RVHer Fulltiming With a Dog and a Dude

Tag Archives: Texas

“College Is the Best Time Of Your Life.

When else are your parents going to spend several thousand dollars a year just for you to go to a strange town and get drunk every night?”  ~David Wood

Yeah, that has nothing to do with the kind of homecoming quote I was looking for but it made me laugh so I’m keeping it.

OK, so new template, new blog entry, new me (soon, I hope), but still returning to my blog.

Anyway, I decided to start Weight Watchers (WW) online and Couch25K (C25K) (That is couch to five K, btw.) today because I needed a change in my life and in for a penny, in for a pound, a journey of a thousand steps starts with one…, whatever, all those sickly platitudes. I know that the last entry said I shouldn’t care but I’m tired of the judgment.

Now, let me just say right up front that I don’t run. I’ll repeat that: I. Do. Not. Run. Maybe if I were being chased by a bear or a guy with a sword, or a cop dressed as a clown, then I might get the urge to move, but even then I might just say, “Fuck it. Gotta die of something.” Also, I have some jacked-up knees, bursitis in my right hip, and my balance is so bad that I can just fall over for no good reason, or if there is lint on the rug. But, since a number of friends have had success with C25K and didn’t die from it I thought I’d give it a shot. Let me also tell you that I have no intentions of running any goddamn 5K. I am only doing this to make my ass look good and to wear cute clothes again. Any other benefit is purely secondary. Longer life? Sweet. Better health? Bonus. Back into the skinny jeans? Fuck yeah! THAT’S what I’m talking about.

As far as the WW goes, well, another friend started on it a few months ago and is now almost 30 lb lighter, and if I’d started when he did then I would be almost 30 lb lighter now but I didn’t so now I’m not but you gotta start somewhere. Right? Again. Better health? Whatever. Tight skirts? Why, thank ya, don’t mind if I do.

I put on a pair of gray leggings and a gray t-shirt, two bras because I don’t own a sports bra, because, come on, why would I, and my tennis shoes. I was pretty self-conscious about the leggings/no shorts thing but decided that I would not give a shit because I’ll be gone in a few days and not see these people again anyway.

I had P!nk as my soundtrack because I love her, love her style, love her attitude and she has a smokin’ hot bod so she can be thinspiration (not the scary pro-ana thinspiration, for the record) for me. Also, as it turns out, she really likes a 4/4 beat and I can walk at a nice pace to her stuff, and then cut-time it on the running parts.

Here’s how it works: You hit Go, there’s a little “ding” then a little voice says, “Warm up,” you start walking. Awesome. Let’s start this bitch. I started walking to Who Knew, which was a nice warm-up piece, walked over to a parking lot, and then the little voice, a guy, said, “Run.” And I did. At least as best as I could given that my happy fat ass doesn’t like to run. At all. Ever.

I had to run for 60 seconds, and the first time was not a problem, because 60 seconds? Big deal. Then the guy said, “Walk,” so I walked for 90 seconds. Beautiful. The goal is to do 5 minutes of warm up, 20 minutes of jog and then walk, and then another 5 minute cool down.

All was well and good until the third “Run” command, and then my nose started running, and I’m starting to breathe hard, and my legs are already tired, and then ahhh, “Walk.” Then “Run.” Then repeat but treble the runny nose, the breathing hard, and the painful legs. Then I heard this little jingly sound, and I thought, “Hell, yeah, I’m done! Hallelujah!” But oh no, that sadistic little bastard said all nonchalant-like and shit, “Half way.” HALF-WAY?! Oh fuck me! And fuck you too, little C25K voice guy! “Walk.” Fine! I’m walking. (I hate you. I hate you.)

By the end of the 31 minutes, I was hot and sticky (thank god it was only 77 today or I’d be dead), and my legs were jelly. I wanted to hunt down voice guy and rip his nuts out through his throat. Supposedly I do this three times this week and then move on to week two but I think that might be overestimating my ability by a lot. I will move on when I’m darn good and ready, mister C25K man! (I plan to update this blog every time I run, which should be three, four times a week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?)

Back in the house and time to start charting everything I eat, and I know that will get old pretty quickly but has to be done.

