Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend in a Campground

Image result for cat memorial day
We'd gotten pretty spoiled having the campground basically to ourselves for the last month or so.  It was like having a little hermitage all to ourselves.  But we knew this was coming.

It started with several campers arriving on Thursday to set up and spend the night, but then they were gone (I assume to work) the next day.

And then it was Friday with the mass of humanity descending on us to "get away" for the weekend.  This is where the campfires start up, even though it's already 80 degrees and higher...they simply must have a fire and they tend to leave it burning long after they've gone to bed while I lay there and worry about fire hazards.

Among the cacophony of barking dogs there are little boys throwing rocks in all directions and as I write this another little boy is on the roof of the trailer to our left throwing a Frisbee.  The counterpart to this are the little girls shrieking in those upper octaves that can shatter glass. Yikes. 

We're used to the occasional gawker driving by and proclaiming "Look at that!" when they spot our cat tunnel/slide and tent set up.  But now we've become a feature on the parade route as multiple golf carts sail past us.  I feel I should be either charging admission or at least waving as they go by.  But we pretty much just ignore them.

Yes, we are that crotchety old couple who enjoys their quiet and solitude and this is why we love 55+ RV parks where we are surrounded by our brethren.

It's still much better than our days of yore at Goose Island County Park as the quiet times are enforced here and there's much less open drunkenness.  At least here I don't have to endure a man wearing a pink tutu showing movies on the side of his RV at 2:00 am.

When the crowds descend you can pretty much kiss the internet goodbye, not that it was stellar to begin with.  The best part so far has been the on again off again rain that seems to keep things a bit more quiet.  Yeah...bah humbug and all that.

Long Live the Old and Cranky Queen

Sunday, May 22, 2016

George's Post

Hey guys, George here.  The Queen is off playing with pickles or something like that, I don't understand it but she gets all excited and gives lots of love when she's back, so it's okay with me.

About this throwing up thing.  It's just something I've been doing for a long time, don't know why really...but it has the Queen very concerned.  I really don't feel sick and love to eat all the time, so what's the problem?  So she has to do a little extra carpet shampooing...big deal.

It's bad enough I have to go back for my teeth to be cleaned, but I heard them talking about an ultrasound.  Not sure what the heck that is, but they talked about having me stretched out and held very still to do it, so I'm thinking it must be something like being on the rack.  That got me shook me, let me tell ya!

I got so shook up that last night I hocked up this massive hairball.  Now, I have to warn you...the image you're about to see is pretty disgusting but I'm rather proud of it in a sick sort of way.  I think it's some of my best work.

It must have done the trick, because this morning the Queen called the Dreaded House of Horrors (aka the vet clinic) and left a message that we will proceed with the dental work and a shot of antibiotics on Thursday and then I'll visit a different Dreaded House of Horrors in our Ham Lake area for some follow up blood work.  Ewww.  Another needle.  What do I look like ...a pin cushion?

Then if it's absolutely necessary for the ultrasound thingee we'll come back to the Wisconsin location in the Fall before heading to Arizona for the winter.

I think that's a more reasonable approach and maybe we can avoid some unnecessary poking and probing on my furry orange self...I'd sure like that.  Well, I guess I'll take another nap.

Oh geez...look at Gracie.  If I'm getting a photo being cute she has to knock out a pose for the camera as well.  She's such a have no idea what I have to go through here. 

 Long Live Prince George

Saturday, May 21, 2016

So Many Parting Gifts

We recently had an opportunity to meet with our friends Patrick and Becky for supper.  This should be interesting....Paleo VS Weight Watchers.

First we got a tour of their spacious home and I wished I had brought my camera to capture her art studio.

Becky is a weaver and has many looms set up in her studio.  She gave me the lovely place mats that were used during our meal. 

Weaving is not anything I've ever tried and I'm mesmerized by the whole process, it's such a mystery to me. 
I think I'll stick to sewing.

Becky is a woman that knows how to cook and since she runs the Weight Watcher meetings I knew our meal would be healthy.  We dined on a lovely apple cinnamon pork loin with cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Her "potatoes" were far superior to what I had made, so I paid close attention to how she was doing this and now I'll have to make another attempt using my new knowledge.

