Friday, March 31, 2017

Mexican Drugs ... Do They Work?

As you know, I went to the Doctor back in January for suspected high blood pressure.  Turns out my blood pressure was just fine, but they didn't like my cholesterol numbers.  I'm sorry I can't demystify all that.  There's good and bad, along with a whole bunch of numbers that are just that ... NUMBERS ... to me.  
So the good Doctor gave me a prescription for atorvastatin (generic for Lipitor) to get my numbers down.  That's the one I had filled at Walgreens for a ridiculous $175.00 for 90 pills.   Never EVER go to Walgreens.  What do you think they do with all that money??  I found out later, Costco had the same thing for $32.00.

As soon as I hit Yuma mid January, the Chance family and I made a beeline for Los Algodones.  I think I reported the cost to be $13.99 for 100 pills.  I've been taking only those ever since, knowing I would return to the Doctor for blood tests to see if they were working.

Yesterday was the day to hear the results.  Unfortunately, it didn't go as smooth as I expected.  My appointment was for 10:30 and I arrived right on time.  I was immediately taken to the back parking lot ... a row of chairs down the hallway ... where I was parked with two other people.

I watched the Doctor come and go from the rooms.  An hour went by and no one moved.  Finally, one room opened up for the guy sitting next to me.  I tried to be patient as I then saw TWO empty rooms and I was still sitting in the hallway.  FINALLY I got to Room 5, where I waited ......... and waited some more.

You know me ... after an hour and forty five minutes, I was getting pretty hot under the collar.  This is ridiculous.  I can actually hear all the Doctor's conversations through the paper thin walls and they were NOT all business.

At the two hour mark, I opened the door and yelled for a Nurse.  I've been sitting here TWO hours.  She checks the rooms ... you have three people ahead of you.  NO I DON'T!!!  I SHOULD HAVE BEEN SEEN TWO ROOMS AGO!!!  She checks again .... OH she says.  The good Doctor had skipped my room for whatever reason, and was already going around to see people who had come in an hour AFTER me.

I stood in the doorway with arms folded ..... waiting.  He finally came out of a room and I accosted him.  "How are you?" he asked.  I'M PISSED ... I'M MAD ... I've been sitting here for TWO HOURS.  Well we do have emergencies ... NO YOU DIDN'T HAVE ANY EMERGENCIES because I can hear every conversation!!

Don't put up with this people ... get in their face.  There's absolutely NO excuse unless the Doctor himself had a heart attack.  He apologized several times.  My response was lets just get this blood test thing over with so I can go apologize for missing MY next appointment.

Really, I don't go off on people very often, but this office needed to hear it!!  He did a quick exam, NOT including my blood pressure at my suggestion because it was through the roof, then gave me the test results.

SO .... here it is!!  There's good and bad cholesterol.  All my GOOD numbers were quite a bit ABOVE normal.  YAY!!!  My BAD numbers went from 294 down to 220 in 75 days of taking the meds from Mexico.  I never did take the drugs from my pharmacy because I wanted to see if the Mexican drugs worked.

I'm here to tell you they DO work and very well according to the Doctor.  Here's the thing though, you really must go to a legitimate pharmacy ... like the Purple Pharmacy in Algodones.  Don't go buying them off some guy on the street corner because they are cheaper.  I imagine you will get sugar pills.   Always check the expiration date.  Since I buy one year's worth, I want to be sure they will last that long.  Write the purchase date on the bottle like I did above so you know exactly when you purchased them.

You do not need a prescription unless you are trying to get heavy duty stuff like Valium, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Demerol, Vicodin ... those kinds of drugs.   For the difference in price, it was well worth the trip for me.

For the record, I know Doctors need to talk to some people much longer than others ... and I don't mind waiting up to an hour ... but when I hear talk of golf games with a total disregard for the clock when ten more patients are waiting, I get pretty irritated.  I'm guessing next time I won't be left in the hallway OR the room ... I don't think they want that loud unruly patient spouting off for everyone to hear.   Sometimes you just have to stand up and be heard.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Gee .. I Never Expected THAT!!

Miracles always amaze me, especially when I receive them in my email box.  Not the 20 million dollars from the Nairobi Embassy or even the three free Southwest Airlines tickets I won yesterday.   We know those aren't real.  What I DID get was an email from American Airlines saying they had credited my card $20 for upgrading my seat.

That's about as weird as it gets because I changed from a tiny seat in the middle of the plane to a much larger, MUCH roomier EXTRA seat just behind First Class.  Just because I was so nice, they gave me $20 back.  I never expected that ... but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.  Thank you American Airlines!!  That makes sitting on the tarmac a little easier to take.
Here's a Google Earth image of the house in Arizona.  It's the one in the middle with the long driveway.  The house directly below in the picture is the location of most of the get-togethers.  You can see the train tracks making the curve which causes the trains to slow down.

Just to clarify, this will be a second home.  I just can't quite get up the wherewithal to sell my dream house here in California.  The thought of packing and moving EVERYTHING scares me to death.  Believe me, I've got a lot of crap ... I mean stuff!!  My plan is to start clearing things out, getting rid of all that junk I really never use, like lawn chairs for tanning (boy am I past THAT age) along with those six chairs I've stored for fifteen years now.

