We are hitting the road this morning, leaving Chimney Rock Pioneer Crossing RV Park. (Check out our review here.) We had fun and will definitely come back if we are in the area. Laura and Joe, the campground owners, were super nice and we are for sure going to miss them! Continue reading
Tag Archives: life
Yesterday was a Sad Day…
Yesterday my mom laid the plaque for my brother’s tree. I wish I could’ve been there.
We ordered it from International Bronze when I first got out here to San Francisco. It took almost 2 months. Joe, the designer I spoke with, was really nice and helpful and I recommend them to anyone looking for a plaque.
It’s in Mt. Healthy Park in my hometown. Adam always loved the park and especially the pool. We spent many, many days there when we were younger. They used to have a putt-putt golf course that cost 15 cents, or you could pick up 5 pieces of trash and play for free -that was what we always did! Adam passed his test to swim in the deep end with ease, me, not so much. But one day when the pool was crowded he pretended like he hadn’t taken his test yet, there were a bunch of kids that were going to take theirs at once. (You just had to swim back and forth across the 10-foot part.) But when we all started swimming, Adam helped me and it was too crowded that the lifeguards didn’t see. So from then on I was allowed to jump off the diving board. And that’s all I did was jump, towards the side, holding my nose. No diving for me! Then I would doggy paddle to the ladder and get back out. Thank you Adam. I love you.
So yesterday was pretty sad.
To top it off, it was National Dog Day. (I’ll explain why this was sad…) I made Charlie a new doggy bed. I was Pinteresting, yet again, and found an idea for an envelope dog bed, or a snuggly dog bed, or like a sleeping bag dog bed. I knew I had to make it for her because she is constantly wanting under the covers.
I woke up 5 minutes before Allen’s alarm went off this morning to Charlie whining in my face. I lifted up the blanket so she could crawl under. Still, whining. I laid my hand on her. No more whining. What a baby! 🙂
So I made this bed and I’m pretty sure it instantly became her favorite. (She has 3 – One that came with her from her old family, one I made last week and now this one… Allen says Charlie’s camper footprint is getting too large.)
So when we went to bed, I put it in the closet in the bedroom, for some reason she likes it in there, and both sides of the bed now have other dog beds. So she went in the closet and that’s where she slept, all by herself, almost all night. Without me. I had to sleep alone. Well, not alone, I mean Allen was there, but he’s not the same as my puppy. (Sorry honey, I love you!) So after Allen fell asleep, which he always tends to do a lot faster than me, I was awake and sad because Charlie wasn’t next to me and thinking about my brother, and I think I was awake half the night. Not being able to fall asleep is the worst.
But, today is a new day, and I get to try out my new Bug-A-Salt rifle! Unfortunately it is not a semi-automatic… I have to pump it and turn the safety off every time. But hopefully I get rid of all these flies that hang around in my front
dirt yard! Good ole San Francisco…
By the way, I made Beef Stew for dinner last night if you want the recipe… Yum!
And here are the instructions for the doggy bed on SuzySitcom. One thing I did realize, then I had to redo it, is the instructions say to put the pocket piece and the larger piece right side together. But this is wrong, you need to put the pocket piece and the larger piece both right side facing down… You’ll see!
A Few Random Friday Thoughts…
My neighbor Carmen recently got us (and by that I mean me, because really, Allen will never touch the thing…) a bread machine! I love it! I’ve been wanting to get one since we were in Florida this last time. Our neighbors Lyne and Terry had one and it smelled so good. They bring down their own flour every year from Canada because they don’t like the way American bread tastes. Anyway, I’ve been comparing models, and Carmen said she really wanted to get us something for sort of a housewarming gift, so, I’m the proud new owner of an Oster 2LB. Expressbake Breadmaker.I started with the traditional white bread in a 1.5LB loaf and it came out delicious. Then I moved on to the flavors… I’ve mostly used the recipes that came with the breadmaker but I’ve also ventured into Google territory for some yummy ideas.
I made a super scrumptious cheddar/garlic/herb type loaf that we ate one day then the next day sliced and drizzled with EVOO and stuck on the grill for a few minutes – SO good! We had the bread with a bacon-wrapped pork loin…yum!I tried Honey Wheat because that’s the kind of bread we like on a daily basis, but the recipe was a 2LB loaf, which is just too big for sandwiches. And I had not mastered the art of slicing by then. The next day we took off for Tahoe so it was moldy by the time we got back.
The latest was a 1LB Italian garlic and herb loaf which came out perfect! It’s the perfect size for sandwiches. (Allen’s taken two to work already.) And I let it cool longer this time before slicing. I also didn’t use my fancy bread knife and bamboo bread slicer that I bought.
