Sunday, May 31, 2020

Getting Dirty!!

The empty package from Amazon held the 7-1/2" square required for me to continue with the quilt I'm working on.  I've been waiting a week, what's a few more days?  I can't do a thing until it arrives, which is supposed to be today .... on a Sunday .... yeah right!!  I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen.  It's okay, I should be outside anyway.

Springtime requires yard work, there's no getting around it.  Just to make sure my aches and pains are in working order however, I went for a run yesterday morning after again struggling to fit in those compression shorts.  It started out as a walk, but that impulse to run just can't be denied.

It's really not running, it's more like jogging.  Boy did it feel good to be back in the saddle so to speak.  I cruised right along, dying for air.  Once you are back in some semblance of shape, you don't suck down air like it's your last breath.  Still, I did better than I thought.  Except for .... there is always an except for ..... that new pain in my one and only old surgery site.  What's up with that?

What better way to work out the new kinks than digging big holes in the garden.  Literally three bottles of water later, I was ready to plant my two new purchases.  Just let me say plants are not cheap any more.  If you want something that requires little maintenance, you have to pay the piper.
Here is where they live.  Those old stick poles are now gone, but I need yet one more plant on the corner.  All that of course brought up how to water them.  You can see the drip line, but I had to remove and replace the actual drip thingies.  It really was NOT funny that no water came out when I turned them on.

Trouble shooting has become my middle name when it comes to sprinklers.  At last I heard the geyser causing the problem, but it was underneath a huge bush in the front yard.  I ended up cutting back half the bush to even FIND the line.  In no time I was covered in spider webs, mud and dead leaves.

Like Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon, I dropped pieces of flotsam all through the house as I hunted down the parts and pieces to get it fixed.  Not finding exactly what I needed, I faked it until I can get back to the sprinkler store.  Next up ..... clean the floor .... but first, those compression shorts had to be replaced with something more comfortable.  Uncompression was heavenly!!
As a reward for all that hard work, one (just one) day lily bloomed for me in the back yard.  Success!!
Thankfully the weather cooled off as rain was predicted, but alas it hit Phoenix and Tucson instead.  Knowing the break wouldn't last long, I corralled Cooper for a haircut.  I would show you a picture, but this is NOT his favorite activity.  He hid in the bedroom until everything was safely put away.
I'm determined to get to Home Depot today.  In the meantime, the little WiFi has kept one to five bars, rotating back and forth about every fifteen seconds.  I have not seen the dreaded NO SIGNAL words for the last 30 minutes.  Maybe, just maybe, they got it fixed.  I know I'm wrong and I'm not holding my breath, but it's a nice thought.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Trouble Shooting

Not my forte ... I'm more into figuring out math problems than ones that involve computers.  I used to be very good at it, but it involved Windows and I was connected to the IT Department.  Nowadays it just frustrates me, enough to make me sit on the phone for an hour waiting for someone to pick up so I can explain the problem.

This is what started it all.  Fed Ex delivered this Amazon package two days ago.  The package was never sealed, although there is a piece of tape on it that you can barely see.  Needless to say, there was NOTHING in the bag.  I chased after him, but he paid no attention.  Surely he KNEW that package was empty!!!  Gosh that made me mad!!
In trying to contact Amazon, my computer just kept locking up.  Over and over again it would not load a page.  I really thought it was the very old Jetpack, so off I headed to the Verizon store.  They sent me a notice many moons ago saying they would not support that model any more.  I thought a new one would solve the problem.

To be even more irritating, Verizon would only let ONE customer in the building at a time.  Masks and gloves required.  I had to sit outside and wait 30 minutes for the old guy to figure out how to use his phone before I was finally let in the door ..... sans mask and gloves.  I think the kid knew he had a fight on his hands.

He of course, had no idea why my jetpack was not working, but was happy (no surprise) to sell me a new one for $71.00.  Back home, not only did it do the same thing, but it was worse than the old one. I thought it was their tower, but how do I prove that?
Cooper waited patiently on the couch while I drove down the block to the tower.  I got five bars on the North side, absolutely nothing on the South side.  Now we're getting somewhere.  My computer seemed to work just fine when it had a good signal.  At least I've narrowed it down.