See, I bought this beautiful corset (in red) to use as part of a costume but I can’t wear it right now and I’d like to be close to being able to wear it for Halloween, and if not that then New Year’s and if not that, Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is about seven months away and it will get here whether I start a new-me program or not. Also, I own a gorgeous, gorgeous Ralph Lauren Purple Label orange linen dress that I have never worn. And I spent way too much money on it to not wear it. I will wear that sombitch next summer, if not sooner. It is shear and bias cut and deadly.

Ok, enough about exercise and shit. Last month I was in Toronto at Indian Line Campground, which is a nice enough place. Kind of rustic, quite a few tent campers in our area but pretty good. I got to see Billy Elliot, which I loved, and not just because it’s a musical. “Carousel” is a musical and I hate it. “Cats.” Cats! Hated it. Oh my god, how I hated it. One good number, “Memory,” (Memory starts around the 3:49 mark. Feel free to skip to it. I’m showing the Tony broadcast because that was the first time I saw Betty Buckley sing, and she blew my 15-year-old brain to bits. The power out of that little bitty body. Dang. She’s Texan, y’all. Whoo!) and the rest is shite. BTW, that one number? Is about the cat dying. I did not know that until I saw it. Fuck that. I can’t listen it to anymore because it makes me sad.

Anyway, I also saw Glee! Live!, which was a lot of fun and I was only 12 rows from the stage. And I saw Zoe Keating again. You remember her. I told you about her last year, which I believe was only two or three posts ago because I suck.

I had my first root canal in Toronto, and all I can say about that is thank god for anesthesia, the good kind, the kind in a vein. I can handle anything you got as far as stuff to my face and teeth but long ago I heard that a root canal was the worst thing ever and it has become thisclose to a phobia for me. So I got some good shit, was completely aware of what was happening to me, and did not give one bit of one tenth of a shit about it. I highly recommend dental anesthesia. I should also say, “Floss your teeth, kids. Every day. Not once in a while. Not once a week. Every day, at least once.”

We made friends with the guy next door, Paul, and he introduced us to some female travelers who were delightful and I was sad to see them go. We met Carly and Sam(antha) from Australia, and Julia from Germany. Ladies? You are welcome to visit, anywhere, any time.

But here is the cool story about how small a world it really is: (backstory) Once upon a time my mom worked at a place called E-Systems in Garland, TX. E-Systems was (is?) a defense contractor and my mom worked as a technical writer then proposals specialist for them for, oh, 20+ years, and when she was made redundant ended up at a place in Rockwall, TX (where she lives, and has lived since 1989ish) called L-3 Comcepts. She has been with them about five years now.

One day at Indian Line the Dude came over and asked if I’d seen the fifth-wheels with the Texas plates. “No,” I replied but I was of course interested because 1) It’s always nice to see American plates when you are in Canada, 2) It’s always nice to see Texas plates when you are anywhere outside of Texas, provided, of course, that you ARE a Texan or hold Texas dear for whatever reason, and 3) It’s always especially nice to see when 1 and 2 go together somehow.

It being laundry day and all, and laundry being pretty much my chore, which I don’t mind because it gets me out of the RV for a while, and some public solitude is always a nice thing, a respite, if you will, I went down to the campground laundromat, saw a car parked out in front with TEXAS plates, walked in and asked the only person there, “Are you ‘Texas?’” And she said, “Yes,” and to use a Texism, we got to talkin’.

We do a little jawin’ about RVing through Canada, and how we like the park, and I say that I’m from Texas. And she asks where and I give the whole spiel, which goes a little like this, “Well, I was born in Baytown, outside of Houston, and lived there when I was little, and while most of my family is there I grew up in the Dallas area where my momma is. She is in Rockwall, which is just east of Dallas.” And she said, “I live in Rockwall.”

Well, hell. I almost said, “Get the fuck out!” but I didn’t because my momma raised me right and I’m not about to cuss in front of a woman who could be my momma. I thought it but I said, “Nuh uh! Where?” Turns out she lives in the neighborhood we started out in.

