Sunday, August 19, 2018

The end of an era and a new beginning

It's been more than a month since I lost Katie.  That was such a sad post to write through my tears.  Thank you all so much for your kind comments, they helped, for sure.  I still miss her, of course, and think about her often.  I'll adopt another dog - I'm not ready yet, but I love having a dog, so I know another little critter is in my future.

There have been lots of changes in the last month.

Before I lost Katie, I started looking for a house to buy in Elephant Butte or Truth or Consequences, NM.  I've been thinking about this for a few years now, and suddenly the time was right and all the elements needed to do it came together.  I've been considering this area, and really only this area, for a while.  I really like Cottonwood, AZ, too, but all in all, New Mexico beat Arizona for me.

When I arrived at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in February I decided to start the process by becoming a New Mexico resident and we lived in an RV Park for four months while establishing residency.

I insured The Palms in New Mexico and got her registered at the MVD here, and when I had met all the requirements and had the proper paperwork, changed my Driver's License from CA to NM.  I've been doing some freelance writing, and got a business license in new Mexico to set up a legal business here.

Then I started looking at houses in Elephant Butte and Truth or Consequences.

We had a family vacation planned for July up at Lake Tahoe in California, and before we left Elephant Butte, I did some house hunting, found four I really liked, both in EB and in TorC.  I finally decided on one that was a keeper.  It has everything I wanted and needed, was move-in ready, is in a good neighborhood, and fit my budget, so I made an offer on the house.  The seller countered and I accepted the counter.  The morning we left town the home inspection was done, and the house came through with flying colors.  Nothing negative on the report.  😁

It was so hot in Elephant Butte I was happy to leave the area for a cooler climate.  I packed up, and Katie and I started the drive to King's Beach, CA, where I was meeting up with the kids and grand kids at my son and daughter-in-law's beautiful house in the lake area.

Before we drove on to Lake Tahoe, we stayed a couple of weeks in Flagstaff, AZ, mostly camping at A-1 Mountain Road, where it was much cooler than in EB.  Sadly, two days before I left for Tahoe, I took Katie in to the Vet for the final time and said goodbye.  I'm doing fine so far, but it'll take time for all the emotion to calm down.  πŸ˜₯❤.  I keep thinking I'm over Katie, then it hits me. Whew... 

I drove on to King's Beach alone and spent time with my son's and daughter's families, and it was a really good visit.  Here's a photo of all the kids and grandkids out for lunch:

And on another day - the photo is a small size, so I can't blow it up, it gets too fuzzy.

And here's me with all five grandkids:

Then I left and drove back to the state park at Elephant Butte.

Meanwhile the home loan and home insurance were in process.  We had a closing date of July 31, but ended up closing a week early, and now I've been here in the new house in Truth or Consequences, NM for almost a month.

I've been setting up house - I haven't done this from scratch since I was a newly married young woman, and it's been fun (but expensive!).  Thank goodness there's a Walmart in town!  It has almost everything I've needed so far.

My son, Tom, and I were talking about my new house, and I said I didn't have a stick of furniture, but I'd camp out inside the house as I accumulated what I needed.  I've done that before and don't mind it a bit.  I'd bring in all my kitchen and bathroom stuff, the mattress and bedding from the rig, and I have camp tables and chairs to use, as well as my clothes, TV and computer.  AND I'd have a large swamp cooler to keep me cool, a full kitchen and a bathroom with a bathtub and lots of water!  The Palms would be parked in the driveway and I'd use her to get around until I found a little car that I liked. 

Tom has been flipping houses for years now, and when I told him my plan, he said he was glad I mentioned that - because he had some staging furniture that he wanted to thin out.  So when we were in Tahoe, Tom and I went through photos on his computer of all the furniture, and I got to pick what I wanted.  How nice was that?

AND...  he also gave me a small truck that he was rotating out of this company's fleet. It has high mileage, but is in super condition and runs like a top.  One of Tom's employees who has a commercial driver's license trucked out the furniture and truck a week or so ago, so now I'm all set.  I still have some decorating to do and small things to purchase, but I'm so far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point!  Thanks, Tom!  Your generosity has been overwhelming and is so appreciated. πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

I've met some of my neighbors and they are all very friendly, nice and helpful.  It's a small neighborhood of similar homes to mine, all pretty well maintained.  My house was in move-in-ready condition.  Yards were clean, the house looked like it was newly painted inside and out, appliances looked new, the carpet and tile bathroom floors and wood laminate kitchen floors looked brand new.