Back home, I put in the call to Verizon.  You know how that goes ... Tech One can't fix it.  Tech Two took thirty minutes to answer the phone before handing me off to Tech Three.  He sent a repair crew out to check on the tower, or so he said.  

Amazingly, late in the afternoon when my signal is usually so bad I can't get on the internet at all, it was working, although hesitantly.  YAY!!  It's fixed ... kinda sorta.
But wait ...... now this morning it's back to five bars, one bar, five bars, no service, five bars, no service ..... constantly shifting back and forth.  I spent $71 for nothing.  With a big sigh, I guess I'll be back on the phone this morning.  My other option is to drive over to the tower every morning in order to write the blog.  Won't THAT be fun!!

Here's hoping I can at least get the blog to post!!!  

Friday, May 29, 2020

Testing The New Blogger

I can tell you right now, I hate it, after using it for 30 seconds.  Why do they always want to change things that are working great, at least in MY experience.  At least creating New Posts seems to be the same, it's the first page that throws me.

Can't you just make it simple with words instead of putting icons all over the page?  It took me ten minutes to find out where to click for a new post.
I'm reverting back to the old in the hopes of staying there indefinitely!!

Strangers In The Morning

In the early morning, like around 5:00 before anyone else is stirring, I sit on my patio and drink my coffee.  I like soaking up all the cool ... especially the cool ... and the quiet, only interrupted by the scream of a peacock and two roosters.

Lately I've been hearing what I instantly recognized as baby birds wanting to be fed.  I raised cockatiels, parrots and cockatoos long enough to become very familiar with the squawking language. FOOD .... FEED ME!!!

I've seen them flying about in the pine trees at the edge of my property, but couldn't really tell what they were.  We actually do have lots of seagulls around here, even though we are far from the ocean.  That squawking though .... that was just too familiar.

I finally got out my camera with the long lens and began shooting in that direction.  Wasn't I surprised when I discovered what the strangers actually were.  These are baby White Tailed Kites.  They usually congregate in grasslands and marshes, neither of which exist in my back yard.
The male, good guy that he is, brings food to Mom and the babies while she sits in the nest.  Once fledged, both parents continue to bring breakfast every day, even though the babies can fly from tree to tree.  They mostly live in Mexico, with a few hanging out in the San Joaquin Valley in California.  Funny, I've never seen them before.
Here's the perfect picture of Mom (or Dad) bringing baby some breakfast.  I watched them for over an hour as they made trip after trip.
Even a mockingbird got in the act.  I don't know if he was looking for scraps or just checking out the baby.  They eat lots of scraps like leftover french fries from my neighbors garbage.  I know that because I find pieces all over my yard, along with the bags they tear apart.  Big time scavengers those Mockingbirds.
Just to be sure I had the identification right, this is a picture from the internet.  They have two very distinctive "eyes" on their wings.  What a cool find in my very own back yard!!  I've seen the babies flapping their wings a lot, so I imagine they won't be around long.  I sure hope they come back next year.  Isn't nature cool??
My sole project for today is to check out my internet provider ... this little Verizon JetPack.  To be honest, I'm not sure if it is that or my computer.  This Mac is over five years old and probably needs an upgrade.  

If you've been around for awhile, you know my last and only copy of Photoshop for my photography is on this computer.  It cannot be transferred to any other machine.  A new computer means I have to subscribe to the Cloud (I hate the cloud) for all my photography needs.  They don't make Photoshop on a disk any more.  It's more lucrative to demand a payment every month, not to mention the hit my wallet will take on a comparative computer of around $4,000.  I draggeth my feet!!!

Worse case, I try to upgrade my computer and it crashes, causing the big expense of a new one.  Best case, when I reinstall everything, Photoshop will magically reappear, having been in a coma, and not remember she was supposed to die a horrible death upon reinstallation.

Either way, it's going to be stressful.  If I disappear for a couple of days, you'll know why!!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Making Something Out Of Nothing

That's exactly what I've been trying to do for the last couple of weeks.  I really had to work at it yesterday to make something out of the nothing going on around here.  This part was pretty exciting ... a 106 degree day in May.  We don't usually get these temps until July.  It doesn't bode well for June.
After searching around for thirty minutes to find my marathon-wear, I was able to S-Q-U-E-E-Z-E into the compression shorts I always wore ..... barely.  Gosh ... they made me look ten pounds lighter.  How cool was THAT!!  Breathing quickly became a problem when I bent over to put my running shoes on.

