Friday, January 30, 2015

The Lights Went Out in Georgia…er, well….Arizona actually

Things were going along pretty good during our visit with Larry, but soon the lights were dimming again.  Hmmm.  This is not good.

They spent a long time playing hide and seek looking for the electrical converter and after making a phone call found it was hidden under the fridge.
After extracting it they searched for a place to get it replaced and found one nearby.  Things are looking up.  The part would arrive at their shop at 3:00, so the boys hustled over to pick it up and install it. 

Larry came in with a sad face and said they ordered the wrong part and now we’d have to wait until 3:00 the following day.  Of course, I didn’t believe him because…well, it’s just routine to discredit whatever he says.

Unfortunately he was not kidding.  Then Left Brain gave me the other bad news.  While crawling around under the RV he found the brake for the jacks was broken off.  That went on the list of things to repair before departure.
So we went to a Greek restaurant and had a big fat Greek meal and called it a day.  That night I cut up veggies and made popcorn for supper since nobody was hungry.

The following day they took off to play golf since the part wouldn’t be in until 3:00 anyway.  Larry managed all 18 holes, but Left Brain was feeling dizzy and not well and skipped the last four.  They blamed it on my lack of culinary efforts the night before; that he didn’t have enough fuel to continue on.

I headed to the pickleball courts and was the only woman in sight so had a great time smashing the ball into the men.

While they were out golfing in the mist and rain I headed to the mall for some lunch and shopping in search of a bread box, something that appears to be a dying breed.  I couldn’t find anything to buy but on my way out noticed a little massage place and signed up for the half hour acupressure massage.

I like deep work, but holy cow…10 minutes into this experience I was ready to part with secrets of National security.  However, I did notice that as I left nothing hurt and I was moving much better.  Perhaps it was just the feeling that I had escaped intact.  Left Brain would love this guy and maybe I’ll have him go for a session and I’ll try the foot spa treatment instead.

I arrived home shortly after the boys did and after putting away groceries and getting out of their way they installed the converter.  The lights are shining brighter again and it seems to be working.

Long Live the Queen

Monday, January 26, 2015

Friends visiting Arizona

One of favorite places to visit here is the Organ Stop Pizza place.  This was where we met our friends Larry and Eileen for supper on Sunday.  That's them waiting for us at the entrance.

The pizza here is crispy and delicious and where else can you dine while listening to the largest Wurlitzer in the world.
It has 6000 pipes and is powered by four turbine blowers.

It combines good food with unique entertainment, always a sure hit for visitors and locals alike.

My favorite part is the dancing cats when they play the Alley Cat Song.  I'm still trying to figure out the video, so this is not very good...but it will provide a feel for it.

I'm still learning the camera and couldn't figure out how to get the flash to come up, so the photos taken were not of the best quality.

Long Live the Queen of Organ Music

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Views of Carriage Manor

I love this area of Arizona, there's nice shopping and places to visit, things to see and people to meet.

Here some images of the park we are staying in to give you a feel for where we're currently calling home.

Our new digs
My new bird feeding station

The front entrance greets you with the water fountains, a new addition in the last time I was here.

My favorite spot, of course, is the pickleball courts.  They have added the bleachers and shade covers since my last visit. There's a bulletin board and clock, the only thing missing would be a porta-potty.....after all, we are old people.

The pool is always nice, and I need to get in here for the water volleyball one of these days.

The dog park is huge with different times for small dogs and big dogs. 

No dogs are allowed to be walked within the park, so there is always a clever arrangement of getting the dogs to the park to go potty.  I had planned to walk Gracie here and start a mutiny, but the rules now say "pets" instead of dogs.  Rats.

big dog on the bottom, tiny dog on the well for everyone

They have a lunch each day at the patio by the poolside.

There are so many activities here, it would be hard to ever find yourself bored.  There's rooms for music, choir, computer lab, lapidary, crafts, sewing and probably some I've forgotten already.  Here is the sewing room. I remember having my roll of batting hanging from the ceiling in my old studio.

