Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Chirp ... Chirp ... Chirp

I know you are all familiar with THAT sound.  I got home from the Boys and Girls Club just in time to hear the familiar chirping every 30 seconds.  Figuring out which one of six is making the noise, is another story.  You stand underneath one and wait ...... chirp .... nope.  Move to the next one and wait .... chirp .... nope.  Finally CHIRP!!  There you are!!

Unfortunately it required my tallest ladder that was in the garage.  I planned to wait, but Cooper was going crazy.  Jessie, who usually hides under the nearest chair, couldn't hear it at all since her hearing went almost in one day.

Have you ever tried to teach your dog hand signals?  After a week of wildly waving my arms, she now comes when she sees me pretending to be a windmill from Indio.  At any rate, I got the battery changed and it's quiet now.

Speaking of the garage, friend Cyndae said even if it takes two years, I should start clearing out the house so if and when I move, it will be much easier.  GREAT idea.  I started by cleaning out this bay.
Everything that can go in the trash or is free, I stacked outside.  Then I set up two tables that will hold most of the sale stuff.  In less than two hours, the tables were full.  I have a LONG way to go.  The good news is that the garage is getting cleaned up!!
As far as the Keto diet is concerned, I feel like chirping myself.  I'm eating like a bird.  At first, I was thinking "how can you eat all this fatty goodness and lose weight?"  It dawned on me I was probably eating WAY too much food.  

I've always been the meat and vegetable girl, so when I saw the recipe for chicken parmesan, I jumped right in.  I actually did cut one chicken breast into four pieces, then pounded it out so it looked bigger than it really was.  

Using almond flour for the breading did give it a different taste, but nothing I couldn't swallow.  Looks nice, yeah??
So this was dinner.  Cauliflower casserole and chicken.  By the way, that is a very small six inch paper plate.  Amazingly, I wasn't hungry at all after cleaning up every minuscule piece and almost licking the plate.  Moderation George said!!!
My problem is the sweets AFTER dinner.  I finally got the ingredients together to make Fat Bombs.  Yup ... that's what they call these morsels of bitter, bitter chocolate.  Macadamia nuts in a muffin tin, covered with Lilys dark chocolate chips, melted with a tablespoon of coconut oil.  That didn't sound the least bit appetizing to me, but I made them anyway.  How is this supposed to help my sweet tooth?

Sprinkling the top with coarse salt did help a little.  The chocolate is so bitter with no sugar, that the salt actually tasted sweet.  But not sweet enough.  I made a second batch, adding in Stevia.  Honestly, I could hardly tell the difference.  Next time I need to add half the bottle.
I still have my doubts this is going to work, but I'll keep trying.  It definitely will be difficult while at the next three RV rallies.  Which reminds me, I need to get back to packing!!

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Nite Of Blurry Pictures

It was a fund raiser for the Boys and Girls Club.  The Elks Lodge donates money for an entire table, then tries to get members to attend.  I'm thinking they usually pick members that have lots of money for the auctions they have to raise even MORE money.  Sadly, they picked me.

Just back from a week in Pismo Beach with their RV, Karen and Mark barely had time to change clothes.  I'm certainly glad they did, otherwise there would only have been two people sitting at our table.  By the way, Mark is the one who works on my diesel truck and repairs electrical wiring I have torn out of the socket.  He's also one of my Bingo cohorts!!

His lovely wife Karen is the reason I'm trying to eat the way of Keto.  It seems to work for her.  I of course want it to work in three days.
Playing around at the table is Wil, another of my Bingo pals.  That's it .... just the four of us at a table for eight due to circumstances beyond our control.  Dinner was chicken and tri-tip, cooked to perfection by our own Sheriff Warnke.  When he found out how much the caterer was going to charge, he volunteered to cook for free for a crowd of over 100.  
I'm thinking possibly it was all the wine being passed around, because the pictures got more blurry as the night went on.
We wandered around bidding on the silent auction items ... nothing I was really interested in except the ukulele and this cake.  Also a blurry picture when I got bumped from behind, doused with wine, and almost fell INTO the cake!  

Desert auctions are amazing.  The first apple pie went for $100.  That was the starting bid for the second and so on.  This cake sold for $400.  Uhmmmmm NO.  Besides, I'm trying really hard at the Keto thing, and sweets are NOT on the menu.  Too bad for me.
Here's the cookbook Karen recommended I try.  The lemon cheesecake bars finally made their way into my cemetery.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup melted butter for the crust. Those that cook, know this turned into soup with not near enough flour.  I added more, but honestly, nothing would have made this better except sugar.

