Thursday, May 31, 2018

Scrolling Can Get You In Trouble

Okay, I admit I should be in Quilters Anonymous.  The six days however, would not be quite the truth.  I happened upon a Facebook account in the name of National Quilters Circle.  They have a Block Challenge going on.  What the heck is that?  So I looked it up.  I should have just scrolled right on by.
I've always wanted to try making a sampler quilt.  They look VERY difficult, so I've passed them by.  This is what I found ... it's called the Lexington Sampler.  It comes with complete directions FOR FREE.  No mention of the fabric COST because you are supposed to use the fabric you have in your stash.  

What's a stash?  It's the closet full of all the fabric you've purchased and never used.  I have a big one, but all those fabrics were purchased to make a particular quilt.  Surely you wouldn't want me to steal from those!!
How could I pass up this opportunity?  I grabbed my stash of coupons and headed off to the quilt store.  I don't think I have ever traveled down this section of Highway 99 without there being an accident.  This day was no exception.  Traffic was backed up for miles because this car thought she had the right of way.  Big mistake, since the cattle truck was MUCH bigger than she was.
At any rate, I made it to the WAY too expensive quilt store to find them with very little fabric, since they were moving.  Back to town the other direction to find Joanns having a nice sale.  

This block challenge is really something.  People from all over the world have signed up.  Many of them are apparently not computer/iPhone literate.  My Facebook page was instantly inundated with "where do I get the pattern" questions.  It was simple enough, but hundreds didn't seem to be able to hit the right buttons.  It was so bad I couldn't find posts from my friends.  

There seemed to be several very patient ladies who gave directions over and over again.  Kudos to them because soon I was frustrated by the questions.  Just scroll down three times and you'll find everything you need.  No one scrolled.  Then came the thousands ... really, thousands .... of images of finished blocks.  Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.  

Everyone's opinion of what fabric goes together is different.  Some were fabulously beautiful.  Some were downright .... well actually, I have no words.  Many made MY choice of turquoise fabric questionable.  I wasn't alone.  People started making TWO quilts.  After all, it's only two little squares a week.  

I'm sad to admit this is my SECOND version.  Yup ... I ran right back to Joanns with even more coupons and snatched up MORE fabric.  At least this one was 50% off.  Of course I posted it on Facebook.  What a really great group of ladies (and men) that I have so much in common with.  

So scrolling can get you in trouble.  The next block comes out today, and I'm sure there will be another thousand who didn't get it or can't find it, followed by even more postings of finished blocks. If I don't comment on a post YOU made, it's because I can't find it for the forest of block postings.

In the mean time when I wasn't scrolling, I finished sewing the binding on this lap quilt.  It's for the puppies and I on the couch.
It will take nine weeks to get all the block patterns and put the thing together.  I seem to be in trouble already.  The finished block should be 15-1/2 inches wide.  Mine are 15, in spite of very careful sewing and cutting.  I would ask why, but would be blasted with too many posts to read.  I'd hate to have to scroll right on by every one, which is what I should have done in the first place.

I'll be in my sewing room ..... scrolling!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's To Complain About Now?

The Magic Kingdom of Elks Bingo comes around faster every week.  Honestly, it's not a bad place to be when the temperature rises to 98 degrees and above, as it did yesterday.  I know it was that hot because the brown spots are again starting to show up in my lawn.

It's like having measles.  They start out as little irritations and before I know it, they are a full blown case of scratching my head trying to figure out how to keep my PGE bill low and my grass green.  Soon it becomes a BIG irritation.

Here's the breakdown:  Just me (no sprinklers, no air conditioning)       $  75 /month
                                      Me and sprinklers                                                 200
                                      Me, sprinklers and A.C.                                       350

My plan is to try and keep the front section green and let the back part go.  After all, it can't be seen by the neighbors.  It might even become the new extension to my home cooking cemetery.
At any rate, I received a text message saying I was late to the North Tower jam session above the dungeon.  The Jester had just returned from Chicago to regale us with stories of Trump Towers and the beautiful weather.  Plus, it was his birthday to boot.  Any reason to celebrate.

When they tried to get inside Trump Towers for a drink, they were rebuffed at the front door where luggage unloading was happening for the nightly guests.  The entrance to the elevator was apparently around the corner, second door on the right.  You know, the servant's entrance.

