Thursday, December 31, 2015

What Do You Say To RUDE People??

Everything was going along swimmingly yesterday, even with some slow-to-raise jack problems.  I headed out with a sack full of oranges feeling pretty good.  The weather couldn't have been any more perfect.  No rain (therefore no snow), no fog and no wind.  What more could a still sick girl ask for??

A little less traffic would have been nice.  I've never seen Tehachapi this crowded before, but we trucked right along.  I totally hate the Hwy 15-215-210 route, but with most of the construction completed, it wasn't too terrible.
My plan was to stop at Morongo Casino on Hwy 10 for fuel.  Worst idea I've had in ten years!!  The way it's set up, once you get in, you can't get out except through the pump islands.  It was crowded, with one RV at the pump on my side and two big trucks on the outside.  It's okay, I've got lots of time, I'll wait.

Little did I know I was soon to become an outraged woman screaming obscenities at a RUDE old man.  The truck on my right couldn't pull forward enough for me to get right in behind the RV.  When I saw this pickup pulling along side me, I opened my window and said very nicely that I was next in line.  He just waved me off and pulled in front of me.  HEY!!!
I got out and knocked nicely on their window and again said I was next in line.  He flipped me off.  That did it!!  YOU JERK!!  Not my exact words!!  I got back in my rig and hit the air horn as he pulled up to the pump, with me right on his bumper.  Luckily, the guy in front pulled away, so the rude idiot got in his truck and pulled forward.  When I got out to pump fuel, he called me a bunch of names that I won't repeat.

Well you AH.  You crowd in line in front of me and you call ME names??  I read him the riot act, as did two truckers who came up behind me for support.  They called him a few choice names too, whereupon he shut up and pulled his fuel nozzle out of his truck ... with fuel still flowing.

He, his truck and the ground were covered in about a gallon of diesel before he figured how to turn it off.  He then turned his truck around facing me to fill his other tank.  When done, instead of backing out, he tried to go against the flow of traffic, honking his horn and reving his engine (?? seriously??) until someone finally moved, and off he went with screeching tires.  WHAT A JERK!!!

I got commendations from everyone in the area for standing up to the guy.  Maybe I ruined his day and he'll think twice about it next time.  I know, probably not.  To make matters worse, the fuel pumps were so slow it took two minutes to get one gallon in the rig.  Forty minutes later, I gave up and left with 3/4 of a tank.

Finally landing in Indio, I was parked by the crew in the vendors area with a 30 amp hookup.  As cold as it is here, I'm very thankful for electricity.  My gas heater has been running all night, so I think it's time for an electric blanket.  Jonathan appears to be warm and toasty with his heat lamp.
Here's the windshield crack ... can't seem to get a better picture.  It hasn't spread yet, so on the advice of Mr. Chance, I'll have it filled as much as possible, then hope it doesn't spread until repair in Oregon this summer.  Unless of course someone knows of a GREAT window replacement business around Yuma or Tucson ... my next destinations.  
Not my best trip thus far, but in spite of being sick, having a broken windshield and almost going to jail, I'm pretty upbeat.  No worries, I could have taken that guy in a flash and I'm sure my friends would afford me bail!!  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


There's lots of great moments in life.  There are also some NOT so great.  Here's a few moments from yesterday.

That moment the RV park calls you back with a SMILE in their voice and tells you they have plenty of room.  YAY!!  Orange Grove RV Park, Edison Road, Bakersfield.

That moment when you are all buckled in, ready to go and you remember your cell phone sitting on the counter.  At least I remembered!!

That moment when you turn the key on your rig and you see a CHECK ENGINE warning.  OH NO!!

That moment when you hear CRACK ... and when you look over, you see a big hole in your windshield.    #$%#$!!#$%#$

That moment when you remember you didn't plug Jonathan's heater in, so you have to pull over, but at least you can check the windshield.

That moment when you see the trucker pulling around you in his BIG truck, weaving all over the road, pushing you over the line and you realize he's texting on his phone, not even looking at the road!!  BIG AIR HORN BLAST!!

That moment when you finally take a big breath and relax ... only 30 minutes from the house!  That's a record I think!!

That moment you see the rest stop is actually OPEN and you can walk the dogs, eat lunch and check on Jonathan ... who was on the floor of his cage.  Smart Bird!!

That moment when you see the offramp to the park you have never stayed at before, and find it to be a really GREAT one for $39 a night.  Not only that, but you get to pick all the oranges you can fit in a grocery bag!!  I quickly ate TWO, thinking some Vitamin C would help!!
It's a 50 amp full hookup, but with temperatures expected to be in the 30 degree range, I only plugged in my electrical.

That moment when you realize it's only 2:30 pm and you can RELAX the rest of the day!!  Big sigh!!
Not many rigs here, but by 6:00 it was packed ... and they still have spaces around back.  All are 90 foot pull-throughs!!  This is definitely going on my "must stay here again" list!!  I even saw a pizza delivery truck!!
That moment when you feed Jonathan and he goes straight for the cracker, munching away.  He has survived his first day!!
That moment when it dawns on you, you are now in a very small space with two barky dogs who are going to make you crazy!!  Patience is a vir---tue!!!

I'll be off this morning after everything thaws out a little.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And She's OFF!!!

