Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gotta Love Those Critters

As you know, it's a zoo in my house.  It's even worse this morning as I can't feed anyone.  Here's my Jessie girl not long after her arrival at my house.  She was rather rambunctious back in the day and decided to put my horses in their place.  She got stepped on, requiring a quick trip to the Vet.
She's getting old, my little girl ... thirteen at last count.  Unfortunately the last time I was in Oregon, she developed a large cyst on her hock which had to be removed.  As happens sometimes, the Vet didn't do a very good job.

What he did discover was cancer.  That required another surgery on her hind leg plus one on her front leg because it's gotten into the lymph glands there.  Weird, right?
Ever since then, her back leg has been great.  I have to say my Vet here is a good one.  Her front leg, not so much.
Terrible picture, but you can kind of see it has returned on her front leg.  A trip to the Vet yesterday confirmed my thoughts about it blowing out (causing irreparable damage) if we don't do another surgery.  It's only been a year since the last one.  

So this morning, my poor baby girl doesn't get any breakfast.  Making it worse, even though I tried to sleep in, Cooper was having none of it and we got up earlier than normal.  At the moment, they are both looking up and begging for food, wondering what the heck happened to Mom.  

Boy do I hate going through this again.  These are my kids and I don't do well when they are in pain.  The Doc promised to give me lots of pain pills along with that HUGE bill.  I'm going to need them more than Jessie.  
Wish us luck ... I'm getting out every lucky charm I've ever owned and lining them up on the table.   I'll drop her off this morning and pick her up Friday morning.  

On the upside, Cooper's heart worm/flea and tick/worm medicine was $98 for one year.  I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous!  But I paid it because they are my babies.  THIS time I decided to drop the flea/tick part since I haven't noticed any fleas or ticks in the last three years, for a savings of $40.  Almost half!!  

In the last bit of news, third time's the charm, after the first ten tries.  I finally got the outside security light control switch to work correctly, turning on at night and off during the day.  WOOHOO!!  I've no idea what I did really, but it's working and that's all that counts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Good Luck Charms!

Welcome to the wonderful world of Bingo, that gambling addiction of the century around here, and the Magic Kingdom.  Our usual five met upstairs for the popcorn and peanut indoctrination.  I don't know where they get them, but those are the best peanuts in the country.  Popcorn out of an old time machine couldn't be better either ... a great wake-me-up for the crowds to come.
Too bad for us, the crowds never did show up.  Instead of our usual 125-150, only 88 walked through the doors last night, leaving lots of room on the tables for winning charms.  I tried to snap a couple of pictures for you, but that's bad luck.  Who knew?  

It seems many had made the rounds ... Ceres, Madera, the High School and the two gambling palaces within 200 miles.   If you've already lost all your cash, you don't play.  Actually they do play, but with quarters, dimes and nickels from the kids piggy banks.  We were inundated with change.

Occasionally we are inundated with food, but alas, the bakers and shakers didn't bring us anything.  The Castle Lawyer and I were on our own.  I admit, we conspired.  We got the King to order pizza from Costco for the workers.  At $10 for each HUGE pizza, it doesn't break the bank to buy three for the group.  

To make it even better, we actually got ICE CREAM for dessert.  One of the charities we support has a huge auction every year.  Our support consists of paying $150 for the Costco chocolate cake ... you know the one I'm talking about ... or as they did this year, $200 for a year's worth of ice cream from Baskin Robbins. 

Truthfully, it's only two quart containers once a month, but it's more than enough for a great Castle treat.  TWO in one night.  I guess our luck was rolling!!

Later in the evening as we doled out cash, it got even better.  One of the big winners at a big casino had headed to Reno to keep her lucky streak rolling.  There she purchased something like a dozen lucky charm key chains, complete with spinning, clear glass crystal covered dice.  

You're going to laugh, but these lovely ladies are so superstitious they give US the lucky charms, hoping to garner favor with the Gods of Luck!!  Many times they even ask us to pick their cards.  If they win, we will have to pick them for the next month!!  
It definitely brought me luck, since I survived another night and we balanced to the tee, not to mention the pizza and ice cream.  I think I only got half a dose of luck however, because my stomach wasn't the least bit happy with me!!

In one more show of lucky me, I ordered and actually RECEIVED a dozen cans of my special coffee.  I couldn't be happier that I'm lucky enough to have someone somewhere still making this morning delight.  Thank you to my readers for giving me the secret location on Amazon where I can purchase it in record numbers.
This morning I'm headed off to have my Jeep smogged ... another costly California thing.  Then it's off to the local gun range to introduce the Castle Lawyer to the CCW requirements.  Get it now folks ... and purchase lots of ammo, because very soon the NEW LAW requires you to be registered with the State in order to buy ANY ammo.  

I'm pretty sure the criminals will all run down and register, causing crime to come to a screeching halt.  I of course will just go to Arizona if I need more!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Thunder And Lightning ... OH MY!!

It was a distinctly different day yesterday.  We really haven't had seasons here in California for many years, nor has it rained much over the last ten or twelve years.  That should be no surprise.  When the first settlers came to this big valley, it was mostly desert.

