Monday, November 30, 2015

That Ugly Nine Letter Word .....

LEFTOVERS ......  What in the world do I do with all this leftover turkey and dressing, not to mention the three quarts of green bean casserole.  After perusing the internet for recipes, I finally decided on Pioneer Woman's turkey tetrazzini.   There were rave reviews and it didn't involve cream, so I gathered the ingredients and went to town.

It took almost an hour to get it put together because I had to keep running to the television to watch the Raiders football game.   Since the recipe sounded like enough to feed an army, I cut it in half.  When it was all said and done, I had enough to feed a family of eight.  RATS!!  MORE LEFTOVERS!!

It came out okay ... not as tasty as I expected ... but it's an inexpensive meal that will last me for two weeks at least.  Maybe I should have used more wine ......

This guy came to visit again, causing the local birds to dive bomb him, squawking and screeching enough to raise the dead.  I could hear the commotion clear inside the house!  I wonder if hawks like cornbread stuffing??
The second I stepped outside, I stepped back in.  With no clouds and no El Nino on the horizon, it was a chilly 31 degrees under my patio, making the outside a frozen 29 degrees.  I should be in Arizona!!  Even the puppies didn't want to wander across the lawn!!  My nose was even frozen in spite of the fireplace.
I tested my acting skills all day long .... switching between being a couch potatoe and a bump on a log.  I put the final touches on this small quilt, wrapping it up for my quilter.  Won't she be surprised when I drop off SIX at her house ... or is it seven.  I've really lost track!!
I know everyone isn't into football ... especially the ladies ... but yesterday's game between the Patriots and the Broncos in the snow storm was one of the best I've seen in a long time.  With practically everyone hurt, the Patriots tied the score in the last few seconds ... overtime.  

It looked so cold on the field that I turned up MY fire to warm them up.  In the end, with the legendary Payton Manning out, Brock Osweiler threw an amazing touchdown to win the game.  The catches these guys make are beyond comprehension .... with the fingertips ... one handed!!  I really don't care who wins, I just like to watch the cute guys in their tight pants!!!

Back to the leftovers ... I pawned the green beans off on my neighbor and now only have four quarts of cornbread stuffing to dispose of.  I'm pretty sure the turkey vultures will clean it up if I dump it in the corral.  I discovered they have been roosting in a pistachio field and then in my corral ... on the ground!!  

I know this because Jessie required another bath!!  I finally used my detective skills to follow her to the crime scene.  I'm pretty sure she won't do that again ... my screaming and wildly waving arms sent her back to the house shivering in her boots!!  Hey ... if you saw what she rolled in, you would do the same!!!  Her punishment was another bath ... poor baby!!

Now lets see ... who can I dump (I mean donate) this turkey tetrazzini casserole to??

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Back To Business!!

Back to the old drag, actually!!  Dieting sucks big time.  I really did my best not to overeat, only having one large plate of food each of two days.  One moment on the lips, forever on the hips.  That two day lip movement cost me three pounds, probably because of the cheesecake!  Of course sitting around doesn't help either, but at my age, I'm tired of running and working out with no corresponding results.  It's frustrating!!

Almost as frustrating for little Cooper is his current ball.  He's having trouble getting it to roll, can you tell?  Rarely does he chew up a ball like this.  That remaining half just doesn't want to roll very far!!  Still, we played with it for the entire day!  At least it didn't roll under the couch!!
In an effort not to throw out all the leftovers, I've tried to get back on the diet, using only small paper plates.  This turkey, cranberry, dressing sandwich half was the first of many to come.  I think I have enough dressing to sink a battleship!!
Just to get some exercise, I wandered over to the furniture store ... the only one in town ... to see what they might have in the way of a headboard for my queen bed.  My choices were to purchase a new King mattress ... $2000 (mine is 20 years old and getting saggy ... kind of like me!) ... but really, I don't want a high-in-the-sky king bed any more .. it's relegated to company,  OR I could purchase an entire queen bedroom set (using my own mattress) for well under $2000,  OR I could purchase just a headboard, which you can't, because they want you to purchase the ENTIRE set.

Decisions, decisions!  I think I got in almost two miles as I wandered around the store trying to decide what to do.  It's a beautiful set, much lower to the ground, just what I want, and with Christmas pricing, it's hard to beat.  The final decision came down to whether they could deliver it BEFORE Christmas.  So how does next Tuesday sound??  SOLD!!  Pictures to come later.

