Just another average sunset in paradise!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Emergency Kit

People's emergency kits vary by need.  I need a good cup of hot coffee each morning!  I started thinking about the "What ifs" of camping.  What if I run out of propane?  What if I am not connected to electrical?  If both situations occur simultaneously I would be very sad and cranky.  When I was living on my boat I purchased a couple of small butane camp stoves that I used for all of my cooking.

A butane camp stove, about $15.00
12 cylinders of butane about $18.00
My morning coffee, Priceless!

The stove measures 13" x 10" x 3" and comes in a hard plastic carrying case.  It puts out 10,000 Btu and uses 5 oz per hour.  The butane can fits into a compartment on the right hand side of the stove.  The cans cost about $1.50 each and are 8 oz.  Turned on high, the burner will boil water in about 5 minutes which means it is using about 1/10th of an ounce each time I make coffee.  That is 80 pots of boiling water per can or about 2 cents each time.  Quite a bargain!

Even though Dod has a full-capability kitchen area, weather permitting, I prefer to cook outside on the grill and this little burner works great for cooking veggies or frying potatoes!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I wonder what percentage of Americans know the history of Memorial Day.  Most probably believe that it is to honor U.S. soldiers who have died defending our country.  It is but that is only partially correct.  It officially started in the 1868 as Decoration day, a day for the coming together of families from the North and South to honor the soldiers who died during the Civil War.  The name came from the decorating of grave sites.  It changed to Memorial Day in 1882 and then included the honoring of all U.S. soldiers who had died in battle.

While reading Rick's post  (Rick & Paulette's RV Travels) this morning I was reminded that soldiers from many countries are serving around the world and risking their lives for the safety of others.  My thanks go out to them all!

Seldom do I recommend television shows to others but last night "60 Minutes" presented a wonderful story about bravery, modesty and service.  You can view it here:  "60 Minutes" Presents: Honoring Our Soldiers.

Have a great Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Something I never expected to see!

I really enjoy all of the wildlife pictures on the blogs I follow.  The bird photos by Al of  The Bayfield Bunch and those by Judy on Travels with Emma remind me of how few colorful birds we have in Southern California.  There are some colorful birds in the local mountains including several type of jays, bluebirds and even the occasional cardinal but there are almost none here at the beach.

Yesterday I had a flashback to when I was about ten years old and probably getting into some type of mischief in my backyard.  A bird I had never seen before landed in one of our peach trees and I was entranced.  I stood very still and watched him until he flew away.  I rushed into my grandfather's house and grabbed his copy of the "National Audobon Society Field Guide to Birds" and searched page by page until I found the bird's picture and identified him as a Western Tanager.  (Googling is so much easier.)

Whether it was just a coincidence or esp or whatever, shortly after my daydreaming about the Western Tanager, while I was out walking Jesse, one landed in a tree not more than twenty feet in front of me!  More than fifty years had passed between my two sightings of this beautiful bird and I was just as entranced this time as I was when I was ten.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Serendipity is when one finds something that one was not expecting to find.  

When I sold my boat to Dan, I was expecting to find a buyer for my boat and nothing else.  Dan is not picking up the boat until Saturday but asked if he could come by and do some work on the boat yesterday.  When he showed up he had his girlfriend Alena with him.  As I have previously posted, Dan is a dog trainer specializing in disaster rescue dogs.  Alena is a professional dog groomer.

They both fell in love with Jesse almost instantly.  While they worked on the boat we had continuous conversations about dog care and they shared some of the many insights they have learned over the years on training, health care, flea control and many other subjects.  They highly recommended a dog de-shedder tool called the Furminator.  They also recommended Brewer's Yeast/garlic pills for flea control.

They had to go home for more boat cleaning supplies and when they returned they had gifts for me!  A large bottle of GNC Brewer's Yeast/Garlic pills,

and my very own Furminator.

The Fulminator works wonders and Jesse really likes it.  I don't know why but this tool,  somehow only removes Jesse's underlying white coat and doesn't take off any of his black and brown top coat.  I will have to wait and see how the yeast/garlic tablets work but they both told me it should only take a week or so to see results.  The pills cost about $10. per 500 and this is a four month supply.  Comparing that to Advantage at $60. for four months, I think it is definitely worth a try.

When they come back this afternoon, Alena is bringing her grooming supplies to give Jesse a complimentary, professional grooming and summer trim!

Back to "serendipity":  I was expecting to find a boat buyer and instead I found two new friends!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To do list is shorter!