With all the homes I've bought and sold over the years, this is the first one that had absolutely nothing to repair or replace - or even a negative comment on the Home Inspection Report.  It was all good.  Truly move-in ready.  I just wiped things down, vacuumed the carpets and then had them professionally cleaned, and that was it! I was really lucky. The seller took very good care of this house and I look forward to many years of living here and enjoying the house, yards and neighborhood.

There's room on the side of the house for The Palms.  It doesn't quite fit because my large swamp cooler is attached to the side of my garage, but my next door neighbor very kindly said I could park her on his property at the side of his house so she would fit. Luckily he has no windows on that side, and she won't be visible or in the way for him. So she's parked between our houses.

And BONUS!  One thing I hadn't thought about when buying a house in TorC was that I wasn't leaving the sunrises, sunsets, bunnies, quail and other birds, or even roadrunners when I left the state parks.  They live here all over the place!

I was happy to learn I have a little cottontail bunny living in my backyard.  I'm told his name is Charlie, and he lays in the shade of a grape plant that is growing on the fence. The swamp cooler drains into the dirt under the vine, and since it's cool and shady, it's a perfect bunny spot on a hot day.  He also has a little depression he's made under my plum tree's shade that he lays in, as well as other spots in the yard.

My bed is in front of the bedroom window overlooking the backyard and when I wake up I look out the open window and some mornings I see him hopping around the yard, as well as lots of quail and other birds.  So I still have lots of nature out the windows to watch and enjoy.  I've rigged up a bird bath in the side yard for the little birds.  It's right out the window by my desk, so I look out often.  They are investigating it, but so far no birds have jumped up into the water.  I've seen lizards there, too, rooting around and sunning themselves.  I'm wondering if they will investigate and find the water.

My house faces west, so I still get to see the gorgeous sunsets here in New Mexico from my kitchen and living room windows. And my bedroom windows face east, so I see the sunrises in the morning.  That seems so lucky - sunrises every morning without even getting out of bed, and sunsets out my front windows in the evening.  Perfect!

And guess what?  I'd heard there's a Roadrunner in the neighborhood, and I just saw him running along the street in front of my house!  I love that!  😍

So now, instead of The Palms being my home, she's my "ticket out of town."  I bought a New Mexico State Park annual permit again, as I do every year, and whenever I feel antsy or need a change of location, I'll load her up and move to a state park for a get-away.  Even if it's a "stay-cation" 12 minutes away at Elephant Butte Lake.

It's hard to believe I'm settled again and no longer full-timing.  It's the end of a 7+ year lifestyle that I loved and will never forget.  That seven years fulfilled so many wants, dreams, issues and needs I've had for years, and I wouldn't change a thing.  I learned so much, met so many people, stayed in so many cool locations.  Only full-time RVers will understand what I'm saying.  It's one of those things you have to do to really understand.  And I will forever be grateful and happy that I had a chance to be a fulltimer for so long.  And so, so grateful that I had Katie with me the whole time.  She really made the difference in so many ways.

My only regret is that Katie isn't with me now.  She would have loved this house and yard.  But, I'll get another dog.  I'm thinking I'll probably rescue a medium size dog instead of a tiny one, which is what I've always thought my next dog would be.  A medium dog would be fine in this house, with RV trips from time to time.  So we'll see what the future brings me.

I plan to continue this blog but will only post from time to time as I have been for the last year or so.  I'd like to keep my private life more private now, but definitely plan to post when I take The Palms out for a trip.

The name "Me and My Dog... and My RV!" will stay.  Katie will continue to be in my header until her successor appears, then I'll move her photo to the top of a sidebar.  She'll always be my RVing buddy, my protector, my mouse finder, my best girl.  I doubt I'll take The Palms out again for a trip until I have my new dog.  I can't imagine taking off without a dog on board.

So... I'll see you down the road, or at least post about it to let you know I'm still out there from time to time.  I've loved writing this blog and appreciate all my followers.  There are a lot of you who posted comments (that I LOVED reading) and many more who read all the posts without commenting.  Thank you to all of you - without your support blogging wouldn't have been half the fun it's been. You are the reason I posted so often for so many years, and now I have a wonderful travel and life log for the past seven years.  A wonderful, special time of my life that I can read about in the future, and my kids and grand kids can read, too, if they want.

So long for now,


P.S.  Even though I won't be posting much now, I'm still checking in on your posts to see what's going on in the RVing world.  I'll be keeping up with what you're all doing - I don't want to totally lose touch!  πŸ˜‰

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A very sad post

I lost my best girl Katie on Tuesday.  It's the hardest, saddest thing I've ever done.

