Thursday, April 30, 2015

Head 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out!!!

I'm taking off for the wild blue yonder this morning after packing some last minute items.  The dogs know something is up and aren't too happy about it!!  They are never thrilled with that first day of travel.  I imagine they can feel my nervousness until I'm a few miles down the road.  Even with so many miles under my belt, I still feel apprehension until I'm on the road for an hour or so.

Can't wait to see my Golden Spike friends for another train adventure!!  Move 'em out ... we're burning daylight!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Danger, Danger Will Robinson!!!

Look out below ... I'm cooking again!!!  Sometimes you just have to get your "volunteer" on and our Bingo group is VERY good at it!!  If there's any non-profit organization needing food, this group provides it, as it did this last weekend at the Relay For Life fundraiser in Merced.  Now this is a BIG pot of pasta!!!
I spent the better part of Saturday afternoon cooking rigatoni.  These aren't a bunch of techno computer guys who read my blog, so my disastrous cooking experiences were a secret .... until that ONE moment!!!  With huge pots two feet across and over two feet tall sitting atop screaming propane burners, SOMETHING was bound to happen, with my record of cooking disasters.
These pots hold baskets so the crab, shrimp or noodles can be removed to serving pans and the water used for the next batch.  While the water was boiling (I got them to use an RV water filter when filling the pot), I kept trying to put the baskets in, but the men knew better, and told me to wait.  That was their SECOND mistake, their FIRST being that they asked me to help.

The next thing I heard was "We're late .. get the pasta in the water"!!!  And so I did what I was told ... I dumped an entire ten pound bag of rigatoni in the boiling water .... without the basket!!!  I tried to run away, but they caught me, dragging me back to help think up a way to get all that pasta OUT of the pot and leave the water.  There's no time to boil another pot full and no extra pots.  Danger ... danger ... heavy pots of boiling hot water!!!!   With lots of ingenuity and pasta water everywhere, we were finally able to make a couple of transfers, getting the pasta into the basket, then back into the pot without scalding anyone.  WHAT A MESS!!  My secret's out .... RATS!!!!

The cooked pasta was then mixed with the pre-made meat sauce, before being served to 300 people.  I also insisted on meat in the sauce this year.  There's nothing worse than pasta with plain sauce!!   Here's a neat trick ... to keep the salad from getting mushy, they placed each serving in a cheapo plastic bag and added a packet of dressing.  There was no soggy salad at OUR dinner!!
Amazingly ... or maybe just because they were in dire need of help, they asked me to come back at 6:00 Sunday morning and cook pancakes.  You've got to be kidding ... after THIS fiasco???

At 4:30 am both of my alarms went off, as I drug myself out of bed.  In order to clear my name, I gathered everything for morning Bloody Mary's and headed back to the College track bleary eyed.
The first order of business was to mix up a 25 pound bag of pancake mix.  For that, you need a BIG whisk.  Instead, they used a drill with paddles, which worked pretty good once the first burst of flour hit everyone in the face!
With this many cooks in the kitchen, all fighting over who was the top dog and how to cook the sausage, I kept my distance.  The truth is, I didn't want to get anywhere near a propane flame or uncooked food.  My motto is let the guys do their guy thing!!!
The first few came out a little overdone, about six inches across and one inch thick.  Uh guys .... maybe you should thin that batter just a smidgen!!  Pretty soon we were serving up breakfast for 250 people.   My job was to place syrup and two pancakes on each plate.   After everyone was served, I picked up the burned ones I tossed over my shoulder on the floor.
Once done, the guys came through the line and we played frisbee with the remaining discs.  Unfortunately for me, I tried one pancake with what they called syrup, and believe me, it tasted worse than anything I EVER cooked.  Totally tasteless ... horrible, to put it mildly!!!  I complained to deaf ears, but believe me, next year you will see Mrs. Butterworth sitting on the counter.  I suppose people won't complain, since lunch, dinner and breakfast were free to anyone who walked up to the counter, but really, there's room for improvement!!

There was a little overkill on the sausage, cooking six huge bags, but it was the tastiest part of the party!!  We all got to take home twenty or more links!!  I passed on the leftover pancakes.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


I still have a big lump on my head and sore muscles from washing the motorhome in preparation for the upcoming rally ..... AND IT RAINS!!!! ... right here in California, where it hasn't rained but two days the entire year!!!  Since I didn't climb up on the roof and wash it too, I'm sure there will again be nice big dirty streaks all down the sides.  I just want to climb back in bed!!  How frustrating that I will again have the dirtiest rig at the rally!!!  RATS!!!
It's not just a little rain either .... it's been coming down since about midnight when I woke up to my gutter chattering on the side of the bedroom.  What's up with that??  I've never heard such a racket ... and I'm sure it's firmly attached.  I see many more ladder trips in my future!!

As I looked out the front window at my sprinklers running full blast ... I upped them a little last night because the grass was dying ... I heard the dreaded waterfall sound to my right, meaning I have a gutter plugged up.  How could THAT possibly be??  Sure enough, the entire length of this gutter from me to that wall, has a curtain of water streaming down in front of the window, thus the big puddle in the flower bed.  It's kind of nice really, sort of like a swimming pool waterfall, but I don't want the entire gutter to fall off!!  I was so sure I had all of this taken care of!!!
The rain is supposed to keep up for another four hours before I'll know the damage done.  It's also going to put a slight damper, literally, on the Relay For Life cancer drive being held at the College track and field stadium all day today.  My Elks lodge, meaning the Bingo Crew, provides dinner for everyone that shows up.  I'm the pasta cooker/timer person, and we are scheduled to start cooking at 4:30 p.m. today, so I hope it quits raining well before then.  I better go find all my rain gear, just in case!!!

