Monday, August 30, 2010

Down To The Wire Now

When they start coming in groups I’m really surprised!  I noticed 3 new “Followers” in the past couple of days.  So welcome aboard to Mike Mills, Olena Spicer and Gizmojo. THANK YOU very much for spending some of your time reading about our RV adventures!  I really appreciate it.

We’re getting down to the wire on this babysitting job now.  One more day!  It’s been so much fun….but very tiring for us old folks.  Yesterday we didn’t babysit since it was Sunday, but that was the day Bruce and I planned the small family birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese for Mackenzie. 


Being almost 9 years old (on Wednesday) Mackenzie is probably a little big for a Chuck E. Cheese bash, but it was only family and the girls love to go there.  And it kept any mess out of the house and we didn’t have to clean up.  I have to say, too, that the 6 adults that were there played some of the arcade games themselves and had a pretty good time.  (just don’t tell anyone I mentioned that)  We ordered pizza and soft drinks for dinner. 

                                                       Mackenzie lost no time in getting to a slice of pizza.DSCF6343 

The special birthday guest of honor gets to enter the Ticket Blaster.  They have 30 seconds to grab all of the tickets they can.  Those tickets can be used to redeem for gifts and prizes at the counter. 

                                            Mackenzie dons the protective goggles.DSCF6346

After she got inside the Ticket Blaster, Mackenzie got ready to start grabbing.  You can grab all the tickets you want in the air or that stick to your body, but you cannot pick any up off the floor.  The red tickets have higher point values, up to 200 on each ticket.

                                            She grabbed tickets that totaled over 650 in points.DSCF6348

We opened gifts and had birthday cupcakes and then it was time to go.  The girls redeemed all of their tickets (4,200 worth) and got some nice stuff at the prize counter this time.  We had a nice time getting together with the family and Zoey has already suggested we do the same thing for her birthday in March.  How could we say no?

Today we brought the girls over to the motorhome after breakfast.  It was the day we were going to finish up their summer photo albums.  Whew!  What a project that turned out to be.  It was a great opportunity for the girls to learn some beginning lessons in scrapbooking and they enjoyed it.  It was just a little back-breaking for me….but I got through it!  They now have perfect keepsakes of their summer spent with Grandma and Papa.

                                                     Zoey was proud of her work.DSCF6377-1

                                                     Mackenzie wants to work on more albums now.DSCF6380

Tomorrow is our final babysitting day and we told the girls we’d take them out for lunch any place they want to go.  They chose Brewery City Pizza (didn’t they just have pizza?) so we’ll go there.  Bruce and I can get a salad and lay off the pizza for now.  After stepping on the scale this morning, I’d say that is a good idea.

Wednesday will be spent doing some much needed house cleaning.  Almost ready for “blast off” now.  Thanks for hanging in there this summer when most of the blog posts were about the Grands and family.  I appreciate it, and all of the supportive comments too.

Until next time….so long for now!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sand In The City and Comment Controversy

This weekend in Olympia was the annual Sand In The City event.  Bruce and I went down to the Port Plaza on Saturday to check it out.  It is a fun family oriented festival of sorts to benefit the local Hands On Children’s Museum.DSCF6288 

A lot of folks were there participating in the free (donation suggested) events and programs.  270 tons of sand had been trucked in for the sand sculpting teams to play with.  Their artistic talents are amazing as you can see from some of the displays we observed.  There was a team sculpting competition.

                                                            This looks like Bruce and me watching TV at night.DSCF6278

                                                            Title:  Camping Gone WildDSCF6280

                                                                     I thought of Bayfield Al with this sculpture.DSCF6272

The warm sunny day brought out even more of the locals.  There was a giant sandbox set up for the smaller children to play in while the parents sat nearby or played too.  They even had games for the kids like Splash Ball, Bubble Hut, and Chalk Walk to name a few.  The usual face painting booth was on hand.

                                                           Could you even find your kid in this mass of people?DSCF6286

                                                                           On a warm day WHY do people have to dress their dog?DSCF6289

There was live entertainment every hour and it was very good.  While we watched, a group from the Comerford Irish Dancers performed.  In traditional Irish dance the arms are held straight at the dancer’s side.  Think Lord of the Dance here.