This is around the corner and down the street.  Thankfully most of it was in the shade because even at 6:00 in the morning, it was hot.  While I usually wear my iPod for music, it was not to be found so I had to amuse myself with humming.  
When I arrived at the end, there was a huge ruckus in the Bird Man's back yard.  This gentleman has an entire acre of cages with birds, pheasants, dove, ducks and two peacock escapees.  They do make really good watch dogs and squawked accordingly as I walked by.  I always wondered where that loud peacock sound came from, thinking it was a much closer neighbor.  Sounds does travel I guess.
There were lots of blooming oleanders along the roadways, but even their beauty didn't dissuade the squeezing around my middle like a boa constrictor hungry for dinner.  I thought maybe if I went far enough, I could actually lose an entire pound in one walk, resulting in me at least not passing out.
I did have the urge to run occasionally ... old habits die hard ... but not having the ENTIRE marathon outfit on, things move around WAY too much.  I'm afraid to gear up, having previously been completely stuck in an awkward position with no way of getting out .... kind of like trying on a too-small dress in the dressing room where you have to call someone to drag it off over your head.  Embarrassing to say the least.  

At any rate, I was surprised to find this tiny library along the way, half full of kids stuff, half full of not bad books.  I'm not sure how these work ... are you supposed to deposit a book in order to borrow one?  I just might deposit some so they know their little library is working.
More pretty flowers along the route kept my tempo up, but the skinny mini girl in the cute pink outfit weighing in at about 100 pounds took away all my desire to be back on the road.
I did survive and the pants stretched out enough to at least be able to breathe.  On the way back in, I lamented at the bare spots in my flower beds where gardeners of old had killed things.  I heard about a new nursery ... actually the ONLY nursery in this part of the country ... and thought I might take a ride since they are fairly close.

I was so entranced I completely forgot to take pictures.  Boy would I love to live there!!  Shade trees galore under which bloomed every kind of flower you can imagine.  He even had cactus!!  The nice man wandered around with me, talking about what else ... the heat.  

I found two awesome plants, but of course the pink tag said they were already spoken for.  RATS!!  In the end, I landed two very cool tree-like conifers I'll show you tomorrow.

He loaded them in my truck and off I went.  Unfortunately my air conditioning decided not to work.  For the last week, sometimes when I start up the truck, it works fine.  Then there's the times it throws out something akin to fire and flames.  By the time I got home, I almost ducked my head under the faucet ... it was THAT hot!!  

Even worse, it almost melted my yogurt treat!!!  Since our little town is open again, I decided to do my duty and visit all those I can to help their bottom line.  It's self serve, but they now do all the serving.  Watch out .... it's sold by weight!!  

Instead of my usual candy-filled cup, I opted for fruit.  Who knew it was frozen fruit?  Add to that some caramel sauce and this was the best thing since peanut butter!!
I'm off for an early morning walk, then I'll test my heat levels by planting those two beauties I purchased.  By 10:00 I'll probably be back in my relatively cool house working on some pictures I took in my back yard.  I think you'll like them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Been To The Store Lately?

As I sit here, my sprinklers are sprinkling away.  My gardeners showed up a day early to repair the valves.  Again I had to turn the circuit breaker off because they could not get the shutoff valve to turn.       My luck was holding as nothing major happened, except for .... well .... that geyser that appeared in the lawn.

Another broken sprinkler, which they fixed post haste.  Now to test every station.  Geyser number two caught Roberto right in the face as he bent over to take a look.  No big deal because it was 103 and he was hot anyway.

Three geyser repairs later, along with one errant sprinkler watering the concrete driveway, we were good to go.  The good news is the geysers were free, as in no charge to fix those.  That made up for the high cost of the six valve repairs.