Just so you know, I'm not looking at the rig .... I don't want to see all my hard work go down the drain ... I'm not looking, I'm NOT looking!!!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Big Bump In The Road ...

While I wish I had a beautiful garage for my mobile Kissack Kastle to keep it out of the weather, it hasn't happened yet.  The local building department thought I should be much further back from the property lines than is possible.  That means lots of dirt and dust, which stream off the sides when it rains, which happened once ..... about a month ago.  With an upcoming rally, I feel bad because everyone else's rigs are spotless ... immaculate ... shining in the sun.

THAT means a big job for me ... hand washing this beast.  I tried a truck wash once in Oregon, but there was so much damage to the finish, I swore I'd never go through one again!!  With hose, buckets and towels in hand, I got an early start yesterday.  See that back slide sticking out??  I'll give you three guesses what happened!!
With the passenger side done, I went around opening all the bay doors and wiping them down before starting the driver's side.  Sure enough, in a quick senior moment, I raised up under that corner and smacked my head!!  OWWWWW!!!  That quickly put an end to the wash job as a headache spread across my skull.  In minutes I had a HUGE bump.  AGAIN!!!  This hasn't happened too many times, but even once is more than enough.  I'm usually very vigilant about this kind of thing!!  I think I can still feel the bumps from every other time I've raised up under those corners!!

Feeling better after lunch, I managed to finish the job.  A couple of things quickly came to my attention on this side of the rig.  I'm missing something (probably just a drain cover) ... and two covers over the back window drains were very loose and falling off.
I called Tiffin to order the parts, but after 15 minutes on the phone, discovered I was number 25 in the queue.  If you were even number 10, wouldn't you hang up??  I did ... and sent an email with these pictures.  Hopefully I'll get a response in the next couple of weeks!!  If not, I'll just have to call my friend Bob!!
While all of this was going on, both dogs were outside ... Cooper laying in the shade watching me and Jessie ...... hey where's Jessie??  I called and whistled (whistling means a treat and usually brings her on the run) but she was nowhere to be seen.  I checked the house, to find her laying on the couch with a terribly guilty look on her face.  

It didn't take me long to find out why .... WHEW!!!  She apparently found something nice and dead to roll in and she smelled horrible.  In a flash, she was in the washroom in the sink.  It took three washings to get "most" of the smell out.  Yuck!!!  Finally clean, she wasn't very happy about the bath!  Why do dogs DO THAT???
This morning the bump on my head has subsided, but it's twice as sore as yesterday. I guess if I'm going to keep that slide out when parked at home for access to the bedroom closet, I better get a swim noodle and cut it to fit the bottom edge ... I can't afford to lose any more brain cells at my age!!

It's time to print out my RV Travel List and start checking things off.  I found it was much easier to do this than figure out where to put all those electronic cords and stuff I keep buying because I left it home.  I pretty much have two of everything and three or more of several items!!  It also helps me remember things like check the tires, fill the water tank, my phone, my purse, ice cream, the dogs ... you know, the important stuff!!  It's time to get packing ......

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Confession Is Good For The Soul ....

That old adage has been around ever since I was a kid ... confession is good for the soul ... I suppose that means you sleep easier with no secrets to keep you awake at night.  I've already confessed I'm a Fabricaholic, so it's no surprise that I went to one of my favorite stores ... Bearly Quilting in Sonora California.  They have a gentleman there who does all of their long arm quilting ... and boy is he good!!  I guess it takes a man to know equipment ... and Larry knows his long arm like the back of his hand!!  That's why I took this huge queen-size to him for quilting.  Hopefully it will be completed before I leave in June because it's going on the bed in my rig.
Now comes the confession part ... I wasn't in the store two minutes before seeing these amazing colors.  I walked around .... and walked around ... waiting for the BUY ME voices to subside, but they never did.  My guest room ... better known as Patty Chance's room, or the grey room, will look lovely with this addition.  There's Martha Stewart talking again!!
By now it's lunch time and I'm hungry ... no surprise.  Taco Bell is just across the street ... do you see another confession on the horizon??  WOW ... when did their menu change so drastically??  It all looked amazing ... and in a fit of "I'm Starving", I gave in to the crispy chicken quesadilla, smothered in cheese .... OH ... and how about some of those Cinnabon things??  Just the four pack!!

Mmmmmmmm ...... yup I ate every bit of it!!!  Sometimes you just have to give in and confess later!!  While eating, I kept looking in the bag for the cream cheese frosting to dip the cinnabons in, but it was nowhere to be found.  DARN!!!  It was then that the MAGIC happened!!  I took my first bite of that oooey gooey, greasy, cinnamony, soft pillowy, send-you-to-heaven ball of deliciousness and out ran the frosting from the middle!!!  Okay, I confess, I ate every one in about five seconds!!  I think I see Taco Bell in my future!!

Since I'm on a confession roll, my good friend from high school Lynn, who reads my blog, happened to mention something about parties at the ranch ... you know, in the ice age days of being a Senior, or maybe we were Juniors.  I think we were 16 or 17 when I got my first car, which prompted a trip to Disneyland and a stay at Motel 6 ... when it actually only cost $6.00!!  We were pretty adventurous!

Castle Air Force Base was still in full swing, with B-52's flying overhead every day, when we met Lynn's boyfriend, a servicemen, and his buddy.   On a whim, we drove to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  I'll confess, that was a bad idea from the start!  Parked on the edge of the beach (you could do that in the old days) Lynn and her friend went closer to the water, while I stayed in the car and talked.  Honestly, that's all I did ... when lo and behold the POLICE drove up.  YIKES!!!  We weren't doing anything ... not even drinking the beer in the trunk ... at least I wasn't!!!  That stuff tastes nasty!!