I tell her all of this, and we marvel at the coincidence, and exchange names. She is Susan and we continue with the conversation, like you do, about how we love Texas, and how big Rockwall has gotten, and how glad we were that the city council wised up and let beer and wine sales in and thank god for the Kroger, and how nice it is now that they have remodeled, and how great it is to not have to drive 30 damn minutes into Dallas to Dolphin Road, or all the way out to McClindon-Chisholm just to buy some damn beer for the party, and even though they opened Mobil City (Sigel’s! Represent!), it was still a bitch because, damn! It was always so crowded.

That convo peters out and then she asked what my mom does. Is she still working? Have any hobbies, etc? I tell her that yes ma’am, my mom is still working and has a terrific job with a place right down the street from the house, called L-3 Comcept. Susan says, “I know L-3. The company I work for gets volunteers from there, and every year L-3 sponsors one of our families.” (The families that have a hard time with making ends meet, which are more and more everyday, thank you so very fucking much Shrub and your hell-bound cronies. But I digress.)

Whoa. Another coincidence. Now it’s time to tell her mom’s name because they obviously have some folks in common. Susan doesn’t recognize my mom’s name and she tells me her last name and her husband’s name, Larry and Susan Lazinski. The only “Lazinskis” in Rockwall. We talk about defense contracting for a minute and then she says that Larry worked outside of Rockwall in Greenville for a few years at, and I say it with her, “E-Systems.” “Yes,” she said, and before that in Garland. At this point I just put my head down on the washer. “My mom worked there for over 20 years.”

We were both just flabbergasted that not only were we Texans in Toronto, but Texans from Rockwall in Toronto, but Texans from Rockwall in Toronto whose family members worked at the same places. We made a plan to meet the next day for cocktails, and I went back to the RV, called my mom and asked her if she knew Larry Lazinski. “Yes, I know Larry. We worked together quite a bit at E-Systems. Oh, and I just thought of him yesterday because I got the Habitat for Humanity flyer.” Turns out Larry is quite involved with HfH, and my mom worked on a build.

This is a tiny, tiny planet, y’all. And, I have a standing invitation to dinner with Susan the next time I’m home.

If you still check in on this blog, thanks. I will keep you posted. By the way, my knees and hip are yelling at me. Thank you so very much Exercise! Pffffffttttt to you, and a big middle finger salute!

Talk to you tomorrow or the next day.

I Don’t Think That We Will EVER Actually “Hit The Road.”

We are sitting at a Freightliner shop…Hold up, check that, we are DYING IN THE HEAT at a Freightliner shop in Montgomery, Alabama…waiting for some mechanics to do whatever it is they need to do to get the Phaeton working properly so that we may actually leave the south to get to Canada. “What? ‘Alabama,’ you say? ‘Canada? Phaeton?’ Who the? What the?”

Note: I was going to erase the following rant but this is the stuff that goes through my head when I fight with the Dude. Or get my feelings hurt, and they get hurt easily. Too easily, and I know that. I am traveling in  a relatively small home with a dude and three animals and we ALL get on each others’ nerves occasionally. You can keep your sense of humor for a long time but sometimes you lose it, and then you lose it! Anyway, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that this travelin’ life is a beautiful picnic all of the time. It has its bumps just like life in a static place. Remember, I was mad when I wrote this so don’t judge the Dude.

<rant> OK, I’m going to go off on a tangent here. This next stuff has absolutely nothing to do with travels. I’d like to know whose blog this is. No, really, whose is it? Why, I do believe it’s MINE, which means I can write about what I want to but I have a partner who only wants me to write about the topics he cares about and can’t find anything nice to say about the topics he doesn’t like. He read my last posting, the ONE-OFF on Texas, and this is what I got: “Nice blog about Texas. I thought this was supposed to be about your travels.” What the fuck? I’m not even going to tell him when I update anymore because he can’t even be assed to care unless he chooses the subject. You know, if he doesn’t care, why the fuck should a random stranger care? I get it, he hates Texas but this is something I wrote. If I make something to eat that he doesn’t like he at least has the decency to appreciate the effort. The last few entries have garnered nothing but derision from him. “Well, you’re not writing it for me.” You’re right, Dude, I’m not, but being a dick about my creative output because it’s not what you want to read is a shit-heel move. <sarcasm>Makes me just super motivated to write more.</sarcasm>

