May Happenings… Lava Lamps, Dawg Shoes, Grum Goes Global, Craft Projects, Camera, and more

It’s been about a month since my last post. I thought I haven’t been doing much and therefore not much to write about. However, after looking at pictures I have accumulated during the last month I seem to have been doing things I could share with you. I know that some of my readers wonder what has happened to me, or how I am doing when I don’t write posts for a while. I am doing about the same. I went to the doctor last week and she feels that my tumor is larger and my abdominal area is harder. I can tell that it seems to be getting larger and still pressing on my internal organs and nerves by symptoms I am having. Next month we will do another CT Scan to see what’s happening inside my body.

I am still dealing with trying to get my camper van windows fixed. They supposedly were fixed in March, and they still leaked so I brought my camper back to the repair place and they had it for a month and when I got it back it still leaked, only worse than before. So, the guy who was the service manager at that time said he would take care of it… only then he got another position in the company and he said he would take care of it on his own. To make a long, frustrating story short… it’s been a month and he still did not come to fix it. After many promises that he would be here and then never coming or even contacting me to say he wouldn’t be here I called the company and spoke to them and gave them an update. It turns out they had the same issue with the guy, he didn’t do what he told them he was either. So, today, the RV repair place said they would take care of my repairs and would call me back later to let me know when to bring it in. I told them I don’t want to leave it for another month and he said is should only be a few days. Guess I will see what happens. I need to get the leaking windows fixed before I leave on my trip in about a month. Because as it is now, I have duct tape on the seams in the windows which means that I cannot open the windows. I know it’s going to be hot on my trip and I will need windows that open so I can get air, especially when I am dry camping.

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Since I have had my camper, when I am in RV parks I have noticed that the large motor homes have a type of screen material on their windshields that help to keep the sun out, and allow the people inside to see out, but not let anyone see inside. They have snaps installed on their vehicle and have to get on ladders to fasten them. I thought I don’t want to do that to my van. Recently, I read an article in an RV magazine where someone had that material put on the inside of their windows and it still served the same purpose. That gave me an idea. I could get some and use it on the inside of my window. That way I wouldn’t feel as closed in as I do with the silver foil type material that I use to keep the sun out which I can’t see through. Also, by having the material on the inside of the window I won’t have to deal with it if it’s raining or dusty out. I didn’t like the idea of when I was ready to leave a campground to go out and detach this screen if it’s raining and then trying to find somewhere inside my tight quarters to store it if it was wet or dirty.

Putting the screen type material inside solves that problem and will give me the opportunity to see outside while camping and not have anyone see inside. And it will be easy for me to put up and take down because it’s done with suction cups. My windshield size is a lot smaller than the motorhomes, so if I cut the screen type material to fit my front window I will have enough left over to cut for the side windows. I think I will be able to cut it and somehow try to attach it so that I might be able to open my side windows while using this screen type material to keep the bugs out. This will give me more air circulation in the camper which will be great, especially when I am dry camping. I will still close my windows at night when I’m sleeping and I will put the foil material up at night so no one can see inside. The screen type material only works during the daytime, otherwise people can see in when it’s dark and the lights are on inside.

As for other things I am doing, I have been cooking some different foods trying to find things that taste good and make me want to eat. I have not had much of an appetite and I find that often I have to make myself eat something. So, I’m trying new food dishes and desserts.

A local community had a concert in the park, there were several food trucks with a variety of different foods, and also bounce houses and activities for the children. The band played Billy Joel music and they were extraordinary. I got to see some people at the park that I knew and had not seen in a while so that was nice to visit with them.

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I have worked on a few craft projects that I found on YouTube. Here is the link for this project. I took some glass jars and containers and glued some glass disks on them with a hot glue gun. They can be used for a vase, candy jar, pen and pencil containers, or even a night light or candle holder. Using a strand of lights that are battery operated and put in the jar will make it a night light. Also, one of the YouTube videos showed using air dry clay to put on the jar around the glass disks so that the light only shows through the glass disks. I made a few of these but decided not to make any more. It seems when putting the clay on the jar that it loosens the glass pieces and I have to glue them again. The finished result looks nice, but it’s not anything special when not lit. I guess painting the plain clay would make it more interesting. I also put the glass pieces on the bottom of the container so if it’s turned upside down as a night light then it would look pretty on top.

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There is another project I would like to try sometime, this one uses ping pong balls and twinkling lights. I went on Amazon and found that I could order a large quantity of ping pong balls and some twinkling lights to make this light for a reasonable cost.

While I was out shopping one day I saw several nice lava lamps that seem a larger than average size, so I bought two, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. One is a clear liquid with purple lava, and the other a blue liquid with white lava. Most lava lamps are 14.5 inches tall and about 32 ounces. The ones I bought are 16.5 inches tall and 52 ounces so it takes almost 90 minutes to two hours before the lava begins to flow. The designs the lava makes is very interesting, especially as it is still pretty solid and just beginning to change form. It’s a great night light as I am watching television at night.

