Friday, November 30, 2007

It does rain in the desert

It's a good thing. We need rain. But, I'm so accustomed to sparkling, sunny days - I gotta admit the rain has me a little blue. We passed on the hike today. It was probably a good decision. or, maybe not - cabin fever sets in quick with a 30 foot home!
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lifelong Learning

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 video tutorials on website development, CSS, Dreamweaver, Fireworks - I love! 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!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Water in Arizona!

Jim and I are both water-babies. We've always lived near the ocean and we spend as much time *in* the water as possible. It has surprised us how we can enjoy the beauty of the desert where there is no water. The Saguaro cactus and the sunsets are exquisite and quite beautiful. But, when we got an email inviting us for a boat ride on a lake in this desert, we jumped at the chance. A Lake! Where around here is there a lake? It's only an hour and a half away! We were able to put in a half-day of work, drive up there, have a nice lunch and take a great boat ride, stop at Trader Joe's on the way back, and be home before 8.
The invitation came from Brent and Molly. They both took a couple of our seminars at the FMCA rally in Redmond this summer, and we contacted each other via email afterward. They are RVers, but they usually spend winters on their sailboat in Mexico. This winter, Brent is the captain on the Desert Belle, a tour boat at Saguaro Lake. They have a great Blog, so you can read all about sailboating in Mexico or take (virtually) the same tour we did on Saguaro Lake ... just visit Adventures with Brent and Molly!
Here's a few photos from our wonderful day. See more on our web album - just click on any photo below and you'll be at our web album - then you can click on the next or previous arrows above the photo to see more.
Thanx Brent!! Sure hope to visit with you more someday - sorry we didn't get to meet Molly.
You gotta bring her down to see us in Palm Creek. Come to some more seminars!
Here's Captain Brent: We were lucky to spot a total of 4 bald eagles! I had to put the camera on extreme telephoto to get them.
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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A French lesson

How do you say "Network Connections" in French? Hmmmmmm This is what Jim had to figure out today. A couple of guests in the park here today needed help getting connected to the Wi-Fi network here. He said, "No problem, I can help" and took a look at their computer. These people were from Quebec and all the titles and instructions on their computer were in french! Ah! But of course! This will take me a few minutes longer. :-) But, he did it. ... in case you're wondering ... "Network Connection" translates into french as "raccordement de réseau." At least that's what Babelfish translation website tells me!
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Palm Creek Photo Albums

As I mentioned in a previous post, we were asked to take photos at some Palm Creek events when the normal photographer was unavailable. This means we've taken a lot of pictures of activities here. What they want is a CD of all the photos we take. But, you *know* we can't do just that! Photos deserve to be on the web for all to see! So, we've just created a Picasa Web Albums for Palm Creek. Yesterday, we went hiking with the Palm Creek Hiking club. Another gorgeous hike in the desert around the Superstition mountains. All the photos are on the Palm Creek web album, but here are a few just for us. I sure wish we could be there at sunset time for better photos, but - till then, I just played around with color settings in Picasa to make a more interesting photo Picasa is SO much fun! Here's the original photo, untouched by Picasa:
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

I think Thanksgiving is a great holiday. No pressure or commercialization of giving gifts. Just a time to be together and give thanks for the good things in our lives. A day to accentuate the positive. Mostly, Jim and I give thanks for each other. We know that we are very lucky to share the same dream and have the health and skills to accomplish it! We are living our dream - starting our 5th year of the fulltime RV lifestyle - and we couldn't do it without each other. We wish Health and Happiness to all of you on this Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Geek Work

This weekend we gave our "High-Speed Internet on the Road" seminar. We discuss the 3 choices: Satellite, Cellular, and Wi-Fi. Most of the class discusses Wi-Fi because that is the most popular choice and there is a LOT to know about it. The seminar is also sponsored by MatrixRV who provides the Wi-Fi here in the park. Here's a video giving just a taste of our seminars: Then, Sunday, Jim had an unusual assignment - to take a Datastorm satellite dish down from a motorhome's roof! When you put a dish up, it is on a mounting plate that makes it easy to just slide on the ladder. When you take one down, you leave the mounting plate on the roof - no holes that way - making it much more difficult to get it down a ladder. I'm not sure what is wrong with it - it's not one of Jim's installations. The people had to get on the road, and, since Jim had helped them with some issues over the phone in the past - they trusted him to take it and see if he can fix it. That's nearly 100 pounds he's holding on to there. As for me, I'm just writing and doing web-work. Not much to take a picture of there. So, here's a picture of pretty flowers! With the Arizona setting sun for lighting, they're even more brilliant than normal.
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Jane Seymour at Palm Creek

