Monday’s blog, off and away

Rallys (RV) are always incredibly busy, fully packed and end too fast. We took off for the Escapade (Escapees RV Membership Club event) in Pima County Fairgrounds near Tuscon then set up a day and 1/2 before the official event began..and then it was over; we had “hit the ground running” and never stopped. Then whoosh it was over and we were on the road again. 

We attended many informative seminars about computers, mapping software with Geeks on tour, RV related topics, a fun travel session covering weird, the un ordinary and over the top places to visit. We did visit one right near our desert campsite called Spiral Labyrinth, a huge, perfect stone and sand spiral done by a California artist. 

a Koh-Kapeli Figure

Not a small earthwork 

The Spiral Labyrinth



We volunteered, staffed the Jojoba Hills RV SKP park booth (proudly wearing our vests made by Nancy and two other industrious and talented sewers), line danced, shopped, met “old” friends and met new people too many wonderful people to count. We celebrated constantly with the joy of life and community, but top notch was the 90th birthday party of the founder Kay Peterson. We all miss her Joe, husband and partner in this creative RV club. She laughed and smiled and hugged all of the well wishers and took a basket full of birthday cards home to open at leisure. 
Their children have taken over and run the popular RV group with ease, love and open minds to changing times. 

Joe and Kay in 2010


Younger families, some young enough to travel with their children are a large segment of the club these days, bringing their youth, ideas and smiles to all of us older members. What is also as striking about this RV community is the caring, eagerness and joy of volunteering or just lending a hand at every chance there is. A Volunteer sign up booth for help during the Escapade always has a long line. The slots are filled easily with a “waiting list” is case subs are needed. Paul and I signed up to drive the golf cart shuttles for an evening event. We showed up at the appointed hour, but, alas, there were not enough carts to go to all on the list. 

Never fear, we helped in many other ways, unofficially and impromptu but fulfilled our sense of caring and help that way.  The same spirit is ever present among the members of our campground, Jojoba Hills RV SKP park in Southern California nestled under the Palomar Mountains. How glorious is the sense that in these times of strife and violence, good people reign. It should only last forever. 




Monday’s Blog; How Many Keys?


Surely, we are allowed our day dreams to come true. It happens! Going on the road, selling the house and dispersing our belongings also meant, I will have no acoustic piano in my life any more. I always had a piano to run to and play, to practice, give student recitals in my young years and to just while time away or for solace in times of stress. I tried for so long to compensate by trying the guitar, Mandolin, and Ukulele. Alas, the arthritic fingers got in the way as did that illusive creature–enough time in the day. My son Dan has the string player talent, not me. My musician dad was thrilled that I stuck with piano and voice well into adulthood. 

But I missed a keyboard to play and expressed my desire (just a small 61 key board would fill the bill I said) to a great musician, friend and neighbor in our beautiful RV park in Southern Cal. Because of his efforts and insistence, 


I now own a large Yamaha keyboard (professional and beyond my talents), but what fun to play. 
Yes that is me with earphones to protect the innocent!


It’s home is in the shed on our site. It will stay here, too big to cart in the RV. But, we are spending so much more time in California (who would have guessed that a few years ago.) 
So hello from our sunny state, and happy tunes and trails to all of you.
Ann Carol

Monday’s Blog; Cardinal reprieve

Yes, the last few weeks my obsessions have been focused on the crumbling of our great country in the hands of the so called president but in actuality, dictator, demagogue and egomaniac of the highest order and his flock of officers. I need a break, hopefully you do as well. On this day of the Women’s March, A Day Without Women showing our influence on the fabric of this country of ours I offer a diversion in the world of nature.

Years ago we visited The Museum of the Brazos http://www.brazosvalleymuseum.org/ A memorable venue if you have not been there. I am remembering this after reading an article and hearing a podcast focussed on the Northern Male Cardinal, the bird of reknown for it’s vivid red color and fetching behavioral patterns. It was at the Brazos that we first witnessed this behavior at length and have now witnessed many times since. 