The filling of jello, cream cheese and lemon juice wasn't much better.  I think I should try something else.  On the other hand, the noodle-less lasagne was pretty darn good.  I mean really, hamburger, Italian sausage, cheese and no-sugar-added marinara sauce.  What's not to like?
I followed that up with a cauliflower casserole.  I like cauliflower if you put enough of something on it.  This something was sour cream, cream cheese, onions and bacon.  I could have eaten the entire pan.  Instead, I've had it twice a day for the last two days.  Portion control Mark told me at the dinner table with our plates piled two inches high!!!
Three full days of Keto eating with only two "oops" involved, the tortillas and one small marshmallow. I just MAY have lost half a pound.  I ditched all the bread and carbs in the house, which seems to be the easy part.  It's the sugar I miss.  Hopefully I can come up with something quickly to replace those marshmallows.

The good news is I didn't win a single silent auction bid, keeping my wallet intact.  Several of the items did not sell at all.  Things like a one night stay in Vegas with dinner for $2,500.  I think they forgot where they were.  This is small town Broke-ville.   The cakes and pies went to people like the auto dealership owner who can write it off.  I need that money to buy appetizers and dishes for the upcoming three RV rallies.  

D-Day is coming very soon!!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

It's TACO Time!

I'm so excited that they still let me in to the cooking school up in the Sierra Mountains at the Yankee Hill Winery.  After yesterday, they may not.

I love driving up early Saturday mornings.  There's no traffic and no one looking at you, then pulling out so you have to slam on the brakes.  I made my usual stop at the little gold mining community of Columbia.  Todays subject ..... the Jail.

Truthfully, I don't remember the jail being here.  I'm pretty sure they moved it to make room for a parking lot.  As with most public buildings today, the inside is completely covered with graffiti, but at least it's just the pen and pencil version.
There were/are only two cells with holes to pass food through.  That makes each 6 x 4 cell completely dark so they can't see what they are eating.  I'm guessing they had a cook with MY kind of skills.
Here's a peek through the holes into the actual cell.  The 2 x 4 bed looks rather uncomfortable, even with moldy blankets and bugs for a mattress.
So .... on to the taco class.  Really, who doesn't know how to make tacos.  I was more interested in the sauces and tortillas we were going to make ... by hand!  You will be proud to know I was NOT the worst of the lot.  There was one other girl that cooks worse than me.

At least I try to follow the recipes.  She put only four tiny tomatillos in a blender, then dumped in an entire RED onion, instead of the quarter WHITE onion the recipe called for.  Next time I'll be sure to taste everything first.  It was like taking a big huge bite of raw onion.  In fact, it turned the VERDE (that means green) sauce completely RED.   I put a huge tablespoon on my taco.  I can STILL taste the onions.

Next up, the red chili sauce.  Once the same girl finished blending this one, I dipped a spoon in the sauce for a taste.  I almost spit it back out.  Good grief!!!  There had to be eighteen cloves of garlic in there.  Turns out when it called for two teaspoons, she put in two HUGE teaspoons from the jar of chopped garlic. It took three tomatoes and a big helping of sugar to make it edible.  It really wasn't edible ... I passed on that one.

Then it was my turn to make the salsa fresco.  It was worth the $40 to learn how to chop a tomato.  Stand it up on the stem end and slice down, but not all the way through.  Turn one quarter and slice again.  Lay it on it's side (it magically stays together) and slice away to make the most perfect pieces of tomato.  Who knew?  That sauce came out wonderful.

There was so much stuff ... roasted beef, boiled chicken (add in onion skins for flavor and color, then save the broth for other recipes), roasted pork and ceviche.  I am NOT a fan of raw fish, but guess who was instructed to make it.

Before I go there however, the secret to very tasty beef is after cooking, let it sit out and DRY out.  That intensifies the flavor.  To serve, add a tiny bit of beef broth and reheat, adding in spices like smoked paprika, chili lime, cumin, oregano ... whatever you like.  What a difference in taste.

I chopped up tilapia and dumped it in a bowl.  Nuke a lime for 15 seconds, and squeeze over the fish. Add a little red onion, some salt and the juice of a large lemon (also nuked to get the most juice).  How could that go wrong?  One lady down the counter came up with chopped garlic she said went in with the fish.  