He begged to differ, but I'm sure his levis had something to do with that.  The nice lady that met them at the elevator, took them straight to the bar.  No window watching allowed.  At $12-15 a drink it wasn't cheap but they did have fast service.  Lucky for him the bartender took some amazing pictures of them with the city of Chicago behind.  What a view that was!!

I was pretty hesitant to set up our table and get to work since the full moon was shining brightly in the sky, but lo and behold, there were no arguments, no skirmishes and no flailing on the floor in an attempt to get us to return money.  In other words, what can we complain about now?  Everything went swimmingly well.

I'm proud to announce the mini-me infernal machine is still working like a charm.  Less than 15 seconds for every transaction.  It was pretty boring until the entire building sang happy birthday to the Jester.  107 people singing off key.  What could be better!

Update:  Apache Frank's paperwork was sent in with a promise from the local politician's office to contact a friend in Washington DC to try and accelerate the process.  After all, Frank's 98 years old and doesn't have a few years to sit around waiting for results.  Thank you for the suggestions on looking up his paperwork, but come to find out there was a big fire way back when that erased all of the Army military veterans files forever.  That's why he was never awarded the Purple Heart.

Update 2:  My hand is considerably better, so much so that I finished binding one quilt.

Update 3:  Here's the quilt.  I'm not a fan of this one.  It needed plain borders and a different color backing.  It's going to be donated for sure.
Update 4:  Miss Jessie, after two really bad days of not eating, is semi back to normal.  Cooper got a haircut with my horse clippers and is truly a hot mess.  Sometimes I can do a great job and sometimes he looks like a three year old was experimenting.  The three year old came out to play this time.

It's going to be a boring rest-up day.  The yoga, the running and the late night have all caught up with me.  I'll be snoozing on the couch!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Accidental Yoga

I don't practice Yoga.  Ever since I took that first class twenty years ago and found out I'm not the least bit flexible, probably from being bucked off a horse once or twice, I figured it wasn't for me.  Little did I know it would become an every morning experience.

As soon as it gets light out, Cooper is chomping at the bit to play the ball game.  Once I open the bedroom door, the game is ON!!  Where's the BALL?
Once he finds it, the latest game is to roll it under my armoire and bark for me to retrieve it.  Such a fun game at 4:30-5:00 in the morning.  That's when the yoga begins.  This is me getting down on the floor so I can find the ball.  Not so appropriately, this is the Cat pose.
Then I stretch out as far as I can to look underneath the massive structure to find the ball at the very back corner.  Grabbing my trusty coat hangar, I drag aforementioned ball to the front where Cooper triumphantly grabs it from me and runs to the other side of the room.
I figure I might as well stay awhile since I'm on the floor anyway.
Getting back up is always an adventure in balance and grace.  I'm pretty sure I don't look like this.  Thank goodness no one is looking.  Just about that time, Cooper rolls the ball back under the armoire and the game resumes.  If nothing else, he keeps me flexible enough to get up and down off the floor.
Outside with my cup of morning fake java, I discovered a full moon.  A gorgeous one peaking through the trees that I missed taking photos of.  
Serenaded by my bird buddy, every morning like clockwork, I tried to gear up for the day's events.  First off, make a salad for the Memorial Day barbecue at a friends house.
I wasn't there long .... it was a healthy 98 degrees yesterday with no shade to speak of.  That's when I wish I had a swimming pool.  This was me, oh my aching back, after chasing the kids around the yard.  Luckily when I left, the man of the house followed me home to help plant my mail box.
One thing I can say for sure, not only did I get a yoga workout, I got a weight lifting workout to boot.  I didn't quite look this good lifting the bag.   Do you have any idea just how heavy those bags of quickrete are?  Oh ... you got a "small" bag he says.  If I got one any larger, I would not have been able to get it in my truck, let alone carry it all the way to the mail box site.  Now I need a chiropractor!!
Thank goodness he brought a post hole digger.  All I had was a shovel that wasn't so good at going through the rock and concrete-like dirt.  We only went down twelve inches, but it took thirty minutes just to get through the first eight inches of rock.

