People really make me wonder sometimes. Why is it that a lot of folks do not respond at all when greeted? We walk down the hallways here and always say hello if we should happen to encounter others walking by, but 99.9% of the time we get no response. People look right at us and just don’t respond! It’s crazy.
I remember commenting on this when we lived in Jacksonville also. I would walk the same route every day, encounter the same people just about every day, and only 1 person would respond when I said hello. Most would purposely look down at the ground when approaching another person so they wouldn’t have to acknowledge them.
And as I think about our walks along the river here – part of it is a tree lined dirt path and part of it is cement sidewalks with restaurants, bars, and stores along the way. The people walking on the tree lined path usually nod or say hello, sometimes we have a short conversation about the dog(s) they are walking with, etc. But all that seems to end once we hit the sidewalk again.
Now campers are a totally different story! If you take a stroll around a campground pretty much everyone you pass will wave or say hello, and some will engage you in a real conversation. Doesn’t seem to matter if camping in the woods or parked on a cement pad in an RV resort either.
It occurs to me that people are friendly on a tree lined dirt path along the river and also in campgrounds/RV resorts – places that offer a little bit of an escape from the hustle and bustle of life.
And the pandemic “rules” just seem to encourage this antisocial behavior even more… but guess what? You can still say hello, nod, wave – whatever you feel comfortable doing to acknowledge another human being as you pass by while wearing a mask and keeping 6 feet apart!
I HATE TO BE IGNORED! Sometimes I want to just stop dead in my tracks, blocking the way, and ask, “Did you hear me?”
But instead, I’ll go back to the routine I followed during my walks in Jacksonville. I would say this little prayer silently as each person passed by: May you be well. May you be happy. May you abide in peace.
Perception is an interesting thing. The days seem to fly by and it seems like Christmas and New Year’s have been over for MONTHS already, but it’s only the first week of February.
Dave and I have been reminded of Mom and Ken a lot lately. They always used to joke about medical appointments being their social outings and we’ve been feeling the same way in recent months. The good news to come out of one of these appointments is that Dave does not need surgery, at least not right now. Dave hasn’t had much pain from the area where he had the torn tendon, so the doctor agreed that it didn’t make sense to do surgery right now. He will reassess in a few months though.
The bursitis in my hip has eased enough to allow me to get back to walking/running on the treadmill in the fitness center here several mornings a week. It’s reservation only, so I get the place to myself for an hour and can exercise without a mask on. So thankful for that because I can’t imagine trying to do so if I had to wear a mask! Dave and I also have a 1 mile walking route along the river that we enjoy when the temps are a little bit warmer. . . you know, like above freezing. I think the last time we walked it was 18 degrees and a bit windy, so wearing a face mask actually felt good!
Another reason I stopped walking/running this past summer was because I was having trouble catching my breath if I ran too fast or too long. I had some tests this week and today I learned I have the start of COPD. My doctor doesn’t expect that it will progress much/very quickly because I quit smoking over 5 years ago. It is not surprising after having smoked for as many years as I did, but I am hopeful it won’t get much worse any time soon. I will continue to exercise, but will make sure to use my inhaler beforehand – it seems to help quite a bit.
Aside from medical stuff, we’ve been keeping ourselves occupied doing crossword puzzles, playing games, reading, and watching “Outlanders” on Netflix. Dave has become a killer Mexican Train Dominoes player and we seem to take turns winning (very close) games of Phase 10. We look forward to warmer weather when we can sit outside and enjoy playing games with our family and friends at camp. I miss playing Rummikub!!
We’ve also enjoyed experimenting with our Ninja Air Fryer/Grill and are quite impressed with the results. The only time we use the big oven these days is if we are baking something that doesn’t fit in the air fryer – like homemade pizza. Don’t miss having to go outside to grill either.
There is so much I could say about the current pandemic situation in our community/state/country, but I have decided not to. I really don’t want to give it space. Let’s just say we continue to be careful and we look forward to warmer weather to enable us to more easily visit with our family and friends outdoors.
And there is Winter. It is what it is – cold and snow and wind. I honestly cannot say I am hating any of it and that makes me laugh. We left here 16 years ago because I couldn’t stand the cold weather. NOW we have come back and I’m more comfortable in the cold than in the heat and humidity. Life sure is interesting, eh?