                                                           Beautiful young ladies entertained the crowd.DSCF6290


There were many local businesses represented here with food and beverage for sale.  All their proceeds were going as donations to the Hands On Museum.  What a great community this is and very generous, as well. 

                                                           Tables were set up for eating, if you could get to them.DSCF6287

It was a nice day and a change of pace from the world of babysitting.  There is always something going on in the greater Olympia community and that is one reason we do enjoy spending some time here.


If you read my post from yesterday you may have viewed the comment section as well.  I never intended for my post to open a can of worms or create a “bear pit” (as Al once called it on his blog) and I’m sorry if feelings were bruised and so forth. 

We all have our own thoughts, opinions, way of life, etc. and I just want everyone to be comfortable in what they are doing.   I try to respect everyone’s blog and the comments they leave on mine.  I appreciate all comments and I will publish them all as long as they do not include offensive language.  After that I leave it up to the reader to determine what they will after viewing them.  After all, we are all entitled to our own opinions and have the right to express them.

Thank you for stopping by….and Please feel free to leave more comments.


Until next time… long for now!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time Is A Precious Commodity

A little bit of our personal history:

Life is full of choices for everyone.  We make choices and then have to live with them.  Some choices turn out to have been good ones, and some turn out to be not so good.  I’ve found that sometimes folks judge us by our choices alone.  Seems like the bloggers over at Freely Living Life have found some judgmental people based upon their choice to be fulltimer’s with young children.  Read their post and you can see what I’m talking about.

Freely wrote at length about why they got into the RV lifestyle at an early age and are not working until they are old and gray.  It isn’t a choice some folks would make, but it suits Freely and their family.  More power to them!!!  I sincerely wish them well because we did something similar (minus the fulltime thing in the beginning).

I know that we have been blessed and are fortunate to be able to enjoy this adventure we are on.  Choosing an unconventional path isn’t for everyone.    

Bruce was 39 years old when he quit working and I was 35 at the time.  I did have a part time job as an Instructional Aide at an elementary school and I kept that just until our youngest graduated from high school.  Then I quit.  Bruce had a heart attack in 1993 when he was 46.  He did just fine after the recovery but it did cause us to think again about how we wanted to live our life.   Our son was getting married and our daughter was working….so we sold the house and began a short stint as fulltimer’s.

We followed that dream for 2 years and then relocated with our daughter to Olympia, Washington from California.  We bought a house and got a smaller RV for vacation travel and that was great….for a while.  Family considerations kept us from the fulltime lifestyle again until 2007 when my Dad passed away.

Let’s back up again to 1993. So then, why do I think we are fortunate and blessed to have had this time of no earned income helping our budget?  Time is the big answer.  If we had been working all of these last years we would not have had the time needed to help our family members.


My FIL passed away in 1990 and we were able to help Bruce’s mom with all of the business details and investment details that she had no clue about.  We had all the time in the world to take her on RV trips around the country.

In 1993 we sold our home in California and were in our RV when my brother soon became terminally ill with AIDS.  We had the time to take our RV back down to Southern California and stay by him through his time of need.  My parents were in Arizona (long story) and came over only 2 or 3 times to be with him.  We were with him for 2 months helping the home health care workers tend to him and we were by his side when he died.  He was not alone because we had time.


My grandmother lived in Arizona with my mom and dad and she began having health issues.  We were able to travel first from California and then down from Washington a few times a year to see her and visit.  Because we had time.  She later moved to Virginia to live with my cousin and before she died, Bruce and I got into the car and drove all the way to Virginia to see her one last time. Again, we could do this because we had time.

My mom and dad had to come to Washington to live next to us when mom developed terminal cancer.  We did not work so I had time to sit with her during chemo treatments and care for her and dad at home. 

Same situation with Bruce’s mom when she developed terminal breast cancer.  We had time to be with her and take her to chemo and generally be with her daily.

Also at the same time we babysat everyday for our Mackenzie from birth until she was one.  Because we had time.  We enjoyed it and it created a nice bond between us.

It wasn’t all just a leisure picnic.  We did a lot of hard work for the family during this time.  Yard work, house cleaning, handling business affairs, trips to the doctors on a weekly basis, and so forth.  All because we had time.


