Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The SKUNK Saga Continues

Oh aren't they just so cute??   NO ... they are NOT!!    Hindsight is 20/20, unlike my vision that didn't see that guy behind my rose bushes.

There were signs .........

That night when I was out photographing the moon and I saw THREE skunks wandering through the neighborhood.

That morning when the dogs next door were barking at 4:30 and the chickens were screaming like crazy.  I thought to myself ..... there's a skunk in the chicken coop.  I must be telepathic ... anyway ...

That big hole in the flower bed that I thought Jessie was responsible for.

Those TWO big holes by the fence next to the RV.  It must be CATS!!

That BLACK CAT I saw duck behind the rose bush.  We have lots of cats in our neighborhood.

Even MORE holes dug in the LAWN!!!  It MUST be gophers!!  How could I be so blind??
I forewarned my hairdresser gal.  The good news is her salon is set up in her garage, so we jokingly opened both big doors.  Sweet girl that she is, she said she did not smell anything.  She even opened a bottle of perm solution and poured it on my hands which still retained the smell from washing Miss Jessie.  It worked!!  Maybe I should give Jessie a perm!!

I haven't had to deal with skunks since leaving the ranch.  I should have known!!  Unfortunately for me, Miss Jessie likes to snuggle up on the couch.  I tried to dissuade her, but she was having none of it.  I smelled skunk all morning long.  

My tuna sandwich even TASTED of skunk.  At one point I accidentally closed the door to the BATH room.  I discovered my mistake this morning.  OH MAN THAT'S STINKY!!  Apparently it's in the bathtub now.  I boiled three big pots of water, scoured the tub with Dawn and rinsed it down.  I should know if that worked by tomorrow.  Won't my guests be surprised!!!  I'll buy some of that Miracle stuff today.

Luckily, at least SO far, the sewing room remains stink free.  I was going to give this quilt away, but if the smell hangs around, I'll have to keep it.  Apparently the secret is to leave all the doors and windows open, should you ever need to know.
I figured I could at LEAST have salmon skunk-free for dinner.  After all, that lovely fish smell should cancel out everything.  Nope ..... tasted like skunk.  That smell is in my nose forever!!!  

Yes ... there were signs.

My plan today is to spend all my time on my phone.  Tomorrow is D-Day for my driver's license renewal.  I think I've already taken 25 practice tests, and 50 or so more can't hurt.  In the meantime, FELOPZD  EDFCZP.   Those are the IMPORTANT lines on the eye test!  Guess I better warm them about my perfume, odie parfume de skunk!!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Slow Recovery

In case you didn't get the memo, living in the country has it's downsides.  Unlike all my friends who have NICE critters like deer, chipmunks, hummingbirds and lovely flora, I have skunks.  BIG skunks!!  Yes I saw all those holes dug in my flowerbeds, but I REALLY thought they were from cats ... or maybe Miss Jessie, since she's a terrier who loves to dig.

So here's MY skunk!!  I discovered this yesterday when I recaptured my phone.  When I threw the biggest shovel I had at the thing as it was coming towards me, my phone went flying.  Don't ask me why I had my phone in my hand.

Recovery has been slow, to say the least.  I turned on every candley-smelly thing I had to try and remove the lovely odor from my house.  I replaced every AC filter, opened every door, blocked the exits so the dogs wouldn't get out and turned on the big AC fan.  Luckily it was a cool 65 degrees out.  I also turned on every ceiling fan I had.
Two baths later, Miss Jessie smelled .... well, not so good, but at least not as bad.  Just as I was feeling confident I had surpassed the pivot point of awful, I walked into my sewing room, full to the brim with nice soft fabric that absorbs smell.  OMG!!!!  

I forced open two windows that have never been opened in eleven years, breaking two fingernails.  Turning on the ceiling fan resulted in paper and fabric flying all around the room, but I didn't care.  I shut the door.  Maybe I'll sew tomorrow.

With cowboy boots, a huge shovel and my gun, I proceeded to stalk the critter in the back two acres.  I guess he's been having a blast for some time.  These guys dig holes looking for insects and worms.  The back yard was a mine trap FULL of big holes.  

I stabbed bunches of grass and stomped through the knee high weeds.  NOTHING.  That's probably a good thing.  I did find a very loose board on the back wall that I'm sure was his pathway to heaven.  One big hammer and twenty five nails later, he won't be coming through there.
I was NOT so lucky on the other side.  Many boards are loose and one broken enough I'm sure it could slip through.  I called the neighbor to PLEASE repair them since the boards on actually on THEIR side of the fence.  Of course she did nothing.  Late last night, I gathered every stick, old piece of firewood and rotten pallet I could find and stacked them against the wall.  

Unfortunately for Jessie, two more baths were forthcoming with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn.  That seemed to work pretty well until she dried off.  I could SEE the aroma curling over her head.  Finally someone suggested taking essential oil (which I amazingly found in my spice drawer .. no idea WHERE that came from) along with hand cream and rubbing it all over her.  

Again, that worked until her body heat dried it up.  Come bed time, Cooper and I snuck out of the living room, leaving her asleep on the couch.  I was exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep.  Until I opened my closet door.  OMG OMG!!!  It has an air vent ..... you know what that means ..... all my clothes smell like SKUNK!!!  I give .... Uncle Uncle .... I couldn't be more beat down!!

