Friday, January 13, 2017

A game of cat and mouse

Posting to the blog is difficult these days as my computer is still in San Diego with Ron.  He is doing his best to revive it, and meanwhile all blog postings are on hold.  A few weeks back the curser began to flip out, jumping all over the screen at will.  I was aghast! Was Putin hacking my computer, trying to steal my gumbo recipe?  I was sure someone was hacking.

Well, I was right, sort of...When Ron opened the keyboard to clean it he found cat hair...lots and lots of cat hair. It was then I remembered that Sigh Me liked to stretch out on the keyboard whenever I walked away from it.  My computer had a hairball!  I still miss Sigh Me and that nest of hair brought back lots of memories.

Returning to Tucson meant trips to the dentist then a tiny two day trip to Picacho Peak with SCAMP, an RV group here in town.  The worst souvenir possible...I had picked up a mouse while camping on Picacho.   I have spent two days now, emptying cupboards and tossing lots and lots of partially nibbled foods in the trash.  Everything has been washed with bleach water and I am holding my breath that the little vermin has moved on.  Especially since she is probably about to be a mother...she was making a lovely nest from a roll of paper towels.

Once again I am missing Sigh Me.

To safeguard against any more pest invasions I bought a string of solar lights and stretched them out under the RV last night to ward off the beasts.  I should have done that long ago,  nothing will motivate like a mouse.

Friday, January 6, 2017

From San Diego to Palm Springs

San Diego was lovely as usual and Ron, Loretta and I spent several days driving the city looking at possible homes to purchase.  Whew! Did you know a million dollars might buy you a fixer-upper?
We took in a movie, and if you want to feel depressed, sad, and mournful be sure and see "Jackie" followed by "Manchester by the Sea."  Not the best holiday fare.


Ron and Loretta wanted to go to Palm Springs for New Year's Eve.  I struck out ahead of them and chose the back roads over the mountains to get to the desert.


What an utterly spectacular drive.


It was twisty, windy and at times....


...very steep.


...but Spirit performed like a champ.


Clouds were gathering everywhere and rain was expected but not until NY Eve. Snow was accumulating on the mountain tops.


The valley floor is a 'rift valley' caused by a major fault line (San Andreas?) and is filled with lots of dry lakes (according to my map), lots of sand, natural hot springs, and is surrounded by high peaks.  


The views at every turn are spectacular, and in the center of the valley is Palm Springs with some very pricey real estate.  Palm Springs is still a favorite escape for the traffic weary from L.A. and the famous names from Hollywood.

 

Here is one car that didn't make it to the valley floor.


If you look above the wreck you will see the vehicles on the curve he didn't make.  It is sobering to see something like that and it always makes me slow down.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Sister's gift

The following is a family story ...
Many years ago son, Tom, while serving in the Coast Guard, was stationed in Washington state at the same time that his sister, Janice, was living in Seattle.  Tom, along with his fellow Guardsmen, were given the job of cleaning, painting and restoring all the lighthouses along the coast of Washington.

Tom Larson at age 20
 Tom was 19 when he went in the service and he served 20 years.While in Seattle he celebrated his 30th birthday....


...and his sister, Janice, decided to do something extra special for him.

 

She is an expert 'needlepointer' and she wanted to give him something to commemorate the work he had done on the lighthouses.  The above needlepoint piece is her creation.


The first photo shows the detail and this next picture better shows the colors. (neither picture shows it well but it is the best I have and I hope you get the idea.)

Through the years Tom has been unable to find a wall to hang this amazing creation on because:
* He's been in the Coast Guard
*After the Coast Guard he and his wife lived on a sailboat and traveled the world
*He now lives in a small apartment in the Virgin Islands and is keeping his 'stuff' to a bare minimum.

Out of necessity sister Janice has been the custodian of this piece and the two of them  decided to offer it to the Coast Guard Nautical Museum in Seattle.
The museum quickly accepted it.