I figure in the next year or so I'll get it cleaned up pretty good for when California becomes a Sanctuary State and they institute their health care plan for everyone, meaning everyone who works will have their taxes raised yet again.  In that case my dream house may go down.
In the meantime, I've been coming up with any excuse to use my Instant Pot.  I'm telling you folks ... this is the best $99 investment I've made.  Yes, you can get them cheaper, but they are not THIS exact pot that does everything and is SO easy to use.  
I whipped up another batch of chicken cacciatore ... I LOVE this stuff ... but unfortunately I didn't use the same recipe.  Although it's still good, this one does NOT have the flavor the other one does.  I deleted this recipe from my phone.  Still, it was tender and yummy over rice.
The only trouble is now I have even MORE time to twiddle my thumbs.  A thought jumped into my head.  That doesn't happen too often, so I decided to give it a shot.  How about my Grandmother's gingerbread!!  The old fashioned kind, with boiling water and molasses.  It came out wonderful, except for that part in the middle that didn't get done.  With my cooking record, I didn't expect EVERYTHING to come out perfect ... and it didn't.  The outside was WONDERFUL though!!    I wish I had applesauce, my Grandmother's traditional way of serving it, but all I could find was whipped cream.  
With both of THOSE done, I happened upon a recipe for FLAN.  I love flan, and a challenge, as you know.   In no time I had it mixed up and in bowls larger than the recipe called for.  It was a little dicey trying to get all of these on the trivet in the pot.  I just stacked them instead and hit the GO button.  Eight minutes later they were done and in the fridge.  I'll let you know how they came out tomorrow.
I spent the rest of the day starting to clean out the garage.  I'm serious about getting things in order.  My trash can was full in a flash.  It's going to be a long process.  What am I going to do with those Japanese dishes that are a hundred years old, not to mention all the storage boxes of Halloween decorations!!  Oh well .... little by little!!  I'm off to the Doctor for my blood results.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Magic Kingdom Land

You all KNOW how much I just LOVE the Magic Kingdom!!  It was stressful enough just getting my puppies back.  Having to deal with the peasants put the icing on the cake!!
Up early yesterday starving half to death from lack of dinner the night before and now breakfast because I had an appointment for blood tests, I wandered around my empty house.  Jonathan was not a happy camper having been left alone, so I spent some one-on-one time with him on my shoulder.  He loves to snuggle your ear and clean your hair.

I finally drove over to the medical center ... it's basically just a big house since remember, this is the armpit of California ... when I was accosted by what looked like a homeless person driving a very beat up car.  It took me a minute to figure out he was really talking to ME.  Seems my right side brakes lights are out.  I thanked him for the notice ... I appreciate that since there's no one to ever check my lights with me.

Blood tests over, I made a beeline to the Vets office to pick up the puppies.  Talk about a shocker!!  They were due for their rabies, parvo and bordetella shots, which I told them to do while I was gone.  Those aren't cheap by any means!!  Add to that the office call they charged me for EACH dog in order to give the shots, the boarding and the heartworm/flea/tick medications they require and the total came to a whopping $588!!!!!!!!!  That's just ridiculous!!!

As soon as I get down to Arizona on my next trip, I'm taking my dogs to a Vet there.  I'm willing to bet it will be half the cost.  At any rate, the puppies were thrilled to be home, running around the back yard like race horses marking every single bush.  They spent the rest of the afternoon on my lap until it was time to go to the Magic Kingdom, which they weren't the least bit happy about!!

The Magic Kingdom was it's normal self, except some gremlins had gotten into the safe/storeroom and moved everything about.  That angered the Games Knight and ME, since we could no longer find our proper supplies.  The first 30 minutes was spent putting everything back.  I was pretty sure I knew who the culprit was.  As soon as she came in, I went into a short rant about "WHO" had committed such a travesty.   It's all important to keep things in a particular order.  Mixing them up can cause as many as ten Bingo's on one game, something we NEVER want to do.

She remained perfectly silent.  The next thing I know, she and the moneychanger have tried to institute all kinds of new rules.  That didn't fly either.  Neither she nor the moneychanger are accountants or auditors, meaning they have no idea of the controls we have set in place for our cash box.  I put the kibosh to that immediately.  We have rules around here!!  Go bother the guys in the back if you want, but leave us alone!!  Apparently we have a Spy in our midst, so now I have to be ever more vigilant!!

The brand new Bingo machine caused quite a stir when it decided not to illuminate a couple of numbers ... that's DISASTER in Bingoland!!  The peasants were in an uproar!  At long last .... and it was a LONG night .... the Castle Lawyer and I closed the cash register, balancing to a T.

I have one more fight on my hands ... the moneychanger thinks we should allow the peasants to charge their Bingo cards to their credit card.  We have never allowed that ... EVER.  As a responsible person, I think that's just ridiculous to gamble on credit, not to mention the fact I think it's illegal in California unless you are at an Indian Reservation Casino.  At any rate, we refused to accept credit cards.  I'm sure as soon as I'm gone again, the rules will vanish like Cinderella's chariot.  Until then, I've donned my armor for the big fight.