I plugged in another smelly thingy, turned on a fan in the closet and went to bed.  Thankfully I didn't have any nightmares of being attacked by a giant skunk, but I did wake up smelling one.  Apparently washing my hands twelve times after Jessie's baths wasn't enough.
Doesn't she look sweet?  That red tinge is from the tomato puree.  If you ever need hair dye, it works quite well.

So this morning I tromped around the edge of the yard with flashlight in one hand and gun in the other.  I'm not messing around any more!!  Lucky for the skunk, he will live another day in someone ELSE'S yard.  

I have a hair appointment this morning .... won't SHE be surprised when she smells ME!!!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2020


You are NOT going to believe this!!  I'm exhausted and feel like someone beat me with a stick and it's only 5:00.

So ... I guess you can figure out what happened.  That DAMN SKUNK, who is now known by more bad words than you can possibly imagine, came back in my yard this morning.  I went outside first, clapping my hands and stamping my feet just to be sure he had not come back.

Boy was I wrong!!!  He was hiding behind a rose bush and the dogs went right for him.  I screamed at the top of my lungs when Cooper went nose to nose.  That set off a huge crashing next door in the goat pen.

Just as Jessie got there, he turned around.  It's still very dark mind you.  I screamed at the top of my lungs again and again!!!   TOO LATE!!
Luckily Cooper did NOT get hit.  Jessie of course took one in the face.  OMG OMG OMG!!!!!

I grabbed the dogs and threw them in the house.  That was a mistake.  You know how it was supposed to be so cool this morning?  I had my big AC fan on to pull in all that beautiful cool air.  It pulled in all that lovely SKUNK smell.  

I rushed back outside to make sure it was gone and it just stared at me, even took several steps TOWARDS me!!  I grabbed my heaviest shovel and threw it at him before running back in the house.  DOUBLE TRIPLE QUADRUPLE RATS!!!!!

OH NO!!!  Lots of capital words in this blog, but at least I'm keeping the language clean.  I grabbed my biggest can of tomato puree and threw Miss Jessie in the guest bathtub.  I smothered her in red, rubbing it in real good before bringing out the baby shampoo.  It actually worked pretty good, but she'll get another bath in about 30 minutes.  I didn't get it all off.

Now for the worst part of ALL!!!  My house smells like skunk.  I kid you not ... my ENTIRE HOUSE!!!  I'm devastated and completely defeated.  I quickly changed out all the filters and sprayed everything with Fabreeze.  It's going to take YEARS for this smell to go away, not to mention I have some appointments tomorrow AND I'M GOING TO SMELL LIKE SKUNK!!!!!
If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  I've opened all the windows I can and turned on both fans in the hopes of getting rid of SOME of it.  I just have a bad feeling it's in the air ducts now and I'm doomed.  Can I get a do-over please?

In the meantime, I opened my big back yard gate in the hope he wanders off.  That means I can't let the dogs out without leashes.  This is NOT my day.  I'm going to go now because I'm going to cry!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Can You See Me Now?

I pretty much did nothing yesterday.  They have closed most everything down again so King Newsom can sell all those masks he purchased in China.  It's even looking like the Magic Kingdom of Bingo will have to wait another month or so.  The peasants are so sad.

I spent most of the day wandering in and out trying to get all my sprinklers working.  Same old problem.  Far away from the sprinkler, the grass is relatively green.  Right in FRONT of the sprinkler it is brown as can be in a half circle pattern.  I've pretty much given up on the front yard.  This week of 102-103 temperatures has it resembling a desert.

Finally I got the call.  My glasses were READY!  It's funny ... I've never EVER had to have a pair remade at my usual optometrist.  I don't know if it's the prescription or the glasses.  These are definitely better, although a tad hard to get used to, unlike my old ones that I just put on and they were perfect.  These will have to do since my Driver's License appointment is next Wednesday and I need to be able to see the eye chart, even if I do have it completely memorized.
So this is the only picture of me in a mask you will ever see.  Just for kicks, I put it on to TAKE a picture.  By the second breath, my glasses were completely fogged up and that strangling feeling came upon me in a flash.  I ripped it off so fast I took a big chunk of flesh out of my lip.  Now I look like someone popped me in the mouth.  I'll try again when they make it a Federal Law.  

In the meantime, I was thinking about how many things we touch.  At the grocery store, absolutely everything I buy has been touched by at least six people.  Let's start with the basket.  Okay, lets not.   The grocery bags are touched by at least two baggers, not to mention the credit card machine that they never wipe down, my truck door handle inside and out, the steering wheel, the door knob going into my house, the door knob when I shut the door, the dead bolt and the counter as you drop everything to put it away.  Maybe we should all be wearing GLOVES!!!
My only excitement of the day (besides panicking with the mask) was the delivery of this box.  Take a look.  It's a little worse for wear.  Does that not say FRAGILE on the box?  That red tag is on all four sides.  I figured I would find a big mess when I opened it.
Would I return it if there WAS a mess?  Probably not.  Anyway, lucky for me they were in good shape.  This kind of thing is not available around here.  I actually had to order it through Amazon from NEW YORK CITY, taking two whole weeks to get here.  At least now I can wash that super dirty smoker rack and my hands to boot.
I did a little Presidential stuff for the Golden Spike group.  Our ride on the Speeders out of Ione California has been put off until May of next year.  There's an uproar about the rumor that FMCA will cancel their new FMCA Assist Program.  If you have an emergency, they will get you and your rig home.  