Here's the thing about Santa Cruz ... they had what was called a CURFEW.  What the heck is THAT??  Lynn and I found out as they loaded us into the back seat of the police car and drove us to the station for booking, and then to the Juvenile Detention Center!!  At 3:00 am we got a cold shower and Lynn's parents got a phone call.  My parents were out of town, which left my 21-yr old brother who had just gotten his hand radiator-cap scalded at the gas station where he worked.  Someone over 21, preferably our parents, had to drive to Santa Cruz and pick us up!!  Man, oh man, oh man am I in trouble!!!

In the end, Lynn's parents broke us out of jail and never let us forget it, as her step-dad sang "flying over the prison walls" all the way home and every time I saw him after that!!!  There ... I confessed!!! I was a juvenile delinquent!!  We all got a big laugh out of it years later, but standing on the bed trying to talk to each other through the bars wasn't an experience I wanted to repeat ... the cold oatmeal and burnt toast just didn't do it for me either!!

Come to think of it, Cinnabons would do wonders towards easing the pain of THAT confession!!  Which leads to another confession ..... and another ....... oh well, life's too short to worry about the little things!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Prince Charming Comes To The Rescue .....

Long long ago in a land far away ..... oops ... wrong story.  Just yesterday, worried about the programming of the black box, having completed the chores in MY little castle, I began to gather up everything I needed for the trip to the Magic Kingdom.  My first problem was that the magic box must remain plugged in or it will divest itself of all my hard work and I will be back at square one.  My timing had to be exact, so once loaded into the chariot, with the book of magic spells tucked in my purse next to the ruby slippers, I raced off to the Magic Kingdom!!
Breathless, I rushed in carrying the huge box, threw it on the table and tried to plug it in.  You know what happened ... the cord was too short.  So I hauled it around the table and threw it on the floor.  I would have run a couple of tests, but this crazy machine won't work without a full stomach of paper products, and the dungeon where they are kept is locked!

About that time, Prince Charming appeared and offered to buy me a drink.  After explaining my predicament, THAT sounded like a good idea, so off we went to the upstairs tower.  Along the way, we scrounged for adding machine tape, but all the doors were locked and none was to be found.  That drink was sounding better every minute.  Sorry to disappoint Prince Charming, but I had a pepsi while we discussed how to break in to the Kings Chamber.  Amazingly, the bartender found a roll of the correct product, which prompted me to run back down stairs to get the machine up and running.

By that time, the dungeon was unlocked and my supplies came rolling out.  I plugged in the black box with much trepidation, lassoed a peasant to verify my handiwork, and with the very last button ........... we were NOT in business because the last button didn't work right.  Okay, what ugly stepsisters have been messing with the black box???  Out came the ruby slippers .......

Once reprogrammed (I actually remembered how), we were off and running.  Somewhere along the line I remember programming the receipt NOT to advance when we just opened the drawer.  Apparently that means it doesn't advance until your sale is complete.  Not good!!  Since the peasants have trouble deciding what games they want, we really need to be able to pull up that receipt to see what they have purchased so far.  Try as I might to click my ruby slipper heels together, it wasn't happening baby.

Once the peasants paid all their taxes and the King began calling numbers, Prince Charming came and kept me company while I tried to come up with a spell from the Black Magic book.  Unfortunately, since being locked up in the castle alone for so many years, I need quiet to read and think ... which wasn't going to happen as someone yelled BINGO.  ONE WINNER!!!

OH NO!!!!  Cinderella forgot how to do a payout on this new black box!!!!  With the ruby slippers clicking frantically, I tried to read through the half inch thick manual to find the payout instructions.  I know it's here ... the King told me this machine had that function!!  I couldn't find anything, so I just gave them the money.  It's better NOT to have an uprising on your hands in the Magic Kingdom!!!

Eventually I found the correct spell, punched four keys instead of the normal one, as the $250 payout was recorded.  We're not talking pennies here ... which is why the peasants get upset so easily!!

I did get a chance to run a couple of voids and figure out where they were accounted for, while showing Prince Charming how to set up an email account in his new I-Phone.  By the end of the night, I was more tired than if I spent all day on my knees scrubbing floors!!  The amazing part ..... when I finally got out my abacus for the final tally, I was right on the money!!  WHEW!!!  Cinderella was a happy girl!!!!

I'm sure this won't be the end of the story, as the Magic Kingdom is providing dinner for everyone at the Relay for Life fundraiser this Saturday.  This time Cinderella will be stuck in the kitchen, or rather on the College racing track, boiling mountains of pasta.  Hey .... it's better than scrubbing the floors!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

That's What You Get For Living In The Country!!

Spectacular sunsets with amazing colors (like last night), quiet times (except when the neighbor has a party) and really really bad internet service!!  
I've been complaining about my service being bad, thinking I needed a new router, which I probably do, when I received an email from Clearwire, my carrier.  Honestly, from my Property Tax days in the Auditor's office, I knew they declared bankruptcy, and was surprised they were still in business when I signed up for service about ten years ago.  At $40 a month, it was the cheapest wireless I could find, since no one installed lines this far out in the country.

It is interesting to note that my house is wired for Comcast ... or whatever they are calling themselves now, but every time I call to get connected, I'm told they don't service my area.  How can THAT be??

So in this email, it says Sprint has bought out Clearwire and my equipment will no longer be serviced by them, not that they ever serviced it anyway.  It does however say they are "repurposing the Clearwire Network", whatever that means.  Then, in very little tiny letters, it says my equipment won't work at all after November 6.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news Sprint, but it hasn't worked well in MANY years!!   "Call this number to sign up for your NEW service".  I can see the dollars in their eyes.  For all of us country bumpkins who have no alternative for internet service, the price will jump to double!!