Not a great image of the mail box, but it does show the old post and the house responsible for me having to install a NEW box.  Notice I positioned the new box in a strategic location so they will break their car on the old one before hitting my NEW one!!
By the end of the day, this was me in my last yoga pose.  It's called (appropriately) the CORPSE and that's exactly what I felt like when I finally hit the couch.  
If I keep this up, I'll either be a master yoga student or a mess of quivering flesh on the floor screaming out for ASPIRIN!!!  It's time to go for my morning run.  Hopefully that will loosen me up a little.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Remember The Fallen

It's Memorial Day ... when the neighborhood kids play outside in their pool, screaming at the top of their lungs listening to WAY too loud mariachi music.  It's fun.  Reminds me of when we would gather up all four of us and head out to Lake Yosemite, when it was free to enter, for a picnic by the lake.  There was no music but lots of mosquitos and ants.

We were pretty quiet as we sat on our blanket on the ground and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a little sand on the side.  My how times have changed.  I hope you remember those who have made this life possible for us today ... those who lost their lives in the fight for freedom.  Please remember the Fallen and thank a Veteran today.
I spent the morning on the patio drinking my phony coffee and enjoying this little section of garden that has blooming things.  It's been gorgeously cool every morning as I listen to my bird buddy on the roof.  Yup ... he's still chirping away!
I'm not sure if these are day lilies or not, but they have decided to bloom in profusion (something you don't see in my garden much) and totally brightened up my day.  I think they have been helped by the sun and the lovely 70 degree temperatures.
Too bad the sun also revealed the mountains of dust on my furniture.  I've put it off long enough ... time to get out the monster I drag around the floor sucking up everything in sight.  Anyone know why they make the cords so short?  I'm constantly looking for outlets.

As I braved the numerous sticky spider webs that caused much more exercise than I needed (I go crazy when I feel them on my face), I removed the remnants of two balls Cooper had destroyed.  With the longest handle I could find, I also sucked up several spiders.  

I don't know where they come from since I spray my house inside and out on a regular basis.  Finally done to the point the bin couldn't hold another spider, I went to empty the contents into the kitchen garbage can.

That's when the REAL dance began!  Those darn spiders started climbing out of the can faster than I could whack them!  How could they possibly survive?  I danced around the jungle fighting for my life.  Lucky for me, they didn't survive the fly swatter!  Good grief they are fast!!  I'm always amazed at the amount of dirt that can accumulate in a house with only one person and two small dogs.  

Feeling squeaky clean, I spent time with the puppies on the couch while stitching the binding on this quilt.  I think this is number 4 of 12 I took to the quilter.  I'm sure I could purchase my own machine with what it's cost me, but then I'd have to have the creativity to invent designs to quilt.  That's not going to happen.  
I spent the last couple hours of the day going through some of the post card collection I have from Florence and her mother.  You will be surprised by them I think.  Some are pretty racey for the day.  Over 110 years old, they are fascinating to see and read.  Many are from the Isle of Man where she was born and her family lived before emigrating to the U.S.  

That's when Cooper disappeared.  Just as I was heading to bed, I couldn't find him.  I went outside to call and call, but he didn't come.  OH NO!!!  Where's my kid?  I finally found him cowering in the horse corral way out back.  

Apparently he saw a kitty and decided to chase it through the big corrals full of foxtails.  Now here's something I can grow REALLY well!!  When I picked him up, I couldn't believe he was covered from head to tail and I mean COVERED!  

Poor baby was jumping around like crazy as each one stuck him in his tender skin.  He's kind of a wuss when it comes to that.  Over an hour later I was finally able to get all of them out of his way too thick curly long hair.  Luckily they missed his eyes and toes.  I see a haircut in his future.
Today I'm going to work on a new project.  The National Quilter's Circle has put out a pattern with videos for a sampler quilt (one block a week), something I never thought I was capable of doing.  Turns out they are easier than they look.  I'll tell you all about it later.  The horse shears are calling Cooper's name!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Love Letters

First off, I'm sorry I deleted most of yesterday's post after only a few read it.  I began to feel bad about what I said.  The laugh should have been on me.  It's not nice to make fun of your friends (even if they are not close friends) and even if it was funny.  I'm just trying to clean up my act in my old age.  So ... on to Love Letters .....

Back in March of 1946, some pyrex bowls with a price tag of $2.56 were delivered to Florence and her husband Willie ... a fitting wedding present.  World War II had just come to an end the previous September.

She saved everything ... a hoarder you might say.  When she passed away many years later, she left everything to my father who had also passed.  That meant it all came to my brother and myself.  He went to the house in Petaluma and threw lots of stuff away before I could get there.  Once I arrived, I found a treasure trove in the garbage cans.  I dug it all out.
Among the bags were every holiday card she ever received from her husband and friends.  Many have letters written inside.  Postage was 1-1/2 cents.  She also had every post card her mother sent to her as she traveled the world.  Many have dates from 1918 on, all with cancelled postage stamps.  Even the Lusitania is pictured in her cards.  They are things that should be in a museum.