I hesitated because the pieces were HUGE.  Are you sure that goes in here?  WHAT'S WRONG she asked.  Oh nothing ... she dumped it in.   Sure enough, upon checking the recipe, there was NO garlic.  I spent the next 20 minutes fishing out the garlic chunks.  Good thing they were so huge.  I got dinged for that one by the Chef.
On to making tortillas!!  I've done this many times before, with flour tortillas, not corn.  The recipe was simple ... masa, butter crisco and warm water.  Personally, I prefer lard.  Now to try out the handy dandy tortilla press.  The secret?  Cut open a large zip lok bag, lay it on the press, deposit the ball of masa you made, COVER IT WITH THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ZIP LOK BAG (which everyone seemed to forget), and press.  Instant tortilla.  Peel it off the plastic and cook on a cast iron comal (which he didn't have) or two huge flat electric fry pans.

Apparently, the secret is to not overcook them.  We of course, overcooked them.  The only saving grace was placing them in a tortilla warmer, which steamed them soft again.  On to flour torts.

They are MUCH easier to mix up and roll out.  While I was cooking, the other girls were rolling.  Somehow they couldn't get the concept of roll from the middle out, so there was not a round one in the bunch.  

Wine time came much earlier than normal ... 10:30 I think ... because we kept screwing up quite often.  No problem he said ... YOU are the ones eating this stuff!!  I filled each of my tacos with two types of filling.
I skipped the ceviche.  Surprisingly, even the corn tortilla stayed together until the very end.  Luckily, there was no rice cooked on this day.  Mighty tasty it was, mostly due to the spices we added.  I just might have to start making my own tortillas again ... except for that Keto thing.  NO carbs!!!  Ok, I'll wait until I lose 10 pounds to try it.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

What's That Smell???

It's probably green stuff ... moola ... the cash that keeps running out of my pockets like water.  Those that think their fuel prices are high should take a look at this.  The diesel I got about three weeks ago was $2.99 a gallon.  This is what California does to our fuel and it's not even summer yet.  They have added even MORE taxes, this time to pay for roads they say, but the truth is it's going in to their High Speed Rail Slush Fund.

Just imagine ... you will now be able to take a high speed train from Merced to Bakersfield, all of 163 miles, because as you know, EVERYONE wants to travel to Merced or Bakersfield.  I took only 12 gallons, even though my truck holds 50.  Luckily the motorhome already has a full tank.
My friend Cyndae and I talked for hours about houses, rentals, plumbing and taxes before heading off to bed.  The conversation continued in the morning.  She will soon be moving into a larger place with her daughter and grandchildren.  I mentioned I was trying to make the same decision.  Her solution was simple, but wait ..... what's that smell?

I had put some rice on the stove to cook for Cooper, thinking I would easily hear it as boiling water hit the very hot stovetop.  Somehow that didn't happen.  I do have a nose good enough to smell burning things, mostly because I'm so used to burning things.  The rice did not survive.
How about I nuke the rice.  I've never tried that before, but at least when the bell dings, it will not keep cooking.  Now what's THAT smell??  That would be rice and boiling water going all over the bottom of the microwave.  

Good grief .... what a mess THAT turned out to be, but at least the rice was not burned and will finally make it's way into Cooper's dinner dish.
In the meantime, Cyndae's advice was to start purging.  Make a big spot in the garage where you can start stacking stuff for a yard sale.  Every time you find something, take it to the garage.  Even if it takes you a year, at least you are working towards your goal.  GREAT idea!!  Not only that, but she's coming back for a visit on Memorial Day ... the perfect weekend for a yard sale!!  At least I'm on a roll with something!
With the weather heating up, I didn't stay in the garage very long.  Instead I gave Mr. Cooper a haircut.  At least there was no heat involved and he turned out just right instead of overdone or burned. 
Early this morning I'm off to cooking school, not that it seems to be helping me much!!  Last night I went to a charity dinner/auction for the Boys and Girls Club.  They didn't burn ANYTHING related to dinner and I didn't burn through any of that green stuff!!  Yahoo!!  But that's for tomorrow's story.

Friday, April 26, 2019

That's How We Roll

Up bright and early, I was excited to hit the Sew and Craft Quilt show in Fresno at the fairgrounds.  The directions were skimpy at best, and after an hour of 70 mph on the freeway, I missed the entrance, not once, but twice!!  Grrrrr  Sometimes you just have to work for the goodies.