I offer a generalized quote from the article;

“The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird. They’re a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter’s snowy backyards. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning.”
Surely most of you are so familiar with the species that they are not the novelty to spot as I once believed they were before traveling the countryside. The discussion focussed at length on one of the bird’s behavioral patterns that I first remember watching in the Brazos museum: a constant bumping into window. The Cardinal would bash his head against a window, mirror or other shiny reflective surface for hours at a time and days at a time.  It is the response to the mating season, of course, the bird is convinced that his reflection is in competition for his charms. Hopefully, mother nature can override any concussion the bird may suffer in his quest to find a mate. What a head ache indeed.


The  glorious Cardinal found in the wild


I hope to be writing more posts this week and thank you for all of your feedback. I am keeping this short and hopefully sweet as I promise in message in a Minute and I hope your day is filled with sunshine, smiles, bird song and peace. 
Ann Carol 

Monday’s Blog; We Marched Together

Our group, 38 strong, mounted a tour bus, donning our golden hats sporting our group name–The Progressive Senior Patriots, men and women from Jojoba Hills in southern California. We arrived in San Diego well before the start of the Women’s Walk on Washington (and incredibly throughout the free world). We anticipated the walk in the San Diego, CA which surpassed the expectations to about 40,000 strong.

Hat and flag



YELLOW HAT with group name
Arrival in San Diego


We named our group The Progressive Senior Patriots to truly reflect who we are, all over 55 and experienced through the decades at protesting with purpose, with calm and without violence. Why do some protest groups spoil the efforts by engaging in bad language, breaking glass or further damaging property. Why revert to violence? It does not solve a thing.

There was not a hint of violence or of dissent in San Diego or world wide for that matter. We are united to retain our rights, to protect our national integrity and very democracy of our nation, to stop bigotry and torture and making certain this earthly home will last a long time to come. But, we need to keep up the spirit. We cannot stop with one protest. Long held American Values must survive.

signs galore


Our pleas for justice, for sanity and well thought out policies need to be nurtured and supported by constantly writing letters to congress and senate members, governors, local politicians and to policy makers, employers, governing agencies to keep the ball in the air for a future of hope.










The pre walk speeches were strong, heart felt, deeply motivated and encouraging. As we started the actual march, the sun gave way to a gentle rain.





BIG W FOR WOMEN

 But we were all prepared, just as we are prepared to stand up for a future of sanity and good choices, for our rights and to maintain a belief that our country can overcome adversity, dictatorship, demagoguery, despotism, false promises and lies. Hand written on our hats was the word SENIORS. 

The yellow hats, the name of our group and our appearance showing experience and purpose must have shown as brightly as the golden sunshine that smiled upon us as we neared the end of the march route(s). There were so many more marchers than anticipated that several routes were added to the end point at the wharf lined with cruise ships and yells and cheers of joy at the travelers on board watched us fulfill our purpose and expressing their joy at being there as witnesses. 



PINK HATS 


So many marchers of all ages, sizes, colors and with great warmth greeted us the whole morning long. They alluded to our “senior status” with applause and wonder. Startling to many of us because inside we think we are 40 or 50 somethings, when indeed we are 60-70-or 80 something. Healthy and active because of the good medical care we thrive on and have enjoyed for 8 years.  We know there are flaws in every policy that rules our lives, but sensible changes need to be just that, sensible but to a good end for us and our children and grandchildren.




Another pleasure was our interaction with the youngsters we spoke to or spoke to us first, some being in their 30′ and 40’s and asking why we still march. The common answer is we have been protesting for DECADES and know how and what works. We are teachers for you. They thanked us for that. We also responded to youngsters–be they 3 years old, 6, 10, 12, 16, 18 or in their twenties, boys and girls alike. Many thanked us for being role models for teaching them the way and nurturing their participation. 


