Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
"...The info you have on your website and in the newsletters has been a great new experience for me. Your easy teaching method and one-on-one help was just what I have needed for a long time. The tutorial disk and the access to review lots of info when I forget helps too. The "fun" free program like Picasa you introduced me to has let me enjoy my camera more." Pat
"Thank you again for all the time and expertise you have so generously shared and continue to share with me since we first got together at Peace River not much more than a year ago. With the knowledge and inspiration you passed along, my abilities with a computer have certainly come a long way over that time period. " Greg
"I want you to know that I really appreciate the newsletters you have been sending. I always learn something from them. I make sure to read your blog and I enjoy the pictures. I also enjoy all your videos. Thank you so much." Monique
"Thank you for your help, at 73, with only 18 mos. using a computer, I need all the help I can get. You're the best!" TomLife is good. Now, where's that wine?!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
We bought this motorhome in June, 2003. We bought it through eBay! The first thing I ever bought on eBay ... my home. It had 53,400 miles on it. So, we've traveled almost 47,000 miles in 4.5 years. But, mostly, we've lived in it. It's 30 feet long, 8 feet wide, and has no slides. Some people would say it's way too small for two people to live in fulltime, but we love it! Still do.
I will admit that, the longer we stay parked, the smaller it seems to get. But, when we're in travel mode we love that it is small and I love that it is a class C and comfortable to drive. And, I'm certainly fine with the small space to clean - although it sure does get dirty fast.
I've gathered pictures from the last 4 years that I think best show what life is like in 'Oh Boy' ... that's what we call it because that's how we feel about living in it! You can see the slide show below, or you can go to the album and peruse at your leisure, including reading the captions.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Edward Abbey wrote a beautiful book called Desert Solitaire about the peace, tranquility, beauty and solitude that living in the desert can bring. He wasn't talking about Quartzsite!
Lots of RVers come to Quartzsite in the winter, but they don't come for the solitude! They come for the camaraderie, for the warm (warmer than up north anyway) weather and for the unique environment of boondocking (living off the grid - no hookups) in the desert. One person who boondocks in Quartzsite a lot is Ron Bunge - of HitchItch.com. We've communicated with Ron over email a few times, so when we noticed him nearby on the Datastormusers map, we figured we'd try to find him and say Hi. It wasn't hard, since he has the Datastorm on his roof - notice also the solar panels tipped towards the sun. He can live like this for months - getting electricity from the sun during the day and filling his battery banks. He sometimes has to supplement that with a generator at night. He can dump his holding tanks using a storage tank in his truck to take it to a nearby dump station, and another tank to fill up with water. He told us that it cost $180 to stay on this BLM land for 6 months! Here they are, Terry and Ron. We had a very nice chat - and, as always when talking to other RVers, we learned something new. Like, how it is inappropriate to say 'trailer trash.' Terry said he much prefers the moniker, 'RV Debris!' You gotta love a town with a sense of humor! And, here's a long distance view of the boondocking area (all those white specks are RVs) - with the dramatic KOFA (King of Arizona) mountains as a backdrop. Ron tells us there are a lot less people here this year than in years past. Perhaps we're headed back to Desert Solitaire after all?
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I know, Christmas is still 2 days away, but there's a brunch planned for Christmas day, and Carol and Dick will be gone. So, the feast was today.
It feels great to be back at 'The Cabin.' Over the four years that we've been fulltime RVing, we've accumulated quite a few home-away-from-home's. This was our first one. We were here for Christmas 2004 and 2005. Lynne and John were here those times also. Last year, we were in Florida and Lynne and John were here. This year, they're in Florida and we're here. Ah the lifestyle of the bi-coastal homers!
Frankie sets a pretty table!Odie helps with carving the turkey! Then we had a gorgeous full moon. More photos on the web album - just click on any photo above and then scroll around. Merry Christmas everybody!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
We put the flannel sheets on the bed yesterday. Just in the nick of time! We woke up to 36 degrees this morning. Flannel sheets, wool blanket and winter quilt, propane furnace and electric space heater, and I'm OK until I have to take Odie for a walk! I'm afraid it's conservation-be-damned when this Florida girl gets cold!
We're leaving today to go to Quartzsite for Christmas. Think it will be warmer there?
Friday, December 21, 2007
I've been wanting to visit Biosphere 2 ever since my good friend, Chris L. was there in 1992. She visited during the time when people were living in the Biosphere 2 and it was completely sealed.
Only in map-browsing, did I stumble upon the fact that the biosphere is just over an hour away from where we are. We've been here several times before, and I never realized it was nearby. Even now, it took the fact that my good friend Liz was visiting Tucson, to get us to make the trip. It has changed ownership a couple times in recent years. It is now part of the University of Arizona, and they're reviving it as a research facility. It was actually in danger of being bulldozed for a housing development ... what a waste that would have been.