In 2006 and 2007 we had time to take my dad on a few RV trips including trips to Alaska and Nova Scotia.  He died shortly after the last trip, so we felt so happy we had taken him to those places.  They were his dream vacations.

When we decided to be “retired” at such early ages our friends down in California thought we were crazy.  How could you do that?  Don’t you want more money?  Those were a couple of the questions we were asked.  I know most of them were scratching their heads in amazement at how foolish we were being.  Retiring at an early age created the need to tone down our wants and desires with material things.  By taking this path we were never going to have enough money to do extensive world travel.  We would always have to be mindful of our spending. 

We made a lot of mistakes in the early years and spent too much money sometimes.  We have learned over the past 10 or 12 years to really tighten up the budget.  The stock market could have been a better friend to us the past several years, but who in the world couldn’t say that?  All in all, we are hanging in there.

Money is great….no denying that…..and you can’t live without it.  However, it will not:

* buy your health back

* buy you lost time

* create happiness

* let you feel truly free

We had always planned to retire when Bruce was about 55.  The opportunity presented itself much earlier and we took it.  Regrets about that?  None.  Our friends that thought we were crazy (but didn’t come out and say it) all have tons more money than we do.  A couple of them just quit working and they are between 65 and 70 years of age.  Others we know are still working in their early 60’s.  We know for a fact that it is by choice and not need.  That’s perfectly OK as long as that is their choice.  None of them will probably ever have to think twice before buying a new car, expensive jewelry, or taking a trip to Italy.  They worked (or are working) hard for the privilege of doing those things.


We feel blessed to be able to sit beside our RV and look up at the clouds in the heavens.  We may not be world travelers, but we are able to take our motorhome and travel at will through 2 countries….Canada and United States.  Between those 2 there are enough places to go to keep us happy.

This was a long post, sorry.  But as I was reading about Freely Living Life’s situation this just sort of all starting writing itself.  Hope you weren’t bored and you’ll come back again tomorrow for some interesting stuff we did here this weekend in Olympia.

Until next time… long for now!



Friday, August 27, 2010


Hello and Welcome Aboard to a new “Follower” today.  A big THANK YOU goes out to Me and My Dog.  I appreciate that you have signed on to read about our fulltime RV lifestyle.

As tired as I was yesterday, I didn’t sleep well and was awake before 5 am.  I sometimes do that and lie awake with my brain thinking over way too many possibilities for things to go wrong.  Doomsday thinking?  But why?  I don’t really know but I’ve always been that way.  Tonight will be better (maybe).

We took the Grands over to the Westside of Olympia to the store where Mommy works.  The Jelly Belly motorhome was going to be stationed there from 10 am to 2 pm.  We arrived just past 10:00.

                                            Is this RV a full-timer's RV?  Ha HaDSCF6253

                                            Every area is painted with Jelly Belly candy.DSCF6259

They had a little game to play with a wheel that you spin.  Where you land determines which sample of Jelly Belly you might get.  Each section had 2 choices…1 good and 1 not so good.  For instance one section had licorice or skunk spray as the flavors.  You take pot luck with what you might get.  Mackenzie landed there and took a chance.  She got the licorice flavor.  I took a spin and landed on Centipede or Cinnamon.  I wasn’t so lucky….I got a Jelly Belly that tasted like a squished bug smells.  Bruce ended up with a Moldy Cheese flavor J.B.  It was fun and they didn’t taste so bad you couldn’t take it, although they had a trash can there for spitting it out if you wanted.  Zoey got one with Wild Berry flavor, but I can’t remember what the bad choice was.  A lady before us got a flavor called Pencil Shavings and she said it tasted like it would if you bit into a wooden pencil.  How do they get those weird flavors????

                                            Mackenzie spins the wheel.DSCF6256

It was a fun little experience and we all got free sample packets.  They have a VW beetle painted up with Jelly Belly candy and their logo.  I guess this is the toad for the RV.

                                            Looks good enough to eat.DSCF6252

We bought a bunch of fresh produce inside the store and cruised around by the bulk foods department where they had the Jelly Belly candies marked 50% off for today.  We allowed the girls to pick out some and put into their own bag.  Our daughter, Stephanie, is manager of this part of the store, including a few other small departments.