This park, Palm Creek, has lots of events and entertainment scheduled throughout the season. We've never really taken advantage of it before, but we're more interested this year since we're here all season. So, when they asked if we would attend the Jane Seymour event and take pictures - we gladly accepted. Jim decided to be the photographer, but I had to grab the camera at least to get a picture of him with Jane ... "Beauty and the Geek!" It was an interesting event, not at all what I was expecting. It was about a new website by the founder of - Jeff Taylor. The website is a social networking site for those of us, "Lovin Life on the flip side of 50." The name of the site is and it does look pretty interesting. Here's Jeff Taylor lovin' this 55 - 80 year old crowd. So, the event was a little bit about Jeff Taylor, a little bit about the joys of middle age :-) and, then the headliner was Jane Seymour - their celebrity spokesperson. I really liked her! Lots more photos on our web album.
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Changing of the Quilts

I own two quilts, both of which I love, both of which have rich sentimental value to me. So - I use one in the summer season, and one in the winter. The white and pastel colored one is the summer quilt. This quilt was started by my grandmother ... when she was pregnant with my mother! She painstakenly created all the squares in the design of 'dresden plate'. When my grandmother died, I inherited the box with all the squares and, eventually, I got around to getting it quilted. I love that I have something to remember my sweet grandmother by. The darker colored 'tshirt quilt' is our winter quilt and we put it on last night. No, it's nowhere near winter here ... 80 degrees and sunny right now ... but it's past time to make the switch if we're going to use each quilt half of the year. This quilt is made up of pieces of all those tshirts that we just couldn't throw away because of memories, but we knew we'd never wear again. I love staring at each piece and remembering those times. There are tshirts of Jim's before we met as well as some of mine from before we met, then there are a lot of memories from our early years together. We don't have many possessions in our tiny home, but the ones we do have are meaningful.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jim's Turn

Well, I'm feeling better now, and Jim is down for the count. It's so weird to be alone ... when you're not. He was committed to monitor the computer room this afternoon, and he made it. So, I did a WiFi service call. Geeez, this technology is a killer. It works, and it doesn't work. There are SO many factors. You really have to spend a full day or more with someone's computer, in their location, to determine what the problem is ... IF there's a problem. But people don't have an appreciation for the complexity, they just want it to work. Duh.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Catching up

Geez - 5 days since my last post. Days slip by unnoticed when you're parked. When we're traveling, each day is so new, time goes by slower. Sitting still is good also though ... a little time to relax ... some time to get involved with the community. We didn't go on the Friday hike last week because there was an organizational meeting of the Palm Creek Computer Club. Sounds like something we should be involved in right? Saturday we presented our 'Safe Computing' class. Sunday, I gave myself permission to take the whole day to read a book and hang out by the pool. aaaaaahhhhhhh Jim did some computer support/service calls and worked in *his* computer room, getting all the computers set up how he wants them. My 'veg' day turned into 2 days since I came down with some kind of bug that had me hugging the toilet and nursing a fever. I cleaned myself up enough to go help Jim present our 'Slide Shows with Photostory 3' seminar. I think that's my favorite seminar. Photostory is so cool - the slide shows it creates are wonderful, and so easy. AND - you can *really* teach it in our 1.5 hour format. It's that easy. To see a sample of a Photostory slide show, just go to our home page ... in the first paragraph, click on the link to our introductory video. To see the class handout, go to the 'Articles & Lins' page - it's down at the bottom. Feeling fine today and have a lot to catch up on!>
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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Birthday Dinner

We are now 'legal' here at Palm Creek. You see, this is an age 55 plus park and, up until today, neither of us has been 55. Those days are gone - my birthday today ended that :-( When we saw the 'start of season celebration' dinner party was scheduled for today, we had to sign up. I mean they must have scheduled this just for me right? Would you believe the party started at 3:30?! I actually like it. We had a full 4 hours of drink, dinner, conversation and entertainment and still were home before 8. I have time to walk the dog and post to the blog before crashing! We rode bikes up to the ballroom where the dinner was held. We saw old friends, and met some new ones. The woman seated beside me at the table had the same name as my grandmother - Zella - I enjoyed talking with her. And, my sweet husband was on my other side. People asked us if we are newlyweds! They say we're so nice to each other! The food was excellent (pulled pork and taco fixin's) and the entertainment was inspiring. Flamenco guitar and dancers - see My only regret is that we didn't take the video camera. Lots more photos on the Web Album. I think 55 plus ain't gonna be so bad!
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lunch in Key West, Dinner in Arizona, Pickleball anyone?