Cruise ship interaction


In response to the march, supporters of the new regime emphasis that on inauguration day, 1/20/2017, Gas was priced at an average of $2.86 more or less per gallon, The dow was at 19,819, NasDaq at 5560.7, Unemployment  4.7. These remain good numbers riding on the shoulders of the obama regime and not the new regime at all.  presently reservoirs are filling in drought ridden California,   The average salary to date for U. S. median class households averaged from about $42,000 and more. Health care has helped many folks obtain coverage where they have had no coverage for years before Obama’s plan. Many of these are Trump supporters. I have hopes for national enlightenment, for unity, for bipartisanship, for sensible and good policy changes, addressing a positive future for America reflecting our deeply seated values that have stood us in great stead for centuries. Let’s continue to KEEP AMERICA GREAT. 

Monday’s Blog; Gold Rush 2017

This presidential regime has made a statement. There is a golden glow everywhere. A curious fashion statement has been decreed by a rush executive order quickly signed (as soon after his inauguration as possible.) The fashion world will adopt the true color of 2017. Gold. Indeed the GOLD RUSH of 2017 is raging on. The color choice is decidedly not a surprise. We have seen gold leaf, gold nuggets, gold lame, gold dust, gold furniture, gold decor, gold domes, gold paint, gold spray, gold gold gold everywhere. Indeed in Trump tower, Mar Largo, Trump Hotels and everywhere that Mr Trump has laid his goldfinger hands–there is gold.







Now, The White House is going gold. The oval office is rid of the Crimson red drapes of the Obama years hanging behind the presidential desk, for the sake of gold. New bright golden drapes are now in place, most likely ordered for quick completion on the night of Nov 8th after the polls turned. The Trump mark has been made. Often, the white house decor changes quickly upon the residency of the new arrivals but done with forethought, style and pizzazz. Think of the changes made by Jacqueline Kennedy, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush, Michele Obama and so many other first ladies.

I am sure there are more changes to come or in progress at this moment. But the oval office, where so many world leaders, world celebrities meet with the president. where so many treaties, executive orders, letters of condolence, letters of congratulations are issued, where so many photographs are made recording history in progress. I m not against the color gold. But wonder at the wisdom of the choice of gold.


Being a long time photographer, my eyes were blasted with the golden glow reflected by these gold hanging draperies. The faces are washed in a gold glowing cast, the effect becomes more sculptural than depicting living and breathing subjects. The room is awash in a golden glow as well, the presidential desktop radiating a strange cast and the edges of the desk a frame of golden glow. The resulting images look more painted than real. I empathize with the White House photographers shooting in these reflected tones and colors. But so be it, the gold rush will run on and on. Hopefully, the global gold mines of infamous fame will not cause further torture and hardships for the overworked, underpaid gold miners unearthing the golden nuggets.





(an aside–being of the gray-haired club, I have self declared that I cannot wear gold. beige or brown toned clothing, jewelry and such but choose clothing in tones of white, black, gray, red, orange, jade, turquoise, blue or purple so as not to clash with the yellows and golds that are off my color wheel. we all have our own personal color wheels to live by if we so choose).

For more info on changes to the white house see

Vhttp://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/white-house-trump-oval-office-makeover-44940453

Monday’s blog; Warm eyes

What a delight, having dinner at a casual Thai/Vietnamese restaurant on a quiet night between the two big winter holidays on Main Street in downtown LA. 

Staying for a few days in the heart of downtown offered My husband and I a great opportunity to get to know this city from the inside out–art galleries, museums,  restaurants and diners, touring the Walt Disney Symphony Hall, climbing the stairs to Bunker Hill therefore, learning about Angel’s Flight, the historic, now defunct landmark narrow gauge funicular that ran in the Bunker Hill district high above Downtown LA. 



Pershing Park another center point in the downtown area is a highlight as well. Who would expect to watch ice skaters trying to stay upright in Southern California, but there they were, doing their best on the ice glinting and glowing in the bright sunshine. The rink was constantly being swept to clear the melted mush from the surface. Children were using 3 foot high plastic penguins to help them negotiate sliding on the ice without a visit to the ER after a fall. 


