Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Reunion - Another Grand Adventure

     It seems that lately I spend more time on the road than I do at home. I was in Lake Tahoe on October 6th, then I was at the Pomona RV Show for Lisa's birthday trip on October 13th. 

     On the weekend of October 20th I didn't stray as far but I still attended a Halloween party put on my friend Connie and her family, I haven't blogged about that one yet, but I will along with photos of my fabulous costume that I wish I could just wear every day in real life!

     But my sister Lisa and I shared another very special trip this Saturday, October 27th. We drove our mother to Santa Maria (a 2 1/2 hour car trip) to visit her sister-in-law, our Aunt Leonor. Aunt Leonor is the sister of my dad and they had not seen each other since the funeral for my dad in 2013.

Mom is the tall one with the cane (Tia Leonor won't use one!)
     Even though it had been many years, these two picked up right where they left off, talking about family and friends, sharing memories of days gone by and getting caught up on who had already passed on. 

     There was also quite a bit of conversation about whose aches and pains were worse than the others, which Lisa and I giggled about as we do the same thing. 

     It was a beautiful thing to see these two women together again. They'd been great friends for years and their husbands were always willing accomplices for their trips to the Casinos and shopping.

     Now they are both in their 80's, they've had their mishaps and falls. They have their medical issues and can't move around like they used to, but you just can't quell that fighting spirit, the will to still get out there and do some gardening or clean your windows. To take long car trips to visit each other even when you know that those car trips will leave you exhausted and trying to regain your strength in the week that follows.

     I know that there will come a time when mom can't do those long car trips any longer. We're hoping to be able to take her to Arizona next month, but we are waiting for the go-ahead from her doctor before we can make any plans.

     But for this one day, these two friends, these two sisters were able to be together and to relive happier times and I'm so happy that Lisa and I were able to do this for them.
     




Monday, October 29, 2018

It's an RV Life for me and Lisa's Birthday Trip

Each year Lisa and I try to take a birthday trip, just a day trip, just to get away. For my birthday this year in July we went to Pismo Beach and just spent a day shopping and sitting in a comfy chair on the beach listening to the waves. Our friend Lupe usually goes with us. 



This year we decided to cross one thing off of Lisa's bucket list...an RV show. Yep, you read that right, one of Lisa's most wished for things was to go to a show where there are aisles and aisles of motor homes, RV's, camping trailers, travel trailer, toy haulers and every knick knack and thing-a-ma-doodle one might need for leaving your comfy home to head out in one of these vehicles!

We went to the annual California RV Show in Pomona CA. It was just what I expected, row after row after row of RV's! Lisa was in Hog Heaven!

It was a drizzly, rainy day off and on, which was ok with us even though we had not brought umbrellas because we never get rain in the Bakersfield area so it was very pleasant and it wasn't too cold. Everything was fresh and clean and the air smelled great! The biggest problem for me is that I had sneakers on that had holes in the bottom to circulate the air and the wet ground came up into my shoes so I spent the whole day in wet socks and shoes...but it was a small price to pay for my sister to be able to be surrounded by RV's!




I was amazed by the beauty of these vehicles! You could actually just live in one and have everything you need! Here's the dining room inside of one. See the huge TV and that dining table turns into a bed at night.




The kitchens were amazing, I wish I had taken better pictures. Here's one though and you can see the built-in refrigerator, oven, microwave, even a kitchen window! If you look closely you will see that the special price if you purchased it during the RV show is $27,967! Way less than some cars and YOU CAN LIVE IN IT!!!



In this photo you can see the storage room beyond the refrigerator and there is a bunkhouse for the kids to sleep in, some had bunkhouses much grander than this one with a hugh TV and a table for the little ones to play games and color while the adults had adult beverages in the kitchen!




Another feature in a lot of them was an outdoor kitchen. The one is this picture is very minimal when compared to some of the others  saw that had a big screen TV and stove top.