So when I got home, I began the process of weeding out existing furniture that has no heart string value.  One of the sales pitches began with "You can sell your furniture to the thrift store around the corner ... they will even come pick it up!"  I never even knew they existed ... but all the better to get rid of even MORE stuff.
Minimal is my new word of the day, as I go through the house marking stuff to be gone.  Next up will be the closet stuffed so full of bedspreads and pillows I can't even open the door!!  

Maybe a yard sale??  Oh bite your tongue Nancy .... yard sales are a BIG hassle and you really don't want to go there!!  I wonder who I might talk into helping me??  It's too cold.  Maybe in the Spring?  The light bulb goes on ........ stop it Nancy, you're talking to yourself again!!  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Times Two!!

Finally ... the Thanksgiving full moon!  I actually remembered to go outside and set up my tripod for a picture with my new lens.  It probably would have been a good idea to try the setup first.  The lens is so heavy, not to mention the weight when it's attached to the camera .... that the tripod wouldn't hold it at an angle.  I'm sure there is something somewhere on that joystick head that will tighten it down, but it's kind of hard to see in the dark!!

This is just so cool .... if you enlarge the picture, you can see mountains and craters.  I never really noticed that before.  It also helps if the moon is just rising.  Once it's a little further up, there's too much light from the sun to see anything but a big blob!!
We had a severe freeze warning for the last two days, putting the chill in everything except the roosters who were again crowing as I snapped these two pictures.  It almost looks like I'm on an island in the ocean instead of just down the street.  
Okay, I admit I took the light pole out of the picture with a new trick I recently learned, but the rest is just as spectacular as it was in person.  At a chilly 32 degrees, I didn't stay outside long!!
What's better than one Thanksgiving dinner??  TWO dinners!!  My long time friend (we worked together at the County for about ten years) invited me to dinner with her family.  It's one of those funny coincidences ... I worked with her Dad at the County years earlier, graduated from high school with her sister, then ended up working as an accountant at the desk next to her.  This is her grandson Braden, chowing down on a turkey leg.   
They have a crazy device I've never seen before.  It's an electric turkey deep fryer (no flame, no fire).  It takes about 8 quarts of oil and heats up while you prepare the turkey in a basket.  Then you gently drop the basket down into the oil.  That 14 pound puppy cooked in 50 minutes and came out mighty tasty and juicy!!  Even the packet of giblets cooked right along with the meat.  See ... I'm not the ONLY one!!!

Since I made that new recipe cheesecake, I volunteered it for dessert duty.  I was pretty skeptical since as I took it out of the oven, butter ran out the bottom of the pan.  I loudly proclaimed a disclaimer when we cut it up for dessert, but I have to say it came out wonderful.  Not dense and hard, but soft and DELICIOSO!!  This Paula Deen pumpkin cheesecake recipe is a keeper!!!
Most of it disappeared immediately, but I was able to salvage a piece to take home, which I just ate with my coffee.  Since I have all the ingredients and this dessert freezes really well, I'm going to make another one!!  

Two days of Thanksgiving, how cool is THAT!!  And I thought there would be NONE!!  Now to gather up my checkbook and begin my Black Friday shopping on Saturday!!  Mama needs a new bed!!!

Friday, November 27, 2015

I Can't Believe I Ate The WHOLE Thing!!

I hope everyone had a great day, stuffing themselves to the brim with yummy turkey.  I'd hate to think I was the only one who over ate!!  By 6:00 I was crying Uncle on the couch!  I can't believe I ate this entire plate of food!!
Clean as a whistle!!
While I prepared the turkey and stuffing in the morning, Miss Jessie languished on the back of her favorite chair when my first problem arose.  For some reason nowadays, they are not adding the little package of spice to the bag of stuffing you buy in the store.  I always mix in a little of the bread with my cornbread, along with the spice bag.  OH NO!!  I cleaned out my spice drawer a couple of weeks ago and I bet I'm out of poultry seasoning.  
I took absolutely every single jar out of the cupboard and lucky for me, there was one small bottle that had fallen behind everything else.  Poultry seasoning!!  THAT saved the day!!  I made the green bean casserole about mid morning and it was all going swell until I realized I forgot to get cranberry sauce.  No problem .... I still have some fresh cranberries in the fridge leftover from the bread I made.  