Seriously, what is a personal blog? Isn’t about you and what you’re doing and what’s on your mind? Doesn’t it make sense that traveling around the country might make you appreciate stuff that you miss? OH, oh, and if I ever say that I miss [whatever] I get attitude and phrases like, “Well, you can just go back there,” or “Why the fuck did we buy an RV?” Like he takes it as a personal affront that I would miss the few friends I had in Philly or would want to see my friends in Texas. Just because we are traveling doesn’t negate or erase the past. Just because I miss [whatever] doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see and experience the future. Missing one thing does not mean I want to move back to wherever. I miss my friend, Liga, but I don’t want to move back to Philly. I miss going to A&M football games but that doesn’t mean I want to move back to College Station. Appreciating where you came from and what was there does not mean I don’t want to see other stuff. I mean, I like Philly cheesesteaks but I’d like to try other regional foods, which you can only experience by traveling. I might find something/someplace else that I will miss BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN I WANT TO STAY THERE.

And wouldn’t traveling around bring up all kinds of emotions? This is a journey and you learn things about yourself and have emotions you’ve never had before.  And that Texas post was titled as a ONE-OFF. And THIS post was supposed to be about what has been happening since the NuRVers gathering but I’ll be damned if I tell him that this is about traveling. Fuck that.

And, and, is it wrong to want and expect the person closest to you to LIKE your output, even if it isn’t his cup of tea? Hey, Dude, I don’t know fuck all about electrical stuff and RV mechanics but I tell you all the time how much I appreciate all you do and how much I appreciate the effort it takes you to do it. I don’t say, “Nice, but I couldn’t care less.” “Nice, but so? Means nothing to me.” “Nice, but I hate mechanical shit.” “Nice. And?” See, sounds shitty, doesn’t it?

He couldn’t be bothered to say, “Well, Texas isn’t my favorite anymore but that paragraph about the fair was fun,” or “You know, I don’t like Texas but that makes me miss some of the good stuff.” Hey, Dude, did your dad treat you like that and make you feel bad about your creations, because this sounds familiar to the shit he did to you.

Anyway, it’s stuff like that that makes me less inclined to write. I made something that I put my heart into and worked hard at and the person closest to me couldn’t care less. But that’s not supposed to hurt, I guess.</rant>

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program called, I Don’t Think We Will EVER Actually “Hit the Road.”

So after practically dying in the heat at the Freightliner place we got back to our latest RV park, which is in Montgomery, Alabama, which, uhm, is not so great. We are in not the nicest area and it’s pretty sketchy here. This a huge change after Daphne and Fairhope. (It’ll make sense in a minute.)

After the gathering in Gonzales (TEXAS), we traveled to Dallas (oops, there’s Texas again…sorry, Dude) to see some friends and family. (Correction, MY friends and family.) The lovely and talented, DeAnn, braved having dinner with my mom, brother, his girlfriend, and my nephew, and she drove to Rockwall to do it. DeAnn is over there > in the blogroll. She’s the photographer (Big Tex stuff–whoops, there’s that Texas again. Funny how living there for quite a while makes some memories that get talked about occasionally. My apologies, Dude.) and all-around groovy chick I mention sometimes. I have known her since 1995. We met at Saturn of Mesquite (RIP). I sold cars for a while (!) and she keeps the place from falling apart, and knows where the bodies are buried, if you get my meaning.

Anyway, after we left the-State-That-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned we drove to Daphne, Alabama to look at a Phaeton. The Dude had been in contact with a car dealer about trading the Winnebago for the Phaeton, pretty much a “mine for yours” sort of deal. It took us only a day to get to Daphne (traveling the god-awful roads of Louisiana yet again) and we got to the dealership after it was closed and we took a look at the Phaeton.

After that we drove a few more miles to Fairhope, which is just a beautiful little town, to the Coastal Haven RV Park. We had planned to only be there for a couple of days, just long enough to (possibly) trade the Chieftain and move into the Phaeton but (dun dun DUN) that’s not exactly how it worked out.

