Friday, December 31, 2021


It was a long day, just waiting for my longarm quilting machine to show up.  I did some small chores around the house, then fixed one of my favorite lunches.  I made tamales awhile back and decided they needed something else.  Mexican rice was the perfect accompaniment.  See ... sometimes I really can cook, just not very often!!

The sauce on the tamale is my own concoction which sounds really terrible, but is quite tasty, especially on tacos.  It seems my old construction crew from Mexico was a great influence when it comes to food.  Okay .. don't cringe ... it's mayo, chipotle pepper powder and a little water.  Add in sour cream if you have it.  Boy does it add good flavor and just enough heat.

At long last I heard the driveway alarm.  THEY'RE HERE!!  Box after box was unloaded and brought in.  The construction began.  I can tell you this thing is a heavyweight monster, built to last a hundred years.

It took well over an hour just to put the frame together.  At last the machine was put in place.  I snuck a few pictures here and there, but the guys didn't want to be on camera.  

There was lots of floor sitting while putting parts and pieces together.  By now it's been almost three hours and I'm wondering if I'm going to get any instruction at all!!  By this point however, I've watched dozens of videos and read all the directions, so I'm ready!!

That's when it happened.  I won't go into details, but the front connection panel had to be replaced.  A call was made to the shop and they met halfway to exchange parts off their floor machine, before putting it all back together.  YAY!!!

FOUR HOURS LATER ..... yes it takes that long to set this beauty up.  I was excited to get started as one guy left for home and the other sat me in front of the machine on a bar stool.  We played with the computer a bit before winding the quilt and backing on the machine for quilting.  

READY ... SET ... UH OH!!  We've no idea why ... just couldn't figure it out.  You can ghost quilt ... meaning it will follow the pattern but not actually stitch ... but it would not stitch the quilt pattern.  The motors locked up every time.  How disappointing, but I tried not to show it.  All we got done was the basting stitch at the top edge.  My heart sank.

As you know, things like this happen to me a lot, so I'm experienced at it.  We shut the entire thing down and he left to call the computer guys this morning ... if they are open.  My guess is I won't hear from anyone until Monday.  It may mean the replacement of the entire machine (meaning weeks), or maybe just the computer.  Who knows.  So my quilting came to a screeching halt.

To make me feel better ... food always works ... I ordered my usual Thursday night special from Arizona Pizza Company.  YUM YUM!!!!!

So today I will stare longingly at the longarm until Mr. Chance arrives and we begin the latest building project .... in the rain.  It's been coming down all night long, with snow visible on the mountain tops.  Tonight calls for freezing temps and more rain.  You know what THAT means!!  Possibly some of that white stuff may be falling.  

In the meantime, I'm sending up lots of little prayers to the Quilting Gods that my machine gets fixed before I take off.  Somehow I don't see that happening!!  Big sigh!!!


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Get Ready ... Get Set .....

 I'm not going yet, but plans are in the air.  In the meantime, I seem to notice the weirdest things.  Remember that toilet paper roll they skinned down by half an inch or more?  Well they did it to my paper plates too!  Yessirree ... same plates, even the same pattern and they are now smaller than before, but of course cost a few cents more.  That sort of thing is probably happening more than we realize.

After breakfast, which is where I noticed the plates, I began the baking process.  Those cookies from the Chance house were so good I just had to make some.  Anything with chocolate and peppermint can't be bad!!  

Then it was on to chores around the house.  I cleaned off the front walkway and porch in anticipation of my newest toy, the quilting longarm, but my latest acquisition kept telling me to try it out.  Not a great picture, but this tree's branches are rubbing against the RV cover.  If ever there was a sticky wicket, this tree is it with it's one inch long spikes that could definitely kill you.

Here's the savior of the day.  My chain saw on a stick.  This immediately became one of my all time favorite toys, or rather tools, to play with.  It's battery operated!!  How cool is that?  It's pretty powerful and zipped off branches 2" in diameter like they were nothing.  

A little heavy for me to hold up, it has one more extension if you need to reach the top of the tree.  I'm telling you guys, this was a blast and did quick work of the branches.  Unfortunately I then had to cut the branches up and stack them in a pile.  That was NOT the fun part.  The battery does not show in this picture because I already removed it.  What a kick this was to use!!

With the hard work done, I grabbed the game camera and downloaded the images.  Lookie here ... my all time favorite visitor came to say hello.  What a gorgeous kitty kitty.  I'm pretty sure this is the mama.  I've heard a couple of yowls and it's mating season.  

The strange part is these were taken at 7:00 in the morning.  I sure wish I had looked out the window and gotten a few pics with my camera.  In the video just before this one, a bunny had been wandering around the area.  It looks like she smells him.  Yum yum ... dinner.  Except the bunnies seem to always be one step ahead of the coyotes and kitties.