I do however, have my $60 a month Sprint MiFi that I use on the road.  Why don't I just use THAT you ask??  I tried, but of course I don't get any signal at my house.  Since the Clearwire tower is less than a mile away, maybe when Sprint repurposes Clearwire's network, I can use THAT wireless device.  Instead of paying for TWO services, I will only have one!!  I'm definitely voting for that option and hoping they use the same tower, but I won't hold my breath.  I guess time will tell.

It's Magic Kingdom Day and I'm not taking any chances.  I'm off to find my ruby slippers AND my glass ones!!!  Here's hoping the spell I cast on the new magic black box will take hold!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Beauties Around Every Corner!!!

There's been so much going on, I don't know where to start, so how about this Beauty!!  My ugly old scratched table has turned into a beautiful NEW scratched table.
You may remember what it looked like before ... the top so scratched that I couldn't even GIVE it away!!  I know ... it still looks trashed ... but it's the latest fad in old furniture, chalk paint trash.
I used a crackle paint on this one ... two layers, the second of which, while drying, turns into this rhino-hide finish.  This wasn't an easy process.  I definitely recommend Michael's crackle medium over what I used.  When waxed with a mixture of white and dark brown, the textures really show up.  The edges were sanded with a small hand sander, which immediately clogged with paint.  That was when I learned you should sand it by hand BEFORE you use the crackle.
I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder loves the new table!!
I spent three days mapping out my summer trip, trying to coordinate those beautiful zero-cost Thousand Trails parks with motorhome repair and quilt shopping!!  It's a beautiful thing when THAT chore is done!!  Now to find fuel stops to match!!

The ranch clean-up bill came ... a beautiful thing for my eyes, to say the least.  Turns out they charged us $2,000 less than the estimate.  Not sure if that's good or bad as far as estimating goes, but my wallet was VERY happy!!

I drug this beauty out of my cabinet again.  If you are looking for a small ice cream maker, this Cuisinart $59 model has been making the best homemade ice cream!!  It's definitely a thing of beauty, especially when filled with peanut butter ice cream!!!  You do have to keep the bowl in the freezer, but it makes a beautiful soft serve in 15 minutes!!
Now THIS is BEAUTIFUL!!!  Especially for an ice cream addict!!
All good things must come to an end, and they did unexpectedly yesterday morning when I fed my two beauties, Cooper and Jessie.  Jessie began to cough ... and as I turned around, she started to have a seizure.  At only ten years of age, my beautiful rescue Jack Russell was losing her balance and acting very funny.  Her neck was stiff, as were her legs, and she kept backing up.  I moved her to the couch and held her for a few minutes, before getting to my phone to Google her symptoms.  Sure enough, everyone described her actions to a T.  She slept quietly most of the day and was back to normal by last night.  If it happens again, we'll have to see about getting some meds.  It's sad to see my growley rambunctious baby not feeling well.

In the back yard, these beauties are happy as can be, blooming like crazy!!  The warm weather is doing wonders for my yard, especially since I got the drip system working again.  The gardener got carried away with his weedeater and broke several lines.  I always complain that these were supposed to be "carpet" roses (apparently not in my landscaper's vocabulary) but they are beautiful and they hide the weed patch horse corral nicely!!
I'm going to spend another day at home with Miss Jessie to be sure she's out of the woods.  I'm also testing the Black Box cash register.  It will definitely be a thing of beauty if it works tomorrow night!!  I still have some programming issues, but can't do much more until the peasants make more paper.  This thing has a definite appetite for wood products.  If it doesn't get any, it quits working until reloaded.  If that happens at the big tax collection party, it would definitely NOT be a beautiful thing!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Apple Doctor And The King!!

GOOD MORNING!!!!   I'm screaming that very loudly this morning so my neighbors can hear!!  I'm a farm girl ... we go to bed and get up with the chickens.  I'm pretty sure even the chickens were awake last night as my neighbor had another beer party.  I just can't imagine anyone so dumb as to let underage kids drink at their house.

With at least 40-50 people talking loudly in their driveway between our homes and cars doors slamming, I actually had to turn my TV up to drown out the noise.  By midnight, I moved to the farthest end of my house and shut all the doors in between, only to be vibrated by the boom box from the car closest to my driveway.  I debated calling the Sheriff, but don't want any bad blood between neighbors, especially when I'm not here that often!!

I'm getting cranky ... a bad sign ... so I called him up and left a nice message.  Really, I was nice as pie.  When he called me back, he sounded like he had been sound asleep.  How is that possible??  He said it was his daughter's party (she's just out of high school) and apologized for the noise.  I have no problem with the kids, after all, they're just having fun (but I was thinking, they should not be drinking, you dummy!!!)  Shortly after, the BOOM BOOM BOOM stopped and I fell asleep.   As I'm typing this,  he is running around my yard picking up all the beer bottles!!  What a nice neighbor!!
In other morning news ..... wait for it ................ there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with my Apple MacBook Pro laptop computer.  In talking to Mark at the "Genius Bar" however, it seems the iMacs have been getting sick and having issues right and left.  He drew blood, took it's temperature and ran a complete body scan to find nothing wrong.  In order to help with the Internet problem, he deleted all of the connection data and asked me to reconnect when I got home.  I'm sure happy she got a clean bill of health.  

My router on the other hand, is at death's door.  Apparently routers are like computers.  The upgrades are so great, so often, that they quickly become obsolete and need to be replaced.  That should increase my speed immensely!!  Mark even moved most of my important data from the old computer to the new.  AND he's cute to boot!!!

The other good news ... the King called to say he had searched all over his kingdom and found a beautiful new black box for calculating tax collection.  The bad news ... he was bringing it by MY house to program!!  Seriously???  I have no clue how to do that!!  "Oh just read the book he said, I have a golf tournament"!!