I rescued Katie when I was in my San Diego condo when she was a year and a half.  That was 11 years ago.  Katie was with me almost 24/7 once I retired, and she was my constant companion, protector, mouser and traveling buddy for the last 7 years.

She was the best, I couldn't have asked for a better dog, especially being a full-time RVer.

Lots of you knew Katie, lots of you recognized me when we were walking from the photos of Katie posted on this blog.  Many people stopped their vehicles and said,"  Is that Katie?  You must be Barbara."  And we made new friends on the spot.  She wasn't much of a dog person, but loved people and had lots of good "people friends," - and a couple of special ones.

Over the years Katie developed various chronic health conditions, and I knew this day was coming.  I thought about it, talked to a couple of people about it, but it wasn't something I could plan, I just couldn't plan it in advance.  I woke up Tuesday morning and knew.

Katie had a good afternoon and even though she was on a restricted diet, I gave her cookies and boiled chicken, two of her favorites, and other treats.  We took two walks on grass and smooth sidewalks, and she was a happy girl.  I'm so glad she had a happy afternoon.  Then at 4:00 we drove to the pet hospital.

Katie passed laying comfortably on a big fluffy blanket on the floor of the Comfort Room at Canyon Pet Hospital in Flagstaff, AZ.  The room was comforting with low lights and a small faux fireplace burning away, very quiet - we had time to say goodbye.  I was laying next to her, petting her and talking to her, telling her what a good girl she was and how much I loved her.  She was asleep almost immediately after receiving the medication, which didn't hurt, thankfully.  Then Dr. Karen gave her the final shot and she was gone.

I have to give my sincerest thank you to Dr. Karen and the entire staff there.  They were so kind to Katie and me, so gentle with Katie.  Katie wasn't even afraid to be there, usually she hates the vet, but their procedure at Canyon Pet Hospital was not like a vet visit.  I am so grateful.

Here are some photos of my Sweet Baby Katie.

 I know you're resting in peace, sweet Katie.  
I love you.  I miss you.   


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Much needed UPDATE! :)

Time has flown by so fast, suddenly it's over 60 days since I last posted.  Have I ever lagged that much before?  It seems like I just posted! 

Lots happening, I've been super busy, the temps are in the 90s to 100s in Elephant Butte, NM where I'm camped, and things have finally settled down a bit.  It's still hot, but honestly after a while you get acclimated to the high temperatures.  It just slows me down a bit!

Some of the things that have impacted our lives in the last couple of months:

1.  I'm now a New Mexico Resident!

I've been wanting to leave California since I got on the road over seven years ago, but I didn't know where I wanted to land.  I love Arizona and New Mexico and it was a hard decision to make.  Now that all the paperwork is done, I have a New Mexico Driver License, The Palms is licensed and insured in NM, and my Medicare stuff has been transferred and all THAT paperwork is done, I think I made the right decision. 

Transferring residency is different depending on the states, I imagine, but since I've gone through it here I'm going to do a separate post letting you know what is needed to get it done. It's really fairly easy, but time consuming.

2.  Our cabin door lock broke, and I couldn't get the door open!

I called Chip Baker of Baker's RV Service, who is highly recommended and very good at all things RV.  He came over and looked at it and said he'd never seen this before.  He finally got the inside plate of the lock off and we could see the broken piece, but he couldn't release the lock to get the door open.  He thought he could do it with other tools he didn't have with him that day.

I told him I'd order the lock on-line and call him when it came in, so he could come back and fix it.

Of course a few days passed before the lock arrived, and when I called Chip, he was booked for another three days.  I am very lucky that I have a Class C so Katie and I could get in and out of the rig through the driver door, but that's such a pain. 

I didn't want to wait another three days so I called another RV repair guy, Dave of RV Mobile Repairs and he was also booked the next three days. 

We're lucky to have two different Mobile Repair companies here in Elephant Butte who are highly recommended and know what they're doing.  They are also priced low to moderate from what I've seen.  I've been very happy with both Dave and Chip when they've come out to repair things for me on The Palms.

Next I asked a man here in the park, Max, if he would mind looking at it.  One of the problems is that the outside plate of the door, the part with the locking mechanisms, was solidly stuck. 

Max tried this and that, got more tools, and he managed to get the rest of the lock out!  Whew, that was a relief!