In the meantime, I've been watching lots of quilting videos on how to use my machine.  SO SO much to learn.  This should keep my brain going for years!!

My last note ... I waited too long.  Discount Solar is closed until January 3rd.  Darn, I should have called earlier.  Hopefully I can fit into their schedule.  In the meantime, I better caffeinate my brain like crazy if I'm going to learn that machine.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

New Projects Coming Up

I guess you know what these are.  I stepped on two yesterday, making me jump like crazy, mostly from thinking I stepped on some big bug ... or scorpion.  The accompanying SQUEAK is enough to make me elevate into the air.  YIKES!!  Oh, it's just Cooper's ball ... again.  So I gathered them up and put them on the counter.  It took him all of two minutes to find them and bark at me to give him one back. 

I had a few cleanup jobs to get done before heading off to Green Valley to gather the supplies I need for the indoctrination into quilting tomorrow.  I spent over an hour sitting at a machine learning about the bobbin and tension.  Me thinks you need to be a mechanic to run these things.  

By the way, since there's no room in the sewing room, it's being set up in the living room.  It's just a pathway to the bedroom anyway.  I'm getting excited.

Mr. Chance stopped by to see if he could get the generator to start.  This thing ..... it's causing me headaches!!  Believe it or not, he decided it was out of gas.  We could hear no sloshing at all.  How could that be when I filled it to overflowing and it hasn't run since??  Where did it go????????  He put some into the tank until we could hear sloshing.  Interestingly, none dripped out the bottom.

RATS!!  No amount of pulling could get it to start, so we headed out on the next Great Wall project.  As the rains come down, the hill makes alluvial planes in my driveway, making for continued tractor work.  The Great Wall will keep everything on the hill intact, or at least that's the plan.  

Off we went to the place that makes blocks of every kind and shape to get a pallet set on the back of Dan's big trailer.  Back home, we took about half off by hand, then Dan used the front end loader to remove the rest.  I'm paying close attention, and of course will help, because I have no idea how to get this project started.  I'm hoping to learn something here.

Then we played musical trucks to get Dan's equipment back home.  I drove the BAT (big ass truck), and let me tell you, it's BIG!!  I couldn't reach the pedals, nor could I see over the steering wheel while pulling that big trailer.  Good heavens ... you push a button to start, but it doesn't start unless your foot in on the brake, there's a button that folds the outside mirrors up and so many other buttons I was afraid to touch anything!!!

Then there was the GATE!  A narrow gate that luckily the big rear view mirrors tower over ... but that big even wider trailer was attached!!  I felt like that fiftteen year old tossed in a cattle truck and told to drive.  There was a big sigh of relief when I didn't hit anything as I pulled into their yard.

Back home, I scoffed at the generator sitting in the garage.  Just for giggles, I pull the handle three times and SHOCK OF SHOCKS!!  The darn thing started.  I ran inside, got my hair dryer and plugged it in.  WOW ... with such a seemingly small load, it cranked up like a caterpillar and purred like a kitten.  Little generator, you are going to be the bane of my existence, yeah?  After ten minutes, I put it away.  I'll try again today, just to see what happens.

In the meantime, here's another video that I LOVE LOVE LOVE.  I don't get to see these guys very often. They are just the cutest ever!  Very fat and sassy!!

Just for fun, I spotted this yesterday.  That's what I feel like every time I step on the scales.

I'm calling Discount Solar in Quartzsite today for info on solar panels.  I'll let you know what I come up with.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Movie Day!!

While the feeling of being on a horse again still lingers, I'm trying to keep occupied so I don't rush out and buy one or two or four.  Yes I already found a small ranch for sale, but it's too far out, a long dirt road and at least two houses on one shared well.  I'm passing for the moment, hoping the feeling will wear off ..... eventually.  It's back up against the mountain in this picture.

In the meantime, I've had a few other four legged visitors that I love to see.  These are some healthy babies.  If you watch, you will see this beauty smelling the ground in this area.  It happens that this was the day Doug and Yuma left after Yuma's morning walk down my path to the water station and beyond.  No doubt the coyote is smelling every step Yuma took.  This is why you never EVER leave your dogs tethered outside your rig day or night unless you are sitting right there. 

My morning was filled with list after list trying to remember everything I required for repairs and fun.  There were sprinkler line parts, a big plastic tub, Cooper's new (on sale) blanket under which to hide his ball so he can dig it out again (that goes on for hours) and some new batteries for the beep beep beeper.
 All that come from Ace Hardware, my newest favorite superstore!  

The very next night, the pack appeared.  I don't usually see so many together.  They hunt alone at night and only gather up, by howling their location to each other, in early morning hours when they head back to their dens.  During the day they hide out under scrub brush or in holes if they can find them.