I just used a non-serrated knife I got from the Dollar Tree a LONG time ago, and it worked great… Surprising, but true… So we have decided that the 1LB loaves are the way to go… My goal is to never buy grocery store bread again.
On another note, I felt my very first earthquake ever!!! I went to school (this super expensive one) out here in San Francisco for 4yrs and never felt one (I think I was on a barstool for most of them…) and then last year we were out here for about 5 months and I didn’t feel one then either. This one was crazy! I was laying in bed with Charlie, probably blogging or Pinteresting, and it felt like someone hit the camper. It actually felt like Allen backed up and hitched up to the camper, but I knew he was at work. So I thought A) someone was trying to steal our house with me and the dog inside! or B) one of these tourists driving a rental RV must’ve clipped our nose… Charlie and I both ran outside but nobody was out. All was quiet. I texted Allen and he then informed me it was an earthquake, that they felt it by the tower too. Yikes! But it was a smaller one, nobody was hurt, so that was good.
I’ve also been on the phone trying to order parts for the camper from Grand Design. We have a 2015 Grand Design Momentum 385TH. We just bought it at the end of March. It’s still brand new. You’d think it would be fairly easy to get simple parts for it. Almost two weeks after sending the first “inquiry form” to Grand Design, we finally have parts on the way! (I honestly thought they would have excellent customer service being that they are still a new and fairly small company…)
While I was back at my mom’s house for my brother’s funeral and Allen and Charlie drove from Texas to San Francisco alone, a yellow pole at a tiny gas station jumped up and grabbed onto the ladder on the side of the camper, yanked it a little and busted the red light that’s back there. So we need a light, and the bottom brackets that hold the ladder onto the camper.
We wound up having to get the part numbers from Grand Design then call a dealer to order them because Grand Design is not set up to sell directly to actual people. I find this silly. Luckily, Shelly at Lazydays RV in Florida was super nice and helped us out. I probably should’ve called Palm Beach RV since that’s where we bought the camper, but oh well.
Anyway, while I was on the phone with Amanda at Grand Design I had her switch me over to Jerry in warranty (yes, I’m on a first name basis with these people). I spoke with Jerry multiple times when we were in Louisiana trying to take care of the radio/tv situation. Grand Design had the bright idea to put some Furrion products, and some Haier products in here. (To save money I presume..) But they don’t communicate well with one another. The radio in the living room is also a DVD player and that wasn’t working so Jerry sent us a new HDMI cord. It worked then, but in hindsight I don’t think the cord was the issue. We still have the same problem with having sound and no picture when we play a DVD but now we just unplug the TV then plug it back in. It’s the cheap Haier TV. In the garage (toy hauler) there is a car stereo that also plays DVDs. But it constantly sounds like it is skipping around a CD in there or trying to spit one out. Jerry also sent us a new radio that we swapped out. That worked for a while. I noticed Monday that it started making noise again. So he is supposedly sending us ANOTHER radio to swap out and says if we have more issues we will have to take it in to have it looked at. I’m trying to avoid that because we live in here full time and I’d rather not live at a dealership for days. Also, the closest Grand Design dealer is in Sacramento. And Allen will not be commuting to from Sacramento to San Francisco to work! Anyway, last time, Jerry took forever to send anything out, I mean he said he sent it then a week later I called to see where it was and he still hadn’t sent it. So fingers crossed he actually put it in the mail yesterday!
Before we left for Tahoe, Allen’s buddy was flying home for the weekend and gave us a 10LB bag of potatoes. (He lives alone. Why he would buy a 10LB bag of potatoes eludes me. I’ll have to talk to him about that.) Anyhow, I’ve been looking at this bag all week. Then I decided that instead of letting them go bad, maybe I could freeze them. So I Googled… Then I made some frozen hashbrowns (you just dice them, drop them in boiling water for about 2min, drain and cool them, bag them and freeze them) and some frozen fries (same as above but you also fry them in oil for about 3min after blanching and drying, then cool, bag and freeze). Easy peasy. I still have over 5LBs of potatoes left but at least I got rid of some of them!Last night I made 3-ways for dinner. Technically, 4-ways. If you don’t know what that is, it’s because it’s a Cincinnati thing… We are weird like that. It doesn’t matter where we move to, where our domicile is, Allen will always love 3-ways and goetta. (I on the other hand despise goetta… The taste, texture, cooking it, yuck!) The night before last, I came up with a new concoction that was pretty tasty… Rum and Kool-Aid! My brother loved Kool-Aid so I named this “Ode to Adam”…
And just for fun, here are a couple shots of Charlie hanging out with her buddy Samantha in the old parking lot that is our “yard” here at Candlestick RV Park…
Stateline, NV/South Lake Tahoe, CA trip!