Then getting the new lock in was not an exact fit, even though I paid more than $125 over the locks that were comparable to my old lock.  I went right to the manufacturer and she said their locks cost more because it was an exact fit to the old lock, which was no longer made.  Well, that wasn't necessarily true!  But Max was able to work around the issues and get everything to fit, securely in place, screwed in, and it worked!  YAAAAY!

I'm kind of amazed watching these guys with mechanical know-how and lots of experience working around problems - the way their minds work is an amazing thing.  I was really impressed.

A BIG THANK YOU TO MAX!!!  He wouldn't even take a glass of cold water on a hot day, he insisted he didn't need a thing.  He said he was happy to see how these locks worked, then if his rig had the same problem, he'd know what to do.  What a guy!

You don't really appreciate that door until you can't get it open!

3.  Katie has been sick!

If you don't like reading about diarrhea, move on to Item #4.  :)

Her heart and kidney issues seem to be under control with the meds she's on.  And they have really booted up her system.  She likes walking again and seems younger, so I'm thinking she's had some issues for a long time that just weren't caught by the vets she's seen for the last few years, and I've also blamed her slowing down on her arthritis for the last few years. 😟

Then on May 14th, Katie woke me up trying to jump down from our over-cab bunk.  I jumped down fast and got her down, threw on clothes and took her outside.  She was vomiting and had diarrhea.  Then we walked - a lot - and came back to the rig.  (I've discovered during this episode that Katie LOVES walking at night!)

From that point on she's had problems.  She only vomited one other time but we're having a problem getting the diarrhea under control.  She literally leaked when she would sit or lie down.  You can imagine the mess that makes.

I kept her in "kitchen jail" since that first morning, blocking off the linoleum flooring from the carpet and couch/dinette seats.  I used my windshield sun screens and two rows of decorative boxes.  No way was she getting around those!  (Notice the clean rags in the baggie and the Clorox Wipes. Also baby wipes for little Katie and small clean-ups and I had a Clorox spray bottle for the floor.  I was using them constantly and finally just left them out so they'd be handy.)

She was SO GOOD accepting that she couldn't go past the barriers - but of course, I was "high stepping it" every time I moved around The Palms.  A real PAIN!

I was waking up three or four times the first three nights to take Katie outside and we'd walk and walk, she didn't want to go home.  Her bed was covered with a blanket, and I'd change the blanket so she'd have a clean surface to lay on, and we'd go back to sleep.  Soon we'd be up again...

Finally I was so tired, I just told her to poop on the floor.   I was too tired to get up and the floor needed cleaning every morning anyway, so...  I needed to sleep.
Those first days I'd wake up, get her outside and we'd walk till she was done "pooping" and then return to The Palms.

The second thing each morning was cleaning up - I'd be on my knees with the spray bottle sanitizing the floor with two or three passes, then I'd take her bed and blankets outside and clean them, then lay them out to dry.  Then I'd fill a plastic tub with warm water from my outside shower and clean Katie up.  She wouldn't let me clean her poopy body parts and yelped like crazy if I went anywhere near her tail, so I had her sitting in the warm clean water, then showered her off.   What a deal, huh?  Katie always seemed to like it, though, so I was able to get her pretty clean each time.

I went to town and bought some small cheap blankets and another dog bed. I just couldn't keep up with the mess!  Luckily there's a laundromat in the RV park we're in, and when I had a load, I'd take it over and run them through the washer/drier.

I couldn't take her outside to walk when it was in the 90s because the gravel was too hot for her to walk on.  I'd pick her up and walk her over to some shade to do her business.  One time when I got to the shade, I had dog poop running down my shirt and shorts.  Thank goodness there was no one around!  😯😧😝☹ 

That went on for four days.  In addition to on-line research I had called the vet and was given suggestions on what to feed her to get the diarrhea under control, and after four calls to the vet I went by and picked up some meds for Katie.  She was still eating and drinking and acting normally, so that was good.  The first Rx didn't work, and it should have worked by the next afternoon, so I went back to the vet and got another dose as well as an antibiotic.  The next morning things started getting better.

This is Kitchen Jail, Phase 2.  I removed one layer of the barrier to make it easier on myself and she still didn't try to jump over.  She's such a good girl.  I did put up the windshield barrier at night, though.  Just in case. 


(BTW, that thing attached to her collar is a lead I bought so she can be attached to the rig and go inside and outside, but still stay in our campsite.  She loves it!  She lays under the rig in the shade, or out on the rug in the sunshine in the morning and late afternoons.  It's given her a lot of freedom.)