Next up on my ever increasing list of STUFF to do, was spraying weeds.  I filled my handy dandy mega sized backpack sprayer and headed out across my 2-1/2 acres.  This was probably the extent of my exercise for the last three weeks.  It felt good, mostly because as I march around I yell DIE ... DIE ... DIE to the dandelions, stinging nettle and foxtails.  I was not surprised when my neighbor came over to see if I was okay.
Next up, I headed off to the grocery store for a few necessities, like ice cream, butter and chicken for Cooper.  Have you been to the store lately?  I was pretty shocked that these three half-full bags came to $129.  Is it me or have they raised their prices considerably.  I got 3 roma tomatoes for $4.55, along with a package of low-carb tortillas for $6.  Holy cow .... I'm going to have to change my eating habits considerably.  This is NOT affordable!!
It took less than five minutes to put it all away while I scrutinized the receipt.  The prices at our Save Mart have basically doubled.  It's okay, I need to get back on my no-food diet anyway.

Out here in California, most all the chickens come from Foster Farms.  In order words, if you want chicken, you don't have much choice on the brand.  They used to be much better at processing, but I guess they are trying to keep up with the crazy demand.  This was the worst cleaning job of a chicken I've ever seen.  

The neck was still covered in feathers and honestly looked rotten.  I cut away everything I could and threw it in the trash.  It's only okay because I'm cooking it for the puppies, not me.  It was disgusting with a capital D.

Thank you George Yates for showing me how to cook a chicken on the barbecue.  I held my breath almost the entire 90 minutes because I didn't know if there was enough propane left in that canister.  I had to go check on it every fifteen minutes.  YAY .... it only lasted 88 minutes, but the chicken was done.
I chopped it all up and put it in the freezer for the kids.  A $5 chicken resulted in one container.  Too bad I'm not in Arizona where they do all the roasting and chopping for you.  One container has probably three chickens in it for $15.  SO much easier and the same price per chicken.

I sweltered for the rest of the day, sitting in front of a fan in the living room with the puppies who were hogging all the cool.  I'm too cheap to run the AC so it stayed about 83 in here all day and long into the night.  Actually it was still 83 when I woke up.

I swear I am NOT going to sit on the couch this morning.  I'm going outside for a long walk around the neighborhood.  I'm enough of a hermit that I rarely get out and see or talk to people, especially with the Magic Kingdom shut down.  With this virus stuff, I'm becoming even worse.  Now not only do I rarely go out but I argue with myself all the time.  Maybe some fresh air will help me win the argument!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Spring Has Run Away

She didn't stick around long at all.  We had maybe 24 days of lovely weather before Summer showed up.  As one last celebration, the Elks Lodge held a breakfast drive-thru.  To be honest, I was a little leery of chili verde made by white people.  We really aren't that good at Mexican food.

I was definitely wrong in this instance however.  I opened the first box and took a taste.  Oh my gosh!  Best chili verde ever, not too hot, perfectly cooked, with refried beans having the smokiest yummiest flavor ever.  How did they do that?

I thought twice about delivering those other three meals around the neighborhood, but took them to my neighbors anyway.  They called with the same rave reviews.  Maybe I can sneak in and get the recipe.
Back to the sprinklers, my nemesis for the day.  This is my bowling alley of a back yard.  You can see why I'm always in a state of anxiety.  I can't seem to get the brown spots to go away unless I run the sprinklers for 30 minutes each station.  That means my sprinklers run six hours each day.  With my PG&E bill, that's not going to happen.  It's funny that the brown spots are exactly where the sprinklers are located.

At any rate, my gardeners showed up at 8:30.  They really are nice, very young guys trying to make a living.  They capped the bad valve and I gingerly turned the breaker back on, hoping not to hear anything explode.  Lucky for me, all went well.  Now I have sprinklers until they can return on Thursday to replace not one, but SIX valves.

We checked them all.  Three are original to 2005 and three are cheapo depo ones my other gardeners installed. All six are leaking terribly.  Hopefully when replaced with decent ones, they will last longer than me.  Least that's my plan!
With summer coming in like a dive bomber, I spent the next four hours watching the sprinklers to see what was working and what was going to give me heartache.  The geyser by the driveway was my first clue, a quick indication of a broken sprinkler.  I found one more that was watering my concrete driveway and a tree trunk, plus many drip lines that were cut and/or not working.  Sprinklers are always a pain in my patoo!!