Many campgrounds have public bathrooms and showers, but in case you don't want to walk over there you can get an RV with a beautiful bathroom, just look at this shower, it's prettier than mine at home!




After a while we were tired of going up and down the steps of those RV's so we wandered around and went to the big tent where they sold every camping device and contraption you could think of and I was super excited to see a Ferris Wheel!!! I convinced Lisa and Lupe that we had to ride it...and we did! It was fabulous and just added to the celebration of Lisa's Birthday!










To round out the day we had a birthday dinner at Chile's and on the way home we stopped at Steinmart and did some early Christmas shopping then a Starbucks coffee for the drive home. All in all it was a wonderful day and I'm glad that we were able to help Lisa cross one thing off on her bucket list. Happy Birthday little sister!


Friday, October 12, 2018

Why I Write/Blog

 
Sketch of me as a child.
As a kid I dreamed of being a writer. One summer I even decided that I was going to write a book. As I had no life experience and no clue what to write about I just started writing the alphabet over and over again in a small notebook. I was so proud of myself and my little book. I remember when I was done I ironed the pages so they wouldn't be all wrinkled and ugly. In my mind I had written a book...it was after all a notebook and I wrote in it right?

In high school I had an amazing English teacher, Mr. Virgil Walker. He was a tall, bearded man with glasses and he knew exactly how to inspire his students. He passed away in 2015 and I was lucky enough to be able to get in touch with him through his wife on Facebook. I emailed him in 2011 and let him know how important he had been to me in my life.

I remember one special project of his where he had all the journalism students write something special and it was all printed and bound into a book that was for sale. I wrote a poem about my fuzzy faced teacher and he was so tickled about it. I wish I had kept that book!

In May of 2008 I heard about this thing called a blog and wrote my first blog post on May 21, 2008 about Graduations and I've been blogging ever since. My interests have changed throughout the years, but I've continued writing and that is what is important.

I never wrote a book, or had anything I've written published, but with this blog I've at least kept a written record of my life, events in my life and things that interested me during my years on this Earth. Something that I hope my kids can go back and read. Writing is just something I was born wanting to do and blogging is the best medium for me to do so.

Why do you write? Why do you blog? 





Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Lost Art of Reading

I've always been an avid reader, something instilled in me and my siblings by our mother. It probably helped that we grew up on the ranches my dad worked for, without cable TV, video games, NetFlix or YouTube. During the day we played outside to our hearts content, riding bikes, playing school with the neighbor children. 

But when the sun came down and I returned home my trusty friends were waiting for me in books. I traveled with them and through them and learned about the world and places I knew I would probably never see. As a child my favorite books were Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney and any of the Nancy Drew Series books by Carolyn Keene that I could get my hands on. I would read those over and over again. 

In high school I was introduced to Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and I had new favorites that I would read over and over again.

As I got older I would purchase books on my own, usually at thrift stores or borrow from the library, so I didn't have to read the same ones over and over. I wish I had kept track of them so I would remember some of the favorites, but I didn't, darn it!

Then in 2009 I started keeping track of books I read on my blog. Wow! Hard to believe I've been blogging that long! In 2009 I read 24 books; 2010 read 24 books and 2011 read 29 books. 

In 2014 I joined the Goodreads website and started setting goals and logging in my books online.
  • 2012 goal was 30, read 26
  • 2013 goal was 30, read 18
  • 2014 goal was 20, read 33 
  • 2015 goal was 35, read 19
  • 2016 goal was 35, read 19
  • 2017 goal was 12, read 15
For 2018 I set a lofty goal of 25 and I've only read 7. I am way behind and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get to that goal considering there are only 2 and a half more months left in the year.

I believe the reason for not reading as much as I used to is Youtube. Yep, Youtube videos are my new obsession! In the past before bed I would grab my book and get into my bed for a good read before falling asleep...now I grab my Kindle and watch Art Tutorials on Youtube instead!