All of a sudden, THIS year the earth has turned enough to provide us with gallons upon gallons of water.  Luckily I live in a sandy soil area and haven't seen any flooding or major problems, except my floor.

It's been a beautiful sunny 70 degrees every day until the skies opened up and dumped at least an inch on my house.  One minute it looked like this albeit windy ......
And ten minutes later it looked like this.  The rain came down harder than I've ever seen it before.  We were slammed for about three hours.
Rivers poured off the roof.  It was a good day to stay inside and watch baseball games in dryer sections of the country.  Except .... I forgot to close the vent on the rig.  OH NO!!  I ran outside, got totally soaked, closed the vent and cleaned up the water on the floor.  No biggie!!

Just for fun, I took a look at the ice storm taking over the East Coast of Canada and the US.  YIKES!!  I'm glad I don't live in THAT region!
In no time there was a loud racket outside and hail was coming down.  That's weird, it's not cold enough for hail!  You can see it melted rather quickly.  That's when the thunder began.  Huge rolling claps so loud the puppies jumped up and started barking!!  

Lightning flashed all around, but not over my house, thank goodness.  It was almost scary, not having been around anything like that in so many years.
A little rock painting, a little sewing and a little baseball rounded out the day.  OH ... so exciting!!
Wait .... I did do one more thing.  I paid for my Jeep license plate sticker over a month ago and have not received my tags.  Also, in the frantic act of throwing stuff away, I actually discovered the lien release on my truck, signed in 2012.  A trip to the dreaded DMV office is in order.  

Our office has the distinction of being the worst on the planet for rude people and waiting in line, which goes down the street and around the corner.  The last time I made an appointment, I only had to wait one day.  THIS time as I tried to navigate their website, I discovered I would have to wait two weeks.  Apparently they have decided they were making too many appointments every day, causing way too much work.

I dread going there ... it makes my blood pressure rise and my hair fall out.  I have never had the correct paperwork and it requires two or three trips for every transaction.  To make matters worse, I now understand they have NO paper titles for vehicles.  It's all electronic.  With their track record, I don't see how this is going to work well at all.  Wish me luck.

I'm off today to the Magic Kingdom of Bingo.  I think I'll check with the local gurus and gather a few talismans to bring good luck into my house.  I can use all the help I can get!  

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tastes Like Fish

Anyone ever take this stuff?  Ewwwwwwwwwwwww!!!  Sorry, but it's not on the list of things I want to put in my mouth.  Why bring this up?  Because after getting my test results, the Doctor's office called and said I should be taking this TWICE a day.  Obviously, they have never taken it themselves.

Not only does everything then taste like fish ... really old dead fish .... but YOU begin to smell like really old dead fish.  No thank you!!  I think I would take the pills before this stuff.  Yucky-poo!!!
So what better to do than dive right in to the paleo diet.  Not the cake, in spite of how "yummy" it looks (?????) but it was Stag Day at the Elks RV Park.  It's a hold out from the old days of the men only club.  

If you were a male member of the club, you were a Stag.  One day out of the year, you got a FREE steak dinner for your dues.  Nowadays the ladies are also invited to join but the name never changed. The free steak dinner with brown lettuce salad, a great bowl of beans and a roll sans butter (meaning without) really wasn't worth our $148 a year dues.  Oh wait .... there was free beer!!

Who knows how to deliver a glass of beer from a keg?  I got a first hand lesson and ended up pouring for the long line of beer drinkers.  Little to no foam I might add!!

Then there was the cake!!  I think the person who baked and decorated these had one too many jello shots.  Hey ... in my book, cake is cake.  Frosting only makes it better.  It was all good until I took the first bite.  The bottom quarter inch was burned black.  Probably a good thing since it's not on my diet anyway.  I ate just the frosting.
About half of our Bingo crew showed up, so we pooled our money and waited for the raffle.  There's ALWAYS a raffle.  Prince Charming gave me his tickets and said I could keep anything I won.  Last year it was a $14 collapsible camping chair that collapsed the first time I sat in it!!  It's okay, I was just thrilled to win something!!  

THIS year it was solar lights from  I figured there were only four, but once I got the box open and dumped everything on the table, there were SIX!!  I promptly set them up in the back yard.  They don't really put out a lot of light, but the pattern they make on the concrete is pretty.  MUCH better than a collapsible chair!  
Today will be rest and relaxation day, gearing up for the Magic Kingdom tomorrow night.  By the way, my New York Steak was cooked perfectly.  A good start to the Paleo diet!!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Shark Comes To The Rescue

I think I probably lost two years of life as I anxiously waited for the contractor to arrive.  The good news is the flooring had dried considerably and was laying flat as it should.  Hopefully it stays that way!

The problem is threefold.  There's been so much rain, even though I have sandy soil, that the water just can't get away fast enough.  Concrete is pretty porous when it comes to water and can suck it up from underneath the house.

Luckily, there are no broken pipes, since all the waterworks are in the ceiling.  To make it worse, when I shut the heat down to 45 degrees, it let the moisture build up inside, which the flooring quickly absorbed.  The three part .... I have a big rug covering that section which also held the moisture in and didn't let it evaporate.