The Governing Board voted to KEEP the program, in case you are signed up.  Actually, it comes free with your $75 a year dues.  That's pretty cheap insurance.  For awhile there, being locked down didn't bother people much, but the longer this goes on, the more antsy everyone is getting, just looking for something to complain about.  Me too!!!

At this point, the best thing I have to look forward to is 85 degrees tomorrow.  It's on the schedule to be 103 again today.  Hope springs eternal that 85 happens.  I may just go outside in the dark morning hours in my bikini and soak in the cold.  Can you see me now?  I hope not.  That's not a sight you want to see, thus the 4 am darkness!!

Friday, June 26, 2020

I Admit, I'm A Wimp

I try to avoid confrontation as much as possible.

When I was in high school and those three black girls decided to make me the brunt of their frustration from being forced to go to school, I tried my best to ignore them.  Even when they knocked me to the ground a couple of times, I just kept my mouth shut.  Over the years, things have happened so that today I hate even the smallest of confrontations.

Take for example that package of hamburger I bought at Raleys just two days ago.  I immediately opened the package to repackage it in two servings and got the slightest whiff of "spoiled".  I checked the date.  It CAN'T be, it looks great.  I cooked it ... and oh boy did I get a nose full of THAT smell.

At our cattle camp in the high Sierras, we had an old Indian gentleman that used to help with the pack string.  He dug in our storage pit covered by a steel trap door (to keep bears out) and came up with a piece of beef that had been there a couple of months.

He insisted on cooking it in the little wood oven.  OH MY GOODNESS!!  The smell was horrific.  It smelled just like my kitchen as I cooked this hamburger.  TO THE CEMETERY!!  I SHOULD have taken it back to Raleys and asked for my money back, but I'm too wimpy.
When it came to my glasses, I had the same thought.  I'll just deal with them.  I don't want any confrontations in returning them.  I wore them all day and all the next morning.  I was looking down so hard at the very bottom in order to read that I was going crosseyed.  In seconds, my eyes began to ache.

Should I take them back?  Maybe she was right, they'll be fine ..... for everything but reading.  I finally got up the nerve and returned to the store.  This time she measured, then had the guy mark exactly where the reading part began.  It was not far off, but I just couldn't read anything.  She really didn't want to fix them.  I'm such a wimp, I even offered to PAY for another pair.

Finally she said she would remake them and move the reading section up.  Thank goodness!!  I walked out feeling like it was all my fault.  Hopefully they will be ready for pickup today.
What better to make my wimpy self feel not so guilty, but PIZZA!  I keep seeing this in Air Fryer Groups all the time, so figured I would give it a shot.  It's a tortilla, smothered in WAY too much cheese!!
With no clue as to the timing, I stuck it in at 400 degrees and tried to keep an eye on it.  I put provolone on the bottom to keep the crust from getting soggy, just like Miss Terry taught me.  Whoa .... it turned out to be WAY too much cheese on such a small crust.  

Not wanting to clean up a cheesy mess in the bottom of the oven, I took it out a tad bit early.  Not bad if I do say so myself.  I was definitely not a wimp here, I ate the WHOLE thing!!
Probably the only thing I'm not a wimp about right now is wearing masks.  That's probably the black sheep in me.  Anyway, I did finally purchase one just in case I can't get in the grocery store.  It looks like something I wore swimming about 40 years ago. 

It's extremely hard for me to breathe with it on.  Shades of many things in my past.  Anyway ... the most interesting part is the total disclaimer on the package.  THIS MASK WILL NOT PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING THE COVID 19 VIRUS.  Love that part.
Happily there was no skunk in the back yard this morning, so I'm going out with the puppies into the 75 degree COOL to have my coffee and wait for my call to pick up my new glasses.  I may even take a little joy ride up into the mountains.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Guess Who Came To Breakfast!

I seriously doubted I would ever see those skunks again.  Boy was I wrong!  There was almost a disaster this morning about 4:15.  I let the dogs out first thing, as always.  As I was making my coffee, which I need to clear the cobwebs from my brain, I heard Cooper bark.

No biggie, he barks at his shadow.  Then I heard him REALLY bark.  Heavens to Betsy ... there must be someone in the back yard.  I grabbed my baseball bat and headed out.  Let me say, it's DARK at 0-dark-thirty, but I could see SOMETHING black in the rose bushes.  I screamed at Cooper, which I'm surprised didn't bring the Sheriff out.  It certainly set off all the dogs in the neighborhood.

Cooper cowered (luckily) and I picked him up, just in time to see Jessie run through my legs and head to the bushes.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't a cat.  Cats in the neighborhood know not to come in THIS yard.  Luckily Jessie can't see that well and she came back when I screamed at her.  I deposited them both in the house, then went back out.  Nothing ... nada.  Whatever it was was gone with no lingering skunk smell.  Who knows, maybe it was a real cat, not a civvy cat.  I'm awake NOW!!
My first item on yesterday's list was to pick up my new glasses.  Woohoo!!  Except I can't see with them.  I told her immediately I couldn't read, but my distance is wonderful!!  In order to read my phone, I have to put my head back and look out the very bottom quarter inch.  In two minutes my eyes hurt.

