Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good....

I managed to get into Las Vegas yesterday afternoon in time to meet the plane bringing my wife and daughter back from their Mexican cruise.  Seems like they had a good time but are suffering from lack of contact with the world.  Cell phone charges are something north of $2 a minute to or from the ship; internet is $25 an hour; so they abstained but it was difficult.  More difficult for our daughter; in our travels we are often without internet and cell service is sometimes spotty.  Anyway, everyone is fine.  My wife is a little sore from a horseback ride that was mostly trotting but otherwise things are good.

I made a carrot cake for her homecoming.  I can't say it is as good as I had hoped and the cream cheese frosting is a disaster. I lost my original cream cheese recipe so got one off the internet.  Bah humbug!  The one I chose has way too much butter which I had to offset with way too much powdered sugar.  Not very good at all and I can see my cholesterol count rise just looking at it.  Between all my minor injuries the other day and the cake; I've got to stay in bed more!

I've talked about the local race for the Senate seat held by Harry Reid.  I just cannot vote for the challenger, Sharon Angle.  Her ideas about abolishing social services are just too radical for me; I'd consider it a step backward for our society.  I also think she would be far less effective at promoting Nevada in the Congress.  I would love to have someone to support rather than Harry but there it is.  One of our neighbors has had some anti-Harry signs in his yard for quite a while.  This one I found amusing at least.

Poor Harry!  Headfirst in the trash can.  LOL  At least the guy has a sense of humor.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just a last thought

I'm not a 'prepper' who is expecting The World As We Know It to end at any moment.  I do, however, think that preparation for normal inconveniences is appropriate.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Since our household consists of two reasonably careful adults, we don't have a lot of minor injuries in our lives.  Today, while my wife is away, I've been the victim of two accidents!  In it's own way, it's kind of a vote in favor of marriage and joint vacations!  Hmmmm.  Anyway, injury number 1 was when I was burning a nylon rope; the rope separated and one of the hot ends landed on my hand.  This is basically melting nylon so it stuck to my finger.  Not life threatening but definitely better when bathed in cold water!  Point is; you need to know what to do.  I was home and had access to all kinds of books plus the internet.  Out in the wilderness; you'd need to just know.

The second accident was just a few minutes ago.  I was lubricating the garage door and managed to scrape my hand.  It's only a small wound (about a quarter of an inch) but I wanted to put a little anti-bacterial ointment on it.  Well, we don't have any in the house since my wife took it with her on her cruise.  (She had a mole removed and the spot requires daily medication.)  Ok, so what's my backup?  Well, actually there was some in the first aid kit I"d put together for the car.  So that was another problem avoided. 

The lesson is simple:  having some knowledge and a few extras of simple but important items can make a big difference in your life.  I don't know about you but I"m off to the drugstore tomorrow to stock on extras of a few staples.  Oh, and I need to find time to go to the airport to get my other half!  Have a good one!

Wandering around again

Got up yesterday and decided to go to Las Vegas mostly just to wander around.  It worked; I got reasonably lost even.  This was a decidedly low-key trip.  The big thing was going into a Lowes and finding a drawer pull that matches the ones in our house.  I've been wondering where the builder found these things; now I know.  Actually, I just need to get out of town from time to time and yesterday was it.

It has been cloudy for several days; yesterday it was even raining a bit on my trip.  I just love looking at those mountains.  It is my kind of religious experience.  Here's a poor rendition of what I was enjoying.

I had taken a pork chop out of the freezer (how does one manage to freeze just 1 chop?) and made fried rice for dinner.  It's nothing like the stuff you get in a restaurant so I probably should re-name the dish but I'm not imaginative enough.  The differences include brown rice, lots more meat and lots more garlic.  Gotta have garlic!  It also turns out a lot more moist than 'real' fried rice.  Watched another movie. 

I don't watch a lot of stuff on tv; mostly cooking shows and a few things on PBS.  So, unlike many households, my wife controls the tv.  As a result, I don't know what channels we watch or when things are being shown.  Being a tv-impaired temporary bachelor, I can't find anything.  We have Direct tv so have 50 or 60 channels but they are spread out over 999 numbers.  The only two I can reliably find are Fox-5 (channel 5 amazingly enough) for the local news and weather and 864 which is the symphonic music channel.  I'm even learning how to run the DVD player!