The good news is if I keep the fireplace and fan going (it's a toasty 75 in here), hopefully it will go back to normal with no residual affects.  It WAS a rather sharp rap to my ego however, when he noticed how dirty the floors were from the puppies ... especially Cooper and his soggy ball.

The second he was gone, I headed to Tarshay (Target) to find something to help me clean.  There's over a thousand feet of laminate and my knees said OH NO, PLEASE NOT AGAIN with the damp rags on the floor.

That's when I found THE SHARK!  It's a steam cleaner just made for laminate and stone floors.  I had a similar one previously that exploded on me ... not a nice feeling at all ... so I was a little reluctant until I read all about it.

I took it for a test drive on my bathroom tile floor.  Wasn't I surprised at the dirt and grime that ended up on the cleaning pad.  Here's another cool thing ... lift it up, push a button and the washable pad just falls off on the floor.  Place another one next to it, set it down and magically, it's attached and ready to go.
As much as I hate cleaning, this one had me starting on the rest of the house.  With so much house to go, I didn't get far, but boy is my kitchen floor clean and sparkling.  I LIKE IT!!  The best part is it doesn't put out enough steam to damage the floors, just enough to clean really well.  What little steam there is evaporates and is immediately dry.

At $129, it will do double duty, as the tile floors in the rig need a deep cleaning something terrible.  It's a mop ... only better!!  Thank you Shark for coming to the rescue.  Don't worry, I don't plan on using it on that section in the living room until it's summer and 108 degrees.  No use pushing my luck!!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Things Are Not What They Appear To Be

I only had one thing on my to-do list today.  There's a kite festival at Shoreline Lake in Mountain view up near San Francisco.  It's rather a long drive, but I haven't flown my kites in ages.  I have found that home plans, like RV plans, seem to be rooted in jello.

It's not a disaster ... YET ... and I'm hoping it won't become one.  Yesterday as I walked in front of a chair to the television, the floor sounded hollow.  That's weird!  I have a concrete foundation with hardwood floors ........... or so I thought.

Things are not what they appear to be.  Remember those copper gutters I raved about for years?  Not too long ago while up on a ladder cleaning them, I discovered they were NOT copper at all.  They were regular gutters with a great paint job that made them LOOK like copper.  I wonder if the original owner PAID for copper?

See my beautiful hardwood floors?  They are NOT wood, they are laminate.  When I pulled back the rug to take a better look, I discovered a HUGE section under my coffee table was lifting right in the middle of the house.  I know, I need to move.  After this discovery, it may be sooner than I thought!
I'm guessing ... and this is just a rookie guess ... that all the rain we had this year, coupled with my desire to keep my PGE bill down by turning off the heater, combined into too much moisture which the flooring sucked up, making it expand and lift.  A chill went down my spine as I contemplated the ramifications of THAT!!

I called my building contractor (not the one that built the house) and his first words were UH OH!!  That didn't make me feel better at all!!  He is coming over today to see what can be done.  For the time being, I'm blasting it with the fireplace and a fan in the hopes of drying it out quickly enough for the pieces to again lay flat.  No clue if this will work.

I knew those grinding stone would come in handy one day.  I'm using them as weights to keep the flooring flat while it dries.  This is not good ...... not good at all.
And so, the joys of home ownership hit me again, smack dab in the face, and probably my checkbook.  I think I better start cleaning out the garage!!  I see a big yard sale in my future!!

Hey ... it was Friday the 13th!!  Apparently my bad luck on those days is holding out!!!

Friday, April 13, 2018


Having washed the chairs (sorry, no clean picture) and removed dozens of spiders, I sprayed the holes just to be sure there was no one lurking around to bite someone in the butt.  Next was to load them into my truck for delivery.  

These puppies are made from mostly 2 x 4's and 2 x 6's ... in order words, HEAVY.  I was puffing like an old lady when I got them in the truck and tied down.  The entire set, four chairs and a coffee table, are being adopted by my long time friend's daughter that lived with me for awhile.  She's a sweetheart, and when I heard she had just moved into a new house with a huge back yard, I figured that was the spot for these.  Yup ... I'm moving things out.
Next up ... my Doctor's appointment to explain why I quit taking the Lipitor he prescribed for my cholesterol that was over the top at 300.  What can I say, I LOVE ice cream.  There really wasn't any meat involved ... I eat mostly chicken.  

I dread going there ... last time we had a huge confrontation when he left me sitting in the room for two hours.  Unacceptable in my book and I let him have it with both feet!!  This time was a tad bit better.  I heard the nurse tell him Room 1 was waiting.  Thirty minutes later she announced it again before he finally showed.

He's a nice guy ... he just spends WAY too much time chit chatting with the locals.  Not happy I quit the drugs, he ordered sixteen vials of blood to be withdrawn by his vampires.  I was lucky to be able to walk out alive.  We'll see what the numbers are, then he wants me to try it again.  He insists it's just coincidence that the eye twitching quit when I quit the drugs.