They also have tennis courts and shuffle board.

It's always fun to walk around and see how people have decorated their homes.

And last of all, there's the cactus - I love the saguaro the most and there are a lot of them here in the park.

Long Live the Queen of Carriage Manor

Friday, January 23, 2015

Settling in to Mesa AZ

I just have to share this bumper sticker with you....Miss Edna, this is for you (even though I know you prefer crochet).

We arrived on Wednesday, the 21st and had our first overnight visitor that day.  Larry, Left Brain's golf buddy, is in the area so they can run off and play.  Oh happy day ...because that means I can run off and shop or goof off or whatever I want to do.

Yesterday we continued working on settling in and cleaning the Quartzite souvenir dust from our RV and car.  You could choke on this stuff and I'm glad to be on a concrete pad.

Left Brain and I went with Sister Mary to see "Selma" at the theater as I wanted to see this on the big screen.  It was very moving and somewhat difficult to watch.  I'm amazed at the patience of Dr King's movement to remain nonviolent.

Today I ventured down to the pickleball courts and paid my $20 membership fee and got in some play.  It's fun to meet new people and play with them, but frustrating to have left those who I knew behind in California.

I located the man who taught me the game two years ago and was finally able to express my gratitude to him for the way he instructed us and the fine start he gave me.

Tonight we'll go out for Friday fish fry with Mary and some other friends we've met here before.  

All in all it's been a great day and I'm anxious to get assimilated to the new area and partake of all it has to offer.

Long Live the Queen of Mesa AZ

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Good Fences Thursday

Some of the overpasses have decorative "fences" on them.
This is one found in California and reflects the Southwestern feel.

Long Live the Queen of Fences

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quartzite shopping

The best part of visiting Quartzite is the plethora of RV related goodies to be purchased.  I had been compiling a list of items that I’d learned about from reading the many travel magazines we receive…..CHARGE!

On our way into town we stopped at the BLM tent to register our rig.  We are in the 14 day camping limit which is free, you just need to let them know you’re there.  The guy was a real character, as many seem to be in this eclectic little town and he explained his fifth wheel to us.  It is a toy hauler and holds his dune buggy.  The top portion is electronically raised and contains the bedroom, or as he described it, the penthouse suite.  I’ll bet that is a nice place to sleep with four screened walls to allow for lots of air and a view that is not blocked by any other rigs.  He said only ten of these were ever made.  I’m not sure why it didn’t catch on, I thought it was a very clever design.

The first item I spotted on our search was the Grip Sticks that I love for sealing bags of stuff.  It makes a complete seal instead of those little pinch clips.  I use mostly the smaller sizes, so the bigger ones will be bequeathed to our daughter when we return.  One item checked off.  I think Left Brain may have preferred to be parked at the Adult Daycare while I shopped, but he valiantly trod along.

Then I spotted the cutest little dog hats and thought about how cute Gracie would be wearing this on her walks.  She thinks she’s a dog anyway…what the heck.

There were many places to buy LED lights and we picked up another $25 bulb for my reading light.  Bit by bit we are switching to these.  The light is better, they last longer and never get hot.

The leather goods kiosk was not our list, but Left Brain did need a new wallet and I found this leather purse that makes into a backpack.  Now that could really be handy, so I purchased it as well.  It’s hard to resist the impulse buying in a setting like this.

We located the Oxygenics Shower head and snapped it up.  This is designed to reduce the amount of water used and at the same time kick up the water pressure – both of which are vital when living in an RV.  Maybe now I can actually get my hair rinsed completely without standing there forever.  I suppose I could cut my hair like Left Brain’s.   Hmmmm.  No.