I finally got some food in my stomach ... a rather charred cheeseburger from the castle kitchen.  I was up most of the night.  Today I'm going shopping for Instant Pot groceries, after which I plan on being a couch potato and snuggling with my puppies.  Tomorrow I'll get the results of the blood tests and report on the medications from Mexico the next day.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Speed Of Light

After a few hours of chatting with my new neighbors at Monday Morning Quilting and a wonderful lunch prepared by none other than Chef Patty Chance, it was time for us to head off to the airport.  We picked up Pat for company and directions and I drove us right on past the turnoff into Never Never Land.  WHAT??  How did I miss that?  The sign must have been behind that big truck I was passing.  RATS!!

Pat got us turned around in a flash and we headed back for about six miles.  Good grief Nancy!!  It didn't matter at all since I still made it to the airport on time.  Lucky me, for the second time in a row, I received the TSA Pre-Check stamp of approval.  No unloading or taking off my boots!

Don't tell Patty, but since I had been so good, I decided a treat was in order.  I savored every single M&M, because I think they cost me 5 cents each.  THREE DOLLARS for this 59 cent bag.
Boarding time came and went.  Uh Oh!!  The loudspeaker finally announced that our plane was a little late, just like the nice lady had told me on the flight over.  "These planes are ALWAYS late!"  I started counting the minutes because I knew my layover for the connecting flight was a short one.  Fifteen minutes they said!

FORTY MINUTES LATER, the plane finally arrived.  Kudos to the Gate Girl who already had everyone checked in for my flight before the plane even unloaded.  There was a mass scramble to get on board.  Look at all this foot room I had ... and it's just a regular seat!!
We finally took off in some of the worst wind ever, tossing us around like Cooper does his chew toys.  Hang on folks, it's going to be a rough one!!

Thank goodness the Pilot put the pedal to the metal and we made the 37 minute flight in 20 minutes.  I'm pretty sure we went the speed of light and landed so hard and fast we all had to grab the seat ahead of us!  

Now for the marathon RUN to my next flight.  Of course we did not land at the same terminal I was leaving from.  The escalator things along the sides helped quite a bit as I ran/walked along them as fast as I could.  I'm thinking it was a quarter mile to my gate but it felt like TWO miles.  

Gasping for air, I arrived just in time to check in and grab my seat ... a beauty of extra proportions just behind first class.  There was even MORE room!!  The worst part about the entire trip was I did NOT get dinner since there was no time to stop even for more M&M's.  So dinner consisted of a tiny bag of pretzels and a glass of water.  I'm not complaining however ... I lost another pound yesterday!!

Although the sky was blue with white puffy clouds, the wind was pretty bad at all levels.  It was a rough flight home.  I breathed a sign of relief when we touched down.  Too bad I was a little early with my assessment that I was home free.

We slowed to a stop on the runway in Fresno and that's where we stayed.  So CLOSE and yet so FAR!!!  Finally after ten minutes they notified us there was no ground crew to accept the plane for parking.  Are you kidding me?  "Sorry folks, but we can't park the plane until a parking crew gets here".  

We waited ................... and we waited ...................... and we waited some more.  FINALLY the guy with the waving arms directed us to parking, whereupon we waited even MORE!!  They got us parked but had no one to move the tunnel to the plane.  Well for heavens sake!!  We sat there for another 35 minutes before being allowed to leave.  You go AMERICAN AIR!!

I finally arrived home .... starving and tired.  Trouble was, I wasn't allowed to eat anything after 8:00 because of my blood tests first thing this morning.  By the time I get back after picking up my baby puppies, I'm going to eat everything in sight!!  

And of course it's Magic Kingdom night to boot .... it's going to be a busy day!!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Hello Neighbor!!

After waiting on pins and needles all morning, Patty and I finally left to view the property.  I was so excited the moment I stepped inside that I completely forgot to take ANY inside pictures.  To be honest, I really thought that was kind of "invasive" anyway, which is probably why I didn't remember to get any.  I was paying too much attention to details, like the counters, cabinets, flooring and building quality.

Later in the day when they were gone to an event, we went back over so I could get some outside pictures.  This is the driveway that Dan and his trusty tractor will widen just a little for me.  Closer to the garage he will make it a little bigger to allow for guest parking.  He discovered the utilities run alongside the right hand side, so it will remain the same.
This home, a modular set on a permanent foundation, was built to have the best view in the subdivision, so the front door is on the hill side with a nice stone walkway.  That is a two car attached garage on the right as you walk in.
It is all landscaped beautifully, mostly with cactus and a few trees.  My idea is to put an awning across the front walkway later on, to help keep sun off the front.  Here's one I've never heard of before ... all the windows have a mirror coating that keeps UV light and heat OUT of the house and keeps snoopy people from seeing inside, yet you can see out perfectly.   
As you walk around to the back, which is where I'll spend most of MY time, is a large patio with beautiful green grass, sloping down to a concrete block fence.  It's not quite high enough to keep Jessie inside, so I'll have to come up with some decorative fence to increase it's height.
The view down one side of the patio ......
The view from the OTHER side of the patio, including the two palm trees.  Yes that IS a hot tub, but it's going away.  I had one once ... rarely used it because most of the time it wouldn't work.  
It's a three bedroom two bath 2,000 sq. ft. home with new flooring and lots of extras like thicker insulation, thicker walls, a huge one year old outside cooling system (no noisy a.c. in the house) and the best of all ..... a FIREPLACE!!  Well almost best of all ... here's the BEST  part ... the view!!  You can't see a single house from this back yard.
This is looking straight out to the bird and deer automatic watering station.   There are sprinklers everywhere, along with drip irrigation that keeps the bird bath full for the animals.  How cool is that?
This is the view off to the right.  Yes, the trains are pretty close, but 90% of them are going East, down a slight slope, very slowly.  Two passed by while we were there and honestly, you could barely hear them since the engines weren't pulling uphill.  I do love trains, so I think it will be fun to sit and watch them go by.  Just LOOK at that view!!
Can you find the cottontail (bottom left)?  He came to drink while we were there, along with several quail and some dove.    I think this is going to be just perfect.
Dan and I discussed the location of the motorhome pad, which will be right about here.  The scrub brush will go, but the big tree to the left will stay.  It will take quite a bit of fill dirt, but it's easily doable.  I'm starting to get excited!!
We actually agreed on a price and shook hands ... sold.  However ... since she is a realtor, there may or may not be a broker involved, and she still hasn't found a house for them to move to.  So it becomes a waiting game.  I'm ready to get inspections done and write the check, but you never know ... things can change in a flash.  I've got my fingers crossed this all works out QUICKLY!!