I've never made cranberry sauce before, but I'll give anything a shot.  It was pretty simple, just follow the Ocean Spray directions.  Trouble is, they forgot to say "never leave the stove while this comes to a boil".   I'll clean up that horrible boiled sugar and fruit mess later today.

My turkey didn't come out as pretty as the last one you saw on my blog ... mostly because for the first time ever, I decided to cook it upside down like the turkey growers do.  It supposedly makes the turkey breast juicier.  I guess that kind of worked, but I'd hate to serve this to company.  

I can't say how much I appreciate the Elks for donating this guy for my dinner, but honestly, I wish they would have gotten Butterballs as in the past.  THIS was the toughest turkey I've had in my entire life.  Target's Market Pantry poultry is positively the pits!!!
My new-recipe casserole came out really yummy ... no soup mix here, you make your own sauce with shallots, mushrooms, half and half and some parmesan cheese.  
Here's what I learned this Thanksgiving.  No matter how hard it is to gather all the ingredients and make something from scratch, it ALWAYS tastes better than what comes from a box.  My cornbread was the best ever, the giblet gravy delicious (no lumps) ... even my overflowing cranberry sauce was the best I've ever eaten!  That's why I consumed the entire plate of food!!  There were no burials at Kissack Kastle on Thanksgiving 2015!!
By 7:00 the puppies were sound asleep on the couch while I watched the football game and a couple of those Christmas movies that are on several channels now.  I've come to learn that it's okay if I'm single .... my Prince Charming will come at Christmas, probably Santa's Son, who will Ho Ho Ho and sweep me off my feet .... or he'll be a billionaire that needs someone to do his Christmas shopping, Bah Humbug ... that is if my Russian Fiance doesn't work out!!  
I hung our stockings with care before I went to bed, making sure to turn the fireplace off, just in case my PC decides to come a little early.  This is about the extent of my holiday decorations this year.  You'll notice there's one extra, just in case
Jonathan would like to thank everyone for not putting him on the menu this year.  He was so happy, he provided the entertainment all day, talking and screaming, thereby getting Jessie to howl, whereupon he screamed even louder.  What a character this guy is!!
It's Black Friday ... are you going shopping?  Me either!!  Although the thought did cross my mind, just to see what it was like.  I'd rather do my shopping on-line in the peace and quiet of my home ... except for the screaming bird and howling dogs!!  

Saturday is small business day ... so if you HAVE to shop, leave a few bucks at a small local business.  They could really use the influx of cash!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Big HAPPY THANKSGIVING ... Gobble Gobble

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends today.  I'm pretty thankful for everything all year long ... I've been blessed to be sure ... but this time of year I like to pass it on to perfect strangers.  

I made a quick trip to the grocery store yesterday at 8:00 am, hoping to miss the crowds.  WRONG!!  The place was packed and the lines pretty long.  My idea was to pay for someone's groceries, but the guy ahead of me beat me to it, except he bragged about how much money he had while doing it!! Still, it was a really nice gesture.  So the lady behind him, wanted to pay for mine.  I let the checker get a few things through, then stopped him (my bill was well over $100).  I appreciated her gesture tremendously, but told her I had more money than THAT guy!!  I paid for the remainder and we had a good laugh!!  Before I left, I paid for the elderly lady behind me, who gave me a huge hug!!!  It truly makes you feel good.   I had the biggest smile on my face as I drove out the parking lot.
That wasn't enough for me however .... I stopped in at another very small grocery store and walked around handing out happy Thanksgiving wishes along with cash.  There's lot of places you can donate money, but most spend more on the CEO than they do on the people who need it.  I'm telling you folks .... there's nothing that makes the heart happier than helping a mom and her little girl or maybe grandma have a wonderful exciting day.  I was smiling from ear to ear when I left.  I even gave my last few dollars to a lady in the parking lot who was irritated that I was backing out and she had to wait.  

I could have kept that money and bought something for myself, like a new bed, another pair of boots or a visa for my Russian Fiance .... but seeing the look of shock turn to smiles on those faces just made my day!!!  

When I finally made it home, I dug out Paula Deene's recipe for pumpkin cheesecake.  I still have four cans of pumpkin in the cupboard.  It turned out really well ... I think.  The taste test after dinner will reveal if that's true or not.
Since I decided to roast, not smoke my turkey (what??  No dressing or gravy or hot turkey sandwiches said I ??) I went about fixing some cornbread for the stuffing.  I have several of those little boxes in the cupboard, but for some reason decided to make the REAL stuff, since I found some cornmeal in the fridge.  Yeah, I keep lots of weird things in the fridge so they last longer.  