Gotta go.  It's time to throw myself into the shower & get started with the day.  Have a good one!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What a cook!

I actually succeeded using that charcoal grill to do my kabobs.  Hurray!  Finally it worked.  The first chimney of charcoal didn't take but I just re-fired it and things went well.  I cooked them a little longer than needed perhaps but the fire was relatively mild so it went well. 

I found a lovely rosemary-ranch marinade I wanted to use but we didn't have any ranch dressing.  SO I dumped a bunch of Italian dressing in to marinate the chicken since we had 3, count them 3, partial bottles of that.  It actually turned out pretty good.  I used green pepper and mushroom on 2 of the kabobs and let the other two just be chicken.  Forgot the onion entirely but it was still ok.  Skipped the rice & just did a simple salad - yep, more Italian.  Thought anything else would just confuse me. 

This morning I took the walk (alone) that I usually take with my wife before breakfast.  It's an overcast day but I was warm by the time I got home.  I'm thinking I walk a little faster when I'm alone.  Found a couple of lovely rocks for lining the driveway.  At this rate we should be done in a couple of weeks.  I can't stop wondering how long those rocks have lay out in the desert.  Maybe not long; they used to grow a lot of cotton in this valley and there aren't any trees or large bushes established in our area.  Maybe some farmer plowed them up just 50 or 60 years ago or maybe they have been in that spot for a thousand years.  Who knows.  (I do find the weirdest things to obsess over!)

So I had two small kabobs of chicken left over and used them for breakfast this morning.  Used the chicken, more mushroom, green pepper, green onion & egg-beaters to make a little breakfast dish.  Very nice.  I'm impressing myself; not only was the original dish nice but I've got the leftover's used up already!  Now THAT is amazing. 

Haven't decided on dinner tonight but I'm thinking either pasta or rice.  My wife has been doing a modified Atkins diet for the past couple months and I'm low on my carb count.  Gotta go check out Epicurious.  Have a good one.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Exciting Times

Yesterday was the first day of my temporary bachelorhood.  I took my wife into Las Vegas, picked up our daughter and put them on a plane for San Diego.  In San Diego they got on a cruise ship and are now headed for Cabo San Lucas.  Our daughter has never cruised and wanted company and my wife was just inebriated enough to say 'yes'.  LOL  I certainly hope they have a good time.  My wife called while they were still tied to the dock; they were sitting on the fantail with the 'cocktail of the day'.  Turns out it was some sweet thing that neither enjoyed; at $7.50 each!  The cruise line has some pretty high charges for both internet access and phone usage so they are pretty much out of my life until they return next Wednesday.

I celebrated my new 'freedom' by taking the car in for it's first service and a trip to Sam's club.  How's that for life in the fast lane?  Had some leftover cajun roast for dinner and watched a couple of movies.  Ain't I just the wild and crazy one.  Just so you know where my head is:  I'm already planning today's dinner.  I've got some chicken thighs out of the freezer and am planning kabobs over the real charcoal grill.  I'm going to learn how that thing works if it kills me.

Woke this morning to 54F (12C) outside and 64F (17C) inside.  Brrrr.  Now I'm waiting for the sun to come up so I can walk the dog.  I'm hoping we'll get some fall but we might be headed for winter.  It looks like there is snow on Mt. Charleston but that could be just wishful thinking.  Wanted to share this photo of the sunset I took a couple of nights ago; sorry but I just can't stop myself from taking sunset photos.  This unsettled weather is making for some lovely evenings.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rain - and more medical crap!

We've had rain on and off all day.  We are talking about a rain that in Seattle you wouldn't even wear a coat but it's rain for us.  In one of the clear bits I went into town to get a couple things.  On the way home I was following a pickup and it looked like the guy had his dog in the back.  That always bothers me; I worry the dog might jump out.  It's not my dog or anything but I worry.  Then the guy pulled into a little strip mall:  it wasn't a dog it was a goat!  LOL  You've gotta love Pahrump.