The other good news is that they have WAY too much furniture for the size house she is looking for.  I told them to leave whatever they didn't want and we would work something out.    They also have visiting rights to come sit on the patio and watch the deer.  

SO ... this morning after an early lunch with friends, I'll be back to Tucson International to grab my seat headed to Phoenix and be back home around 8 pm.  I can't WAIT to see my puppies tomorrow morning!!

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Well I'm back in Tucson!!  Saturday started out terrible!  I had to leave my baby puppies in the kennel at the Vet's office.  I almost cried!!  They were in such distress, shaking and shivering, not knowing what the heck was going on.  To make it worse, they insisted on giving them all their annual shots.  Poor babies ... I'm SO sad.

I'm also never late, which is why I leave early ... too early.  It didn't take the expected hour to drop off the puppies, and even though I drove only 60 mph, I arrived at the airport THREE hours early.  Luckily I found the one parking space available ... the lot was packed!!  It became a waiting game.

Two hours before departure, I went inside and slipped right through security since I received one of the TSA Pre-Check tags ... didn't even have to take my boots off!!  The waiting area was empty.  The voice overhead announced to no one that the gate changed ... twice.  No problem, I just moved over ten seats.
Finally a very nice lady from Casa Grande showed up and we talked until the flight took off.  I don't like flying.  It's on the same list as cleaning my house.  When I was 22 and living on the ranch next to the Merced Airport, a plane crashed and burst into flames as I watched.  I jumped in my car and drove down to help ... it was my neighbor's property and I knew how to get across the canal.  

As you can imagine, it was a horrible sight to see as two other guys and I moved the burn victims away from the plane before more explosions occurred.  The pilot died on scene.  I got the name of his girlfriend's family members to call.   Hardest phone call I've ever made.   After a week in the burn unit in Fresno, she passed away.  Every time I get near airplanes, I have flashbacks.  

Sometimes however, you just have to suck it up.  On the way out of Fresno, there wasn't much in the lunch department, so I picked up a Starbucks iced tea and some of their yummy banana bread.  I figured to get a sandwich in Phoenix where I changed planes.
Happily, the flight was uneventful as I sat next to a frequent flyer ... like 2 to 3 times a week!!  She made me feel much at ease and told me where to go to catch my connecting flight.  Kind of hard to tell through the clouds, but the mountains covered with snow were pretty spectacular!!
Phoenix was MUCH more crowded than Fresno.  I began to look for food.  Only having 45 minutes to eat, I didn't think there was time for a restaurant.
I didn't see any fast food places either.  Maybe the bookstore has some snacks for dinner.  Cheetos!!!  That will work, even though they aren't really diet worthy.  YIKES!!!  $2.49 for a little bag!!  I passed.  Maybe a granola bar would be better.  Good heavens!!!  They were $3.99 A BAR!  I can get an entire box of SIX for THAT price!   Dinner became the package of nuts I brought along in my purse.
In no time ... 20 minutes after takeoff ... I landed in Tucson, following the crowd out to the street.  That's where Pat, her husband Jim and Patty were waiting to pick me up.  What nice people.  Can you believe they came to pick me up at the airport at 7:30 at night and drove us to Patty's house?  
I hit the bed early, but sleep was elusive.  A couple trains came by around 9:30 and again at 4:15, followed by a kitty bell and little feet sticking under my door.   Might as well get up ... maybe I can catch a few winks this afternoon.  

We'll be seeing the property around 11:00 this morning, so I'll have pictures tomorrow.  Now to scrounge in the kitchen for breakfast while NOT waking up Patty and Snoopy Kitty.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Let Them Eat CAKE!!!

SO .... not ALL instant pots are the same.  I've found there many varieties of this beast out there and they are not all my cup of tea.  This one is the Duo50, meaning five quart, with the yogurt function and the ability to change from low to medium to high pressure.  Not that I will ever make yogurt, but it might be fun on a rainy boring day.

