Saturday, December 26, 2020

Decorations & Postal Problems

December 9 –21  2020                                                           Most Recent Posts:
Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area                             Holidays Begin 2020
Flagler Beach,  Florida                                       Rough Times in More Ways than One

Back in Flagler Beach from St. Augustine for another two weeks, I was wondering why I’d bothered to come south with the temperatures you see here.  The top number is the temperature outside and the bottom the temperature inside.  Seriously, it was no colder in Virginia than this.  The temperatures below the 38 are the high and low for the day.

THIRTY ONE????   If this is December, I’m glad I won’t be here in January and February.

But I can sit inside and look out my front picture window if I like, as soon as I get the temperature inside up from 44.  Not as great a view as some other sites I’ve had here but definitely not shabby and I’m grateful to be here.


I dress in my appropriate sweat shirt for cold weather and the season.

One thing I like very much about this site is that unlike my previous site here, it is buffeted from the winds by vegetation.


I’ve mentioned before that because sunrise is right out my front window and sunset on the other side of the park, I attend both daily.   It is wonderful to be able to see both so easily each day.  Although you have to dress for mosquitoes at sunset since it seems to be their very favorite time of day and there is no ocean breeze to discourage them. 

You can tell by looking at this picture at dawn that it isn’t as warm in Florida as every one thinks.  Or at least this looks as cold as it was to  me.


The sunrise that followed was hazy as well.

Not too cold at sunset though or the mosquitoes wouldn’t be a problem.  The sunset on Thursday was lovely and the after color amazingly different but they were about 20 minutes apart.



USPS trackingI spent a couple of days holiday shopping both on line and in person for Carrie, Matthew and the kids.

Another day  gift wrapping.  Nearly one entire day trying to find a box for the gifts without paying $20 to UPS just for the box.

Finally after trying walmart, target, dollar tree and dollar general, Home Depot to the rescue for $4.  UPS also decided they wanted $75 to ship 14.4 pounds from Florida to Maryland.

IMG_1592 Too much says I, so I give the USPS $55 to ship it.  Still seems high and especially given that I mailed it at 8:45am December 12th (even though it didn’t get checked in until 3pm,  and as of 1pm December 24th it still had not arrived in Maryland .  As you can see above, notifications informed me that it took 6 days to go 60 miles from Flagler Beach to Jacksonville where it appears to remain.  Daily they tell me it is “still on the way” but “arriving later than expected”.  My receipt says “expected December 17”.  Clearly in spite of having 2 weeks, it isn’t going to arrive by Christmas.  I’m very disappointed.  Guess I’ll have to rethink UPS.

IMG_1575Thought, on the other hand, I do feel sorry for the USPS given how badly they have been treated by the current administration who must be in bed with Fed Ex and UPS to have cut the USPS budget and its work force so seriously.

Clearly they want them to fail and with so many Christmas presents not delivered on time this year, they may well have caused people to be unwilling to use the USPS and thus they will fail.   I wonder if this is another one of the things Biden can or will fix?

To lighten up my rants both for and against the USPS, I’ve added some pictures of the outdoor decorations of my neighbors.  I have awning lights that David used to put up but the winds are too iffy here for me to want to put them up and probably just have to turn around and take them down.



But I do decorate inside even though it’s just me.   Last year I did not since I flew to Maryland to be with Carrie and her family.  So this is the first time I have had these decorations up since David’s death.  It’s bitter sweet.

I’m not completely alone.  Pooh is here.


IMG_1661The little green tree in the middle this year is a gift from my friend Pam who might have thought I wouldn’t have a tree.  She sent it to me along with my birthday present which of course arrived nearly a week late.  But it just extended my birthday so that was fine. 

The present was amazing - two pair of HAND KNITTED socks. Socks are HARD to knit.  Not like a scarf.  I’m overwhelmed with the amount of time and effort she so lovingly put into such a difficult gift.  Thank you Pam!  I will think of you and feel warm and loved every time I wear them.


The golden wreath on mu door marks the Winter Solstice and the return of the SUN!  I hope this return of sunny times is true for us all and for our country.

At first I didn’t hang the stockings as we always did but a few days later I decided to.   You’ll notice the Santa hat on the chair arm says “naughty”.  On the other side it says “Nice”.  David always liked to wear it with the Naughty side out though after his teenage years (they say) he was never naughty.


It’s hard to know how much I have to let go of as the years pass since his death.  This is my second holiday without him and no easier than last.  Perhaps harder actually since I cannot be with Carrie either.  My first holiday alone in my entire  life. 


The weather seemed to reflect and probably contribute to my feelings.  There were many cloudy sunrises here and some when the sun was barely or not visible at all as it came over the horizon.  But each one was unique and a blessing as “morning is broken.”



While we were having gray skies, the northeast was getting a snow storm.  My friends in Virginia were disappointed that only rain got to them but Matthew and the 3 C’s got enough snow to go sledding for a few days.   She sent videos and it was great fun watching the kids and her go racing down the hill.

Probably in honor of that northern snow.  Someone constructed this sand man/woman on the beach.  Definitely brought a smile to my face.