The other day I went to the dermatologist.  We are so important that he's only here one day a week!  Anyway, he cut three moles off my back and yesterday I got the happy news that one is cancerous.  I'll go back in a couple weeks to have him carve on me some more to ensure that the entire thing is gone.  Damn, isn't this getting older fun! 

Have a good one!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Almost a rain!

They (!) are thinking we have a 60% chance of rain in then next day or so.  When I opened the house this evening you could smell the scent of wet desert.  I'm not sure that it is wet but somewhere in the valley it must be so.  I took the dog out and it was dry here; desert areas must take their turns getting wet.

Watched a few weeks of Top Chef Just Desserts - I'm still on the fence about watching it some more.  I love the idea that we might have more desserts around  here but these folks can be pretty over the top.  (In a good way, of course!)  They are talking center-pieces; wedding cakes & that kind of stuff.  In one episode they had to do stuff for a high school bake sale & a few failed totally.  Hell, even I could manage a brownie for a bake sale!  Granted I might use a mix......

Tried frying some my carnitas for use in a taco for dinner; didn't have the heart to fry them enough I guess and it was a soggy mess.  A tasty soggy mess, granted, but not my fave!  Gotta keep learning; maybe next lifetime I'll know more.

Hope your weekend was a good one. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Made it, kind of.....

We did make it to Las Vegas the other day but didn't really spend any money and didn't get my National Park Pass either.  Wandered around looking at things but nothing was quite right so we kept our money.  All we got was tired.  The only money we spent was for lunch and that was pretty reasonable.  Went to BJ's Brewhouse.  It's a chain out here in the West that we'd never visited before.  They have some lunch specials for $8-10 that are pretty good.  Having lunch for $20 plus tip isn't bad!  Not drinking at lunch does make it more affordable!

I've been trying to cut back on the amount I drink and lunch is an easy one.  Especially if we are in Las Vegas, I don't need to be drinking then driving in the crazy town then driving the 60 miles (100km) back home.  We used to have a couple of drinks with lunch just as a matter of course.  Not doing that has to be good for my health as well as my wealth.  I do like a couple of glasses of wine with dinner though and late at night a scotch tastes pretty good.  I'm getting better at moderating the whole thing though.

Thursday was fun; I went to the dermatologist and he found three moles to remove.  I'll find out in a couple weeks if they were just ugly or if they were nasty as well.  It was all pretty painless.  You get a shot near the area; there was a slight prick but nothing much.  Then in comes the doctor with a scalpel, slice and it's gone.  Then there is a little pop and the smell of burning flesh as he cauterizes the wound.  A band-aid on each, a pat on the hand and you are out of there. 

It just keeps getting better!  Gotta go check out the supermarket.  Have a good one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back to the big city....

Off to Las Vegas again today.  This time it's for fun!  Well, kind of.  Our daughter emailed her mom the other day saying that she would like to shop for a few things for their cruise the next time she's in Pahrump.  My wife responded "What do you want from WalMart?".  That really is about our only option.  There is an Ace Hardware/General Store but the only clothing you can get is athletic uniforms and sneakers.  There is a place where you can get 'gangsta' crap; a place that sells used clothing but that's about it.  If you want a towel; you'd better like what they have in WalMart.

This isn't really a complaint.  We knew when we bought the house that frequent trips to Las Vegas would be part of our lives.  It is actually a part that we like.  Las Vegas is there but it's far enough that it's quiet out here.  We walk in the morning in the desert, not on sidewalks.  We see the mountains, not a bunch of houses.  We think 6 cars in front of us is a traffic jam.  We are 'regulars' at the casino for breakfast.  We are home.

I"m going to take my camera and I hope to come back with something I can share on the blog.  NOT a 'seen at WalMart' kind of photo but maybe something a little classier.  "Seen at Best Buy?"  LOL  No, maybe something more like Red Rock Canyon.  Hmmm, I'm over 62; I should stop by and get my Senior pass.  Just another day of life in the fast lane.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Colonoscopy - Part 2

Went in to Vegas yesterday afternoon to get the results of the colonoscopy.  Forgive me if this is more than you wanted to know but ... well, frankly, it's important.  The two polyps that were removed were flat, pre-cancerous polyps.  That means that they are difficult to spot and more difficult to remove.  The big deal though is that if I hadn't had the colonoscopy, in a couple years I would have colon cancer.  Damn it, get checked!  Don't wait, don't say maybe next year, just do it.  The doctor wants to see me in another three years.  So I'm drinking that cool-aid.