Then there's the old blood pressure, which seems to keep rising like my candy thermometer when I'm making peanut brittle.  Just what I need .... ANOTHER pill to take.  Since my diet has changed so drastically ... chicken and vegetables with a little meatloaf thrown in, not to mention reducing the portions by half and eating just a little phony ice cream (Skinny Cow) .... I'm hoping my numbers will be good.  He also said NO SALT!!  Not that I use that much anyway, but NO SALT?  Geeeezzzzz

At last check after 5 months of the cholesterol busting drugs, my number was down to 220.  I'm hoping the diet is working so more drugs won't be involved.  

One thing I am loving ... this office is certainly high tech for being so old.  I check in on-line, no more standing around in the germ infested waiting room.  I still do however have to use my shirt to open the door to exit.  I'm not taking ANY chances!!
So here's my first try at cloning the Nutrisystem broccoli stuffed chicken.  Broccoli, parmesan cheese and a tad bit of low fat cream cheese stuffed into holes I cut in the chicken.  I set them upright so the delicious filling wouldn't melt and end up on the pan.  

I needn't have worried, since I used too much parmesan and it became like a brick.  Those little blue spots?  Yeah, well that came from the toothpicks I used to keep them closed since I accidentally cut all the way through two of them.  Who would have thought the colors would run???  I'm hoping it's not poisonous!!

For my first try, they were horrible.  Dry like the Arizona desert they were, making them extremely difficult to swallow.  I sent Chef Patty a message and she suggested mayo.  That's a GREAT idea, except it's not on the allowable cholesterol list of edible things.  Butter, or maybe ranch dressing, all wonderful ideas that would probably be nixed by the Doctor too.  I'll try barbecue sauce instead.
I'm thinking in the long run, I'll probably be eating Nutrisystem frozen food for the rest of my life.  How about cake?  Can I eat cake?????

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tales Of The Old West

I've been cleaning and cleaning ... trying to get rid of all the superfluous junk I have saved over the years.  I have a stack of twenty one cords, all neatly wrapped up, with no clue whatsoever of the device they go to.  I'm afraid to throw them out, because like with the TV remote control, I will probably need it once in my life.

That's when these reminders of the Ranch came out of nowhere.  My mom had an old Brownie camera that she used mostly on vacations (when we were able to leave the cattle, which wasn't very often) and on an occasional holiday.

That's me on the right.  My only sibling is in the middle.  The really cute kid on the left is neighbor Danny who came to visit often.  He lived for riding horses and being part of the posse on the ranch.  I can't tell you how many bank robbers we captured and locked up in the saddle house "jail".  Check out that Christmas tree.  We never had a bushy one ... it was always with wide open spaces.

Santa brought us one present each year, accompanied by a stocking full of whole walnuts and oranges.  It was taped to the card table set up in the middle of the living room so Santa would have easy access.  I still have the stocking I put up every year on my fireplace.
Did you notice I'm wearing my brothers jeans and shirt?  On occasion old family friends from the original ranch in the high desert of California came to visit.  If you have ever been to Lake Isabella, you've been to our ranch.  It's at the bottom of the lake.  That's when we were forced to move.  

Dad had a choice of a place in Nevada with a nice house, or a place in California with a nice set of scales to weigh cattle for sale.  The scales won out, to the distress of my mother.  Us kids loved it ... there were corrals everywhere (you can barely see some in the background) that we climbed up and walked on for hours.  Amazingly, no one ever fell off or got hurt.  

Now THIS is a funny picture.  That's tall Bonnie in the middle, Jimmy on the left, Dennis and George on the right with me in the front.  With no toys to play with, we would gather eucalyptus tree berries in any container we could find and have wars.  We would sneak around trying to catch someone unaware and thrash them with a handful of rock hard "bullets".  The tree limbs helped camouflage us from the opposition.  
This is Pico, my first horse.  By four years old I was out riding alone.  BEST HORSE EVER!!  I was being nice and let Bonnie sit up front.  Since none of us were tall enough to saddle and bridle the horses, we would push them over to a fence, crawl up the boards and jump on.  Riding around the corrals bareback was almost a daily adventure.

Maybe a year later, Dad tied blocks on the floor pedals of our 1940 something Jeep (shot full of bullet holes from the war I might add) so us kids could drive it to check the irrigation water.  I drove it straight into a tree.  Didn't even make a dent.  
On occasion I was forced to wear a dress, which I hated.  This was Easter so we had to dress up for church.  The second we got home, I was back in boots and levis, walking the top of the fence.  The puppy is Champ of cow dog fame.  Both of our dogs worked cattle with us.  Just say get 'em and point ... the dogs would gather up even the wildest cow much faster than we could on horses.  

Since we had chickens (one of my chores was to gather eggs every night) and it didn't really cost anything, we got to color Easter eggs, which were hidden by the Easter bunny while we were at church.  Usually there were just eggs, but once in awhile we would find a little piece of chocolate!  That was the Howdy Doody of Easter for us!!
Summer nights in those days were spent sleeping on old army cots in the back yard.  One morning our hired help's son came to tell me Pico had died.  I was never the same.  My love of horses was ingrained early and has never left me.  

It was fun poking through the old pictures.  Sadly, it was the end of an era, as cowboys and Indians no longer roam the ranch.  Big tractors now cruise the land discing the soil for tomatoes and sweet potatoes.  