Almost anyway.  I had firmly made up my mind to make the drive to Southern California in one day, even though I wasn't feeling good about poor Jonathan having to be under so much stress.  Birds don't handle stress well ... they tend to die!!  I just didn't want to deal with 21 degree temperatures in Boron, where we usually stay, in spite of the scary atmosphere!!  

Lo' and behold, RV friend Dave Burdick reminded me of the park in Bakersfield that's right on the way.  PERFECT!!  That would cut four hours off the second day's drive.

I called last night for reservations, but they were closed.  Hopefully they will get back to me this morning.  I have plenty of time to finish packing and will leave about noon.
That also means I'll be able to take my time on Wednesday for the second leg of the trip.  Nancy's a happy camper!!  She'd be happier if she wasn't still sick.  A trip to an urgent care in So Cal may be in order.

The second great suggestion I got was to hit Mexico while down there for some antibiotics in case this happens again ... which we all know it WILL!!

Lots to do, so I'm OFF!!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

UGH ... I Have To Leave When??

Decisions ..... decisions!!  It's hard enough for me to decide what to do ... it's SO much worse when I don't really feel good.  Here's pretty much what happened yesterday.

You got it ..... NOTHING!!  I felt pretty good after a really long hot steamy shower, then collapsed on the couch to watch football.  I want to thank everyone for offering suggestions on how to beat this cold.  I'm trying every single one!!  In the end, I can't take decongestants, as they always, without fail, cause a sinus infection ... which I'm pretty sure I've ended up with anyway!!

It was really hard to sit still all day, but I kept my butt glued to the couch, except for all that arm swinging motion to through the ball for Cooper or the toy for Jess.  You can't put anything on the floor for pictures without Cooper jumping in the middle of it with the poor Gingerbread Man.
At one point I threw this toy for Jessie and now she won't give it up.  She's growling like a grizzly bear!!
In between games, I was on my phone's weather app constantly, checking the wind and snow predictions for Southern California.  Wednesday was my travel day of choice.  Sunny everywhere and no wind.  Then that darned wind sock showed up in Tehachapi.  It's funny, because if you look at the detailed forecast, there is NO wind.  It only shows up on the ten day forecast.

To make matters worse, it's going to be 21 degrees where I normally spend the night, breaking the drive into two nice sections.  That's too cold for me and the puppies, let alone Jonathan, so I guess I'm driving it in one day.  Six hours the computer says, but that means 8 for me.  I can deal with that, but I'm a little concerned about Jonathan.  He hasn't been in a moving vehicle in some time and he will be gripping the perch and cage the entire trip.  That's about like you and me standing up the whole way.  Needless to say, I'm stressed!!

Just to increase my stress level, I scared myself half to death this morning.  In preparation for leaving, I set all the clock radio alarms and lights around the house.  At 6:00 I heard voices in the back room that made a chill go up my spine, not to mention the barking dogs.  RATS!!  My only weapons are already packed!!  I grabbed the baseball bat I keep by the back door and peered around the corner.  Then it dawned on me ..... it was the radio in the back bedroom.  WHEW!!!  That was a close one!!

Today I'll finish up some bookkeeping loose ends and try to mellow out so I can decide whether to leave Tuesday or Wednesday!!  I think I need a "chill pill"!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Just Like George!!

Feeling slightly better yesterday .... at least I can sort of breathe through my nose .... I cleaned out the fridge in preparation for loading goodies into the motorhome.  Just like George Washington however, I can't tell a lie.  I took what remained of the pecan pie sweet potatoes and buried them in the back yard.  Even my lack of taste buds couldn't make it edible!!

Since I was on a roll, I took one load of freezer items out to the rig and pulled in the slides.  I even took the time to check the air in the tires, but since it's been so cold, and I know that makes a difference, I just left them alone.  The Jeep was another story however.  The last time I tried to take it to town, it gave me a low tire light.  Funny how the RV tires rarely need air, but the Jeep requires it every couple of months in all four tires!!

In case anyone was wondering why I don't go to the doctor for my cold/flu, my doctor is never around.  Any call for an appointment results in a two month wait.  With only two urgent care facilities in this area, they are always swamped to the gills because of Obamas health care plan.  You might get in the door at 7:00 am, but more times than not, you do NOT get any further than the waiting room unless it's broken bones.

People who enter the local hospital ER, never leave, so that's totally off the list.  My only choice is to drive 45 minutes out of town.  Even then, the cure usually brings on worse sinus problems, so I try to just suffer through.  Eventually it will pass!!

I spent the rest of the day on the couch, all bundled up in front of the fireplace with the puppies.  Jessie is a funny girl.  Having come from a puppy mill, she doesn't know how to play, but occasionally she'll go get a toy and paw my arm until I throw it for her.
She growls something terrible, and if she gets her mouth on the toy, she doesn't let go so you can throw it again.  The game is then to try and snatch it from her.  She's a pretty funny old gal!!
In bored desperation around 4:00 I made a pan of brownies and one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I've ever attempted.  Naturally, I couldn't taste a thing!!  The upside of having a cold and no taste buds is I don't crave sweets!!  Too bad they can't bottle that!!

Finally all bundled up in my electric blanket in bed, I dozed off for the night.  It didn't last long however.  At 2:15 I awoke with a start!!  RATS!!  Dan told me the electric heat pump in the rig doesn't really work when the temperature is below 40.  The heat pump is on and it's below 40!!  I jumped up and ran outside, fumbled with the lights and ran to the back to check the temperature.  39 degrees inside.  I moved the slide to gas heat, heard it spring to life and breathed a sigh of relief.  Hopefully it hasn't been cold enough to break any water lines.

