Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hot Diggity Dog Pictures

Finally, pictures of our Hot Diggity Dog event are up!

You can see 'em all right here:

If you want one or more, just right-click on the picture, select Copy Image, then Paste it wherever you want it.

Some Signs of Spring . . . . .

Our world is beginning to get a bit more beautiful these days!

The grass is a brilliant green and some lawns have already been mowed. Ours will enjoy its first mowing this week.

Here are a few tulip pictures from Pat's flower garden in front of the house. I just put them up to brighten your day a bit.

There are other signs of Spring, too. Purple finches have been here for some time. This week, there are a pair of rose breasted grosbeaks at the feeder. And the wrens have returned to favor us with their cheery songs all summer long.

It has, however, been very wet in most of Iowa. Usually, the corn is planting is well along by now. This year, no one has been in the field yet. The ground is saturated with moisture and will require some drying time before—well, before farmers can farm.

Our hope is that wherever you are, things are also bright and cheery—at least in your mind if not outdoors.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pill Prices

This is just a little story about buying pills.

Pat needed some "eye vitamins," recommended by her doctor but non-prescription. Normally, they're on the order of 25 bucks a bottle.

She had a coupon for $1 off, and had seen an ad that they were buy-one-get-one-at-50%-off at CVS. So off to CVS I went and bought the pills.

Then I needed to go to Wal*Mart for something else. Might as well check the price of eye vitamins, right? I could have passed up the "wonderful deal" at CVS and still got them for $2 less at Wal*Mart!!!

Moral of the story: A "great savings" isn't always the best value. If you know the prices at various places, you can save money!

And for every $4 we save on pills or anything else, that's one more gallon of gas or fuel we can buy for the rig!

Moral #2: Like 'em or hate 'em, it is tough—real tough—to beat Wal*Mart prices.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Your News Here . . . . .

One way to get more news on the Rockport 35 RV Park blog would be for you to send me some!

Julee did just that. Tom is getting along fine with his new knee, but hasn't been fishing yet. They're waiting for the ice to get off the lake!

You can also click on "Comments" below any article and leave your own comments. Please be aware that they will not be published until I have reviewed them. The reason for this? If I don't, there would likely appear posts which none of us would care to see.

My email:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Computer Class" Update

For about two-and-a-half months, I moderated a session on Tuesday afternoon called "Computer Help Session," more commonly referred to simply as "computer class."

Up to a dozen residents attended each session, with around half-a-dozen being pretty normal. The goal was to give each attendee something which they found useful, something they wanted to learn, or something which solved a problem they encountered.

With the help of DeVere, Jim, Chet, and others the goal was accomplished. Collectively, a lot of "computer good" was accomplished this winter.

Attendees will remember that I recommended two AVG products by Grisoft, both of them available in free versions. One was AVG Anti-Virus, the other AVG Anti-Spyware. I still recommend each of these.

Recently, I have found another product which I also recommend.

But first, a little background. Julee came racing over to our trailer one morning wondering what to do because she had this screen telling her that her computer was infected and all of these terrible things were about to happen—unless she protected herself by "clicking here."

An unethical piece of advertising had found Julee's computer. It put up what it claimed to be an analysis of her computer (which it wasn't) and urged her to buy their product to get rid of it.

AVG Anti-Spyware didn't get rid of it and neither did anything else in my admittedly limited bag of tricks. Google to the rescue—again! A found a site which told me which files needed to be manually removed to rid a computer of this pest. It worked, and Julee was once again a happy camper.

A week ago, I ran into a similar problem on my computer. I found an easier solution, which I'll share with you here.

There's a program called Spyware Doctor which comes in free and for-pay versions. Their free version will not get rid of this pesky problem; presumably the for-pay version will. But wait . . . . .

. . . . . .Google offers, for FREE, a version which will get rid of it!

If you're interested in using it, go to This will take you to a "Google Pack" page. At the top, you'll see several programs from which to select. Select those in which you're interested, but make sure you select "Spyware Doctor." Download it and install it as directed.

In my case, it got rid of the nasty advertiser.

I've found that it will do a "quick scan" much more rapidly than AVG Anti-Spyware, so also from that standpoint it appears to be superior to AVG Anti-Spyware.

I am not ready to say that it is superior overall to the AVG product. I've run one and cleaned out all the "bad stuff," then ran the other—and it finds more!

So which is the better? Too early to tell—other than Spyware Doctor does seem to get rid of at least some of those persistent programs which advertise by putting phony reports of infections on your screen.

That's reason enough to use it!

Two Earthquakes Hit Iowa

Earthquakes are rare but not unheard of in Iowa. But this past week, we had two!

The first hit early in the morning and was felt only by early risers. (Those who know me will understand, then, that I totally missed the experience.)

The epicenter of this quake was in SE Illinois. Fortunately, little damage was caused anyplace by this mild earthquake.

The center must have been very close to the homes of Buddy and Patsy and Dean and Betty. I googled Buddy, but he must be incognito; anyway, Google doesn't know about him so I wasn't able to call him to check on their health and welfare.

