Friday, December 30, 2011

Landed safely in Texas

Life on the road makes you aware of several things - like how quickly your body functions will dictate your standards.  We were cruising along the interstate and wishing for a nice restaurant to show up for lunch.  After driving along and finding nothing, our goals shifted to anything showing up.  Finally we came across a McDonald's and were thrilled to see it.  It's amazing when your bladder is full and your gas tank is empty how your values will shift.

At the motel last night there were several large stray dogs wandering about.  The one looked very much like a dingo to me - a bit spooky. Normally I'm not fearful of dogs, but when you have a large black and white cat sitting on your shoulders going into the's a bit disconcerting.

It inspired a strange dream for Left Brain, not unusual for him, but this one had consequences...for me.  Apparently (at least this is his story) he was dreaming that he was walking across the parking lot with She Devil and was attacked by a large lion wearing a harness.  Okay, we did go past a billboard advertising exotic animals at one place that served as a tiger sanctuary, so that may have inspired part of that dream. In protecting our fluffy bundle of joy he found it necessary to punch out the aforementioned lion.  I woke with a start as he punched me in the shoulder.  Thank goodness I wasn't facing him.  Maybe we should have opted for the double beds.

I think it was retaliation for the night previous to that when we "had words" shall we say about where to park for the night.  He became very frustrated and asked me "Well, where do you WANT me to go?".  I'm sorry.  But if a man is going to leave himself wide open like that, what's a girl supposed to say?

My Facebook comments have been talking about 1 - 3 inches of snow in our home area.  I've already forgotten what that looks like.  I had to switch from my sweats to a light weight t-shirt because it's too warm down here.

We finally managed to find a Best Western for the night, and even though they have a no pet policy when I explained how absolutely well behaved She Devil is she allowed us to stay.  Perhaps she was afraid I would start crying right there in the lobby...and it was a possibility.  I tend to go numb after several hours of wearing the heavy furry neck pillow named She Devil.

So, we're in for the night and after a lovely meal (gag) at the Huddle Inn next door with lakes of brown gravy covering everything we're snuggled in for the night.

Long Live the Queen of the Road

We will get into our RV park tomorrow, one day ahead of schedule. I called to see how to handle this ( we spend the night in another motel or Wal-Mart?).  They said it was no problem and to just come on own.  So, tomorrow should be a four - five hour drive and we'll be able to start setting up the canned ham for our stay.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day two

The day began with a belligerent She Devil, but what's new about that?

I've always dreaded the day I might find a dead cat but my worst fear was having to fish around under a bed in a motel for one.  Actually, I have a general rule never to look under a motel bed at all, but she made me do it today.  She decided the high road was not the life for her and sequestered herself under the bed.  Sigh.  Thankfully she was reachable by laying on the floor (another thing I don't normally do in a motel) and retrieving her by grabbing the scruff of her neck and sliding her out, along with various dust bunnies.  Yuck.

She then serenaded us most of the way through Missouri and into Kansas.  No amount of holding and attempts to feed and provide water seemed to soothe her.  Finally she just got bored with the spoiled brat routine and crawled into her bed in the back for a good long nap.

She does seem to like this motel room better - maybe she just likes Oklahoma better.  Okay, maybe it's just having a belly full of tuna and a good drink of water.  I guess tonight we'll have to let her pick what channel to watch.

We spotted an Indian cafe truck stop while gassing up, so headed over there.  At first I thought it said something about Indian roadkill cafe, but I'm sure I misread that.  I got the chicken curry and selected Tandoori for Left Brain.  Let's say it was not a big hit with him.  She Devil couldn't get the Tandoori fast enough and I liked my curry chicken, although after the first bite I lost feeling in my tongue so it's hard to really say if it was good or not.

Good night y'all.
It's now time for bed to prepare for another fun filled (hopefully quieter) drive tomorrow, which should take us into Texas.  We're getting closer and closer.

Long Live the (burp) Queen of Curry

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day one

Okay, this has nothing to do with the blog, but it was too cute not to post.
We headed out this morning with a minor detour into La Crosse to pick up some more meds for She Devil.  We had been paying $95 a vial for her pain med but the vet (Thank you Dr Havlik!) found that the Prescription Center could make it for under $40.  Woohoo!

We arrived for our first night's stay at Bethany MO and after feeding She Devil and giving her the shots we walked over to a nearby restaurant for supper.  The sign used to say Mexican Food and is missing some bulbs and now proclaim Mex Food - but that was close enough for me.  And they had a $1.00 margarita special.