The actual deal was made in a day but moving from one coach to another is HARD. You’d think it would be easy. You just park next to the new coach, walk your stuff from one to the other, and done. But no. Huh uh. You are talking about moving from two sets of closets to one closet. From one chest of drawers to no chest. From one set of cabinets to an entirely new set of cabinets. From one fridge to another that is set up completely different. Not an easy thing.

AND, the Phaeton didn’t have a TV worth a damn nor a satellite dish and the speakers didn’t work right, and the tires were shot, and the AC crapped out, and the ice maker didn’t work, and, and, and. (Now, when we finally left LazyDays way back in, what, November (?), the Dude had to make pretty much all the same repairs and add-ons to the Chieftain that he was having to make yet again to the Phaeton so I have been instructed to smack him if he decides he wants to make a change to another coach in the next year. I might smack him anyway just because.)

So we were in Fairhope for about three weeks and although we didn’t do any sight-seeing we did manage to befriend a cutie calico who I named Hope and get her fixed and possibly adopted. I took her to Eastern Shore Pet Hospital, which is active in TNR and they gave us a discounted price on Hope’s spaying. We ended up not taking the discount and giving them a donation on account of the fact that they kept Hope to find her a home. She was soo friendly and soo pretty that they kept her even though they said they didn’t have room. I didn’t get a pic of her. Boo.

The Dude also found a blackberry patch on the edge of the RV park and picked so many berries that we had pie and cobbler a lot. Apparently blackberries just grow all over Alabama because the park we’re at now has them everywhere. Excellent! (The Dude had to do all of the picking because you know, spiders.)

So, after all the work on the Phaeton at Coastal Haven, the Dude gets brand-spanking new tires put on and we drive to Montgomery only to wake up with a flat because the mentally feeble at the tire store put the wrong size stems or something on the tires. And those same idjits didn’t attach the hubcaps properly so one blew off on the highway. Deeeelightful!

The Dude was able to air up the flat so that we could drive over to Freightliner and the tire store, and here we are now, sitting at the sketchiest RV park we’ve been to, waiting for some more parts so that we might, might, just might actually “hit the road” by next Wednesday so that we can get to Canada so that the Dude can teach a couple of classes. We will be seeing Calgary (missing out on the Stampede, though) and Vancouver!!! Yay, I loved the couple of days I had there for the Olympics so it’ll be great to see more of it.

And since we’re not seeing anything other than the RV park I might have to write about something in the past, write about something I know, and that might include something about, oh, I don’t know, TEXAS!

But hey, it’s my blog, right?

A One-Off On All Things Texan

Holy mothers of Cynthia Ann Parker and Sam Houston but do I love the Lone Star State. I don’t love everything about it [Sideways glances and middle finger salutes at the Texas State Board of Education–as the astronauts (Hello, NASA!) in Houston say, “Way to screw the pooch.” Man, just when you think it is safe to once again admit to being a Texan, these guys show up. I swear, if the Board had any brains they’d play with them.] [Additional salutes to the heat and humidity–Really, Texas, is it necessary to be hotter than the surface of the sun? I just don’t know why once the settlers got there in spring, “Oh, look at this land. It’s beautiful. It’s fertile. The weather is lovely,” that they didn’t pick up and say, “Screw this,” once the summer (In the summer of 1980, high temperatures in Dallas/Fort Worth exceeded 100 °F  a total of 69 times, including a record 42 consecutive days from June 23 to August 3. D/FW reached an all-time high on June 26 and 27, when the temperature reached 113 °F on both days.)] hit. As my mom says, “Spring in Texas: One nice day in April. Fall in Texas: One nice day in October.” But I digress as I am wont to do but I do love it.

I was born in Baytown, Texas. I am a third generation Texan. I have lived in Texas, on and off, for most of my life. I tell everyone that no matter where I live, I will always be a Texan. Texans know that, “No, most of Texas isn’t a desert. There are the piney woods of East Texas, the flatlands of North Texas, the gorgeous hill country, the Gulf Coast, the tumbleweeds of West Texas, and the snows of the Panhandle.” I truly believe that “Don’t Mess With Texas” is absolute genius. Not only did it clean up our roads because Texans are a proud lot but it captured how we feel about our state. I mean, it’s like your family: YOU might be able to talk bad about it but don’t even let someone else start ’cause it’s ON at that point. I’ll defend Texas, and my family, until I die. Hell, you might even bicker with your fellow Texans about what’s happening in our state, but let someone from outside start in and we’ll beat your ass down, and then get back to our argument!