The LUX model has a handle on the lid that is hard to grasp, no yogurt function and only high pressure cooking.  I know this because I ordered a second one for the house, since THIS one will live in the motorhome.
While playing with the new phone app I purchased for $4.99 called PAPRIKA, I happened to find a recipe for cake.  Cake in a pressure cooker???  That's a challenge if I ever heard one!!

But first ... the APP.  Once downloaded to your phone, you can browse the internet for recipes, or even Facebook since many people on the Instant Pot Site post their favorites.  Touch the URL at the top of your phone until it says COPY (sometimes you have to touch the WORD copy, most times not).  Then open the app.  

It automatically sees you have copied something and asks if you want to LOAD it.  Click on LOAD.  The recipe comes up on your phone.  In the bottom right corner of Paprika, click on SAVE RECIPE.  When that's done, you have to click on CREATE RECIPE at the top of the app.  VOILA!!  Now touch the three lines in the top left corner (menu) and click on RECIPES.  There you will have all the recipes you just copied.  Pretty cool!!!  It's not just for Instant Pot ... it's for ANY recipe you want to save.  Much better than the 300 screen shots in my Camera Album.

Back to cake ... I happened to have a box of chocolate cake mix in the cupboard.  I know, I'm on a diet, but I wanted to try it out.  Turns out it was a yellow cake mix ... not NEAR as appetizing as chocolate!!  I whipped it up and followed the instructions to line the bottom of a 7" cake pan.  You're supposed to do this TWICE, once for each layer.  Well poo on that ... I only want ONE layer and I only have an 8" cake pan.  That may be what gets me in trouble with my cooking.

I cut a piece of parchment paper for the bottom of the pan, sprayed the sides with cooking spray and dumped in the cake.  I placed a piece of foil over the top as directed.  Otherwise the cake will be a little damp on top ... like a wet dog!!  I placed 1-1/2 cups of water in the pot and set the trivet inside with the cake on top of it.  And AWAY WE GO!!
Since there's so much batter, I set the timer for 40 minutes instead of 30 and hit the start button.  These things are so quiet you never really know if it's working or not, but finally the timer came on, meaning it reached pressure.  I wasn't too sure of the larger pan leaving little to no room in the pot, so I watched it from the dining room, half hidden behind a door in case it decided to explode.  

When the timer finally went off and the pressure decreased on it's own for ten minutes, I popped the top.  See that piece of folded aluminum foil?  You place that under the pot and up the sides so you have a way to get the pot OUT of the cooker.  It worked like a charm.  The cake felt done and had just begun to pull away from the sides.
It took me a few minutes to figure out how to get it out of the pan.  I haven't done THIS part in ages.  It slipped right out, I peeled the paper off the bottom and left it to cool.  BOY it looked good!!  
A couple hours later when it finally cooled enough ... being so thick and dense, it took awhile ... I frosted it with yummy chocolate frosting.  Then it was time for the all important TASTE TEST.  Not bad ... not bad at all ... so dense, moist and tasty ... but I didn't eat ALL of that big slice.  It was just too sweet.  I got about half down before putting it all in the freezer.  After all, I'm on a diet!!
Speaking of the DIET ... I've lost two pounds this week.  I know it takes just as long to take it off as it did to put it on.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep this up for a few weeks.  I've given up most all carbs ... no breakfast toast, no potatoes, no crackers, NO ICE CREAM ... and I'm sticking to meat and vegetables, made much easier by the idea of using the new pressure cooker.

Lastly for today, I have some interesting news.  My friends Patty and Pat have found the "perfect" place for me in Vail ... right in their neighborhood ... that is for sale by my original real estate agent.  She and her husband are moving as soon as they can find another house.  I've only heard wonderful things and I've seen a few pictures that look awesome.  

Mr. Chance and his tractor can easily fix the driveway and parking pad for the motorhome.  The only downside to the whole thing is the proximity of the trains.  It won't bother me during the day at all ... at night it might be a different story. 

So this afternoon, I'm flying back to Tucson International for a look see in person.  This may be the ONE!!  Pictures to follow.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Cleaning ... Kinda Sorta

You all know that cleaning is NOT on my list of fun things to do.  From the time I was probably six years old, an old T-shirt was stuck in my hand with instructions to wipe down all the furniture.  Who wants to do THAT?  I'd much rather be out in the corrals riding the horses bareback.

As kids, we did that a lot.  I'm really not sure if anyone actually bothered to keep an eye on us or not. We were pretty smart as kids go ... we would get the horses out of the barn and alongside the fence, then climb up the rails and jump on, grabbing a handful of mane so we didn't keep on going over the other side.  Most times it worked.   Other times we got a bump on the noggin!

We walked and trotted the horses around the corral until they headed for the barn.  That was the dangerous part.  The door opening was barely tall enough for the horse.  Your timing had to be perfect as we immediately laid down on their neck and held on, making sure our legs didn't get caught on the doors.  A minute later we did it again, laughing all the way OUT the door.

Yes, we occasionally fell off and I got my boots stepped on more than once, which I attribute my low arches to.  When that fun was over, we took to the top rails of the fence, walking along from post to post and scrambling around the big gates.  It was pure fun!!  We didn't get hurt then either, although I'm not sure how or why we never fell off.