She had some quilting books she wanted to part with, so I became the new owner of this Scrap Quilts one.  There are a lot of nice patterns in this that will be fun to try.

In her pantry she showed me some solutions to our loss of noodles with the Organic Edamame Spaghetti.  This is so exciting!  I never knew such things existed.

When I told her of my attempt to make cauliflower rice, she introduced me to farro.  This is the traditional grain of the mediterranean and looks a lot like rice.  She says it has a lovely nutty flavor and I'm going to attempt using my rice cooker to make this.  I found a You Tube video that showed it could be done.

In her pantry she also had a machine for making hard boiled eggs.  At first I thought this was extraneous, but then I started to reconsider.  I'd been purchasing the ready to eat ones in the deli, but I'm sure these are not the best eggs to start with. Plus I'm not sure what that fluid is they are floating around in.  So, when I saw this smaller version of an egg cooker at Kohls I snapped it right up.

It has little inserts for poaching and making an omelet as well.  A very tiny omelet, but I'll give it a whirl.

We ended the evening playing a dice game that Patrick found called Qwixx.  Now THAT would be a fabulous Scrabble word!

It took a while for me to catch on, but we were soon into the spirit of the game.  It's small and fun...I may have to add that to our arsenal of games in the RV.

Who knew food could be so fun!

Long Live the Queen of Good Eating

Friday, May 20, 2016

Crunch Time

May is a busy month for us as we visit all our health care providers to ensure we are healthy enough to have this much fun.

We now have new glasses, new hearing aids, our teeth are good, the mammogram completed, meds renewed, physical completed and last pap smear.  After 65 this is not deemed necessary and I can't say I'll miss this procedure.

The car went in for a minor repair that was covered under warranty.

The cats went to the vet for their check ups and rabies shots.  All was going well until here.  Gracie was fine, aced her exam as she always does and received many treats for being so charming. 

George is another story.

I knew he'd need dental work again, this is visible even to my untrained eye.  But his liver counts were high again and that has the vet concerned.  Add to this his penchant for vomiting on a more regular basis than we'd like and it's time to take action.

The vet moved his dental work up a week to fit us in before our departure on June 1st.  But after checking his blood work further she was quite concerned about possible problems with his pancreas.  His diet was confirmed as good, so no changes there.  But he will need an ultrasound before we know what course of action to take.

Luckily there is a mobile vet unit that comes to the clinic when needed for this kind of thing.  Now, getting her schedule and my vet's schedule to coincide prior to our departure may be tricky.  The call is out to the ultrasound vet and it's a waiting game to see how this all plays out.

He will not need any kind of surgery, our vet was certain of that.  It should be treatable with medication.  Whether this will be an ongoing medication or one time I have no idea.

Hopefully this will all play out on schedule, but if not...we are on wheels and our plays are written in jello.  If we need to delay for another week, so be it.

Long Live the Queen of Cats

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Playing with almond flour

Let the experiments begin!  Left Brain is craving some bread in his diet, so it was time to break out my new supplies and get baking.

My first mini loaf is a date walnut bread, made with dates and pecans because he found and ate all the walnuts.

Next was the paleo bread, which doesn't seem high enough to be bread, but my pan was larger than recommended.  But, it was the best I could do in a pinch.  If the taste is okay, I'll invest in the pans.

The cookies were not from almond flour, although I have a recipe for that. These were from a gluten free mix and they are tasty, even though the consistency is different from what we are accustomed.  But then again, I've never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn't like.

This is my favorite part as I absolutely love to bake, so hopefully some of this will yield satisfactory results.

Long Live the Queen of Baking

Monday, May 16, 2016

Playing with my food

One of the first substitutions I learned about were using cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes and rice.

The mashed "potatoes" made this way were okay, but I couldn't get real excited about them.  So I'm holding out high hopes for the cauliflower "rice".

They recommended using a food processor, and this was just the excuse needed to buy a new kitchen toy.  

Due to space restraints I purchased a mini Ninja chopper.  It only has a two cup capacity, so I have to reload often, but it has a small footprint.  

If this continues, I may want to find a larger version...but that may have to wait until we have larger housing.  It's all about the toys.