Florence was a Navy WAVE ... Women Accepted For Voluntary Emergency Service, which was established by Congress in 1942.  The idea was that the women would work in shore positions while the men were released to sea duty.

The war ended around 1945 and on February 17, 1946 she and Willie were married.  With the war over, she went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in Bakersfield California where she grew up.  That didn't work out so well being apart from her husband who was still in the Navy, so she wrote this resignation letter.
It's fascinating going through all this stuff, reading all the notes and letters she kept.  This one, written on East Bay Area Military Police letterhead, was her acceptance of another position with the railroad in the San Francisco-Petaluma-Bay Area, where she moved to be with her new husband.
Willie my Wolf, says a lot!!  She even kept the birthday cards she gave to him.  My how cards have changed over the years.  Now they are three times as large and play music for you!!
I like this one .... Hello "honey" just trying out my new pen.  I love you.  I love you.  I love you.  Unfortunately, Willie liked to drink and carouse a little too much, and it didn't take long for the marriage to fall apart.  They divorced and Florence never remarried.  She lived with her sister (who never married) until they both passed away.  
Here's a couple of Christmas cards she received.  Funny, they don't exactly LOOK like Christmas cards.  Florence never went hunting that I know of, so I'm guessing these were from someone who did.  
There is a telegram from Western Union congratulating her on her wedding.  It's from Jim in Santa Fe New Mexico along with every single tiny congratulation card she received with wedding presents.  I hate that all of this will probably disappear when I'm gone.  I hope to find someplace to donate it before that happens.

When Florence finally died and we went to the house to clean it out, there was barely room to walk.  It was the typical hoarder's house with boxes full of picture frames stacked clear to the ceiling ... hundreds of them.  There were also spoons ... literally thousands of spoons ... and stacks of canned food like you wouldn't believe.  

She had boxes of fabric that I wish I had now.  I didn't really sew back then and it all went to the Salvation Army.  I even found her Navy uniform hanging in the closet.  

Every single little thing had a date written on it.  The cupboards and counters were full of canned food, each with a carefully printed "pull date" before it was required.  Even the boxes of macaroni, which were many years old, had dates.  Her scissors had tiny tags with the date of purchase tied on with string.  Literally everything had a date.  Makes you wonder, right?  

At any rate, it's Memorial Day weekend and time to remember all of those who have kept us free.  Not only the ones who are fighting overseas today, but those who came before us, even if it was a WAVE who made it possible for another soldier to fight.


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dinner Conversation ..... T M I

There should be rules about dinner conversations.  In fact, there should be rules about old people ALL the time.  I'm sure you know one .... those folks who talk about every bodily function imaginable to everyone who will listen, and even those who are walking away.

Why is that?  I've always been rather a quiet, reserved person, not willing to share much about my health issues, but some people will just go on and on and on.  Case in point, I was very reticent when an acquaintance (who shall remain nameless) called to ask me out to dinner.

Not a "date", just a friend who I would rather remain a friend in spite of my needing a handyman.

Unfortunately, I've decided to delete the rest of this post.  It's not nice to talk about other people, especially when they are your friends.  My apologies.  Suffice to say dinner turned out to be a TMI conversation about a recent surgery and everything that accompanied it.  Try as I might, I could not seen to get the conversation going in another direction.
T M I is the name of the game.  TOO MUCH INFORMATION!   Please do NOT bring up all that bodily function conversation unless you've been married for thirty years and are talking to your spouse.  It did have it's funny points, including the next booth neighbors.

The picture above is the latest quilt with binding finally in place.  I think this is my all time favorite, the first one I did not make from a kit.  I actually chose the fabrics.  Having found a sampler quilt challenge on-line, free including all the directions and videos, I'm starting on a new project that I hope will erase all those TMI thoughts and images from my mind.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Some Rain Must Fall

It's time again for Nancy to put on her manly gear ... ranch levis and boots.  There's MAN work to be done around here.  Unfortunately, I'm not like most men who can eat anything they want and not gain an ounce, or just THINK about dieting and have the weight fall off.
Into everyone's life some rain must fall, and I guess it's going to sprinkle on my diet forever.  In spite of all my efforts, I'm gaining back some of the ten pounds I lost.  In an attempt to keep the Doctor happy, I'm running two miles every other day, giving me sore muscles every OTHER day.  

