Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written here on my blog. My excuse is this: There hasn’t really been very much to write about. Everything is totally status quo, at least for now.

I’ve been busily working on a couple of contracts…trying to learn the tricks of a new trade, government proposal technical writer and editor. So far, so good! The work has been steady, the pay is good…although the money is slow to arrive. I’ve cut way back on entertainment and outgoing expenses, except for the occasional downloaded movie from MovieLink, having a night out of pizza and wine with my friend Irene and I did get to finally hang out and get caught up with my pal Leanne last time I was in the DC area. We spent an afternoon exploring at The Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria...FUN!

By the way, Leanne has a "green" blog you might want to check out at: www.msorganiclady.wordpress.com It's filled with a ton of useful information and links and you can follow along with she and her husband's adventure as they build a totally "green" eco-friendly home together using materials they gather and harvest from their land in West (by God) Virginia.

I did manage to make it to Virginia for Thanksgiving with my very dear friends the Trumbetic family. This is our seventh Thanksgiving together. We met back in 2000 when I experienced my very first back surgery. They looked after me and took care of me, helped me through my recovery. They are my extended family and I love them very much! It was good to see everyone again. I can't believe how the kids have all grown into Jr. adults. It completely amazes me how fast kids grow...UP! Dinner was fabulous and I have leftovers for days!

Today I’ll do Thanksgiving all over again with my best friend Susan. We scored a Tofurkey from the local health food store in Del Ray (Alexandria) and we plan to prepare it with all the goodies. Her daughter couldn’t make it up from Texas for turkey day, so we’re planning a mini feast and a relaxed day of burping and belching after we’re stuffed to the gills!

Life at the park has been good…a bit on the cold side, but not too bad really. It’s the wind that has been ferocious! I’m glad I moved my rig over to youth camping. I have more shelter there than I had at the family campground. My coach doesn’t shake quite as much in my new location. Visitors coming into the park have tapered off, though we do get busy on the weekends with surfers, hikers & bikers, the fishing pier has been busy, and we’ve had youth groups in for camping every other week. Actually, we have groups in about 3 times a month, so I stay busy. There’s always trash to be picked up, I’ve been doing grounds maintenance and I’ve been working on graphic design stuff. Half of the sites in the family campground have been closed and soon the water will be off. I’m surprised at the amount of people who have been camping in the cold and rainy weather. Die-hards!

My contract at the park ends in a few weeks and I still have no idea where I’m heading, nothing like serendipity, right? It seems as though nothing is coming together for my trip to warmer weather for the winter. Plus gas prices are going through the roof. I did the math and with prices at almost $3.50 a gallon in most places, it’ll cost me about $3 thousand just for gas round trip to go south and come back. UNBELIEVEABLE! As sad as it seems, I’m considering putting my coach into winter storage and renting a room for 4 or 5 months. It’ll cost much less. To be perfectly honest with you…I am VERY sad about this. I DO NOT want to do this! My coach is my HOME. I wish I could find a place to winter. It makes me sick that gas prices go up during the holidays. The greedy bastards who run the oil companies hike the prices when they know demand is high. It really hurts everyone, not just me. I have several friends who have changed their travel plans because they can't afford to make it home for the holidays. It's just so heartbreaking to know that people can't be with those they love because they can't afford to buy gasoline.

It totally sucks, but life goes on and it looks like I might be stuck inside brick and mortar (no, no, no!!) this winter…unless a miracle happens. I’m praying for a miracle! God always looks out for me and I have no doubt where ever I land…I’ll be exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing…I have so much to be grateful for...

…and on that note, I’ll close for now!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hugs,

Barb : )

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Busy, busy, busy! :: October 16, 2007

Today finds me in DC...well, Alexandria, VA to be exact. I'm helping my best friend with her remodel. Since her daughter married and moved to Texas, she's been trying to get her house in shape so she can put it on the market. Her goal is to retire in Hawaii. Now that's a nice goal!

I'm also starting a new contract and in addition to the new contract, I'll be working on projects at the park. I have plenty to keep me busy for the next month. My plan is to make enough denero ($$) to get my medical bills paid and out of the way so I can get traveling to a warmer climate before it gets super cold up here. My coach gets downright frigid when the mercury drops below 32 degrees.

I have to admit, the weather has been much warmer than usual here and I'm loving it! We've had perfect beach weather over at the Cape for the entire month of October. The locals aren't happy, but seeing as how I'm from Florida, this weather suits me fine. The weather may be warm now...but it won't stay this way much longer. In the meantime, I plan to get my Jeep out on the sand as much as possible and enjoy this fabulous fall weather!