As summer hit in the afternoon, I checked the forecast.  What's with the cactus?  I've never seen THAT before.  The next three days are 105 or so, ending with rain on Monday.  I better find another pair of shorts and dig my little fan out of the motorhome.
Everyone went crazy in California yesterday, requiring parks to be shut down again.  What do you expect?  You can't lock people up for a couple months, then open up on a holiday when everyone is off work and collecting unemployment like a King.  Our little lake was inundated with people who didn't social distance and had a few too many beers ... just like normal.  

They got very indignant when told to settle down or leave.  You can imagine the fights that erupted.  Eventually the place was cleared out.  The same thing happened around the State.  Maybe they should have opened on a Wednesday.

So that's the latest in this little burg.  We had one beautiful sunset that the puppies and I watched from beginning to end.   
I'm heading out today for some miscellaneous shopping.  I'm rather stir crazy from only talking to two dogs and a parrot.

Monday, May 25, 2020

I'm Up The Creek ... Where's My Paddle?

It seems like I'm in this kind of pickle a lot.  I'm always up the creek with no paddle in sight, not even a stick to wave in the wind.  At the moment, my pictures refuse to load to the blog, that after having slogged through three inches of water out front, getting slapped in the face with the biggest sprinkler on the property.  All happening at 4:30 in the morning.

It's now 5:30, meaning my internet is back to dial-up speed.  With everyone staying home, too many people are on this wavelength, making it slow as molasses.  That beautiful picture I had of the flag waving for Memorial Day will have to wait.

In the meantime, say a little prayer for those who gave their lives for our freedom and safety. Wait for it ......
Yay ... I got it to work!!  

In the meantime, having heard my biggest sprinklers in the front running for over an hour when they really SHOULD be going only 15 minutes, I trekked out to see what the problem was.  First, I turned them off.  That's funny, they kept going.  Uh oh ......

I removed the box to find the valve spraying water into the sky, meaning it's broken.  DING DING DING ... I win the PRIZE!!!  Through my still foggy brain (no coffee yet) I tried to get a little bit of reasoning going.  The system is off, the sprinklers are still going, I'll shut off the main valve.  

It's completely full of the nastiest water, slugs and black widow spiders, but none the less, I stick my hand down there.  Alas, there's no way I can turn that valve.  About that time, the sprinkler hit me in the butt!!  Yikes!!!  Now I'm sufficiently soaked from head to toe.

On the way back to the door, just for good measure, the second sprinkler hit me in the side of my face.  Well THAT woke me up!!  Since I'm pretty far up the creek now and I have not a paddle or even a life jacket, my only alternative is to flip off the circuit breaker for the well.  I hate doing that.  There's a big chance something ELSE will go wrong.

So here I sit with no water in the house, on a holiday, and it's too early to try and call the gardeners to fix it.  They probably won't be around anyway.  The good news is I still have water in the rig.  I knew there was a reason I didn't empty that tank!!

So for this morning, while I try to come up with a plan for another one of those "man" tasks, I'll leave you with this thought.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

She's So PURDY!!

I finally started a new quilt after scrounging through bags and bags of material yesterday.  It's very interesting to me how my taste in things changes over a few short years.  Many of these fabrics I purchased were my FAVORITES three years ago.  Now, not so much.  Funny how that happens.

That crazy bright African patterned cotton just doesn't go with Cowboy and the one with 2500 tiny pieces doesn't interest me in the least.  I seem to be off into the realm of neutrals.  I'll post pictures later.

At any rate, here's a couple more images of the cooking expedition.  It was either that or another Cooper picture.  In the end, we had seven of these squarehead pans full to the brim.  That's a LOT of pasta and sauce!!  I reminded her right after this picture she had to have gloves on in the kitchen.

I finally got up off the couch long enough to head out to the store.  Not Walmart this time, but our little market in town, although neither require masks any more.  Honestly, I'm not sure why some people even bother to WEAR masks.  

I kept my distance as much as possible until I came to the vegetable section.  There I spotted three women, all wearing masks, who were manhandling every piece of food in front of them.  No gloves by the way, just masks.  One kept moving it up so she could breathe and the second finally took it off one ear so she could see better.