It's not a big show by any means, but all the big name quilting machines were there.  In fact, they took up half the building.  Some were so huge they wouldn't even fit in my house.  Instead, I headed for the bright colors.

Fabric has become like diesel fuel.  The prices have skyrocketed recently to $13 and $14 a yard.  That equates to roughly $200 for a decent sized quilt, which is why I shop Joanns a lot, since they are still in the $10 range.  These one yard cuts were on sale for $6 each.  Naturally, they were going like hotcakes!!
That's why the early bird gets the worm AND the fabric and doesn't have to fight the crowds.  By noon, the selection was much smaller and the aisles totally blocked with people.  
I picked up a few things, but nothing to write home about.  This probably doesn't interest anyone not a quilter, but the latest and greatest is paper piecing, a rather arduous task in my book.  That's why I've chosen not to do it so far.  However, there are always new inventions, and the pattern on the left is one of them.  

The pattern pieces are a very thin see through material with the sewing lines marked on them.  Place the fabric ... sew on the lines.  It can't be that hard, so I thought I might try it.  If nothing else, it will get the old brain to working overtime, making sure I don't cut on the wrong line.
My REAL reason for going to the quilt show was to have lunch with the Westerfields.  I missed the message, but finally caught up to them in Clovis.  It's one of those tiny towns with narrow streets and no place to park, who happens to be in the middle of rodeo week.  It doesn't help that the name of the restaurant was on the side of the building where no cars can drive.  

I spent a lot of time in Clovis when I was MUCH younger.  It's where all the cowboys lived.  It's also where I got stranded one night when my ex-boyfriend offered a ride to three of us friends, then decided to go home without telling anyone.  Possibly that's why he was an EX.  In case you haven't noticed, I never go anywhere now unless I'm driving.  That's why!!

We had a wonderful lunch at the House Of Ju Ju.  Two huge fish tacos and a salad the size of Mt. Everest.  I was so busy eating, I didn't take pictures.  Actually, I was distracted by the thought of rolled ice cream, which is where we were headed next.

This was my very first experience with this new phenom.  Apparently there is nitrogen underneath these flat pans.  The first thing they do is smash cookies, or strawberries, or whatever flavor you have chosen.  There are 23 different kinds or you can name your own concoction.  Then they dump on the ice cream base and smash it up, chopping as they go.
With two spatulas, they spread it out thin, upon which they pour lots of sauce ... like caramel, chocolate, peanut butter or whatever your pleasure.  Starting at one end, they scrape up the now frozen ice cream.  It automatically forms a roll.  Seven of them to be exact, which are then deposited in your cup.

Add more sauce, marshmallows in my case, whipped cream and a cookie.  OMG!!!!!  This was probably the tastiest ice cream I've ever had.  I'm thinking it's because the sauces you pick are not lost in the ice cream, but right up front making your taste buds sing!!  Wait ..... this is all Keto, right?????
So that's how they roll the ice cream, and that's how WE roll.  It all disappeared in a matter of minutes.

I threaded my way back home through the traffic, taking 45 minutes longer than the trip down.  The puppies were VERY happy for my return, as was my friend Cyndae.  The Kissack Hotel is again open for a couple of days.  In the meantime, it's back to packing for me!!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Maybe ..... Just Maybe ......

Well that was a rude awakening!!!  I worked on my to-do list yesterday, trying to get things taken care of before blasting off on another trip.  First on the list was to try on those 1800's outfits for the railroad celebration in Utah.  Maybe ... just maybe, I can still fit in them.

Purchased last November after losing ten pounds at the pumpkin patch, I had not tried them on since. I'm sure you know what happened.  That darn sweet tooth got me again.  There's just no way I can get into those dresses.  How disappointing!!  I guess it's back to the old diet grind.

I tried to drop off three more quilts for quilting, but my best gal was taking her grandson to the doctor.  Instead, I picked up my new prescription sunglasses.  YAY!!  I can see again!!

I needed to make a quick drop off at the zoo and see what else they needed, but they were closed.  No problem, I just slipped past the closed gate.  What a wonderful smell!!  Not the critter smell, but the hundreds of blooming flowers everywhere.  It's almost hard to see the critters through the foliage.

