Friday, November 28, 2014

What I am NOT Thankful For!


Chef Steve, lowering the turkey into the deep fat fryer.  Took 45 min. to cook that bird.  It was yummy.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving 2014, and I spent it with my “vanily.”  That’s right, VAN-ily.   (Van + family)  There were about 40 of us gathered off grid in the AZ desert with no services.  My friend, Steven, was the Host and Chef with the Most.  He did all the work of preparing one of the best thanksgiving meals I ever had.  I prepared an apple/pecan cobbler that was to die for.  It was a great meal and good time renewing old friendships and beginning new ones.  I got to meet three new tribal dogs, Kaylee, Cody, and Max.  So, you would think I would be happy.  But it’s just not so.


Just at dusk, this horrible cloud of smog blew in from the west, agricultural dust from CO River Valley, ATV and Mountain bike dust, and truck fumes.  I had to retreat to the van, put on a mask, and run my A/C until the cloud passed.  How is that fun???  This I am not thankful for.

I woke in the night with allergic reactions to dogs, dust and the pollution.  My eyes were itching, my nose was running, I was stuffy and having trouble breathing.  I was also up all night peeing gallons (???).  What the heck?  Why does my price for having fun have to be so high?  This morning, I came to the realization, one I have been fighting for a couple years, that I would not be able to continue to gather with the tribe for the desert dinners and for RTR.  My allergies have just gotten too bad.  In the future I will be remaining in an isolated camp alone, and will try to remain healthy enough to endure the exposure I get from dust of the rock club itself… and avoid any other allergens in the future. This I am not happy for.  Hopefully, I will not have to give up the Rock Club, my original reason for coming to Quartzsite.  That I would not be thankful for.


Cody (Bob Wells new dog) and Kaylee (Lori Hicks new dog), playing besides the chairs.

I love dogs. They know it and all want to come to me.  I have to be mean and firm and cruel to them to keep them away.  They want to romp under my feet and kick up dust that I have to breath, so I have to be mean and wear a mask.  That is not fun for me.  This I am not thankful for.  We had half a dozen dogs at Thanksgiving dinner and I expect a minimum of 2 dozen at the RTR, most will be allowed to run loose and pee on whatever they wish.  One peed on the canopy of my blue chair, while it was down.  Some clubs, like WINS has a rule against bringing your dogs to the meeting circles and meals.  There will never be a rule like that for RTR, so I will just have to stop attending after this Jan. 2015.  I have to choose between the RTR and my health.  It is unfortunate, but that is just the reality of it.  The dogs have more rights and freedom than I do… this I am not happy for.

I am hoping the year will end on a better note, but am stressed out about that as well. My son had his 3rd hip replacement on his right hip in two years.  That 3rd was in November, and when he went back for a check up  and to get staples out a couple of days ago, they discovered his femur had fractured.  This I was not thankful for.


So December 2, his daughter is having open heart surgery, and on December 3, he is having his 4th hip surgery, to go in and wire his femur back together.  Astonishingly, he reports that he is having NO pain at all.  I believe the pain would be unbearable, so his body and mind have shut it all down.  This is very stressful for me.


A tooth in a box… cost $950.00

And then there is the botched Mexican dental work that I am having to pay to have redone in America.   $950 out of pocket to a Mexican dentist… only to have the final crown fall out two days later because he used the wrong size abutment (and he knew it was wrong, but didn’t tell me and went ahead and let me pay him the balance).  He agreed to a refund in October, but I have yet to see one penny.  This I was not happy for.  NEVER go to this dentist… he is not reliable, honest, nor honorable.

Beware:   Dr. Sabas Magana Ambriz in Los Algodones, B.C. Mexico

I want my blog to be upbeat and all about fun and adventure, but I swear 2014 is making that a real challenge.  I will make one more post in 2014, and I promise you it will be a happy fun one.  Stick with me, my dear followers.  Swankie will be swankie again before too long.  And if you pray, please keep my son and granddaughter in your prayers.


It might be a genetic flaw… we laugh and get silly when serious stuff happens.  I would be very thankful for all the prayers you can send their way.  They both deserve to have full and happy lives, even if I don’t.  This I would be very thankful for.  Thank you.

I’ll be back, Swankier!!!


  1. Hi Swankie, I have come across your blog throughout your adventures and want to congratulate you on achieving your kayaking goals. I would love to try kayaking in the future. I can visualize being out on the water and feel the peace and wonders of nature. I can relate to your experience on Thanksgiving with allergens. If I would ever have the opportunity to attend on of the gatherings I would most likely have to wear my mask or the hepa respirator. I have an Environmental Illness called MCS for many years and some days are much worse than others. I have finally accepted the isolation, work hard at keeping exposures to a minimum so when I am "out of my apartment" I can enjoy the experiences to the max!! I will have my right hip replaced Monday and so hope soon I will be dancing a jig. If not = then we replace the left hip. I can only assume that all the V.O.C.s I was exposed to have destroyed my joints. I just read a wonderful article that will help me take each experience throughout the day and give it greater meaning to improve the quality of my life. Here is the link if you would like to read it. Hang in there and soon a new Swankie will wake up to a brighter day.
    With peace and love Bev K The Smiling Bohemian

    1. Bev, thank you very much for you kind words and I wish you the best with your hip surgeries. Maybe I should think of having a satellite camp for people with COPD and MCS etc. so we can gather and enjoy one another without risking our health. I have tried repeatedly to manage my problem and remain part of the RTR group, but is just seems out of control and dangerous to my health to continue exposing myself that way I have been doing. Please let me know how your surgeries go.

    2. OMG, as the kids say, as an old gal with allergies I take my claritin every day and it helps a great deal, i don't know if they work for you but they are over the counter now, i just take two instead of one and it is the prescription dose. For me it takes the edge off so I can tolerate much. My biggest concern for your breathing is the pollution mixed with the dust - the agricultural chemicals are deadly. As for the doggies they ought to have some rules, it is for their protection too, just my two cents. Isolating yourself, however, concerns me as well, that gorgeous gal Swankie has so much to offer and share - I hope and affirm for you that the new year offers greater clarity, freedom and creativity for you. Meanwhile your readers will indeed hold you in love as the old year wanes giving birth to all that is brand new for us all. I affirm your strength and your vision and affirm your loved ones are whole and healed as well. The sky and the earth hold you in their embrace, never forget.

    3. Thank you. I take my Claritin daily also and double doses when I know I will be exposed to too much. My son and granddaughter both seem to be on the mend now so that is a very good thing. One step (or tooth) at a time. I believe 2015 will be a much better year for everyone. Thank you for your support and words of encouragement.

  2. Update: 5 Nov 2017. I am happy to report that my son is almost walking normally again, but after so many months of inactivity, he still has some tight ligaments and muscles that give him trouble. And I am just as happy to report my granddaughter is fully recovered from her open heart surgery, and working with horses, being very physical and loosing weight. Thank you, God.


Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.