The last one was after limes ... unfortunately the same thing I needed.  Here's a huge bin of limes and she is rolling them back and forth, up and down with her hands, trying to find the perfect ones.  She actually took two FULL bags, after having touched every single lime in the bin ... along with her face while adjusting her mask .... multiple times.

Truthfully, I'm not worried, I just picked up six limes trying not to touch any others, but I admit I did wash them well when I got home.  Of all the people in the store that had masks, every person I saw touched their face and removed it to some extent.  I feel so much safer now.  Please, if you touch the produce, take it home with you.

While perusing the limes, I got this picture from Arizona.  This is the trailer's first outing.  Wow ... she's all shined up and SO purdy!!
To make it even better, Laila got third place out of nineteen entrants in the showmanship class using the fancy silver halter I left in the trailer for her.  She must have spent hours cleaning it up.  You GO girl!!!  The other good thing about the trailer ... they can haul horses for other girls in 4-H who would not otherwise even get to go to the horse show.  It's a win-win!!
I'm pretty sure this will be a boring INSIDE week as our temperatures are predicted to be 107 on Wednesday and 108 on Thursday.  Spring came and went in one week.  

I'm hoping everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Being pretty much a NON-cook, the Elks Lodge has shown me what amazing things you can do with a stack of cans. Our lodge HAD (before virus) the best Friday night dinners in town.  I mean really REALLY good food.  Who knew it all came from these big cans, with a little excellently cooked meat that is.

Yesterday I went down at 11:30 to help out cooking and serving chicken dinners at the back door.  The dirty thirty are now down to the dirty twenty.  The Sheriff and two of our best Chicken Men were outside at the barbecue when I arrived before noon.  I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of the que that had rows and rows of cages where the half chickens were locked in, then turned automatically like a spit.
All the sauce had been cooked the day before, mostly coming from those cans above.  Marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, diced onions, loads of garlic and LOTS of spices including bay leaves went into the cooked hamburger.  I then simmered it all morning long, keeping a close eye on the flames underneath.  There were three big pans, but I could only get two in the picture.
In between stirring, we loaded up 275 baggies with lettuce and a package of dressing.  So it wouldn't get soggy, we put it on TOP of the to-go boxes.  Luckily I didn't have to cook the pasta this time, just pick out all of those darn bay leaves as I spread it on and did the hand-mixing thing.  In no time we were ready to serve over 275 meals.  The chicken was place in these huge ice chests where it finished cooking to perfection!
Here's another great find.  We have a little Mexican store downtown that bakes the most delicious bread EVER!  It comes in loaves that break apart into six big pieces.  It's cheaper than anything you could get at Costco and tastes 100% better.  However, that meant putting a very sharp knife in my hands.  It was easy to break them into three pieces, but then they had to be cut apart.  Such a shame that occasionally a little piece fell off the side and later when gathered up, went directly into my mouth!!
I don't know what happened ... must have been a UFO or something because suddenly all the men disappeared.  Four of us ladies were left to package up the meals in to-go containers and place them in bags for take-out at the back door.  
In the end, we had one whole container of pasta left over, meaning we all got to take some home.  I really try not to eat pasta, but boy was it good.  We even got an attaboy from the Sheriff (known throughout the County as the best cook around) as he ate his fill, forgetting the chicken completely.  Yay for the gals!!

I got home at 7:00 pm, a little worse for wear.  There's been way too much sitting around the house!  So it's pasta for breakfast ... and for lunch ... and probably again for dinner!!  After all, somebody's got to eat it!!  Waste not, want not!

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Magic Kingdom Rides Again

For those fairly new readers, which I appreciate most highly, I am quite involved with the Magic Kingdom of Elks Bingo.  It has all the parts and pieces you would imagine including a castle with a huge drawbridge, massive amounts of peasants, a King of course, the Knights of the Round Table, a Castle Lawyer, Prince Charming (my personal favorite) and of course me, the Castle Accountant.

There's also a Jester and the infernal machine, better known as the cash register that refuses to work and a mini-me cash register who causes all kinds of pain for us all, but mostly me.  On the other hand, Bingo makes many thousands of dollars every year for charities from kids baseball to the Children's Hospital to Veterans Services.