                                            A small section of the bulk foods candy area.DSCF6257

We paid for our groceries and said good-bye to Mr. Jelly Belly.  It was almost lunch time by the time we got finished with all of this activity.


After lunch Zoey wanted to play Go Fish.  I remembered a little idea I saw recently in a magazine at the Great Clips salon while waiting for a haircut.  Small kids have a difficult time holding several cards in their hands while playing a game.  So, you take an empty egg carton and turn it upside down.  Take an exacto knife and make a cross cut on every little egg cup.  The kids can then slip a card into each cross cut and it becomes a card holder.  It worked well for Zoey today. 

                                            Easy for little kids to see their cards without fumbling with them.DSCF6251 

                                                    It worked too well…..she beat me twice!DSCF6261

That’s it for a nice Friday afternoon.  We get a free weekend and then 2 more days of babysitting.  So much to do to begin preparations for “blast off” in a few days.

Until next time… long for now!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Know I’m Getting Tired

I have another new “Follower” to appreciate!  THANK YOU very much DearMissMermaid for joining my growing group.  Welcome aboard and I hope you enjoy coming along with us when we travel.

Right now I’m feeling very tired.  We are down to the wire on the babysitting job.  3 more days!  Today we spent several hours here at the motorhome with the Grands putting together more pages in their summer photo albums.  We’ll try to finish them up on Monday. 

Yesterday for some reason my Live Writer went kablooey.  Some kind of ERROR box popped up and we could not get anything to work right.  We uninstalled everything for Live Writer and then reinstalled a version that said Live Writer 2011.  I don’t know what went wrong, if we did things right to install the program again, or even if I’m hanging upside down right now since I am so tired!

The only problem I can see with LW now is that I don’t know how to set a default setting for font size (if there is such a thing).  When I want to type in my blog post title now, it will not allow me to move up to a bigger size.  I change font size and then when I move the cursor to the area to type the title it goes back down to a dinky size.  OK…you win!!!  Whatever.  I’m forging ahead because I have few brain cells left at this moment to even think straight about it.

                                                      Sidewalk flower box in Long Beach.DSCF6133-1

I haven’t been able to cruise around all of the blogs I follow every night either, because I’m too tired by the time I publish a post.  Please don’t anybody think I’ve deserted you!  I just haven’t had enough free time. 

We have had a nice change in our weather here in the Tumwater area.  It cooled down about 20 degrees today with a bit of a breeze.  Refreshing.  Fall seems like it is just around the corner now.

                                                           Flowers at the Point Defiance Zoo.DSCF6197

Tomorrow morning we are taking the girls over to the store where Mommy works.  The Jelly Belly motorhome and it’s VW beetle are coming for some kind of promotional tour.  Jelly Belly candies will be 50% reduced in price!  Guess we should buy a few.  They have so many flavors to choose from. 

                                            More flowers at the zoo.DSCF6235

Sunday we are having a little family birthday celebration for Mackenzie.  She will be 9 on September 1st.  We usually gather at the kids house, but this year I said we’d take everyone to Chuck E. Cheese for a little party there.  Mackenzie has been bugging everyone for a birthday party there.  Stephanie wasn’t the least bit interested in entertaining that thought… Grandma said she would do it !!!   Hehehe !!!

                                            Just some trees right by the kids house.DSCF5931

That’s my boring report for this very busy day.  Now, I’m resting my aching back (too much leaning over the table helping with the albums), drinking some great coffee while I listen to the washer doing it’s job for me.   Peaceful evening.  The alarm is set for another wake-up at 5:30 so I’ll get to bed early again I guess.

Until next time… long for now!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

West Bay in Olympia, Washington

Something went kablooey with my Live Writer and I'm doing this the old-fashioned way....Blogger.  We'll get the LW fixed as soon as we have time.

I would like to welcome new "Followers" to my blog today.  They are BW and Carol.  THANK YOU very much folks for joining my group, I appreciate it very much and hope you like visiting with me.