Once I get over the initial shock of gasping for air and feeling like I'm going to collapse in the middle of the road, there is a fifteen minute period of euphoria when I feel like I did something good.  That's when the coughing fits begin that clear my lungs of all the smog I breath here in the Valley.  Sounds like fun, right?

This guy keeps me going however.  No matter how much rain falls in his life, he's on my roof every single morning chirping away as loud as he can.  I'm not sure if he's looking for a lady friend or just designating his territory, but he never fails to show up at 4:30 am.   Rather a bad picture since it was still dark out.
Last night about 2:00 am there was a huge boom that woke up the dogs and I.  I was sure an airplane had crashed next door or maybe a train had blown up.  CRAZY loud!!  Just as I tried to get back to sleep, my totally closed up bedroom lit up like a Christmas tree!  That's when the rains came.

YIKES!!  We never have that kind of lightning storm around here.  Slight chance of thunderstorms they said and yet the rain falls like me dumping out a bad batch of soup in the cemetery.  It's pouring!!!  The good news is that it will help my brown patchy lawn.
Since the gardeners aren't going to repair anything, I decided to do it myself.  I grabbed a shovel and tried to dig up and tear out half of a huge bush that was blocking the sprinklers path.  

My sore muscles didn't help much, but I did make a nice big mess accomplishing half the task.  Maybe when the rains quit, it will be softer digging.  On to the sprinklers.

You probably can't see it here very well, but several of the heads are tilted way to one side, making for brown spots like the above picture.  I don't know how I thought I was going to fix it, but I dug it up just the same.  
Come to find out, they are rather flexible (??), so I straightened it up and filled the dirt back in.  Gee, I seem to be much better at fixing sprinklers than I am cooking!!  I have three more to repair.  
When the mowers and blowers came by yesterday, they saw my hard work and apologized for not fixing it themselves.  Yeah right!  I gave him two sprinkler heads for the front yard, which he installed digging up one and straightening it like I did, before testing for coverage.  I was spying on him out the window the whole time.  I'm hoping they work.

To repay myself for all that hard work, I baked some cookies.  Hmmmmmm, maybe that's what's wrong with my diet.  Anyway, chocolate chip walnut morsels of overcooked deliciousness.  I baked them in the big oven, which obviously doesn't have very even temperature.  More rain in my future when I call the repairman.  
Just a note ... Miss Jessie has been very sick the last few days, but seems to be turning the corner.  That's rain in my bathroom every day that I'm pretty tired of cleaning up.  Cooper also seems to be on the mend.  I keep thinking it's the food.   Much as I'm missing out on an RV Rally up north, I'm glad I made the decision to cancel and stay home with the puppies.  It would have been much worse to be on the road with two sick dogs.

My hand?  It's doing VERY well and I'm back to hand sewing, just not for long sessions like before.  There will be a little sprinkle of rain in YOUR life if you read my blog, because I've got four quilts in the works to show you.  

One is a sampler quilt, something I've never tried before.  One block a week for seven weeks comes to my Facebook page with all the instructions.  It's a free pattern online from National Quilter's Circle.  Now all I need is fabric!  A trip to the fabric store will definitely make the rain go away!!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Critique 101

Way back when, I decided to take a photography class at our local Junior College, just for fun.  I actually had a great Nikon camera, but no clue about how to take good images.  The AUTO button was my friend.

After two classes and many months, I became good friends with the instructor, Jeff.  Pretty soon we were taking road trips all across the country to find new things to photograph.  As time went on, he began inviting a few of us to come critique his current class.  It helps to have another person's opinion because everyone doesn't necessarily like the same things in photographs.

Armed with three bags of candy, three of us from the old fogey group showed up to help the students with their portfolios, a requirement of the Advanced Class.  The Bail Bondsman shoots amazing Hispanic weddings and landscapes, the Prison Guard (who has recently switched from all Nikon gear to the new mirrorless Sony brand) also shoots weddings, and then there is me, the animal/landscape queen.  Two weddings was more than enough for me.  We have a great time encouraging the kids in their work.

Unfortunately, I can't show you any of it because they are all copyright protected.  So here's a few of mine just to show you what we did last night.