When I got back in the house, the dogs growled at me as I slid back in bed.  Hey guys, now you know how I feel when YOU move around!!

Each day I cross a couple more things off my list towards lift off.  Today I'll hook up the Jeep, then it's just a waiting game to see how I feel.  At this point, it's looking pretty good!!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas On The Couch!!

This was my view for most of yesterday.  Spending Christmas on the couch was clearly not what I wanted to read in the cards for me.  I was up rather early, wrote the blog and staggered to the couch, sneezing all the way.  At last count, 53 times .... those really hard sneezes that shake your brain.  I'm pretty sure a couple ounces disappeared into thin air, as I've totally forgotten my routine this morning, hence the late blog posting.
My baby puppies stood by me through thick and thin, wads of kleenex and sound barrier breaking sneezes, not to mention the moaning and groaning.  The steamy water that seemed to work in previous days, did nothing to relieve the symptoms.  I was out of old home remedies and relegated to the couch to wallow in self pity.  
I watched every Christmas movie again, caught several episodes of Jamie and Adam on Mythbusters, as well as sat through a few of John Wayne's oldies but goodies.  Finally, when one side of my head cleared, I got the brilliant idea to fix a Christmas dinner.  I had this tiny turkey in the fridge and one lone sweet potato.  I'm SURE I can make a feast out of this!!  
That's what happens when you've got a bad cold.  Your head is stuffed so full of "stuff" that your brain gets squeezed too tight, making you think you can do things you should KNOW you can't!!  In spite of my oven setting of 400 degrees to cook the turkey at 325, it came out surprisingly well.  The sweet potatoes were another story.  It was a Spice Islands recipe that sounded really good .. pecan pie potatoes.  

Trouble was, I didn't measure very well, I was in a hurry and my brain was in a fog.  I think I added twice the amount of flour and half the butter for the topping.  Then, just because, I loaded it up with marshmallows.  It looked pretty nice when it came out of the oven, but in two minutes the marshmallows dissolved totally into the burned flour at the bottom of the pan.  

I was so determined to have a nice Christmas dinner that I ate it anyway, along with some really nice turkey and broccoli (the only vegetable I had in the house).  I'm really not sure how any of it tasted, because you see with a bad cold, you can't taste anything!!  
And so I passed away the hours on the couch, sneezing and sniffling, only feeling better when I received an email that some very nice person had left a comment on my blog.  You folks kept me going through my worst day this year, and for that I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!

The good news is that I slept fairly well and my head isn't pounding like a sledge hammer on an anvil.  I can even ... almost ... breath through my nose.  Unfortunately, it's moved down into my chest and it's time to let the coughing begin!!!  Three days and counting!!

Friday, December 25, 2015


Well let me tell you, there's nothing more fun than spending Christmas SICK!!  I opened lots of packages of kleenex and had many glasses of advil cheer!!  Other than that, I never got off the couch!  Oh wait ... twice I let the dogs out and once I totally lost control, my mind in a haze of medicinal madness, when I ate a huge bowl of ice cream.  That was the highlight of my day, which should have been the cure of the decade were it not just plain vanilla.

I was afraid Santa wasn't going to make it yesterday, between the rain, hail and lightning, which I only noticed when the dogs jumped off the couch and my ears cleared for two seconds!!

I kept wishing everyone Merry Christmas on Facebook, but my phone battery would last for all of 15 minutes before needing to be recharged.  I was really wishing "I" had a recharger about that time.

Finally the day passed as I sat in anticipation of the full moon I was going to photograph.  I got all set up, when my fuzzy mind cleared for a millisecond, at which time I remembered I had already loaded the telephoto lens in the rig.  I dashed outside in a flash and slogged through the water, only to realize there was heavy cloud cover.  RATS!!!  I set up anyway!!

As I stood on the porch mouth breathing and moaning, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the MOON in all her glory!!  This is it ... Christmas 2015 full moon.  Isn't she a beauty????
All of a sudden I thought I heard the jingle of bells ..... then a voice barely audible.  On Dasher, on Dancer, on Donner and Blitzen.  NO WAY!!!  It CAN'T BE!!!  As I glued my watery eye to the back of my camera, what should appear, but a miniature sleight and eight tiny reindeer!!  SANTA!!!  I snapped away as fast as I could!!
As I moved the camera to get a better shot, in the blink of an eye from two sneezes, he was gone!!!  I took a few more shots just in case he came around for a second time, but alas, Santa Claus was on his way to finish delivering toys.  I went back inside, laid the camera on the table and collapsed on the couch.  With the fireplace going full blast, sucking every last drop of moisture from the air, I watched Bad Santa reruns.
I coughed and sneezed, then grumbled about being sick as I downed another shot of advil.  A shot of something else probably would have done me better, but that would have required a trip to the store which just might scare the Christmas out of any little kids in the general area.

I'm not sure what's on TV today, but you can bet your best Christmas gift I will be on the couch for whatever exciting parade or movie rerun there is, along with my listerine, bowl of hot water, advil and vegetable beef soup.  For dinner, I'm going to splurge on a Jimmy Dean Mac 'N Cheese frozen entree.  


