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December 2009

How did it get so late so soon?

It's night before it's afternoon.

December is here before it's June.

My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?

Dr. Seuss

December 28 - 31, 2009
Monday, December 28. Mike and I both had doctor appointments today, mine this morning and his was this afternoon. All is good, although I need to have a follow-up since the OB-GYN that I saw didn't request a blood test or do the complete annual physical.

We went in search of a pet store to buy stainless steel bowls for Frisco, after Mike learned that some dogs lose the pigment on their noses from an allergic reaction to plastic bowls. His nose has gone from all-black when we got him, to having a light spot on the front, so we're going to see if this makes a difference.

Tuesday, December 29. Loud sounds woke me up several times early this morning, starting with the fog horns of the Larkspur Ferry. I haven't heard that before since we haven't really had fog until today. Also, someone started a loud motor about 6:00 and kept it running for a while - thanks a lot. We are in the city, so I guess I should be expecting that.

This afternoon, we went to meet up with Elaine and Gail, a couple that we worked with at the RV park in Pacifica. They were in town visiting at their son's house, so we picked them up and went for lunch at La Casona Taqueria on 24th Street (a bustling community in between the Mission and the Castro), and had a great lunch and a very nice visit. After lunch, we walked along 24th Street and did some window shopping.

Wednesday, December 30. I fasted this morning, then headed to have blood drawn for my next medical checkup. After that, Mike and I went to get our whooping cough vaccination, as recommended by Jill's doctor.

Ben and Ruby came over this afternoon, and we all went for a walk to the Marin Brewing Company, about a mile away from here. We tied the dogs up to the railing and proceeded to have a great burger and sampled some of their beers. We liked all of the choices that we made. It was a good discovery, as it is a convenient walk from the park.

Thursday, December 31. The last day of 2009. Although it has been a good one for us personally, it was very difficult for many people that we know. We certainly wish for much improvement to all in 2010.

I did laundry this morning and Mike took care of the vacuuming. Later in the afternoon, we packed our overnight bag and headed to Ben and Jill's for a quiet night of watching movies and eating pizza. We did have a couple of *bleep*tails and were able to make it past midnight. Happy New Year to all!
December 21 - 27, 2009
Monday, December 21. Our walk this morning was a bit wet from the drizzle coming out of the sky, so it wasn't a long one.

I finished wrapping Christmas gifts and one thing led to another. I spent some time reorganizing our book cabinet because I was looking for something and in the motor home, everything is so tightly packed that you end up removing several items in order to find the one you are looking for. It's not a bad way to keep thinning things out, as I come across something that hasn't been used, so I get rid of it. In some cases, I end up wishing that I hadn't.

Boy, are we stupid! While still at the house in Mesa, my vacuum cleaner burned up a belt and wasn't working right. Mike replaced the belt and all seemed fine until the other day when I used it and it was blowing out the dust instead of sucking it in. We took it to a repair place today, and the guy took one look at it and said that it is blocked up. We both felt kind of dumb, headed back home and started to pluck the build up of dog hair out of it. And there was the culprit, one of Frisco's nylabones, a plastic chewy toy that is about 3" long and 3/4" wide. I can't believe I picked it up and didn't know about it, then I remembered that I was vacuuming with my headphones on and the music turned up pretty loud. I also can't believe that piece could fit in that little space. No wonder I love that Oreck vacuum so much, it is a powerful little machine.

Since we both have doctor appointments coming up next week, we used the GPS to find the places that we have to go. No problem, they are close.

Tuesday, December 23. We were quite the busy bees today, not sure what got into us. Mike scurried off this morning to have blood drawn for his upcoming doctor appointment. I took Frisco for his morning walk, it was a chilly 47 degrees and a cool wind was blowing. It became sunny and that really helps to keep the motorhome warm.

We both got into going through our stuff, cleaned out the book cabinet again (Mike decided to part with several books that he thought he might read but never did). We both keep a basket of pens, papers, glasses, and computer stuff on our seats at the dinette (aka computer desk) and today was the day to go through them and get a bit more organized. I also got another day/night shade cleaned - only 2 of them to go now, 1 mini blind, and the front curtains that still need cleaning and all of the fabric will be done. When I get that project out of the way, I need to start on all of the vent covers again. It's an endless cycle and I always feel good when it's finished.