When I was in Albuquerque last year, I noticed that almost all of the women volunteers in the RV area were wearing these really cool sandals. I asked them about them and they said they’re called Dawgs and that they are really comfortable. They bought theirs in Arizona. When I got home I looked in various stores and didn’t find this brand of shoe. Every now and then I would think about them but I didn’t make any effort to search them out on the Internet until about a month ago. I found that they were available on several websites, but they also have their own website, www.usadawgs.com. Dawgs come in styles and sizes for women, men, girls, boys, and also toddlers. In fact, there are some patterns and colors in the children’s sizes that I wish were made in my size!!!

I explored the website and decided to order some of their shoes, and they have a special offer that if you sign up for their newsletter they send emails with great discounts for the shoes. I like the Z sandal style which is what the women in Albuquerque were wearing. I usually wear Birkenstocks but I wanted to try something different. I ordered two pairs of the Loudmouth Z sandals and when they arrived I was really surprised how comfortable they were. I have a narrow foot so the sandals were a bit too loose on my foot. I called the company and spoke with Sarah the customer service representative who took my order. She said to use a hair dryer on hot to hold over the straps to shrink them. This shoe is plastic so evidently the heat shrinks it. I did it in increments and while the plastic on the shoe was still warm I put my foot in it and just sat still until the plastic cooled. I wanted the shoe to form to my foot. I did this a few times, shrinking it a little each time until it fit the way it was comfortable for me.

Even the sole of this fantastic shoe is designed with their special touch. Each pair comes in a nice plastic bag with a handle and the Dawg graphics. I think this is the nicest packaging I have had with a product in a long time. It made me feel very special when I received the outer packaging and opened it to see what the shoes looked like. I expected when I opened the packaging envelope that the shoes would just be inside the plastic envelope, not that they would be individually packaged with a nice tote bag for each pair. It was a very nice surprise!!! This seems to be one of the nicest companies I have dealt with. I like dealing with the same person at a company and with this company I can. I call and ask for Sarah so I can place my order with her and they put me right through. Great customer service. Also, my order is shipped the same day I call.

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The Dawgs shoes and sandals have little bumps on the footbed which massage our feet as we wear them. I walked to the grocery store and back in them which is about a mile and they were still very comfortable. They almost feel like memory foam. The plastic is very cushy and there is a lot of give in the sole which makes it nice to wear. Since I have been wearing them for a few weeks and I like them and I keep getting discount coupons I decided to order a few more pair and in different styles such as one sort of like a sneaker but it has air holes in the body of the shoe. I also ordered the Premium Z sandal which is basically the same but it has a rubber sole instead of the plastic sole so it is supposedly a bit firmer of a walk and more support in the shoe. I will receive them in about a week or so.

Evidently around every holiday this company offers large discounts on their shoes which means that some styles and sizes sell out quickly. I gave my mom two pair of these shoes and I didn’t think she would like them because of the bumps on the footbed and she likes straps around her ankles and this style doesn’t have that. Surprisingly for both her and me, especially her she said, she loves these shoes too. So, when I ordered a few more pair for me, she wanted a few more too. They sell shoes for all ages, and in several styles. They just came out with new shoe designs which include several countries, and also Las Vegas designs like the sign, dice, etc. They also have a new one with hearts, balloons, shamrocks, etc. Check out these shoes, I don’t think you will be disappointed and with the discounts after signing up for the newsletter it’s surprising how inexpensive the final price comes to.

A couple of months ago I bought a new Canon point and shoot camera, it’s a ELPH 170 IS. Even thought it’s quite a bit smaller than my Canon PowerShot 720 IS, the magnification is more powerful which will come in handy on many occasions. I still love my older Canon 720 IS because it takes great pictures, I’m used to it, and also it has a viewfinder which comes in handy when the sun is reflecting in the digital area and I can’t see what I am taking a picture of. I looked online and found a used PowerShot 720 IS that was in excellent condition and purchased it. That camera takes AA batteries, and I have a large supply of them. The new Canon has a lithium ion battery that has to be charged periodically, especially if being used. When I purchased the camera I bought it with what was called a bundle package that included one extra battery, cleaning kit, and a charger, but it only plugs into an outlet. Because I travel in the camper a few months a year, I want a battery charger that can use 12 volt power.