The other "earthquake" affected all of us, even though it only struck at gas stations. The price of gas jumped instantly from $3.279 to $3.459 here in Cedar Rapids. This is a new record for the price of gasoline in Iowa. Diesel fuel is $4.089. I'm still running on some for which I paid $3.899 down in Missouri on the way home nearly a month ago.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Knee Report

Our friends at the park this year know that this was a bad winter for Pat's knees. First, she tripped on the way to Christmas Eve services at the Come-As-You-Are Worship Center. That required a dozen stitches, got a mild infection, and generally put her on the slow track for several weeks.

About the time that healed to the point that it no longer crimped her style, her left knee "collapsed" while leaving a restaurant in Port Aransas. It hurt greatly when she walked so she relied on a Wal*Mart cane and a pair of like-new crutches from—where else?—Castaways.

An MRI and visit to an orthopedic surgeon revealed that she had a tear in the meniscus. However, since it was getting better, his recommendation was to do nothing; just let it heal. That worked pretty well until.......

......the bus trip to Gruene with the ladies from Rockport 35 RV Park. The increased activity that day set her back to square one. But we did get home and it has been gradually improving.

Today we had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon here in Cedar Rapids. There were a couple of surprises:
  • The torn meniscus wasn't the real problem. Nearly total lack of cartilage due to arthritis and "wear and tear" was. Solution: knee replacement, sometime.

  • The doctors in Rockport ordered an MRI without taking an X-ray. The X-ray clearly showed the real problem, the MRI didn't. (This is too bad, as the cost ratio is about ten to one!)
Today's doctor said that a steroid shot might give relief for some months. "Fixing" the torn meniscus would, in her opinion, give only short, temporary, relief if any at all. She did not recommend it as an option.

Pat opted for the shot. Let's hope that it works marvelously.

New Life

Here's further proof that there is life after winter in Iowa! This little crocus had already closed up for the day when I got out to take its picture.

In addition to the crocus, the grass is getting green. You know what that means! Before I know it, I'll be out mowing the lawn.

Truthfully, I rather enjoy it. Maybe it makes me feel that I am an Iowa farmer again, but on a really small scale. I often remember how hard my dad and uncle worked as farmers. No wonder Dad only weighed 137 pounds for years.

Farming 50 years ago was hard work! But that's not the real reason I chose not to be a farmer. I was simply incompatible with animals. Machines, OK; animals, no way.

But it is a good life: fresh air, connection to Mother Earth, independence, plenty of exercise, etc.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lucille Update #2

I just received this note from Rick:

"Yes we are back in MI, we got back last week and have been very busy. It is always hectic when we return from a long trip, seeing the kids and grand-kids, but this time we're dealing with mom & dads issues also. So sorry I have not replied sooner.

Mom was moved to a specialty hospital last week, they have been tending to her legs better. Her attitude is still great, there have been some days this whole mess does get to her. She is a strong lady and has been showing it. .........."

If you happen to be a newcomer to this blog, here's the first part of the story:
  • Lucille fell from the landing at the top of the steps to their trailer.
  • Both legs suffered a compound fracture just above the ankle.
  • She's been hospitalized in Corpus Christi since the accident.
  • Son Rick and his wife, Dianne, were spending the winter at Rockport 35 RV park but have now returned to Michigan.
  • Their daughter is working as a Visiting Nurse in Corpus Christi.
  • Husband Dick, he of back-rubbing fame, is still at the park and visits Lucille every day. (At least it was every day while we were there; it might have changed now.)
It will be a long summer for Dick and Lucille. They'd no doubt benefit from a friendly word now and then from each of us. If you'd care to be part of Lucille's Cheer Up Team, send your cards and letters here:

Lucille Carlson
Site 40
4851 N. Highway 35
Rockport, TX 78382

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Home Arrivals

Remember The Kenney Family, who gave a great musical presentation one Thursday evening and also one Sunday morning?

They reported this in an email today:

"We just arrived home yesterday afternoon. It was a great winter, we had many opportunities to share our music and our faith. We spent the month of March in Texas, that was nice. We had several opportunities to sing that were in addition to what was already scheduled, that's always nice."

And from Julee, this came several days ago:

"Dad [Tom] & I left San Antonio 11 am on Monday and arrived in the St. Paul about 2:30 PM Weds. We made good time, had no problems; good driving conditions except for the hail in Oklahoma and scary skies. Drove out of that unscathed. ..........

So now it is back to reality.....snow, cold, wind....yuk! Today seems a little better and they promise 50 for the next 3 days. We need to get the household up and running, get unloaded, state taxes done; Tom's pre op stuff all done before a week from tomorrow which is Friday, April 11, when he is scheduled for his left total knee replacement. I need to pack away Christmas stuff...tree, etc. and clean clean clean. Should keep us out of trouble for sure. So hope this finds everyone healthy and, Julee"

A Sure Sign of Spring!

First, some snow.

Then this little crocus in Pat's garden—one of the few the rabbits haven't eaten.

Surely there will be more beautiful flowers to follow; there always are.

But we can't enjoy them here in the Winter. Guess that's why we go to Rockport 35 RV Park and enjoy Chet's flowers.