2020 was definitely an interesting year. We started the year in Pensacola, FL and ended it in Coventry, RI. Lots happened in between!
Not exactly sure when it started, but I really began to enjoy alternating walking with short spurts of running. I have never really been a physically active person, so this was HUGE for me. With the help of fitness apps on my phone, I started tracking steps taken each day. Samson enjoyed many long walks, and always perked right up when I said, “Ready?” – he knew it was time to run for a bit!
When we moved from Pensacola to Jacksonville mid-January, my friend Betty and I started walking together quite often. Betty really helped me find a comfortable walk/run pattern. (Thanks, Betty!) In mid-February, we participated in the Mud Girl run at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center – what a blast! I really surprised myself completing all the obstacles and the run.
Another highlight in February was Paul’s return from his final deployment. Dave, Samson, Audrey, and I drove up to Norfolk, VA to spend some time with him the beginning of March. I guess COVID had become somewhat of a thing around this time, because I was armed with Lysol spray and Clorox wipes in an attempt to keep us safe in the hotel rooms we overnighted in. But I don’t really think we really knew much at this point. Nothing really had changed in Jacksonville yet – we still had potlucks end of February and there was the much enjoyed Travel expo on base a couple of days after we returned from our visit with Paul.
In April we started to experience some changes due to COVID restrictions. We were only able to pay for our campsite a week at a time, and no new campers were allowed in – a common situation at military campgrounds. Our upcoming reservations at Fort Story in VA were cancelled. Many states closed their state parks to camping also. Was a very nerve wracking time for those of us full time RVers – how long would they allow us to stay where we were and would we be able to get to our next destination? We had no idea if the campground we spend 5 months at in RI would even open! Even many folks who were part time campers and had homes to go to were getting worried about how they would get home, where they would be able to stop, get fuel and food, etc. This continued for a bit over a month. Sadly, COVID restrictions also meant we could not gather to celebrate the life of my stepfather, Ken, after his passing on April 15th.
Early May – we finally got word that Camp Westwood would open to seasonal residents (campers had to have fully functioning bathrooms and kitchens.) After much discussion, we decided it would be less stressful to make a quick(er) trip to RI than it would be to stay week to week at Osprey Cove, not knowing whether/when they might decide to totally close the campground. A 4 day whirlwind trip to RI soon followed. There was no contact with anyone! Check ins were done remotely, no facilities were open. And, of course, we had the added excitement of a blowout on while on I-84 in New York!
What a relief to finally settle into our site at Camp Westwood! We enjoyed the mostly quiet days and nights visiting with our camping friends, as well as Matt, Laura, and Emma. Paul arrived towards the end of July, settling into a campsite across the way from ours. Samson was so very happy to be back with Paul!! We enjoyed our time with Paul, too. We got to (quietly) celebrate Paul’s retirement from the Navy and lived through 2 heatwaves to bring July to a close.
August brought the big news of the year: we decided to park the camper and move into an apartment in Rhode Island. Sadly, Audrey crossed that Rainbow Bridge shortly before our move.
We still haven’t received the reclining loveseat we ordered in August. And Dave is still holding off on ankle surgery until the loveseat is delivered. But we both still think the move into this apartment was a good move.
It’s sad that our entire family is once again living in Rhode Island, but we can’t spend (much) time together physically because of COVID-19. We all spent Thanksgiving in our respective homes, exchanged Christmas gifts in Matt & Laura’s garage on a rainy Christmas afternoon, wearing masks and trying to remain socially distant. New Years Eve and Day did not find us together either.
Last weekend we did spend a couple of hours in Paul’s backyard – Dave and Paul watching a football game as we sat, socially distanced, around the fire pit.
Laura and I have started walking the track at the high school again – masks and socially distant, of course! This is such good news for me!! I have been trying to ignore hip pain since last Spring, the pain got so bad I stopped walking and running in July. Finally saw an orthopedic doc and was told I have bursitis. Physical therapy worked wonders and I have now been released with instructions to start walking 1 mile at a time (adding a little more weekly, if no pain) and continue my exercises. If I take it slowly, I should be back to walk/run pattern before too long. Hoping my clothes fit a bit more comfortably very soon too!