On a better note, I think I have FINALLY figured out the light switch timer.  The MODE button is really the SETUP button.  They are all so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read them.  Last night the lights came on and amazingly this morning, they were STILL on at 5:00 am.  I'm on my way to see if they turned off.  Eureka ... we're in business again!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It Was A Long Night

A long time ago in a land far, far away, someone created Bingo and called it a pastime.  I call it gambling, an addictive thing that removes money from your bra, your purse, your shoes and your piggy bank.

Ewwwwwww is right!!!  With summer coming up, it's time to post our WE ONLY ACCEPT MONEY FROM A WALLET sign.  No, I'm not kidding.

At any rate, I arrived at the Magic Castle (our 110 year old Elks Lodge Building) one hour before the appointed time, the better to finish a couple glasses of coke.  I know that should read wine or margaritas, but I was on the cash register and had been informed a new victim .... oops I mean volunteer ... would be coming in to learn the ropes.
Nicola (like the throat lozenges Riccola) came in just after I had the setup complete.  It's so much fun to teach regular games, early bird games, 649, double action, speeds and bonanza, let alone the cost and how to play each.

With 125 people in line, she was pretty shocked at all the work she had to do, but jumped in with both feet.  I not only had to concentrate on what I was doing with the infernal calculating machine, but keep an eagle eye on her counting.  In spite of showing her how to count on fingers and toes, she missed on several occasions.  It's okay because I caught it before the bingo players did.

Two hours later she was begging for a break, which doesn't happen in the dungeon.  We work our fingers to the bone.  The mini me infernal machine gave me fits.  Instead of unsolicited reversals (meaning it didn't work) two or three times, it blasted me TWELVE times, making the wait longer, the line longer and the peasants in an uproar.

At long last the calling began and we got a break ... time for the famous, or infamous hot dog dinner.  They are the best hot dogs around, twelve inches of delicious indigestion.  My new volunteer came back with a chili dog smothered in onions and relish that covered the entire plate.  She must not have had any sustenance lately!!

In no time I encouraged her to head home so I could relax a little.  Apparently her knee surgery from four months ago was bothering her and she had been up since 4:00 am.  Bingo is hard work and not for the weak of heart.

Just to say TAKE THAT, my mini infernal machine closed out on the first try.  Last time it took 18 tries.  The internet company Comcast says it's because every business on the planet is closing out at the exact time we are.  Funny, before they installed their lines, the debit card machines never failed to close out on the first try.  Go figure!

At long last and after many yawns, I closed out and balanced to the penny, or at least to within three quarters.  Another Bingo night in the books.

Just so you know, I appreciate the comments on the light timer.  The funny thing is the directions straight from the package, refer to words that are NOT on the face of the timer, nor in the programming.  It says to hit the PGM button .... but there is none.  You guys were right however, I had the AM and PM reversed.  At least now it comes on at dark, but I'm not sure how long it remains on.  By 4:00 am it is dark again.  I'll keep trying!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I Think I'm Blind Now

From now on I'm going to post pictures of my quilts BEFORE I stitch them together and wait two days.  Lucky for me Joanna caught a big mistake in my quilt even though it was making everyone else blind, or like Bill who found a secret message!!  I think the message was Nancy screwed up.

At any rate, the problem came from sewing the very first two pieces incorrectly.  I did it right 85 times, but on that last one, I switched two squares, causing THIS!!  Bless you Joanna, you've got good eyes!!
The problem was by the time I posted that picture, I had the entire thing sewn together.  YIKES!!  I called my quilter for advice.  Throw it away she said!!  Not really, but it's a very hard fix.  In the end, I was able to remove just two squares, turn them around and resew.  Much harder than it sounds.  The turning part was easy ... the sewing, not so much!  It's still not exactly correct, but the colors are right.
I got it fixed, but it's a tad bit crooked.  If you see another one Joanna, DON'T tell me!  Hahaha  Actually, I really appreciate her eyes because it would have been awful to have the quilter tell me!!  To fix the crooked, she will just quilt a big flower over those blocks!!  
Here it is now with borders sewn on.  Gosh, it still makes my eyes hurt!  You are getting sleepy ...... VERY ....   sleepy!!!
Up close (which is what it looks like in person) it's not so bad, although I do see it needs a good ironing before the quilter starts to work.
I spent the rest of the day trying to clean up my patio.  I've got furniture overload and something needs to give.  These two chairs, plus two more and a coffee table, needed to be washed down, as they are going to a good home on the other side of town.  

It's amazing just how much dirt is caked on.  Try as I might to wash it with a hose, it took several hours of scrubbing, not to mention baby spider killing.  The undersides were covered with black widow spider eggs.  There will be about 400 less this year as I squashed everything I could find.
Now to load these up for transport.  I'm hoping they all fit in the back of my truck.  Next up .... another one of those techie things.  I hate to admit I've been working on it for four days now.  My outside garage lights are on a timer that went haywire.  Seems they were on all day instead of at night.  So far no luck reprogramming.  I'll give it another shot today before heading off to the Magic Kingdom of Bingo.  Yup .... it's Tuesday again!