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve (sniff, sneeze) !!

In keeping with my Christmas holiday tradition, I'm sick.  My guess is from the portfolio critique session at the College where I heard at least four people sneezing.  I'll never do that again ... I'll never do that again ... I'll never do that again!!!  How can a stuffed up nose become a waterfall in an instant?  Watery eyes, sneezing, can't breath, headache ... if there's a symptom, I've got it!!

It all started yesterday morning with a couple of sneezes, achey neck and shoulders and a nice sinus headache.  I have become the dreaded mouth breather, which is really nothing new in my house.  When I was a kid in grammar school, the only game I liked to play was tetherball.  Unfortunately, I wasn't very good at it.  I can't tell you how many times I got slammed in the face and was sent to the Principal's office with a bloody nose.  That has resulted in a lifetime of not being able to breathe through my nose, which doesn't help my current situation at ALL.

THIS however, is MUCH worse ... sort of feels like a vise is clamped on my face with no relief in sight.  The only thing I have found that works, short of going to the doctor (good luck with that, it's Christmas) is hovering over my morning coffee, or hot honey-lemon water as the case may be.  If I breath in the steam long enough, the pressure lets up a little.
I tried to sleep sitting up on the couch last night with just a quilt throw, but without my electric blanket, it got a little chilly.  With my handy dandy little fireplace remote, I set the temperature to 68 and tried to sleep.  It worked pretty well, even though the dogs were growling and fighting for space, until the fireplace came on with a WHOOSH that scared me right up off the couch, not to mention the poor dogs who fell to the floor!!

No Cooper, it's not play time ... it's 3:00 in the morning for crying out loud.  GO TO SLEEP!!

My plan today is to dump everything "beef soup" into a pot on the stove and hang my head over my coffee until I can somewhat breath, load up on advil and try to stay warm on the couch for the entire day.  I have six full days before departure.  Wish me luck!!  I really don't want to end up back at the Emergency Room on Christmas morning like last year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Amazing .... Just Amazing!

More rain and dark clouds enveloped this part of the country all day long as I perused my PG&E bill. I think I better stake out my spot on the street corner so I can gather up some extra change!  True, it has been freezing cold and I've had the fireplace going most of the day, but the biggest change is in the amount I am allowed to use at the lowest rate.  The more you use, the higher the rate ... shouldn't it be the other way around??

Even when I'm not here, with only two lights turning on and off in the morning and evening, the bill is $100 a month.  I even turn the fridge to vacation mode and unplug absolutely everything and I'm STILL not in the bottom tier.  

So much for my security lighting!  I took out several more light bulbs (even though they are LED's), set my thermostat to 65 degrees in the house and am back to living in the dark.  It's not that I'm really THAT cheap ..... I just don't understand how an electric company can go bankrupt and still pay their top management hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries, not to mention benefits.  If they would quit sending two pieces of junk mail to every single person on their list every month, that alone would save millions and they could extend the tiers!!

Yes, I have thought about solar, probably another reason rates are going up since so many people are having it installed, therefore less money in PG&E's pocket.  At the present time, the cost doesn't justify the savings, and all those panels would have to be on the front of the house to be in the sun.  My solution is to spend more time in Arizona in the winter.

Just to get out of the house yesterday, I went to Petco for some dog food.  Why is it I never seem to get out of that store for under $100?  It's just like Costco!!  This time may be the first however, since the harness doesn't fit Cooper and Jessie has nixed the kitty bed.  A quick run by the grocery store for a small turkey to cook Christmas Day, then a mail stop and I was headed back home.

Around 6:00 I think, the dogs went ballistic at the front door.  That's funny ... no one was there ... but when I opened the door, this is what I saw.  My jaw dropped open!  I've never seen anything like this before.  I ran back in to grab my camera ..... sights like this can disappear in literally seconds.
The progression of this most amazing display had me on the porch for 15 minutes.  The images just don't do it justice.
The clouds were VERY close to the ground, and the layers of different colors and shapes had me snapping away ... maybe 40 pictures in all.
The black cloud (top right) dropped a few big drops as tiny bits of blue sky opened up, surrounded by the yellows of the sun setting.  What a beautiful display ... and I think I was the only one in the neighborhood who saw it.  Thank you puppies!!
I spent the rest of the night throwing the toy for Cooper.  You know those barrels they have at the checkout stand full of toys?  The ones with no prices on them?  Next time I'll pass them by ... $$$$.  It was worth watching him toss it around though ... it has a squeaker and seems to be indestructible, so maybe it will last 30 days or so.  
It's the eve of Christmas eve and Santa will be racing around the world soon.  I hope you have all your shopping done and don't get stressed out cooking that amazing Christmas dinner.  Just enjoy being with family and friends.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice .... YAWN!!!!

On the ranch, we always got up with the chickens at daylight and went to bed with the turkeys when it got dark.  You would think when Winter Solstice comes around that you would have a nice long winter night's sleep.   You would think ..............

This is the shortest day of the year according to the people who know these things.  Something about the alignment of the planets and Stonehenge, stocking up on meat so you don't feed them through the winter, as well as a time of making beer!  I'm pretty sure that makes a LOT of people happy!!