I finally sold my sailboat.  I only got half my asking price so it is a good thing that I listed it for twice as much as I would settle for.  She went to a good home with a guy who trains dogs to be rescue dogs and search for victims in earthquake rubble and such.  I also gave him my inflatable dinghy.  It had a few small leaks that I was going to patch and then sell it on craigslist.  I am really tired of selling stuff there.  It is gone and forgotten!

I have about two more days work to get the house ready for the renters and then I will be able to concentrate on Dod!  I am way ahead of schedule and might be able to hit the road in early July instead of August.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jess has to go!

DJ's daughter gave birth early Friday morning to a 7 lb 15 oz baby boy, Tristan.  Tristan is DJ's seventh grandchild so she is now even with me.

Saturday, DJ came to visit and we had a celebratory steak dinner and tried out a skillet that will be used for most of our cooking in Dod. It is really unusual.  It is aluminum with a bottom that is about 1/2" thick and it has a non-stick surface.  I put it on a burner, heated it up very hot and then threw a well seasoned Rib-Eye steak on it.  After just two minutes on each side, the steak was a perfect medium rare and tasted just as great as any grilled or barbequed steak that I have ever had.

The parents of DJ's son-in-law (I don't know if there is a word that really describes this relationship.) have rented a beach house in San Diego for the Memorial Day weekend and we are invited.  We were trying to decide if we should take Dod and camp out in front of the house, get a room nearby or take sleeping bags and crash on the living room floor when Jesse came over and put his head and paws on my lap.  I looked at DJ and said "Jesse has to go!".

The decision was easy after that realization.  Dod will make another shake-down trip and I have a busy week ahead making some minor repairs and doing some major clean-up in Dod's interior.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Google Maps

DJ came over last night and we were talking about the places we would travel to in Mexico.  She wanted to see the apartment that I rented in La Paz in 2004.  I went to Google maps, entered "La Paz, Mexico, clicked on Satellite and centered the map above the apartment.  As I kept zooming in I was astonished to find that Google now has the street view available for all of La Paz!  We were able to look up at my apartment from the street level and then proceed down the malecon past all of the restaurants, bars and markets that I passed on my daily walks.

My apartment is circled in yellow.

This is the view I had to put up with everyday!

La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur and has a population of almost 1 million.  I decided to try a much smaller town.  I picked San Blas which is located on the Pacific coast of Mexico between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.  With a population of less than 9,000 I wasn't very hopeful of finding a street level view but there it was.  I was able to locate and view a bungalow that I am considering renting for $150. per month!

Next I tried Aticama which is a small fishing village near San Blas with only 1300 inhabitants.  It also had the street view available.  Hats off to Google!

Now I will be able to check out even the small towns and villages on my itinerary before arriving and I will be able to locate possible sites to dry camp before reaching each destination.  The only drawback is that I will probably spend hours on line checking out the many places I have visited in Mexico to relive memories.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A big item drops off my "to do" list!

Last Thursday as I was writing an ad to list my SUV on craigslist.org, the pool guy knocked on my door.  He asked if the truck out front was mine.  I told him it was and that it was for sale.  We walked out and he looked it over and started the engine.  He told me that his cousin was looking for a new vehicle and that she wanted something big.  I made it very clear that by Saturday I would have all of my junk removed from the truck and have it detailed.  I asked that his cousin wait until then to come see the truck.

Around 6:00 p.m. that night his cousin and her entire family showed up to see a very dirty SUV.  They took it for a drive and by 7:00 p.m.  they were owners!  I got my asking price in cash and I was spared the torture of the inevitable phone calls, stupid conversations and ridiculous "low ball" offers I would have suffered by posting on craigslist!

When the pool guy showed up yesterday for the weekly pool cleaning he said that his cousin was really happy with the purchase.  I asked him if he needed any kitchen appliances.  He did and within a very short time, he had a truck-full of stuff:  meat slicer, blender, crock pot, coffee maker, veggie chopper and enough pots, pans and dishes to supply a small restaurant.  The house is now about 95% empty and I can also delete a planned garage sale from my list of things to do.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Doubts about the future and my choices

I tend to analyse my choices to the Nth degree!  Ofttimes I wonder about my future taking a 32 year old motor home on a trip that I hope will encompass thousands of miles.  I think about where I am going and what I will find once I get there.  I also wonder about how in the H***  I made the decision that this would be a good thing for me.

A big influence on my choice has been a young Filipino woman whom I have never met.  She posts only a few times each year but her story seems to answer most of my questions.  Her name is Weng and her blog site is Mailorderbride .   I am only going to provide the slightest glimpse of her site here as I cannot think of one blogger that I follow who cannot benefit in some way by reading all of her posts word-for-word, for tortured English word.

