Sunday, April 14, 2024

Another Saturday OUT .....

 Two Saturdays in a row?  What's up with that??  I can't believe I was actually going to be out late once again, since Saturdays are my usual stay-at-home days.  But there I was ... heading out into the rain.  This is what it looked like beginning at 10:00.  It was not a downpour, but a very steady rain for the next ten hours.  

Here's why.  This was the forecast that seemed not to move the entire day.  That is a rarity where I live.  It really was quite nice because there was no wind at all ... just a steady rain that filled up my flower beds and watered the lawn ... of course just after I got the sprinklers fixed.  


This time the benefit dinner was for Love INC (In the Name of Christ).  It's the one and only place in town people can go to get help for anything, though they do specialize in helping children in need.  Several of the items of furniture I had left over from my move went to them.  I am amazed at the number of people that do not have beds.  

They also do everything they can for the homeless, including setting up shower and laundry locations.  Add to that all the education they provide, especially to older children so they can go out on their own and survive.  I don't know of any other organization that does that.  

So ... it's time to Cowboy Up.  They couldn't have picked a better theme than that.


I got there early because again ... parking is at a premium.  I was surprised to find these appetizers at each chair.  That's a new one on me!!  In no time we had 16 people from the Elks Lodge browsing the side tables full of silent auction items.


There was going to be another DESSERT DASH, so I checked out the cakes, pies and goodies.  


Just WOW!!!  It was FOUR TABLES LONG!!  Here's how this works, just like the last one.  Your table puts as much money in an envelope as they want.  When it's counted up, whatever table has the most dollars donated, gets first pick of the desserts.  


But first ... let's have a little entertainment.  Country music .... right up my alley.  There was just two of them, but boy could they sing.  They reminded me of my Dad, who was so good, he even recorded a few records.


In no time the place was packed.  This is a huge building, with only a small part of it shown here.  All around the outside were the silent auction items, 50-50 raffle and live auction items.  


Sadly ... though maybe not this time ... there was another puppy to be auctioned off.  I hate it when they do this.  I always worry that the puppy won't have a good home.  This is a standard poodle.  He's going to be a BIG boy at probably 55 pounds.  Thankfully, he went to a very nice lady who fell in love with him.


At last ... dinner.  We were all served individually at our table.  I must say, it was REALLY good.  My tri-tip was cooked perfectly.  Those beans ... probably the best I've ever had.  I think maybe pork-n-beans mixed with pintos and ground beef??  The potatoes were actually FRIED mashed potatoes.  YUM!!!


As I mentioned, their biggest thing is beds and dressers for kids.  They asked for big donations, but when they got down to $100, I raised my bidders card.  Wasn't I shocked when suddenly my Bingo associate grabbed my card and raised it AGAIN!!  WAIT!!!!  It's okay he said ... and he handed me a $100 bill.  Okay then ... 

And so as the live auction moved on, surprisingly not garnering nearly as much as the last one I attended, we came to the Dessert Dash.  We came in about 4th place I think, and our DASHER gal picked a beauty.  Actually, I'm sure it was made by the same cake maker from the last fundraiser.  

Does that cake stand look familiar?  Most every cake was sitting on a cake plate made from old glassware glued together.   Oh yes, I've made a few of those!!  It took some time to cut through the zip tie holding it together.  We made a big mess ... but the cake made up for it.  YUMMY!!!


I'm now completely stuffed and miserable.  My fault for cutting the cake slices too big.  I was just trying to get rid of it so I wouldn't offer to take the leftovers.  I was a very good girl as I started to walk out with nothing in hand.  Oh I bid on many of the silent auction items, but didn't win any of them.

That's when I saw it.  The Elks SECOND table left HALF of their cake intact and walked off.  WHAT?  Oh no ... you can't be wasteful ... there are starving children in the world.  And so this baby came home with me.


I had to laugh when I told them it was the exact same cake that we ate last Saturday night.  They didn't realize it because the cake cutter destroyed the decorations.  SAME CAKE ... same GREAT taste!!  I'm going to gain ten pounds.

And so ended another Saturday OUT.  It was a great time with great folks who like to pass it along.  What could be better!!







Saturday, April 13, 2024

Once Again ... Death and Taxes

 Well my friends ..... it's that time of year again.  Whoever started the idea of paying taxes should be shot!!  It's so out of hand, it's ridiculous. You work all your life to make money so you can have property, and then when you want to sell it, they take all the profits.  I surely can see why folks nowadays don't want to work hard or accumulate anything.