At any rate, back to cleaning.  As you can imagine, it was NEVER on my list of things to do, so NOW it's a real chore I hate with a passion.  Yes I vacuum and occasionally dust, but I HATE IT!!  So yesterday as I wandered through the house from one end to another, I kept seeing all those puppy prints in the breakfast nook where the dogs go in and out.  I mean to tell you it was a BIG mess.

I know wood floors are all the rage, but they are a pain in the patoosky to clean.  In order to keep them looking nice, I have to be on hands and knees with several damp cloths to mop them.  Everything else I have tried leaves dirty big streaks, making it even harder to clean.  Once that dries, I use Bona in a spray bottle along with a special bona mop thingy and after an hour ... VOILA ... clean floors.  Of course as soon as the dogs went in and out twice, it was dirty again.  C'est la vie!!
As you can see, I didn't get much further than the breakfast nook.  Wood floors are wonderful if you don't have to clean them.   Here's another reason they are dirty ... slimy, slobbery Cooper toys are rolled all over them from morning to night.  Unfortunately, these toys don't have the survivability they used to.  This morning when he's not looking, I'll throw this one in the trash OUTSIDE, because he can smell it inside and will bark until I give it back to him.
Here's the recipe I cooked in my Instant Pot.  Really, it won't keep YOU up all night long.  It's not in the least bit spicy ... it's just meat.  For whatever reason, my stomach has decided I've had enough beef in my life.  It's just happy as can be with chicken and turkey.  

So here we go ... cut up a pot roast into big chunks while the pot heats up on SAUTE.  I used about a tablespoon of oil in the bottom first to keep it from sticking.  Season the meat and brown it well, just as you would in a frying pan on the stove.  

Now here's the thing to remember, since I've seen LOTS of user errors with these things ... hit the CANCEL button and let it cool slightly.  People try to go from one stage to the next without CANCEL in between so the pot doesn't do what they want it to.

I put all the meat back in, along with a can of beef broth.  In order for this thing to work, you MUST have a minimum of one cup of liquid in the bottom no matter what you cook.  I seasoned it again with cumin, oregano, bay leaves, four cloves of garlic and whatever else you want to throw in, then set it to MANUAL, high pressure, for 50 minutes.  

I've noticed every recipe is different when it comes to TIME.  Here's the thing ... if it's not done enough, turn it back on and let it go again for a few more minutes.  It all depends on the size of the pot, how much liquid you have and your altitude, making for a tad bit of guesswork occasionally.  
Mine came out perfectly tender.  I didn't even need a fork to shred it ... I used this wooden spoon.  It was WONDERFUL!!  I had shredded beef street tacos for dinner.  The REAL problem was I ate THREE of them.  That's why I was up all night!!  Live and learn ... well not really, I KNOW I shouldn't do that, so I have absolutely NO excuse for overeating.
For those who peruse the internet looking for recipes to print out, I've come across a great APP just for that.  Yes you have to pay $4.99 for it, but honestly, I thought it was worth it in the first ten minutes I played with it.  I'll explain all about it tomorrow.  For now, I'm back on my hands and knees cleaning the front entry way floor.  Eventually I might even get all those clean spots to meet up!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Magic Kingdom

People have always fascinated me, what with how they act and sometimes the incredible things they do.  I'm of the opinion it runs in the family.  In other words, it's all in how they were raised.  There's no better placer to study the wide variety of human beings than at your local Bingo Resort destination.

We aren't really a resort, just a large room in a one hundred year old building.  The new lights they installed on the ceiling that can change color, do give us the resort Mardi Gras atmosphere however.  This night they were GREEN for good luck.   They can be changed to purple (making for horrible sallow complexions) or even RED.  You can imagine what THAT looks like, right?

It's amazing what people bring with them to the games.  It's all about their level of luck.  Most have a bag of tricks, including eight or more colored ink dobbers.  Never EVER touch their dobbers.  It's bad luck.

Probably half of the players bring good luck charms, from their 21 year old sons socks to marble carved fetishes.  There's feathers, marbles, statues, pieces of yarn, pictures, braided key chains ... you name it and it's spread out on the table.   What they WEAR also comes into play ... I just wish they would WASH it occasionally.

I'm not sure all that stuff works.  The guy who seems to win the most wears nothing more than a T-shirt and cargo pants, carrying only his wallet and his key chain.  As he's buying his cards, people come up and rub his head or his shoulder for good luck.  One lady rubbed more than that and I thought we were going to have to call the police.  In my day, I was taught there was no good luck ... you just worked hard!!  She didn't win in case you were wondering.

We had the usual "don't you DARE touch my cards" people ... it's bad luck you know.  Many pick their cards by their "lucky" number.  Some ask US to pick their cards, which we have to sign in case they win, which means we have to pick their cards NEXT week.

I was a little taken aback when the mother of a 20-year old girl who was run over by a car (on purpose ... she did not survive) showed up two days later to play Bingo.  I stayed home and cried for a week when my little dog passed away.  You just never know how people are going to react.  I never saw a tear.  Makes you wonder, right?
Most people pay cash ... we don't accept checks.  When 75% of them bounce, it's not a good thing.  We have a brand new "mini" credit/debit card machine that once you get the hang of it, works faster than the old one.  Since there are no more food stamps ... debit cards are issued now.   We have several players who gamble away their food budget.  We can't discriminate ... you have a debit card, you can play Bingo.  They laugh about using up the last of their food money ... "those kids will just have to fend for themselves".  I guess living on the ranch with beans and overcooked steak wasn't so bad after all!!