The problem is they did not measure me for these new glasses.  I asked her, but she said they would use the old glasses for placement.  Ummm those are at least two years old.  They'll be fine she said, but she was wrong.  They are awful, make my eyes hurt and I can't see to read anything.  The good news is they were only $120 which would be wonderful if they worked!!  I feel bad that they will have to remake them.

As a test of the eyesight, I drove the 20 miles to my favorite diesel station for fuel.  My apologies to Dave Burdick for not warning him of the horrible highway through Atwater.  The last time I looked, they were repairing the SIDES of Highway 99.  At this point, it is completely torn up, making you drive on the shoulder, which is even MORE bumpy.  No worries, I'm sure in five years it will be complete.

I do like driving the backroads of farmland around this area, although these roads haven't been repaired in possibly 50 years.  Some are so bad the asphalt has completely disappeared.  The views make it worth the bumps.
In no time I was lost.  I tried to look up the map on my phone, but couldn't read anything with the new glasses.  It was even worse without them!  Two dirt roads later, I drove through someone's back yard and found the highway.  

Diesel isn't too bad right now, but prices are going up as things open up.  Amazing, I was able to fill my pickup truck tank for $100.00.  I do LOVE this 50 gallon tank.
Not wanting to get lost in my own back yard, I took the more traveled road home.  It was up to 103 yesterday, forcing me to turn my AC on.  You know how cheap I am about paying for electricity.  It's showing 101 for the next three days.  Thank goodness I got the AC fixed in my truck!!  If it gets too hot, I'll just take the puppies for a ride.

I'm off to the optician again ...... 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Two Shocking Discoveries

Do they make Voodoo Dolls for the weather?  Asking for a friend.

I found this cactus on the web a few days ago.  Is this not magnificent and a shocking discovery?  Anyone know what it is?  I've never seen anything like it, but would love to have one in my Arizona yard.  This one is definitely a happy camper!!
Next on my list of shocking discoveries ... I was hoping to find someone to make a pair of glasses in less than a week.  It would be helpful to be able to see that eye chart when I get my new driver's license July 1st.   My oldest provider has never accomplished that task in less than six weeks.  I kid you not.  No worries however, I've memorized the entire eye chart!

THIS time I took the advice of my NEW doc and hit up a new store.  I couldn't believe my ears when she said they would take my old frames and make a new pair overnight.  Where have you been all my life?  My vision insurance provider said they weren't even on the list, but they will even BILL the company for me.  

Sure enough, she called last night to say they were ready.  I'm in shock.  How can they make lenses overnight and the other company takes six weeks?  I've got my fingers crossed I will actually be able to SEE with them.  I know they have this kind of service in Mexico, but I've never tried it.  Now I don't have to!!

Since they are right down the street from the grocery store I never step foot in, I thought I would pick up a few things on my way home.  I started off with no mask, but rather the thinnest scarf I could find to wrap around my face.  Within seconds I was ripping it off to breathe.  There is a second story behind that, but it will have to wait for another time.  Let it be known that the mask requirement has come on the heels of our Governor buying millions of masks from China and selling them to retailers, not to mention that his wife's family lives in Napa and Sonoma counties, both of which were first to OPEN.

So obviously, this is Raleys.  There were quite a few non-mask individuals coming out, so at least the police were not standing there ready to arrest me for non-wearing, or more like half wearing.  I stayed far away from everyone, mostly because I was the only one following the directional signs on the floor.  

As I cruised around, I was on the hunt for chicken or turkey ... in other words, dog food.  Yes, my pups are spoiled, but I'd rather give them really good food than deal with the consequences of their stomachs from actual DOG food.  

I almost passed out when I saw this, and it wasn't from lack of air through my cheesy mask.  I realize it's organic, but seriously?  This is three times my budget limit for chicken.

One thing I do like about this store ... they have put everything behind glass doors, just like the ice cream.  I have to note here that a million people have touched those door handles, not to mention every tomato and avocado on the shelf.  I'm not sure wearing a mask helps much when you are bringing home all those "hand" germs.  

Anyway, not trying to scare you or anything.  If I want to check out three avocados, I actually grab one of their bags and use it like a glove.  Grab something, turn it inside out and there you go!  Truth is, it only keeps MY germs off the avocados, not everyone elses.

So, not quite as shocking, they did have beautiful fresh salmon.  I grabbed a package, dinging my wallet $24.  I got six pieces out of it as I packaged it up and stuck it in the freezer.  This one is for me, NOT the pups.
Once home, I went into a baking frenzy.  With six bananas ready for the trash can, I whipped up ten loaves of banana bread, a favorite of Mr. Jonathan the yellow-head parrot.  
This should last him about three years, assuming of course that I don't snag a loaf or two along the way.  This is the Hawaiian version with crushed pineapple and pecans. 
The next three days it's going to be 103 around here.  I'm feeling pretty good about that since 108 is scheduled for Quartzsite.  Oh how I was hoping the heat would hold off until after I headed that direction. I'm making a doll out of sunny yellow material to represent the sun, and have 300 pins ready.   In the meantime, I've got some RV maintenance to complete before it gets hot.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Good News All Around!!