Set up an IRA they said ... you won't pay taxes until you take it out when you are OLD and your tax rate will be SO MUCH LOWER.  They lied.  I've never paid such a high tax rate in my entire life as I do now.  

And so I spent the morning writing out checks, gritting my teeth and spitting fire.  I probably wouldn't blink an eye if I thought it was going to be spent in a judicious manner by conservatives.  I won't tell you how much, but it would make a down payment on a new house!!  Okay ... rant over.


Let's go outside and burn off some of that negativity.  Mr. Cooper and I hit the back roads.  Sadly, we didn't get far before he was covered in stickers.  If there is even one tiny little piece of dry grass sticking his skin, he comes to a complete halt.


Sometimes he won't even WALK until I find and remove the culprit.  I try hard to keep him in the road, but of course all the good smells are in the grass.  How could I turn down this face??


Back home, after brushing from top to bottom, he gets a treat.  He's not spoiled ... not spoiled at all!!


After once again reorganizing all the paperwork that got thrown on the counter the night before, it was actually lunch time.  Here's another chicken sandwich, which actually hit the spot.  No I haven't made those carrot fries yet, though I did think about it while I recuperated on the couch watching the San Antonio Rodeo.  


Dessert this time was kind of a let down after that pineapple upside down cake.  It was thick, way too sweet (even for me) and was rather like eating glue.  I'll pass on this one next time.


Finally feeling a little energetic, I switched out two more sprinklers and repaired EIGHT drip lines cut by the weed whacker.  You prune the bushes with a weed whacker????  Honestly, I try to miss the gardeners every time they show up.  I just might do something I shouldn't.  Not that they would know, because they don't speak English hardly at all.

Two broken sprinklers have been replaced, and I have two more to go.  Just in time for the inch of rain we are going to get today!!  My neighbor stopped by with a great idea.  They place big heavy rocks on the back side of the sprinklers that stick up above the ground level.  Aha I said ... they can't mow over big rocks.  I'll be heading to the mountains soon to pick some up.  Better yet, maybe a nice tall piece of steel pounded into the ground.

Every time it rains, I pray my RV roof doesn't leak.  That seems to be a recurring theme in my RV groups.  On the other hand, they told me where to buy these little fridge drain plugs.  I took mine out to be sure it was not plugged up, and it crumbled in my fingers.  This keeps the flying critters from making nests up inside the line, so it's a rather important piece of plastic.  Luckily, there are TWO just in case I have to replace it again.    


That was it ... a perfect sunny warm (but not too warm) day to recoup, just in time for ... wait for it .............. yet ANOTHER fundraiser which will happen tonight.  This used to be a nice small party run by a local church.  Now it's grown into a HUGE deal to be held at the fairgrounds.  Once again, dinner is compliments of Bingo and our RV park.  

These folks do it a little differently.  If you need help you can get it, but along with it comes lessons in how to handle money ... how to budget ... how to repair things ... it's not just a free ride.  They also provide free counseling along with big furniture items.  It's for a good cause and is one of our Bingo regular donations.  Hopefully I don't fall asleep half way through!!!




Friday, April 12, 2024

Me And My Bunny Slippers!!

 Yessirree ... this is me.  Bunny slippers and all. Especially after a night of bad dreams where I was a prisoner in an awful prison, escaping down the steep mountainside to the tourist train below.  Sometimes I wonder if I've been reincarnated a number of times and these are memories.  It was just too weird this morning.  Thank Heavens for COFFEE!!  It can be a game changer.


It was a perfect 62 degrees in the morning, quickly ratcheting up to almost 80.  Our first warm day of the summer sent me straight to the lounge chair to soak up some vitamin D.  I can't believe I'm saying this ... it was actually HOT.  


My now blooming roses kept me company as I fielded message after message about the meeting happening at 6:00.  I had a stack of papers on my counter 6" high.  It was going to be a long one.


And then THIS happened.  Yikes ... that was a bit of a shock until I realized it wasn't moving.  Neither was the breeze at ground level, but up higher in the sky, the winds were making everyone think we were at war.  I have to admit, that's one bad thing about everyone having a smart phone these days.  Pictures, and sometimes panic, spread like wildfire!!


I did a little more weed pulling, which was a big mistake.  You already know I have ants around here.  Fire ants in particular.  I spray and put out stuff all the time to keep them at bay, but nothing works.  Wouldn't you know, one nasty bugger got on my finger and bit me.  He's now in a million pieces, but my finger is a little worse for wear.

It now has a big white bump on it which made my finger expand like I smashed it with a hammer.  It doesn't hurt, buy boy does it itch!!  I'll have to operate today in the hopes of excising the venom.  For such a little thing, it sure packs a big wallop!!

