Thursday, August 13, 2015

GA-Pit Stop and Pine Mountain Joy

I'm beginning with a beautiful Bright Spot today.  I met Barbara and Al at an IHOP (a different one than I had Googled, how interesting) on my way to Pine Mountain.  After I finished having brunch, a gentleman across the aisle asked about my foot.  I briefly shared the incident and then somehow I ended up sitting next to Barbara and having a wonderful chat.  These two amazing people have been married 55 years!  One heckuva bright spot in itself!  They also spend recoup time together in early June.  Right before Barbara was scheduled for a total knee replacement, Al fell off a ladder and fractured his fibula and was put in a cast.  It's a special relationship that survives double boo-boos!!!  Al shared that their true bright spot has been their daughter Allison, 45.  After a pretty rough period a few years back, she not only has returned to the church, but recently started to facilitate a Sunday school program for girls ages 12-18!  With her encouragement, these girls decorated their special room beautifully all on their own.  Allison's bright spot is that last Sunday, one of the young women in her group was Baptized.  Blessings to Allison and her group.  May they continue to grown in grace.  And Barbara, thank you so much for offering to help me out.  It was delightful spending a moment in time together with you and Al!

My Bright Spot-the staff at Pine Mountain RV Resort
There are always many campgrounds and resorts to choose from when you want to get away.  However, it a rare find when you discover a “home away from home” kind of place.  That is what Pine Mountain RV Resort is!
First let me say their amenities are abundant:
*large pool, hot tub and kid’s pool
*fitness center
*well-stocked store
*fire pits
*trash pick-up at sites
*playground where even grown-ups can swing
*laundry facilities
*steam shower
*dependable and free Wi-fi
*3 sizes of cabins
*RV sites…roomy and accommodating
MORE IMPORTANT and IMPRESSIVE than that is the welcoming atmosphere that clearly says, “You are important to us.  We are so glad you came by.  What can we do to make your stay memorable?”
     The grounds are meticulous and the team…or should I say, family…is second to none.  I’ve been traveling around the country for nearly a year and a half full time and the Pine Mountain RV Resort family has my #1 vote!!!  Still walking with a crutch and swollen foot from an accident in March, I was concerned about whether I’d be okay to get back on the road.  I have been cared for like family here dismissing all my worries. 

     Amanda, the General Manager, tops the list of angels that have been looking out for me. She has been wonderful in so many ways including offering to rearrange and move furniture to accommodate my need for a work station with my leg elevated.  Brenda brought me chips and salsa during my marathon work period.  Denise was always willing to answer any questions I had.  Dee chatted with me when I went into the store.  Jake and his family came to my rescue the first night when I arrived late and I realized my site was too far from the ‘action’ and he took the time to find me a spot right next to everything!  Brett offered me a ride in his cart and made the smoke detector stop beeping!  Michael drove me to my site from the lounge when the rain was promising to drop any minute.  Ms. Betty and Tasha also offered me a ride.  Tasha hung on the back of the cart standing so I could sit!  They made room for my heavy backpack and my laundry bag, too.  Then, there is Dennis, who passes by like lightening to begin his day totally task focused!  If I have forgotten anyone, please allow me to say “Thank you” for being part of such an incredible family.  I have been adopted by them all as they have been by me.  I will surely return next time I’m anywhere near here!!!
***Can you believe that I didn't take a single picture...oops!  I, like Dennis, have been totally task focused with my course!  Next post, I'll make up for it...LOL

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Buddhist Monastery in Kissimmee, FL

     I got a surprise when I turned out of Orange Grove last week to discover that right next door was a Buddhist Monastery!  There was a crowd on the grounds and I couldn't help but stop to see what was going on.  I found out it was the beginning of Vassa...a Buddhist practice where the monks retreat for 3 months between July and October (this is the rainy season in India and it was customary not to travel during this period so as not to risk harming the crops, insects or themselves).       
     Typically, the ascetics/monks engage in deep meditation.  Lay Buddhists observe this time in a similar way Christians do during Lent and sacrifice a smoking, no meat, no alcohol and the like.  There was a joyous feeling in the air.  The buildings, the grounds, the smiling faces and the Thai food...all beautiful!  It was very fortunate that I 'happened upon' this sacred event.  
It was a wonderful way for me to begin my day.  Namaste.

