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 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


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.... 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. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Penn & Teller, A Lion Habitat

 We did the 'Las Vegas Thing' and took in a show--the magicians, Penn & Teller.

I love card tricks and we had to select four cards from a big barrel before entering the theatre.

During the show Penn (Teller doesn't talk) took the audience through a whole series of maneuvers with those cards and at the end were able to tell 90% of the audience the configuration of the cards in their hands. (?!!)  The other 10% of us just weren't paying attention to the instructions.

And I got a picture with Penn Jillette!  

Before driving away from Vegas I wanted to see what this was all about.  Located on the outskirts of town, it is a sanctuary for lions.

The Lion Habitat Ranch started with the lions from the MGM Grand and this became their home after the Resort closed in 2012.  For $100 I could feed a lion; for $800 I could bathe one....

I decided the $25 entrance fee was enough.  Besides, I remember how hard it was to bathe Sigh Me and was pretty sure this guy would not be any easier.

The ranch is 6.5 acres with about 30 lions--many descendants of the MGM lions.

Visitors are able to stand pretty close.  There are signs posted on the cages warning not to stand directly behind the animals so as not to get sprayed.  (Hmm, not such a pleasant thought.)

The Ranch rescued a baby giraffe named Ozzie that can be hand-fed as well, for $20.  

I wish I had asked where they rescued him from--He was sure cute and friendly but I can't imagine anyone thinking they could keep him for a pet.

I decided to stand back and let someone else feed him.  I was sure there would be some good photos...

...and I was right.

I only wish I could have captured the squeal from that little guy when the giraffe took the lettuce from his hand.

Ozzie pays for his food and also food for some of the lions, by painting and selling pictures.

I've seen worse.

The list of food costs was pretty staggering.  Ozzie better keep those paintings coming.

In addition to the lions and the giraffe, the ranch has rescued three ostriches, two emus, some macaws, cockatoos and guinea hens.

"Not now, Dear.  I have a headache."

Is there any bird homelier than an ostrich or an emu?


 It took 2 1/2 days in a really strong wind for me to get back to Tucson and I had a terrible cold by the time I arrived. 
But I enjoyed the week--without losing a dime in the slot machines.