We're not back to normal and it's been over two weeks.  But we're getting there.  I'm still feeding Katie the white rice/bland chicken meals along with bananas, canned pumpkin, cut up baked potatoes, things like that that she can have and are easy on her stomach.  And I'm introducing her regular food back into her diet very slowly.  She really prefers the home made meals at this point.

I went to the vet yesterday to pick up more prescription food, which she eats now for her heart/kidney issues, and weighed her, and she's lost one pound since this started.  She actually needed to lose that pound, but you don't want to lose weight because you're sick. I also got her a canine probiotic kit that has a capsule you break and sprinkle the contents on her food, and a paste also that helps firm the stool.  If it was a bug that the antibiotic knocked out, the probiotic will get her little tummy back in a good healthy condition.

Katie is out of kitchen jail now, but I'm not letting her sleep up in my bed. This is a good time for her to sleep "down" anyway because of the heat.  We're both more comfortable, I think. 

So, Katie is on the mend.  Have any of you had an issue like this with your pets?  I've never had a dog that went through this. I couldn't think of anything else to do to help her - did I miss something that would have gotten her better quicker?

4. Guess what?  My door wouldn't open again yesterday!  

Max said he'd come right over and look at it and get it working...   It was so hot, I told him to wait till late afternoon or the next morning or late afternoon, no hurry because I didn't mind using the truck driver door. 

You know - lots of RVers only HAVE ONE DOOR!  Thank goodness I'm driving a Class C with the two truck doors!  Otherwise Katie and I would have been climbing in and out of a WINDOW till the new lock came in the mail, and again when the door wouldn't open the second time.

That afternoon I thought I'd at least start the process and save Max some time, and took out the screws of the inner plate and tried turning the locks and playing with the parts and WaaLaa, the door opened!  I couldn't believe it!

So I screwed the inner lock plate back on and stood outside trying to figure out what was happening.  As I was closing the door slowly, it seemed to be harder than normal to close it, something was catching and I noticed the two metal thingies - I don't know what they are called - seemed longer than they had before.  These two metal, round things attached to the door itself, not part of the lock.

They fit into the door jamb plate when the door is closed.

I've read that they shouldn't be messed with - if there's a problem, call a professional locksmith.  Now I know why:  you could lock yourself out of your rig. 

I noticed they were loose and extending out further than they should, so if I slammed the door, they would have gone past where they should be and the door would be stuck again.  (Or something like that.)  So I got my screwdriver and tried different lengths to see what worked.  Finally they were at a place where they went securely where they should be without catching on that metal plate and there was no problem getting the door closed or open. 

That was a good lesson, I know more about these locks than I ever thought I would need!  But if I ever feel that little feeling where the door isn't closing easily, that little "catch" and a metallic sound - I won't close it.  I'll check those two round things to see if they are positioned correctly first.

And finally...

Well, it sure sounds like my life has been horrible, but other than Katie being sick, I'm happy as a clam as usual.  You all know we have things pop up from time to time and we just have to take care of them then life is wonderful again.  It's only frustrating if the fix isn't easy.  Right?

But I have a new job which I'm loving, and I'm really enjoying being a New Mexico resident.  I'll post about those next time and I also want to tell you about  my new Medicare plan here in NM.  I freaking couldn't believe how good it is!

Check back soon, I'm in a writing mood and might just write the next post to publish in a few days!  I have a list of nine things to post over the next week or so.

Oh, also - and this is a BIGGIE!  I don't know if I have an ANGEL, or lots of ANGELS, but as you probably know, I'm an Amazon Affiliate.  I have links here on my posts that will bring readers to to browse around and make any purchases they want/need.  Whenever someone buys something from after using my links to get there for their first search for that item, I get a small percentage of the sale.  It's not more expensive for the buyer, Amazon takes a bit from their profit and gives that $$ to it's affiliate.  Win/Win for you and me, because it's easy for my readers to get there through my links, whether they buy something or not, and then I earn some money through their purchase. 

BTW, you can click ANY of the Amazon links on my blog to be taken to, then search around to where you need to go.  Anything you purchase during that particular shopping time  - a small percentage will be credited to my account.  πŸ’•

Normally my proceeds aren't very high except sometimes around the Christmas season, but I just checked this morning and SOMEONE or a bunch of SOMEONES have been making a lot of purchases through my links!  WOW!!

THANK YOU for your purchases - I appreciate it so much when my readers use my links to go to  That was such a happy surprise!  😍😘 

I'll end this here - I'm WAY too long, sorry about that.  And More to Come...

Have a wonderful day, everybody!  😊❤😎

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A cool little purchase...