A minor disaster was averted when I discovered I was following the recipe for sweet corn muffins instead of cornbread.  See how easily I can get in trouble??  You can tell by the looks on the faces of the puppies that it came out WONDERFUL!!  I guarantee I will NEVER make that box stuff again!  It was just delicious!!!
On with the cooking ... this isn't MY turkey, but it's what I hope mine will look like when it comes out of the oven this afternoon!!  Since I'm cooking for myself, I'm trying out a couple of new recipes. Better to do a test run on me than a big RV group!!  I'm doing a version of the green bean casserole, brussell sprouts with squash, garlic mashed potatoes and of course turkey and gravy.  If you see big flames in the sky followed by the sound of sirens, I probably had a minor problem!!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone ... remember the reason for the season!!  
Gobble Gobble ..... or in Russian .... Mooooooo Moooooo

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Another Unique Experience!

It's always something different at the Magic Kingdom of Bingo, and last night was no exception.  I'm a slow starter on Tuesdays since I don't have to get all snazzy until noon time.  Cooper is quite the snuggle bug in the mornings, so we just hung out on the couch and played potato.
As I made the rounds of the house later, I took a few pictures of the things I want to get rid of ... and there's quite a few items.  I have two coffee tables, three chairs, a fainting couch and another queen bed.  I'll keep the king bed for the time being ... might even chop the legs off to lower it, although that may not be enough.  I tried putting steps up for Jessie ... even covered them with treats ... but she's an old dog that doesn't want to learn any new tricks.  She would still want to jump down, which at her age isn't a good idea.

Really, I'd love to put an ad on Craig's List or in the local paper, but I've heard too many horror stories about people who come to your door and I've probably watched too many cop shows!  I doubt they would buy anything when confronted with a gun as I opened the door.

I did sell this chair last night to the Castle Lawyer however.  This is the too-large recliner I bought for the rig.  I made her a deal she couldn't refuse ... so that's ONE down!!
It was a slow night in Bingoland ... the third week of the month the peasants are usually low on money, paying for everything with nickles, dimes and never the correct amount of pennies.  Our Elks Lodge has a Boy Scout Troop who wanted to have a canned food drive for the local Food Bank as part of their activities.  What better way than to ask the peasants to bring two cans of food in return for one free bingo card.  I have to say I'm pretty proud of our group of players, who brought box after box of canned goods instead of the required two.

Can you believe it?  There was no fighting, no arguing and no cheating (that I know of)!  This small troop of Boy Scouts left with more stuff than they could carry, including 14 canned hams.  You should have seen the smiles on their faces!!  There were eight totally excited kids who vowed to gather even more next year!!  Now THAT was a unique experience in the Kingdom!!
Instead of the human variety of teddy bear, Cooper and I spent the last hour of the day snuggling again.  I don't know what I'd do without these little roommates.
I got the laugh of the year this morning when I read the comments on yesterday's blog.  Apparently I need a Russian husband who I can ply with lots of vodka so he doesn't mind my cooking,  and who can help me around the house.  A 90-day fiancĂ© ... THAT's what I need!!  At the end of 90 days, I'll just ship him home!!!

Today I have to brave the supermarket lines ... I'm going really early ... to pick up a few last minute items for my turkey dinner.  Another storm is expected over Thanksgiving, which is just fine with me!  I'll get even more puppy snuggle time while I brush up on my Russian language skills.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Weeding Out The House ...