A brief summary:  A Filipino woman finds herself in an untenable situation financially in her country; decides to travel to the USA and marry a man she had never met; has a family with him and begins a lifetime journey. They have a residence in Oregon but traveled to Mexico (in somewhat less that first class mode) and wound up living at least half of the year on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific.

While I have no specific itinerary, I know that one of my stops in Mexico will be to meet this extraordinary family!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This is an easy post to write but a very difficult one to title!  Some of the discarded titles are:  I'll pet Jesse but who'll pet me?  What a difference a day makes!  Poor Davey ain't got no brains!  The last one has a little history as it is what my mother always claimed I said each time I screwed up from the age of 4 years old on.

Sunday, my best friend Ruben came by to watch the end of the golf tournament with me.  I know that this time of year most people either watch the basketball or hockey playoffs and may watch a golf tournament if they just need an incentive to start a nap.   However, I like to watch golf and having my friend there to catch up on what each of us had been doing for the past 6 months was really enjoyable.  Toward the end of the golf tournament DJ called and said she was just around the corner at her son's house and asked if it was okay to come over.  I said sure!

People who have followed this blog for the last few months will know who DJ is.  For those who do not know, you can find out about her in this post: A doubly, foolhardy "shake down" trip!

The last time I saw DJ our conversation was something like "I want to meet a man who owns a home, has a good retirement income, and a plan for the future!"  I hope there is no confusion here: that's what she said!  I replied "Go for it!" and I truly meant what I said.  We had a couple of phone calls and a couple of emails over the past 7 months since I last saw her.  My question was always "Have you met Mr. Right yet?" and her response always included a direct answer of "no, but I have a good plan on how I'm going to meet him."

Well,  Mr. Right has not come along but she is no longer looking.  She decided that I was "Mr. Good Enough for Right Now."  Our relationship has been easy and comfortable right from the start and nothing had changed when she came by on Sunday.  The "hello" hug was just as nice as I had remembered and the conversation flowed allowing us to catch up on what we had been doing the past few months.

The topic soon centered on Dod and how much fun we had on the shake-down trip.  I really don't remember who suggested it but within an hour we had decided that she should join me on the trip to Mexico!  I was totally alone just a couple of weeks ago and now I have Jesse and DJ to travel with.  BTW, they got along great right from the start.

We had so much talking and planning to do that we decided that going out for dinner and cocktails, followed by a sleepover would be a good thing.  It was.  We fell right back into the comfortable relationship we had shared right from our first trip together.  Some might think that I am crazy but I prefer "foolhardy".

We did agree on an exit strategy:  no matter where we are in the world, she will always have enough cash to buy a plane ticket home!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

World Record for Dog Petting and boat sale update

Does anyone know what the world record is for continuous dog petting?  I don't but I am pretty sure that it is less than the world record for a dog wanting to be petted!  Jesse is a petting "whore".

Everywhere I go I can feel Jesse's nose brushing the back of my legs.  Every time I lie down on my bed, whether to watch tv or to sleep, Jesse jumps up and places his front paws and head on my chest.  This really bugs me!  In fact, it bugs me so much that I called the rescue organization that brought Jesse to me less than two weeks ago and told them that I was no longer interested in providing a foster home for Jesse.  Jesse now has a "forever" home with me!

Boat sale update:

I placed an ad on craigslist.org last week listing my sailboat for sale at $1200.00.  My boat sale ad  includes a wealth of information and pictures.  Similar boats are listed from $1500.00 to $2500.00 so I thought there might be a quick sale in my future.  I only have about $200.00 invested in this boat.  I bought it for $400.00 and sold the outboard motor that came with it for $550.00.  Past due registration fees, trailer lights and a new tire brought my total investment to the $200.00 figure.  Starting today, I will reduce the price by $100.00 daily until the boat is sold!

I am sorry but I just do not have the time to talk about boats that someone else has owned or their boating experiences.  I have a dog who needs petting!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Musical vehicles!

Living in the suburbs, we are subject to street sweeping twice a month.  It is a good thing, it is a bad thing.  Good thing is nice clean streets, bad thing is having to rearrange your vehicles.  Huntington Beach has scheduled my area so that there is absolutely no parking on the streets within our 8 square-block tract.

Today's dance went something like this:  Take the SUV down the street to the parking lot of a local park; pick up Dod from his usual place on the street in front of the park and park him in the driveway; take the old Lincoln around the corner to a liquor store parking lot and walk home.  All must be accomplished by 8:00 a.m.!  Luckily, our tract is the first one serviced so I can usually do the dance in reverse by 8:30 a.m.