For me, these short days and long period of darkness make me crazy and add poundage to my already over-the-limit body.  When the boredom takes over as soon as the sun goes down, I'm scrounging through the fridge every 30 minutes looking for something to keep me occupied.  I've even been known to break that cookie in half, because I know I'll be back in an hour for the second piece!!

Sleeping longer has never occurred to my puppies.  Their alarm clocks are right on the money, as they jump up and down, covering me with doggie kisses .... yuck!!  In self defense, I get up and let them out, but you know how that goes ... once you're up you might as well just stay up!!
By the way, there will be a full moon on Christmas eve if you're looking for some cool pictures.  Maybe you will snap a shot with Santa and the reindeer in it!  You don't have to stay up all night, the best images are always just when the moon is visible above the horizon.

It rained most all day yesterday, even harder about the time I thought to sanitize the water tank on my rig.  You know how that goes, bleach and I don't get along too well and the hose is never big enough to hold it all.  I even attached an extra "empty" hose, but as soon as I got distracted and lowered my hand too far, out it came like a volcano!!  The good news is my concrete is squeaky clean!!

I got in a two mile really fast walk and came home soaking wet, before continuing to pack clothes and the all important coffee.  More work also needed to be done on Jonathan's house.  I sure hope I can find a smaller version somewhere down the road, because this one is a pain in the butt.  It's just so big, it takes up a LOT of room, not to mention the entire table!!  

The light is a heat lamp for warmth.  Tropical birds don't do cold well and Jon is no exception, especially with his health history, so this reptile heating element will keep him a little warmer.  All the blankets will help keep that warm in a little longer, as well as provide some security for him.  
One of the last things I did yesterday was to plant the .... ummm ..... PLANT  I received from my bookkeeping client.  Gosh .... the name escapes me again!!  Anyway, it's in the ground and sort of protected from the frost.  If it lives, it lives.  I've already got too many plants to haul around with me.
I discovered I require more reorganizing in the rig to fit in the extra bird food and box of stuff required for the ice cream social in Indio.  I'm determined to take out everything I don't use, then I'll pray I don't need it at some point along the way!!  I've been carrying that ladder around for four years and I think it's only been out once!  

I hope everyone is enjoying time with their families this holiday week.  Remember the reason for the season!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

You Better Watch Out ........

You better not cry ..... you better not pout I'm telling you why .... Santa Claus is not only COMING to town, he showed up yesterday to drop off a few extra gifts to the kids at the Elks Magic Kingdom.  Every year this organization gives away toys to the children and grandchildren of any Elk Member.  I'm pretty sure several people even brought their neighbor's kids.  All they had to do was sign up.
Clint, in the Grinch shirt, spearheads this effort every year without fail, even though he just went through heart surgery ... that's how committed these people are.  Our local Sheriff is Elf #1, calling out the names one at a time, and is handed gifts by Elf #2 (retired Fireman) that works Bingo.  Frosty the Elk even showed up to help with the festivities!!
Can you imagine being in a room full of kids thrilled to see Santa Claus?  Most were pretty shy about taking gifts from strangers, giving a sidelong glance at Mom to be sure it was okay.  To make it even better, we filled them up with soda and candy canes before the main event.  That sure brought the noise level up!!
It was a full house as we scrambled to set up extra tables.  They expected 100, but over 130 showed up, grandma and grandpa included.  Once half the names were called, I began to serve the ice cream and cookies .... after the panic attack when no one could FIND the ice cream.  There's nothing more exhilarating than spending 20 minutes in a walk-in freezer!!  
I was looking for big buckets, easily recognizable you'd think.  Eventually someone looked in the big yellow bags and discovered two gallon containers.  Thank heavens!!  Several Elk wives made cookies, which we put out along with dozens of store-bought that lasted about 15 minutes.  The ice cream went so fast, we ran out of bowls and had to use paper plates.  When we ran out of those, the kids just put the cookies in their pockets while we washed the dishes!!
The cowgirl cutie above thanked Santa for the gift and started to walk away .... then turned around to say "by the way, the "S" is silent in my name, just so you know"!!  Okay then ..... as everyone pronounced her name correctly in unison!!

Let me tell you, there's nothing better than making 86 kids happy.  It wasn't really even about the gift ..... it was ALL about Santa Claus!!  Little do they know it's Bingo Bob under that beard!!  Even his own Grandchildren didn't recognize him.  Now THAT's an acting job!!

So you better watch out  .....  Bingo Bob is coming to town to see if you've been naughty or nice, and he reports directly to Santa!!!  By the way, I even got to sit on Bingo Bob's lap for a picture ... and Elk #1 pronounced my name exactly right!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

They Got Me Again!!

Staying in the house two days in a row is detrimental to my mental health.  Even if I just go down the street for a mile, then change my mind and return home, it's better than sitting in front of the TV all day.  I probably should have checked the weather before I left, but it looked good here.  There were lots of those puffy white and black clouds, but since tornados aren't a problem here (yeah right), I headed North to pick up some extra makeup.

The stores always suck you in with their advertisements of 50-75% off, or maybe some special where you get two crock pots for the price of one.  That's a really good deal, assuming you have someone to give the second pot to.  I was heading for the two-for-one mascara, among other things.