I'm feeling a little guilty that I am not reading as much. I'm also feeling a little guilty that I am not blogging as much, but I am so enjoying creating Art, watching Art being created and learning about Art. I guess "to every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  Right now the time for me is Art and there are just not enough hours in the day!





Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mini Vacation to South Lake Tahoe

Every two years I have the pleasure of accompanying my sister Lisa to a conference she goes to in South Lake Tahoe. For me it's a mini vacation. I get to spend time with my sister and I get an all expenses paid vacation to a beautiful ski resort, win-win!

Our favorite part of the trip is the drive up and the drive back. Those two days are just for us and Lisa doesn't have to worry about work or meetings, seminars or classes, it's all about the fun, food and shopping...not to mention "sister time!"

We headed out around 9am on Thursday, October 4th for a trip that Google Maps says should take us 5 hours and 56 minutes. We arrived at our destination at around 7 pm, which means it took us roughly 10 hours, I think that's hilarious! But we stopped for coffee and sat and enjoyed it along with a yummy danish. We also stopped and did some shopping in Fresno and pretty much maxed out our spending money!

Next stop was for lunch at our traditional lunch place, Mi Casa (which means My House) in Turlock, California where they make a dish called a Molcajete and it is out of this world amazing! It's like eating molten lava out of a stone bowl!

I don't know what all is in there but it was delicious and big enough that we were not able to finish it and we shared one! We ordered the chicken.




From there we just headed straight to Tahoe driving past some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Beautiful majestic pine trees and mountains. For someone born and raised in Arizona, seeing views like this is just surreal!


Lake Tahoe in the distance

We missed the meet and greet, but that was okay because we were dead tired. We checked in, put our stuff away and just went to bed. This is where we laid our weary heads that night, isn't it fabulous?



Photo Credit - Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel 

The next day (Friday) Lisa was up bright and early as she had to meet her coworkers for breakfast downstairs at 7am. I lounged around until 9am and then went downstairs for their complimentary breakfast which was delicious! I spent the rest of the day touring around and shopping the various shops.

We met up for dinner with the rest of her coworkers at the American River Cafe inside Harrah's Casino which is right across the street from the hotel and at the state line, just crossing the street puts you in Nevada!  The meal was delicious and the company was great. Lisa works with the nicest group of people and I've gone on several of these conferences with them so I fit right in. We shared a yummy Asian Salad that had Apples in it, a first for both of us with apples and we loved it!

On Saturday I decided I was going to give my FitBit a workout and let the car have a rest. I walked all around the area of the hotel and into all the cute little shops. I found a  beautiful bracelet for my sister Lisa, which was great because it was her birthday! I picked up little souvenirs for my mom and my son and daughter. 

I headed back to the hotel to meet up with Lisa who was all done with her meetings and we did more walking and finally stopped to have dinner at one of our favorite places in South Lake Tahoe. We literally have dreams about this place called Base Camp Pizza!

To celebrate Lisa's birthday we started off with some adult beverages. Lisa had the Happy Camper which was a yummy concoction of Don Q Pasion Coco and Limon Rum blended with fresh mango puree and pineapple juice finished off with a float of Whaler's Dark Rum. I had the house red, I have no idea what winery it was from but it was delicious. We sipped our drinks enjoying the ambiance and the beautiful view of the mountains just outside and waited for our pizza!



That's me in the purple sweater...it was so nice to wear a cozy sweater! You can see my wine glass with the mystery Red wine. We ordered the Hawaiian with Red Onions which included Canadian Bacon, Juicy Hawaiian Pineapple and Fresh Red Onions. I could have this every day for the rest of my life with no complaints. We had two slices left which we had cold for breakfast the next morning while getting ready to check out of the room and it was even better cold!

On Sunday morning, October 7th, we checked out and had already planned that on our trip back we were going to stop for lunch at a little place we had stumbled upon on the trip up. We knew it was in Placerville, California and that the exit for it was Bedford. 