The NEW black box is heavy, made of metal and a bear to get out of the crate it was packed in.  Whoever wrote THIS magic spell book must have gone to my neighbor's party!!  I've never seen instructions more convoluted than this.  It took me over an hour just to figure out how to change between text and numbers when entering information!!  At least it has FIVE spaces for money, so we can throw away the cardboard box we used as the fifth space.  

Here's a good one ... there is no ON or OFF key.  It's always awake (kind of like me last night), until it goes to sleep for lack of use.  After two hours I was able to cast a couple of spells which seem to be working.  If I can figure out how to get it to spit out totals and breakdowns, I may just leave my ruby slippers home!!!  I have three days ... well two really, because today I plan on catching up on my beauty sleep!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

I Didn't Think It Was Possible ...

But my computer is sick again!!  Like longtime RV'er, writer, kite-flyer, publisher Nick Russell said, there's some guy that's actually paid millions to write these error messages that have us screaming in rage and pulling our hair out!!!

It only connects to the internet when it feels like it, which isn't very often.  Although it tells me it's searching, the allusive servers out in Never Never Land, never seem to answer the phone.  Unlike Nick, I don't have a "Gregg" on my call list, so I'm off to the Apple Doctor later today to see if the problem can be diagnosed, and hopefully repaired with minor surgery!!

Wednesday I made the trip to one of my favorite Cowboy Towns ... Clovis California.  Their big rodeo is this weekend, and being Cowboy Central, I figured I would see lots of guys in ten gallon hats.  I didn't think it was possible, but I did not spy a single one.  Oh wait ... there were the guys with all the lawnmower equipment parked at the gas pumps with their lunch spread out on the tailgate, not letting anyone else fill up.  One of them had a cowboy hat and a beautiful red bandana hanging from his hip pocket while he leisurely sipped his coke!!

Further down the street, traffic came to a complete halt at a green light.  Hey folks, green means go!!  As I inched forward, I found a rather strange looking man doing push-ups in the middle of the street.  Yessiree .... Clovis has changed over the years.  At the insistent honking coming from behind, he finally jumped up, grabbed his homeless cart and pushed off down the middle lane.

I spent some time in the quilt shop gathering different pieces to complete three more ... always, and I mean ALWAYS buy everything you need to finish your project at ONE store.  Six months later, all that fabric has been discontinued and you will never find a suitable replacement!!!  Kind of like my computer trying to find the internet!!

It's lunch time ... and I'm usually not this impulsive ... really ....... no REALLY!!!  When I heard the advertisement for Todd's BBQ on the radio, which just happened to be located down the street, my truck just drove there on it's own.  I ordered a pulled pork plate for $12.95, a little high for me, since I'm in to Lean Cuisine at $2.00 each!!  This sandwich was HUGE ... HUGE with a capital H!!  Five inches across and three inches high, I couldn't even get my mouth around it!!  Having been on this stupid diet, I was in seventh heaven!!!  No way could I eat all of it ... but I was a little piggy who gave it a good shot!!   I also got a pound of brisket to go!  Had I known they had bread pudding, I would have gotten a pound of that also!!!
Not only was it a huge sandwich, but it came with a huge amount of cole slaw (or whatever side you choose).  This isn't one of those small cups ... this is almost a pint!!!  I have to say it had a little too much horseradish for my taste, but if that's your thing, you're going to LOVE this!!  
I really didn't think it was possible for me to lose any weight, even though I stayed on the diet very strictly for the first month and a half ... as soon as I ate that sandwich, every pound came back!!  I've been doling out the brisket to myself in small pieces, so as not to go completely berserk!!  I guess I just love food too much!!!

Well I didn't think it was possible that I would get this blog posted today, but (keep your fingers crossed) it's looking good at this point.  I'm praying that bodes well for my Apple Doctor trip!!  There's more news, but I don't want to push my luck with the internet ...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Dark Night In The Magic Kingdom!!

With high hopes of meeting Prince Charming at the Party thrown by the King every Tuesday, I took the book of magic spells and my abacus to the Castle.  There wasn't a line at the servant's entrance, a good sign in Nottingham.  The King actually arrived on time, opened the dungeon and we set up for business.  In order to test the black plastic machine, I ran a few numbers and zeroed everything out, just before the throngs of peasants stormed the drawbridge.  Note: that's the second time it has been zeroed out according to the Book of Spells.
The faithful Castle Lawyer counted the gold pieces, placed them in the machine and we began to work feverishly.  Almost two hours later, with no Prince in sight (apparently he's on vacation somewhere), we rang up the total to see just how much of the King's coffers would be split among the crowd.

YIKES!!!  The tape read DOUBLE what we normally collect ... and it said we had already paid our normal amount to the masses.  It didn't zero out like it was supposed to.  This is probably just Cinderella error ... so I tried it again.  Same results.  Cinderella promptly turned into the Wicked Witch, and it wasn't even midnight!!

The King showed up just in time to prevent the black plastic machine from being smashed to bits on the Castle floor.  The Lawyer's cool head prevailed as the King agreed to return this infernal machine to it's cave in the Black Forest and find a suitable replacement.  Probably Cinderella error again, but there was no way to get a nightly net profit to balance with the gold coins in the box.  No matter how many times I read the Book of Magic Spells, it had no solution to our problem.

As we wiled away the night, collecting taxes right and left, the Sheriff of Nottingham stopped by for a visit.  It's aways good to have the Sheriff around in case of rabble rousers!!  He also prompted the return of Cinderella to her senses, as we talked about Elks RV Parks in the Northwest.

At the end of the night, we counted everything with my trusty abacus.  Unfortunately, the Lawyer and Cinderella, having no clue how much taxes were actually collected without spending an hour counting (in which case the masses would have stormed the Castle Treasury), we paid out more than we should have!!  Masses - 1   King - Negative 76.