About halfway, I looked ahead to see dust streaming across the road, making visibility bad.  Then it hit me ... literally!!  PLOP PLOP!!  I thought maybe a plane overhead had dumped it's tanks.  Instead of dust, it was water ... HUGE three inch drops landed on my windshield with a bang!!  I've never seen anything like it in my life.  I couldn't even get the windshield wipers on fast enough as visibility dropped to zero.  It lasted for maybe five minutes as we all slowed to a crawl.  Then it was gone as fast as it started.
Whew!!  THAT was exciting!!  Just as exhilarating was the mass of tangled vehicles trying to get in and out of the parking lot at the outdoor mall.  I KNEW this was going to be a bad day to go shopping, the last Saturday before Christmas!!  I really should have taken the Jeep instead of the truck.  Parking that beast is tough when there is no one around, let alone in THIS disaster!!  

It took twenty minutes to get down one row before I found a spot ... a BIG spot!!  YAY for me!!!  I braved the 20 people in line at Ulta, then thought I might take a look at Pier One.  It was a nice day for a walk because I wasn't moving my truck!!

That's when they got me!!  That store has so much really neat stuff that I try to stay away, but NOT today.   I saw on television where you can make this very pretty decoration with a bell jar, or something similar like this one, which was half price.  
You purchase these little lights that have a timer, then fill the jar with all kinds of stuff ... like Christmas ornaments or pine cones in my case.  Insert the light battery box first, then lay the lights around as you drop more things in the jar.  One important step they left out .... turn the lights on first and set it up at the same time you want the timer to turn the lights on every day.  Reason being, you can't turn the lights on after everything is piled on top of the switch.  You have to remove it ALL, turn the lights on and replace everything.  Trust me on this one!!  From then on, the lights turn themselves on and off automatically.

My second mistake was getting red lights instead of white.  White lights would look SO much better, no matter what time of year it was, or what you filled the far with.  
As I walked around the store, EVERYTHING was on sale.  I'm sure they marked these things up 100% above the regular cost, then gave me a 50% discount, but I couldn't help myself.  They had the cutest tree decorations, including these green candy canes.  I would have come home with a three foot tall wooden reindeer, but the lady who was standing next to me said "where would I store THAT?".  Hmmmm I hadn't thought of that.  Okay, no reindeer!!
I paid for the decorations, including the jar, lights, candy canes, pillows, ornaments and candles, ending up with a bag I could hardly lift, let alone carry all the way to the truck.  I struggled a little, trying to get across the driveway between the 35 cars and not get run over.  Another 40 minutes and I was finally out of the parking lot and on my way home.  I had two other stops to make, but gave up.  I got out of Dodge while the getting was good!!

Today is the Kids Christmas Party at the Elks where I'll be dishing out ice cream and cookies.  That's got to be a good job, right??  Hopefully I won't be too busy to get some pictures!!

Saturday, December 19, 2015


I actually remembered to go outside and take a picture of the finished lights on the house.  Those two extra lights on each end made a BIG difference.  The best part is I feel much safer coming home when I can see all around.  If you look real close, you can even see the poinsettia wreath I put on the door ... my only Christmas decoration.  You can also see why there are no Christmas lights.  You'd get a nosebleed hanging them at that altitude!!
Can you guess what THIS is?  Yes, yes I did!  Rice Krispie treats!  They are a favorite of mine from waaaayyyyy back.  What could be easier?  A little butter, 40 (and ONLY 40) marshmallows, mixed in with 6 cups of cereal.  This one is fun to make and doesn't even require an oven!!
When you're a kid, your mom cuts them into tiny squares so you get less sugar and they last longer.  I cut them into HUGE three inch squares, just because I can.  Besides, saying I only ate ONE instead of THREE sounds much better!!
With that baking success under my belt ... okay, not exactly baking, but since I didn't burn the house down, I threw together some brown sugar oatmeal cookies for the freezer.  Unlike my cooking skills, my baking skills run a little higher on the scale and I have many less disasters.  Except for that part where I accidently put the soda in first instead of last, making the cookies come out flat as pancakes, they were a tasty success.

Since I was on a roll, I brought out the phyllo dough for a little Christmas baklava.  I won't tell you the ingredients because you might have a heart attack just thinking about it.  Needless to say, there is lots of butter.  Once baked, it is soaked in a sugar-water-honey mixture and left to sit overnight.  No, that is NOT a small piece missing from the corner .... well maybe it is .... a chef has to taste her wares, right?
So yesterday's final total was two Rice Krispie treats, three cookies and a tiny piece of Baklava.  When I packaged the treats, I didn't have enough room for the last two, and three of the cookies broke to pieces.   Big sigh ... no wonder I can't lose any weight!!

I was hoping to get a really good night's sleep last night, but the rain coming down seems to rattle something outside my bedroom just enough to wake me up.  I've checked the gutters several times and found nothing loose, but today I'm going to check again!!  If I don't get some rest and get rid of this headache, the kids at the Elks Christmas Party with Santa tomorrow are going to be in for a Bad Santa's Helper experience!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

I'm Up ... Really, I'm UP!!!!!

Oh my gosh ... I feel like I did when I was 18 and stayed out until 4:00 in the morning.  Tired and drug out, headachy and in need of a long winter night's sleep.  Maybe a long afternoon nap will suffice, even though I did have plans to hit the quilt store down south.
Being up late and having to get up early TWO days in a row, is something I didn't sign up for when I retired!!  After the late night photo critique at the College, I had to be up early yesterday for a haircut appointment.  Being as it's Christmas, I didn't want to be scaring all the little kids in town.