Monday, April 9, 2018

This Makes My Eyes Hurt!

Yesterday I spent time as planned  (I don't always do what I plan) cutting and hacking at the jungle in my back yard.  My gardeners tend to trim around the edges of the bushes.  The plants get larger and larger until you can't walk along the sidewalks.

Also, my garden hose disappeared while I was gone and I was determined to discover it's whereabouts.  But first ... let's trim this hugely overgrown rosemary bush.  As I started hacking away trying to be somewhat gentle with it, I actually discovered the hose stuffed completely underneath the foliage so they could trim the edges without cutting the hose.

I suppose they get points for not damaging the water hose, but really ... how about just trimming the bush?  I trimmed it all right ... at least 3/4 of it is sitting on the concrete.  The entire underneath was dead branches.

The pile is twice as big now, since the bush next door got a haircut also.  On that one however, I tried to just trim all the undergrowth and not destroy the appearance.  Wasn't I surprised when that HUGE black widow spider crawled over my hand.  Alas, she lives no more!!
I finally put my shears away and smelling of lovely rosemary, I went back to sewing on this new quilt.  This makes my eyes hurt!!  Doesn't it look like a pixelated picture?  It's okay if you're up close and personal, but certainly not here!!  Don't stare at it, you'll end up crosseyed!
After playing the ball game with this sweety, we watched another REAL ball game where the Dodgers beat the Giants 2-1 in the tenth inning.  Seems every game is going into overtime.
I'd like to say I cooked an amazing dinner, but am still finishing up the Nutrisystem chunks of chicken from the frozen wasteland of my freezer.  I get it now ... if you want to lose weight, you can only eat very small portions of meat along with vegetables or salad.  Nothing else is allowed, except an occasional treat for desert, void of flavor but cold, so you think you are getting something special.

I'm actually going to try and replicate those frozen dinners so I can continue on the program.  This month will be a test of the actual cost of trying to prepare and freeze this stuff myself.  I have to admit it's amazingly simple to just nuke a piece of chopped formed chicken for dinner.  The total ease of prep is a big plus!!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Nail Biter To The Very End!!

Since having Dish Network set up, I'm taking complete advantage of the $175 MLB Baseball package to watch every game I can.  Not that I really want to sit on the couch all day, I just want to watch the Giants daily game.  Don't judge ... it gives me something to do and gets my heart going when the umpire makes a bad call!!

While waiting for the game to start yesterday, I figured to get some yard work done.  It's probably second to the thing I hate most ..... house cleaning.  Yard cleaning is not rated high on my list of things I like to do.

I WOULD really like to have this beautiful tree in my back yard however.  Anyone know what it might be?  I thought maybe dogwood, only because it doesn't look like an ornamental cherry.  I kind of sound like I know what I'm talking about, right?  Wrong .... I have no clue.  Those were just some words I heard my friend Cyndae bandy about.
So this is what MY yard looks like.  Everything is overgrown because my lovely gardeners don't seem to want to trim the bushes until they are a complete mess.  I started hacking and chopping this lavender yesterday and will continue today.  My thought is to leave it all smack dab in the middle of the lawn, so when they come to mow, they will have to clean up the mess first.  
Finally, the game was ON!!  I became a Giants season ticket holder back in 2006 when they couldn't play worth a darn and had Manager after Manager that was questionable at best.  No one went to the games.  It was good for me, since how else could I afford to buy in?  With their record, people were giving away the seats.

Here's how it works .... you buy the seats like real estate (which can be passed down to your family members), which allows you to purchase all the tickets for the season, including any extras like the World Series (I got to attend three WS games) .  Unfortunately, you have to pay their price.  Two years of NOT buying the tickets, and they take away your purchase privileges.  
Pretty boring to watch on television, but when you get to the ball park full of screaming fans, all of which you have something in common with, it's a different story.  It's exciting ... you yell even when you don't mean to.  You jump up and down and high five everyone around you when they score.  It's a fascinating study in human psychology.
I of course always took my camera and long lens to try and gets shots like these.  I won't bore you with all the cool pictures I have of some amazing players.
Finally comfy on the couch with the puppies, the game began .... Giants against their biggest rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The crowd goes crazy when these two teams play.  The Giants scored first and by the end of the ninth inning, they were tied.  Both teams got runners on base, but no one could get all the way around to touch the magical home base to win.

Here's a sample of the energy and love the fans have for their players.  Hunter Pence happens to be one of the really good guys who spurs the team on to winning.  I do believe this sign is correct.
Tenth inning .... Eleventh inning ... on and on they struggled.  When the Dodgers finally scored, the Giants would tie it up.  At long last in the FOURTEENTH inning (even "I" was exhausted from shouting at the TV), the player least expected to hit the ball and get on base, not only accomplished his task, but stole a base.  The last guy to go up to bat hit a WALK OFF HOME RUN.  SCORE!!!!  The Giants won!!!!

Five and a half hours after the start of the game, I jumped up and yelled BEAT LA before crashing into bed.  I'll be back on the couch today.  Maybe I should move that rowing machine from the bedroom to the living room and at least get some exercise while I watch ......