With what's been going on lately, good news is hard to find.  Look what I got in the mail!!  Yet another two big thank you's for the horse trailer.  Keep in mind, I've already been thanked multiple times in person and several times more including pictures of the latest horse show.
I knew I liked this family.  Not many kids nowadays would write a thank you note.  Here's Laila riding in an English competition.  
And here's my baby, (the trailer, not the horse) probably very glad to be back on the road.  Laila said not only did she love the trailer, but she was sure the horses liked riding in it too!!
MORE good news .... the forms are ready for concrete for my RV cover.  I'm just so overwhelmed with the generosity of the Chance family.  If you've ever tried to get a building permit, you will completely understand how frustrating the process is.  I had basically given up.  
At least something good has come out of this virus thing .... the Building Department has learned how to Skype.  Mark took off work early, set Dan's computer (or maybe it was his phone) up for a LIVE show of the foundation.  It passed with flying colors, meaning the Building Department does NOT come out to the property and the concrete can now be poured.  Next up ..... BUILDING!!!
In the meantime, I donned a scarf of sorts ... the thinnest one I could find so breathing wasn't quite so much of a problem.  If you've ever been stuck in an underground pipe too small to crawl through when you were seven years old, you'll know my claustrophobic pain.  I tried wearing a mask once for Halloween and almost passed out before I could get it off.  I was off to the eye doctor again, this time for a prescription.

As soon as I was out of the waiting room, they said I could take my scarf off.  Let it be known that my regular eye doc, who I've been seeing since I was 8 years old, told me my eyes hardly changed at all. 

This gal did all the which-one-is-better stuff and said my eyes were drastically different from what the other guy showed.  Okay then ... no wonder I was seeing double.   I was off to the NEXT office for glasses, only they were closed.  RATS!!!

To make it even MORE interesting, I do actually have vision insurance.  Honestly I've never paid much attention.  My glasses usually run me $400-500 and that's WITH insurance.  Time to ask why.

VSP is the name of the company we used when I was working.  Here's the breakdown.  Eye test:  $55 .... they pay $45.  Frames:  $150 ... they pay $50.  Lens:  $200 ... they pay $50.  The cost for this $145 worth of glasses is $130 a year.  What a savings!!!  The only reason I haven't cancelled it is if you sit on them, they DO replace them.  Sadly, that hasn't happened yet, so no big windfall for me.

Today I go to an opticians office to have the glasses made in my old frames.  We shall see how that goes.
The last piece of good news is that my air conditioning is working!!  It's going to be upwards of 104 today.  I'm not going outside so I don't become a perfectly cooked chicken like those that came out of my smoker.

Monday, June 22, 2020

It's ALL My Fault!!

Truly, it is NO wonder I can't shed a pound or two.  With nothing going on and that pesky mask situation, trying to stay busy always seems to involve cooking.  I do read books, but not for long.  That makes me feel like I need to get up and DO something.

Checking out my Facebook pages helps, but of course they ALWAYS involve food.  One is for decadent desserts, one is for KETO (dieting stuff) and to balance the two, Cowboys of Tombstone, usually involving Kurt Russell.  Can you blame me?

Yesterday I saw dozens of failed cheesecakes, from those that filled up with water to those that ended up on the floor.  Just why, escapes me.  So I drug out my Instant Pot.  My excuse is I had two boxes of cream cheese that were going to expire in three weeks.  I didn't want to take a chance.
This recipe comes from This Old Gal (fitting I thought) and involves everything I had in my cupboard, except the sour cream topping.  I am not a big fan of sour cream.  The only thing I could find was apricot jam.  I figured to give it a shot ....
I was pretty scared when I got up from my sewing table and realized instead of 18 minutes of pressure release time, it had received 66 minutes.  My shoulders slumped.  RATS!!  Another failure.  I carefully opened the pot, took the foil off and held my breath as I lifted it out.  I tried to convince myself it would be just fine.  

After two hours of sitting in the fridge (it really is better if you wait overnight), I slipped a knife around the sides and removed the ring.  YAHOO!!  I have cheesecake!!!  Lest you think I'm a glutton, this entire pie is only six inches around, making this slice very small.  Maybe only 600 calories versus 1500!!  No wonder I can't lose a pound .... it's all MY fault!!
Pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.  This makes me feel much better about that disaster of a cake last week.  

My bike ride didn't work out yet again.  I've deposited that darn bicycle pump SOMEWHERE.  It definitely does not want to be found.  I think it may be hiding in the Arizona garage.  Instead, I started calling all FMCA members regarding our rally in Indio that the club has done for 30 years.  

Yes ..... 30 years in Indio, 30 years of the same ole same ole.  Same vendors, same gatherings about the same topics and the same nothing-to-do in Indio.  The only thing not the same is the price, which has gone from about $125 to $400 in the last few years.  Electricity is going up yet again.  I hate to bail on them, but at this point our club has to subsidize people to get them to show up.  I'll let you know what happens.