Here's another example of their amazing noses.  This guy is smelling me.  My scent is all over that piece of concrete because I moved it to clean out the water station.  It was full of nasty green water and moss.  Now they've got clean water to drink.  It's just so fun to watch how they interact.

On the "this is pretty funny side", Cooper's best friend is Halo (in Calif).  When Halo gets to go out front of his house, he runs over to my front door and barks so Cooper can come out and play.  Apparently they were both really good this year because Santa brought them the exact same toy for Christmas!!  Halo's Mom and I got a good laugh out of this one because neither knew what the other was getting.

And so another day passed by with no new problems ... well except for that bill from AT&T stating I had an additional $45.00 added on for international calling.  It didn't take me long to call them and find out what's up.  

Have you been getting text messages from AT&T?  I knew they were fraud and blocked every one, but somehow they got me anyway and charged up the fees, including a video and several text messages.  Thankfully, AT&T took off all the charges.  They said if it was possible, to forward any messages to a special number, which of course I cannot now find.  I'll keep looking.

Anyway, keep a close eye on your bill if you have received any weird text messages from AT&T or any number you do not recognize.  Otherwise, have a great day!!

Monday, December 27, 2021


I can hear you say "what the heck is this for"?  A first place ribbon hanging off that refrigerator?  Here's what happened yesterday.

Chance granddaughter Laila is still in 4-H and goes to every horse show they have.  On this day it was Gymkhana, including any number of ways to race around an arena in five or six events.  This is not the Olympics for sure, but these kids have a blast!!  My first new friend to meet was Tess.  Isn't she a cutie?  I think Zoey from would approve.

We arrived just before starting time, which then got pushed back one hour, no reason given.  So they let the girls practice carrying the flags around the arena.  If anyone knows horses, you know that is a big deal.  Most horses don't care for flags waving over their heads.

Ta Da!!!!  They did it with panache and flair, with no one falling off.  It was a big win!!

On to the games.  There are fence rails in every picture because standing at the rails is a no-no.  Parents cannot see the kids if you are in the way.  This one is Blake (maybe 6 years old?) riding the best little pony at the gymkhana.  I'm not kidding, this little horse went everywhere he was told, even it it was at a walk.  Blake is of course looking the complete wrong direction, but it's okay, cuz she got 2nd place!!

"What?  Second place?"  Can you not just see what this pup is thinking?  His job was to carry the cell phone so it didn't get lost.  

Parents and friends clapped and cheered for every single rider, whether they stopped the time clock at 102 seconds or 10 seconds.  Every kid came out with a smile on their face!  Even the announcer gave kudos to kids who had to run it twice to get the pattern down correct.  If they missed a barrel, no one cared.  This is a GREAT group!!

Laila rode a horse called bones ... quite old in spite of his looks.  He ran like a champ and placed in the top three in every event I think.  He's got moxy for such a tiny horse of advanced age.

So who is this on the palomino?  

Yeah, that would be me!!  Out of the blue they decided to have a tick-tock event, as in tick tock watch the clock go around!  They put the moms, most of whom have never ridden much at all, ON the horse and the kids lead them around the course, like the Mom's used to lead the horse when the kids were too small ... called the Lead Line Classes.  They take forever, thus the tick tock event.  

This is Francesca and UNO is her horse, a recently purchased heading horse with 18 years under his belt.  Heading, meaning in calf roping, he was the first to exit the hole while his rider caught the head of the calf.  He's a pretty sweet boy, although so darn tall I had to stand on an ice chest to get on!!!

This is Laila and her Mom Shandra, which I probably spelled wrong because I can never remember how it goes.  I just know how to pronounce it!!  I'm going to print it on a card and put it on my fireplace so I remember next time.  Behind Shandra is her friend who hasn't ridden since she was a kid.  

And we were off into the arena to run the barrel racing pattern.  Let me just say that Francesca is a rock star!!  She RAN the entire course on foot in boots in soft sand while I encouraged UNO with leg pressure around the barrels.  He trotted like a pro as we raced to the finish line!!  

WE WON!!!  I don't know how we did it, but Francesca ran like the wind and we got first place.  HOW FUN WAS THAT!!!!!  I got a WAY TO GO GRANDMA as I exited the arena.  I wasn't sure whether to be offended by that or not!!

The bad news is Nancy is reminiscing about her horses and now wants to buy a little horse ranch and pick up a rescue horse or two.  Hey, I'm not too old, am I?????

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Merry Christmas Day!!

 Good Morning and Merry Christmas!!  I was a little slow on the uptake this day.  I spent the first hour remembering the reason for the season and being thankful for everyone and everything in my life.  

Then, like most families with kids, we got right down to the stocking.  Cooper smelled something immediately and sat at the fireplace barking his "come help me" bark, louder than normal.  OKAY!!  I see Santa left you something in the sock!