On the trip up our GPS led us through Placerville and we came to a stop sign and when we made the turn to head to Tahoe we turned on to the most beautiful street we had ever seen! It was like something out of a Hallmark Movie. Ton's of lovely little shops all lit up (it was already dark). 

I kid you not...it looked exactly like this photo from the website of The City of Placerville except that they were celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month so all the windows had bright pink lights in them. We didn't even think to take photos we were so in awe!


Photo Credit - City of Placerville

We just knew then that on the way back we had to stop and have lunch at one of the cute little shops. It was day time when we went through again, so even though it was still a very pretty little street, it wasn't as magical as the night we just drove through.

We walked around checking out the restaurants and you can see in the photo above way out in the distance on the right side a sign that looks like it says Mels...well it does. It's a Mel's Diner! Remember Mel's Diner from the movie American Grafitti? Lisa had to eat there and I'm glad we did because it was so fun and delicious. It was packed for a Sunday afternoon but everyone was so nice and patient. I had the Cheeseburger Plate and the fries were fabulous, Lisa had the Chorizo and Egg Breakfast which she said was very good.

On the wall right behind where Lisa was sitting were photos of famous people that had eaten there. One photo of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz even had a copy of the personal check they paid with, I guess the diner never cashed it so they could have the souvenir. Their meal was for $60! They must have fed their whole entourage for that kind of money. I don't know why we didn't take a photo! But we will be back!

Then our adventure in Paradise was over and we headed home. From an elevation of 6,287 feet to an elevation of 348 feet...hard to imagine that we had traveled so far! But we made it home, safe and sound with some great memories made.

Happy Birthday Lisa and I'm ready to go again whenever you are!



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Change is Hard


Change is hard for me. I've been thinking about this and wondering why and I think it's because my childhood was a whirlwind of constant change. I've mentioned before in previous posts that we moved around a lot. I remember I started first grade in Eloy, Arizona and halfway through I was moved to a school in Toltec, Arizona and the trend continued for almost my whole school history until I got to high school. 

It was hard, starting a new school, getting accustomed to new ways and teachers, making new friends only to come home and see the U-Haul truck in the driveway and know that it was time to move along. At times I hated it, especially when I saw that U-Haul and knew I had to hand my schoolbooks to someone else on the bus and ask them to tell my teacher that I wasn't coming back. But it made me a stronger person, a social and more outgoing person, at least it looked that way on the outside.

Now I see that maybe all those constant changes are what makes it so hard for me to see change. When my kids started school at the end of the year I would be sad because they would be changing teachers or starting in a different school and I would be dropping them off at new places. Then I would get used to having them home for summer break and I would get sad when they had to go back to school.

I've always gotten sad when I had to say goodbye to a car after buying a new one. I would remember all the adventures and fun I had with and in that car and would really almost be angry at the new car that didn't have my butt print in the seat, that didn't have ice cream stains and memories of car seats and sibling fights in it.

Now I'm facing another change, what some might term a "silly change". Across the hall from my office is the corporate office for Floyd's General Stores. I've worked in this building for almost 11 years and they have always been in the same building and because I talk to everyone I meet I have made friends with several of the ladies that work for Floyd's. 

Now Floyd's has sold their stores to a company out of Utah and their office in my building will be closed. Many of the employees moved to Utah to accept jobs there, but some of my favorite employees have chosen to go ahead and go into retirement. Regardless of where these people end up, they will be gone from my life and it makes me sad to see movers moving all their stuff out of the offices. The doors are open while the movers do their job and I can see empty desks and stuff just strewn about.

And I know the employees are excited to move on with their new lives and I doubt they will even give me a second thought or even come by to say goodbye...but I will miss them and I'm sad to see them go and I DON'T LIKE CHANGE!!! I also know I will probably make friends with the new tenants and someday have to say goodbye to them...I guess goodbye and change are inevitable in life.