Not a bad image, but a little too dark.  Angles in photography are always good ... try to get to a spot where no one else has taken that picture.
This is what we call a pretty harsh transition between a bridge and a deer.  If you shoot wildlife, try to get something other than the deer just standing there, like him licking his back foot.  Remember the rule of thirds ... centered images are okay, but usually look more pleasing to the eye if they are in the right or left third, depending on which way the subject is looking.
Nice reflection.  Definitely something you don't see every day.  WOW ... that blood looks REAL!!  We had one guy who will definitely get a job in the horror movie industry.  Can you pass the Reese's peanut butter cups please?
NO flowers.  Flowers are a no-no.  Everyone has shot tons of flower pictures, which I personally LOVE, but you don't really want them in your portfolio.  Do I show them on my blog all the time?  Of course ... because they are pretty!!!
Your dog, cat or grandchildren are NOT good images to put in your portfolio when you are looking for a job.  It's another harsh transition from the flowers above to the tiger here.  Not a bad image though, since you can see his face.  Those images we looked at of the tiger laying in the grass with his back turned to the camera, looked just like they were taken in the afternoon at the zoo ... which they were.  Show the face up close ... much more interesting.
If you are lucky enough to travel to Bandon Oregon to pet the babies like Tatiana here, spend your time photographing her instead.  Yes the trainer is cute, but cut her out.  It's the tiger we want to see.  Can you pass the M&M's please?
Again, the picture of the lion's butt with no head visible, is a no-no.  No butt pictures please.  Zoom in on the face ... it's those animal eyes you want to see.
There were lots of ocean images ... pretty water and nice waves.  To make it more interesting, always show something in the foreground ... like the beach or rocks, then the water and the horizon.  Feel like you are tilting to the right?  

It's very hard to shoot perfectly straight images unless you have a level on your camera or tripod.  This one needed to be fixed in post production so the horizon line would be straight across.  Many images last night definitely needed to be tweaked.  I think I have a permanent crook in my neck.
Sunsets pretty much represent the end of the day, so they work really well as the last image in a portfolio.  Without the bird however, this would be a pretty ho hum sunset.  
Hyped up on sugar from all the candy we ate, we swore we would meet up again for a road trip.  There's nothing more fun than a group of crazy photographers looking for something to shoot.  Unfortunately, everyone's schedule is so different, it's hard to come up with a date.  

It was another fun class ... except for the bloody images of shootings and hangings that gave me nightmares ... meaning he did a REALLY good job!!  To each his own.  It always makes me want to get out there and photograph something.  No telling what you will see in the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully it won't be just quilts!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Will Wonders Never Cease

You know what this picture means ..... it was Magic Kingdom of Bingo night.  To make it even more interesting, I drug my friend along to the castle and put her to work in the dungeon.

It was interesting to try and work with one hand.  Being a good girl, I wore the brace.  I have to say it's MUCH better and I'm even going to go back to sewing, just a little at a time.

After our "pump up your courage" glass of coca cola, we headed downstairs to set up ... actually a little ahead of time.  The Castle Lawyer had the same idea and beat us to it.  She was all set up and ready to go with our new infernal mini-me debit card machine plugged in to a new internet cable.  We call it that because we had loads of trouble with the cash register when it was new.  The card machine has been no exception, just smaller.

We were off to the races immediately.  Here we go .... the big TEST!  In less than one second (yes, really) it said remove card and spit out a receipt, faster than lightning.  Will wonders never cease.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  A few more cash transactions went through when another card came up.

Slam bam, thank you ma'am, it went through slick as could be.  You should have seen the smile on my face.  Nancy was a happy camper as card after card went through in seconds instead of minutes.  The line never slowed down and we didn't have ANY mad customers.

In no time, the Evil Sheriff came by to check if it was working.  I gave him a thumbs up, whereupon he patted himself on the back for about ten minutes.  That's when we found out HE didn't do the work alone, one of our Bingo Crew ran all the wires for the direct internet connection.  No matter, it works, after 14 months of us bitching at him to fix it.
We all should have gone upstairs for a celebration drink, but instead the Castle Lawyer and I celebrated with pizza from one of the players.  Fifteen minutes later, after a little snafu with our order for pepsi at the snack bar, we had two cheeseburgers and fries to get rid of.

You have to pick your fights, and telling the Chief Cook she made a mistake is NOT a good idea.  RATS ... this is NOT on my diet!!