In other exciting news, I've now had to purchase another seam ripper.  Honestly, I've NEVER ripped out so many seams before, making my little ripper dull as a knife cutting rocks.  The directions aren't that great and it seems I have several directional fabrics, making it even worse.  By the way, I did NOT pick these colors.  It was a kit.  Pretty cute in baby crib size.  
I have another appointment this morning, not giving me enough time to eat that piece of cheesecake calling my name.  Thank goodness for small favors.  This time it's the GLASSES part of the eye appointment.  Hopefully I can get it filled before heading back to Tucson.  That's not going to happen, but at least I will have my little piece of paper in hand.  

I hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day!!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day To The Skunk!!

Happy Father's Day to all the kid dads, doggy dads, kitty dads and anyone else who wants to join in.  I hope you get waited on right and left and have the best meal EVER!!  Of course if it's a barbecue you're after, you will probably have to do all the work yourself.  Count yourself lucky you don't have ME cooking for you!!

What about the Skunk?  Well happy Father's Day to him too!!  Yes, it's been an exciting morning.  These long summer solstice days with early morning light have brought out the critters in search of food.  

I opened my door for the puppies, who ran out like I had set their tails on fire.  I guess they smelled it before I did.  I tripped over the fan I keep at the step to bring in the cool morning air, landing unceremoniously on my butt.  OUCH!!  I jumped up, but the pups were already around the corner.

I RAN to the side yard!!  Nothing!!!  I raced to the other side (keep in mind I have over two acres here) and checked out everything.  How lucky can I be?  At least he's not in MY yard.  That's when I hear it.  That familiar squawking and panic of the chickens two houses over, along with the constant yapping of a small dog.  UH OH!!  

I'm pretty sure there was a skunk in the chicken coop.  I gathered up my two kids, came back in the house and shut the door, to the now very potent smell of, well you know, SKUNK!!  I think we'll spend some quality time indoors today.
I have had way too many confrontations with skunks on the ranch and would really rather NOT have another one, not to mention keeping the dogs skunk-free.  

The rest of the day I practiced my air frying skills.  I do love sweet potato fries, so I cut up another potato, tossed the pieces in a tad bit of oil and almost set them on fire.  That seems to be a recurring theme.  
I'll be honest here, I picked out most of the burned black pieces.  It's a delicate balance between high enough temperature to brown them, yet not too high because they burn very easily!!  Tossed in sea salt .... I ate every one!!  They are SO good!!!
So today, I'm determined to get my road bicycle out, air up the tires (if I can find the pump) and hit the road.  Wish me luck because I'm going to need it!!!

Again, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all you wonderful men out there!!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

VERY Exciting News!!!

See ... I told you someone out there had a voodoo doll of me!!  Take a LOT of stuffing out if you don't mind!!!
My plans for yesterday were completely waylaid.  They just opened Yosemite National Park back up after posting picture after beautiful picture with no people in them.  I would give anything to have been able to do that, but the Voodoo Gods locked the gate.  No entry.

NOW you have to have a parking pass to enter the park.  I knew they would figure out how to make money one way or another.  You cannot enter the park unless you go online and buy a pass, a minimal $2.00 for now, plus the on-line fee of course.  That gets you in IF you have a National Park Pass.  Otherwise it's something like $33 for one day.  

Herein lies the problem.  You CAN get a pass for the middle of July or the end of August, but all other days are blocked off.  Anyone with reservations at the hotels (something like $150-$350 a night) have priority.  If you can plan two months in advance for your day trip and get online at just the right moment, you can get a pass.  There will be no more spontaneous trips to Yosemite for anyone.  

SO .... ON TO THE EXCITING NEWS!!!  I've been holding off because for one, I had other things to talk about, even if they were mundane and boring.  Yesterday I did some super exciting things like vacuum up three pounds of dog hair, tossed off like Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon.  It's crazy that a Jack Russell can shed THAT much hair.  I could knit a sweater!!  MEANWHILE .........

See this backhoe?  That belongs to Mr. Chance.  Just like in Returning the Flavor with Mike Rowe (my hero), Dan and his son Mark (my NEW heroes) are doing all the work to have an RV cover built at my Arizona house.  Can you believe it?  
It's been an interesting road.  Without Dan, this never would have happened because I don't have the patience for the process, especially since I worked at our local Building Division for ten years and am very familiar with it.  In this case, a building permit was a must.  In the current circumstances, they are not doing anything in person ... it's all over the inter web ways of frustration.

They said my property lines were here ... Dan had to hire a surveyor to prove they were wrong.  They needed architectural plans signed by an Arizona firm ... Dan had to contact the company and get the plans stamped.  He drew up the foundation plans himself (this guy can do anything I tell you), attached them to the "generic" plans with the stamp and submitted them on-line.

Let me say that the REAL plans would cost another $1000.  I put all MY voodoo doll experience to work (and Dan talked to one very nice guy) and amazingly, the generic plans were approved.  Woohoo!!!  ON TO CONSTRUCTION!!

All this has taken maybe two months? or maybe it just feels like it.  It's been hard to keep my mouth shut, not knowing if it could be accomplished.  Keeping secrets is not my forte!!