The main entrance

Lay Buddhists prepared food, flowers, other items the
monks may require during their retreat...along with
brand new robes to be worn at the celebration day at
 the end of this period.

Kluay Tod...fried bananas
and Banh Cam...Vietnamese
sesame balls with sweet mung bean filling

Nang Let, Khao Taen...rice cake with
cane sugar drizzle (like caramel)

Boat noodles and beef soup

Khanom Buang...sweet Thai
crepe - with meringue and
foy tong on favorite of
the desserts I tried

Kanom Dok Jok...the flower
cookie made in a brass mold

Sticky rice wrapped in palm leaf
and Gai Yang...grilled chicken

Saturday, August 1, 2015

FL - Gratitude Saves Me Every Time

     Lake Rousseau RV Park was a one night-er, but the place was beautiful and I had so much fun with the kids in the pool.  There were 4 of them, ages 8-11.  I got them to do crazy jumps into the pool so there would be big waves for me to ride while I laid back on my float!  It was hysterical!  Cannonballs, twists, belly/back flops, free falls, can-openers and on and on!  I thanked them for entertaining me when I left.
I saw him (about 85-90 yrs old)  riding
past me as I was leaving the campground...
so cool!  He had the biggest smile!

The scene of the wave-making mania!!!


      THEN, I drove 2.5 hours to what I thought was going to be a lovely campground.  I even planned to stay a week.  The following 36 hours were...insane.  
     First, the day before, my driver’s side window broke…wouldn’t close.  I had to buy a clear shower curtain and heavy duty clear tape to cover it so the rain wouldn’t cause any damage.  BUT…there was no rain until late after I got settled and covered the window…very grateful.  
     The next morning the plastic flew off while I was driving…each time it rained, it came straight down and not into the van…very grateful
     I had to call the resort manager to get the gate code when I arrived because no one was there…he answered the phone…very grateful.  
     This ‘resort’ was a tiny little fishing ‘hole’ with some RV sites and a baby alligator welcoming committee about 100 feet from my site…after I waited about 20 minutes, I opened the door and I scared it off and I was able to get out of the van…very grateful that a.....?

It certainly is!!!!!