Coast Guard Museum Northwest
c/o USCG Base
1519 Alaskan Way South
Seattle, Wa  98134



The following description is in Janice's words: 
*The completed artwork is 2 1/2 ft high by 1 1/2 ft wide.
*It is 18 X 18 stitches per square inch.
*It is classified as "counted cross-stitch" because I did not have a pre-printed design on the fabric.  *Every stitch had to be counted to its precise location.
*In the legend box is the needle I used to pull every stitch. 
*Also in the legend box are the words:  Presented to Thomas L Larson, lovingly designed and hand stitched by your sister Janice 1996"
*The Semaphore flags around the border spell out the exact same sentence.


 *It took two years to complete, (from 1994 to 1996) and when it becomes 30 years old it will be considered an antique.
*The various shades of green and blue indicate actual elevation and depth. Oregon owns all the Islands in the Columbia River so they are colored as such.
*The frame cost me more than all the textile materials.
*This was made for my brother Tom as a reminder of his first job in the Coast Guard cleaning seagull poop from Lighthouses in Washington State.


"I have entered it into two Washington and Oregon county fairs and two Washington and Oregon state fairs.  The artwork has won several Second Place ribbons, several First Place in Needlepoint ribbons, and it won one Best in Show ribbon over all other types of needle arts. (quilting, crocheting, knitting, tatting, etc.) It also won the Stitchery Division Award of Merit meaning--an original design, not from a kit, not pre-printed, not from a pre-existing graph on paper; only from my brain and hands, and from whom-ever made the earth and the lighthouses."

From a proud Mom: Next time you are in Washington State, check out those lighthouses; and when you are in Seattle stop by the Coast Guard Museum and take a look.  It is quite a remarkable piece of needlework.  (That's true, even if I am her Mom.)

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Road to San Diego

Before leaving for San Diego, friend Glenn from the blog "To Simplify" stopped by on his return from the east coast.


I'm glad to see he is blogging again.  He inspires me as he seeks out those truly meditative spots where nature reigns--without the noise, the traffic, the endless malls.  That is what this nomadic life is all about but being a single woman on the road I tend to be more cautious.  I also enjoy meeting people--though on my own terms.  

 

And seeing friends and family on a regular basis is, for me, the greatest perk of this life.  When I lived in a regular house visiting family or friends meant suitcases, plane reservations, arranging schedules, dealing with pets, finding someone to housesit or just water plants, finding long-term parking, renting a car and the list goes on.  Now I simply pull out the map, secure all loose items,  and send out a signal that "I'm headed your way."  If you don't want me to visit you may direct me to nearest Cracker Barrel or Walmart with a "Maybe next time."  


I will not be offended, there is always someone to see further down the road.


The trip west from Tucson is, for most folks, a five to eight hour drive.  For me it took three days.  Christmas Eve was rainy with some very high winds so I 'turtled in' for the entire day in Yuma, reading and listening to the rain pelt on my roof.


The storm began to subside by nightfall...


...and the next morning dawned clear and warm.


 I made it to San Diego by Christmas Day and have spent the last week visiting with Ron and Loretta.  Ron did some big-time upgrades on my computer and it is working again--hooray!  But he still wants to do some more so I will have to leave it with him and have him mail it to me in Tucson.  Boy, does that make me nervous.


Note the snow on the mountain top.  It's Christmas in the desert.

Palm Springs is on the calendar for New Year's Eve.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Yearly Solstice Party

My computer has suffered a gremlin in its belly for weeks now.   To expunge the evil virus I embarked upon a trip to San Diego over Christmas to pay homage to the Master Computer Guru who walks this earth in the form of my son, Ron.


Before leaving Tucson I attended the annual Winter Solstice Party.  After all, it tis the season for merriment and friends and it is always the excuse for a good party.


Host Don is the best at making sure the revelry never wanes.


And Hostess, Nancy, provided turkeys and ham an lots of warm hugs.  


The food kept coming in the door the entire evening and not a plate went empty. 