I'm loving my stay at Cape Henlopen State Park. Everyone there is wonderful! They are so nice, very laid back and I enjoy working with them, very much. Just this past Saturday night the Friends of Cape Henlopen had their Wine, Beer and Cheese tasting. It was a smashing success! I enjoyed meeting new people and helping with the event. For me the best part of being at CHSP is helping as a camp host/volunteer. It's a great feeling to be of service and to help make a difference.

The season is really starting to wind down now...although post Labor day has been very busy because of the warm weather, so there's been lots to do. Not only do I host at the Youth Camps up by the Point, but I've also been driving the golf cart around, picking up trash, I've been sweeping sidewalks and doing odds and ends to help keep the park spotless for our visitors. When I get back, I'll have plenty to do: making lists of things needing repair in the Youth Camps, redesigning the Youth Camp check in books, and I'm going to help build a database too.

So, until its time for me to move on, I'm making myself useful!

I've been looking for places down South or out West to hang for the winter season, but nothings jelled yet. I've had a couple of interesting prospects, but I have a feeling that when the time is right, God will give me a sign...as always...and then I'll be on my way.

Until then...it's just one day at a time!

Monday, October 1, 2007

High Dune Adventure :: 10/01/07

I hope this update finds you well and happy as cooler weather settles in. I love autumn at the beach!

I finaly made it back to the state park in Delaware...although I'm no longer in the same camp site. I went to Chicago at the start of September to do a couple of job interviews. They went well, and I was offered a lucrative marketing and promotions position, but I decided against moving there...too cold and harsh in the winter! I guess it's true...you can't pay me to be that far up north in the winter! LOL

I visited a beautiful state park, beach and campground just an hour out of Chicago called Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The water was emerald green, the beach and dunes were stunning. I visited the campground and was quite impressed! The sites are manicured have water and electric and every road and site is completely paved. There are many beautiful sites, several where you can pull your rig right up to the side of a dune with paths that take you directly to the beach with no more than a 5 or 10 minute walk.

The park also has many wooded areas with lots of paths for exploration. They have a camp host program with a 2 month limit as they like to have turnover with their hosts. They say their goal is to provide a nice experience for hosts and they encourage hosts to come and enjoy the park. The manager's name is Brandt if you ever decide you'd like to host or visit. It gets 5 stars in my personal book because of the cleanliness, friendliness, and overall beauty of the entire facility. You'll find shopping and places to eat just 5 miles outside the park.

I also visited a state park in Illinois called Illinois Beach State Park. I wasn't as impressed with this park, but it was quite beautiful. The campground was much more rustic and very large and spread out. It was a completely different experience from Indiana Dunes...not in a bad way, but the natural setting (plants, etc.) was much different although in the same general part of the country. The beach wasn't as breath taking as the one in Indiana, but was still very nice. I'll give this park 3 and a half stars out of 5. It's still worthy of a visit. Also, the little town just outside the park is quaint and offers shopping and restaurants.

Upon my return to Cape Henlopen we had a new round of volunteers, the summer hosts had left except for myself and another guy. A very nice shady space opened up in youth camping on the other side of the park and seeing as how I've been in charge of youth camping all summer, it only made sense for me to move my rig over there. It's very quiet when the kids aren't there, complete solitude would best describe it. I have the place all to myself. The beach is within walking distance and there's a hawk's nest in a tower which is directly across the street from me. It makes for great bird watching. I really like the new location although cell phone reception is spotty at best.

I'm planning to stick around here through October as they need the help. All of the full time employees are gone and the park is relying on all of the volunteers to take up the slack. The weather here has been amazing...sunny and very warm. The park has been packed with visitors on the weekends and it seems more busy than usual during the week as well. Needless to say, there is plenty to do for those of us who have elected to stay on through autumn.

I would very much like to make it up north towards the mountains in New York State before I head south. I've been working on two contracts and have a third coming. I'm hoping to travel up that way to see the fall colors (if I can break away) before heading to a warmer winter climate. I'm thinking of heading back to Florida for the winter or preferably out to the western states...maybe Arizona, Nevada, or Southern California. Of course, it depends on which way the wind blows and where the good Lord drops my feet. At any rate, I'll keep you posted and let you know what develops.