We're having beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner so we headed to the nearby Bryan's Meat Market (highly recommended by Ben and Jill) to place the order. It is located in the Corte Madera Town Center and we couldn't find the place. I even walked around and just couldn't find it, so we left. When I found a phone number, I called and was told that it is right where I was walking. We headed back there and found it this time, but it sure isn't very easy to spot. After placing our order we walked around a bit and stopped at the container store where I purchased a clothes hamper on wheels (it will be so much easier to haul to the laundry) and a couple of drawer dividers for my kitchen drawers.

As we were returning to the park, we noticed several fire trucks and yes, they were at our park. And no, it wasn't our motorhome that burned. The manager was taking stuff to the trash when he smelled the smoke and called 911 right away. They were here in minutes but there was no saving anything, the windows are broken and everything but the leather driver and passenger seat is burned. What a mess! I learned from the park manager that the owner had just left for the Christmas holiday and they had been unable to reach him. Fire is a scary thing and definitely is one of our biggest fears, we are cautious and don't leave things running when we are not here. Check out the photo.

Thursday, December 24. Happy Birthday, Rita! Here it is, Christmas Eve and 2010 is right around the corner now. What a year it has been!

Yesterday was busy with laundry, house cleaning, grocery shopping, walks with Frisco, and watching a movie - what a life!

Today was a beautiful day, sunny and a little breezy - not bad at all. We went for a long walk this afternoon, did some house cleaning, and went to pick up the meat for Christmas dinner. Later in the afternoon, we went to Ben and Jill's. They made a delicious potato soup for dinner and we watched the last 2 episodes of Dexter. What a surprise ending -none of us expected that.

Friday, December 25. Merry Christmas to all our family and friends! Our morning started with coffee, as usual, and along with that, a pleasant conversation with Pat. I baked Lemon Bars for our dessert and then we headed to Ben and Jill's. Jill has a bad cold, so we all wanted her to be able to get plenty of rest today. I think she is moving slower than I have ever seen her, the cold is getting her down and she is tired and ready for the baby's arrival.

We took the dogs to Sutro Heights for a nice romp and play. It is a beautiful, sunny day with temps in the upper 50s, making for lots of people playing and strolling through the park. Back at the house, Ben and I started the prep for dinner. Jill made some interesting appetizers; blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon - a surprisingly pleasant combination of flavors and very tasty.

We sat down to a beautiful Christmas dinner of beef tenderloin done to perfection, mustard seasoned potatoes, brussel sprouts with bacon, followed with lemon bars for dessert. After Mike and I got the dishes out of the way, we opened gifts. Ruby had a ball unwrapping presents. She got a stuffed hedgehog wearing a Santa hat and it took only about a half hour before she was pulling the stuffing out of it. Frisco didn't quite get all of the excitement, he didn't have a clue about unwrapping, and just guarded his toy and occasionally making it squeak. It was a wonderful Christmas day!

Sunday, December 27. Yesterday, we headed to Ben's to help him with a project. Jill purchased a used glider rocker and since I have a Little Green Machine, we volunteered to clean it up for her. All went well with that. We then headed to the salon to do the cushion on the window seat for her, but when we got there she was talking with her doctor on the phone and would need to go in for a throat culture. Fortunately, this morning she got word that it was not strep throat.

Mike and I were kind of bored this afternoon, so we went to check out another mall nearby. It wasn't long and we got bored with that too, we saw several items that would be nice for the house, but we don't have room to store them right now.

We had leftovers from Christmas dinner tonight and they were still very tasty. I learned from research on the internet that to warm rare meat without cooking it, you heat it on a plate covered with waxed paper at 30%. It worked great!
December 19-20, 2009
Saturday, December 19. Frisco and I had a nice, refreshing walk this morning through the Corte Madera Environmental Preserve, the wetland just behind the park. It was a cool morning, we were out there by ourselves, and we alarmed a Great White Egret that was hidden behind some reeds. There was a slightly unpleasant smell of sulfur about the place but then, it is a marshland.

Click here to view a Google Map of our new location. As you can see, we are about 15 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge (and that is a couple of miles from Ben's house). I think we have a nice place to hang out for the next several months.

Before heading to Ben and Jill's, we stopped at the local Safeway store to get our Fastrak, an electronic pass to get over the area's toll bridges, saving us at least $1 on every toll (now up to $6/auto on the Golden Gate bridge.

It sure was nice to see Ben and Ruby again! Their apartment has changed a lot since we were here this summer, furniture rearranged, shelving adding, and Ben's computer room has been transformed to a bedroom for the new baby. They have accumulated everything the need for the little guy, including a car seat for Grandma and Grandpa's Jeep.