There's been a gorgeous moon the last few nights.  I had every intention of sitting outside with my camera and tripod to get some great images of the stars, but the moon was so bright, there were no stars visible.  Okay then, we'll shoot the moon!!  I think the full moon will show itself tonight, but I'll be at the Elks Magic Kingdom around 7:00, the best time to photograph it.  Maybe Wednesday night!
Early yesterday morning, I noticed Jessie sitting on the back of my recliner, on point, not moving a muscle.  When I stepped outside, I discovered why.  I had a new visitor to the back yard, one I've never seen before and one who obviously doesn't know the rules.  She was on point on the fence, not taking her eyes off something in the grass below.  I snapped this picture just before she jumped down.  I hope she doesn't make a habit of this, since Jessie doesn't allow kitties in HER territory!!  That's the rule!!!
The rest of the entire day was spent moving furniture.  I have WAY too much and need to donate several pieces.  Twenty years ago, this bed was awesome ... you need a ladder to get into it and I'm pretty sure just the footboard alone weighs over 200 pounds.  Luckily, I can still climb that high at night, but it's a different story for little Jessie, who just turned 11 years old.  She's fallen a couple of times jumping up, which scares me.  Much as I love the bed, I decided to put it in the guest bedroom and find something lower to the ground.  
I got it apart with no problem and used those plastic things under the feet to move the footboard, but as you can see, the headboard didn't go far.  I dismantled the guest bed and set it up here, in spite of the cheesy frame that came apart the first time Jessie and I tested it.  Mighty puny looking if you ask me.  I'm not sure this queen bed will be big enough for all three of us!!  Cooper thinks it's great though ..... he has twice the amount of room to chase his ball around!!
I'm hoping to recruit a couple of guys from Elks tonight, to come and help me move the rest.  I have a large television cabinet, a recliner and a couple of small end tables to donate before I have enough room to set up the big bed.  I figure if I weed out all but the necessities, there will be a lot less to move when the time comes.  That's a pretty tall order in my house, but I'm up for the challenge!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dating and Turkeys ... Or Dating Turkeys!!

If anyone cooking Thanksgiving Dinner has a rock hard turkey shivering in the freezer, it's time to take it out.  In the OLD days, we did this the day before and left it in the sink overnight.  Now, in modern times they say that is a no-no.  You should let it defrost in the refrigerator, where mine sits as we speak.

There were a couple of years that I forgot and had to use a hammer and chisel to get the giblets out of the cavity.  They really don't cook very evenly either, if not thoroughly thawed.  This baby, my gift from Bingo, will be smothered in spices inside and out, then cooked in my smoker.  There's going to be a LOT of turkey for just one person!!
Speaking of turkeys .... several of my acquaintances have suggested I try on-line dating.  I even know a couple of women that have had success.  I just can't get myself to do it, mostly because I can't write a description of myself, and I figure when they find out what a good cook I am ... well you get the picture.    Oh I've looked at all the sites alright, but funny ... the same guys are on there for years.  Still, it's fun to see who's available.  Most of the guys my age are looking for 30-50 year old models, no game-playing, no drugs and no drama, but please have plenty of money!!

I was hoping one day I would find Tom Selleck or maybe Robert Redford in the list picked JUST for me .... but so far it's been a bust.  There are many more turkeys than prize winners.  Fellas ... don't take a picture of your boots, or your dog, or the mountain behind you or your belly as I saw this morning.  Women want to see your face!!  Those that take real close-up pictures next to the concrete wall are probably in prison and need not apply!!

Farmers Only would be the natural place for me to look ... at least we would have something in common, right?  Finally, my dream cowboy appeared real close to home, I'm talking 30 miles away.  Good looking, owns a small ranch, loves horses and dogs, traveling, country music and walks on the beach.  I think they all subscribe to walks on the beach.

Anyway, THIS just might be the guy I can spend the rest of my life with, traveling around the country in my RV and riding the back country on his horses.  We have SO much in common!!  Except for one minor incident ..........

He was just arrested for kidnapping, terrorist threats, battery, rape and attempted murder of a local woman he found on Farmers Only.  Yup .... right here in River City ... one of probably hundreds of predators hanging out on dating websites.  I'll still check out the site from time to time .... hoping Tom's handsome face will magically appear ... but in the meantime, I'll remain single, thank you.  That was a little too close to home!!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bingo On Saturday???

You would think that dealing with the Magic Kingdom of Bingo once a week would be enough, but no ... we all gathered together yesterday for a marathon run of number calling.  THIS however, was for the special needs children and adults of the area.  There's nothing like volunteering for the Elks.  Our group does so much for the community .. and nobody knows about it because they never advertise their good deeds.  There's going to be a special place in Heaven for this group!!

Course when they told me I had to be there by 8:00 am, I balked a little.  Most of us are retired!!  I never get out of the house before 10:00 and you want me there by 8:00???  As with all our other charity occasions, we give away bags and bags of goodies which have to be filled.  So many items were donated that we even used big brown shopping bags this time.  There was fruit, candy, granola bars, nuts and dried fruit, along with even MORE candy and T-shirts for everyone.

