we were very pleased with what we did manage tho. 

June, July, August, September and October, we dealt with that yard, needed a new fridge which we are well pleased with. We also needed a new door on the back of the house. Ordered in May, but, not ordered by the sub-contractor, then was ordered wrong, finally was mostly installed in late October. Had a broken spring on the garage door. Ya know, you stay in a house for 22 years, stuff just starts failing. Pull out the wallet, fix and move on to the next problem. We are never bored.

Later summer brought hurricanes. UGH. We had Mom evacuate for Irma, she caught one of the last planes out of Ft. Lauderdale. She got to visit twice this summer. We spent a number of hours getting her new iPhone and iPad all set up. Her iPhone case is the envy of all women in Ft. Lauderdale, let me tell you, bling supreme.

As one who lives with the Demon (diabetes) and living with one who is a survivor of cancer, we find as a couple that we share our "reduction of stamina" issues. This is actually a good thing. When we travel we no longer disagree about how far we can go in one day or how long we will stay. LOL. It took us 2 weeks to get from Michigan to Las Cruces, our first stay for the winter. One month in a favorite place.

Our current plans, as I frequently say, are written in dust, but, they include several months over in Arizona, revisiting some places and staying in new places as well. Come April 1st, 2018, we will begin the slow trek back to Michigan.

2017 has been a year of stress and grief, having lost several family members, including recently, my uncle Charlie. He was 93, lived a good life and was well loved by his family.

Man and I are deeply concerned over the state of our nation. We see much that is alarming. Frankly, from my seat, I am rather horrified that this new “norm” is what we are leaving for our kids and grandkids to deal with. Our generation, the “hippies” that preached love and peace and a side of “weed”, thank you very much, have turned out so much differently. Surprisingly tho, we seem to still embrace the right to free speech and protest and march for what we feel strongly about.

This fall, as I talked about a few weeks ago, I jumped out of the Microsoft Windows family. Slowly, I am adjusting to my new world of Apple. I’ll say, I am not one bit sorry I moved on. The desktop rides well in Tana, is easy to set up, plug it in, grab the wireless keyboard and mouse and turn it on. Boom. I can leave it on for days if we are parked somewhere. It’s becoming more and more simple and amazing.

We continue to enjoy and worship the little yorkie, Winston. He is a show stopper, every one he meets ooooohhhs and ahhhhh over him. Of course, he sucks it up.

Man and I wish you and yours the very best holiday season and much health, success and happiness in 2018.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Rain, The Raincoat, The Camping/Rv Story Begins Here

Copyright 2017, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

I have looked for this photo for several years.  Since I cannot remember if I have shared before, I am going to share now.

This was taken in Harrison Michigan during what I believe is our first camping trip.  So, 1973 or 74.

We took the 2 sons, the collie dog Thor, the HUGE 9 foot by 20 foot camping tent, and tons of camping gear packed in my dad's open utility trailer, and off we went.  Ford Motor Company insisted we take two weeks vacation, along with every other plant rat, the first two weeks of July.  Man's parents joined us for much of the time.

Below, left to right, Man's mother, Millie.   Moi (the one in the rain coat with the hoodie - - to try to keep dry in the rain/drizzle).  Man.  And, some one we don't know.  LOL .  Man's father took the photo with his camera, loaded with slide film.

If you study the photo you might catch the fire blazing tall and warm. You might also note that the bench on the far right, is dripping wet. No gear on the soaking wet picnic table. Cause it was raining.  I have no idea why Man has on no jacket of any kind, but, I do know he hates rain coats, I do not.  He likes umbrellas, I do not.  He did not get cold, I always did.

The first year camping and my memory is that it rained just about 80 % of the time.  It was probably more like 60 %, but, hey, this is my story and my memory.  It rained and rained and rained some more!  We played cards in the tent while outside it was pouring down deluges. It came down so hard the water seeped up through the floor of the tent.  Did I say, it rained?

You would think that after that I would put a stop to all this camping nonsense.  Yet, here it is, well over 40 years later and we are still at it.  No tent, that's long gone.  We did the popup camper, long gone.  We did the tow behind with a bunk house and no slides (bestest ever camper for a family with young boys), long gone.  We did the tow behind with no slides, a rig meant for 2, long gone.  And, now, we tow with big ole Jolly, the Heritage RV, Miss Tana, strongly loved.  If you are interested, I have a page on another blog that shows the rigs.

In the 40 plus years, we have traveled from the Mexican border to the Canadian border and a time or two over to Ontario and in 2016 to Nova Scotia.  We have traveled from east coast, Atlantic Ocean to west coast, Pacific Ocean.  We have camped in most of the 50 states, sans, Hawaii, Alaska and a couple of states along the eastern seaboard.  Lost count of the National Parks and Monuments we have visited and no idea of how many nights we have spent in various state campgrounds/parks.  We have experienced glorious sun and more than one tornado threat/near hits.  We have winter camped (cross country skied there, just open the door, step out in the snow and ski!).  We have traveled during such cold weather that we had no running water for 2.5 days. We have done 1700 miles in 5 days of hard travel and 1750 miles in 14 days/nights.  These days, 14 nights are so much more enjoyable.  We have visited so many museums and gardens that, again, I have lost count.  Every little burg, county, town, village has something to offer those who are interested in history and the heritage of our country, they teach us to be humble and to understand the struggle of our ancestors.  We have had to shoehorn Tana into some unbelievable situations.  We had a flat tire on the 101 north of San Francisco, hope to never have that experience again.  We towed Tana up to a campground near Yosemite at 15/20 MPH, with no guard rails and me looking down hundreds of feet down at tree tops.  It has been quite the journey, 40 plus years and counting!

I have no explanation as to why I have loved this for over 40 years. But, I have and I still do.  I feel more like me in my Tana than I do in my stick built, and our home in SE Michigan is very nice and filled with my heirlooms, my family. I have no explanation and, thus, make none.

And, to think it all started with 2 weeks of rain and me in my rain coat, standing by the campfire IN the drizzle/rain.  Not sure if you can see it, but, I have a smirk on my face.  Maybe I knew even then - -