I will never stop admiring the numerous varieties of trees, bushes, cacti and succulents that flourish in this area, seemingly surviving the many years of drought. I have good intentions of trying to identify some of the plantings and learning more about each variety.  (The good news; it has been raining, hopefully a beginning to fill the reservoirs and providing relief from the dry period of such a drought.)

There is more; we can not resist a farmers market. With the sun in our eyes, some warmth on our backs, we hauled fresh produce back to the apartment to enjoy for the days to come. As we walked, people were very friendly and open to hellos and waves as we past by, sometimes stopping to talk. Of course the state of the homeless in LA is a match for any city and hard to take. Back to our Thai/Vietnamese dinner. 

It was delicious and the restaurant was not busy, so we were not pressed to leave because of crowds. As usual, I could not nearly finish my portion of the veggie curry and had it packed to go. I asked for napkins and spoons and forks to be included. I often hope someone on the streets will ask for help therefore, offering them the take out box. 

I had identified a women in a red shawl on the way to the restaurant and I had my eye out for her. But she did not appear. A tall, thin man, wrapped in a thin blanket, with hole infested gloves on his hands and thin soled shoes on his feet, sporting curly salt and pepper hair and beard and a smile sought our attention. I began to hand him my box engaged by his pearly blue soft but blazing eyes and his very warm smile. I held my gaze on his eyes for long moments, taken in by the affect. He thanked me 3 times. How I would like to know more about him and how he keeps his spirits seemingly up and glowing. But, we moved on to our warm home. 

It is so hard to be confronted by the unfortunate people of this world not knowing really how to react, afraid to give money or advice. but feeling an ache in our hearts for them. Some choose this life on the streets, some seek change. Through the years I have embraced suggestions for reacting to encounters, give them food, give them scarfs, hats, socks, shirts, raingear and a smile. But, it is a chore to carry so much stuff when out and about in the city. 

This man with the warm eyes is ingrained in my mind. 

Walt Disney Symphony Hall



Monday’s Blog; Change to the “Extremus”

re·sist·ance
rəˈzistəns/  noun
  1. The refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.

ex·trem·ism
ikˈstrēˌmizəm/  noun 
  1. the holding of extreme political or religious views; fanaticism.

12/19/2016; The electoral college has acted; 

How adept I have been in my lifetime in facing resistance. I have always believed myself to be easy going, open to new ideas, new thoughts and new tools, ready to accept change that make our lives easier;  Now, I look back and say, I have not been so so easy going after all. 

While I now have less of a problem accepting changes in ideological matters when presented with understanding and plenty of fore thought, it is in the realm of every day stuff that offers me the most difficulty overcoming resistance to change and the least important in the effect on my live. Perhaps it is the frugal nature I was raised with. But I am getting over it.

In explanation, How often I have resisted the acquisition of newly offered pieces of equipment meant to simplify life, such as a food processor, a microwave/convection oven, film cameras, digital cameras, personal computers, lap tops, a kindle, a tablet, cell phones–and on and on. I felt that what I had was doing just fine. Then, I faced the reality of having a washer/dryer on our motor home. Once again, I resisted. How can the rig withstand the electrical and sewer requirements of the washer/ dryer. I can turn that space into storage and continue the trips to the laundromat.

However, through the decades of changes, I have admitted with each new acquisition, that yes, I am happy with the new technology and hopelessly share our addiction to all kinds of the stuff of life and why did I always fight it in the first place.

What brings this sort of confession on today is the recent break down of our on-board washing machine and the days we rationed our clothing until the machine could be replaced. I am now a grateful user of our now working machinery, but aware of my fighting spirit resisting change. Lesson; without change, we would stagnate, fail to evolve, fail to learn, fail to discover. That would be a sad outcome.  Together, we all are facing daunting change. How to deal with acceptance is the question of the moment. 