We gave one to friend Cyndae, while the Castle Lawyer and I agreed to share one.  Ever try to cut a cheeseburger in half with a fork?  My dull pocket knife wasn't much better, and by the time I was done, it was pretty mangled, with a big hole in the bottom of the plate.  I stabbed my piece and ate around the edges before depositing the rest in the bin.

At the end of the night, mini-me closed out on the very first try.  Amazing ... and such a simple fix.  Too bad it took us getting mad enough to go to the Board to get it done.  The Evil Sheriff came by to gloat some more.  His arm must have been really sore, having spent all night patting himself on the back and telling everyone about what a great job he had done.

You know me, or maybe you don't, but I told him if he had done this many moons ago, he wouldn't have had to listen to me bitch at him.  Sorry, I couldn't help but dig him a little.  It's nice to know there will be no more apologizing on our part for a machine that wasn't working correctly.

Unfortunately, I ended the night with a sick puppy.  Poor Jessie made a really big mess in my bathroom while I was gone and her gurgling stomach kept me up most of the night.  Poor baby ... I'm going to revamp her food AGAIN to see if we can make it better.

For now, I think it's nap time on the couch.  I know it's only 6:00 in the morning, but I'm yawning already and I need sleep before the College Photography Class critique I'm doing tonight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Walk On The Wild Side

Every morning when I get up, the first stop is my wild back yard.  Not for me of course, but for the puppies.  As beautiful as it is, it's a constant reminder that I no longer have horses in my life.  To counteract that feeling, I always check out the rose bushes.  Notice the difference in height?

My gardener saw fit to trim the bushes back ... a good thing.  Unfortunately, he has also chosen to do that once every two weeks.  Thus I have a stepping stone variation of rose bushes.  To the left out of the picture, are six more that are taller than the fence which he has not trimmed at all.

There's a reason for that I guess ... since I caught him dumping OTHER people's trimmings in MY trash can (I'm the only one in the area that pays to have a trash can), I put a stop to it.  I put my can in the garage.  Now he has to haul off trimmings on HIS dime, so he doesn't do much at a time, unwilling to fill his trailer to the brim at just my house.  And so on and so on .......
Amazingly, as I walked about the yard yesterday admiring the four things that flower, I spotted a first ever event.  My bottle brush tree that I planted last year, knowing full well it would probably die, has survived.  It is even blooming!!  When I spotted a touch of red at the bottom, I lifted the little branches to find beautiful blooms.  YAY for my black thumb that seems to have turned slightly green.
As I listened to the little bird who sits in the exact same spot on the roof every single morning singing his praises to a sweetheart who has yet to fly by, I glanced over by a bedroom window and saw MORE red!!  It's no surprise that I can't for the life of me remember what these are, but they are blooming like crazy!!
The last thing flowering, which I absolutely LOVE, are the two honeysuckle bushes.  They smell devine when you walk by.  Why the little flying dog?  It's supposed to be for my Mandy girl, a black miniature schnauzer who flew over the rainbow bridge and waits for me to join her.  Best little dog ever.  Yes you are right, the ornament is a scotty dog, not a schnauzer!!  It was a gift, so it's the thought that counts.
That's when I heard the buzzing.  Honeybees flying around the honeysuckle.  Of course!  So I got real close and took a picture with my phone, barely able to tell where it was.
Wasn't I surprised when I made the picture larger and found this guy!  YIKES!!  Yellow jackets around here are MEAN!  If you walk by, they will fly right out and nail you!!!  I can't believe I got within three inches to take this picture and didn't get stung.  It was my lucky day!!
Making it even luckier, my girlfriend from Sacramento came down yesterday afternoon to take me to dinner.  I can't argue with that, so off we went to our claim to fame, Applebees.  Instead of my usual salmon plate, I decided to walk on the wild side and have bourbon chicken and shrimp.  

When they set the plate in front of me, it looked nothing like the picture on the menu.  The shrimp were less than one inch around, all three of them.  It showed loads of mushrooms, but all I could find on the plate were four little pieces along with onions which were not pictured at all.  

Truthfully, it tasted just like regular chicken.  I KNEW I should have stuck with the salmon.  Live and learn .. it was still a very nice dinner with a long time friend.  Tonight I'm dragging her off to the Magic Kingdom of Bingo.  My return treat for her will be a dungeon hot dog.  Won't she be thrilled!!