They have been shut down since March 17 or so.  No problem for the nineteen volunteers that run the whole shebang every Tuesday night, in fact I think they are happy for a break.  On the other hand, the peasants are going into withdrawal big time and want to be back at the tables with their talisman good luck charms.

To that end, we had a meeting.  It's a test ... how many volunteers?  That's right, nineteen.  How many showed up at the meeting?  Eight, although twelve RVSP'd.  No problem, it makes the meeting much shorter and to the point.
Here's the thing.  We have a small building.  There is no way we could get even 50 people in there, each 6 feet apart.  Worse than that, who wants to come and pay $40-100 for bingo cards, only to win $50.  They want the big bucks .. the usual $5,000-7,000 we give away every Bingo night.  

When the idea of "employees" wearing masks came up, it got shot down faster than Billy Clanton at the OK corral.  You have to remember this is a small farming community where you only wear a mask if you are holding up the bank.

Therefore .... be it known that the Magic Kingdom will not ride again until July 1st (or thereabouts).  I did not tell them I will be back in Arizona in July since the California DMV is canceling my rig registration because they do not like my Arizona insurance company.  No refunds of course ... that's the penalty of changing the insurance to my Arizona address in order to save $2,900 for one year.  I have to get back to Arizona in order to register the rig and Jeep THERE.

Looking for a little diversion, I spotted a recipe for beignets on the internet.  The good thing is they are not fried, but baked.  Of course my first thought was "they CAN'T taste the same".  So I followed the directions and whipped up a batch.  

I let them raise in the oven, having turned it on for 30 seconds, then shut it off.  OH NO ... too hot!  I opened the door and waved a towel madly to cool it off.  They puffed up nicely.  This just might turn out to be a GREAT recipe!
I believe in magic and make believe, but I just couldn't make believe hard enough for these to REALLY taste like beignets.  I even doused them with sugar TWICE, just to see if it might make a difference.  It did not.  They taste like bread with powdered sugar on it.  Epic FAIL!!
In my neighborhood we have lots of magpies and crows.  I'm sure they will appreciate these much more than I and much more than the garbage they are used to eating.  Hey, it's better than the cemetery, which is getting rather full at this point in time.

Today is another fund raiser from the Lodge Kitchen, where I will be working to package up to-go boxes of barbecued chicken, pasta, salad and rolls.  Like everyone else, we've got bills to pay.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Spring Has Sprung

I think Mother Nature is sleeping in this year.  Oh I'm not complaining at all because the weather has been absolutely fabulous.  It even rained two days in a row with one day actually having half an inch of water.  Any time I can turn my sprinklers off, I'm a happy camper.

In the meantime, it's been in the 70's when normally we are getting very hot.  With Mother Nature hitting the snooze button, we will probably have summer heat well into October.  Just in time for the Pumpkin Patch!!

With my back much better as long as I stand up, Cooper and I went for a walk around the neighborhood before plunking down on the couch to finish this quit.  This is one of my favorites.  Even though it looks black and white, there are many subtle changes in colors from grey to tan.  I think that makes five finished and five stacked up to take back to the Arizona Quilters.
One serving of the cauliflower rice with pie-spiced beef and I was looking for something else to eat.  Oh I ate it all ... or almost all ... but my Dad was right.  It's wrong to put those spices on beef.  To be honest, I washed off the last two pieces and gave them to the dogs.  They loved it!!  Plain old beef tacos were MUCH better.
Today I'm headed off to none other than the Magic Kingdom.  With the Elks Lodge just open for drinks, they are going broke quickly.  Bingo needs to be started back up, but I don't think anyone has the hutzpah to dive right in.  Keeping people separated at the tables is not an option.  It's a small facility that would require a lottery just to get in the door.  Masks probably and definitely gloves for me handling all the money.  