Across the aisle I spotted the Fridge Fix that we’d read about.  Our fridge (as is the case in most RV’s) is not terribly efficient and I hate having to defrost it.  This little device is installed with three fans to keep the air circulating around the fridge and thus eliminate some of this problem.  We have two small battery operated fans in there now that kind of do the job, but it’s a hassle having to replace the D cell batteries each month.  This device will be hard wired in.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Left Brain kept checking out the tire pressure monitoring systems, which are wireless transmitters from the tire to the control unit to let you know what the pressure and temperature of each tire is.  Tires are critical to the health of an RV.  He still can’t decide which one he wants or if he wants it at all.  I’m of no help there, it’s really his toy and I don’t pretend to understand it.

By this time we are dragging as we’re tired and have heavy packages we’re lugging around.  That’s when we spotted the shopping bag on wheels with a small fold out seat.   Left Brain has some back pain when standing too long and has talked about getting a can with a fold out stool to sit on.  This covered that option and had a roomy carry bag attached.  It was only $25 and we paid the lady, stored our stuff and took off feeling much lighter.

Not having found the 20 amp fuses, we headed into town for those and I had the gps on my phone directing me to an auto parts supply store.  It was closed.  Bummer.  So we went across the street to the Main Street Diner for lunch and learned they were not seating anybody right now to allow the kitchen to catch up.  We found out where a hardware store was from the lady there and set out again.

The hardware store was a pole building, as many of the business establishments here are.  The diner we attempted to visit and the laundrymat are pole buildings as well.  Not fancy, but very functional.

He came out with a small paper bag and a smile on his face, so I knew he had scored.  Then we headed over to Sweet Darlene’s for lunch and waited for a long time to get served, but this is the norm on a weekend in January in Quartzite.  This restaurant is also in a pole building and often you end up sitting at a table with other people when it’s this busy, but we scored a single table for the two of us.

Soon it was time to return home and recover from our shopping adventures.  I can’t wait to get my new toys installed and running.

Long Live the Shopping Queen

Lunch with Friends in Quartzite

Before leaving Hemet we made arrangements to have lunch with JR and Judy at Silly Al’s Pizza when they came into town to see her sister.
Rob and Marty found out about this plan and decided to caravan with them to join up also.

Our plan was to go into the laundrymat and have a shower prior to lunch; however, it seems they were having a problems with the water and asked if we could return in an hour.

Now we had some time on our hands so we attempted to find someplace with Wi-Fi to get some of my blogs posted.  It seems there is a problem with the towers and nothing was available anywhere.

We spent the next 45 minutes parked behind Silly Al’s and messaging with Judy and Marty as to their ETA while trying to hold a parking spot for them.  It might seem that waiting for this length of time would be boring, but Quartzite provides some extraordinary people-watching, or rather….character watching.

Rob and Marty were the first to arrive and we went in to snag a table for eight, which could be difficult.  Luckily we had two tables that needed cleaning and as we started pushing them together the wait staff came out and cleaned them up and got us settled in.

Before too long the other four people arrived and the conversations flowed from one end of the table to the other.  The other parties wanted to get into the big tent for some RV related shopping and since we’d been there twice already, we wished them well and turned them loose in their pursuits.

Thank you Judy for the use of the photo taken that day

We stopped by the laundry again and the water was now working, so we paid our $7 for a small room with towels and up to 20 minutes of hot water.  The water was alternating from scalding hot to freezing cold, but it felt so good to remove a layer of dust and filth from boondocking in the desert.

It will feel great to get into full-hookups again and hopefully with good Wi-Fi so we can rejoin the cyber world and catch up with everyone’s activities.

Long Live the Queen of the Dusty Desert

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quiet time in Quartzite

On Sunday Left Brain was geared up to watch the Packers play and since it was going to be a day of having the generator running, I geared up to use the computer and oven and anything else electrical I could think of.

The dusty road going to our campsite

I spent a chunk of the day arranging things and sorting out items I could donate to the charity auction they have here, as well as the free donation pile.  It’s time to shed a few things and maximize the spaces I have better.  Of course, every time I do this I find things I have completely forgotten about.  Some stayed…most left.