You can't imagine how excited these kids and adults were, as they come running in and hugged everyone!!  They just think this game is the cat's meow!  Volunteers walk around the tables, making sure they mark the right squares and that everyone .... and I mean EVERYONE gets to yell BINGO and win a prize.
While all that was going on, I helped the kitchen crew get hamburgers and hotdogs cooked and set up the line for lunch.  Cheeseburgers were definitely the hit of the day!!
The food must have been pretty good, as several came through the line, not once, not twice, but three times!!  With almost 100 in attendance, not counting staff, we fed lots of people, poured pitcher after pitcher of soda, handed out those big goodie bags, along with prizes for everyone and cleaned up a huge mess.  Whew!!!  I finally got to sit down at 1:30.  That's WAY to long to be standing in cowboy boots!!
Volunteering may not be everyone's cup of tea, but each time I give of my time and energy for one of these events, I not only have a great day, I have a great week!!  With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, it's the time for sharing and giving, and there are probably lots of places you can help out ... or people you know that you can help ... just because.  

Pass it forward folks ... pay for the guy behind you in Starbucks coffee shop, give someone $20 to help pay for their groceries at the checkout line ... or volunteer your time at the local Elks Lodge ... even if you don't belong.  I promise you will feel good for a week!!  Then do it again ... 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Blind Leading The Blind ...

That's what it looked like at my house last night as I tromped around through the bushes after dark following the landscape contractor, trying to get the lights to work!!  He came by early in the morning and installed the new box and all the lights came on.  I was so excited all day, thinking about how nice it would look and how much safer I would feel coming home.

By 6:00 pm when there was no sign of light, I grabbed my flashlight and headed outside, just in time to meet the contractor again.  He had come by to make adjustments to the lights, but since none were working, we wandered around in the dark checking all the connections.  Finally, I opened the control box, to find a timer that thought it was 3:00 pm.  He forgot to reset it when he replaced the control box.  As soon as I moved it around to the correct time, the lights came ablaze.  It's beautiful!!!
We decided it needs two more up-lights to even out the spacing and light up the dark corner, so those are on order.  I don't want to be shooting in the dark!!  One of the lights points towards this big tree, giving it a lacy appearance from the street.  VERY cool!!  I'm really glad I had this work done.  It's not only pretty, but makes me feel more comfortable.
Back to the morning, breakfast wasn't as fun as usual.  In fact, it ended up being a pretty messy proposition.  I just LOVE those maple sugar instant oatmeal packets, though it's been awhile since I prepared one.  Too long apparently!  The directions said to microwave it for two minutes ... I think one would have been plenty, as most all of it ended up on the microwave plate.  Big sigh!!  I fixed another one and it was just as yummy as I remember!!
I tried to stay busy and not think about the lighting, by installing Jonathan's cage in the rig.  The first order of business was to remove the large awkward 45 pound loom down one step at a time to the sidewalk, then manhandle the oversized cage inside to the table.  Who needs to go to the gym when you've always got stuff to move!!  Miss Terry had a great idea ... put a non-slip rug underneath to keep it from moving around and protect the table.

Jonathan was having a great time shredding the towel over his house cage and screaming as I went in and out the door.  These guys can be pretty destructive, so cages must always be kept escape-proof.  They are worse than dogs when it comes to tearing up furniture!!  Yeah, just look at that innocent face!!
I really tried to put his cage everywhere possible so I could still have use of the table, but it was just too tall.  I used bungee cords to tie it underneath and it is very stable and totally non-slip.  No more crashing to the floor in the round-de-rounds.  If I really need the table, I can move him to the passenger seat.
I hope if I keep looking, I'll run into a smaller cage.  One half this size would be sufficient and would fit on a countertop towards the front.  It's a load off my mind, that he has a safe place to ride in the rig.  Luck might not be on his side the next time he saunters down the aisle.  I have to say he has been a lot of company since returning home.  He talks to me constantly ... whatcha doing, pretty boy, disco Jonathan, kitty kitty kitty kitty - come on!!!  You can't help but talk back ... silly bird!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Let There Be Light ... Or Not!!

Your lights came in.  That's what my landscaper said when he called yesterday morning, confirming he would be at my house by 8:30 to begin installation.  I made a mad dash to the bedroom to become halfway presentable.  I didn't want to scare the life out of him!!