I’ve never seen views like we saw here. It was literally breathtaking! I’ve never been to a mountain town before and I was impressed. Everywhere you look you just see amazing natural beauty.
We checked into Harvey’s Casino Resort on Friday afternoon and then hit the casino. We played some video poker and took a free craps lesson. There was a camera crew making a commercial at the video poker bar and then also at the craps lesson so I guess we will be in two commercials we will probably never see!
After that we headed outside to daylight (very shocking to our casino adjusted eyeballs!). We got some drinks and food at Mc P’s Taphouse Grill. Then walked around a bit to check out the area.
We went to a comedy show after dinner. It was pretty good. I’ve seen funnier. It’s the second comedy show we’ve been to together. The first was somewhere in Florida a couple of years ago.
After the show we stopped at this sports bar in the casino. The bartender was from Cincinnati (like us!) so we chatted with him for a bit and had some beers and late night pizza. He suggested we go to Emerald Bay to scatter some of my brother’s ashes. It turned out to be a great tip!
Saturday morning we had breakfast at Artemis Lakefront Cafe (crappy, slow service but delicious food-especially Allen’s biscuits and gravy!).
Then we headed over to check out Emerald Bay. It was about a 25 minute drive from the hotel but traffic wasn’t too terrible. Once you get close to the bay, the road gets super steep and winding and I get super nervous and nauseous.
We finally found a place to pull over and get out. Completely breathtaking! We scattered my brother’s ashes, most of which blew back on us -oops- and took some pictures then headed back down.
We hit the pool for some recovery drinks and suntanning then got dressed and went looking for dinner.
We checked a couple other places but weren’t impressed so we headed to Stateline Brewery up the street. It’s a brewery, in a basement, and the average entree is around $25 so it’s more our style for sure! Allen tried the Acclimator IPA which was pretty delish! We ordered the artichoke dip. It was a big loaf of Sourdough bread with half the loaf hollowed out and filled with dip, then the top was brushed with super yummy garlic butter. Yum! So the artichoke dip was the entirety of our dinner! We had a couple more beers and called it a night.This morning we had a couple of breakfast burritos from a cafe up the street, spent our last $20 in chips, cashed in our tickets and checked out. On the way home I saw my first California grass fire (there was one in the campground in Oklahoma City but this was a lot bigger).
Overall, our Tahoe trip was really fun, and the best part was sharing the experience with my love. Now I’m just happy to be back home with Charlie! We missed her! And, a special thank you to Carmen for puppy-sitting!
Taking Off for the Weekend!
Tahoe here we come!!!
San Francisco always seems to take its toll on Allen and the guys (and me, for sure).
This time around is especially difficult because even though the weather is nicer than it’s ever been while we were here, work is almost at a stand still. There’s some kind of lead paint issue that another company was called in to deal with, which in turn is holding up work on our end. Add this to the already existent fact that the city seems to drag its feet on everything Sutro-related.Not staying really busy makes for long days (and short pay checks). No good for anyone. So I guess they all came to some sort of decision at work that they would take a long weekend. Just for reference, this is pretty much unheard of. When they are busy, they work ten hour days, six and sometimes seven days a week. So that’s what they are used to. So am I for the most part, but I love “weather days” (rain, snow, wind, etc. that make working on a 1,500ft broadcast tower too dangerous). Anyhow, one guy flew home for a high school reunion and another booked a cruise to Mexico. We were looking at Santa Cruz first, then heard that it’s not as cool as Monterey. So I went motel shopping. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zip. No rooms available, and the rates for even a Super 8 or a Days Inn were $400/night!!! Yikes! (By the way, we were looking last night, wanting to leave today, that’s just how our last minute lives are lived.)
So then we almost gave up. But then we looked at Tahoe. We found a room in a casino resort in South Lake Tahoe for less than Monterey, AND we are staying two nights! It’s going to be like a mini-vacay! We haven’t stayed in a motel in way over a decade, let alone a fancy “resort” (ever)! I’m super excited.
Charlie is going to stay with our neighbors and her buddy Samantha so she will have fun too.I’m also going to bring a little of my brother’s ashes with me. He’s never been to Nevada, so it’ll be a first for both of us.
Off we go!
DIY Pillow Covers!