Back at the house, I went through my junk mail.  Junk is a really good name for what I receive.  I have a better name, but I'd get kicked off the internet if I said it.  Does anyone ever read this stuff?  I've seriously never received so many emails for Viagra before.  I'm sorry, but Annamarie, Vanessa and Faith, not to mention the other 23 individuals, are going to be seriously disappointed this year.

Then there are the Club Memberships and one night stands with any number of men or women I desire.  At least they support equal opportunity.  The interesting thing is with most uninvited invitations, you can remove yourself from their list ... or UNSUBSCRIBE.  Not so with these ... they've got your number and they aren't letting go.  Email lists are sold for big bucks to just this type of seedy internet site, not to mention all the phone scammers who try to separate you from your hard earned money.  Be vigilant my friends!!

In the late afternoon, my Landscape guy returned to install two more lights at the front of the house.  It looks much better ... even highlights the house number.  Sorry I don't have pictures today.  I left before the sun went down .... ok, truthfully, I was so tired, I just forgot to take one, but I DID leave for the Elks Magic Kingdom.

As a Trustee Elect, I'm expected to attend the one meeting a month where they decide all matters of finance.  It happens that on the same night, anyone who has been approved for membership, must go through an initiation.  It's all very formal .... a nice affirmation of your dedication to God and our country.  I didn't realize exactly HOW formal it was going to get for me, however.  As a Trustee, I have to wear a tuxedo to those meeting.  YIKES!!!  A penguin suit!!  Where in the world will I find one of those?
I have to say it really does make the guys look pretty spectacular!!  The good part about the entire meeting is that most everyone present works on the Bingo Committee, so I know them.  There's nothing worse for me than to attend some kind of gathering and not know anyone.

I did my best to stay awake through the two hour meeting, made much easier by the 40 degree temperature in the Lodge room.  They forgot to tell me about THAT!!  It was like being hung in a meat locker ... I was soon stiff as a board!!  Once sworn in sometime next year, my first move will be to plug in a heater ... a BIG one!!

I'm now going to go curl up by my fireplace and maybe snooze a little before trying to locate my Santa Hat that will cover up my now too short hair for the Kids Christmas Party at the Elks on Sunday.  You guessed it, I'm in charge of the ice cream and cookies!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

We Could All Use A Little More JOY!!

Life isn't always a bowl of cherries and we really could use a little more JOY in the world.  I tried to do my part yesterday at lunch with my Bingo friend Ann ... the Castle Lawyer.  She's amazing, dividing her time between the Elks Lodge and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, spreading lots of JOY in our little town.

Ann's son works at the Hilmar Cheese Factory, which has fast become my favorite place to eat.  We met just before noon, giving us both lots of time to shop in their little store.  They not only have great Christmas items, but loads of condiments, jams, pasta, olive oils and other local fare, not to mention their great cheese.

When I saw this little gem, I figured I could spread the JOY at my house, as well as Hilmar Cheese, maybe helping pay for a little of Ole Bessie's grain.  This little sign really did it's job when a nice lady who works at Children's Hospital came by to say she wanted one, which was sold in their gift shop, but sold out.  Pretty soon there were three of us admiring the sign and having a good laugh about rolling the dice to see who ended up with it.  Lucky for me, I got my hands on it first.    Even a sign can bring a little more JOY into the world.  It's programmable too, so I don't have to remember to turn it off!!
On the way home, I stopped in to get my mail.  It's like Christmas or something ... I got two packages!!  That Amazon order that I never received?  I finally reordered those KJL flashlights.  They arrived in two days, along with a weeks supply of my coffee.  I LOVE Amazon!!  Of course it took me almost an hour to figure out how to install the batteries, as these came with no directions of ANY kind!!  That wasn't too joyful ... I really didn't want to have to call someone and ask!!
The second box was a wine toting Santa from my Ex-Sister-in-Law.  I don't remember Santa needing wine, but to be honest, I sure could use a glass about now.
I was asked to help with the critique of the portfolios the Intermediate Photography Class prepared for their final.  It's a fun time spreading the joy, then ripping apart their images and building them back up again!!  There's so much more to photography than just snapping a picture.  Some of these kids missed that part, but overall they did a great job.  

The colors in this image are perfect, but it needs to be cropped.  Those six images of totally unrelated things in the antique store with the price tags showing ... you can take those out and burn them!!!  Same goes for the picture of your niece and the black dog in the black truck.  I know you love your niece, but NEVER put family or pet images in a portfolio ... I think that was in Chapter 1.

The photo shoot they did in one of the old buildings at Castle Air Force Base resulted in many, MANY of the exact same images.  Some however, were able to move their feet and get the shot from a different angle, making for some poster quality vintage 50's photography.  Unfortunately I can't show you any because they are all copyrighted.  The lesson is to move around and get that shot from a different perspective and angle than 99% of the people who just walk up and click.

It was a long night on several levels (I got home at midnight, definitely past MY bedtime), making for a distinct lack of sleep and crabby attitude.  There's no JOY in the house this morning and I have a 9:00 hair appointment.  Maybe I can sneak in a nap before another Christmas dinner and meeting this evening.  I think I'll go turn my sign on ... 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I Can't Believe It!!