Meet Windfall.  She was captured in the Sierras and kept as a pet until she got too big to handle.  That's when she was dumped off at the zoo.  She has a huge stuffed teddy bear that she loves to snuggle up with.  I'll try to get a better picture of her.
This is Missy who was orphaned and starving.  She was eating trash when found.  Now she's a happy camper, especially when in her swimming pool in the summer.
All of the animals at the zoo are rescues, and they try to keep animals local to the general area.  I'll get more pictures later.

My last stop was for groceries ... just what I needed after trying on those dresses!!  Seems everyone is losing weight on the newest diet craze, Keto everything.  In short, that means no carbs and no sugar.  My sweet tooth cried.

I doubt this Keto stuff will become an every day thing, but Patty said she tried lasagne without the noodles and it was pretty good.  I think I can do that.  So I made up three small pans.  The problem is that I LOVE lasagne and the more cheese, the better.  Cheese equals fat, which will probably evolve into pounds.  
It really was mighty tasty.  I mean who doesn't like ooey gooey melted cheese??  It certainly did taste the part.  I threw in some broccoli for dinner, just to fill me up.
The last project of the day was to check the air in my motorhome tires.  First, I required a gauge.  One that actually worked.  I went through three before finding the fourth, which seemed to work well.  There's something about those valve stems that escapes me.  One wouldn't read at all, and one said only 70 pounds.  Funny ... they didn't LOOK flat!!

Finally I remembered the trucker gauge in the rig.  It worked like a charm.  Only two tires needed a tad bit more air.  That big air compressor I have always scares me though.  I envision it exploding! 

At any rate, with the last of the day's chores marked off, it was time for bed.  It was a very hot 93 degrees with today's forecast set at 96.  I've been keeping an eye on the weather in Nevada, as I'll be heading that direction soon.  Please Lord, just don't let there be snow.  The forecast is for rain with 33 degree temps.  My blood pressure is starting to rise!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A New Recruit!!

First off, thank you to everyone for the fire ant information.  I had no idea that's what they were.  I've seen them around the horse corrals, but never paid any attention.  They have my undivided attention now!!

My foot is MUCH better today.  Crazy how much that hurt!!  It goes right along with the half inch of skin I lost while dragging the garden hose up on the roof with no place to set it down.  Talk about a slow heal, in spite of all my doctoring.  Too bad it didn't get me out of playing cashier last night.

Yes it was that time again ... the Magic Kingdom was alive and well with a fair bit of holdover from the full moon.  SO many new people last night.  I thought I would be working alone, but my cohort finally showed up just as I began the big show by opening the doors and letting the crowds pour in.
It takes a little longer when you have to explain to newcomers how each game works, that they need to buy a Hot Ball number at another station so they can win twice the jackpot, and how the pull tabs work.  Pull the tab to see if you won $1 or maybe $5.

That's when I spotted him ... a new member who just went through his initiation into the lodge.  He brought his wife so she could play Bingo.  Seems she's pretty much a player .... him, not so much, but he gets big credits for coming with her.  Once they sat down and we had a short lull in the workload, I ran to the table to talk to them.

Here's our deal ... if one of the pair will volunteer to help us out for the evening, the other gets to play basically for free, unless they win a jackpot, in which case we subtract their cost.  PLUS ... the volunteer gets a free dinner.  Well, a hamburger, hotdog or maybe a tri-tip sandwich.  It gets them every time.  YAY!!  A NEW RECRUIT!!  I knew she would talk him into it!!
Once the ball got rolling and the King began calling numbers, 20 minutes late ... my helper went to play herself.  She's been such a great help when I'm NOT there, that I like to let her play when I am. There were some weird transactions here and there, like 50 pennies and ten nickels for one game.  I think someone cracked the kid's piggy bank!!

One of our workers won a $500 pot, so he was happy!!  With so many people present, totally unusual for the third Tuesday of the month, we paid out well over $5,000, not to mention $2,000 from the pull tabs.  Now you know why we are so popular on Tuesday nights!!

My dinner consisted of a tasty burger covered in the thinnest possible piece of cheese.  Although they did an amazing job of toasting the bun, I'm pretty sure it was from the two day old bread store.  It was a little crunchy around the edges.  No matter, it was free and mighty tasty, even though they give me terrible heartburn every time.  On the flip side, they have new french fries that are AMAZING!!  Better than Micky D's or even In N Out.