It's almost the witching hour when we turn into pumpkins ... better a pumpkin than the Wicked Witch ... so we packed everything back into the dungeon, as we heard the King proclaim he would find a new black plastic machine before the next party.  This time, BOTH my glass slippers were left on the steps of the Castle as we raced outside.   I'm thinking next week I'll give my Ruby Slippers a try!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

There's Always A Glitch!!!

I have a rally coming up soon ... the Golden Spike group is meeting at Tehachapi to check out the freight trains that make a complete loop over themselves in order to travel over the pass and on to Mohave, heading further East.  This is a fun group that never sits still long enough to cook, so having a crockpot in the rig for our potluck dinners is a must.

I have a HUGE one in my home kitchen and a tiny one in the rig, neither of which will work, so I went looking for a medium sized one that will be JUST RIGHT!!  There were many to choose from ... in fact there were ten varieties at Target alone!!  Most were really large, programmable and lots of bucks.  This one finally got the gold star for perfect size ... 4.5 quart ... and $19.99.
Just to make sure there wasn't a glitch in my plan to cook chili verde for the potluck, I ran a quick recipe of chicken tortilla soup through to test that it would actually heat up.  It did ... and the soup was yummy!!  It probably won't be so yummy after the tenth bowl this week!!
I'm sure you noticed there's no pictures of the beautiful finished table ... there was a glitch with that!! My little friend "always check", who sits on my shoulder, went to sleep when I purchased the two part crackle glaze.  The second jar looked kind of funny, but the gal said it was fine.  I should have checked, because it wasn't fine at all.  In fact, although it's supposed to be liquid, it's as solid as the wax you finish with.  RATS!!!  Another glitch ... another 50 mile round trip to get a replacement bottle!!

In other good news, my quilter finished this Noel quilt, so I got busy sewing the binding and embellishments.  The stars on the trees are buttons, as are the holly berries, with a few snowflakes thrown in on the poinsettias.  It didn't take long for THIS glitch to show up .... not enough buttons!!  
My quilter wanted to take it to her Tuesday class and show the students, so I had to get creative with what I had!!  If she hangs it on the wall and doesn't let anyone get too close, it will pass inspection.  Really, the idea is to showcase her quilting .... which she did nicely considering all the layers!!
Hoping for no more glitches today, I'm off to return the bottle of glue and finish the crackle table, then it's High Ho, High Ho, off to the Magic Kingdom I go ... to AGAIN try and break the black magic spell on the plastic box!!  Maybe I should wear my RUBY slippers instead of the glass ones and carry a bucket of water.  I bet THAT would work!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Chalk Painting 101

It was a spectacular sunny day yesterday ... perfect weather for being outside.  I had another project in mind however, so first, a quick trip to return Queen Elizabeth's choice in colors.  I placed those two bottles on every piece of furniture I planned to paint, and try as I might to imagine a pink and mauve dresser in my rather western theme home, it just wasn't going to happen.  Martha gave it a resounding NO!!

With a couple of new colors in my purse, I headed off to the birthday party for a sweet girl turning 21.  The backyard Traeger barbecue cooked some delicious burgers and her family made my kind of potato salad!!

Before the family photos (I was the assistant to the photographer at this shindig), she blew out her candles and we all scarfed down cake and ice cream.  Imagine our shock when we noticed that everyone's teeth, braces, mustaches and chins were dyed blue from the frosting.  Although I thought it would make for the best birthday party pictures EVER, no one else concurred, and the photo session was cancelled.

Now for the painting project!!  It's time this very old unused table got a new life!!  Turn your project upside down and paint the bottom first.  Oh, did I mention there is NO PREP WORK!!  No sanding, no scraping ... just wipe the dust off and start painting!!  Since the hardware will be antiqued also, you don't even have to remove it ... just paint right over the metal.  This stuff is like magic!!
Then turn it right side up and finish covering the entire table.  It took all of two ounces to complete this piece, with just a tad of water.  But wait ... this is only the beginning.  There will be another coat, some amazing crackle paint and two kinds of wax before it's done.  There are no mistakes here ... the more haphazard the application, the more original (and old looking) the end product will be.  
You do have to let it dry between coats, which took all of fifteen minutes.  I'll keep working on it and post pics.  Who knew this was so easy??  And the best part ... you can paint anything from wood, to metal, to plastic ... you can even dye fabric for curtains and paint over fabric chairs.  Don't worry, Martha put a stop to those thoughts!!!  I can't wait to get started on it today!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Painting With Queen Elizabeth!!

I'm one of those people who just can't sit still.  I have to be doing SOMETHING!!  It's even hard for me to sit and read a book, unless I'm in the Emergency Room at the Hospital!!  It's a curse ... and can be an expensive one!!  So in an effort to curb the Martha Stewart new furniture syndrome, or quilt number twenty five, when I saw a class being offered at my favorite antique store, I immediately signed up!!  When I got the phone call Friday that everyone had cancelled, I cringed, knowing I would spend the day inside my refrigerator.  That's the worst part of this affliction ... with nothing to do, I EAT ... EAT ... EAT!!!