When I was in San Diego staying with my kids, my daughter-in-law, Trish, had a diffuser.  She has all kinds of oils that she uses for various things - they seem to help different aliments, moods, etc.  I had heard of diffusers, but hadn't seen one in action.

I was still getting over my flu - which I now think was bronchitis.   I was feeling great, but had this dumb little cough that I couldn't seem to get over.  I mentioned it to Trish, and she got out her diffuser and put the correct essential oil into the water and turned it on.

I realized the next day that I hadn't coughed since the previous day:  the night before - no coughing, and the next day - no coughing.  There must be something to these essential oils other than smelling good.  Which, actually, would be enough for me, but the healing properties of the scented air wafting around the room is an added bonus.

I told her I was going to buy a diffuser, and she gifted me with my favorite of all my oils.  (Not that many really, I still want a few more.)  The one she gave me is Christmas Spirit, by Young Living.  It smells SO GOOD!

As soon as I got settled in New Mexico and had an address, I ordered this diffuser on-line:

There are so many to choose from, different sizes, colors, functions, materials and prices. This one is only $22.99.  Plus rocks/soil and plants/faux foliage.  🌿🎍🌿

The thing that was different about this one is the space where you can put some soil and little plants.  I saw photos where people had small live plants, grass, etc. growing, and that was my plan.  But then I thought, I'm in the high desert, really dry air, very small planting area.  I'd be watering it all the time, trimming it, and having to be SO careful that I didn't knock it over.

As I was walking through Walmart, I noticed the faux succulents they had for sale - $1.98 each.  Four of those and another plant stem with little white flowers that I cut up to add in between and a bag of pretty rocks, and waa-laa!

I love it.

These are my current crop of essential oils:  Tea Tree, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, (all blended with Coconut Oil), Sweet Orange, Lavender, Frankincense, Breathe Easy (Eucalyptus, Basil, Tee Tree and Peppermint blend), and the middle one in the photo is the Christmas Spirit which is an Orange, Cinnamon and Black Spruce blend.

Mine - this model - has buttons on the front that you press for how long you want it to run - one hour, three hours, or six hours.   There's also a lighted area around the diffuser - see the white line above?  Well, with different buttons pushed you can have white, red, blue green purple, or yellow in that lighted area when it's turned on.

It's easy to fill, easy to clean, and really cool to use.  I turn it on first thing every morning and six hours later, fill it again, and then maybe again till bedtime.  I love the different scents diffusing through The Palms.

I don't know if  using these for different moods or health issues really works, but...

1. My cough went away.

2.  I was working on a project and couldn't settle down and DO it.  I researched, and futzed around, read information, copied it into folders on the laptop for future reference, then researched more.  This went on for DAYS.

Then I thought:  I wonder if there's an essential oil to help with concentration.  I looked it up and - Yes!  Frankincense helps to Stay Focused, Centered and Relaxed!  So I bought some - came back home, added a few drops to the water in the diffuser, sat down and finished my project.  Ha!  It worked!

Was I playing mind games with myself?  Who cares?  Whatever caused me to sit down and get the project done, mind games or essential oils, the project got done.

So, that's my new thing.  I can't really call it a toy or an RV mod, but it's my new favorite thing and I wanted to tell you about it.  NOTE:  See my P.S. below for info about pets and essential oils.

Just in case you're interested, here's a link to where I got mine at

There's never a dull moment with me and my Wonderdog, Katie - some big changes are going on in The Palms lately.  I'll tell you about those in the next post.

From Me and Katie, have a great weekend, everyone!

P.S.   My first two comments were about certain essential oils not being good for pets, so I did a bit of research and found a couple of good websites on this subject, and I'm sure there are more.  It turns out some essential oils are NOT good for pets, while others are BENEFICIAL.  

Click on those links to learn more.    Organic Aromas    Essential Oil Vet 

Here's a chart that was on Organic Aromas that I thought was pretty good (you may have to enlarge your screen to read it.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I'm glad I waited to post about Katie...

...because if I had posted last week, well, things were kind of grim then.  And now they're looking up!

Katie has been having some issues, which I noticed most when she was sleeping right next to my pillow last December.  I could hear her heart beat so loud, so fast, so erratic.  I did some on-line research and got advice from friends whose dogs had died from heart issues.

We were in Arizona at the time and went to a new vet to have her examined on December 30.  He wanted to do so many tests and said he couldn't give me a diagnosis unless I had all the tests performed, and it was going to be expensive.  We had a pretty good conversation about my options, one of which was to "wait and see and keep a close eye on her."  That's the option I chose.