After that little visit, we went out to dinner.  Went to the same place we went with our daughter a couple weeks ago.  My wife had mussels and clams; I had a chicken pasta dish.  She was happy; I thought it was ok but not out of the park.  Drove home arriving about 21:00.  I think it's the 2nd time we've used the headlights at night on the car!  LOL Don't get out much do we?

Thought I'd end with a happy note.  We got used to buying flowers for the house when we lived in Europe.  Here's our latest bouquet.

And if you will forgive my vanity in posting a self-portrait:

Have a good one!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quiet Sunday

All right, it's just not right.  I haven't heard a single thing about today being 10/10/10.  Sorry, I just had to say it.  My wife and I both noticed and we aren't all that hot on numerology.  Isn't the world supposed to end or something?

Had a nice quiet day.  Started with our walk then went to the casino for breakfast.  Snowbirds are coming back to Nevada (or at least through it) and the place was crowded.  The Las Vegas paper says August gaming revenue was up so that's good news for the state.  It doesn't do anything for the housing market but in time it should help. 

This afternoon I did my carnitas.  The pork shoulder I bought was bigger than we needed so I have some meat left over.  Don't know what that will become but it should be interesting.  Right now I'm thinking chili but we'll see.  The last time I got inventive I made ham and bean soup using pinto beans instead of navy beans.  It tastes ok but looks like something the dog threw up.  Nasty! 

Gotta go.  I'm going to try using the charcoal grill again tonight.  I expect an ass-whipping but maybe my luck will change.  Have a good one!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Back to normal?

Normal is one of those words that doesn't say much but I think we are 'back to normal'.  Got up this a.m. and walked.  Found more stones we are using to outline the driveway.  It was only about 50F (10C) when we walked but it is warming up nicely.  Should hit 85F (30C) or so today and warmer early next week.  This is pretty nice weather for us so we are doing what we can outside.  We do have a breeze but nothing like those tornadoes they had in Northern Arizona a couple of days ago.  Then we showered, had breakfast; normal sorts of things.  Yesterday we did most of the cleaning we wanted to do in our trailer so this morning we finished that up then put the trailer back in it's shelter.  It will probably be there until after the holidays.  Then I wandered around town spending money like we have it.  Didn't buy anything special just everyday necessities.  (As long as you include scotch as a necessity!)

I bought a big chunk of pork shoulder to make carnitas.  I think that means something like 'little meats' in Spanish.  My version is taken from a comment left on a version listed on Epicurious.Com.  The guy gave a rough account of his version and I've gone from there.  I use pork but I've seen recipes that used beef.  There is a fair amount of fat but after it sits in the fridge it's easy enough to remove.  I'm sure it is too Americanized for many folks but we sure like it.  The Rotel and the chili powder gives it a very mild spice.  It is very moist; traditionally you fry it to dry it out if you want it in tacos.  My wife makes homemade salsa so we can always spice it up.

pork roast - cut up roughly
1 can reduced sodium chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel original
1t curry powder
1t chili powder
1t oregano
1t ground cumin

Salt & peppered the pork & gave it a 2 minute brown.  Cooked for about 2 hours; broke up the meat with a spoon & served.  Turned out just delicious.  Good flavor.

Have a good one!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Couldn't resist!

Another Sharon Angle idea:  Muslims are taking over cities in the US.  Will the people of Nevada actually elect this nutbag?  I sure hope not.  I'd just as soon see some real change in the Congress but I'd like someone a little more mainstream to represent me.  I got an email from someone the other day with this idea.  Now here is an idea that I do like!

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn't pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for  sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do  not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. 

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution  

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States".

Home again, naturally!