The rapidly changing state of the current world around us constantly in the news and shared on our social media. We are changing in parallel to global change as well.   The world has entered a new phase, fast and furious. These are turnabout times, 180 degrees around, beyond expectations or anticipation but real and looming large. 

I am not feeling so easy about what is in store for us. Perhaps I can learn from my former propensity to resistance the need to be strong and thoughtful and not over react until each situation becomes clearly defined, if such a thing will happen under the new leadership. It seems we face daunting days ahead of us. Best to go forward with our eyes open and our chins held high. 

Monday’s Blog, China Factor

Las Cruces, NM has been a favorite stop from our first drive across the US via motor home some 15 years ago.  How lucky we are to have good friends living here, so devoted and knowledgeable about this outstanding region of New Mexico.  When in Las Cruces, we savor many high spots on our list of to do’s in the area: a bountiful farmers market, the rich music and art scene and meeting and hearing our dear friend Leora, (referred to as the rose in the desert by a talented and popular musician and conductor, a reference well deserved) broadcast over KRWG, the local NPR station.  We pursued our quest for pecan pie and pecans from Stahman’s Pecan Farm, our favorite source for Pecans.


 Pecan trees from Stahman’s past

During last year’s visit, we drove to the farm for our pie and pecans only to be greeted by a locked door and a sign that the retail shop is closed. Not a good sign for sure. Remembering the closure, we visited another previous source; Julienne’s Jewelry Shop located on Calle De Guadalupe in Old town Mesilla, where we have been able to purchase Stahman’s goods in the past when time did not permit a drive to the farm. The shop staff informed us that Stahman’s is now completely closed having been purchased by a Chinese run company. She has heard that all of the pecans will be exported leaving no pecans for local use from Stahman’s trees. 

Luckily, Julienne has found a new source for locally grown pecans and pies and we indeed purchased some of each to share with our dear friends. Annually and without fail, we have visited this shop and other businesses and restaurants in Old Town Mesilla.  This pecan pie was very good, not the overly sweet filling of other versions of the pie but pleasant and flavorful.  If you visit Las Cruces, do stop at Julienne’s.  Warning!  You will be enticed by the wonderful clothing, shoes, boots, and jewelry awaiting purchase as well as various pecan treats and locally made coffees. Then, drift around the square to visit a marvelous bookstore, a salsa shop or two, chocolate shop, ice cream store, gift shops and several Mexican restaurants to savor. The locals are friendly and warm sporting golden smiles.  

For all of you history buffs, back to Stahman’s Pecan Farm and its history. My friend Leora told me that years ago, when her now 20 something children were young, they enjoyed many memorable school field trips to the farm. The farm workers formed a community, living on the farm land in staff housing and enjoying a thriving community life style; The school visits were very special and welcomed by the staff and highly anticipated by the children. This strong farming community thrived for decades (1950 to the 1990’s) and then the land surrounding began to be swept up by developers and farm workers chose to move into houses of their choice, drastically changing the nature of Farm communal life. Those days are now completely lost with the sale of the farm. 

The farm’s legacy luckily lives on and has been documented through many research projects and precious oral history projects supported by the University of the State of New Mexico, Las Cruces campus. I have provided 2 of the many links below for those who enjoy delving into history.  It is hoped that the local pecans sold overseas will be well revered and Las Cruces will continue to be source of supplies for local pecan lovers as well. We must have faith that while life is full of changes, they will be for the better. 

And now, for another piece of pecan pie.