I've also been busy taking care of a few loose ends from events that transpired over the course of the year. Finally, my identity woes are settled and my health is much improved so I can start looking forward to a new adventure. 2007 surely has been a doosey!

In the meantime, I see I've managed to write a mini-novella, so I'll close for now.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Greetings from Chicago! :: Saturday 9/8/07

I'm in Chicago. I drove my car and left everything back at the beach. I was going to bring the coach, but the Jeep has a hole in the gas tank and the gas tank has to be replaced…another $600.00 expense! I hope this is it for the Jeep. I’ve dubbed it “The hole in the pavement I keep repairing.”

The car is comfy, so I brought it. I actually enjoyed the drive though it was long, but very picturesque. I'm staying with my friend Steve who lives about 25 miles north of the city in a very quaint little town on the lake.

I've been scoping out the club scene here as I've been offered a position as general manager of a very large nightclub. It's huge and looks like a totally '80's bar. It needs to be updated and brought into the year 2007 for sure! I'm still undecided. We'll see what happens.

I have another job interview lined up on Tuesday in downtown Chicago and that's the job I really want to land. It pays very well, plus full bennies. Keep your fingers crossed.

Who knows where I'll end up.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Already August! :: Sunday 8/5/07

It's hard to believe that it's August and soon to be September. Mercy, time does fly! Pretty soon, it'll be time for sweaters again. I don't mind the change of seasons, but I'm not a fan of cold weather...gotta find warmer digs soon!

I'm still working here at the park. I told them I'd stay through October, but it really slows down after Labor Day, so I have no idea what they'll have me doing in September and October. For now, I'm still working in the camp registration booth, doing graphic design, trash pick up, whatever.

My Jeep is finally out of the shop. All total, I've spent about $6000.00 on it, $3k to buy it and I've put another $3k into it. So far so good, but I'm not selling the car until I spend more time driving the Jeep around to work out the bugs. Since it left the shop, I've had a few minor problems with it, nothing serious...just tweaking, but I'd hate to sell the car and then have the Jeep break down. I figure another month and I should have the bugs worked out...hopefully!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

High season at the Cape :: 7/25/07

I'll probably stay here in Lewes through September, maybe October. We'll see what happens. I got a job waiting tables to make some extra cash and unfortunately, the people who own the place are idiots...nice people, but they are poor managers. We've had 5 or 6 people quit just since the 4th of July. I'm planning to do the same too as soon as I find another way to make some extra cash. I need to pay off my medical bills and try to get some money saved up.

I'm also working at the park 24 hours a week and I'm really liking it. I'm doing an assortment of duties so the variety is good. The park is balls to the walls BUSY! We usually close the park on the weekends because it fills to capacity. The campground is always full...never an empty space all week. People drive from all over the place to come here. A guy drove straight through from Ohio just to come camp here with his wife and kids. Says he's been doing this since he was a kid. I was just amazed by this.

I'm still doing freelance consultant work. I've been sending out my resume' all over the place looking into marketing and promotions gigs for the fall and winter months. Hopefully I'll find work somewhere warm. I hate the thought of being up north for another cold winter. I'm also wheeling and dealing with some folks in DC to let me handle their marketing. I could do that remotely from the laptop and phone, head south, maybe Florida, fly up to DC once or twice a month to do my business. I did this a few years back and it wasn't a bad set up.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life at the beach :: Tues. 7/17/07

Well, there is no lack of work to be done at the park. It is BUSY! No one has to fight over stuff to do anymore that's for sure. We had it good in April and part of May. Now it's work, work, work! That's not a bad thing at all, except it's amazing how the tourists can be so scanky. The pier is always filthy and no sooner do you get it cleaned up, people are throwing trash down. It's the same in the campground and generally speaking, in the entire park.

I don't really do trash pickup or outdoor stuff anymore. I was bitten by a deer tick and ended up with the beginning stages of Lyme Disease. Luckily I caught it early and got on the antibiotics immediately. I go for my blood test next week to make sure I'm cured. I now help with the Youth Group camping. I do check ins and check outs and I do light maintenance on the dorms and group camping facilities. (The park lost their youth group camp host, so I stepped in.) I love it and it keeps me busy! I continue to design advertisements and fliers and I also work in the camp registration booth one night a week.

My Jeep....my, my, my! It's been a nightmare! The Jeep has been in the shop for 3 weeks now. I haven't gotten to enjoy it at all since I bought it.