Apparently I whined enough because the instructor invited me to her home to learn this new craft ... Chalk Painting.  As she showed me all the examples around her house, most of which were unfinished, I became a little wary, until I met her five kids ... rescued kitties, none of which weighted under 20 pounds!!!  I guess they have kept her too busy to finish her projects.  At any rate, I learned six different techniques to paint anything, from your kitchen cabinets to furniture .... and crown molding (no Martha, go away!!).
These are the supplies required for my project ... two fairly expensive brushes, the paint and a can of soft wax for the final coat.  This paint comes from England, where most people wax their furniture instead of using varnish or polyurethane coatings, or so she explained.  This can't be easier ... clean the item, brush on the paint using whichever technique gives you the desired results, let it dry and apply the wax.  You're done!!  No sanding, no mess, no fuss.  Now you wouldn't think this finish would last, but my patio furniture is finished this way and it has lasted OUTSIDE in my dirt encrusted back yard for four years with no ill affects.
This is the table I plan to refinish first ... so badly scratched, no one wanted it.  Once finished, I'll post a couple of pictures.  
In case you didn't already know, the newest addition to Queen Elizabeth's family will be a girl ... or so  they say, since the Palace just ordered these two colors of this exact chalk paint to be used on the new nursery furniture.  Who knew I would be painting with Royalty!!!
As I made my final purchases in the store before returning home, the wind blew their door shut, breaking a couple of small items.  I never gave the wind another thought until I got home.  As I pulled in the driveway, I saw my umbrella skimming across the back lawn, disappearing behind the garage.  YIKES!!!!!  DOUBLE YIKES!!!

How in the world did it get OUT of the table???  I ran to the back, grabbed it as it flew by and jerked it to a stop, desperately trying to reach the handle to close it up.  With that done, I went to survey the damage to my beautiful cactus plants!!  The largest one was laying on it's side, precariously balanced and ready to fall off the table, which was still upright.  That was it ... no damage and nothing hit the ground, except the umbrella!!  From now on, I'll leave it in the DOWN position unless I'm sitting under it!!  It's always an adventure at Kissack Kastle!!
I'm off to a birthday party today, but should be back in time to put the first coat of paint on my table.  I wonder if Kate or the Queen will be doing the painting??   Nah ... probably William, right???

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Gutter, The Lion And The Aliens!!!

This is getting tiresome, this gutter thing, but sometimes you just have to deal with creepy crawlies and muck!!   Coming from a cattle ranch, I'm not very squeamish!!  Much as I wasn't looking forward to another day climbing up and down the ladder, I literally drug it out of the garage and set up for another day of cleaning the front side of the house, hoping I didn't run into any more awful carcasses to deal with.

Wishful thinking ... but at least this time they were smaller, like snails, that went down the downspout rather easily.  I did find one rather curious creature!!  A lion!!  How in the world did THIS get in the gutter??  Gingerly I grabbed an ear and threw it to the ground.  KIDS!!!  From shooting out my Direct TV transponders to breaking my windows to lions in the gutter!!  What fun!!!
The good news ... the front gutters were relatively clean, not requiring hours of de-sanding and washing!!  YAY!!!  Now to figure out a fix for the sagging gutter in the back.  I can definitely relate to sagging, and try as I might, I couldn't resolve the problem without another clip or two to provide some support.  I wish they had clips for humans!!  
As I backed out of the garage and turned into the street, what should I see but a HUGE X in the sky!! Yikes ... aliens are landing!!  Never in my 60-something years have I seen anything like this!!  It was interesting to say the least, but I'm on a mission, so off I went to Home Depot looking for those thingies that hold your stuff up.  While there, I also looked for 1-3/4 inch screws to hold the handles on my RV drawers.  No, they aren't installed yet ....... there were some technical difficulties with the screws!
Do you know how many different types of gutter clips here are?  LOTS ... and I'm not the best guesser when it comes to stuff like this.  Not being a chemist, I had no idea that you can't use galvanized clips with copper gutters.  Who in the world knows THAT??  The guy at Home Depot knows .... oh well, these look like the ones I have ... and I purchased four.  Back home, I made a very interesting discovery while perched on top of my ladder.  All my beautiful, amazing, gorgeous copper gutters and downspouts aren't really copper!!  Shhhhhh don't tell anyone!!  They look real enough, right??  They're painted ..... what a letdown!!!!  At least there won't be any chemistry going on over my head dissolving the gutters into goo!!  
FINALLY ... the gutters are all repaired and in good shape for the next four years.  I'm in the market for a honey who can do my honey-dos, preferably young and familiar with gutter clips!!  

On to the next project on the list .... this will be the third time I've bought screws since there is no way to get an accurate measurement of the required length.   How can such a simple task be so aggravating!!  With no 1-3/4 inch screws available, I tried to make the smaller ones work, at least until I can acquire some correct ones.  By switching the handles and screws around, I was actually able to get two installed.  NOT these two at first ... because the holes here were not drilled wide enough apart.  Instead of putting it off for another day, I grabbed my trusty Makita drill (amazingly still charged) and drilled .... and drilled ..... and eventually got the holes wide enough to install two more handles.  The rest will have to wait for longer screws!!
You would think that would be enough for one day, but no ... I'm a glutton for punishment ... and I wanted to get those plants in the ground before they died.  Cooper helped me ... well not so much .... he kept nosing the ball into the hole I was digging.  I think his brain is permanently stuck at two years old!!!  
With the last of the day's projects complete, I fell like a lump onto the couch just as the aches and pains hit.  I went over the "ad" in my head ..... Classy RV Cradle Robber looking for a much younger cowboy-type.  Must be financially independent and have big muscles, who can climb a mean ladder, handle a big drill and love to travel, along with long walks on the beach and country music!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Day In The Gutter!!

It's a new dawn ... it's a new day ... and I still have that "problem" in my back yard.  If the roofers didn't fix it, and MY repair didn't fix the problem, I don't hold out much hope that this IS fixable without a lot of green dollar bills being thrown around.  Between the ranch and the IRS, I'm shortening my diesel-fuel-RV-driving time considerably!!!  

It's time to put on my thinking cap, drag out the ladder and find a solution.  The first big problem encountered is that all my gutters are twelve feet high, with my ladder being a measly TEN foot tall.  With several RV acquaintances having recent ladder accidents ranging from a shattered heal to concussions, I'm going to be MORE than safety conscious.  
I seriously didn't think the gutters needed cleaning.  After all, I'm not near ANY trees where debris might clog things up, but I grabbed my trusty little garden spade and headed up the ladder.  Perched on the next to the last step, I peered into the gutter to see lots of water.  Yup ... I expected that!!  I could also see that the gutter was completely out from under the roof tiles and several screws were loose.