There's lots on my plate today ... groceries for the trip, pick up my new sunglasses, drop off a couple of quilts to be quilted and stop by the Zoo on an information gathering reconnaissance.  Just what are puzzle feeders anyway??

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Ants - 1 Nancy - 0

Weird things tend to happen to me and I've no idea why.  Like the time I was in Costa Rica with Patty Chance and we were out looking for frogs to photograph at night.  I heard one and kept telling Patty he must be VERY close.  He's so LOUD with his croaking!!

That's when I felt the movement in my hair ... he was actually sitting on my shoulder croaking into my ear.  Not sure whether he was poisonous or not, I freaked out just before he jumped to this leaf.  Well hello little hitchhiker!!  I'm pretty sure I lost one year of my life that night.
So I shouldn't have been surprised yesterday to have an encounter with an ant.  A BIG ant.  I would show you a picture of the real thing, but he's in a million pieces on the concrete patio.

There I was, minding my own business spraying weeds, when YIKES!!  Something bit me on my middle toe.  I quickly smashed my foot with my OTHER foot.  YIKES AGAIN!!!  It bit me one more time.

That got my attention and he was immediately throttled.  As I looked around, there was a nest of them, each about a quarter inch long and all one solid reddish color.  The bite irritated me, but I kept on spraying.
In five minutes the pain became like none other.  My foot starting throbbing with horrible pain in my toes.  What the heck?  By the time I got back in the house, it was swollen, fiery red and ridiculously painful.  Visions of Harrison Ford and Raiders of the Lost Ark flashed in my head.

Maybe I'm allergic .... I took a benadryl.  Good grief it hurt .... so I put an ice pack on it to dull the pain.  It didn't help one bit.  I finally propped my foot up high on the top of the couch and remained perfectly still.

It took well over an hour for the pain to finally subside.  I don't know what the heck those ants are, but that colony won't be alive much longer.  I'm usually live and let live (except for scorpions) but these guys have got to go!!

My plan for the afternoon was to get groceries (I made up a list this time and tacos are NOT on it) and to check out some toys for the zoo critters.  I ended up doing neither because when I put my shoes on, it hurt like I couldn't believe.

How boring .... I spent the day on the couch because of a lousy little ant.  That's it for me folks .....

Ants - 1     Nancy - 0

Monday, April 22, 2019

Taco School

It was a most glorious Easter Sunday here in Central California.  The sun was shining most all day, perfect for all those kids next door screaming about the eggs they found.  It was pretty funny sitting on the patio listening to the neighborhood.  It was also nice to just sit and let my sore muscles jell again.
Here's my problem that caused said soreness.  This is the stuff that drips off the roof and down the side of the rig.  It's so frustrating to wash it all off and have it appear again three days later.  I washed the roof this time, squeegeed it from one end to the other, then rinsed the sides to be sure it didn't stick, since my plan was to wash it the next day.  It stuck anyway.  
I started on one corner with my new handy dandy scrubber, purchased at the Indio Rally.  I have to say this thing works VERY well.  It's small enough to get into most all of the spaces and the head swivels up and down to get in even smaller spaces.  If you need bugs removed from the windshield, it has a side for that too.  
To make it even better, the handle extends with the push of a button to something like 16 feet, perfect for breaking off those pesky tree branches in RV parks.  About 30 minutes into washing, the sky clouded up.  My plan was to wash half while it was in the shade.  Now I had to wash ALL of it in one sitting. 

I was exhausted by the time I got done, but she looked beautiful through my rose colored glasses.  Two hours later I went back outside with my REAL glasses to discover I hadn't done such a great job after all.  Oh well ... I'm NOT doing it again!!
For lunch I decided I would try another stab at tacos.  Since the salmon didn't turn out so well, how about ground beef.  What I DIDN'T have was tomatoes, or salsa, or onions, or anything else that resembled tacos.  How about those Korean tacos I made in Tucson?

You should be exceedingly happy you are not one of my kids, required to sit at my table and eat this $%#@$#.  No salsa or tomatoes required, but it did call for sesame oil.  Hmmm what to substitute.  How about balsamic vinegar??  That should be a suitable substitute, right?  Ah that would be no.
Now I've cooked it, I have to eat it.  That's from my mother's table.  So ... another meal of not-so-tasty tacos.  The cabbage salad went well with the meat, but obviously the flavor palate wasn't quite there.  I choked it down, knowing I had to have this again for dinner.
At least it took my mind off being stiff and sore from washing the rig.  Wasn't I happy when I checked my phone to find that the cooking school in Sonora had a class on TACOS this weekend.  I signed up immediately.  Taco School is in my near future.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Happy EASTER!