I thought I would take full advantage of this super foggy, windy, kinda rainy, gloomy day here at Candlestick RV Park and work on an indoor project. I bought a beginner’s sewing machine a few months ago and I haven’t gotten to use it a whole lot yet. I didn’t want anything too complicated. I’ve never used a sewing machine before. I did some research and decided on the Janome portable one in “purple thunder”! It was about $60 from Amazon. I’ve been trying little things here and there. I’ve made a pair of Allen’s ripped jeans into shorts… I’ve also made a couple of onesie’s into outfits for Charlie… Just by hemming them a little here and there… I got these at the Flea Market in Dayton, Ohio.
For a while now, I’ve been wanting to cover up these hideous (IMHO) throw pillows that Allen has had forever. They are brown and dark blue and just have no personality. Yesterday I took a trip to Walmart (yes, a trip, out here in San Francisco) and I picked up some fabric. I had asked Allen what color he thought would look good and of course his answer was brown or dark blue. No chance. So I got some pretty teal stuff. I kind of followed this picture I found on Pinterest. They are envelope pillow covers. Super easy. I’m not a master seamstress by far! But I’m liking the sewing machine!
Overall, I think they look great and add a pop of color!
Before I got the sewing machine, I still wanted to make Charlie some clothes… So these are a couple of little things I made for her. She’s such a good sport!
Back to Reality
So I arrived in San Francisco Saturday evening. Allen picked me up from the airport and we went to get some food and a couple beers at Red Robin. Then we went home to CHARLIE! She was SO excited to see me! (She even peed a little…) Gosh, I missed her like crazy! I woke up pretty early this morning, I’m still on Eastern Time really… So I showered and got dressed and made some coffee then I took Charlie for a walk. I made a grocery list and printed some coupons… Charlie and Allen are both sleeping. In bed. Still. Lazy bums…
The campground (Candlestick RV Park) is SO crowded compared to last time we were here… All the little patches of grass are now just dried, dead, brown patches of dirt. All the flowers that were so pretty are now just thorny sticks with a couple blooms here and there. Candlestick Stadium is gone so the view is completely different. We have an end spot this time, so we look out at trees instead of the side of another camper, which is nice. It almost tricks you into forgetting you are in a black top parking lot. Almost. Not really.
Marcus, Allen’s coworker, moves in today right behind us. I think we should go buy some of those swimming noodles and put them on the bumper, because we will probably be touching. It’s that tight out here. I’m not exaggerating.
I Didn’t Leave my Heart in San Francisco…
I Didn’t Leave My Heart in San Francisco…
But that’s where it is now.
I’m at the airport, waiting on my flight to take me home, to Allen and Charlie. I have my brother’s ashes with me. Specifically on he seat next to me. It’ll be his first time flying. We, I, have a short layover in Chicago then I’ll get out there at around 5pm local time.
I have a few very good friends at home (mine and Allen’s hometown/my mom’s) and I’m so grateful for them. I’m going to miss my mom like crazy, but we will be ok. I had the pleasure of getting to know her psychotic cat, Jack, over the last three weeks and I’m going to miss that little jerk too. She’s crazy. I’m glad my mom has her.
Allen says I need to get back in my routine because he can’t live on pizza rolls much longer! So that’s what I’m going to try to do… I just made a grocery list, in fact. I have a DIY post that I need to write, and also a couple of campground reviews from Allen, his stops on his way from Dallas to San Francisco. Also, I’m sure Charlie has grown at least a pound, so I’ll have to take some pictures of her! Now I just wish these next 8 hours would go really fast!
Getting to Say a Long Good-Bye
In my last post I talked about losing my brother Adam. Thanks to a lot of very generous, kind people, we’ve raised a lot of money on GoFundMe to help pay for the funeral expenses.
His funeral was Thursday evening. I thought it was beautiful. We didn’t have a reverend or pastor or preacher. (We didn’t want anyone to look at Adam negatively and judge him, especially the fact that he was gay) Instead my Aunt read a poem from my mom and then we invited anyone up who wanted to share a story or memory about Adam. I think a lot of his friends got up and said something. It’s all still mostly a blur.
We had pictures of Adam playing the whole time on a slide show and then when everyone was finished speaking, we played some of his favorite songs. He would’ve loved it. Missy Elliott “Work It” was the first one to come on!
We had been planning to bury his ashes next to his dad in a cemetery close to my mom’s house. But the other night my mom and I walked over to see where we would put the marker. We were both thinking, but not saying, that we weren’t sure if this idea fit Adam.
We eventually said, almost simultaneously (we do that a lot even when we don’t see each other for months) that his ashes should be spread, not buried. Adam has always wanted to travel and never really got the chance. The last conversation we had, he told me that Charlie was the luckiest dog ever because she got to go everywhere and see everything.