For some reason my "s" key requires heavy hitting, so if I miss some, please overlook it.  I never realized how often one needs an "s".

The weather has been good and hopefully tomorrow will be another uneventful day.

Long Live the Queen of Missouri

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday delays

I had hoped to arrange the mail today and pay the property taxes, but it seems that the Monday after Christmas is a holiday.  Oh well, I will try it again tomorrow.

The spa is cleaned, laundry done.  Just a couple of last minute things to wrap up tomorrow and then we can hook up the car and prepare for blast off!

She Devil looks very nervous - I think she figures we're leaving and she'll end up being boarded again.  She will be so pleased!  Her seat is all ready with blankets to nap on.

Long Live the Queen of The Travel Bug

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to all

It was a quiet Christmas here in our mixed household.  

This is an old photo of She Devil when she was but a wee little kitten.  She loved to climb up into the tree.  Much like the animated cartoon of Simon's Cats doing this.

We had lunch at the Bamboo House with our neighbors (another mixed couple).
They surprised me with a wonderful Christmas gift - the matzoh cover that had come from his mother.  Now I will have to have a Seder and invite them over - that will be fun.

Left Brain and I had planned to shop at Wal-Mart while waiting until 4:00 for our next movie, Mission Impossible...but it was actually closed.  This made me feel good - it really shouldn't be open, but it was still surprising to see it shut down.  So we went home and I got more laundry and chores done.

The movie was okay, it provided the entertainment and was pretty non-stop action, but I tend to get lost in these kinds of things.  It seemed like an opportunity for Tom Cruise to show off his muscles and run a lot.

The Packers have just won their game and I'm tired of cleaning out old photos from my hard drive, so off to bed we go.

Long Live the (yawn) Tired Queen

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

We had a great time at the birthday bash recently, it's always good to see the family and enjoy the granddaughters.  They are a fun bunch.  I attempted to get some photos with my camera on the phone to practice more with it, but having a hard time trying to figure out how to get them from the camera to the computer.

It's so frustrating!  This is a photo of an Icelantic cat from Rosemary - but it shows how I feel.

The other odd sensation I received was while on the way home when I noticed a man walking down the inside of an overpass.  As I turned to look more closely I could see his supplies and shelter he created under the bridge.  That brought many disturbing feelings as I thought about the unseen population that live like animals on the fringe of society.  There's that wanting to help but being afraid to approach them and the realization that some prefer this to living in a conventional style.

Left Brain and I went to see "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" today.  It stayed very close to the book and we both enjoyed it a great deal.  Not hard to understand why it has an R rating.

We're having a quiet Christmas eve doing nothing and will join our neighbors tomorrow for Chinese lunch and then off to see Mission Impossible.

The laundry has been started and the packing is increasing in frenzy with all the last minute things that need to be done before take off.

Now if I can just figure out how to get to those photos!  There's so much to learn and so few brain cells to work with.

Long Live the Queen of Impending Departure

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Off we go

No, not for Texas just yet.

Our little one's ninth birthday is today and we are off to celebrate with the family.  It's hard to believe she's nine years old already.

I love that she was born on the Winter Solstice and shares a birthday with my beloved Rabbi.  She's one very special young person.

I understand a trip to Dave & Busters is on the agenda as part of the party.  Long gone are those days of Chuck E Cheese...and it's okay with me.

Then we'll have an early Christmas/Channukah celebration before returning home again.  

That's when we will start to pack in earnest for the trip south, although I have a pretty good start on it already anyway. 

It's beginning to look a lot like winter here and I'm ready to move on.

Long Live the Queen Grandmother

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A quiet Sunday at home

Left Brain rolled in about 5PM last night from Russia and was babbling incoherently for about an hour before I needed to leave to attend a bar mitzvah party.  Whenever my people join together in celebration you know there's going to be some good food and dancing going on.

I actually stayed until a little after 10PM before heading back home to unwind a bit in the hot tub and admiring the stars.  What a beautiful night it was - lots of stars in the sky.

So today I goofed off while LB slept in until about noon.  It's amazing that he woke up just in time for the Packer kickoff.  I went off to see Chip-wrecked and get some groceries.  When the Packers are playing you can get in and out of stores very nicely.

Then I went home and had a sudden frenzy of wanting to see what was in the canned ham and what needed doing before we head for Texas.  I ended up packing everything in the garage that was ready to be packed and started lists and setting out boxes and suitcases to prepare.

Our youngest granddaughter is celebrating her ninth birth on the 21st so we'll head up that way to share the event with the family and then start preparing in earnest for our trip south for the winter.