All in all it wasn't a bad night, just another weird one like usual.  I balanced to the penny even though the gal counting said I was over by $100.  After she counted it three times, I stepped in and counted it myself.  Since I've been one of the cashiers, we set up rules .. I count the money IN, only I run the cash register ... YOU count the money OUT.  "WELL!!!  I counted it THREE times already".    Yes, yes you did, but I'm going to count it again.  34 five dollars bills amounted to $170 ... not the $270 she had written down.  

I didn't say a word, although inside I was happy because one, I balanced and two, she is the money counter at a very large business in town.  I've made the same mistake, which is why I counted it for the fourth time.   It's always a good study of human nature at Bingo.  Time to get home to my puppies!!

I made another Instant Pot recipe last night .. it was delicious, but kept me up all night long.  Oh for the days of "I can eat ANYTHING ... NOTHING bothers MY stomach!!"  I'll give you the recipe tomorrow!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

California TORNADO!!

Okay, who tilted the earth causing all this nonsense we are experiencing in California??  We went from drought with forecasts of El Nino rains that never happened, to it raining so hard we got more rain than ever before in the history of California.  That wasn't a problem for me because I was in Arizona most of the time.

Next thing I know the dams are overflowing and ready to break, flooding two small towns East of me.  When I finally returned home, it was sunny and in the 80's ... downright HOT!

Yesterday as I was sitting on the couch minding my own business, an alert came over my phone.  Tornado warning in the town 45 minutes North of me.  That's CRAZY!!  NO WAY!!  We don't HAVE tornados in California!!  I checked my weather app.  There were big red triangles everywhere.

Next thing I know, I get another TORNADO WARNING for MY LITTLE TOWN!!  You've got to be kidding!!  I looked out the back door as the thunder rolled on for over a minute before the rain came down in sheets.  This was a little scary looking.  You don't SEE this stuff in California!  I mean look ... there's blue sky!
Of course I grabbed my camera and ran out into the rain to take some pictures.  It looked like I could reach up and touch the clouds they were so close to the ground.  I checked my phone several times looking for the telltale swirling.  The alarm went off again  WARNING, WARNING, DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!    The winds began to pick up ferociously. 
Then there was silence.  That was a little unsettling!  Pretty soon it began again with a vengeance.  It never did swirl or hit the ground as far as I know.  Unlike Florida's hurricanes where they know way in advance, or tornados in Kansas where you have lots of warning, there was about 5 minutes warning here.  California isn't set for for THIS kind of weather!!  After an inch of rain fell in about 30 minutes, the clouds disappeared and the sky turned blue.  Wow .... just WOW!!
Here's a couple of images I think I forgot to show you.  It looks like there's a fire in the distance, but it's just the sun setting in Quartzsite.
This one from Indio looked like we were in a big giant's mouth, just before going down the hatch.  Remember, photographers see things differently!!
Last night was Magic Kingdom night, which of course didn't really go well, but that's not news since something seems to happen every time.  It's too long a story to add to tornado weather ... I'll tell you about it tomorrow!!

Today I'm going to the store for Instant Pot materials!!  I'm on a roll with this new appliance!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's Not All Fun And Games

Why is it that on days there is nothing going on, time slows to a snails pace.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Since retiring, I've found it's not all fun and games after all.  Had I gotten married and had children, I would probably have a house full, keeping me occupied enough not to have these days where I check out the refrigerator twenty times.   No motivation equals couch potato.

Unfortunately, that marriage thing didn't work out so well for me, so sometimes I find myself floundering around wondering what I should or COULD do.  Yesterday was another one of THOSE days.  With no one to talk to except my puppies and Jonathan, I have a tendency to go stir crazy!!

I'm still working on my Halloween quilt.  In fact, I only have three squares to go before I spend hours staring at the wall trying to decide if I want borders in between each row.  It's funny how I thought I was so decisive all my life, and now it's even hard to decide what's for lunch!  I'm taking at least two days to complete each remaining square so I don't have to think about making that "border" decision.
Dinner on the other hand, was a snap.  This instant pot is the best appliance I think I've ever purchased.  Too bad there isn't a really good cookbook out there.  It seems all the recipes come from bloggers and stay-at-home Mom's, meaning you have to print them out from the internet.  I take screen shots of the ones posted on Facebook, but of course it takes me thirty minutes to scan through all of them and pick one.

Yesterday it was chicken cacciatore, since I had these boneless thighs that needed to be cooked.  I think this pot is going to save a LOT of cemetery space!!
I set the pot on sauté and browned the chicken.  I didn't wait long enough because it didn't really brown and stuck nicely to the bottom, in spite of the oil.  I'll try to do better next time.  Then I sautéed the onions and garlic, dumped in a can of tomatoes, some apple cider vinegar and a slew of spices.  It didn't look very impressive.
Next I covered it with the chicken, cut up mushrooms, a load of carrots because I'm on a diet and one can of broth (I should have only used 3/4 cup like it said).  Carrots were NOT in the recipe.  I set it on high pressure for 8 minutes.  It probably took 8-9 minutes to reach pressure, whereupon the little valve closed.  After 8 minutes and lots of beeping, I let it sit for 5 minutes before releasing the steam (don't do this underneath your cupboards .. it will totally ruin the wood).  