Good morning!!  It's another gorgeous day in sunny California.  Really, the weather has been spectacular.  That makes it perfect for dressing up in your Sunday best and going to church.

When I was little, I got one new outfit a year.  It was an Easter dress my mom made, usually something too big.  I even made sure it had a matching purse so I could show off in Sunday school, along with my newly painted shoes.  New shoes were NOT in the budget.  A little paint worked wonders.
Sometime during the night, someone hid all the eggs we colored on Saturday.  With a broken crayon, we drew crosses on the eggs, then dunked them in the boiling water bath.  It was the best time ever since activities (other than Easter) were never a part of our growing up.
I don't remember eating many, since eggs were not on my list of approved edibles.  There was always one small bag of chocolate candy spread throughout our little baskets with fake green fluffy grass from five years prior that smelled like our musty attic.  Oh how I wanted a chocolate bunny.  One year my wish actually came true.  I ate the whole thing and got sick as a dog.  Oh the memories!
Back to the present day, this is our lovely little zoo.  Not much to look at.  In fact, if you didn't already know it was here, you would never guess.  One of these days I'll take some pictures for you.  After all, not everyone has seen the extremely rare billy goat.
Meet Josh.  He's the interim Zookeeper, since the last one broke her foot and hasn't been seen in ages.  I picked up a box of Costco ice cream bars for the volunteers, hoping he eats most of them.  He could use a little more padding.  I'm pretty sure he weighs less than me!!!

Such a nice kid, and VERY appreciative of the stuff I donated.  He especially liked the blender.  It no longer takes two people to hold it together while blending.  He was actually pretty shocked I was there.  That's my plan ... because maybe down the road he will remember and do the same for someone else.
Then he insisted he take MY picture.  I finally relented.  While shopping at Costco, it dawned on me that I needed to be careful what I bought.  If they don't show all their expenses for stuff like this, the City is likely to lower their budget even more.  We can't have that, so I asked him to write down things they could use that are not every day stuff.  Maybe a cat tree, or toys for the critters.  The monkeys love puzzle feeders .... figuring out how to get to the food inside.  
Later on today, I'll hit a couple of pet shops and see what I can find.  If anyone has ideas from things they've seen at other zoos, let me know.  Maybe we could use it here.  I'm not really sure what can enrich a goats life, but there must be something.  

The two bears love kids swimming pools, which someone just donated, and empty paper towel rolls for stuffing with tasty treats.   It's just all about giving them a good life because no one else wants them.

I actually spent all yesterday morning washing the rig.  I wish I had not done that.  I definitely need to do more exercise, since now I'm fairly stiff and sore from too much couch sitting.  Actually, I can hardly move, and I know tomorrow will be worse, because the second day is ALWAYS worse.  

I'll be on the couch ...... after I take a handful of Advil.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Sometimes You Have To Be Brave

I don't know what in the world I was thinking when I signed up for this shooting class.  It must have been sleep deprivation.  If you want adventure, sometimes you just have to be brave.

I've done some crazy things in my life, like jumping off a 60 foot tower in the jungles of Costa Rica to swing like Tarzan, but I don't think I've ever shook this bad or been this nervous before.  Obviously, that's not me in the picture.  I would NEVER wear all black in mid summer.  True, you'd never catch me in those short shorts either and there's no tattoos anywhere on this body.

We went through a four hour safety class first, with things like what would you do if you walked into a 7-11, and while standing in line, the guy ahead of you drew a weapon, pointed it at the cashier and said give me your money or you're dead!!  My response was to silently back up,  creep outside and call 911.

At any rate, it turned out to be rather exciting as we moved left and right, ducked here and there and fired at targets from as close as three feet to as far as thirty feet away.  There was a lot of thinking involved, about whether to shoot or not, not to mention listening to instructions.  I kept telling myself to be brave ... I could do this ..... and I did with pretty good results.  It was all luck!!