When we had our vacation from babysitting a few weeks ago we took a little trip over to West Bay in Olympia.  It is an area that has undergone (and still is) a little renovation.  We drove into the downtown area of Olympia from our Tumwater location and turned left onto 4th Avenue.  We crossed over a new bridge that was built after the earthquake we had on February 28, 2001.  That was a real shaker and it ruined the old historic bridge.

We had no specific plan for being here on this day, we were just out enjoying a beautiful and sunny day by the water.  There is a very busy marina here, naturally called West Bay Marina.

There is a wide variety of watercraft here, including some great looking houseboats.

Many logs are floating in West Bay waiting to be shipped someplace.  This is a working marina as well as a pleasure boat marina.  You can also rent kayaks here at dockside.

There is also a great restaurant here called Tugboat Annie's.  We have eaten some great seafood there.  They have a flagpole here.  Our United States flag and flags for both Washington State and neighboring Canada fly proudly.

As we drove away from the actual marina we stopped to take a photo from above.  It really is a beautiful location.

Heading back toward town we spotted a new park that was part of the recent urban renewal projects along West Bay Drive.  We pulled in to enjoy the view from this location.  It is just a small park with a few parking spots, some tables and benches and a nice place for launching a kayak.  There are two large dock cranes across the bay.  You can also look toward the south end of the bay and see boat houses, which are plentiful in the various marinas in Washington.

We saw a family getting their kayaks ready for a trip around the West Bay.

Looking across the bay you can see more of the logs that have been trucked in for shipment.  The scene beyond the logging area is East Bay.

Our final look toward the north end of West Bay shows us the way to sail toward the greater Puget Sound and out to Seattle and beyond.....if we were to have a boat, that is.  We don't because we prefer to do our traveling by the wheels of a motorhome! 

It was a nice day just looking around this renewed area.  There is always something interesting and beautiful to discover here in the greater Olympia area.  I hope you enjoyed this short tour of the West Bay Marina. 

Until next long for now!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It’s All Happening At The Zoo

Our babysitting days are coming to an end quickly, so we took the opportunity to go to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium with the girls today.  The zoo is located in the city of Tacoma which is north of our Tumwater location.

                                           The only combined zoo and aquarium in the Northwest.DSCF6240

From several areas in the zoo you can get a glimpse of Commencement Bay, which is part of Puget Sound.  We never get tired of that view!  We arrived about 10:00 and it was already getting warm outdoors.  We brought a picnic lunch along with us to eat while we were in the zoo, as we saw many other visitors had done. 

Most of the animals here are native to the Pacific Rim.  The girls have been here many times and they knew just where they wanted to go first.  They wanted to go to the aquarium first.  We saw some great looking sharks at the underwater viewing area.

                                                    I’m having the urge to watch “Jaws” again.DSCF6173


The small fish area had a great view of some seahorses.  They were really large and very active.  There was also a touch tank for the kids to be able to gently touch some underwater critters. 



                                                    Zoey touches a starfish very carefully.DSCF6184
We went to the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater where a show was presented with a variety of animals.  The girls enjoyed this very much. 

                                           There was some kind of vulture with a wing span of 4 feet or more.DSCF6205

                                                       The furry little aardvark was a funny guy to see.DSCF6212
                                                 At the Wild Wonders Live Presentation.DSCF6201

The grounds of the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium are beautiful.  There are many species of native plants on display, not to mention those amazing views!  We could also see Mount Rainier clearly today.

                                           Many trees at the zoo that helped shade us on this hot day.DSCF6238

                                            The mountain was “out” today.DSCF6239

After we ate lunch we walked through the other areas at the zoo, looking at Arctic Fox, walrus, polar bear, monkey, elephant and a camel.  Before leaving we stopped at the Kid’s Zone to let the girls play on the equipment for a while (and to let us have a rest).



By 2:00 we were hot, tired and thirsty.  We stopped at McDonald’s on the way home for a cool refreshing ice cream treat.

It was another good day with the “Grands”.  It appears that they will be heading back to daycare on September 1st and our job will be over for this summer.  Mackenzie is really missing her own friends, and I can’t blame her.  Hanging around with your little sister and Grandma and Papa all summer long is getting old now.  She’s looking for people her own age!

Until next time… long for now!