Since there would be no time for dinner on this day, I cooked up the next box of Hello Fresh for lunch.  The absolute best part about these meals is you don't have to go to the store NEARLY as often.  The not so good part ... carrots.  They must be in season, because I'm getting them with practically every order.  I think I need to make different choices.

These are not sweet potato fries, but CARROT fries.  Who's has ever heard of that?  I wasn't feeling it, so I now have six carrots in the fridge.    

Anyhoo ... this is a fried garlic chicken sandwich with a sweet mustard aioli.  This is of course what it SHOULD look like.


First off, the buns are three inches tall.  I sliced it up into three sections, taking the middle piece out.  In order to cook the chicken easier, it said to hammer it into your cutting board.  I actually used a mallet for that, but maybe got a little carried away.  It spread out so much I cut it into FOUR thin pieces instead of two.

The panko bread crumbs came out nice and crispy, but the garlic flavor kind of disappeared.  I don't fry food often ... it makes too big of a mess that I have to clean up ... but this came out very nicely.  It was topped with a mixture of mayo and sweet dijon mustard.  I substituted chips for the carrots.

All in all, it was a pretty good fried chicken sandwich.  I have to say, their serving sizes in all these meals is so much more than I can eat at one sitting.  Today I'll try making carrot fries and let you know if that works.  It just might beat out sweet potatoes.     No, no it won't.


At 5:00 I was off to the Board Meetings.  Good grief ... so much stuff to sort out, so many problems to solve.  The good news is we are so popular in this area, that while other clubs are celebrating having 300 members in their club, we are trying to figure out how to have LESS members than our 1565, soon to be 1595 next week.  

I suppose that means we are doing a bang-up job, but it also means it's taking more and more time to wade through these meetings.  Four hours later, I finally walked in my door and crashed on the couch.  It's my last day to hang out on the patio before the thunderstorms hit us on Saturday, which by the way will be hitting hardest when I head out to the next fundraiser for LOVE Inc, another charity we support.  Maybe the Rain Gods will take pity of us.   Yeah, I doubt that too!!


Thursday, April 11, 2024

SPRING HAS SPRUNG .....

 I cannot believe my luck, even though mostly it's mediocre ... just look at this beauty!!  I almost missed it.  With warmer temperatures for the next few days, my lawn could use a drink of water.  One by one I turned the valves on, then ran to see what the damage was.  

In checking the drip irrigation I spotted this one quite by accident.  You just cannot imagine how gorgeous it is in person.  My Sacramento friend Cyndae brought down a bunch of cuttings from her yard.  Well not exactly HER yard ... I think they came from the center divide in downtown Sacramento.  I was sure they would all die.  

It took a year for them to grow into a 4 foot square section of ground cover.  And then this happened.  Neither of us had any idea this would appear.  Even better, there are about a dozen more buds ready to bloom.  YAHOO!!!  Spring has sprung!


The sprinkler news wasn't good.  The river Broken Sprinkler flowed down the side yard like the Mississippi.  It appears there is a break in one of the main lines.  I doubt I can fix it.  Further analysis resulted in three more broken below the dirt level.  This is going to require major surgery.  Dr. Nancy is on vacation, so hopefully I can find someone to do this for me.  


While wandering around looking for rocks to mark the bad sprinklers, I heard the familiar screeching in the sky.  These guys were WAY up there!  The hawks circle around while the Moms and Dads protecting their nearby nests, dive bomb them.  


Not the best of pictures, but they got smacked on the head several times before finally flying off.  Another sign of spring.  I can now hear the babies in the nests screaming for food.


Speaking of the birds, I have so many finch in my back yard hanging out in the rose bushes that I thought I might give them a little lunch.  I ordered this finch feeder online, mostly because I see everyone else has something similar.  Filling those socks with seed wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done, but here it is hanging on the tree.  It looks like some kind of alien.


Thirty minutes later, I discovered the local wasp population thinks it's just dandy.  I'm guessing it was the color?  There were four more underneath.  These guys can sting like nobody's business, so I grabbed my flyswatter and went to town.  Hopefully they discovered the landlord was not hospitable and won't come back.  I won't hold my breath.  Sadly, not a single finch has set foot on this feeder.  NOT ONE!!


While waiting for the sprinklers to finish their run, Mr. Cooper decided it was play time.  This kid ... he rolls the ball (what's left of it) under the chair, then barks until I throw it.  I'm amazed this video turned out since I was sitting IN the chair, bending over upside down to take it.


Sadly, our aim isn't so good any more, nor is his eyesight at 14 years of age.  It's okay though as he loves playing this game over and over and over.