It dawned on me yesterday morning, though, that Paul had been off from work for 2 weeks, and had pretty much been isolated (except for necessary shopping) SO we all decided this was the safest time we’d see in months to come. Also, Laura gets tested at work twice a week and has been testing negative every time. SO, the 4 of us gathered at Paul’s for supper and games yesterday! (Matt and Emma had other plans.) It was so damn nice to be together – live and in person! (And Paul made some delicious ribs for supper.) Now we look forward to more times to gather outdoors, socially distanced, wearing masks. God willing, we’ll be back at Camp Westwood in 133 days!
… and the sky is gray. Did you sing that? Dave and I were on our way home from an appointment this morning and that song popped into my mind – it was a very fitting description of the scenery on this sometimes-rainy day.
We’ve enjoyed some really beautiful and unseasonably warm weather recently. But looks like the party is about over and cooler temps are on the way. I’m actually looking forward to those cooler temps – this apartment has a SW exposure and the afternoon sun beating on the huge windows keeps it rather toasty in here. We have this lovely gas fireplace and it sure would be nice to use it! I suspect we’ll have ample opportunity over the next several months though.
Loveseat order has been delayed once again. No timeframe provided, just an email advising of further delays. Dave has already decided his ankle surgery will not be scheduled until sometime after the holidays, but soon enough so that he’s recovered before camping season begins again up here. Not doing much walking, so no pain at the moment.
COVID19 is becoming more widespread up here, as is the case pretty much everywhere these days. The # of positive cases is rising quickly and hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. Field hospitals are projected to open within the next 2 weeks. We’ll be staying home a lot more going forward, and will have to keep our visits with family limited to Facetime chats for a while. Thanksgiving will be just us two – but at least we have each other, and we actually kind of like each other! LOL Our hearts go out to those, like Paul, who are single and will be alone. – At least he has Samson to keep him company.
My friends and family, I know that some of you do not believe that COVID19 is for real and/or that the government should do its best to protect its citizens. I can’t honestly say that I understand your view, but I do ask that you please do your best to protect ME, and others – wear a mask! I just do not understand why that is too much to ask! I do not understand why that is deemed a political statement. I see it as a sign of respect and caring. It’s not about YOU! It is about doing what you can do protect everyone around you. And, yes – I know the verdict is still out on exactly how this virus spreads, etc. – but over all, wearing a mask has been seen as a major way to stop the spread. I thank all of you who follow the “wear a mask” advisements.
I struggle with the name of this blog. We no longer live in our Reflection, but I do still reflect on our life. And our Reflection will provide a summer getaway come mid-May. Perhaps I just need to update the blog description. Have to think on that.
We are coming to the close of our first week as apartment dwellers. So far, so good! It is extremely quiet and consistently around 72/74 degrees in the apartment, a bit warm for us, but the windows open and our heating bills should be nonexistent. It was 35 degrees outside this morning and 72 degrees inside the apartment! Don’t think we’ll put our summer clothes away anytime soon.
Was a VERY busy week! We moved into the apartment, cleaned, winterized, and covered the camper. (So very thankful for all the help Paul provided!) And then Paul and Samson moved into their new home on Friday, so we’ve been trying to help a little there too.
I am happy to have good internet connectivity and Dave is happy to have a 55” TV hanging on the wall above the fireplace – especially because he gets a lot more channels than antenna TV reception in the camper provided. (Many thanks to Matt for helping us out with that setup!)
Our bed is supposed to be delivered on Tuesday, but still no word on the loveseat. We’ve found a place to stash pretty much everything for now. Probably not where everything will stay, but there are no more boxes staring us in the face begging to be emptied. Lots of time to figure out what will work best.
Seems the lists continue to grow – both for things we need to do and for things we would like to purchase for use in the apartment. Baby steps now though: We’re in, we’re unpacked, we are quite comfortable, grateful, and very happy.
Our “camp” fire these days. Pretty comfy!
Love to all our family and friends, wishes for continued good health, and lots of laughter.