These are the exact same lights as my old ones, but these are all LEDs and VERY bright.  There will be eight path lights like this one and seven up-lights to light up the entire front of the house.  If anyone tries to break in now, I'll have plenty of light to see them when I shoot!!
First, they raked up all the rubber mulch in the flower beds ... or what was left of it.  It's pretty amazing how that stuff just disappears into thin air.  Next they installed all the lights, then began to wire them. Unlike regular electricity, this entire system is 12 volt, so there's no risk of shock.  My electricity bill should actually be less than currently, as these 15 lights use less than 40 watts, while my four old lights used 60.  
The problem with electricity however, is getting it to work.  Isn't that always the case?  Once hooked up, there was no light at all.  He completely rebuilt the two splices shown here, reconnected everything, and you guessed it ..... still no lights.  After trouble shooting for an hour, we finally determined the main switch box had a bad connection.  Good news however, it's got a lifetime warranty.  It should for what that thing cost!!  So the company will replace it for free.

That means no pretty lights to show you today!!  There will also be another bill for the time it takes to  get the new box and install it!  RATS!!  The lights do look really nice in the flower beds, and they installed them far enough back that the crazy weedeater guy shouldn't be getting close enough to cut the wires!
While the landscaper was working out front, I finished up this lap quilt, making number six in the pile to be quilted.  My quilting lady is going to have a heart attack!  Probably me too when I get the bill!
I'm off to become presentable again for the final installation of the control box.  Keep your fingers crossed this thing works!!  Then I'm heading down to Home Depot for another light switch timer.  I'm not really sure I want to tackle this, even though I did watch Nick install the other one, but a timer on my back patio lights would be awesome when I'm gone!!  If you don't see a blog one morning, call 911 ...  I probably touched the wrong wire!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Looks Can Be Deceiving ...

What a nice lazy day yesterday.  That's what I wanted to start the blog out with, but it didn't exactly turn out that way.  It started off with a retail store return.  When I first ran into a store with the name Dress Barn, it was in San Francisco.  Sheeesh!!  I'd NEVER shop in a store with the name BARN in it.  Never say NEVER, because at this point in time, it's the only half way decent store around to buy clothes.  Pretty sad, I know!

After awhile, I realized the name BARN really did fit in with my lifestyle and over the years, I've purchased several blouses there.  I decided to wear one recently purchased shirt to the Magic Kingdom.  I wasn't there ten minutes when three different ladies came up and pointed out the sewing that had come undone on the front.  Instead of fixing it myself, I returned it to the Barn, explaining I had already worn it.  Believe it or not, they put a new tag on it and put it back on the rack!!  If you shop there, be sure to check under the arms before you buy ... looks can be deceiving!!  After all, it's a BARN!!

I'm still baking quick breads, adding to my supply, although this time I chose the small oven.  This was a batch of cranberry nut bread.  My kitchen skills, or lack of, came into play when the recipe called for a big loaf pan and 55 minutes of baking.  I know these little pans won't take that long, but HOW long?
They came out nicely, along with a couple of Starbucks lemon loaves, but again, looks can be deceiving.  I tested every one with a toothpick and it came out clean as a whistle.  They looked done ... and tested done ... therefore they must BE done.  WRONG!!  When I took them out of the pans, the bottoms were a soggy mess, definitely NOT done!!  I know this is a no-no, but I put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes, which helped all but one.  Don't tell anyone, but THAT one went in the microwave.  It came out a cooked soggy mess.  I guess that one will be mine to enjoy!!
Yes, looks can be deceiving.  These yummy looking little nuggets aren't candy at all, but the ear plugs I finally found that work relatively well to keep the trains quieted at night.  I've had two lovely nights of sleep, making it hard to get out of bed in the morning.  Jessie thinks these are yummy looking too. She thought they were CANDY or at least doggie treats, and downed two before I could chase her off the bedroom side table.  
Looks are STILL deceiving here .... she looks all clean and pretty, even though she's guarding her toy, but once I sat down on the couch ... MY OH MY!!!  Miss Jessie .... you smell REALLY bad!  What in the world did you get in to??  It suddenly dawned on me ... the turkey vultures occasionally drop big juicy presents from the sky into my yard.  What dog wouldn't go roll in something that delicious in order to mask their smell when on a safari hunt for kitties in the back yard?  Well this one DID and she reeked!  BATH TIME!!  
Once all clean and smelling of Johnson No Tears shampoo, we settled in for some snuggle time as a reward for not jumping out of the sink.  She HATES getting wet!!

The lighting guys are supposed to show up today and install security lighting around the house.  Then it's time to go retrieve that purse from the OTHER barn store ..... Boot Barn.  I just can't seem to get out of the barns this week!!