He grabbed it in a flash and like Santa, was across the room in a nanosecond.  PLAY with me!!!  And the squeaking began!!

Wait Cooper ... there's something else in here!!  Sure enough, there was a brand new ball to add to the five already scattered around the family room.  He was in Heaven!!  

I on the other hand, required caffeine, so I whipped up a mug of cocoa and stuffed not one or two, but THREE marshmallows in it for good luck!  I toasted the beautiful desert before slugging down that tasty concoction.  There was no beautiful sunrise this morning, just clouds and overcast-ness (is that a word?) all day long.  No matter, it was not cold and the forecast of rain for the next five days is okay, as long as it doesn't snow.

Time to do something with that most gorgeous four pound piece of pork lounging in my fridge.  I cut off the small piece to cook for Cooper with no spices.  It's one of his favorites and he deserves a nice Christmas dinner too.  I browned it beautifully in a pan on the stove and turned on my gas oven.

I'm not very good with ovens, and that gas thing that goes WHOOF every time it turns on and off is scary.  It sounds like it's going to blow up!!

I smothered it in garlic and herbs and stuck it in the oven.  I have absolutely no idea how long it took to cook.  Why?  Because I think I've found the secret to roasting meat!

THIS is my secret weapon.  Who knew such a small device could bring so much joy!  I now have TWO of them and need one more for the fifth wheel.  Stick the end into the meat and close the door.  When it reaches the desired temperature, you turn the oven off.  This time I was looking for 145 degrees.

I have to be honest, when I took the meat out to rest, I thought it was too squishy.  Maybe even still raw.  I let it sit on the counter covered for fifteen minutes.  Let me just say it was done to perfection.  That's the absolute best pork loin I've ever cooked in my entire life!!!  From now on I'm using this gizzy exclusively!

I really did not plan on any big dinner, so had very little goodies in the fridge.  I had purchased one of those rice-in-a-bag packages for the trip here, thinking it would be easy to heat on the stove.  They suck.  don't buy them.  Even after adding onions and garlic, it still tasted like glue.  I consumed the pork and gravy like I hadn't eaten in weeks.

We played and played while watching Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3, along with the Grinch.  Yes, I spent most of the day on the floor.  Finally Cooper crashed on the couch.  By the way, Jonathan got a big chunk of pumpkin muffin from Costco, his all time favorite.  

It was a nice slow relaxing day while I contemplated MY Christmas present which will be delivered this Thursday.  I'm so excited, I'm finally getting a longarm quilting machine, which is sure to provide hours of consternation while I figure out how to make it work.  Sort of like trying to put that bicycle together for your kids on Christmas Eve.  I can't wait!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2021


 The changing landscape of Arizona never ceases to amaze me.  Cooper and I slept in a few minutes longer on Christmas Eve before getting up to dark skies with a little predicted rain.  Outside, the morning sun was putting on a spectacular show.

The minutes flew by as the colors just exploded.

That's when the rain began to come down and this double rainbow appeared in the glow of the sunrise in the back yard.  Mother Nature sure is an artist!!

In no time, it turned dark and foreboding as more rain began to fall.  It didn't last long, just enough to make the desert smell of creosote bushes (or whatever it is).  I do love that smell!

It finally cleared up enough for Cooper and I to go for a quick walk down the driveway after I spent an hour digging up dandelions from my back yard.  The weed and feed I put on three months ago worked, kinda sorta.  The leaves looked dead, but the roots were alive and well, still putting out those pretty little yellow denizens of the devil.  I'll be out there again today.

Lucky for the bunny, Cooper didn't see him, he was so well camouflaged as he sauntered along eating all the little green pieces of grass.  I'm surprised they have survived considering the rise in coyote presence.  More on that later.

In the late afternoon, I went over to the Chance Household for Christmas Eve dinner.  Pozole and cornbread.  Man oh man I wish I could cook like that.  I'm going to try it later in the week since I got a huge chunk of pork loin for half price at Safeway.  

Once home, I turned on my Christmas lights.  Yeah, I'm not fooling you guys.  These solar flashing rope lights help keep the pack rats away, but they ARE kind of Christmasy!

We hung Cooper's stocking on the fireplace with care.  Not the traditional color, I know.  It seems we left his stocking on the OTHER fireplace, so a quick check of my boot sock drawer had to suffice.  After a few good belly laughs watching the train wrecks played out on "Before 90 Day Fiance" (I've never watched it previously) Cooper and I headed to bed, with visions of sugarplums in his head.

What to our wondering eyes should appear this morning?  Santa Clause found us and deposited a now favorite toy for Cooper, along with TWO new balls.

Anything that squeaks or looks remotely like a play toy is fair game.  He loved it and it's squeaking as I type.  The two balls are already underneath the couch, awaiting my morning yoga exercises.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you have a wonderful day ... Cheers to the end of 2021!!