Meet Robert Spence, the Real Character in Big Creek

I have so many pictures of Spence, it was hard to pick a few.




The Book of Love – flash fiction

I came across this short piece and enjoyed it so much, I just had to share.

A Certain Point of View

This is my final contribution to my week of #SummerLovin… this may be the best thing I’ve ever written. Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

The Book of Love is a weighty tome, bound in exquisite green leather. Within its well-worn pages are all the stories you’ll ever need to hear, although they can be difficult to follow. Narrative is rarely linear. Happy endings are rare. Expected endings rarer still.

By a quirk of fate, in an opportune fold of the book by the celestial reader’s hand, two of the pages met one day.

Page 37 was a chapter midpoint, full of florid, overblown descriptions of clouds and silver linings, and ended on an unfortunate joke about bottoms. The page was marked by a smudgy, greasy thumbprint.

Page 294 was very different. Enigmatic and alluring, fiery and passionate, but with an undercurrent of disappointment, the last sentence…

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Starting Over with Clostridium Difficile

As I switched from taking Vancomycin every day to taking it every three days, I started getting worse again. Today, I met Physician Assistant Erika Mantsch at Madison Medical Affiliates office at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital. She decided the best thing to do would be to start another regimen of Vancomycin.  Six more weeks. She was confident the protocol they follow is more effective than the one I just completed. I am also to follow a low fiber diet. She gave me a list of what I can and cannot eat. The list of food to avoid, reads like my regular diet.  NO raw vegetables or fruit, only the dozen veggies listed cooked to very soft. NO dried fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, peas or beans.  NO fried foods.  It is easier to digest and will give my colon a break.  It is discouraging to say the least.

So today, we made the official decision to cancel our trip westward for 2016. We’ll stay right where we are for at least six more weeks. Being with grandsons will make it better.


Catching Up with the Blog in Wisconsin

I have really been remiss in keeping up the blog.  Blame it on the Clostridium Difficile. Yet, some days I think I am getting better.  Some days I don’t.  On one of those bad days, I made an appointment with a Gastroenterologist for Wednesday. I’m keeping the appointment even though I’ve had three good days in a row.

Here is a sight I forgot to post when we were at my Sister Barbara’s house in Maryland.  She is using nephew Jonathan’s bedroom out as an Air B&B while he is in the Peace Corps in Ghana. This woman from California is a pipe fitter and is working at the nuclear power plant.  She is living in her pickup truck but, was staying in an air conditioned room for the hottest days.

b1 Gypsy Pickup
Gypsy Pickup
b2 Gypsy Pickup Stbd Side
Gypsy Pickup Starboard Side
b3 Gypsy Pickup Back
Gypsy Pickup Back
b4 Gypsy Pickup Port Side
Gypsy Pickup Port Side

Now, on to Wisconsin. I haven’t been taking many pictures, so you know I’m not feeling great. The ones I am taking are not turning out very well either. I have to post something.

Son-in-Love George bought the whole family matching shirts.  I’m not sure but, they probably have something to do with motorcycle racing.  Or maybe tools; he recently left Harley Davidson and is now working at Milwaukee Tool. They were not posing so no one is looking at the camera.

b5 Barton Family
George, Owen, Jennifer, and Cam

I don’t know where that blue hair came from.  No one in my family has blue hair so it must be from the Moulton side.

As in previous years, the boys come into the motorhome in the morning to wake me up.  If I am already awake, I pretend to be asleep.  After all the bouncing and squealing is done.  They want a biscotti from which they eat off the chocolate. Notice that I have them seated on the “pleather” sofa and not the fabric one.

b8 Eating Chocolate Off the Biscotti
Eating Chocolate Off the Biscotti

We had several hot days so Jennifer had the boys cleaning and filling the wading pool. A whole lot more water went into the sky, on the shed, and in the grass than went into the scrubbing and cleaning of the pool.  Yes, both boys were soaked. Then, the weather turned cool and they have not been in the pool.

b Filling the Swimming Pool
Cam and Owen Filling the Swimming Pool

Yesterday, we went to the Discovery Center right on Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. It is a great place for kids. We got a treat.  Jennifer’s Zumba teacher works at the aquarium at the Discovery Center and she took us behind the scenes and showed us tanks with baby fish.