I used my Veggetti to shred some zucchini and then heated up the remainder of the spaghetti sauce I had with other veggies and sausage in it for lunch.  Paired with this was the Rustic Italian bread we bought from Maria when having lunch with our friends Rob and Marty our last day in Hemet.

Maria....our favorite lady in Hemet

It was another impulse buy from when I was in Hemet.  It’s small and requires no batteries or power.  You stick the zucchini in like a giant pencil into a sharpener and twist it.  Out comes skinny little strands of zucchini.  I’m seeing some zucchini fritters in our future.

Then I made a fruit cobbler with blueberry pie filling and some rhubarb I had in the freezer.  The topping is also too much, so half of this got bagged and labeled and put in the freezer for another cobbler in the future.
I cleaned up all the veggies in the fridge and bagged them up for eating.
I put the blueberries with some canned mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks to chill.  This will go on top of the cobbler, over the whipped cream, of course.

It feels good to have a bunch of these little drudgery tasks taken care of.  It’s amazing what you can find time to do when there’s no electricity, or water or sewer hookups.  Plus the internet is awful with our hot spot, so this post may wait until we reach Mesa to get posted.

Long Live the Queen of Modern Conveniences Depravation

On the way to Quartzite

Things always tend to happen when you are preparing to leave, it’s just a given so we’ve learned to roll with it.

At first I thought Left Brain was planning some sort of romantic setting for the evening, but it was not the case.  Actually he was insulted when he thought I called him a dimwit, although I’m not sure why.  I’ve certainly called him worse than that.

What I was trying to convey was why everything seemed so dimly lit.  This is where it pays to marry a “handy” man, even if his hearing isn’t so good in these Golden Years.  He quickly ascertained the problem being with our house batteries and by the time I returned from pickleball the next day he had gone out and purchased two brand new ones.  This was a very good thing since we’d be boondocking in the desert soon.  Disaster averted…for a while.

It was hard to test the lights before leaving due to the sunshine, but as far as I could tell they were working.  Shortly into our drive Left Brain noticed we had no turn signals, which meant no flashers for when we plod slowly up those mountain roads.  This is not good

We stopped to gas up and there was some extra room on the side so he fiddled with this and that and we even resorted to (gasp!) consulting the owner’s manuals.  It could be as simple as replacing a fuse.  With fingers crossed we found a Ford dealer in Palm Springs and were headed there when he made that fateful turn out of the gas station.

There was a crash and a bang…and worst of all…a shattering sound.  I was afraid to turn and look.  It seems the door latch for the storage area over the fridge did not hold and the metal bread and cake pans decided to make a break for it.  They dinged up the floor but were otherwise undamaged.

Unfortunately their correlle  pie plate friend didn’t do as well.  The pyrex pie plate handled the fall gracefully, but the correlle one shattered into a thousand tiny little fragments.
I cleaned that up while he kept on towards the Ford dealership, which would later find would not even take a look at anything electrical.  He referred us to Benlow RV in Indio, not exactly on our path, but we were willing to do what we had to do to drive safely.

Left Brain called them while I walked back about three blocks to a Mobile station to see if I could buy a 20 amp fuse.  When I returned I found out the place in Indio couldn’t do it as their electrical guy was on a project and could not be disturbed.  He referred us to a Mobile Lube Express place, who when called was out on calls and unable to help us either.

We decided to stop at a shopping mall that had a McDonalds nearby and he would take a look at the car while I went in to find something for lunch.  I returned to a very dejected Left Brain who announced that the car battery was dead and where are the jumper cables.  It took a while, digging through the mountain of items in the back of the car, but finally found them.  He maneuvered the RV around to provide the power for a jump.  It started.  Finally somethings going our way.  Even better, the fuse seemed to do the trick…at least for a while.  It appears we have some kind of short in the system that needs more work.

We arrived in Quartzite about 4:00 and were exhausted from what should have been an easy trek.  Here's our first view of the town when we arrived.

The sunset made up for all the difficulties of the earlier day and tomorrow will be another day.

Long Live the Queen of Woes

Finally....internet connections!