A head of cauliflower made about four cups of "rice", so I bagged up the excess in one cup measurements and put them in the freezer.  It's a mess doing this, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw bagged cauliflower "crumbles" at Walmart.  That would be so much easier!

It does look a lot like rice, so maybe this will work.  My first experiment was using it in a hamburger, cabbage hotdish recipe that I got from my sister-in-law. It worked nicely in that.

Then I made it as "rice" to go with our fish for supper and it worked well.  It's still not rice ...sigh...but it's good enough.

Long Live the Queen 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Jungle Book

Neither of us has seen the movie out on "Jungle Book" yet, but it has been highly recommended by friends.

However, Left Brain did get to see our youngest granddaughter, Kiersten, perform in the Front Porch production of Jungle Book recently.

I think she makes the best cat possible, don't you?

She played the mother cat when she did Aristocats as well, maybe there's some type-casting here?

We couldn't be prouder of our budding young actress in the family.  We just hope she remembers us when she makes it to the big stage.

Long Live the Doting Queen

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm Needed!

I received a call from the Red Cross recently and thought it was just their standard request for coming to donate.  How odd that they would call during our short stay in the area.

It was explained that there was someone in the area that was facing surgery and would need large volumes of blood.  And not just any freaky kind.

I'm AB Positive, found in only 3.4% of the population, so I felt pretty special being personally invited to come in an donate.

It's good to be wanted.

Long Live the Bloody Queen

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mothers Day

A friend just shared this with me and it was too perfect not to share with all those other mothers of fur babies out there.

Long Live the Queen Mother

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Getting a New Outlook on Life

I went to Winona to play pickleball at the YMCA and it felt so good to be back among old friends.  They allow seniors to purchase a one month membership for $41 and waive the $75 joining fee.  Such a deal.

It felt good and I played well...and that was with the old glasses.  After finishing up the last game I headed to the showers and my favorite thing of all...the hot tub in the women's locker room.  Man, did it feel great to soak these aching muscles.

After returning home we had lunch before heading out to pick up our glasses.  I'm so used to eating out, that this eating at home still feels odd to me.  But, I had made some incredible chicken salad out of the Just Bare Chicken breasts I'd cooked yesterday.  

Even though flour tortillas are not within the strict guideline, there was very little sugar shown on the label, so I used these with some lettuce and the chicken salad.  After folding them in half I put them into the panini grill just to firm up the tortilla.  Yum.  There may be gluten free tortillas out there, but I haven't explored that yet.

So now he has his lovely gray lenses to go with his hair...well, I'm guessing it would be gray if it was there.

And I have my new blue glasses to put a little color into my life.  This must be my new color as my phone, fitbit and now glasses are blue. 

I can only hope these don't throw my game off now that I can see clearly.

Long Live the Queen of New Views

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Trying Something New

When Left Brain and I were at the eye doctors recently, he mentioned a book called "Eat Fat Get Thin".  We were both intrigued and soon he had it on our Kindles and after browsing through it I knew I had to have a hard copy in my hands.  This is very similar to the Paleo diet, which I'm exploring more and more.

The Kindle is great for most things, but sometimes I just want good old paper to mark up and yellow highlight.  Yes, I know, you can do this electronically as well, but this old brain relates better to an old fashioned book.

We've needed something to motivate us into healthier eating and this has done the trick.  This will shock my friends for sure, but May 1st was the last day I had my Coke Zero. Gasp.  I know....I can't hardly believe it myself.

Part of the process is go rid the house of all the unhealthy oils, sugars, dairy products, artificial sweeteners and grain products.  So, these got all boxed up and sent home with my son when he came for supper.  I did keep my supply of sugar to use for the hummingbirds.

Then I started searching online for recipes that could replace the bread that we enjoy so much.  This is where I discovered Elena Amsterdam.  Her recipes are simple and use basically the same stock ingredients with kind of cooking.

My first attempt was Irish Soda Bread, which uses almond flour in place of wheat flour.  Holy cow!  Now we're gluten free as well.  It sounded good in theory, but this girl loves her sweets...will it taste okay?  I was almost afraid to give it a try, but the redeeming factor is in this diet you are to eat healthy fats, so real grass fed butter is now in our fridge.