When your anxiety ridden husband finally lets on that he only came along on this adventure because he loves you and it was something you were so very excited about doing, it’s only fair to give yourself over totally to the next adventure in life – especially when that adventure relieves him of all that anxiety. So, the lease has been signed (I think there were over 70 spots on that lease/90+ on the lead certifications that we had to initial or sign electronically – and holy moly, we had to do it all again after Audrey passed on!) and two weeks from today we’ll transition from full time RVers to apartment dwellers.
We’ve spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what we’ll need for the apartment, as well as what we’ll need to close up the camper for the winter. Furniture shopping happened end of August, and it’s a good thing we didn’t wait any longer!! We’re told our bed might arrive in time for move in day (3 – 6 week estimate), but the loveseat may take 10 – 13 weeks to arrive. COVID-19 is causing delays we never really thought about. Oh well-thanks to Laura and Matt we are fortunate to have comfy chairs to sit on in the meantime.
Lots of Amazon and Tractor Supply purchases lately, too! Our first time winterizing and storing in colder climate, so we’ve watched YouTube videos and contacted Grand Design to make sure we have all the correct info. Also asked friends who have experience storing their campers in New England. Doesn’t seem all that difficult, just hoping that is truly the case! And we know there are folks willing to lend a hand should we need it.
In the meantime, we are enjoying our last few weeks of camping for this year: Emma and I spent a night in her tent a couple weeks ago. Was hoping to do it again, but looks like that will wait until Spring.
We’ve enjoyed watching Emma and her team practice their basketball skills over the past few months.
We have had lots of fun playing board games and cards with Laura and Paul. Emma likes to play “the dice game” (a variation of Farkle) and so do we! Campfires! S’mores! Socially distanced time spent with camp friends!
Samson hangs out with Dave and I while Paul works and runs errands. It’s going to be a huge adjustment when we move into the apartment and can’t have Samson visit. There will be other adjustments to be made also, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
The Fall colors are amazing – perhaps because of the drought? I remember last year saying that everything just looked rather rusty and neither of us recalls seeing much in the way of color the year before either. So we’ve enjoyed the first glimpse of fall foliage we’ve seen in years. Although we woke up this morning to LOTS of leaves on the ground and the oak leaves beginning to turn brown. The colors seem a little bit muted after the little bit of rain we had last night too. I enjoyed the sounds of rustling leaves as Samson and I walked this morning. We took a ride yesterday to see how the foliage was in parts of Connecticut and a bit North of us in Rhode Island – nothing we saw was more beautiful than the colors right here are camp. We did enjoy the ride and the scenery though. And we found a little IGA Market less than 20 miles away that carries Sabrett Natural Casing hot dogs. I had previously told Dave we might have to drive back to NY when my supply ran out. LOL I was also able to nab the last 3 cans of pumpkin in the store, a hot commodity around here lately!! I think we’ll all have to start cooking pumpkins, since there appears to be no shortage of fresh pumpkins in the stores these days.
And that got me thinking about all the things I look forward to cooking once we move into the apartment. The list is quite long, my friends. I bake and cook stuff in the camper oven all the time, but there are just some things that I think work better in a full size, self-cleaning oven! Self-cleaning is key for some of them as they splatter and make quite the mess. And pan size is another factor. And oven height. I could go on and on, eh? LOL And that gets me thinking about all the things we sold when we became FT RVers! Dave and I have talked about this a bunch lately too. We’ve come to the decision that we would have spent way more money on storage for it all than we would to replace what we REALLY would like to have once we move into the apartment. As we posted on Facebook recently, we had to say goodbye to Audrey. She was with us for 12 years. She was an interesting cat, to say the least. Not a lap cat – unless I fell asleep on the couch and awoke to find her curled up in my lap. Not a fan of people – hiding under our bed if anyone even walked past our house. But she got braver when we moved into the camper! She loved to sit by the screen door and watch the world go by. She loved terrorizing Samson. . . and attacking Dave. She would sit at the top of the stairs and watch the people who visited us in the camper. She was loved. Just because we are moving into an apartment does not mean “Our Life in Reflection” has ended. I begin and end every day reflecting on our life and I hope to continue to share those reflections with you all.
Wow – a lot has happened since my last blog post last month! Our son, Paul, arrived and Samson is so very happy to be back with his buddy. Everyone thought Samson was so attached to me, but he really only has eyes for Paul now. Makes me very happy.