Total time including prep ... 30 minutes.  I stirred in a small can of olives just for a little more Italian flavor.  Time for a taste test.  It tasted like I cooked it all day long.  I don't know why this method works so well, but I'm 2 for 2.  It was DELICIOUS!!  Can you imagine this at an RV Rally?  No more worrying about getting back to the rig to prepare your potluck dish!!  I admit the unit is a little larger than a toaster, but I'm definitely finding a place for it, even if it rides on the passenger seat.
It rained most of the night ... I know because the downspout at the corner of my bedroom dripped all night like steel ball bearings hitting a tin roof.  I kid you not!!  Today I'll check to see if something is partially blocking the hole and causing that.  If not, I'm plugging it up completely!!!

Rain is forecast for the rest of this week.  No big downpours, just a nice rain, which suits me fine.  It's Magic Kingdom night, so today should go by a little faster.  I'm sure getting out and about will improve my mood.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's A Love Hate Relationship

With the new age of electronics comes the frustration of things not working.  Back in the OLD days of dinosaurs, your phone never quit unless you didn't pay the bill.  There were no long conversations on the wall phone that I couldn't reach unless I stood on a chair ... you said your piece and hung up because three other people on your party line might need THEIR phone.
Then came the hardy black phone that sat on the corner of Dad's desk.  Randolph 2-8624 was our number for as long as I can remember.  At least by this time we didn't have a party line.  It never broke down ... it ALWAYS worked, even when the kitty laid on the desk and it fell to the floor.  

There was no "mailbox" to leave messages unless you bought a phone recorder and attached it to the phone.  Remember the good old days??
Finally the era of bag phones came about.  Anyone remember those?  I had a big bag that sat on the console of my truck, plugged in to the cigarette lighter for power, which kept the phone charged.  Attached with a short cord, you didn't go further than the driver's seat.  Reception wasn't always the best, but if you needed to contact someone (like my lost truck driver delivering 25 tons of gravel to the wrong address) USUALLY you could reach them.
Eventually the bag phones morphed into the hand held, you-don't-need-to-keep-it-plugged-in phones, except all night long so it would charge up.  I'm pretty sure I still have several of these in my kitchen drawers.  We were uptown, right??  NOW you could leave messages.  It might have been frustrating with all the weird buttons to push, since every model and type of phone was different, but once you got it down, you were in like Flynn.  Mobile communication ... how cool was that!!  I was in LOVE with my phone!
Then we moved into the modern age, so to speak, of cell phones that can do everything!  Somewhere along the way they became extremely complicated, which means Frustrating with a capital F.  I've never had so much trouble with a phone in my life.  I think I'm going into the HATE mode.  

Never before did you have to UPDATE your phone.  The day I bought my phone, it needed to be updated.  I've actually had all the iPhones versions that have come out in the past because now they don't last worth a darn.  All these new electronic marvels have made me want to throw them in the trash on MANY occasions.  

Such was the case when I ran the updates for the APPS on my phone.  It told me Facebook wouldn't load because it was over 100 mb.  I needed to connect to WiFi.  I figured that was just AT&T's way of telling me not to use my Unlimited Plan ... use my Verizon WiFi instead.  Aha!!  AT&T can't fool me!!  I'm using THEIR data.  I progressed a little further into HATE.
After at least 20 tries, I was getting nowhere.  Now I couldn't use the app at all.  RATS!!  I was just getting recipes for my Instant Pot.  I moved past HATE into RANT!!

It's a good thing there wasn't much traffic as I headed North for dress shopping.  It happens there is an Apple store in the same mall.  I'll just stop in and use their WiFi.  It STILL didn't work, so I put in my name for some help.  The only problem they found was I had not updated my phone.  Of course not, because sometimes that ends up in an even bigger disaster and you lose EVERYTHING!!

At least if it did die, I was in a good place to get it fixed.  They updated my phone while I held my breath.  Still no Facebook.  He tried to delete the app and reinstall it.  It wouldn't delete.  He disappeared in the back and returned with a simple solution.  Here it is for those of you who have iPhones and can't get an app to load.  You actually have to LOG OUT of (in my case) iTunes, you know, the store where you buy those apps.  When you log in and it's operational, you STAY logged in forever, unless you have problems.  Once you  LOG OUT and log back in, everything resets itself and it works find.  Facebook reappeared and loaded in a flash.

It still took me 30 minutes to move from RANT back to HATE before finally returning to LIKE.  It's a love hate relationship I have with my phone.  Trouble is, if I didn't have it, I would feel totally cut off and disconnected from the world.  I've become so attached to my phone, I almost go into a state of panic if I even forget to take it to the grocery store.    I might miss an important call!!  Yeah, right!!

So it's back to embroidery, with my not-so-trusty phone at hand.  I've got twelve dinner trays to fill and six Instant Pot recipes to try out.  Here's hoping my cemetery doesn't need to expand past it's already wide borders.