I like to shop local, eat at privately owned restaurants, etc. but sometimes I can’t find what I want so I occasionally shop online. I couldn’t find a battery and 12 volt charger locally, so once again I went online and found that Amazon had some for a good price. While I was looking I found a camera case that didn’t look too large and that it would also hold both of my Canon cameras. I really didn’t need another extra battery, but since I haven’t taken many pictures with the new camera I don’t know how long the battery and extra battery will last. I looked at the chargers that can be adapted to 12 volt and I found a great deal for a package with 2 Vivitar batteries that are a higher mAh and voltage than other generic brand batteries being sold, and the charger can be used for regular electric and also 12 volt. I really didn’t need two extra batteries or the cleaning kit, but for the difference in cost it was worth buying the set with two batteries, rapid charger, and cleaning kit. So, I placed my order for the charger kit with batteries, and also the camera bag.

I was really surprised a few days later when my package arrived a day or two earlier than expected. Not only that, but when I opened the package I was really happy that the battery was the higher capacity which means it will last longer and take more pictures. Also, there was a note in the package from Walter, the President of Digital Goja. I ordered the items from Amazon, but evidently, it was filled from Digital Goja. The President’s note thanked me for my purchase and said if I am not 100% satisfied to let him know, his personal email address was included in the note. I was really impressed with how the thank you note was worded. I don’t ever remember receiving a note like this for anything I purchased from Amazon, or any other company. So, I wrote a note to the President letting him know how impressed I was by the note in my package. A short while later I received a reply and he included one of his customer service agents in the reply to me. When I read their email I saw that they are located in Miami which is about an hour or so south of where I live so I let them know. I received another reply saying if I am ever in their area to stop in and that their photography specialist would be glad to meet with me and help me with my camera if I need it. If you are in need of any type of photography equipment, camera or camera accessories, SD cards, etc., I would highly recommend Digital Goja. They have a YouTube Channel with Tutorial videos on various types of cameras and lens uses.

GrumOne of my fire chief friends sent me an email the other evening telling me about a man who is traveling around the world raising awareness about Prostate Cancer. Here is what the fire chief wrote to me:

“Thought you would be interested in this, we have a visitor from New Zealand staying at the station tonight who is riding a bike around the world raising awareness on Prostate Cancer. He used to be on the volunteer fire brigade in New Zealand but due to his wife being on the medical side he became a volunteer EMT and she is a full time Life Flight Medic. He flew into New York in April and left there on his bike on April 30 and arrived here today. He tries to locate local fire stations on his route and camps there usually behind the stations in a tent. I opened the station for him and invited him to stay inside on the couches and stuff and let him take a good hot shower.  I was also telling him about you and your adventures and showed him the story of you we have posted there at the station and gave him your web site info. He also has a site called grumgoesglobal.com if you would like to read a little about him.”

I admire what this man is doing. What a great mission he is on. I never thought about using my health issue to go global and bring awareness of colon/rectal cancer. Or asking for sponsors to help with that endeavor. Even though in 2013 my story went viral for a time all over the USA and a few other countries. Mine started out as me just fulfilling a long time dream of traveling around the country in a camper van seeing sights along the way. I didn’t even plan on writing about it or sharing my stories and pictures until several of my friends said they wish that they could go with me, or that I should keep them informed of what I’m doing and where I am and what I see. I casually mentioned that to another friend who creates websites and she said she would make one for me.

That’s how my website began, and now over five years later is still being written and updated as my life and journey is continuing. In my own way, I guess I am bringing awareness. Maybe not exactly about cancer, but about living life to the fullest, the importance of appreciating every day, the importance of having legal and medical documents and directives prepared because we never know when they will be needed. I’m told by many people that I inspire them, that they are amazed at what I am doing considering my medical condition. All I know is I am living the best way I know how and to not give in and just sit around waiting to die whenever this tumor and it’s complications decide to take my life. I’m giving it a challenge in the way I live. Many people have told me that I inspire them because of how I am living and the words I write on my website, or what I share when speaking with them. I continue to pray and ask God if I am using this extra time I have been given in the way that God wants me to. I hope I am.

Well, that’s about it for now. I just got a call from the RV repair place and they said I could bring my camper in on Tuesday for repairs and most probably have it back by the end of the week. I’m really hoping this is true. I am planning on leaving the end of June or right after July 4th on a trip out west again. That’s my plan. I have to see what God’s plan is for me.

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One Response to May Happenings… Lava Lamps, Dawg Shoes, Grum Goes Global, Craft Projects, Camera, and more

  1. Kevin says:

    Carol, I really hope they get your camper fixed for you. Believe me, I know how frustrating it is when someone tells you they are going to do something and they don’t or it doesn’t work. I have been having a issue with my camper fridge and replaced the cooling unit twice to no avail. When I contacted the company about getting another replacement unit, since they offer a lifetime warranty, it has taken over a month to get one and this was after having to threaten with legal action. Now that I finally got it, hopefully it works and the kids won’t have any issues with it when they go to TN next month.

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