Jesse helped me today.  About 8:15 a.m. we set off for our morning 1 mile walk.  As we returned home the sweeper was just passing my place so Jesse and I continued on to the liquor store to retrieve the Lincoln and Jesse had his first ride with me.  He was very well behaved so car rides must have been a regular occurrence in his former life.

Please no jealousy, not all of my days are this exciting!

Dog psychology

Yesterday Jesse chewed into a 4.5 pound bag of Quaker oats and spread a handful or so on the kitchen floor!  I was not concerned about the oats; you cook them in boiling water so no problem with germs.  I was not concerned about the mess on the floor because it was due for a good cleaning anyway.  My bad for leaving the oats on a lower shelf!  I never considered dog-proofing the house.

I was, however, concerned about the behavior and did not want a repeat performance.  I called Jesse over, pointed at the bag and said "No, bad dog" a couple of times.  I don't think it mattered much what I said as Jesse probably could read my "vibes" well enough to know that I wasn't happy.  I put the torn bag on the kitchen counter and went to use the restroom.  When I got back to the kitchen, I discovered that Jesse had used the restroom also.  He peed on the kitchen floor right next to the oatmeal mess!  The door to the patio was wide open just a few feet away.

The psychology question is this:  Was this Jesse's way of flipping me off or was he just nervous because I was upset with him for the first time?  Any advice on how I should have handled the situation in first place would be greatly appreciated! 

Jesse got over it quickly and about an hour later he jumped up on my bed and asked to have his tummy scratched.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It has been one week since I agreed to provide a foster home for Jesse.  His progress has been overwhelming!  If you are squeamish about nasal discharge, you can stop reading here.  For the first five days, Jesse had streams of yellow-green, slime-like substance  extruding from his nose in 2" long drips.  It wasn't much of a clean up problem as he seemed to enjoy licking his nose!  He also had a cough that the rescue ladies called "kennel cough".  They said this is a malady that occurs in about 90% of pets that  spend time in a shelter.

Since the very first morning he was here, I have given him a pill hidden, so very cleverly, in a piece of wiener.  I am sooo happy to report that for the past two days there has been no nasal discharge or coughing.  Even though Jesse may look as though his weight is normal (due to his long hair), when he arrived you could feel each bone in his body.  For the first few days it would take him all day just to finish his morning allotment of food and then remnants of his evening meal would still be in his bowl the next morning.

I fed him his evening meal a short while ago.  I feed him in the kitchen while I am cooking my dinner.  Tonight, for the first time, he finished his entire meal before mine was even ready!  I may be wrong but I think that a good appetite is a sign of health in animals and humans.

Since Jesse's arrival I have been somewhat concerned that Jesse has never barked.  I mean never!  Twice while walking him, he squealed when my big foot landed on his tiny paw, but never a bark.  Right in the middle of writing this post, Jesse barked.  It is a fine bark; not too loud but loud enough and deep enough to give the impression a dog twice his size!

He gets better everyday!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


In keeping with my desire to liquidate I posted a few items on Craigslist this morning.  I have a pool cover on a reel which I listed as free.  32 calls later, I think I may have under-priced it.  When I told one caller it was pending pickup, he said he would give me $40.  I said that wouldn't be fair.

I also listed a group of planters for free.  The first caller told me she wanted them for her little girl who wanted to start gardening.  

She also told me the family had just moved here and needed everything.  When her son showed up to pick up the pots, I took him on a tour and he is hauling away an entertainment center; two dressers; two night stands; a coffee table; two end tables; and a mattress and box springs.  He was happy and I may be even happier!

Jesse makes himself right at home!

When Jesse arrived late Friday night he was a frightened little guy.  I can't blame him after spending 3 weeks in doggie prison.  He moped around with his tail between his legs and spent the better part of the next two days just lying around looking sad.

After a few days of good food, walks around the neighborhood and a lot of love, Jesse is a changed dog.  He follows me wherever I go.  A couple of days ago he started jumping up on my bed at night but always picked a spot far away from me and curled up in a ball.  Last night when he jumped up on the bed, he laid down right next to me and rested his head on my chest.  This morning while I was making coffee, and before I even had a chance to make my bed, he jumped on the bed and made himself comfortable in the spot I had just vacated.

The next test of our compatibility will be a short camping trip in Dod.  I have no doubts Jesse will pass the test with flying colors.

Update on project list:

The boat ad is complete and will be posted today!
Posted an ad yesterday for the refrigerator in the man-cave; it sold within one hour (maybe I did not ask enough) and the guy who bought it also purchased 4 more items!
Trash goes out tomorrow and I have scheduled a 10 item pick up of some of the furniture that is too old to sell.  Generally when I place pick up items on the curb for the trash company, they seem to disappear during the night.  When they do, I get to add more items!