After I slaughter a few more bushes!!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Amazing .... The Spectacular ... The Fabulous .........

GRILL MAT!!!  I'll try anything to better my cooking skills.  Over at Our Awesome Travels, George and Suzie use this exact grill mat to make amazing dinners.  You've probably seen these made-for-TV ads that show how great they are but I'm betting you haven't tried one.  Me either.

Finally maybe my luck will change, because my Miracle Grill Mats came in the mail yesterday, two for $14 (Amazon Prime).  I would love to tell you that I tried them out last night and they were spectacular ... nothing short of amazing!!  The problem is I don't have my barbecue with me.

I left it in Arizona, probably a mistake.  When it's here, I rarely use it.  I do actually have a big gas barbecue grill if I have a hankering, but the gas tank has been on empty for at least an entire year.  I should probably take care of that since it's springtime, plus it would be a LOT cheaper to barbecue than use my gas-sucking oven whose temperature is never correct.

Here are the two mats that come in the package.  Very thin they are, to allow for grill marks, and cuttable with scissors to fit your particular grill.  I can't wait to try them out.
In the meantime, it's been raining cats and dogs.  I think this was supposed to be the third storm of the century.  So far it's just been a normal rain storm, but enough to put an end to the Giants/Dodgers baseball game in San Francisco.  Here I went through all the trouble and expense to watch all the games and they are rained out.
I don't know if you can really see this menu or not, but for the first time in years, I went to the Elks Lodge Friday night dinner with my newest candidate Tony Alamo and his wife.  We were joined by my friend Cyndae from up near Sacramento and one of the owners of the biggest dairy in town .... and the longest lasting at 51 years.  That's got to be a record.

Instead of having steak, most of us had chicken fried steak with gravy.  It was amazingly delicious if you like paper thin meat.  However, anything breaded and deep fried can't be all bad.  I go for the salad and soup bar.  They have the best one in town, as proven by the crowds that show up every Friday night.  If you didn't reserve a table, you were out of luck.

The place was packed to the brim ... not an empty seat in the house.  Several couples were turned away.  Of course they could have stayed, but dinner would have been served at about 10:00.
At any rate, we had a great time and lots of laughs, something I haven't done in a while.  I'd show you a picture, but the group was rather camera shy, one having shaved her head in support of a friend battling cancer.  I admire both of them tremendously.

Today will be a lay around day as I try to figure out how to reset my neck bones.  No matter what kind of pillow I have, I seem to dislocate a couple of important pieces that cause pain and consternation.  The chiropractor doesn't open until Monday.  If I'm really lucky, I can fix it myself.

Until then, I'm loving hearing the rain on the roof.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Does It Ever End?

Repairs and even MORE repairs.  I suppose it doesn't matter whether you have a house, an apartment, a motorhome, a car or a truck, there are always repairs that need to be done.  I've said this before, but it seems they just don't build things like they used to.

I'm a truck person.  I LOVE LOVE driving my truck and take it everywhere when I'm home.  Unfortunately, they are not cheap, not inexpensive and not even EXPENSIVE.  They are OVER THE MOON EXPENSIVE.

I've been lucky enough in my life to have worked at good paying jobs where I have been able to afford a truck since I was 30-something.  When I purchased this diesel rig, I figured it would last the rest of my life.  After all, it takes some time for me to get 100,000 miles on a vehicle and this should go 300,000.

Turns out I was wrong.  Although this baby only has 105,000 miles, I'm ready to trade her in.  She hasn't had too many huge expenses, but of late she has been sickly.  There's not one, but TWO batteries to keep her going, which I replaced not long ago and she had a pricey knee operation on one front wheel.

Lately she hasn't been wanting to start up ... kind of like me every morning.  Come to find out she wasn't holding the prime, which keeps fuel in the lines.  One of my good Elks friends came over and replaced one seal, which worked for awhile.
Unfortunately in the last three months, the second seal went out.  So under the hood, there is a little round disc that you pump to bring fuel into the lines so it will start.  I climbed up my ladder, leaned over the engine and pumped for all I was worth.

Apparently I'm pretty good at pumping, because soon fuel began running out on the ground.  POURING out on the ground.  OH NO!!  It's not supposed to do that.  Now I'm afraid to start it because the fuel will catch fire.  In the back of my head something said no, diesel doesn't explode like gas ... give it a shot.  Thankfully it started and there was no big fire!!  The fuel quit running out ... for now.

With no choice, I drove it straight to the GMC repair shop in town.  They seem to be pretty good and they cost the same as everyone else.  $388 dollars later (they replaced the entire pump, not just the seals) it starts just fine.  I'm SO happy to have her back and running.  

Did I think about getting a new rig to replace this 13 year old truck?  Yes I did, but the price was WAY too scary!!  At $65,000 ($20,000 more than I paid for this one) I won't be having a new truck.  That's pretty high inflation, don't you think?  

Get rid of my truck you say?  Ahhhhhhh NO!  I need a truck to go to the dump with "stuff" and to pull my horse trailer.  Yes you are right, I don't have horses any more, but you just never know.  I think I'll keep her for a few more years.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sometimes I Surprise Myself

Having found out I could drop one of my television providers and just tack on my service to Dish Network in Arizona for a measly $7 a month (instead of the current $60), I disconnected everything and called for a hookup.   Seems they don't use the same antennas.  Dish sent out a service guy at 8:00 the next morning.  That was fast.