Jill got home from work after 6:00, tired from a long day of standing and cutting hair. She looks good, healthy, and very, very pregnant. I gave them the blanket that I have been crocheting for many months, and they love the color and pattern.

After visiting for a while, we went to the Mission district for dinner at Charanga Restaurant and had Costa Rican food. The meals are served family style and we tasted several of the entrees; beet salad, yucca fruit, cuban meatballs, green plantains, grilled steak, and cuban roast pork. All were very delicious but the favorites were the roast pork, meatballs, and beet salad. What a great way to start our stay, being with family and a completely different dining experience. Welcome back to SF!

Sunday, December 20. Frisco was sick again last night and both of us were up and taking him out at various times - I really don't feel comfortable wandering around at night by myself and I'm feeling bad about the poor little guy. We are going to not feed him today and see what happens, might have to make a visit to the vet.

Ben and Jill had a full schedule of errands and things to do today, so we didn't get together. We will be spending lots of time together in the near future, so that wasn't a problem.

It was a lazy day for us and that might be just what the doctor ordered for Frisco too. He seemed to bounce back and was feeling much better as the day went on, starting with drinking water.
December 16 -18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16. This morning, we finished getting the house ready and pulled out at about 10:00, starting the trek to San Francisco, where will be staying until next fall - we need plenty of time to get to know our new grandson that will be here before long. We traveled as far as Desert Hot Springs and checked into the Sands RV and Golf Club, a very nice park not far from the freeway. We met up with Jay and his dog, Spanky (they were our neighbors at Pacifica earlier this year) there. Frisco and I walked with Jay to the off leash dog run, checked out the park, then we all hung around and gabbed for the evening.

Thursday, December 17. Poor Frisco - I don't know what caused him to have a serious stomach problem during the night, starting at about 2:15 am. He jumped on the bed and bugged me until I got up and took him out. I was a little afraid for coyotes coming around, so I didn't go far and he didn't do anything. We got back to the bed and 15 minutes later, he was doing the same thing. This time, Mike took him out and he finally found a spot to take care of business. Two hours later, same thing and then again an hour after that. Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep and after the 6:15 wakeup, I just gave up and stayed up.

Jay greeted us this morning with an invite to breakfast. We got ready quickly and he treated us to breakfast at Rick's Restaurant in Palm Springs, a place that has been open since the 50s. After leaving there, we drove around Palm Springs and he showed us the homes that belonged to Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, etc. in the past. We got a tour of downtown Palm Springs, and like most places these days, many of the storefronts had for sale or for lease signs in the windows.

Back at the RV, we packed up, said goodbye, and headed down the road again, a bit of a late start (nearly 11:00) but then it probably wouldn't be rush hour as we drove through LA. Before the traffic got real bad, we pulled in for gas. Just as we were finishing up pumping our gas, a fuel truck pulled in front of us and blocked the path so that we had to wait for him to finish. About 30 minutes later, we were back on the road.

Mike started not feeling good, so I agreed to drive on the condition that he would stay awake and help me get through LA. What a pain! Heavy traffic, lots of trucks, many lanes, starting and slowing - and that went on for 1.5 hours. Once we got on I-5, it was going up mountains and steep hills where I could barely make it at 45 mph. I wasn't alone, as many of the semi trucks were going slower than I was. The Bravo came through once more and just kept running smoothly. After getting through there, I was kind of glad that I had the opportunity to drive, as there is no better way to practice and to get experience but to get right in there and do it.

There are very few RV parks between LA and Sacramento along the I-5 corridor. We finally stopped for the night at the Sommerville RV Park at Coalinga ($36). It felt so good to get off the road - especially as we have encountered fog that is building up and expected to get more dense as it gets later. We are tired, having a bowl of soup, and retiring early.

Friday, December 18. Four hours of driving today through fog and heavy traffic between Livermore and the East Bay and we were at our destination, Marin Park at Greenbrae, CA. We checked in with the friendly staff and got situated in our site that will be home for the next 8 months. The park is very nice, we stayed here for a couple of weeks in 2006 but it has been much improved since then. The road through the park has been paved, nice clean white markings, new gravel on the sites, the office, restrooms, and laundry have been upgraded and it is very neat and clean. Our site is nice and deep, giving us plenty of room to park the jeep, and it is wide enough to have a small sitting area.