My plan to lay out in the now WARM California sun didn't last long.  I had a lunch appointment with an Elks friend for some Mexican food.  She's one of the best Bingo volunteers ever.  I've never in my life seen an enchilada as big as my computer.  It took some time to make it disappear, but boy was it good!  Sadly, no picture.  The best part, I was so full, there was no need for dinner.

About bingo ... I usually only tell you the not-so-good parts because they can be hilarious.  But truly, the 123 other players at Tuesday's games are just the best.  They laugh, tease each other and just have a good time.  They can make my day in a nanosecond ... which is why I keep going back.  They can make a bad day pretty special.

Tonight should be fun .... three more Lodge meetings (yup all in one night) where I will present the budget.  If nothing else, this Elks stuff is keeping me busy.

I see that fickle Miss Spring is already going to take another break this weekend.  They are predicting an inch of rain here on Saturday.  I wish she would make up her mind!!




Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What Time Is It?

It's BINGO TIME in central California as the landscape heats up a bit.  It's now 55 degrees and a little late in the morning.  It seems these late nights are catching up with me a bit.  I didn't wake up until 5:00 am.    I can't believe even Cooper slept in!!  Jonathan?  Oh he's as quiet as a mouse until about 9:00.  He sleeps in every day.  I'm jealous!


Right out of the box, I was met at the door with the wonderful smells of the country.  There's a dairy farm about 5 miles away.  On perfect mornings when the weather is warm and the winds are drifting the right direction, I get the wonderful odor of cow manure.  I'm being politically correct here.  You know I'm talking about cow $hit ... liquid and smelly as it evaporates nicely into the surrounding agricultural land.  

Mix in with that a little garlic and you have the flavors of living in the country.  It's like home to me, but others surely wouldn't agree.  

When I finally woke up for real ... a little libation was in order.  Here's a look at my latest and greatest gadget.  Remember that blue funny looking plastic thing?  Here's the result.  Two big round balls of ice.  I can say without a doubt ... do NOT drop them into your glass.  It will break.  

Not that this is an expensive one ... it came from a wine tasting long long ago ... but break them it will if you don't set them in nicely.


The experiment was to see just how long they would last.  Here we are 90 minutes later and we still have ice after dousing it with 12 ounces of Pepsi.  Not bad ... not bad at all.  Next time I'll use just one, but it appears this will work quite nicely in the rig and take up very little space in the freezer.  As you know, freezer space is always at a premium in an RV.


I don't know what I did all day, but I was VERY busy until I got a call for my signature on some documents at the Lodge.  Little did I know just how much a 5th year trustee has to do ... and of course they don't TELL you because you would disappear into the night.

I was there taking care of business by 2:30.  Then it was on to checking in with the Chef about Mother's Day Breakfast.  It's only 30 days away, and there are lead times for ordering stuff.  I might have been able to have a sweet glass of wine in the turret of the castle, but alas ... there's no rest for the wicked.  I had to go straight to work.  Thankfully my Fairy Godmother should be back next week.


Let the games begin!!   We have one gentlemen who is severely handicapped from several strokes.  He usually waits in line for his cards, but cannot stand for any length of time.  My Girl Friday picked his cards out first (not knowing the implications) and we rang them up.  Off he went.

Well wouldn't you know, that meant he was FIRST in line.  I don't get it.  What difference does it make if you are first or last.  The second one ... who insists she is ALWAYS first in line no matter WHAT ... came up to the register complaining loudly.  He's TENTH in line ... and everyone is really MAD that you let him go first!!!  


I explain for the umpteenth time that whoever is in line when I open, is FIRST.  That's all there is to it.  So you know me, I asked everyone in line if they were okay with him going first.  OF COURSE they said ... no problem.  He's severely handicapped and can barely walk.  If looks could kill, I'd be a dead duck ten times over!!  The only one mad was her.

We cruised right along until someone in THIS photo cut to the front of the line.  She had already purchased her cards, but now came back for a dobber.  I tried to explain to her she had to wait because I was ringing up another customer, but she was having none of it.  Once the register was free, I took her money and gave her the dobber.

In 30 minutes, the pitchfork came out.  She came back to say I was mean to her.  I explained she had cut in front of several others and I was ringing up another customer.  No matter how I explained it, she was still so mad at me, I finally just walked away.  There's no use arguing.  I felt even MORE knives stabbing me in my back.  


Overall most ALL of the players are very nice people.  I don't know what gets into them when it comes to Bingo.   I guess it's just a sign of the times, or maybe old folks are a real grumpy group.  