It's an impressive facility.Here's Liz and Stan in the rainforest area inside the structure. There's a salt water ocean and a beach behind them on the lower level. And, here's our tour guide explaining the coastal desert region. There was lots more. The living quarters, the viewing area for under the ocean, and the global warming research findings display. I'm glad we went. What I enjoyed the most is the warm air and humidity! My parched lips just soaked it up ... ahhhhhh. Being a Floridian, I just dry up and crack apart in the desert. We walked inside the door to the rainforest area of the Biosphere and I felt at home!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Today was the first morning since I came down with this cold that I've felt good enough to go for our morning walk with Odie. We had classes to teach on both Saturday and Sunday and I was fine for them thanks to the miracle of coldeeze. If you try it, I recommend the little white tablets that you let dissolve under your tongue. The lozenges are nice but haven't been as effective for me. Ah ... better living thru chemistry!
Anyway ... all 3 of us went for our morning walk. Our thermometer said 42 degrees. Apparently there had been a freeze warning for overnight because we noticed that all the delicate plants had been 'tucked in' for the night!I'm not sure if these are golf balls, or snow balls?! We took our longer walk this morning and ended up at the airfield. There's a bunch of guys who like to fly radio controlled model airplanes. One pilot gave Odie some exercise letting him chase his 'flying pizza.' Uh Oh . he actually caught this one! The pilot assured us that he doesn't mind with this flying pizza plane, but we made sure to keep Odie leashed when they were flying the real ones. You can see video of Odie chasing the planes on this previous post.
Friday, December 14, 2007
I was already a little apprehensive about the hike today because Jim (one of the hike leaders) said this one was pretty strenuous. So, when my friend Liz called yesterday to say she was in Tucson for the week and let's get together today, I easily abandoned the hiking plan for the visit Liz plan.
By the time I went to bed last night, I had developed a significant sore throat telling me a cold was on it's way. Darn! I believe in resting to avoid major cold symptoms - and I certainly didn't want to be responsible for passing a cold along to Liz when she's on vacation. So, scrap plan B.
When the phone rang at 7:30 with the first Wi-Fi support call telling us a part of the system was down this morning ... we went on to plan C. Jim gets to work and I go back to bed.
Sorry Diane :-( but thanks for the encouragement!) Maybe next week. At least I got to spend some quality time with George yesterday talking about computers and blogging stuff. What fun!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
When we first encountered George, of the famous Ms Tioga team, it was a momentous event. Since we had been following his blog, and been inspired by it, he was like a movie star to us. All I wanted to do was to take his picture to prove that we were actually sharing the same space! We liked George, we walked around Devil's Tower with him, and we talked about RVing.
The next time we saw him was in Redmond, Oregon, August 2004 at the FMCA convention. He learned a little about what we do - teaching RVers about Internet Access with WiFi. We didn't see him again till 2007 in Wyoming. We shared lunch and talked about how much we all love RVing.
He is still a 'Rock Star' to us, but today I was feeling stingy. I didn't get out the camera and take his photograph to share with you. I just wanted him to ourselves. We had a great dinner together - George made salmon patties, and Jim made Ratatouille ... I drove to buy the wine! Ms. Tioga is actually parked for the night, right across the street from us. There's a photo on George's blog - don't our RV's look like family?!
We talked about religion and politics ... really! We also talked about solar power vs. electricity, and about traveling in Mexico. When he leaves here, he will be traveling in mainland Mexico, something I really want to do - we will be following his blog with interest!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I vowed that I would do things like take exercise classes and play pickleball and go hiking while we're spending the winter here at this playground called Palm Creek! And, Jim swore he was going to take advantage of the wood shop. Well, we slept in too late to go on the hike last week, and I only went to one of my two exercise classes. It's been too cold, windy and rainy the last few days to get out on the Picklebal court. And, I don't think Jim has even seen the inside of the woodshop yet!
This morning, I proudly grabbed my exercise mat and walked out the door in plenty of time for the exercise class, only to find that the room was full of vendors this morning! It's arts and crafts show day today - darn!
So, what *are* we doing? Betcha can't guess! We're working on our computers and helping other people with theirs. That is what we love, and what is easy for us. (and, oh yeah, it's how we make our living - I keep forgetting that part.)
Our lives are governed by what I think of as 'entropy' - the tendency of all matter and energy to deteriorate into chaos. That's my definition of entropy anyway. And my view of life. I try to come up with systems, I try to develop routines and do stuff that is good for me. But, it's a losing battle. Eventually, I just do whatever I feel like doing, or what is immediately pressing at the moment. For me, and Jim, that usually means something to do with computers.We *ARE* going on the hike this Friday!! Hold me to that OK?