I apologize for the lack of posting due to insufficient internet.

That being said, I will apologize for the plethora of posts that will be coming fast and furious as I attempt to get caught up on our last days in Hemet and our short stay in Quartzite.

We have been fortunate to meet some lovely people in Hemet and even luckier to be situated right next door to them.

Of course, good friends mean eating out and's what we do.

Our first event was for JR's birthday and they invited us to join them at the Anchor Bar Club Restaurant.  I didn't have any expectations for this place based on the name of it and the fact it's also a sports bar, but I was pleasantly surprised at the contemporary modern decor.

Not to mention the food was fabulous and the waitress told us about the rainbow outside.  So, being the multi-tasker that I am I opted to combine the rainbow with the event.  JR's the one on the phone and Judy is across from him.The man in the front on the left is Ralph, a pickleball buddy.

We also managed to take our next door neighbors, Rob and Marty, to our favorite Italian restaurant so they could meet Maria and feast on the best Italian food anywhere.

They are brand new RV'ers and have put their house up for sale and bought this gorgeous 40' motorhome for their new home.  It will be fun to hear of there adventures while they make the transition from stationary home to one on wheels.

We are going to miss these people and hope that our paths cross again in the future.

Long Live the Queen of Friendship

Thursday, January 15, 2015

More cat stuff

No, not another cat...just some more "things" I've had my eye on.

We admired the "purr"fect arch when seeing it on TV and when I stumbled across it at Bed Bath and Beyond I just had to pick it up for the kids.  We later donated it to Goodwill as apparently our cats were not as amused by it as the one on TV.  You have to be careful folks, the cats on TV are paid actors and you should NOT expect the same results at home.

My next item was a small camera.  I love the big camera, but it's awkward to drag along with me in social outings.  Yes, I realize the phone has a camera as well as video, but the quality isn't that great.

I opted for a Canon Powershot SX600 HS, which has 
HD video (something I've been wanting to play with more), a 
wireless connection to share photos right away, a large display screen and it comes in a pretty red color.  This fits nicely in my purse and is easier to take with for those quick shots.

The latest shipment just arrive - "the kitty city".
This is a six foot tower that connects to our tunnel system.  We have it set up in the house first to make sure they are getting the hang of it before trying it outside.

There was a little panic when Gracie got into the top level and couldn't quite figure out how to get back down.  But with my coaxing and a gentle push on her butt from Left Brain we got her to one level and then she figured out the rest on her own.  It may take Boy Wonder (George) longer to figure this out...if at all.  He's just not as adventurous as Gracie.

Long Live the Queen of Impulse Purchases

Monday, January 12, 2015

Playing with photos

I love messing around with my photos and using textures as an overlay to add interest to the image.

This combination especially pleased me as it used two photos taken the same day.  Here is the combination of the two:

It started with this shot of the girls on the beach.

Then I took this photo of a mural I spotted.

I altered it into this background texture by distorting the photo.

And then I placed the texture over the original photo to get the combination you see at the top of this blog.

Great fun.

Long Live the Manipulative Queen

San Diego Zoo

No visit to San Diego is complete without seeing the zoo, so off we went.

The zoo is famous for its koala bears, which are cute little things that resemble stuffed animals.  Most of the time they are some cats I know. 

But we were lucky enough to see some awake during our visit.

We started the day by riding the aerial tramway as it was suggested to use this as an overview of the park.

The polar bear were great fun and you can see in this photo the size of them.  My son-in-law is about six feet tall, and the statue of the bear is lifesize.  Yikes.  Even scarier is the amount of food they take in each day....the polar bears, that is.

The kids were mugging in this display with the sea otters.

While we were observing the polar bears, one was frolicking in the pool and we watched him do several back flips in the water.  Unfortunately, this was not conducive to photography to capture the moment.

Does this bird resemble Rod Stewart to you, or is it just me?

And of course, there's always those young males that are fascinated with their anatomy.

Long Live the Queen of the Zoo