In the meantime, I'm trying to keep busy vacuuming the outside concrete walk at 5:00 am.  Why you ask?  Because my neighbor had a birthday party last night that lasted until 4:00 am.  There's nothing like a vacuum cleaner to wake you up!!  I'm laughing at the thought!!  

At least this time they forewarned me, and even offered to buy a ticket to the movie of my choice.  Sadly, movies don't last all night long, so I opted for the farthest bedroom.  Truthfully, I didn't hear much of anything except Mr Cooper snoring and one guy yelling at about 3:30.

I'm off to see if there's anything else interesting I can get into.  It helps with that voodoo "stuffing" issue if I'm not sitting around the house, 20 feet from the refrigerator.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Now THAT'S an RV!!

For when I downsize, this is on my radar.  Is it not cool?  It's put together by a guy I found on Facebook and YouTube.  He and his crew beef up trucks to allow for more offloading and boon docking.  There's all kinds of cool stuff added to the chassis to make it worthy of the desert.

No pictures of the inside, but it's pretty much a miniature Class A.  It has everything including quite a bit of space, easily sleeping me, two dogs and a parrot!!  Ok, maybe I'm too old for such a beast, but I love it!!
I spent all day yesterday, after admiring this rig, getting ready for the Magic Kingdom meeting.  Of the 26 people contacted, only eight showed up.  The best news is one of them was our Sheriff.

I imagine you've heard our King Newsom has determined that everyone in California must now wear a mask no matter where you are.  Gosh, it doesn't seem like we need a mask to PROTEST.  Why do we need one to go to the grocery store?

That being said, it means we can OPEN BINGO!!!  YAY!!!  If everyone has to wear a mask, then we do not have to comply with the six foot rule.  That means we can fit 100-110 in our building, making it lucrative enough to turn on the machine and call those numbers!!  Our problem all along has been the number of people allowed would not make it worth the payouts ... we would be losing money.

SO ... in that light, Bingo will resume July 14.  I won't be there.  Yup ... I'm off to Arizona.  Sadly, timing is everything.  Depending on how you look at it, that could be a good thing!!

Thirty minutes later we were off to a Mexican Restaurant for dinner.  Here I've been trying to be so good and not overeat.  In fact, lunch was two small ribs.  That's it ... just two smoked ribs.  Looking at that huge menu, my self control went right out the window.  Oooooooohhhhh Mexican food!!

We were the only ones in the place.  How sad that businesses are trying to stay open, yet they have no patrons.  Two carne asada tacos, rice and beans.  You probably know my pain.  I was miserable all night long from eating WAY too much.  I guess I spent too many hours at the table trying to FINISH EVERYTHING ON YOUR PLATE!!!  I can hear my mother's voice in my head every time.

I topped that off with two spoonfuls of my homemade ice cream.  This isn't your normal ice cream, it's a Scottish recipe full of sugar and cream.  What could make your stomach feel better??

Whip up two cups of heavy cream until soft peaks, dump in a can of sweetened condensed milk and beat until stiff.  Add in whatever flavoring you wish and there it is .... calories in a cup!!  You have to have a sweet tooth for this one!!  The good news is a little goes a long way and it's inexpensive ... ok, cheap.
3:15 came VERY early this morning.  I didn't HAVE to get up.  I could have stayed in bed and tried to sleep a little more, which would have resulted in weird dreams where I married two guys I had never met before.  Yeah, those crazy dreams happen often, so it's better to just get up.  

By the way, if you watched the news about the DACA decision, don't believe a word they say.  My good friend the corporate attorney actually read the decision paperwork and it's not at ALL what the news is telling you.  Very basically, the decision says they just didn't write down these specific things (which they noted).  Write those things down and you're good to go.  Just throwing that out there.  I have no opinion one way or another, I'm just furious at the news media for always lying to everyone.

Since I won't be cooking for awhile, I'm hoping for a road trip today ... somewhere that doesn't involve my living room!!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Fires and Fryers

A+    Can you believe it?  I got an A+ from my dentist.  It was an interesting visit, to say the least.  Knock on the door and they hand you a mask.  Inside you provide your name, then sit on one of three chairs to wait for your pain filled dungeon experience.  I waited outside.

I didn't even recognize the girl.  She came out with a face shield over a mask over another mask, covered head to toe in those gauzy gowns surgeons wear, along with the appropriate head gear and two sets of gloves.  Don't forget the foot coverings.

A new sign displayed on the wall said sedation of every kind available for those highly anxious patients.  That's me.  As a kid, my dentist literally sat on me as he drilled into baby teeth and filled what he SAID were cavities with NO PAIN KILLER.  Highly anxious describes me perfectly!

The good news, it was fairly quick and mostly painless.  I got an A+ for good dental care.  YAY!!

For those of you who know about the fire in the Catalina mountains next to Tucson, here's what it looks like.  It is still quite far away even though smoke can be seen over the mountains.   Mt. Lemon, Mount Bigelow and Summerhaven have been evacuated.  Oracle is next on the list.  It's grown to over 23,000 acres, but is 40% contained.

Although it is generally heading my direction, it will have to burn up a lot of Tucson before it gets to my house.  It was started by lightning.  Hopefully they can get it under control soon.
Speaking of fires, what better way to possibly have one in my house than to have an air fryer!!  At long last, after much debate and review reading, I purchased one reasonably priced to test the latest and greatest craze on the market.