The folks I bought it from told me all it really needed was a carburetor to get it running right, but that wasn't the case at all. I had to replace the entire carbbed fuel system with a fuel injected system to keep it within emissions...very expensive! I could have done a cheaper repair, but it would not have passed the sniff test and if I ever wanted to sell the Jeep, I would have had a hard time doing so. The 4 wheel drive also didn't engage properly so that was another issue of importance. Then there were the minor issues such as a new muffler, small oil leak, the need for a new radiator and a couple of very minor things...and those were things I knew about and had budgeted for, but the fuel injection was totally unexpected. So far, I have close to $6,000.00 into the Jeep.

My mechanic called me yesterday and told me he hopes to have the Jeep fixed for me this week as he'd like to move it out of his shop...he also said he's sure I'd like to enjoy it instead of stopping by to visit it once a week. He's right! I've taken a part time job as a waitress to help pay for the Jeep repairs and pay down the rest of my medical expenses from my tumor removal and the Lyme Disease. I'm not complaining...it's just that I'd really like to have a little fun in my Jeep! To be honest, God has blessed me with a fantastic mechanic and the Jeep runs very well. My mechanic told me that when he's through with it, it'll be practically brand new! Shoot, almost every part on it has been replaced!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Lyme Disease, the Jeep, etc. :: Mon. 7/9/07

I'm still working on the identity thing...hopefully I'll have it cleared up by September. I'm waiting on my social security info to be cleared up. Apparently, that's the big hold up right now. Nope CA isn't in the cards for me this year. Maybe in the future.

It's been a weird year for me health-wise. As you know, I was ill and wasn't able to leave Bull Run when planned as a result. Well, I had only been on the job for a month at the State Park here at the beach when I was bitten by a deer tick and contracted Lyme Disease. I've been on antibiotics for a month now...just finished them...and I go for my blood test next week to see if the drugs stopped the Lyme Disease. I got all the classic symptoms and I've felt pretty crappy all during the month of June, but I caught it early, so my new doc is very certain the drugs she prescribed will kill it completely. I'll keep you posted. Of course, the med bills are killing my purse. What else is new? (Sarcasticly I ask.)

Let's see...I bought a Jeep. It's a nice looking Jeep, but it doesn't run for shit. It's been in the shop for two weeks now. It's a money pit. I thought I was getting a good deal, as I thought all it needed was a carb. As it turns out, it needed an entire new fuel injection system and a few other things...the few other things I could deal with, but but the fuel injection set me back a bunch of money. I still have no idea when the Jeep will be ready. The plan is to sell the car...as much as I LOVE the car...I hate the payments. But looking back, if I had known that I would be investing as much as I am in the Jeep, I would have just paid it all towards the car. Who knew?

Anyway, I ended up getting a job waiting tables for extra cash and also because I've been bored out of my skull. I only work part time at the park and I needed a little more to keep myself busy. Now I gogogo all the time! I'm finally starting to feel better and I'm trying to get back into shape.

Well, that's about it from here. I'm doing laundry and my sheets are dry so I'll be running along.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Not going to Calli :: Thurs. 6/14/07

Greetings!

Well, I never made it to California! I guess the Good Lord wanted me to stay right where I am in Delaware.

**********
Long story short, my identity WAS stolen. Yep! Somebody out there in cyber-land decided to be me for a while. Just long enough to rack up charges and screw with my social security number. The job in Calli couldn't wait and I didn't want to start something new without taking care of the identity problem. So, here I am...hanging out as a camp host for the remainder of the summer at the state park.

I'm looking for winter jobs as I will most likely leave here in late Sept. or early Oct. and I want to get a jump on host jobs down South or out West for the coming season. I have no intention of wintering up North again this year, unless of course someone makes me an offer I cannot refuse. It would have to be a darn good one!

I've been staying busy here with my hosting duties...I can't believe it's already mid-June! I bought a Jeep Wrangler which turned out to be more of a project than I wanted. I hope to get it running properly as my car doesn't tow well behind the RV and the Jeep is a perfect tow vehicle. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, May 7, 2007

I might be staying in Delaware :: Mon. 5/7/07

I'm not going anywhere for at least a month. California probably isn't in the cards.

It looks like someone may have helped themselves to my identity. This past Friday, I got a letter from the IRS, called them and they said they needed me to verify my identity...they told me I have to contact the Social Security Admin. too. Then I opened up my credit card bill and I have several charges on there that I didn't make. Well...needless to say, I am not going anywhere until I get all this straightened out.

