The art of compromise

Living a mobile lifestyle with a partner in 250 square feet, requires the ability to communicate and compromise.  Compromise becomes even more important when the individuals don’t always share common interests.Lamar Texas

Compromise has never been a problem for hubby and me.  I tell him where we’re going, what we’re doing, and he says, “Yes, Dear”.  And that my friends is how to survive 30 plus years of marriage …. 😆

northern shoveler duckBut in all seriousness, Al and I have always supported and encouraged each others interests and passions.  We enjoy doing things together as well as separately.  It works for us and has for over thirty years.

Al and I are fortunate in that we’ve both had the opportunity to travel extensively over the years internationally and domestically, but that travel was predominantly to metropolitan areas.  Thus, we now enjoy focusing our travels on small towns, back country roads, and all things nature which makes this RV lifestyle a perfect fit.  Neither one of us has a so called bucket list, but we do have a mental list of “wouldn’t mind visiting there”.  It’s sort of a …… if it works fine, if it doesn’t work that’s fine too kind of list.

duck hunting in TexasAl’s pretty laid back and easy going about our travels and for the most part leaves the planning up to me.

After I brief him on tentative plans, we’ll bounce ideas back and forth. He’ll occasionally add his two cents or express any concerns, and then the trip planning commences followed by a few necessary reservations.  For the most part, he rolls with my whims.

On that note, last summer during our winter planning phase, Al mentioned how he really wanted to do a repeat of the previous January and meet up with his buddy again in Rockport, Texas, to engage in sportsman stuff.  Initially, I wanted to stay in the desert southwest, but since this was something he really wanted to do, I felt it was my turn to roll with his whim and compromise.

Plus, I didn’t think returning to the area  would be so bad.  It would allow me the opportunity to commune with whooping cranes and all my other feathered friends while hubby was occupied elsewhere.roseate spoonbill

And then I got to thinking since we were coming to Texas anyway, this would be the perfect opportunity to explore some other areas along the Texas Gulf Coast, which is how we ended up spending time in Galveston and Port Aransas.

Texas Gulf CoastAlthough I have had a relatively nice time along the Texas Gulf Coast, all things considered, the lure of an Arizona sunset is hard to resist.  The abundant sunshine and dry heat of the desert beckons.

As our scheduled stay in Texas was nearing an end, Al started dropping hints about extending our stay.  He said something along the lines of, “We have no commitments in February.  Why don’t we just stay here a little longer”?

He asks this question as the winds are howling, the rain is pouring, and I’m bundled up in layers of clothing trying to keep warm.

I ponder…..  Keep that thought in mind while I digress for a moment….
From the moment we purchased the RV, Al made every effort to train me on all her workings and we split the driving so I’m comfortable towing her.  When I became so ill last winter, it made an indelible impression upon us just how important it is that he and I are both able to handle all aspects of this lifestyle.  With the exception of backing her up, I’m quite capable in the handling of all duties.

As for Al’s cross training, he has improved in doing laundry, vacuuming, and cooking (well, his culinary skills are still lacking, but edible. That’s a work in progress – hehe).  Both of us can handle the demands of this lifestyle together and independently.

QuartzsiteSo back to me contemplating Al’s thoughts on extending our Texas stay.  Remember the weather is nasty as we have this discussion.  I wait for the loud furnace to shut off so I’m sure he can hear my response.

“You’d like to stay in Texas longer?”  I confirm. He nods.  “No problem honey, but please check with Denny to make sure his couch is a sleeper, because come Monday the jacks are coming up and the wheels will be rolling.  Whether you’ll be sitting next to me is your choice.  I’m flexible”.

Adirondack chairAl burst out into laughter and said, “Ah, you are a wise one. Perhaps it was foolish of me to see to it that you can handle all aspects of this RV because I have no doubt to your capabilities.  I assure you, when you have this puppy ready to roll, I’ll be sitting next to you”.

It was the best of times; exploring fun new places and getting together with fellow bloggers.  It was the worst of times; nasty weather and illness.  It was the age of wisdom; as we age, we hopefully become wiser.  Al is second guessing the wisdom of his actions in making sure I can handle the RV by myself.  It was the age of foolish; We’re never too old to act a little foolishly.  It’s all about the laughter.  In the end, I am no fool and would never dream of leaving my partner in crime beyond.

Arizona here WE come!whooping crane

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Two Birders of a Feather – Port Aransas, TX

Two Birders of a Feather – Port Aransas, TX

My friend, fellow blogger and RVer, MonaLiza just wrote a great post with some gorgeous photos that I just had to share. Hope you enjoy her post as much as I did.

Lowes Travels

Northern Mockingbird Is this mockingbird unhappy to see us?

Two deep-south states – Texas and Florida – are known for their amazing assemblage of birds and other animals.  The “Sister States in Birds”, as they are sometimes called, share many of the same birds – even going so far as to both claim the Northern Mockingbird as their state bird.

Texas gets more western birds, while Florida hosts some Carribbean species and Atlantic sea birds.  Both states have extensive birding trails throughout the state, and I’ve seen many birds here that were also present in Florida.  But those are just some birding facts; today I’m writing about “human” sisters in birds, Ingrid and I.

American Alligator This guy made sure we kept our distance from the water!