Sadly, Dave has been dealing with some health issues lately. In addition to the Achilles tendon issues he’s been living with for many years, he now has 2 torn tendons in his ankle which will require surgery. And the change in the way he is walking (to try to alleviate the pain) has caused him to have acute sciatica. At least that’s our best guess. We’ll see what the doctor has to say on the 21st. His arthritic knee is begging for another cortisone shot too. Currently, muscle relaxers and steroids are Dave’s friends. Those, along with the exercises provided by the urgent care doc are helping a bit; at least he is able to sleep.
And that brings us to the big news. Because of the need for surgery and the current COVID19 situation we have decided it would be best to remain in Rhode Island for a while. Last week we found an apartment we like and just this morning learned we’ve been approved. We should be moving in on October 12th. Apartments are NOT very easy to come by up here, so very thankful!
Our current thinking is that it’s best to remain in one place for at least the next year. Rhode Island seems to be doing a much better job in the attempt to control the spread of COVID19 than Florida is. We’ll store the camper on our site here at Camp Westwood for the winter and hopefully have the opportunity to enjoy camping here again for the 2021 summer season. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Never in a million years would I have imagined us moving back up to Rhode Island, but here we are. At least the apartment we applied for has a gas fireplace for those cold winter days. And Emma says she is looking forward to playing in the snow with me. Guess I’ll need to get some warmer winter clothes, eh?
It’s been a tough time for me lately. I’ve had to set some personal boundaries and step back from a friendship. It was really really difficult for me to get to this point because I knew how much it would hurt the other person. I had to remind myself (many times) that my mental health was a priority and I needed to take care of me first. And while I am sad it came to this, I am most grateful my life has returned to a much more peaceful state. I pray for peace in her life too. And I hope she knows that I still love her, even though I need to distance myself.
Different people have different requirements for personal boundaries. For me, a big personal boundary comes in communicating. I’m not one for mindless chatter, long-winded conversations or texts. I don’t like talking on the telephone, mainly because I have a hard time hearing if there is any background noise on my end. I don’t enjoy gossip or drama. I don’t want to know all your deepest, darkest secrets. It doesn’t matter to me what you look like, how much money you make or spend, what you do/or don’t do to earn that money. If I like you, I like you! I usually say what I think, and sometimes that gets me in trouble. (I continue to work on that, with success sometimes!) I’m really good with quiet and solitude. Dave and I can sit here peacefully for hours and both of us are perfectly content.
Were it not for our children and grandchild (texts, video chats, some phone conversations) Dave and I would probably be fine with leaving our phones turned off most of the time. Too much talk/text makes me feel like I’m overwhelmed and suffocating. I think that’s what happens on Facebook too – overload!! Life just gets too “people-y” sometimes, and I need some alone time. I even like to get up early, before Dave or anyone else we happen to be around, and start my day enjoying quiet time.
But I also enjoy walking around the neighborhood/campground striking up conversations with people I meet along the way. I enjoy the friendly banter when we play Mexican Train with camping friends, when I walk with friends or my daughter. I like simple, honest conversations. Quiet nights around a campfire. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with just keeping life simple.
We spend some time each day discussing what we’d like to do next summer, and weighing the pros and cons of staying here vs. finding a seasonal site in another campground vs. doing some traveling next year. So far, the one thing that we keep coming back to is that if we leave here it’s most likely final – this site will be snatched up in no time. This has become quite a popular place. The discussions will continue throughout the season, I’m sure.
We took a ride to Connecticut and checked out 5 campgrounds. Nickerson’s Family Campground along the Natchaug River in Chaplin, CT was the nicest of them all. They have grassy, full hookup sites of decent size. We were told we would be guaranteed a site in a specific row, but the email we received says something different…. so we’ll see. I keep thinking how nice and relaxing it might be to lounge on my float in that river. But it might be very busy too, since tubing down the river is a popular past time in that area. (There are 2 more campgrounds upstream, but they were not as nice.)