Once we got situated, I took Frisco for a walk, there is a path just behind the park that leads to an open space and natural area (marshland along the bay) where there is a great view of the ferries scurrying across the bay to San Francisco. The ferry landing is less than a mile's walk from here and they run back and forth every hour of every day, we will have to take advantage of that. We saw lots of egrets and shore birds as we walked along the path. As we drove in, we noticed a Trader Joe's a short walking distance from the park - Yeah!!!
Mesa, AZ to Greenbrae, CA, 799 miles
December 14 - 15, 2009
Here it is Wednesday and I haven't gotten around to writing the last 3 days. They have been busy.

On Monday morning, Mike helped Dale to get their stereo working as they weren't able to figure out why it wasn't working. I went along and put a couple of layers of spray paint on Monica's wicker rocker. We transformed it from a bright red to a beautiful robin's egg blue color and then Monica is making fabric covers for for the cushions. The finished project will look real nice.

That evening, we were invited to Allan and Sharon's house for dinner. Allan made meatballs with gravy that had capers in it - delicious! - and we had honeyed carrots and Sharon's yummy zucchini patties. As usual, we found a multitude of subjects to talk about. We got to see their latest pastel works and gave our votes on the 3 works that they will submit in an upcoming show.

Two weeks ago, we moved out of the motorhome and into the house. Tuesday was spent moving out of the house and back into the motorhome. It seems like at least 50 times that day, I filled the laundry basket in the house and then took it to the motorhome and emptied it. I also washed Frisco's bed and did any other laundry that we had.

We also had to get the house ready to be vacant for a long time, so Mike cut pieces of styrofoam to fit the 2 picture windows of the house - they will block the heat from the sun coming in the windows, and the AC won't have to work as hard to keep it cool in there during the summer. The rest of the windows are covered by the roof over the patio or carport. We gave our phone number to 2 of the neighbors "just in case".

The cupboards were now bare, so we went to Mac's for dinner with Nan and Dale, then said our goodbyes to them.

December 7 - 13, 2009
Friday, December 11. Holy Cow! I just realized yesterday afternoon that it was already Thursday and I hadn't updated my journals all week. Guess we have been busy.

On Monday, Dale had the day off so he and Mike were going to hang out together. I opted to do some shopping. I dropped Mike off at Dales and headed to Arizona Mills Mall, a huge mall with a few outlet stores scattered throughout. Other than a couple of small gifts, most of my purchases were for myself. Merry Christmas to me!

Back at Nan and Dale's house, the guys were still gone and Nan was doing paperwork, so I put the lights on their Christmas tree for them, a project that I haven't done in 5 years. It was fun and Nan appreciated that she didn't have to do it herself - now the tree is ready when Monica and Dylan have time to put the ornaments on it. We stayed for dinner and got home about 10:30.

On Tuesday evening, I met up with Nan and she and I headed to Monica's apartment to have girl's night. We setup Monica's sewing machine and worked on some Christmas crafts, had some dinner delivered, and decorated her tree. It was another late night for me, getting back home about 11:00. It has been a long time since I have been out by myself after dark and I was a little bit uncomfortable - guess I'm out of practice.

Wednesday's project was to have the carpet and upholstery shampooed in the motor home. Mike brought it to the house from the storage and Chad showed up to do the job. It created quite the activity in the neighborhood as the people from 4 houses around us ended up gathered on the neighbor's patio and chatted for over an hour. Folks are very friendly and I'm sure they will keep an eye on things while we are gone.

Since it has been a bit cool around here, it took the carpet much longer to dry. Mike took it back to our storage spot late in the afternoon.

Yesterday, I did some house cleaning in the morning. In the afternoon, we did some Christmas and grocery shopping and then headed to Nan and Dale's for the tree decorating activity and dinner. It was fun reminiscing about past Christmases and hearing about their family traditions.

Sunday, December 13. We managed to stay busy all day yesterday; Christmas cards, cleaning, bathing - who knows how we filled the day, but they time just seems to fly. The neighbors behind us, Nita and Spike invited us to join then for drinks in the afternoon, so we got to know some more about the park in it's heyday (they have been here for over 20 years). We had a nice conversation, as Mike and Spike were both in the Navy and they have traveled quite a bit, so there was no lack of subjects to talk about.

I finished up my Christmas Cards this morning - not sending near as many as I have in the past - the cost of stamps is up to $.44 these days. Most of the people we stay in touch with these days can be reached on the internet.