I’ll close with a reminder of brighter days and times.  This was our Winter Solstice in 2014 when Carrie came to visit us.  By the time you read this, Christmas 2020 will be past but whatever version of these winter holidays you celebrated I hope they were merry and bright!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Holidays Begin 2020

November 25-December 8, 2020                       Most Recent Posts:
Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area           Rough Times in More Ways Than One
Flagler Beach, Florida                                        From Congaree to Gamble Rogers

Not much has happened lately.  Life seems a bit in the slow lane.  It’s OK with me.

I’m not sure how many years I have spent Thanksgiving at Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area on the ocean in Flagler Beach but this is the second year I’ve been alone. This year, thanks to covid, there are more people than just me “celebrating” alone. 

That doesn’t mean we can’t be thankful for those we love, those who stick by us through thick and thin and especially for our health.   I’m also thankful for my wandering life which allows Winnona and I to be here on the ocean front where the weather is still “mostly” hanging around in the 70’s although as I’ll mention later that is MOSTLY.
How thankful am I for it all.


I wouldn’t call my Thanksgiving day dinner a feast but it did have some traditional things though no turkey or ham.  I put on a sundress dress for the occasion and the temperature was a high of 79 and low of 66.  Perfect temperature in my opinion.

I did have whole cranberry sauce and candied yams, green beans with sliced almonds, scalloped oysters and pecan pie for dessert.   I’ll be eating this for days as it’s pretty difficult to cook for one.  But I love oysters and am Thankful for food on my table.



I spent most of this sunny day on the ocean in my beach chair reading or walking in the water.  Others were swimming, it was that warm.  How lucky am I!

On many mornings the color over the ocean  before sunrise is fantastic.  And of course I take too many pictures.

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As sunrise gets closer, the pinks disappear to be replaced by oranges.

IMG_1229 (2)

The colors are enhanced by the clouds but the sun sometimes has to burn through them at the horizon.  Pretty sweet fishing spot.

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Winnona has a great sunrise view.


IMG_1294But all is not beautiful sunrises, good food and reading on the beach.  When I pull the awning out, I find that the bottom, which I had repaired a few days ago is not the only problem.  The arm has become disconnected from the top bracket which you can see has been twisted.  So it’s another visit from the RV Tech to fix it and another bill of course.  But the end result is that it is fixed.


In the mean time, it’s time for Ruby’s oil change, another thing David always did.  Also, last week, the rear driver’s door handle just stopped working.  Can’t open it.  Not good since I use Ruby as my garage for carrying extra salsa from Cherry Republic in the UP of Michigan, all my kayak and beach gear, a box of books of course among other things.  So Karl of Karl’s automotive in Ormond Beach gets me a new door handle, paints it Ruby’s color ($33 for a can of paint) and changes the oil.  It’s all done and it’s only money.  Hope I don’t run out.  This didn’t seem picture worthy but repairs are a part of life and expenses on the road.  How lucky am I to be able to be on the road, to be able to afford the repairs and find someone who can do them for me.


Every morning I go out for the sunrise and “most” mornings it does not disappoint.  But when I went to put this post together, what I found was that I had not much else in the way of pictures other than these sunrises.  So here are a few days in a row of what I see out my window at around 7:05 or so.  Nice that the sunrise at such a reasonable time.  Much easier than when it was just after 5am earlier in the year.


Some mornings the clouds are so thick that the sun can barely peek through.


As the sun was going down in the west on November 29th I saw this full moon rising in the East among the pastel colors.  What a sight. Another thing to be thankful for.


The moon appears full to our eyes a couple of days both before an after the actual date of the full moon.



IMG_20201126_101853332I had some not so simpatico neighbors.  Can’t say I’m terribly thankful for them.  I fear their cult is trampling on our democracy.  It is now 3 weeks since the election was called for Biden/Harris.  And as I write this, every court challenge including the supreme court has failed.  And still  people continue to strut this stuff encouraged constantly by their tweeting leader. 

Under the 2020, the flag says “No more bulls**t.   Is he kidding?  His man is the source of all the bulls**t.  Ok, enough politics – You know mine.  I’m for the most environmentally concerned candidate whatever his/her party is. 


Back to the amazing full moon.  This is what I saw out my front window the night of the actual full moon.  I wish this picture could adequately show the amazing shimmer on the water as I looked out my front picture window.

But so much for warm days on the beach, December brought in the cold temperatures.

That’s the outside temperature at the top and the inside at the bottom.  The outside high was incorrectly recorded because the sensor was in the sun. It never actually got above the low 50’s.  And look at the overnight low – 31!!!   It isn’t any colder than that in Virginia or Maryland.  GOOD GRIEF. 

This cold business went on for several days. So I warm up the house and me  by making some vegetable stew.  Notice the steam in the picture.  It’s cold enough inside to create steam.  But I am thankful that it goes up into the 50’s during the day at least.

And then there is another night of that fantastic moon.  Does it look any different than last night?  Just breath taking.  I’m so grateful I was here on the ocean front to see this.

My second two weeks at Gamble Rogers are up and it’s time to move back to Anastasia for a few days before my 3rd and final two week stay at Gamble Rogers.  I guess you could say I like it there.