I love Giant. I’ve never read the book but the movie is near and dear to Texans’ hearts, even if the movie does get a lot of stuff wrong. What they got right, though, is this: The moment where Leslie’s father tells her, “You mustn’t speak that way to a Texan. They feel very strongly about their state.” Makes me laugh every time! And the cinematography is out of this world. If you ever have a chance to watch it at the theater, please do it.

Last I heard parts of the facade were still there.

And let’s not forget Lonesome Dove, just one of Larry McMurtry‘s books set in Texas. Please read the book and don’t forget to watch the miniseries. Both are fantastic.

I can’t even begin to tackle the food so here: Homesick Texan, kolaches, Kerbey Lane, Texas blood (aka Ro-Tel, Oh make sure you enter the Ro-Tel contest over here at Deep South Dish),  to die for, mother’s milk, combo platters, Gulf Coast, and even though chili is the official state food of Texas I believe it is actually this: The beautiful, indescribably delicious, perfect-in-all-ways chicken fried steak! Oh my God, are you kidding me with that? And bitch, please. Don’t EVEN call it country fried steak. Damn! I wish I were in Texas right now ’cause I hongry! Oh, oh, if anyone should feel so inclined and generous, I would love to have this (in the Texas-shaped bottle, if at all possible. Yes, please, and thank yew!).

Now, let’s talk about the State Fair of Texas. [And that was a perfect segue from food because I mean, come on, how do you not LOVE a state that comes up with these: Fried Coke (though I would’ve preferred fried Dr Pepper as DP is from Texas), Deep Fried Latte, Fried Cookie Dough, Fried Banana Split, and this, the holy grail of fried goodness: Chicken. Fried. Bacon! ] I have been to other state fairs and fairgrounds and they are sad. They are small little affairs on small little fairgrounds and they make me appreciate even more the spectacle and ritual that is the great state fair of Texas. I don’t know of another state that builds in a day off of school in each school district just so that the kids can go to the fair. “Fair Day” is right up there with Halloween and Christmas for kids in North Texas. We got the day off from school and a free ticket to the fair. Shit, school buses were reserved to give us a ride, and if you were old enough and could talk your parents into it they would drop you and a friend off in the morning with a couple of twenty-dollar bills and you would tear up that midway! And when your momma would pick y’all up in the afternoon you were sunburned, sick to your stomach from all the fried food, and if really, really lucky, carrying a bunch of stuffed animals that would stay in your bedroom until you graduated from high school and your momma redecorated your room after you took off to college.

I don’t have a segue for this so I’ll just jump in with one word: Manners. Y’all Texans know EXACTLY what I’m talking about but for those of you unfortunate enough to be born elsewhere I will now politely school you. There are manners and then there are Texas manners. Manners dictate that when asked if you’d like some tea, you say, “Please.” Texas manners dictate that you say, “Yes, ma’am, thank you.” Texas manners mean that you fellas take your damn hats off indoors, and that means your gimme caps, too. (This has sadly been declining in my time. My PaPa would’ve died before leaving his hat on indoors.) You “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am” everyone, even those younger than you because it’s polite. You offer to get your visitors something before they’ve even sat down. Men stand when a lady walks into the room. (This can be dropped with your friends and family but please stand when a lady not of your acquaintance walks up.) If I have to keep explaining this then you will just have to look it up on your own. Googling “Texas Manners” pulls up tons of article from other Texans who have written about them; obviously it’s important to us.

Before I finish my love letter to Texas, here are just a few more words for you: Football, big, boots, cowboy hats, Wurstfest, dance halls, C&W, Tito’s Vodka (feel free to send me some of that too), Hillshade RV Park (prettiest, friendliest little RV Park in the Hill Country) and finally, here are the Reivers, my most favorite band ever! Please, please check out their music.

So there you go. While I am driving along in the RV, looking forward to my next adventure, my heart is in Dallas. And in Austin. And in Houston.

Don’t mess with Texas. Y’all.