Well, obviously I made it through the procedure which is terribly minor on the scale of things.  Loved all the comments.  Poor Croft, no more popsicles!  Here they are recommended so our insurance covers them for us older people.  Maybe you aren't old enough!  No results yet, I get those  late Monday when I see the quack again.  And, as it happens, I gained .2 lb according to the Wii.  So I don't know what to say.  I'm more full of it than ever?  Laxatives don't help my problem?

The procedure was done at a Catholic hospital and my wife was saying about when she was a girl the Catholic hospitals were run by actual nuns; habits and all.  Here there wasn't a habit in sight.  It does me good to go some place like that to be reminded that everything done by a religious organization is not bad.  Of course reading in the paper about some nitwit who is protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in the middle east didn't do me any good.  Apparently this asshole thinks that since the US is becoming less homophobic we are going against his religion and that's the reason these young people are being killed.  Apparently if we started stringing up gays and lesbians our troops would be unassailable.  Or something equally asinine.  Glad I got that dose of 'religion can be good' to keep me somewhat sane.

 We are going to clean the rig today and put it away in it's shelter.  It's been sitting out beside the house waiting to be cleaned and we've just been too lazy to bother.  That reminds me that I've got two, and only two, photos to share from our San Diego jaunt.  The first is of the Point Loma Lighthouse.  It was neat to visit; when it was first erected it was a day's travel to get back to San Diego.  Now, of course, it is surrounded by one of the nicer residential areas.

The second is a reminder of the military presence in San Diego.  It is a magnificent natural harbor and the Navy has made good use of it.  We saw a ship coming into the harbor as we were leaving the light house.  It was foggy; making for very poor photos of both the lighthouse and the ship but I tried!

Between Point Loma and San Diego is a Naval reservation and a huge national cemetary. I wanted to take some photos of the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery but couldn't find a good opportunity.  It is huge and very beautiful.  It would be a lovely place to while away eternity with a great view of San Diego, the bay and the airfield.  Come to find out one of my wife's ex-father-in-laws is buried there.  Ex-Navy, of course!  The cemetery is still in use.  In fact, we stopped at a Subway for lunch and at the next table were two members of an Honor Guard getting re-fueled for another funeral.  It must be an honor to participate but depressing as well. 

Have a good one!  I'm going to go take a walk.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Fall has arrived in Pahrump.  It was 49 degrees (F) this a.m.  That's 9C for all you linear thinkers in the rest of the world.  We aren't expecting it to last long; it has been so slow in coming we expect it to be wintery pretty soon.  When we took our morning walk I needed a sweatshirt. And I got a little more exercise that I was expecting; we collected some largish rocks, about the size of a loaf of bread.

As I've said before, our yard is entirely rock with only 4 small cacti.  The fact is though that all rock is not created equal.  There is driveway rock and decorative rock; many different decorative rocks in fact.  The driveway rock has some clay mixed in with it causing it to compact really well so it can support being driven on better than just decorative rock.  Our problem is that people can't tell the difference easily so they are driving on the decorative rock which pushes the rock down in the dirt and it will just go away.  So we've decided to line the driveway with large rock so people will know where to drive.  The thing is that walking 2.5 miles is not too difficult but carrying large rocks in your hands for the last half makes it a lot more daunting!  I'm going to have one hellova handshake by the time we get the drive lined.  We are also outlining the different kinds of decorative rock with medium sized rock (fist size) but those aren't nearly as difficult as the driveway markers.

We had rain the other night.  It rained hard for about 10 minutes then it was gone but the smell remained for a couple of days.  It's funny how there is a smell to rain.  You don't notice it in most places but it is very obvious in the desert.  The next morning it was dry enough that we could take our usual walk out in the desert.  (We go a block on our street then we are out on a dirt track across the desert.)  The dirt was all loose; no longer packed down by traffic it was like we were explorers in a new world.  Then the next day it was fun to follow our own tracks.  The dog gets a big kick out of ranging far and wide at first but by the time we are headed home she is tired and comes to heel without being told.

My only other news is that I'm having a colonoscopy tomorrow morning.  Today is the day for laxatives; what fun!  Here's hoping the doctor doesn't find anything nasty and I get turned loose for another five years.  I was careful to weigh myself this morning so I can find exactly how full of it I am really.  I MAY share that news or not. 

Have a good one!