That's right ! After sending Jim off to work this morning ....

Here he is in his 'office' ... the Palm Creek computer room I did a little computer work, and a little laundry, then I prepared to meet Lynne and John for lunch at the Hog's Breath Saloon in Key West Florida! You see, there's a geocache there, and it was my job to record their photos from the webcam to prove that they found the 'cache'. After lunch it was back to work. Then, after dinner we played pickleball. That makes two nights in a row that we played after dinner. What a great time. They have bright lights you can turn on at the courts, but nobody else is there. We get to make fools of ourselves all alone! I took some pictures at the courts earlier in the day to show how busy it is getting ... Much too intimidating! I just go to walk Odie in the dog run that's right next to the courts.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Newsletter

I was really late getting my newsletter out this time. I tell subscribers they will get a newsletter every 10 days to 2 weeks. My last one was October 12, and I just got this one sent last night, November 5. :-( I subscribe to a couple of newsletters that arrive in my inbox every Saturday morning, just like clockwork! I am just not a clockwork kinda gal! I may beat up on myself for being late, but I doubt that any subscribers notice or care. In fact, the only unsubcribes I have received are from those who thought I sent too many emails. I wish they had hung in there a while longer, because what they were reacting to was the first two weeks. In the beginning, I have several 'get acquainted' emails that I send out in order to ... well ... get acquainted! I usually write 3 short articles about computer topics of interest to RVers. Usually, I'm responding to questions that people are asking us. For this issue I recorded a video tutorial to go along with each article. Please take a look, watch these videos and let me know what you think. Using Windows XP Backup to Backup all your data to an External Hard Drive Using Picasa with Photos you Receive via Email For Satellite Internet Users: Understanding your Bandwidth Limitations If you'd like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can use the link below.
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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hike to the Lost Goldmine

We went with the Palm Creek hiking club to the Superstition mountains and hiked 5-6 miles on the Lost Goldmine trail. It was wonderful to go with a group because we carpooled and made arrangements for half of the cars to be at one trailhead, and the other half to be at another. So, we didn't have to walk in and out ... we just kept going. Jim says he found the mine ... but he's not telling where! (see .kmz file) Arizona back country scenery is so unique and beautiful. The Saguaro cactus are like giant friendly sentinels waving as we go by, and the mountains are huge, rugged rocks, towering over it all. Then there are the little landmines called Cholla. Sometimes called 'Teddy Bear' Cholla because they look soft and furry, they are actually deadly little spears that must be avoided at all cost. It felt so good to do some hiking, reminding me of my backpacking days - long gone. The wilderness is beautiful, but we also had a very harsh reminder of the dangers. One of the hikers had an incident with dizzines and heat exhaustion. It hit him just about halfway on the trail. When it became obvious he would not be able to walk out, 911 was called - the Search and Rescue and Paramedics came out, eventually using a helicopter to take him to the hospital. We hear he is OK now. The wilderness, even on a day hike, is not to be taken lightly!
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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Practical Uses for Picasa Web Albums

One of the things I really like to do is private computer lessons. When someone wants to do something on their computer, but they don't know how, they can make an appointment with me. I sit beside them and guide them thru the process. It's great for them because they get to reach their goals with a minimum of time and frustration. It's great for me because I get to see more practical uses for the computer applications I teach.


Yesterday I had an appointment to visit Marty at his motorhome here in the park. He told me he had some property in Texas he wanted to sell and he wanted to set up a website for it. After talking it over, I decided he didn't really need a website - he just needed a place to showcase all the photos of the property. Then, he could advertise the property in any number of websites meant for that purpose and, in the advertisement, he could link to the photo album.


How to make the photo album on the web? Picasa of course! He already had Picasa on his computer, so I showed him how easy it is to select the photos and click the web album button to upload them to the Web. Now, not only does he have his 'website' for promoting the property, but he has an easy way to add more photos, add captions to the photos that are there, and let people view the location on a map, or even on Google Earth. He is in control. Check out his photo album.


He told me he had heard that Yahoo Real Estate was a good listing service, so we created an account and entered all the data. Then, for "Additional Property Detail" we linked to his Picasa Web Album. If you're interested in property on the Texas Gulf coast, here's the listing!
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