On the other hand, there were several others in the class who didn't fare so well.  The guy who wore sweatpants had a hard time keeping them up since his gun and holster were so heavy.  Yes, really.   One very old gentleman couldn't seem to follow instructions at all and pointed his gun at the Range Instructor.  Yikes!!  That was nothing compared to the lady who dropped her gun on the concrete, making all of us duck for cover!!  You had to be brave to be in THIS class.

It was fun, and I'm now positive there's no plaque sitting around in my arteries and veins.  My heart was pumping like crazy the entire time.  It was a fun night and rather past my bedtime when I got home at 11:00 pm.  I just might have to do that again!
You also have to be brave to eat my food.  Even "I" have to be brave in this respect, fairly often.  I had some leftover salmon, so decided to dig out the old bbq and grill up a little for salmon tacos.  I had a heck of a time getting the propane container attached.   It was a new variety with some kind of cap with a green dot I'd never seen before.  It just didn't want to come off the bottle.  

When I did finally get things going, I think I had it turned up a little too high.  The skin on the bottom was pretty dark, actually akin to black.  No problem, I'm only eating the top part.
My first piece of advice concerns the tortillas.  Flour torts and salmon do not mix well.  They should have been corn tortillas.  Since I had no salsa or taco sauce, I substituted apricot jam.  That was my second mistake.  Thirdly, olives don't exactly go with salmon.  So there you have it ... terrible tacos!!  I was lucky to get one down before cannibalizing the second for the salmon.  
Since I was on a roll, I climbed atop the rig to clean off the white gunk.  Seems there's always an adventure going on around here.  I'm now half an inch short of skin, but I'll relay that brave report tomorrow!!

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Zoo Kids

Happy Full Moon!!  

Except for that sick part, everything has been working itself out nicely.  Yesterday I received the most beautiful credit card in the world.  It even has see through sections, all silver and white.  I'd show you, but then I'd have to cancel it again.  Interestingly enough, those raised numbers are no longer raised.  At least now I can get back to charging, just in time to help the Zoo.

This is a rather small town, and having a zoo that is still in working order is pretty amazing.  When I was about 7 years old, we visited the critters that live there.  It was free way back when.  There was an old black bear, old as the hills, in a very tiny cage, that lived to be something like 30 or 40 years old.

Since then, somehow, the Zoo has survived and even allowed refurbishment and enlargement of the enclosures.  Over the years, there has never been anything really exciting living there ... goats, a few monkeys, a sheep or two and maybe some chickens.  

Lately however, they have grown in stature.  Two beautiful bobcats, rescued as babies from a fire get special treatment, along with two rescued bears.  All are critters no one else wanted, so I'm proud that this little zoo has stepped up to care for them.
The problem is of course money.  They don't have any.  The City, in their infinite wisdom, has not only cut their budget but laid off most of the paid employees.  Everything now has to be done by volunteers.  You all know how hard THEY are to find.  Maybe the city will take some of that money they are going to make off the marijuana stores they allowed to open, and do something GOOD with it.

I really can't spend much time, but I can spend a little money, helping them out with donations that the City won't find out about.  Don't tell!!  I picked up 100 pounds of dog food yesterday, along with a blender to prepare some of the food.  Their's was being held together with duck tape.  Pretty duck tape, but duck tape nonetheless.

Today I'll be off to Costco for big rolls of aluminum foil and the biggest bottles of bleach and laundry detergent I can find.  Then I'll look for critter toys ... anything for the animals that the City won't discover has been donated so they don't cut the budget even more.  I'll try to take some pictures while I'm dropping things off, since I could not find nothing acceptable on the internet.

Every once in awhile they show really cute short videos of the Zoo "kids" on Facebook if you "like" their page.  All of these critters get what they call enrichment.  They hide bits of food in paper tubes, boxes, wrapped up in paper .... anything they can think of so the animals have to spend some time looking for it.  It keeps them more active.  

My favorite one is the scent enrichment .... they put scents like lavender, vanilla and even catnip on things for the bobcats to roll around in.  You can tell they love it!!  Even something as simple as a cardboard box becomes a toy .... they are cats after all.

Costco will happen after I take a morning nap.  I did something rather crazy the other night ... a tactical shooting class that lasted until all hours.  I topped that off with a late night Elks lodge meeting, including installation of new members, that followed the best steak dinner I've had yet.  I'm feeling pretty beat up since I'm still not really over that cold.  

How in the world did I ever stay up till 3 and 4 in the morning when I was younger?  I'll tell you about the class at a later date.  I'm off to the Zoo!!