      The rains came before I got the window covered again…a beach towel was handy and I hung it from the visor and used a pillow to keep it in place…minimal wetness…very grateful
     I couldn’t work on my class because there was no internet…wifi nor hotspot worked…it was getting hotter and hotter and there were 6 steps UP to the bathrooms and showers...not the place for me.  I tried to call my son…not enough service…so, I left my bike, pool float, beach chair, a tote with clothes and things to ship to MD, and a bag of Goodwill donations next to the picnic table at my site.  I unplugged the electric cord from the van, pulled down the top and drove far enough to get phone service…Matthew answered the phone and took the time to figure out where I was and find a place for me to stay for the night…very grateful.  
     I left a message for the park owner letting him know what I did and that I’d be back in the morning to take care of everything. I asked about an auto repair place at the front desk of the hotel…there was a Ford dealership/service center next to the Hampton Inn that ordered the part and it would be in and repaired by the next day by 5:00PM…very grateful
A turtle collection at the Ford dealer-
ship..go figure...I knew I must be in the
right place...LOL
     I spent 2 hours looking for a different campground to stay at, realizing I couldn't stay at the one from the morning, that was within a reasonable distance from the Bintelli scooter dealer because of my apt there on Monday…found one, very grateful.  
     I spent a lovely…cool…evening in my room working and relaxing, very grateful.  I slept great and enjoyed a free breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs with steak bits, English muffin and fresh fruit, very grateful.  
     I called and left a message that I was on my way to get my things at the campground.  I arrived and told the lady in the office what was going on and she said to just go and get my things…that I didn’t have to pay for leaving them there overnight, very grateful.  
     I went to my site and…ALL MY STUFF WAS GONE!!!  Returning to the office quite shocked and confused, I told the woman.  A camper registering overheard and mentioned that she saw a gray pick up with a small silver bike in the back on her way into the park.  The woman working there said that was the owner’s truck.  WOW!  She suggested that I stop by his house (he was not answering his phone) seconds away and knock on the door.  Well, I went there.  His house was on stilts and there were at least 40 steps up to the door.  So I just yelled, “Hello” and blew my horn a few times.  No luck.  I saw my bike in the back of his truck, I helped myself to it!!!  Right back in the van it went, very grateful.
      No signs of everything else.  I returned to the office and told the woman what I did.  She insisted he was an honest man and was probably just holding my things for safe keeping…sure, ok!  I requested that she ask him to call me and let me know where my things were…if he was such an honest man.  My question was, “Why didn’t he just call me and ask about my things…IF he didn’t get my messages and was concerned that I left them in error?”  I drove away never to go back, very grateful. 
     After talking to my son about the incident, I told him I was grateful to have my bicycle back.  He added that gratefulness for having my LIFE might be another…I agreed!  I am very grateful!
     While my van window was being replaced, i had lunch at a nice little place next door to the dealership and checked online for places that might have the kind of electrical cord I needed.  I found one and they would deliver it to the next campground within 48 hours, very grateful.
***I heard once that if the only prayer we ever say in this life is, "Thank you," it is enough.  I learned a while back that if you look closely at any situation, event, relationship in your life regardless if you would label it as 'bad,' 'negative,' 'unfortunate,' or downright 'horrendous,' you will find a nugget of grace worth being thankful for.  I have to say that it has been, to this day, one of the most valuable pieces of wisdom I have come across.

OTR - On The Road - AGAIN

     Well, the day finally arrived.  Time to venture out into the unknown once again.  After sitting for the better part of 4 months, it was a welcomed moment!  Of course, my adventures will be limited quite a bit for a while longer...however, I have no plans to concern myself over THAT!
     I have been taking a very exciting online course over the last 6 weeks to learn the ins and outs of freelance copywriting (marketing…sales letters/packages).  I am shocked actually at how much fun it has been since I have a history of sales aversion, but this challenges my writing skills and is totally opening my mind to a new perspective.  My first assignment received a very high rating and I’m currently working on a much more extensive task!  There is more to learn and I’m anxious to absorb it all and get my first client!!!
     My first stop was to Orange Grove Campground in Kissimmee, FL.  The best part of the whole week was the pool and the lizard-inhabited gazebo! LOL 
My first day...when I saw the buds on
the unusual cactus, I secretly wished
that they would bloom before I left.

Can you tell I'm near Disneyworld?
My nest turn was onto Princess Way!

One of my many such work
buddies under the gazebo

Cactus bloom and another
beautiful viny flower

Day 7...IT BLOOMED the morning
I left! 

Another cutie!

A friend of Mr. Lizard!

Not having a/c in Van-Go, the heat/humidity mix is less than pleasant, so the pool was a wonderful treat.  So much for ‘weather-friendly’ travel…the best laid plans, you know…LOL
     I met the most interesting woman the day before I left.  Bright Spot – Her name is Karen.  First, I’d like to apologize to her when she reads this as I misplaced the paper with the details of her fun story and I will do the best I can from memory.  She and her husband are assemblers!  They get their work through Assemblers Inc.  They work “outside the box!”  They are the behind the scenes technicians that put together the awesome products you see on display at your favorite stores.  Grills, swing sets, exercise equipment, bicycles, entertainment centers and much more.  Karen and her husband have worked out of at least 6 different states in the last 16 years.  Their son used to help out, but now, at the age of 22, he has his CDL license and is driving big rigs for a living!  Congrats!  Thanks for sharing your cool job details.  I hope I didn’t forget anything!!!
Karen...her t-shirt displays the name
of the current company they are doing
assemblies for

Along the window sill in the office exciting.  The owner has been
collecting them for years!