As to the nineteen volunteers, I'm not sure how many will show up.  It should be an interesting day.
In other good news, you've probably heard about all the insurance companies giving money back since no one is driving.  I pretty much wrote that off since I had just paid National General $2100 for my rig and Jeep (versus $5,000 for Progressive).  Surprisingly, I'm happy to say I just got an email from them.  How lucky am I!!  I am getting a $27 refund on my full year paid-in-advance premium.  I might even be able to go out for dinner, or better yet get six tacos from Taco Bell.  Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
I spent the rest of the evening digging through boxes and shelves of quilt material, trying to decide which one to do next.   I decide ... than discover something is missing.  I finally decide again and don't have the pattern.  What was once well organized now looks like a hoarder lives here.  I may just have to head on out to the little quilt store in the country before starting another project.  Oh the elation!!  More FABRIC!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Another Nice Surprise

What with all the goings on, it's nice to get a surprise now and then, but to get two in one day?  Now THAT'S a surprise.  I spent the first three hours on the couch nursing my knee.  I know ... how could I possibly now have a KNEE problem?

Getting old sucks.  There's no two ways about it.  I've built a step for Cooper to get on the couch, since his jump never developed at all.  Do you know a poodle that can't jump?  After writing the blog, I headed to the couch and missed the step altogether, whacking my knee on the corner of the coffee table.  Oh my Heavens that hurt!!  The good news is my back is much better today.

This virus is really bad news when it comes to my exercise regime, which mostly includes getting in and out of the truck while shopping.  I COULD ride my bike, but it seems I've left the correct-fitting air pump in Arizona.  Not being "essential", the bicycle store is closed.  I would order it online, but I have no idea which one to get.

Instead, I read one of my old photography books that lists any number of equipment pieces to make your life easier.  How could I turn down THAT?  This long thing in the middle is the top part of my tripod.  The joy stick handle is not very adjustable and it doesn't hold up my heavy camera.

How do I fix it?  I order another different type of mounting, called a ball head.  What you see are the tools of the professional photographer.  Yeah, not really true.  They are what I found in the drawer so I could extricate the joy stick.  It took awhile since I had no idea how the darn thing fit together in the first place.

I was so excited when I actually got it off without damaging anything beyond repair.  My new fancy dancy connection really is used by the pros.  I'm sure it will make me a better photographer.  Okay, probably not, but at least the camera body will remain still ... I hope.
My next big surprise came in the mail.  As you know, I'm a BIG baseball fan.  I was a season ticket holder for about ten years and went to almost every home game in San Francisco.  I spent many a night in the Hyatt Regency so I could not only see the games, but had mountain streets to train for marathons.  

One of the San Francisco Giants pitchers was Barry Zito, famous and infamous who came from the Oakland team across the bay.  He was both loved and hated, the first to receive a crazy multi-MULTI-million dollar contract.  Little did anyone know, he really did not have the killer instinct you need for professional baseball.
His true love was country music.  Who knew?  When at last he retired and figured things out, he got married, had three kids (one just recently) and moved to Nashville where he could work on his music career.  Since then he's worked with Taylor Swift and many others making albums.  I'm one of his number one fans.  

Wasn't I surprised when I received a letter from Barry Zito.  What?  I opened it up to find a Barry Zito birthday card signed by him.  It will go nicely with my Barry Zito signed baseballs and my Zito Jersey.  How cool is that?
My next surprise of the day came when I made this beef dish that didn't taste terrible.  I have to admit this one is not for everyone.  This is more like a dish from the Middle East, probably because that's where the recipe came from.  My dad would flatly refuse to eat this.  It has cinnamon, allspice, ginger and other weird things that he would say are not fit to be put on BEEF.

If you are interested in the recipe, you can find it at PressureLuck Cooking on Facebook.  What's that white stuff?  You might think it's rice, but it's my other latest find.  
When corn was in short supply in the grocery store, I found this .... riced cauliflower.  Not my favorite, but wait ..... this has lime zest in it.  No, lime zest does NOT go with Middle East spices, but it's all I had.  Not bad really, but it would be much better with those Mexican dishes you prepare.
It comes in several different varieties, one including mushrooms and one with sweet potatoes.  It even has a resealable bag for us single users.  

In spite of my back being a pain, it was a very nice day.  I ended it watching something akin to the Dog Whisperer, but they call their place Zen.  He takes the worst of the worst dogs and rehabilitates them and their dog parents.  I'm sure I can learn something to use with Cooper and Jessie.  At least something good can come out of sitting home all day long.