A quote from one of the articles preserving the history of the ranch; They’re the stories of the workers of Stahmann Farms and the communities hidden behind the iconic pecan trees. Those communities existed from the 1950s until 1990, and once boasted their own clinic, gas station, company store, hen house and airstrip, which was mainly used by the farms’ owners. 
Visit the following URL for the history of the farm


Another link to more historical insight into farm life and community on Stahman’s farm visit, http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/education/nmsu/2016/09/11/nmsu-researchers-tell-stories-stahmann-farms/90231176/

Monday’s Blog, sometimes not on Monday

Life has been a whirlwind. We are underway in our motor home and very happy campers. so just some thoughts to share, and the incredible people encounters we have had along the way. 
Our motorhome has been under repair for several weeks. We have been “stuck” in Rochester, our home town for an extended period of time; following our usual schedule when we are underway in mid October. This year we stayed through the first week in December. Thanksgiving week was a treat as we drove in our Jeep to our son’s farm in Virginia and had a memorable 9 days including Thanksgiving, a luxurious small family day with our wonderful family, son Dan, Daughter in law Malena, over the top grandsons Alexander (a brilliant 17) and our multi talented grandson Corey (14); What a day, what a meal what a loving family. 

Paul’s new friend at the National Gallery of Art

After those beautiful days on the farm we drove to DC and enjoyed the National Gallery of Art, tearing ourselves out of the contemporary collection to take the Metro to our nephew’s house in Alexandria. Steven and Daisy and baby Oliver entertained us royally and fed us a tasty and memorable dinner. The next day we met RV Friends visiting their family in DC. That led to a midday visit to the American Indian Museum. Metro back to the Alexandria house then our first Uber ride to a lovely Greek restaurant and reunion with Paul’s cousin and her significant other. Both a joy and so glad to see them.

The next day, a long ride home bolstered by a lovely breakfast at the Del Ray Cafe. What a delightful Alexandria cafe where I had a treat–a vegetarian Eggs Benedict. Yum. We arrived in Rochester and had a day to transition to Motor home/nomad heads and filled the Jeep, drove to Colton RV in N. Tonawanda to transfer to our rig. What expertise and a joy Colton RV, Staff members John and Jesse are. They seem to have done successful surgery and our rig looks better than new. 

Luckily, Paul and I are spontaneous types; we adapt instantly and suddenly found ourselves driving down the road ahead of expectations, Jeep in tow and heading westward. (After an intense visit to Wegmans to stock up the empty larder on board.) How happy we were to BE ON THE ROAD AGAIN. 

Jackson Pollack at the National Gallery of Art

The next few days we enjoyed the feeling of traveling with no definite plans, no reservations and the world at our fingertips, finding sites to see, places to camp overnight and suddenly being near people whom we have known for years or an encounter as we check out of a store, campground or other spot. The 20 something clerk at Wegmans and her boyfriend love to hike and travel and her parents are long time motor homers, so we shared her stories and her anticipation of a trip to Colorado with her boyfriend. Our childhood friends; My best friend from age 18 months onward and her husband in Cleveland. 

We drove our rig to a Walmart near their town. They picked us up and off we went to a restaurant for breakfast and an intense 2 hours of catching up. They drove us back to the Walmart where we did some errands. Murphy was there with us, you all know Murphy–if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. We were locked out of our rig, the latch would not release. A call to Coachnet, our roadside service brought Gary a locksmith who had us in the rig within 10 minutes and with a new trick. Unlatch the top lock first then the bottom and you’re home free.

Off to the Columbus, OH area where we called another couple, the husband, Paul and I shared our young years in Rochester through high school. They came to our campground and we had a glorious 90 minute visit. What a joy to catch up. As I write we are in Walnut Ridge, AR, east of Little Rock. On our way we have encountered a couple who own the campground (Indian Creek OH in Geneva.) They live in and work out of a glorious old home built in 1856. She has lived in that house all of her life. The organ in their living room was built in 1868, a year before our apartment building in Rochester, Warner Loft, was built. They are full of life and share a great sense of humor.

There is so much more, but we are enamored of our life on the road, the encounters along the way and the unexpected next curve in the road. We just wish every turn could be spectacular but we know life happens and there are good and hard times for all of us and our friends. This is not my usual highly edited message, just musings and wishes for a wonderful life for all, lived to the fullest and leaving wonderful memories for our family and friends to cherish for years.