I can probably be most accurately labeled as a “wanna-be birder”, who just loves to photograph them.  When two lady bloggers share the same interests they instantly become sisters – in this case…

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When in Rome!

We’ve been on Galveston Island along the Texas Gulf Coast for a little over two weeks now.  We’re enjoying our stay more than we ever imagined and the time is flying by.
birding in Texas

Our time has been spent in a variety of ways.  We’ve toured downtown Galveston and taken in it’s history, we’ve taken long walks on the beach, we’ve hung out with great friends, we’ve explored the island, and I’ve communed with lots of birds.Texas birdingSince our friends have moved on, we find ourselves this fine Thanksgiving Day enjoying some quiet time …. just the two of us.  We’re faced with a dilemma.  Whatever shall we have for dinner?

Texas birding
This guy recommends the fish!

When it comes to food, Al and I have always had the attitude “When in Rome, do as the Romans“.  (you didn’t think I actually traveled to Rome, now did ya?  Although I do love Italian food)  So when in Rome….. In other words, when we travel to Boston, Massachusetts we order seafood and when we’re in Omaha, Nebraska we order steak, Chicago it’s pizza – I think you get the point.Texas Pelican

So here we are in Galveston, Texas along the Gulf Coast.  The locals, as in Mister Pelican, recommends the fish.  With such an accredited recommendation coming from a fish aficionado, hubby and I agree to have fish for our Thanksgiving dinner.Texas coastal birds

Al and I shared our first Thanksgiving together 34 years ago as co-workers.  Al was a pilot and I a flight attendant.  We found ourselves on a layover in Philadelphia over the Thanksgiving holiday. Yep, we were the lucky ones working on the holiday.  Someone had to work, so why not us?Brown pelican

It was late in the day when we landed in Philadelphia and almost everything at the airport was closed, it was Thanksgiving Day after all.  None of the crew members had eaten the better part of the day and thus were all starving.  After scouring the airport, we found one restaurant still open, but not for long as they were preparing to close.  Our only option was a Phillie Cheese Steak Sandwich…. “Five sandwiches to go, please!”

brown pelican
It just doesn’t seem to want to go down. Perhaps it’s time for a drink… help the digestive process!

brown pelican

Galveston Texas
going in for a ‘big’ gulp
brown pelican
Still doesn’t seem to want to go down!
RVing in Texas
Perhaps Dory is just a tad too large for me to swallow!

And boy were those sandwiches good.  When you’re as hungry as we were and with very few options available, we were grateful for the sustenance.  Sure it wasn’t the whole turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry kind of meal, but it was a meal none the less and we were thankful.  After all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?

Texas birdingAfter our airline years, we ventured into a business and that too included the need to work on holidays.  Thus, Al and I have never put a huge emphasis on holidays or the holiday meal.

The important thing for us has always been about making time for family and paving our own family traditions.

One of our traditions includes not eating ‘traditional’ meals but rather opting for foods we thoroughly enjoy …..  turkey and cranberries just don’t fall into the ‘favorites’ category in this household.

Back to “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s”   We’re in seafood country.  On Galveston Island we have the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the bay on the other.  In other words, we’re surrounded by sea that’s loaded with fresh fish.  So while our extended families to the north gobble down turkey we’ll be feasting on baked Flounder and bacon wrapped Shrimp with sides of mashed potatoes and green beans almondine.

Galveston Texas
Hey Miss Ingrid, watch this….
white pelican
I’ll take that fish off your hands!
Galveston Texas
a successful steal !!!
Texas birding
Yum and down she goes!

For those of you celebrating, may I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Celebrating or not whatever traditions you share, may your day be filled with joy, laughter, and plenty of food.  And hopefully you won’t have a big white pelican swoop in and steal your dinner.

Galveston Texas
ruffled feathers …. justified indeed!


Endangered Whooping Cranes

When Al and I were invited to join friends in Rockport, Texas, for the month of January, we weren’t sure what to expect.whooper

The arrangement for our month long stay at a RV Park was set up by the friends.  I’ll admit my initial thought upon pulling into this park was less than favorable, but little did I realize I was within a bicycle ride of an endangered bird.

Birder I am not, but I am a huge fan of all kinds of wildlife.  That said, I was surprised that on my morning walks or bike rides I would routinely see a bird that is regarded as a special and rare treat to behold.endangered species

Hailing from Canada, the whooping crane arrives to the Gulf of Mexico around mid-November.  The whooping crane is the tallest of the North American birds standing at 4 to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of 7 ½ feet.   During their migration south, they average 400 miles a day gliding on thermal currents.whoopers

Their plumage is white with patches of red along the top of their heads and streaks of black under their eyes.  Young whoopers have rust colored markings.whoopers

Whooping cranes are one of the best known of all endangered species.  It’s believed only 15 or 16 survived the winter of 1941-1942.  The present world population is about 475 wild and captive whoopers.  Only one self-sustaining population survives in the wild and they spend their winters in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.whooping cranes

Our RV Park is located on the other side of the St. Charles Bay from this refuge.  It appears there are several whoopers who like to visit my side of the bay, just down the road.  I know, how cool is that?whoopers

More birding tales to come and I’m working on my camera settings.  Check out this video clip on how some Wisconsin folks are helping the whooping crane population.  Very interesting.  It’s short and worth watching 🙂