OMG!  It was so good.  It tasted like a dessert and was so simple to make.  You can sense my relief.  We got so carried away with sampling that I forgot to photo the loaf intact.

Now I was inspired and so I ordered her book on Paleo Cooking.

Let me tell you...this has been an eye opening experience and I've found aisles in the grocery store that I've never ventured into.  There's a whole new world out there just waiting to be discovered.  The fat makes us more satisfied and keeps us full longer.  I find myself not snacking throughout the day as I usually do.

Since goat cheese is acceptable that was a relief as we both love the creamy taste and consistency of this product.  But I didn't know you could get it in cheddar flavor as well as many others.  

My favorite new find is the Just Bare Chicken.  This is Certified Humane and was the best tasting chicken I've had in a long time. tastes like chicken...real chicken.  I didn't realize until I threw away the coding on the package, but I could have tracked my chicken to the family farm it was raised on.  I just watched the view at and was very pleased with the ethical way these birds are handled.  This has been a long standing concern of mine and I'm tickled pink to find a source of food that is raised and processed humanely.

There is so much to learn!  I'm going to try the cauliflower "mashed potatoes" tonight with supper.  Supposedly you can use cauliflower as "rice" also.  Who knew?

Long Live the Queen of Healthy Eating

Sunday, May 1, 2016

RV Apps You Simply MUST Have

Some of these are valuable for anyone, some more so for those on the road in an RV.

We've had Passport America and Good Sam memberships since we began our full-time adventure four years ago. 

Having the mobile apps are a nice feature as the books are big and bulky.

One of the first apps we loaded on our cell phones was GasBuddy.  This will help you find gas stations and which ones have the best prices, very valuable when filling up a 75 gallon tank.

My favorite app that I use all the time is AllStays.  You can filter it for specific types of lodging you want.  It also tells you of low clearances on the roads...very important if you've become attached to that air conditioning unit on your roof.  This is the only app I've ever paid for and highly recommend the investment.

Another park locator is RVParky, it's not my favorite but does a decent job and is free.

Roadtrippers is my favorite map plotting site where you can find campgrounds, places to eat, things to see and it computes the mileage from one place to the next.  Very helpful to have a visual of your route in front of you when planning your trip.  I prefer this on the computer as the screen is larger, but the app is nice also and free.

One I just loaded is the Audubon Mobile Field Guide App.  I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but it will be nicer to have a quick look up instead of having to haul the book around with me.

Another one I've just added is the TV Food Maps app.  This features restaurants seen in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  We enjoy finding unusual places to dine and this will make that much easier.

I've had Yelp on my phone for a long time now and it is my go to app for finding places to dine.  It has a feature I've never tried called Monocle that allows you to point the phone in any direction and see what's nearby as an overlay on the screen.  I'll have to give that a try.

Another navigational tool (not yet tried out) is iExit.  It allows you to know what is at the upcoming exits without having to rely on the highway signs that don't always show all the choices.

One I won't bother with, but my buddies Bob Lindner and the Sullivans would like is Untapped.  You can find all the information on nearby pubs, what's being poured and then rate your "beervana" experience.

For those who like looking at the sky there is the Sky Gazer app.  I haven't bothered with it since we tend to be inside at night and haven't had a need for it.

This one would be perfect for my friend Colleen when she and Eric take HaRVey out for their camping adventures.  It's called Oh Ranger! and helps you locate federal and state parks, BLM sites, wildlife refuges, national forests and more.  I plan to load this for the BLM sites, which are handy when in the southwest and you feel like boondocking in the desert.  Although we're pretty soft and enjoy our full hookups.

If you're traveling with kiddos, then perhaps the Madlibs app would be good for you.  Sure beats listening to them ask for the 100th time if you're there yet.

There's a whole host of fun apps out there to enhance your RV experience, most of them free or for a small fee.  I am a bit bummed that the Roadside America app I wanted is only available in iOS.  I was all set to pay the $5.99 for all regions just to find the oddball stuff just waiting to be seen out there.  I'll have to text the grandkids for information I guess.

Many of these were featured recently in the Escapees magazine and I just had to share the info.

Long Live the Queen of Apps