I had a great spot at Anastasia but neglected to get a picture of Winnona in it so I took this one off the web.  So cozy!!  No wind problems here.  Warmer tucked in here as well. 


IMG_20201205_200315379No wind problems but that doesn’t mean no problems.  I started my holiday DVD watching tradition early this year for lack of things to do.  Usually I wait until after my birthday which I have never enjoyed having sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Things were going fine at Gamble Rogers but the first night at Anastasia, the DVD player refuses to play and refuses to open.  I push every button.  No luck.  The player is as old as the rig but David has the manual for it as I knew he would.  However, there are no suggestions in it about what to do in either of these cases.   So, I manage to get the player out of its overhead bin, and down where I can take the top off and look inside.  I see nothing obviously wrong but I do notice that one of the wires which I guess goes to the tuner is put through a metal panel in the back of that bin which means replacing this thing is likely not something I can do myself.   Of course it’s not.  

I try over and over to make it play or just release the CD with no luck.  I’m bummed since the watching of our ton of DVD holiday movies is a tradition decades old.  You can tell the age by the fact that some of them are VCRs.  Others have 4 movies in one case and one has 12 “movies and shorts”.

So it’s no movies for me to relax with and have popcorn after my move.   I don’t have enough bandwidth or speed to stream anything with my jetpack and mobile hotspots so without the player, I’m out of luck.  Any suggestions for remedies to my streaming problem would certainly be appreciated.

This story does have an unexpectedly  happy ending though.  The next day I’m on the phone with my friend Pam telling her my latest “needs to be fixed” story and while explaining what I’ve done, I walk over and push the eject button and the door opens and there’s the DVD.  What?  Why?   I have absolutely no idea but from then on, to now (fingers crossed) it works perfectly even after I put it all back together, wires in the right places, lid back on and hoist it over my head into its bin.  Pam is  good luck charm.  I’m going to call her any time I have anything that needs to be fixed.

I’m only at Anastasia 4 nights but one of the days is my birthday.  In years past, when my mother became ill with ALS from which she died at age 64, she started sending checks for our birthdays rather than gifts.  She just could not get out to shop.

After she died, my father, no gift giver,  kept it up until he was no longer able to sign them.  It was actually fun to consider what I could have them buy me for my birthday and I always chose something I would never spend the money on to buy myself.

This year I did the same and consider these unnecessary RV sheets my birthday gift from David.  I know he would love the idea.  Who knows, maybe he put it into my head.

The only thing wrong with these sheets is that there is every single kind of RV from teeny, to trailer, to 5th wheel to class C but no Class A like Winnona.  What in the world were these makers thinking??    If you have a casita and tow it with a truck, these are the pillowcases for you.

IMG_1427Had there been no covid, I would have gone into Old Town St. Augustine for my birthday and perhaps to the light house. 

Instead on my birthday morning, I go for a walk, over to the kayak put in where I find a Great Blue Heron strutting down to the water.  He’s obviously used to people since he pays no attention to me at all.

No idea who he’s squawking at here  but he’s soon high stepping it along again



He crosses over the boat launch opening.  You can see the dunes at the ocean in the distance.


I spend a fun 20 minutes with him before heading back to the rig.



Later in the morning I drive over to Les Petits Pleasures, the local French Bakery.   Other than folks coming in to buy the luscious pastries to go, I have it to myself.  With no covid fears,  I eat in!!  Happy Birthday to me!
I have a delicious slice of quiche with a small salad and two pastries, one for now and one for later.




How to choose is the big problem.

Petits Pleasures3

Petits Pleasures4

IMG_20201207_155338608Back at the campground, in the afternoon I go for another walk, this time over to the ocean front.  There is a LONG boardwalk over the dunes to the wide wide beach.  Very different than 40 miles down the road at Flagler Beach.


From the boardwalk, in the far distance I can make out the St. Augustine Light House.  If you are up for a long beach hike you can get much nearer but it’s been moved back away from the shore for safety reasons.  The red arrow in the picture below points up to the tiny lighthouse on the horizon.  Hope you can see it.  Gives an idea of how far away it is.


A little closer


I have the beach to myself too.  It stretches in both directions as far as the eye can see.


On the 8th, I move back down the east coast to Gamble Rogers where my birthday presents from Carrie await.   The rangers are so nice to keep them for me given that they do not have to even allow mail to be sent to the park, let alone sent before you arrive.

Carrie sent a great covid mask, best one I’ve seen and a puzzle at least as difficult as the one I’m making scant progress on.  It’s all black, white and brown but who can’t love those faces. 

From the time I was 21 years old I owned beagles in pairs.  They are the most wonderful, happy, loving dogs.  Carrie grew up with them every day of her life from birth until she left for college.  Now she only has cats – what a traitor.  Our last beagles died a few years before we went on the road and we decided to travel dogless since so many parks restrict where they can go.  Hope I’m up to this puzzle.

beagle puzzle

These two special days were about as nice as they could be given that I was alone in the midst of a pandemic.

Next up will be my last two weeks at Gamble Rogers and my move away from the Coast for for the end of December.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as times will allow.