Sunday, September 9, 2018

Art Journaling Update

I'm really looking forward to Autumn and cooler weather. It's been so hot that it's just taken the wind out of my sails when it comes to painting, but I'm happy that I've found an outlet in Art Journaling.

Here's a page I did today. I needed something bright and beautiful after my Dallas Cowboys lost to the Panthers. I'm hoping they do better in the rest of the season, but they did inspire some beautiful art work. C'mon Cowboys...turn into butterflies!


This is almost an art journal, even though it's a rock. Sometimes I miss Arizona and I was inspired by one of those kind of days to create something that reminded me of Arizona. Arizona's beautiful sunsets, there is nothing more beautiful!


Last weekend I did this one and it was so much fun! The background was from a sheet of script paper that I purchased at Hobby Lobby for $1.00. It was 12 x 12 inches so I still have some left. The flowers and leaves I drew and then painted on old book pages and then cut them out and pasted them on the page. Same with the birds and the branches.  This one took a while, but I didn't even notice the time, it flew by because I enjoyed doing this so much.


I did this one last weekend also, same technique, old book pages. I never thought of making art with old books, but I love it!



As soon as the weather changes and it gets cooler, I hope to get back to painting on canvas with acrylics, don't worry cousin Stella, your owls will be the first thing I do! I have the background done already.










Monday, August 6, 2018

60 is the new 40

On July 20th I reached a milestone in my life...the big 60! Seriously? 60? Where did 60 years go? They went by like a dream and sometimes like a nightmare!

Does this look like the face of a 60 year old?  Well...maybe  a little bit around the eyes, but those aren't wrinkles they're laugh lines.

Everyone keeps telling me that 60 is the new 40 but I don't know....my 40's were pretty great and my body felt pretty great and now I'm a bundle of aches and pains. 

Nothing an Aleve can't take care of, but still you kinda have to think about it before you jump out of bed in the morning, and of course you no longer jump, you gingerly step out to make sure that your legs and/or feet aren't asleep!

The one thing for sure you can't stop is getting older. Well, I guess you can stop it, death would end aging really quickly so it's not an alternative worth contemplating!

But I'm not complaining about getting older because I had the best birthday ever!

I took my actual birthday off from work. Our employer gives us that day as our gift from them, plus they sent me a lovely gift VISA gift card. 

My coworkers went off their diets so we could all have cake...delicious cake!


My co-worker/friend Angelica also knows me so well and gifted me this awesome Art Set that I can take with me anywhere so I always have art supplies at hand! Thank you Angelica!


On my actual birthday, my sister and our friend Lupe both took the day off, as did I, and we headed off to Pismo Beach. We stopped along the way for some shopping which is always fun. We also stopped at a new place we've never been to named Chulo's Cafe & Cantina where we had the most fabulous Carnitas Nachos ever! Their Margarita left a lot to be desired but they made up for it with the nachos. I can't wait to go back.

Carnitas Nachos at Chulo's Cafe & Cantina

Then we just sat on the beach enjoying being somewhere where it was not 104 as it was back home. It was overcast and I was actually a bit chilly but I kept remembering how hot it was back home and enjoyed being cold!

For dinner we headed to Cayucos where we walked on the pier to build up an appetite. Here's my sister and I on the pier. You can see how foggy it was but when we left Shafter it was already 85 degrees and we were dressed for the heat!


We found a lovely little place to have dinner in Cayucos called Duckies Chowder House. I had the BEST fish and chips ever with an ice cold Tecate beer. It was fabulous and a great way to end my birthday and face the long drive home.

Thank you Lisa and Lupe for celebrating my 60th birthday with me and for treating me like a Queen for a Day!


When my friends found out on Facebook that it was my 60th birthday and that I tried to stay under the radar with that info, they were not having it and this past Friday, August 3rd they all got together to celebrate me yet again!