Monica and Dale came over later this morning; Dale to go over the mechanicals of the house as he will be checking it for us while we are gone, Monica to see the new digs. We then all went over to Nan and Dales to watch football, have a nice meal, and hang out. Monica and I worked on her painting project for a while (an antique wicker rocker and ottoman). It has become the way we spend Sundays since we got here - a comfortable family feeling.
December 1 - 7, 2009
Tuesday, December 1. The last 2 days have started with a relaxing bubble bath - a luxury we don't get in the motorhome. I might just have to make it a daily occurrence, it feels so good.

We've spent our time cleaning, getting organized, going for walks, and just getting used to the new digs. It still feels like we're just visiting. We've met 3 of our neighbors and they all seem very friendly and nice. The house behind us is for sale, so those folks will be moving out. The lady across the street is an avid gardener, so I think she and I will get along just fine.

Already, we have made a couple of trips to Home Depot and Lowes for cleaning supplies and various other items.

Wednesday, December 2. Frisco and I had a nice, long walk this morning - it's cool, quiet, and a nice place to go for walks. About a block from the entrance to the community is access to the canal; no traffic, few people, and plenty of smells to spark Frisco's interest.

After doing some house cleaning (I will be wiping down all surfaces before I'm comfortable here, so might as well get started), we headed to Camping World to pick up a part that Mike needs for the motorhome. Yesterday, when he was draining the hot water heater, the plastic drain plug broke. He took care of that problem and discovered another. The point where the water hose connects to the motorhome was also broken. He removed and we headed back to Camping World for a replacement part. Wouldn't you know, they didn't have that one, so we went across the street to RV Renovators (they did our roof sealing job recently) and they came up with a part.

By the time he finished, it was time to head to Westwood High School in Mesa to get our H1N1 flu shots (required because we will be taking care of our grandson). They were giving the shots from 3 to 7 PM today and we expected to be waiting in a long line. Within 1/2 hour we had the shot and were on our way out of there. The Mesa Fire Department was sponsoring it, we were impressed at how well organized it was. So that's out of the way - we got our shot before Ben could get his.

We decided to treat ourselves to dinner and went to Vito's Italian in The Groves district of Mesa (the location of many citrus groves on the north side of town). The 1st indication of an excellent meal was the bread, followed by a yummy deluxe pizza with a crispy, thin crust, Vito's Italian sausage, fresh vegetables, and plenty of Wisconsin cheese. Top that off with a glass of wine or *bleep*tail and we were feeling mighty good by the time we left. We relieved the stuffed feelings with a walk when we got back home.

Friday, December 4. My youngest brother, Russ, celebrates his 45th birthday today - that kind of makes me feel old. I awoke to the beep, beep, beep of the indoor/outdoor weather alarm at 5:05 this morning - the outside part sits is hidden in my planter and it has a goofy setting that warns you when the temperature drops to 37 degrees. I went out and brought it in the house and went back to sleep for a while. So it was quite brisk when Frisco and I walked and we stayed on the sunny side of the street as much as possible. I wore an extra layer under my hoodie, but saw several people out there with scarves and gloves on - and it was close to 50 by the time we left the house.

We shopped again yesterday - seems like we are doing quite a bit of that lately. I was notified of 2 estate sales going on in Chandler (about a 15 mile drive from here). The pictures showed a couple of items I might be interested in, so we went and were disappointed to find those items gone and nothing else of interest. We did get to see a part of the city that we weren't familiar with.

When we got back home, I headed out to do some grocery shopping. Mike wanted cookies but I wasn't real impressed with what they had, so I baked cookies when I got back home. I have used the convection oven in the house twice now and it has done an excellent job both times.

Sunday, December 6. We actually stayed home all day yesterday and stayed busy with little projects around the house; more cleaning, laundry, computing, talking with family, napping, chatting with the neighbor, going for walks, making chili, watching a movie, that kind of stuff.

Today, we had planned to take a drive to Four Peaks with Nan and Dale and to drive the offroad trail up to the mountain top. Since a cold front came through here, they were predicting temperatures in the 40s, high winds, and snow flurries. Needless to say, we will put that trip off for a while.

We went to their house instead to spend the afternoon. Nan and I did a bit of shopping and the guys watched football. Monica came over later in the afternoon and we had another wonderful dinner together.

Created on 12/01/2009 06:44 PM by bridge
Updated on 04/28/2010 08:36 AM by bridge
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