Are they all that handsome or is it just me?  At any rate, he made me extremely happy when he said he would use the same bracketing system, unlike Direct who wanted to drill all new holes in my garage roof (which I had refused to do).

Yes I did ask him if he needed a taller ladder, but he said he does this all the time.  He's young and probably has better balance than us old folks.  In less than an hour he had me set up.  I have to give it up for Dish Network service.  They just put DirectTV to shame.
I did have one minor setback.  I have a receiver for surround sound, a DVD player, the Dish receiver and something else in the stack, all of which are controlled by this beauty.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work on Dish unless I reprogram it.  It was a gift five years ago and it came already programmed for the equipment I have.  The install guy said it had to be downloaded to my computer and then installed on the unit.  Oh boy ... this is NOT something I want to attempt.

I used two remotes for all of ten minutes before hitting the computer to see if this was something I could accomplish, being rather technically challenged at times.  Two hours later, most of which was spent looking for a USB cable that would fit in the little hole, by George I got it!!!  YAY ... it even works.  I'm pretty proud of THAT one!!!
Next up ... add the MLB Extra Innings Baseball package.  I know most, if not all of you, are not the least bit interested in baseball.  I wasn't either until I became a season ticket holder, went to lots of games and came to know most of the players.  That makes all the difference.

It was no problem getting it added, which it did in a matter of seconds, but alas, MLB and the Giants black out all of their home games (86 out of 172) in this area so you will go to the park and buy tickets.  RATS!!!  There just HAS to be a way.

I went out to the RV and set up my TV there (remember it's also Dish) and amazingly, the Giants game was on.  So why do I get it in the RV and NOT in the house?  I pondered that for some time.  Maybe it's the type of antenna?  Maybe the receiver itself?  I've no idea, but there MUST be a way.  

Finally, in my devious little mind, I decided to call Dish, explain that I have two houses, one of which is a rental, and I need the service address to be the rental address, you know, for tax purposes.  Oh I understand perfectly she said, and changed the address.  

It was magic I tell you ..... MAGIC!!  The Giants game instantly came on!!  I assume that's because that address is out of the area.  I now get to watch all 86 of those home games.  Of course I don't get any local channels because I'm out of THAT area, but that's okay since I rarely watch the news anyway.  There's just no reason to become depressed.

So all in all it was a nice electronically exhilarating day and the giants won!!  Sometimes I surprise myself that I can figure these things out.  Cooper didn't care in the least ... he just sat on the back of the couch next to me and protected his ball.
My next challenge?  Get my truck running again ..... I'm not the best in that department either, but as you know, I'll try just about anything.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Return To The Dungeon

The day had arrived.  Time to head down to the dungeon of the Magic Kingdom of Bingo and get reacquainted.  I'm sure you know how much I was looking forward to working with the infernal machine, the King, Prince Charming, the Castle Lawyer and all the peasants.  The Court Jester is losing all his money in Vegas at the moment, so he was absent.
Some changes are in the works ... the parking lot now has those amazing carport canopies of solar electricity fame in a town where we have maybe 180 days of sun a year if we are lucky.  I have to say Prince Charming (also known as the banker) and his nephew Charming Junior did an amazing job of installation.

I headed straight upstairs to the Magic Lounge for some magic elixir to help me get through the night.  The bartender is always shocked when I say white zin instead of coke.  At any rate, I spent way too much time helping Prince Charming with his phone and missed the setup in the dungeon.  Sorry Charlie.

So happy to see me, I got hugs from the Castle Lawyer (nicest lady EVER), who immediately put me on the infernal machine.  The peasants began to arrive in droves.  I had been warned the patronage was down considerably due to all the bad weather and no place to park during construction.

Let me tell you, there's nothing like pay day coming immediately after Easter.  In no time we were packed with 147 people ... almost a record.  The infernal machine was sucking up one hundred dollar bills like they were candy.

Every so often I checked my watch, hoping we were close to starting time and the line would disappear.  It never happened.  To make matters worse, the infernal mini me credit card machine lived up to its reputation.  In the middle of twelve (out of 30 transactions) it did an unsolicited reversal, whatever that is, and refused to deposit the money in our account.  That means doing it all again and holding up the line.  The peasants were NOT happy, waving pitchforks and shovels in the air.

So much money flowed through the infernal machine that it gave $250 payouts to each of 22 games with lots left over for the charities we donate to.  YAHOO it was an exciting night.  The best part ... unlike normal nights ... the peasants were so thrilled with the money there was no fighting or hair pulling all night long!!

Being it was my first night back, the infernal machine was nice to me and balanced to the penny.  A rarity, to say the least.  Exhausted, I fell into bed at 11:00 pm.  Why is it you never can sleep in late, no matter how late you go to bed??

It was a good day at the Magic Kingdom.  Now if I can just get my truck running long enough to get to the repair shop, I'll be doing good.  It won't hold it's prime ... sort of like me!!