And for a month things seemed fine.

The first week of February when we got to San Diego, Katie and I were parked in my son's parking lot for his shop.  We got there on a Sunday and Katie couldn't wait to go into the office to see Tom.  She went to the door, looked in and waited, but no one came to get her.  😟 

When we got up Monday morning Tom's car was there, so we got ready and went to the office door.  Tom saw us coming and met us at the door.  Katie was so excited.  She ran around all inside the shop office, she was so happy to see Tom.  Then when we were talking right outside his office door, I heard a strange moan/whine coming from the office, and Tom and I went in to see Katie on the floor.  She was laying on her side, making this strange noise, her four legs were stretched out and her head and neck were stretched up and to the side. Tom thought she had died.  I thought she was having a seizure.  We waited for a minute or so, talking to her and I knelt down next to her so she'd know I was there, if she was conscious.  It was pretty scary.

Slowly she came back to normal.  Her tail wagged and she got up slowly and very quickly was walking around again.

That was how it started, or at least my awareness of something REALLY being wrong.  I did a lot of on-line research and thought she had congestive heart failure (CHF).  I really thought I was going to lose her and was preparing myself.

Katie was fine the rest of the week we were in San Diego, and we left to travel to New Mexico on Friday afternoon.  All was well until the following Thursday night when I woke up at 2:00 am to Katie making that weird whining noise again, and I saw she was having another episode.

After it was over, I took her outside twice.  She wouldn't let me lift her up into our bed on the bunk, so I pulled out the couch and got the bedding and we slept on the couch/bed for two nights.  It was too cold overnight to let her sleep by herself on the couch, and I wanted to be close just in case.

The next morning I made a Vet appointment at Sierra Veterinary Services (1607 N Date St. Truth or Consequences, NM 87901 - 575-894-6773) in TorC for the following Monday.

Katie's vet there, Danielle Dawkins, DVM, examined her, took three x-rays of her chest, and said she was not yet in CHF, but she did have a significant heart murmur, it was so loud when she examined her chest that the vet couldn't hear anything else going on, but she assumed Katie also was having kidney issues and was retaining fluids.  When she showed me the x-rays, she pointed out where she could see fluid.

She wasn't sure from my explanation whether Katie was having seizures or fainting (syncope).  But after seeing her chest x-rays and the size of her heart, she said it was heart disease causing fainting, not a brain issue causing seizures.  Click on this link for a description of syncope.

She prescribed a heart pill, a water pill and Hills Prescription dog food, the k/d one which is low sodium.  Dr. Dawkins said either the heart or kidney dog food would work, both were low sodium and that's what Katie needed.

Katie has a real problem eating anything but Royal Canin dog food for Chihuahuas - anything else gives her intestinal issues, and she vomits up the food and has diarrhea.  But she has to eat a low sodium food now, so we were going to have to change things up.  This was going to be fun!  Dr. Dawkins warned me the water pill would have her drinking more water and going potty more.  Night and Day.

When she started with the new meds and food (1/3 new food to 2/3 old food to start) we were getting up in the freezing cold nights a time or two, once three times.  Then things seemed to settle down and the last five nights we've only had to get up to go outside once.

Katie hasn't had a fainting episode since that second one and it's been over three weeks.  I know there will be more and I know she will get worse, but for now the meds and Rx food seem to be keeping her stable.

I've stopped all her store-bought treats except her daily rawhide chew toy, her favorite, and substituted bananas (which I use to hide her pills in), chopped apples, baby carrots and frozen green beans.  They are all good for her and salt free, and she LOVES them.  She also gets 1/2 of a Hills k/d cookie morning and night. So everything she is eating is low or no sodium.

For now all is good and Katie has lost weight, about two pounds which were probably fluid, and she wants to walk again.  This morning we walked a mile and a half, and she is leading me now.  That's great!

Many, many thanks to Kim (The Empty Attic) for all the time she's spent answering my questions and giving me the benefit of her experiences with her beautiful dog, Doris who had the same symptoms, and who Kim and her husband John lost last year.  So, so hard to lose a dog we've had so long, and who we loved so much.  Thanks, Kim!  You were such a big help, you gave me good information and also gave me hope.  Both were very much needed.

Tons of thanks also to Sandie Dixon (WHERE ARE THE DIXONS TODAY?)  When Sandie saw on my blog that Katie was having some health issues she e-mailed me and we corresponded back and forth about meds, where to get them, the best prices, etc.  She and Jim lost their Skittles last year and still miss her like crazy.  Skittles also had heart disease and was on the same meds that our vet prescribed.  Thanks, Sandie - it's not only the information you provided that helped so much, but also knowing that someone who's been through this cares so much.  