It’s also about 20 miles to the nearest grocery store and about an hour away from Laura, Matt & Emma. Emma has already hit that stage in life where she’d rather be with her friends than with Nana and Papa. She’s had several friends here each of the past 2 years, that doesn’t seem to be the case this year, so we definitely understand. But it’s still nice to be close enough for a spur of the moment visit, to be able to meet Laura for early morning runs, watch basketball practice etc.
On the way home, we looked for Frog Rock and were so surprised to see the improvements! It used to be just a rock that looked kind of like a frog, but now it’s been painted and there is an antique shop and a snack bar where you can get anything from ice cream to lobster rolls. They also have concerts there quite often. Dave had a nice chat with the owner, who says the place is a goldmine. Nice!
We also passed by the highest point in Rhode Island.
It’s interesting how Dave will come to me and say something that I was just that moment thinking about myself – or vice versa. It happened again this morning. I was washing the breakfast dishes and pondering some options for next summer when Dave came in and said, “Why don’t we just keep this site next year, but do some traveling as well?” I WAS JUST THINKING THE SAME DARN THING!! I guess that’s what happens when one spends 40 years with someone, huh? LOL
Here I sit in the parking lot of the commissary at NSB New London while Dave does some grocery shopping. Samson is resting in the backseat. It’s a beautiful day, high 70s, and a nice breeze to keep us cool as we wait.
We’ve spent the morning visiting RV parks, trying to find a new spot to land next summer season. There has been so much chatter on RV pages about all the RVs being sold due to the pandemic, but surprisingly the places we’ve visited so far are maybe at around 50% capacity today, if that. Hmmm…. maybe they are all just weekend campers or won’t be vacationing until July/August?
It’s so nice to be 10 minutes away from Laura, Matt & Emma, so why are we looking? Well, we are concerned about the lack of adequate electrical service where we currently camp. It’s been in the mid 80s and humid already, so air conditioning has been needed. In order to turn our smaller a/c on though, we’ve had to shut off EVERYTHING else and switch the refrigerator over to run on propane. We supposedly have a 30 amp spot, so this should not be an issue. Even without the air conditioner running, we sometimes have an issue. And it isn’t always an issue – it fluctuates. And every single seasonal site is filled this year, so it won’t get any better. Dave spoke with the camp director and was told they are well aware of the issue, but it’s too expensive to fix – they’d do away with the campground before spending that kind of money to fix it. He told Dave some people fried their air conditioner due to the power issues. Wow. Again, very glad we spent the money on a good surge protector.
And this year the waterfront is VERY crowded, so we’re mostly avoiding it. Social distancing can be difficult. And summer camp hasn’t even started yet. There will be close to 200 children a day added to the mix when camp starts on the 29th – and somehow they have to keep them in separate small groups and separate from the members at the beach. Fun times.
Not sure where we’ll end up next year, maybe someplace in a different part of the USA. Time will tell. But we’ve decided, since this camper is our full time home, we want to get back to full hookups and 50amp electrical service again. The search is on!
In the meantime, we plan to enjoy this summer with our family. Laura and I continue to meet for early morning time on the Coventry HS track. I am thrilled to be able to run the straightaways of the track and just walk the curved areas – me, who until maybe a year or two ago would say I’d only run if something was chasing me. Laura tells me my form has improved. I hadn’t really thought about “my form” at all, but good to know! What I do know is that I’m really enjoying this. Go figure.
Emma comes to visit with us, sometimes spending the night. We go to visit Laura and play cards or other games while Matt is golfing. Samson loves to be free in their backyard, chasing his ball. Sometimes we gather for supper. In another month, Paul will be in the campsite diagonally across from us – until mid October. It’s been a really, really long time since our family has all been in the same zip code! (And it was this very zip code!) Going to be so nice to be together for a while again.
Emma asked me to share pictures of her basement tent with you all. I was told one room is the bedroom; the other room is the Netflix watching room (Dave suggested bedroom and living room, which Emma thought was a great idea!)
Last week, Emma and members of her basketball team started meeting here at Camp Westwood for some fun practice time. Nice to be able to walk down the path and spend an hour watching them one evening a week!
I’ll end with this: PLEASE be considerate of others and wear your masks!! Every campground office we visited today was closed, but someone did come out to speak with us. Everywhere we went in Connecticut there were signs displayed saying masks were required. As Aunt Ruthie would say, “Good on you!”