Today will be catch up day once again, with lunch OUT.  Maybe after that, I'll be able to hang out on the patio in the sun for awhile.  Nothing puts me to sleep faster than the warm sun.



Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Still Alive And Kicking ...

Everyone still here?  According to the dramatic news media, we might all have been killed off by the sky falling, or at the very least, blind from looking at the sun.  

I have to admit, the sun is so bright, you can't see anything if you DO look, so there's that, unless you are right in the path.  Here's my rig all set up and ready to go.


A few years back when I had enough time to think about it, I found a weird piece of black plastic specifically for taking eclipse images.  It's rather mangled now, but I was still able to rubber band it on the lens.  Initially it wasn't too bad, but the higher the sun got in the sky, the more tilted the camera had to be.  I was sure it would fall over.


Here's my neighbor's horses, all set for the viewing.  You can't be too careful!!


Even Cooper got in on the act.


Well that didn't last long, so he had to stay inside.  He was having none of it.


AND HERE IT IS ... THE ECLIPSE!!!  You have to squint your eyes a bit.


Surprisingly, the moon was right on time and began the show at 10:15 at my location.  I was a little distracted by the standoff being held on my fence.  Lots of kitty kitties hang out here, using my fence line as their personal highway.  


Only look here ... ACCIDENT!!  Looks like a rollover to me.  This baby was lounging in the sun in the middle of the highway.  We only had a 45% eclipse, so it was not that sunny and quite a bit colder.  The standoff lasted for over an hour.  No one came to clear the road, so the above kitty turned around and went back where he came from.


Two hours later, quite tired of standing and holding the tripod for the last 30 minutes for fear it would fall over ... I headed back inside for some photoshop.  I discovered I haven't done this in quite some time.  It took a few tries to get it going.  It looks like the bite of a Gila monster, yes?  Not near as dramatic as the media played it out to be (at least here), but fun to photograph none the less.


It was a nice sunny day with a very chilly wind.  Hopefully the weather guessers are right this week when we MAY get four days of 80 degree weather.  Won't that be amazing ... and then it's going to rain again.  Gosh, I sure wish Mother Nature would make up her mind.  I could use a little more grilling on the lounge chair.

AND ... it's going to be another rousing night of BINGO!!!!  Hopefully the Castle Counter can be there tonight and things go swimmingly.  Oh ... and we will see just how many people looked at the sun!



Monday, April 8, 2024

Short and Boring

What's the saying ... April showers bring May flowers?  🌺 🌸  There should be a passel of them coming up soon.  It looks nice and warm, but it was cold and windy enough that I stayed inside.  The sun just wasn't warm enough.  


I messed around the house doing my very best to tidy up, but discovered I was just moving stuff from one spot to another.  Mostly it went into the back rooms so I didn't see it any more.  I lost the book I was reading, along with my phone ... TWICE.  

I gave up and sat down on the couch.  That was a mistake.  Literally in two seconds I was asleep, passed out like Mr. Cooper here.  I did my best impression of him for an entire HOUR.


Wow ... that's just not me.  I finally got my act together and we went out in the cold for a nice long walk.  That didn't work out so well either.  Cooper wasn't having any of the cold wind.  I felt so bad when later I discovered a big sticker sticking him in the belly.  No wonder he didn't want to walk.

The rest of the day was boring city.  I did laundry, got a fantastic workout trying to get the sheets on my bed and ordered a small crockpot from Amazon, thanks to Elva.  I don't use the three that are in my closet, so I need a new one, don't ya know?  The others are WAY too big and hard to clean.  They will be donated to the Bingo crowd.

All that lack of exercise killed my appetite.  I pulled out one of the last dinner servings and cut it in half.  Why I keep eating WAY too much food when I'm not even hungry, is beyond me.  Oh wait ... there are starving children in the world.  We didn't have much on the ranch because the cattle came first.  If you didn't eat all the food on your plate, you sat there until you DID.  To this day, I clean my plate every single time, no matter what.


Dessert is of course mandatory.  Here's a picture of that pineapple upside down cake I devoured last time.  I got two freebies in that order ... and boy were they good!!  I savored every bite.  I might even have to get out my cast iron skillet and make my own.


I'm all set up for the solar eclipse today.  From the news I hear, Armageddon is going to happen.  It's interesting that it didn't happen last October when I took this photo.  Hopefully we will survive this one and the earthquakes caused by climate change.  Funny how everything is caused by climate change nowadays, and here I thought it was tectonic plates.


That's it folks ... a pretty boring day.  Let's hope tomorrow is better since it will be another day of rousing BINGO!!!