Katie has a good prognosis, she could still be a full-timing canine for two or three years.  She turned 12 on February 20, so she's not that old for a small dog.  Hopefully she'll celebrate her 15th birthday with me.  That's my plan!

From Me and Katie, have a great week, everyone!  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Palms got a Facelift!

Katie and I traveled to San Diego early this month - my son Tom had offered to remove the faded, cracked decals on her exterior and re-paint the same shapes so they will last (and look a lot better!).  Of course I accepted his offer.  This was last November and at that time he had a busy schedule, but he kept the second week of February pretty open for himself and his crew.

This is what she looked like before - you can see below the window they are just starting to remove a decal:

The decals were faded and cracked:

 And this is - as Kim put it - The Palms without makeup:

These are the colors they used to paint on the new decals:


Copper - I had a problem getting photos without reflections of the clouds - it's so smooth and shiny now:

 Another copper:
And silver:

Brown, silver and copper together:

Some photos when they were working on her in the shop:

And here she is, back in New Mexico, taken in our RV park - yup - you heard right.  RV Park.  With Katie being sick and having to go outside twice during the night to do her business, and the cold overnight temps, as well as as lots of wind and occasional rain, I decided I wanted electric hookups.  AND we're changing our domicile to New Mexico and this is our address for a while.

Isn't she beautiful?

I was staying at my son and daughter-in-law's house up in Carlsbad, CA and Tom's shop where he does the car/truck restorations is south in San Deigo in an industrial area.  So, Katie and I dropped off The Palms and went home with Tom that day.  I had the use of their Jeep during the week but it wasn't worth it to fight all the traffic to go back to the shop during the week while things were in progress.  I didn't drive down until the job was done.

I was pretty floored when I saw her.  I was only expecting the decals to be new looking, that would have been wonderful, but not only did they remove the old ones then paint and clear coat new decals, they also buffed the entire rig so she shines like new.  Tom said he was surprised at how great the original fiberglass clear coat is holding up.

It was amazing!  He did so much more than I expected.  In addition to replacing the old decals with beautiful likenesses, they went all over the rig where the caulking is – around all the little covers and the door, windows, the outside shower – all those places that have been caulked and have turned black from road grime – they re-caulked them all and they are white again like they should be.  

They repainted my step, the door handle/lock plate and all around the gas intake area, anything that is black, Tom repainted.  The truck grill was starting to have areas where the black had worn down and a green color was showing through.  That was re-painted black.

When they buffed the fiberglass out they got all the rest of the tiny speckles of tar that I picked up coming back from Kanab, UT when the road crew sprayed the back and side of the rig.  I had gotten what I could reach and needed a ladder for the rest and now all those speckles are buffed out.

I had two lower outside compartment doors that must have been a different material than the rest – that was too bad, because those two changed color in the sun, one on each side of The Palms - they had turned yellow.  Tom painted them white again so now they match the rest of the rig.  They also painted a big chip on my side mirror white to match.  The stove vent outside had turned an ugly yellow color, as well as the material on the top and bottom of the grab bar handle by the door.  Those are now a beautiful bright white. 

They washed and waxed the whole thing and dried it so there wouldn't be water marks. 

Tom put a treatment on my tires so they are nice and black again. 

It was unbelievable when I saw it all. 

It was a huge job, but they actually restored The Palms back to her beautiful beginnings.  It's like the pantry Tom built me for the kitchen, whenever I walk by the pantry, I still put my hand along the door, so smooth and beautiful.  Now I'm doing the same thing with The Palms.

When I go outside, or come back from shopping and see her it's like a big, beautiful present sitting there.  Sigh... I can't believe she's mine!  😊

Unfortunately this isn't a quick modification many people can do without a big hit to their pocketbook.  I am a lucky camper to have a son who has an auto repair/paint/restoration shop so they know what they are doing.  And who is willing to take the time to do this for his mom. 

Many thanks, Tom - you have no idea how much I appreciate you taking your own time from your huge work schedule and lending your crew to do this for me.

The Palms is rolling along now leaving a bright shiny trail in her dust.  Other drivers - put on your sunglasses, you'll need them when we pass you!  😎

From me and Katie, see you next time!

PS - I have news after Katie's vet visit yesterday.  Some good, some bad, but overall I'm relieved that we have a plan.  I'll tell you about it in my next blogpost.