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Saturday, December 08, 2007
I had a couple nights of bad sleep -that's unusual, I'm a pretty good sleeper. Maybe it had something to do with my first week of this new hands-on class I'm teaching. I think it's exciting and fun, but I am making it up as I go! Something to keep me awake at night!
Thursday night, after class, I got a call from Nick Russel of Gypsy Journal ... he and Terry visited the other day, remember? Well ... they were having a website crisis, could I come over and help? Geez, I sure hoped I could help, but it wasn't to be. The crisis turned out to be completely of their website host's creation - switching servers and forgetting to move the files accordingly. I went over to their place, confirmed that there was nothing I could do, but had a nice visit nonetheless.
Friday I had no commitments, I even tried to take a nap in the afternoon. But that wasn't to be either. The phone rang with someone having trouble with their WiFi connection. That's our workamping job here - helping guests with the WiFi. Jim was busy taking photos at the Christmas singalong, so I handled the service call. Turned out that they just didn't understand that, when you upload photos to a blog, you need to resize them first! It was taking a *long* time to upload, and they figured it must be a problem with the WiFi. It they'd taken our Blog class, they would have known that! :-)
I stopped off at the singalong on my way back home. How cool. So many people just having fun and singing Christmas songs. You can see his photos at the Web Album he set up just for Palm Creek. Here's the video:
When that was over, Jim made one more service call, then we were *ready* for Margaritas! We had a date with Jim and Joan to go to Manuels for Margaritas and Mexican. Yum.
But, the day wasn't over yet! Another call after dinner from an irate WiFi user ... if we hadn't already been drinking, we would have started then! This morning we had our Google Earth class. Did you know that Google Earth now includes live weather imagery *and* live traffic data?! Truly mind-blowing.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
If it weren't for cheese and crackers, sometimes I wouldn't eat at all!
I started today with an 8:30 yoga class - what a treat to be able to take a class twice a week! Then I had an appointment giving a wonderful couple some private computer lessons. Everybody's needs and everybody's computers are SO different - I really like giving the private lessons. Jim was out on several service calls today. We didn't see each other most all day.
I came home from the appointment just in time to meet Nick and Terry from Gypsy Journal who stopped by to say hi. I would have been so disappointed if I'd missed them. They have a wonderful newspaper for RVers called the Gypsy Journal and have been fulltime RVing much longer than we have. We will be presenting a couple of our seminars at their Gypsy Journal Western Gathering right here in Casa Grande next February.
Then I had to prepare for teaching my first hands-on class this evening. I needed to make some more of our tutorial DVDs plus get the students' notebooks put together and review what I was going to teach etc. etc. I forgot about lunch altogether.
Jim met me up at the computer room to make sure equipment was hooked up right and I had everything I needed for my class. Then he left, because this is supposed to be a class for women only! I have a few 'bugs' to work out for my class, but that's why I limited it to 6 people. I can almost give individual attention to everyone. We have 5 more sessions to go - I think it's going to be fun.
Jim met me at the end of class - we did some cleanup work in the computer room and chatted about our days, getting home about 7:30-8. We walked the dog, and the sat down to our email for the first time today. Going on 9pm Jim said, 'what's for dinner?'
"What?", I said. "Didn't we have dinner?"
"Ah well, we still have wine don't we?"
and some cheese and crackers!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Jim and I spend from 4 to 12 hours on the computer every day. What *are* we doing all that time? Sometimes I struggle to answer that question, so I paid attention one day, and now I have an answer. The bulk of our time - up to 50% - is spent learning. Another 30% is spent communicating; reading, writing and managing emails; reading and writing blogs. That leaves 20% devoted to productive work.
Jim is reading technical newsletters and other articles about networking, Wi-Fi, and all things hardware, software and operating systems.
I am watching Lynda.com video tutorials on website development, CSS, Dreamweaver, Fireworks - I love Lynda.com! I am reading newsletters and forums on Blogger, Picasa, and general computer issues.
And we both spend time on what we call 'playing', but I could just as easily call it 'learning by trial and error'.
I'm teaching a hands-on class here at Palm Creek starting next week. I'm calling it 'Computer Confidence Class: For Women Only.' 2 sessions/week for 3 weeks, maximum 6 students. I'm hoping to impart an expectation of lifelong learning. There's no such thing as 'learning how to use your computer.' There's just too much. The best you can hope for is to develop the confidence that you can figure things out - and to enjoy the process.
I've been learning, and teaching, computers for 24 years now and I'm learning more new things each day now than ever before. Not only is there an infinite amount to learn about using computers, but there's an infinite amount to learn by using a computer!
I've learned how to cook artichokes in the microwave by researching on the computer (I used to boil them till google showed me another way.) We had some corn on the cob to go with our chicken last night. Jim asked me, "how are you going to cook that?" I answered, "I'm going to google it." Betcha didn't know that google is a cooking method!