Here's a few photos from that celebration where I had a great time with a Giant Margarita, A Cake made of Money and a real cake, plus spending time with the greatest group of people it has ever been my pleasure to know. Thank you Pat, Linda, Connie, Diana, Carmen, Angelica, Lupe, Lisa, Pauline, Joe and Guero!

Me, Carmen, Diana, Connie and Pat 

Me, Angelica, Lupe, Lisa and Carmen and my giant Margarita!


The Gang

Me and my sister Lisa and my Cake of Money. A beautiful creation by my friend Pat. Thank you Pat!


 "Youth is a Gift of Nature, but Age is a Work of Art" - Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

You my friends and family are part of the rich tapestry of my life. 

Happy Birthday Alicia and remember, "Do not regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many".


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Just Not Enough Time to do all the Nothing I Want!


Can’t believe it’s already the middle of June! Time just seems to go by so fast.

I think someone should invent something different than the 8-hour workday. That just seems like too many hours of precious lifetime to waste. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, I love what I do; I just would like to do it less and still get the same pay…am I right?

It’s also tough being a morning person. I can conquer the world up until around 2 pm and then I’m done! I’m usually up at 5 am full of energy and creativity and on weekdays I spend that time getting ready for work and commuting to the office, not doing things I love to do, like reading and art. By the time I put in that 8-hour workday and the commute home I’m too pooped to be creative or energetic!




I can remember thinking that someday when I retire I’ll garden or hike or take cooking classes or a wine tasting course. I’m a few months short of my 60th birthday and already my knees hurt too much to do much gardening or hiking. I can still take that cooking class, I just can’t eat any of the food I cook because you get to a certain age and you have to watch sodium intake and cholesterol!

The wine tasting course is still a great option as I read all the time that wine helps to boost the immune system, contains antioxidants, increases bone density, reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease, helps to lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Plus, it really helps with creativity. Win-Win!

So…until I can retire I will just have to steal little moments out of my life to do what I love…drink Wine and make Art!

What’s your passion, what do you wish you had more time for?



Friday, March 30, 2018

Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread Recipe

Yet another delicious recipe that I want to save, so I'm blogging about it. 



But before I do post the recipe I just wanted to say that I am so grateful for all those wonderful cooks out there that are willing to share recipes and cooking knowledge. 

I am not a cook, I am a recipe follower, plain and simple. I envy those creative people that can just pull items out of the fridge and pantry and whip up a masterpiece, but I know that's not me!

I do think I'm a pretty good photographer though...isn't this picture gorgeous?


Ok, to the recipe. I made this exactly as the recipe explained, the only difference is I used a different cheese spread than what they called for. I used this one and it was very good, just the perfect amount of garlic.



Recipe:
Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick Vegetable oil spray
  • 1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough (mine was actually 13.9 ounces and I used Pillsbury Pizza Crust brand)
  • 3/4 cup garlic and herb cheese spread (I used the whole little container pictured above 6.5 oz.)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 7 to 8-inch long zucchini (green) cut crosswise into 1/8 inch thick rounds, divided
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with nonstick spray. 
  • Unroll dough onto parchment. 
  • Spread half of the herb cheese over one long half of dough, leaving 1/2 inch plain border.
  • Sprinkle with half of Parmesan and 2 tablespoons Parsley.
  • Using parchment as aid, fold plain half of dough over filled half (do not seal edges.)
  • Spread remaining herb cheese over top
  • Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
  • Removed enough outer layers of onion to yield 2-inch diameter core; cut into 1/8 inch thick rounds.
  • Arrange 1 row of zucchini down 1 long side of dough.
  • Arrange onion rounds in row alongside zucchini.
  • Arrange 1 more row of zucchini alongside onion.
  • Brush vegetables with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  • Bake until puffed and deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley
And that it is. Simple and delicious.
Recipe from the website: www.epicurious.com and you can find the recipe HERE if you want to compare it to mine above.

Oh and by the way...this one is definitely NOT low carb!