b9 Behind the Scenes at the Discovery Center
Behind the Scenes at the Discovery Center

Here is a spherical tank filled with tiny sea horses.  They were less than an inch tall. There were also several tanks of very tiny clown fish.  Owen exclaimed, “Nemo!” Those pictures didn’t turn out so well.

b13 Baby Seahorses at Discovery Center
Baby Seahorses at Discovery Center

This was an exhibit on hydraulics.  It was a life sized back-hoe.  There were four or five levers alongside the hoe part where the children could operate the hoe and make it dig mulch.  The levers in the cab did nothing but, that didn’t stop Cam from operating them at a furious pace.  I could not get him out to let some other children have a turn.  Jennifer came and carried him out.

b11 Cam Operating Back Hoe at Discovery Center
Cam Operating Back Hoe at Discovery Center

You can see the two red marks by his eye where he fell and hit the rocks at a local eatery.  A woman asked him what happened to his face and he said, “A rock did it”.

While Cam worked in the back-hoe, Owen and Jennifer were placing plastic balls over a sphere.  I was not close (I used the zoom) and didn’t understand what was going on.  Was it air or magnets? Whatever, the balls were floating like magic.

b12 Floating Balls at Discovery Center
Floating Balls at Discovery Center

Another discovery was a revolving door which the boys pushed round and round.  When some bigger kids came to join in, Andy got Owen and Cam out so they would not end up being pushed around when the big boys pushed faster.

b10 Revolving Door at Discovery Center
Revolving Door at Discovery Center

Andy and I didn’t notice that Jennifer and the boys stopped in the gift shop and went to the garage looking for them.  Jennifer bought me a present! It is a C-Diff microbe plush toy! The tag says it is over a million times actual size. I’m pretty sure the actual microbes do not have eyes though. The inside of the tag is filled with a description of C-Diff. Cute, but he’s hard for me to love at the moment.

b Clostridium Difficile Plush Toy
Clostridium Difficile Plush Toy

Elkhart, IN to Mequon, Wisconsin and Exceptional GRANDSONS! (252 miles)

We left the campground at 8:37 and drove one mile to Tiara RV.  When we drove in, we noticed that they did not have any motor homes, only trailers.  Andy and I both were a bit concerned whether we had come to the right place for our repairs. There seemed to be two men working in the service department, but maybe I just didn’t notice any others.

Our fears were unfounded.  The service manager guy said he had worked at Monaco (the company that built Sao) for eight years.  The other man, also happy to see Sao, worked at Monaco for eighteen years. When we described our problems, the service manager guy said, “It’s a solenoid”.  He recommended a local restaurant down the street for breakfast while he diagnosed the problem.

Andy was stunned.  The waffles were better than the ones he makes at home.  I had some non-descript bagel-shaped bread with cream cheese.

When we got back to the RV repair shop, Sao was fixed.  It wasn’t the solenoid, but the wire going to it that needed replacing. Everything seems to be working! He did point out that our battery cut-off switch needs replacing. That switch is used when the motorhome is put in storage, which we never do because we live in it full time. He didn’t have the switch in stock so we decided to worry about it later.  They charged us for one hour of labor.  That is still $125!

Thanks to John Dobson for offering to diagnose the problem over the phone.  But, Andy had already given up and just wanted to take it to “the guy”.

For a moment or two, we were stunned and didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves.  We always end up in repair shops for days and never even considered that we would be on our way in two hours. Andy said, “We can make it to Mequon in five or six hours.  It’s only about 250 miles”.  I called son-in-love George and daughter Jennifer to let them know we would be there in the early evening.

I HATE driving anywhere near Chicago! I-90 and I-294 around Chicago are many lanes wide and full of trucks.  People drive too fast with less than a car or truck length behind the vehicle in front of them.  And, the toll was over $20. I told Andy I want to find an alternate route the next time.

Grandchildren.  They are good for what ails ya. Andy could see me cheer up right away. They were so happy to see us.  Two-year-old Cam is very cuddly and lovable.  He is also talking non-stop. George and Jennifer went to get some exercise at a Zumba class and left us with the boys.  We picked raspberries in the yard and then drove to the park and the boys played on the playground.  I kept them out too late and bedtime was late.  Bad Grandma.