America has a smile as bright as the fire.


And then came the Karaoke!!  



With over 100 guests, some could sing....




....No, actually everybody could sing...


 ...some were just better than others.


And some were WAY better.



And just to prove how perfect Don and Nancy are to host the Solstice Party, note the line up of recliners above...they have furnished their living room perfectly for enjoying the evening of song.



Along with the guests we had an alien drone...


...that circled overhead all evening monitoring this strange species....


Did I say  'strange'?  I didn't mean you, Phillip. 





The singing lasted till 2 a.m. and just got better  as the night progressed, (I swear).


Finally, it came to an end and I made my way home...to the RV parked in Don and Nancy's driveway, where I spent the night.  (One of the many reasons I love living in and RV)  As always, it was a great party with good friends.  

I hope your holidays were as much fun with friends and family.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Food


This cold or virus that I brought home from Las Vegas is just about to do me in. 


It has been either a very strong cold or a milder dose of the flu but in either case--I'm tired of it!
(I just happened to park next to a car that had this in the front seat. Suppose he have a bad case of the flu?)


And speaking of cars--note the plate on the front of this one...."HORN BROKEN, Watch for finger." It made me smile.


So, when you are cooped up, not out sightseeing and can't think of anything better to write about --then talk about food.  
I am loving my stove top oven more and more. 
The above creation is a veggie quiche complete with a pie crust.  It was oh so good but the recipe is mostly --whatever you have on hand.  Over a pie crust, I did a layer of yellow squash, some chopped spinach, some finely chopped onion, sprinkled some Cotijo (or Feta) cheese crumbles then poured a quiche batter of eggs, milk and two or three tablespoons of whole wheat flour over all.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes and bake on medium until a knife inserted comes out clean.


This one is now my favorite.  Fresh produce seems to come in bags large enough to feed a family of starving teenagers and I am always throwing away veggies that I couldn't eat up before they turned to mush. (If you have a starving teenager you may send him my way).
One time I bought a bag of the miniature colorful sweet peppers and, even though I was eating them at every meal, I knew I was going to have to throw many away.  Then I wondered if this would work:
I took some Hot Italian sausage and Andouille sausage meat (removed from the casings and crumbled), mixed it with some crushed croutons, chopped onion, celery, and garlic; and moistened with an egg, a bit of ketchup and a dash of chicken broth.  Cut the peppers in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and fill with a good dollop of the sausage mix. Bake on medium till done. Wow!  These were really good and were easy to reheat for a quick lunch. Especially good with breakfast.
I think any stuffing mixture would work as well and I plan to try more variations in the future.


And now for the easiest cobbler (upside down cake?) ever!
First I sprayed my little oven with butter flavored pan spray.  Fill the bottom of the 'oven' (or a large baking dish if you are using a regular oven) with a goodly amount of berries--any kind, mixed or not.  Then take one can of unsweetened berry flavored seltzer water and stir it into.... 


....one cake mix (any brand, any flavor).  Do not overmix--stir only till moistened throughout.


Pour the batter over the berries and bake until knife inserted comes out clean.  It was not overly sweet because no sugar was added to the berries, and it was especially good with a dollop of greek yogurt.  Next I plan to make one of these with sliced apples and pears in the bottom and a spice cake on top. (Will someone please send me a hungry teenager)



 And now for a 'Toni Tip'.  I have mentioned this in the past but, now that winter is here, thought I would remind you again.  A clay flowerpot turned upside down over a very low flame will heat your RV (or your kitchen if you don't want to heat up the whole house) very quickly. Spirit's heater is very good but I find the flowerpot is faster and the heat seems to radiate throughout without the cold spots and noise of the heater. 


I am in this RV park for two more weeks before I take off again for San Diego and points west during the holidays.


 My daily rant-- "I hate being in a park."  Note the maintenance man above, making noise and stirring up dust.  Ugh!  Enough already.


But even an RV park can have a great sunset.