So I’m going to bring him with me. It’ll be his first time on a plane and the first place I’m taking him is San Francisco. I think he would love this. I’ve started compiling a wish list of places I’d like to scatter some of his ashes. But, as with the rest of my life, I know all of this has to stay a tentative plan. We will just have to see where the wind blows us.
I just read an article that gave me some really useful tips. I’m glad I found it. Thanks to the author.
On another note, Allen and Charlie made it to Candlestick RV Park in San Francisco safely on Friday afternoon. Our super nice neighbor Carmen watched Charlie while her husband Doug helped Allen squeeze into our spot.
He took notes and pictures for me, well, for the blog. So when I get out there, I’ll post about their super slow trip from Dallas to San Francisco. (He couldn’t check into the campground until Friday so he was doing less than 500miles/day) Allen also wrote some Google reviews of the campgrounds they stayed in on the way out. I’m so proud of him! My mom joked that he’s going to become known as the angry blogger. I love it.
Losing is Never Easy…
But I never thought it could be this hard.
I’ve known a lot of loss and death in my life but this is by far the worst. My brother passed away suddenly on Thursday. He was only 31.
Allen came home early from work Thursday, which I thought was weird because I had just talked to him at lunch time. My mom had called him and asked him to tell me. I bought a plane ticket and packed my bag (well, I think maybe Allen packed most of it for me) then we went to the airport so I could get on a flight and be back in Cincinnati with my mom by midnight. When I got to the airport, I did the self check in thing then checked my bag and went to security. The security guard told me my ticket was for the following morning, Friday, at 7am. I lost it. Again. So then I had to go through waiting for Delta to figure out what happened. I wound up having to book another flight for 7am with American Airlines that got me here at 10:30am instead of the middle of the afternoon like Delta wanted to do. I’m still waiting for my refund from Delta. But I’m here.
I guess it’s easier to talk about things like plane tickets than it is to talk about what matters.
My brother has struggled with addiction for a long time now. He’s been in and out of trouble for things related to drugs for the past 6yrs or so. (I.E. Stealing to get money for drugs, violating probation, failing drug tests…) He just got out of prison on June 6th. Right after we had to leave Ohio and head down to Dallas. When I took Charlie swimming in Oklahoma City. I didn’t get to see him. We did FaceTime though. Not the same as a hug. My mom picked him up from prison and he was living with her. He found out that he was HIV positive this last time he went in, so he had just been to the doctor and was going to start medication in the next couple of weeks. His doctor told him and my mom that with medication he could live to be 60, 70, 80 years old.
I don’t know what happened or what kind of struggle he had in his head when he decided to use again. But I don’t understand it. He called me Thursday morning. He asked me what Charlie was doing. He couldn’t wait to meet her. I asked him what he’d been doing all morning. ~silence~ I asked him again. ~silence~ I thought it was weird but drugs never crossed my mind. I just thought he was being spacey like he sometimes got. I just got kind of annoyed and told him if he wasn’t going to talk to me then I was hanging up. I hung up. My mom says I can’t think that I could’ve changed anything. But…
She came home from work, she cleans houses, at about 1pm and he was on the porch. He’d overdosed on heroin. He was already gone. I would give anything to have him back and anything to not let my mom have been through that. I guess the paramedics came and worked for an hour.
We went to plan the funeral Saturday. My step dad passed away 5yrs ago and we went to the same place. The price has tripled since then. We had to leave because we couldn’t afford it. That’s not a good feeling, to have to shop around for a funeral. But we found a place that was really nice. We are going to have a visitation and service on Wednesday evening then have him cremated. My mom wants to bury his ashes with his dad’s.
In the meantime, I miss Allen and Charlie like crazy and I so wish I could have both of them here with me. They are leaving Texas tomorrow to head out to San Francisco. I’m worried about them traveling by themselves but Allen says they’ll be fine. I remind him of fifty things Charlie related everyday it feels like. He jokingly reminded me yesterday that I’m missing out on some blogging opportunities driving cross country. Touché. But I will fly back to San Francisco at some point yet to be determined. (I for sure have to wait until I get my plane ticket refund).
We started a Go Fund Me page to help with the expenses. (If you would like to help, I would be so grateful) We wrote his obituary. We picked out an outfit we think he would’ve loved. (This pair of white skinny jeans he was loving!) I’m ordering a really pretty rainbow colored casket spray. (Gay Pride) We’ve been making a list of songs he loved that we are going to play at the funeral. We went through boxes of old pictures yesterday.
Losing is never easy.
But I never thought it could be this hard.
I love you Adam. And I will miss you forever.