The IRS gave me 30 days to do what I have to do for them. We'll see what Social Security has to say. I canceled my credit card right away and I'm keeping the bare minimum in my bank account until this blows over. It's a pain in the ass, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

As for storage...it's gotten to be a HUGE task! Lord have mercy on my soul...and I mean that in every sincere way. I'm not even half way through my stuff yet and I've been working on it every day for two weeks solid. I'm so sick of going to my storage unit! I've managed to sell a few big things, but I have a long way to go! At least I can move around in there better now that some of the stuff is gone. It'll be a miracle if I get it all cleared out in a month.

I spoke to the volunteer coordinator here at the state park, explained my situation, and he said it just so happens the people who were scheduled to come into this site canceled and I can stay here as long as I want...all summer if need be. Talk about Divine Intervention! Maybe I'm just not meant to go to CA this summer...it sure is beginning to look that way. I've already contacted the guy in CA and told him I'm not coming. Something else will come down the pike when it's meant to be.

In the meantime, I'm really happy here at the beach. The people here are friendly, I get full hookups and I don't have to leave my site for water or to dump, the work so far has been easy...and hmmmmm maybe this isn't such a bad spot to be after all!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Destination Delaware :: Wed. 4/11/07


getting here...was a new experience. i was stressed all the way through DC, especially on the 495 beltway. my trip went well...folks were pretty nice and let me change lanes. i had to pull over once to check out my tow dolly and i'm glad i did cause my car had shifted a bit. not a major deal, but i had to re tighten the tow straps. i was so happy to get over the Bay Bridge. after that, my stress level went down and i enjoyed the rest of the trip. i was able to get my bike and car unloaded...i needed help with the bike.

the tow dolly worked great, but my car is not well suited for towing on the dolly. actually, its a royal pain in the butt...it sits way too low, no clearance. i love my car, but it's not practical. after this experience, i'm really thinking hard about selling it.

my site is fantastic! no traffic noise, at night i can hear the horn on the buoy out in the channel. i can see most every star in the sky. my site is huge with so many trees on one side it'll be hard to count them! my yard is a mix of pine needles and sand. i have a very nice deck with a picnic table, a fire ring in the sand...and best of all full hook ups! i have super nice neighbors (also camp hosts) and they are camped a good ways from me. i have no neighbors on the other side, just sand pines. the beach is a short bicycle ride across the road.

i start my host duties tomorrow...i settle in today. its nice to be at the beach! : )

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Preparing to Leave Bull Run :: Tuesday 4/10/07


Well, I’m finally healed enough to take off for the beach. So, tomorrow is the big day. I’ve spend 5 days taking my time, getting everything prepared for my trip to Delaware. It’s my first big trip in my coach and I’m excited, but nervous. It’s only 3 hours away, so I should be okay.

Thus starts my big adventure. I landed a job out in California producing events in Napa, but first I need to go to Rehoboth and clean out my storage unit. I called the state park in Lewes and they need volunteers, so I’ll be there for 3 weeks hosting while I clean out my storage unit. Then it’s on to Calli. I’m pretty excited!

I’m kind of sad to leave Bull Run. It’s been a really nice place to be these past couple of years. I feel a great sense of accomplishment having started out cleaning bathrooms and ending up producing the Holiday Festival of Lights…their “Biggest, Brightest, Best” light show ever. It’s been quite a ride, that’s for sure! I’ve et interesting people, had great adventures, and made new friends. I’ll miss being here, but…it’s time to move on. God has new plans for me. He leads…I follow!

Destination: Delaware!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bull Run Park - Centreville, VA :: Thurs. 3/15/07


I was hoping to have been on the road by now, but I had a bit of unexpected news...a bit of a scare actually!

I've had 2 biopsies for cancer in the last 3 weeks. Luckily they both came back negative, but there's a slight problem with my blood work so now I have to go for more extensive testing. I'm still recovering from biopsy #2...involved a bit of surgery, so no traveling for me until I get this all resolved.

I'm staying positive...so far 2 out of the 3 isn't so bad! I am very blessed!

I'm hoping I'll get the okay to scoot by the end of March, no later than first or second week of April. It's making me crazy to have to stay put. Even though the weather is finally getting really nice (79 degrees and sunny yesterday) I am sooooo ready to be out of here and on my way to new adventure!

We did manage a bit of snow...not sure if I sent these already or not, but here are a few pics of Bull Run just a couple of weeks ago.

All my best!