Monday, October 25, 2010

Florida Longhorns

I suppose these are descendants of the famed Texas Longhorns, but these are right here in good, ol' FLA. Aren't they cute? But heed the sign, as I did.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lesson Learned

Last month I took a two-week RV road trip to Hershey, PA. On my way up I was on the road three nights, dry-camping each night at either a Walmart, Cracker Barrel or highway rest area. No problems, nice and quiet, nice level parking. When I finally arrived at the Hershey High Meadow Campground, I registered and paid and then discovered I had been assigned a site so angled and uneven that no number of lynx levelers would get My Way anywhere near level. I complained to the manager, who was nice enough to move me to a more level site for the same price, but it really taught me a lesson. Now, before I plunk down my credit card, I ask permission to check out the campground first. I look at my assigned site, I check out the bath facilities, and I even carry a volt meter so I can make sure the electric box to my site is properly wired and won't fry me or my rig. Overall I make sure it's a place I want to stay regardless of the price. Having spent many perfectly fine nights dry camping for free at different spots in the past year, I now expect quite a bit more from any campground that wants me to pay to stay.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brand-New Antiques

I hate used antiques. So old and dusty and, well, used. Antique tables made daily. NOW you're talking.

Monday, October 18, 2010

First, I'd Wash My Hands

As we're coming into cold and flu season, I figure it's my duty as a nurse to talk a little about the number one thing you can do help keep yourself from catching something - wash your hands.

The first thing we learned in nursing school was how to wash our hands. It's the best way to keep from transmitting germs from one place to another, like from a doorknob to your eyes, nose or mouth. It's the first thing doctors and nurses should do when they enter a patient's room, before they touch the patient. It's also the last thing doctors and nurses should do when they are done touching a patient and are leaving the patient's room. Frankly, anyone coming into or leaving a patient's room should thoroughly wash their hands. If you are ever a patient, don't hesitate to remind anyone and everyone to please wash their hands.

The title of this post comes from the statement we made as student nurses when we were being checked off on the various practical skills we had learned. Because our classrooms usually didn't have sinks, we'd always start off by saying, "First, I'd wash my hands" and then proceed with demonstrating the rest of the skill.

I actually learned the way the state of Florida wants healthcare workers to wash their hands when I became a Certified Nursing Assistant. It's pretty involved, but it's the right way to do it. Basically you wet your hands, add soap, work up a lather and scrub both tops and palms of hands, scrub each hand's fingernails on the opposite palm, individually scrub around the thumb with the opposite hand, and scrub your wrists up to the width of your hand. Rinse your hands and wrists thoroughly. It should take 20 seconds or the length of time it takes you to sing your ABCs. Then you dry with a paper towel, use the paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the bathroom door (if you're in a public restroom). The thing to remember is that your hands are only as clean as the last thing they touched. Period.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Closet Drawers

I've made a change in the clothes closet of My Way. I used to have one of those three-drawer plastic storage bins in there, but that left about a foot of space between the top of the unit and the shelf of the closet. I would store my toaster oven and George Foreman grill in that space, but every time I was underway those two items would crash against the closet door. I figured it was only a matter of time before I did some damage to something so I bought a taller, seven-drawer unit. It has the same three larger bottom drawers and four smaller upper drawers all in one unit. It was 41" tall, which was a bit too tall for the closet, so I took the top drawer section off and reattached the top cover (the whole thing comes apart and goes back together). I was actually able to use just that extra top drawer to store my spices and squeeze that drawer on top of the whole unit. For extra security I use a bungee cord to hold it all in place.

Now I've got a real junk drawer for things like my utility knife, duct tape, zip ties, etc. and two more drawers that I can use for miscellaneous papers and who knows what else. The toaster oven and George Foreman are now on the shelf with my coffee grinder and two cookbooks. The stuff that was on that shelf is packed into the old TV cabinet. Somehow, it all fits and much better so than it did before.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Iced Tea Ever

I'm an iced tea drinker. In our hot Florida weather nothing quenches my thirst like a tall glass of strong iced tea with a big ol' wedge of lemon. I tried making sun tea once and just ended up with moldy tea. For years I used one of the electric iced tea makers where you fill the pitcher with ice and then brew the tea over it. I didn't like how the tea was immediately diluted by the ice so I'd have to use more tea bags in the brewing process. Then I started leaving out the ice and just brewing a full pitcher of straight tea. I'd leave that cool down a bit, then put the pitcher in the fridge to complete the chilling process.

Last year I read an article about cold tea brewing and gave that a try. Turns out, you don't need any heat at all to brew tea, you just need time. Take a pitcher, fill it with fresh cold water, put in however many tea bags you need for the strength you want (this will be trial and error until you hit on the right number) and put it in the fridge over night. In the morning, remove the tea bags and voila, you have cold, clear, crisp iced tea to enjoy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baby Sandhill Cranes

All fuzzy and golden and big-eyed. They've grown up now and you almost can't tell them from the parents, but boy, were they cute when they were little.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Florida Keys

Back in May, the Florida Chapter of RVing Women (of which I am a member) held a rally in the Florida Keys. I took five days to get down there from Tampa (mind you, it's about a nine-hour drive done all at once) and I had as much fun on the trip down as I did while I was at the rally. I shopped my way down to Naples the first day, buying a few bikinis so I'd be ready when I got to the Keys. The next day I went kayaking at Rookery Bay, down by Marco Island. It was the maiden voyage of the inflatable kayak I bought specifically to take with me in My Way and it worked great. It's not the same as a hard-body kayak, but it works for the RV. It fits nicely under the couch, accessible via the outside rear door.

I then spent two days in Miami. I went to my old neighborhood and saw the house I lived in as a child. I visited my father's and grandfather's graves for the first time in 35 years. I spent a day and a half with my childhood best friend, Donna Jean, and her family. Then I headed to the Keys and spent one night at Bahia Honda State Park, one of the prettiest of Florida's State Parks.

During the week of the rally, I spent two days bicycling around Key West. I'd pack up my RV early in the morning and go get a free parking space near downtown. Then I'd take my bike off the rack on the back and pedal all over Key West.

The rally was held at Geiger Key RV Resort and Marina, about 10 miles up from Key West proper, right on the water. We had, oh, about 20 rigs and some of the nicest weather you could imagine. It was almost too breezy at times, but that same breeze kept the mosquitos and no-see-ums at bay. The camping area for trailers and Class B's at the RV resort was packed with 8 or 10 RV's and we lovingly called our little area the Trailer Trash Section. While the hoity-toities in their 5th wheels and Class A's stayed in their air-conditioned condos on wheels and watched cable TV, we cellar dwellers were swimming, fishing and generally hanging out together. I've already booked my site for next year.