Let it be known, there are just dozens and dozens of sizes and models to choose from.  Every one of them has good and bad reviews.  My main intent was to find something to cook whole chickens in for the puppies.  This one said it would do a 5-pounder.

That's funny .... I just happen to have a 5-pounder in the fridge.  It said to truss it up and place it on the spit thingy.  That chicken didn't want to be trussed.  I used up an entire container of kitchen string trying to get it to hold tight.  After six tries, I finally got the sharp pointy pieces stuck in each end, running it through with the steel bar.

Triumphantly I placed the rotisserie in the oven and turned it on.  Thump thump thump.  It hit the deck with every turn.  I tried using more string, but alas, it would not hold together.  Maybe I'll just lay it on the bottom ... on foil of course, to catch all the drips and grease.

In no time I heard this terrible sizzling noise.  I ran to the oven and opened the door, to be hit in the face with grease splattering EVERYWHERE.  Oh great .... a big mess to clean up.  I grabbed the chicken, took it outside and threw it on the BBQ.  At least cleanup will be easier there.
Maybe I'll try some sweet potato fries.  HAND CUT fries no less, placed on the screen rack.  Here's the thing about air fryers.  No two cook alike.  So when they tell you 380 degrees for 15 minutes, well ... good luck with that.  Basically you have to stand there and keep watch.

Just when I turned my back, the tiny ends of every one burned black.  I like my fries well done, but this was definitely beyond that level.  I ate them anyway while wondering if I should return the darn thing.  To be honest, they tasted pretty good with NO frying oil.
ONE LAST TRY before calling Amazon and repacking it in the box in a box in a box.  I cut up one piece of chicken breast, took out all my frustration as I smashed it thin with a hammer, then breaded it with egg, panko and parmesan cheese.  Air fry away.  

To be honest, I don't have a clue how long they cooked.  Maybe 30 minutes.  Yes you are supposed to turn them over half way through, but I did not do that.  Whoa .... they came out juicy, completely done and pretty tasty!!  Maybe I'll keep it after all.
My main problem seems to be which rack to use when.  There's a solid pan for roasting, a cake rack for baking cakes and the mesh pan for air frying.  It's also a toaster, roaster, baker, dehydrator and proofer (think letting bread rise).  I can't wait to try it out on some salmon.  

Lucky for me there was no fire in spite of all the warning labels.  I may get a fire extinguisher to keep handy just in case.  They say it's perfect for pizza, and I have the PERFECT pizza recipe from Miss Terry's cookbook, once all those smoked ribs are gone of course.

In a last minute memo ... another Magic Kingdom of Bingo meeting is on for today.  Woohoo!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


Most of you have seen my cooking failures before.  Just when I think I'm doing good and getting back in the swing of things, there is another EPIC fail to put me in my place.  Can you just imagine the gorgeous cake that comes out of this bundt pan?  I saw one once and just HAD to have it.

It's been sitting in the cupboard ever since, maybe two years?  I just never could get up the courage to give it a shot.  Now I know why.
With so much cooking going on during the stay-at-home suggestion, hint, whatever, I got over confident.  I also got 12 pounds added back on to my hips.  I would do just about anything to stay busy, and cooking became the exercise of the day.

Never believe those super simple DELICIOUS recipes from the internet.  Isn't this just the most beautiful cake you've ever seen?  This honestly has to top the list of disasters and currently lives in my backyard graveyard.

Here's the recipe because I just KNOW you'll want to recreate this masterpiece.  One box of lemon cake mix (just the mix), 12 ounces of Sprite soda and one cup of blueberries.  How easy is that?

When I took it out of the oven, it looked like it had sunk a bit, but since I had followed the recipe to the letter, I was sure it would be fabulous.  I let it cool a bit, then set it upside down on a plate.  Fifteen minutes later I removed the pan and VOILA!!!!  My masterpiece appeared.  

I took a forkful to convince myself it was still edible.  Mmmmm maybe I'll wait until it's completely cooled.  Another mouthful.  Nope .... that gooey mushy chemical tasting mess is going straight to the cemetery.  I grabbed my shovel.
With my ego completely deflated, rather like the cake, I grabbed a rack of ribs for the smoker.  After a liberal dose of mustard (it gives it no flavor but keeps the rub on), I left them to sit for a couple of hours in the fridge.  I was determined to prove I could still cook.
Into the smoker at 220-225 for two hours.  You can do this in your oven also.  As to timing, these are very thick Costco ribs and take a bit longer to cook.  I took them out and wrapped those lovely pieces of pork in heavy aluminum foil and stuck them back in.  Two more hours went by in a flash.
Sauce time!!  Wrap them back up for 30-60 minutes more and VOILA!!  Certainly not an instant meal, but boy are they worth the time to cook. 
My ego recovered as I ate two little ribs slowly, so as to enjoy every single bite.  Thankfully they took that "cake" taste right out of my mouth!!  I'm feeling a tad bit redeemed.

On today's agenda, repair the 3/4 drip lines the gardeners cut in half when they pruned the shrubs out front.  I only noticed when I discovered the lake in my front yard when I heard what sounded like someone bashing in the side of my house.  My luck with gardeners is about like my cooking!!