There was no way that much water was going to run uphill, so down the ladder (DTL), I grabbed two more wine coasters and forced it up another inch.  Back up the ladder (UTL) ... nothing.  It was THEN I made the discovery!!!  There's at least two inches of mud in the bottom, the entire length of the gutter.  No wonder it's pulling away and about to fall off completely!!!  WHAT??  How could THAT be???  They were just cleaned two years ago ... or maybe it was four, but who's counting!!  The good news is that my repair of last year on the left side was holding nicely.  It was the OTHER side of the gutter that was in trouble.
DTL I find a big bucket, drag it UTL and start to clean out the gunk with my little spade.  As you can imagine, 25 more up and down the ladders, I finished one side.  UGH!!  This is going to take for...EVER!!  Believe it or not, I filled that 3 gallon bucket to the brim, almost broke my finger trying to dump it in the back yard before getting the hose hooked up to a sprayer and heading BACK UTL to wash out the remaining topsoil!!  With all that weight gone, the water actually flowed .... at least better than before.

By now my arms and legs are like jello, but I have one more side drain to clean.  This is the nastiest muckiest stuff!!!  Well except for that one dead bird who was clogging the downspout that I crammed down with a coat hangar!!  At this point I didn't have the bucket, so I threw the gunk on the lawn.  That was a big mistake on my part ... Cooper ran right under me about the time I threw the biggest handful.  There was so much that the trusty spade wasn't as trusty as my hand.
Cooper thought that huge splat of nasty gunk on his back meant we were playing ... what a mess!  He played himself right into bath-time ... his least favorite sport.  It took three shampoos to get the black goo out of his coat.  I wasn't in much better shape ... good thing I didn't need those old tennis shoes as I dropped them in the garbage can!!
Before the Oh-My-What-Did-I-Do kicked in, I made a quick trip to Home Depot for some filler plants to replace those that have passed on to the garden in the sky.  Rosemary and lavender should do well on little water.
At this point half the house gutters are clean.  I still have to crawl up the ladder with my drill and some screws to try and raise it enough that water flows the correct direction.  Not that I expect it to rain again any time soon ... but I will again go UTL and DTL until all the gutters are working correctly.  But first, I have to hit the drugstore and stock up on ADVIL!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention!!

You've heard that old saying, right??  Well during that glorious storm yesterday, filled with rain, hail and heavy winds, Necessity stepped right up to the plate!!  I was sitting on the couch relaxing, having turned the fireplace on to break the chill, when I heard that ominous sound of a waterfall.  As I wandered over to the kitchen, I SAW the waterfall outside my window.  YIKES!!!  The gutters were about to fall off the house!!

What to do ..... what to do!!!!  Obviously I can't reach that high ... I could stick my ladder under the edge ... what else??   YAY!!  The lightbulb went on .... all those poles from trees planted out front that I saved for no other reason than they wouldn't fit in the garbage can!!  I got soaked as I rummaged through the pile trying to find the longest one.

Too short!!!
What else have I got???  An upside down flower pot .... still too short.  I ran back inside and found a cake pan three inches high!!  YES, maybe ... STILL too short as I pushed up as hard as I could to relieve some of the water pressure!!  Finally I reached over to grab a rock wine coaster ...... and ...... YES -- PERFECT!!!  All the while I'm doing this, the waterfall is falling on my head, but I got the gutter supported (and raised) enough so the water would flow out the downspout, kinda sorta!!
You can see the drips all along the edge.  This is the exact section the roofers repaired two years ago ... and I again screwed to the facing last year ... none of which have worked!!  It's just low enough that all the water runs to this end, causing the gutter to pull away and leak.
My handiwork!!!  At least it didn't fall off the building.  Today when the rain stops, I will again crawl up the ladder and see if there is any way I can solve the problem!!  Unless I glue some branches and leaves on this pole, it isn't going to look pretty on my patio!!  
Another BIG storm is predicted for this morning, then it's sunshine for the next two weeks.  Too bad it hasn't been doing this every day.  I miss the whoosh of the wind, the patter of rain and the resulting mess to clean up!!

My succulents are happy in the rain however, as are my rose bushes in the top picture.  You know, the "carpet roses" my landscape gardner planted?  I've never seen carpet roses four feet tall, but they are kind of pretty and they bloom like crazy.  This little flower pot has lasted two months now ... even with my black thumb!!
There's not much time left to pay your taxes if you owe anything.  I can't see how I can owe the IRS when I spent $14,000 on a rental roof repair, but apparently I only get to write off $328 a year.  Now THAT'S ridiculous!!!  They also pulled the old trick ... we'll make you think you are getting more money in your check, by not collecting as much taxes every month.  Hehehe ..  they will spend more money, that way increasing the economy and WE (the government) will get the credit.  Then we'll stick it to them by charging the SAME amount of taxes at year end!!!  Hahahahahaha .... I can just HEAR their evil laughter!!!   SOOOOOOOOO irritating they pull these kind of tricks on an unsuspecting nation.

On a happier note, the Magic Kingdom went well with 145 happy campers, except Cinderella and the Castle Lawyer, neither of whom could balance with the flimsy plastic machine.  We finally decided I should take the Magic Book of Spells home with all the tapes and try to figure out what the bleep it was doing with the refunds ... our mistakes actually ... that we "think" is causing the problem!!!  So it's going to be a long night in the castle dungeon!!  Maybe Necessity will come visit me again and I can invent something to make the evil machine work correctly!!