The year is winding down and I'm looking forward to a fabulous 2012.

Long Live the Queen of the Packers - camper packers that is

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Simon and the fly

I just love this cat!  Anyone who has cats will agree that this is very true to life.  Scary...but true.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen

A friend of mine recently shared her Christmas music with me and now I can't get it out of my head. the spirit of the holidays I want to share it with you also.   Enjoy!

Lyrics | Bob Rivers - The restroom door said gentleman lyrics

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Photos from the home show

The home show was a blast, albeit more work than I want to tackle again for a long time. 

Here are some photos from the show.

This is Alexa with Tony, her new love.

She seems to have been taken by him and has developed some animalist habits....not good.

I'm sure her mother will have words with me about this new romance.

But then again, she is a teenager, so who knows what prompts these hissy fits.

But now they seem to be quite in love again.

Although she does look at bit startled by his sudden kiss.

You just never know when a tiger is going to pounce.

This is a photo of some of Jolene's wonderful glass dishes that she makes.  She was great fun to add to our mix of artists and her husband baked the most incredible pasties for us to enjoy.  I think we were supposed to be sharing with the customers, but....

There were some slow moments during the show - but these were enjoyed by the artists as well.  Here we have Linda and Jolene sharing a beading lesson. I'm not sure who's teaching who but it did give me some little flashbacks from Kindergarden. 

But nobody ran with scissors and all played well, so it was okay.

Rick came by to help with the set up and take down, but disappeared during the show.  Smart man.  Here he is with his buddy, Little Ricky. 
The similarity is uncanny. 

 I'm never sure which one is the dummy.

Long Live the Queen of the Exhausted

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Enjoying a meal with Left Brain

I love sharing my meals with my husband, and we've been some interesting places together.  But today was a first for both of us.

I was snuggled into my chair with the computer on my lap trying to capture all the ideas I woke up with for an entire new line of dolls.  This never ends for me - it's exciting but can be exhausting.  While I'm typing away and munching on my Cheerios and Coke Zero I got a Skype call from Left Brain.

While I was having breakfast at 8:00 am he was sitting down to eat supper at 6:00pm in Russia.  We we conversed as we ate several thousands of miles apart.  He said it stays dark over there until about 9:30 am and starts to get dark again at 5:30 pm.  I guess I can't complain about the darkness here anymore.

When he said he wanted to be as far away from the home show as possible, he wasn't kidding. He flew out to Russia at 5:00 am the morning of the show.  He was starting to worry about me when he hadn't seen any blogs or received any emails from me.

I assured him all is well and the house is almost back to normal...somewhat.  I do have a set of wire grids in the living room that I need to complete the toppers to go with the new set up I've designed.  But most of it has been tucked back into their respective areas again.

I swear I will never understand people who say they are bored.  I just don't know how that is possible.

Long Live the Queen of International Dining

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So much to little time

I've been neglecting my posts lately due to the art/craft show I held in my home over the weekend.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Pushing all the furniture around and stashing a good deal of it in the bedrooms seemed like such fun as I transformed a basic Midwestern home into an art gallery.

I enjoyed the show, especially visiting with the artists and customers but there were some challenges.  And her name is She Devil.

To make this event possible it was necessary to sequester her in one of the bedrooms during the day to prevent her from hissing at and biting the customers...definitely not good for business.  I see it as a little vacation get away...she saw it as jail time. 

Now mind you she had her running water fountain, her two favorite dry cat foods, her wool rug and comfy pillow and as much tuna and lunch meat as she desired.  But, it wasn't her idea and she wasn't happy.

I knew she was not pleased with me when right before her jail term...I mean, vacation get away she would use the litter box and leave an extremely foul odor in the room.  This was done in the living room box, of course...not in the one in her room.  To add insult to injury she managed to work up a cling-on that dropped in the middle of the floor.

While in her little bungalow for the day she managed to "miss" the huge over-sized litter box the size of Montana and pee right in front of it.  But, I'm wise to these tricks and have puppy pads there for this purpose.  So, she managed to get revenge on me.

Wait a minute!  I'm an indoor is this happening?
I got my revenge the next Monday with a trip to the vet for blood work to check on her diabetes and to express her anal glands.  Later that night we learned how to frame a photo on Photoshop and so I put her into a blinding snowstorm with a nice frame.  Take THAT She Devil!

Long Live the Queen of Feline Sanitation Services

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New stuff

My newest creation is a smaller version of my original pattern.  I usually keep the first of any new creation, but this was made for a special young man who has admired my dolls.