How could it possibly get any colder!!  I AM still in California, right?  What happened to all those El Nino rains that are supposed to keep our temperatures in the 50's??  It's 28 degrees here this morning. Brrrrrrrrrrr!!  My heater, set at 65, ran most of the night, which of course kept me awake, except for that few minutes when I jumped from the airplane (it was going to crash), and landed in the jungle.  When I finally got home a year later, they had given away all my camera gear and luggage.  I went on a rampage, just before waking up to Cooper kisses.  He must have thought something was wrong ... sweet baby!!

While cruising the web yesterday, this popped up on my screen.  Revolution Kites have these amazing Trifinity screen-printed beauties for Christmas.  Actually, they have LOTS of new ones, but this black and gold caught my eye.  If you post any questions on Facebook, they will answer immediately.  I know, because when I asked if it was for sale, they responded in about ten seconds.  My name is Nancy and I'm addicted to Revolution Kites.  It should arrive to it's new home in about four days!!
It was Magic Kingdom time last night, as I headed out with the proper frame of mind.  You have to be mentally prepared to work this gig!!  Everyone had on their best Christmas sweatshirts and blinking Christmas light jewelry.  Those that always complain, complained more than usual.  I would too if I was spending that much on Bingo instead of presents for my kids.  

We upped the game with lots of $25 gift cards from Target and bags of wonderful toasted almonds.  I increased the payouts as much as possible, hoping at least SOME kids and grandkids would get presents this year.  There was the usual "you didn't give me my change" and "you didn't give me my red ticket" .... it's there, just look in your pack of games.  Sure enough, it always magically appeared.  

In return, the Castle Lawyer and I received lots of goodies, but missed out on the brownies.  The guys in the back room sometimes forget we are there, while they down those brownies one after another as fast as possible.  It's okay ... a moment on the lips and all that!!

We left the Magic Kingdom to hugs all around, except for the guy who has to take my place for the next two months!!  As I pulled into my garage, I happened to look down to see my mileage at 99,000.  At 11 years old, my big truck is still humming along.  I usually trade them in at around 80,000, but since this is a diesel, I'm hoping it will last another 20 years, at which point they will probably take my drivers license away.
I'm lunching with the Castle Lawyer today at Hilmar Cheese, where her son works.  Maybe we'll get the inside scoop on their cheese chowder!!  Then it's off to the portfolio review at the local College.  

I'm hoping we don't get any more severe frost warnings ... it's fine for the almond growers, but the citrus farmers are having heart attacks right now, not to mention me when I get that PG&E bill!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Nose Is Frozen!!

It was an icy cold day yesterday as the tree tops swayed in the gale force winds, causing even the turkey buzzards to stay grounded.  Well maybe it wasn't quite THAT bad, but it sure felt like it as I walked two miles around the neighborhood, trying my best to get in a little exercise to combat the Sees Candy box that somehow ended up open on my counter.  At long last, there are only coconut ones left, which I don't care for ... so I'm in the clear for awhile.

I'm still contemplating the treadmill ... at least I could forego the icicles, but they can't get it shipped in time for setup before I leave.  It will have to wait!!

Once outside, my nose immediately froze and my fingertips were like icicles as I pulled down the sweatshirt sleeves and walked a little faster.  The only people in sight were the garbage truck drivers, who got the last of the Sees Candy boxes I purchased.

By the way, if you still need a stocking stuffer or a really nice present for the Mrs., be sure and go online to and pick up Miss Terry's Kitchen in either book or kindle form.  It's a great cookbook to keep in the rig ... making it possible for YOU to eat as good as Nick does!!
After laying in front of the fireplace, playing with Cooper of course, I finally thawed out enough to feed the animals and myself, before printing out my check list for the trip south.  My oh my ... only two weeks left till liftoff.  I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise just talking about it!!

I know, you would think by now I'd be used to driving that thing around the country ... and once I get the first 50 miles under my belt, I'm fine.  Actually, it's not the driving ... it's the what-ifs!  That's the lovely gift my mother passed on to me ... but what if???  Going over the checklist helps ... kinda sorta!!

Since I haven't been anywhere in over two months, I started up the engine ... she purred like a kitten ... and let her run for thirty minutes.  I'm not sure if that was long enough, but I checked the transmission fluid which I'm assuming was okay.  It's hard to hang on to that really REALLY long dip stick while trying to read the fluid level.  I read somewhere that you can push the transmission buttons in a certain order and it will tell you the actual level, but I lost those directions.  Maybe someone can help me out there.  It's a freightliner, if that makes any difference.  

The air filter and oil levels are good, so it was time to run the generator.  Rattle rattle rattle.  It started up just fine, ran like a champ, but there is a definite loud rattle.  I put that on the checklist for Indio when I have the oil changed.

That's about it ... another exciting day in the life of a single woman!!  No baking, since I'm out of some important ingredients like flour and sugar and have enough frozen meals to last two months.  Today as I steel myself for the LAST Bingo night of the year (and the last night of heartburn due to the hotdog dinner), I'll hit the grocery store.  
It's going to be a busy week!!  Lunch out of town with friends tomorrow and critiquing the College Photography class portfolios (that's always fun), then I think I'm being sworn in as a Trustee Thursday.  Not really sure about that one!!

I hope everyone is having a great Christmas season with their families!!  Now to find that wool scarf so my nose won't fall off!!