We learned another new technique in our Photoshop Elements class called the Orton Effect.  It's a subtle effect that produces a glow to the photo.

The first image posted here is a scene from Arizona taken on an earlier visit. I've done some color correction and the like, but no special touch-ups.

The dessert has it's own special kind of beauty.
This is the image after going through the steps necessary to create the Orton Effect.

It's not a big jump, but it does make for an interesting image.

Right now I've been pushing around furniture to create spaces for several other artists to join me for my first home show on Friday and Saturday.  I think it's a lot of fun and Left Brain thinks it's crazy.  He wants to be sure to be outta here so will leave that morning for Russia.  It's a long story.

Long Live the Queen of Fairies

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cooking adventures with the electric pressure cooker

This has certainly become my new favorite way to good, but there are a couple of glitches to overcome.  With me...not it.

I prepared stifado for supper and modified the recipe a bit.  It called for veal and I just can't use that due to the cruel abuse of the animals to provide this meat, so I used beef stew pieces.  In hindsight I realize now I should have cooked it a little longer as it's tougher than veal might be, but...oh well.  Life and learn.

This recipe was thrilling for me on many levels.  First of all, it required more than my usual two spices...salt and pepper.  Then it needed dry vermouth and red wine vinegar.  I've not cooked with booze before, I generally prefer to sip on a drink while cooking...not put it into the recipe.

The first step went smoothly as I used the browning cycle to start the meat, then the saute cycle to cook the chopped onions and all those herbs.

Then I added the tomato, bay leaf and cinnamon stick with the meat for the high pressure cooking and went to watch TV while supper was being prepared.

After a while I realized I had not remembered to push the start button. I have to do everything?  So I started the process again to cook for the required nine minutes.  After this part was done I added the one pound of tiny whole onions (I didn't even know you could buy this in the freezer section) and set for one more minute.

I usually use the quick release method, which is great fun because it sends a blast of steam up into the air.  However, this time it asked for the natural release method that takes about 15 - 20 minutes for it to reduce steam slowly.  So supper got a little delayed that night, but when the lid released (which it will only do when it's safe), the aroma was incredible.

With some orzo I prepared in the steamer, I scooped it up and served Left Brain a wonderful supper.  Yum!  I love stifado!

Long Live the Queen under High Pressure

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Queen has been cooking

I never thought I'd declare that cooking is fun.  I guess that's a lesson in never say never.  You just need the right gadgets.

Actually, I've had many of the gadgets for a long time, they just sat on the counter top so it looked more like a kitchen.  Now I'm plugging them in and turning them on!

My newest gadget is the Cuisinart electric pressure cooker - what fun.  After conquering my fear of blowing myself up (they don't allow that anymore with all the safety features) I have learned to really love this little puppy.

Last night I made tomato soup in it and then used my blender to puree it.  Great tasting soup!  Who would have believed I could produce this kind of food!

Long Live the Queen of the Kitchen

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I just can't eat this pear

I really do want to try new fruits and vegetables, so I purchased this pear earlier.

It's ripe now and ready to be sliced, but when I took out my knife and looked closely I could see it looked upset.

It just looks too much like Left Brain to cut up.

Actually it IS him in the pear.  Oh the magic of Photoshop!

Long Live the Queen of Pears

Friday, December 2, 2011

More textures

This is another example of texture overlay.

This is an orange flower closeup I liked and found it very fun when adding a red and white checkered tablecloth over the top of it.

I then used the eraser to remove the tablecloth effect from the center of the flower and some of the petals for added effect.

This is what the photo looked like before any manipulation.

I realize it's not a look you'd want to do very often, but it was fun to see what could happen when applying the texture.

Long Live the Queen of Manipulation (oh on so many levels!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New photoshop skills

One of the coolest things I've learned so far in my Photoshop class is how to make snow.  Much more fun on a computer screen than in the yard.  This snow I can remove with a touch of the heavy shoveling required.

The photo above is of one of the round barns of Vernon County with my very own woman made snow storm.  This is what the barn looked like before the snow.  It actually was a nicer day and there was a building nearby that I removed before putting the new sky in place.

Then I just got crazy and started to add textures - a lesson from our last class.  This is the barn with a chrome texture overlay.

It's a very subtle effect and gives it the appearance of hammered metal....very fun.

Then I tried taking the same photo and adding another photo of an old barn with peeling paint on it.  I just love to shoot old stuff and am fascinated with the rural decay all around us.

That's it for the barn and it's manipulations for tonight.  I can't wait to see what the next week's lessons begin!

Long Live the Queen of Texture