Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hallelujah, it's Christmas Day

Hallelujah - The Canadian Tenors
 I love this song by these guys! 
The tempo seems a bit slow,  but this is the best version I could get on YouTube.

Thank you all for the nice (and funny) comments about Katie in her Christmas Reindeer outfit - She DOES look like a deer in the headlights - that was a good one!  Exactly what she looks like.  And I'm SURE she was thinking, "Hurry up with the damn picture and get me out of these things!"  She is such a good sport.  She looks kind of scared, but she was really okay with it.  I have written before that, although I think she is a really good dog and I love her madly, she doesn't get cute expressions on her face like a lot of dogs do.  But once in a while...  like in the reindeer stuff, she actually has an expression!  LOL  (Even if she looks miserable.)

Katie had a fantastic Christmas with Tom and Trish and the kids.  The baby Graydin, who is going to be two in April, LOVES her and loves to chase her. At their house, which is huge, he chases her around and around the downstairs, which Katie loves, and Graydin just giggles and keeps running.  The only problem at my place, which is about 1,100 sf including the small kitchen, two bedrooms, a dressing room, and two baths, which leaves a very small living/dining room, is that HERE, Graydin can catch her!  At first he tried to kick and hit her, he is very aggressive, but it didn't take long for him to learn that he needed to be nice and gentle with Katie, and by the end of the day he was playing ball with her.  So cute!

Every one liked their presents, the turkey dinner turned out great, and we all took a walk down to the lake to feed the ducks. After dinner and presents everyone settled down to watch a Christmas movie, during which Gavin, six, and I found some peace and quiet in my room and I read him a dinosaur pop-up book that I got him.  It's a beautiful book with very intricate dinosaurs that pop up on each page, with 4 to six little booklets with little pop-ups on each page, too.  Wonderfully done and he loved it.  Hard to pronounce those dinosaur names, though.  They were spelled phonetically also, but were still hard to pronounce.

  Trish and Tom at dinner

 Kennedy, Me and Gavin (recognize the antlers and scarf?)

 Graydin wearing his sister's Uggs - Katie with her ball

And everyone loved the Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes!

With all the rain we've had, I noticed a leak in my bedroom yesterday.  I e-mailed the home owner's association and got the go ahead to contact the man they use for leaks, so I sent him an e-mail to call me.  I couldn't believe I got a phone call this morning at 8:30 am, and he was here at 9:30 to check it out, on Christmas!  He said there's a two day window to check it out because of the mold possibilities.

We've had some real issues here, because for at least 15 years our absolutely, positively, awful board that was representing us for 15 years (we have a new one now) did absolutelly positively nothing in the area of maintenance to our condos. We're just all learning that not only did they do pretty much nothing, when the did any maintenance or repairs they used "bandaids" and the wrong kind of bandaids.  Nothing was done correctly, and now the current owners are paying, and are going to be REALLY paying soon for all those years of deferred maintenance.  Our entire roofing system is bad, was done wrong.  Roofer went bankrupt, and the current HOA board can't even find the paperwork.

So, what I found out this morning is that the poorly done roof and gutter system on my condo is gushing water that's getting into my walls, under the concrete that my place is built on, it's all wet, my carpet is wet underneath, etc.  Part of my living room underflooring has shifted.  I, along with others in my model, will probably have walls taken down and re-built, the underflooring redone, etc.  Some are already in progress.

The only good part is that I may get a new carpet in the bedroom and a new sliding door in the living room.  But you can bet we are all going to get a huge assessment in the next month or two.  There goes my RV fund!

From Me and Katie, Merry Christmas evening, everyone!  Hope your holiday was the BEST!  : )

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

A big WELCOME to our new Follower, Laurel King.  Laurel, I don't see a blog listed for you, if you have one (or start one) leave me a message so I can also follow you. : )  I hope you enjoy following along with us on our adventure to full-timing. 

I haven't been posting regularly lately, but have been keeping up with you.  I have a couple of photos to show you.  Finally, on my way home from work yesterday, I saw the surfer sculpture with clothes.  But check this out - kind of disappointing.  A torn tee-shirt?  I'm not sure what it is.

I don't know what it means, but he was also in the news tonight, so I Googled and found this most recent offering - he's being attacked by a spider.  Not very Christmasy.

 Cardiff Kook - December 12, 2010

I love the photos you all get of lots of birds on the overhead wires, and on the same trip home I was stopped at a light and looked up and:

I got one!  I love these photos!

The last thing is...  I'm cooking the turkey tomorrow for my son and his family.  I've been very busy all week shopping, wrapping last minute gifts, picking up the last of the food I needed, cleaning, etc.  I love making turkey and dressing and gravy, but it seems like just when things are really busy in the kitchen, the MASHED POTATOES need to be mashed.  And I have a small galley kitchen.  So I looked on line for a make ahead recipe for the potatoes and found one that looked good.  I tried it out tonight so that I could just pop it in the oven tomorrow.  There was extra after I filled the casserole dish, so I had some for MY dinner tonight. 

All I can say is:  DELICIOUS!  Really good.  I minced the onion up really small and it added such flavor to the potatoes!  I didn't do the garlic, but may in the future.  I hope the kids like them, because I made a LOT!

I don't know how many pounds I used - I just used five large russets, with the peels off.  Here's the recipe - if you are interested in it, click and it will be clearer:

 Now I'm going to relax and enjoy my evening, because tomorrow's going to be early and busy!

 Is this the strangest looking Reindeer you've ever seen?


From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a Very Merry Christmas, everyone!  : )

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Magic Carpet Ride in Cardiff, CA

On my way home from work I can take the freeway - "the 5," as it's called - which I usually do, but if there is a lot of traffic, I take the turnoff to the ocean and drive up Highway 101 - the coast route.  Then I pass by a sculpture in Cardiff that has an interesting story.

Per the North County Times, "The surfing sculpture has had a bumpy ride.  "The Magic Carpet Ride" was unveiled in Cardiff in July 2007.  Unofficially, locals dubbed it the "Cardiff Kook," criticizing the surfer's stance of a novice." 

This is the sculpture:

The Magic Carpet Ride, July 2007

People have been surreptitiously decorating it since then, and every so often a photo appears in the paper, such as:

Snorkel goggles, a bonnet, women's underwear, and an umbrella in August 2008

 This was Easter weekend April 2009
 Fourth of July 2009

 "Jaws" July 2010
The shark had a stealthy start. Papier-mache fins were spotted across the highway prior to the "attack" and the fins had moved closer to the well-known statue over the course of a week.You can barely make out two gray fins on the ground in front of the "shark."

 Clown with balloons - August 2010

Zorro - September 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - October 2010

There are more, but you get the idea.  I drive by the statue a couple of times a week, but I have never seen one of the costumes.  At least, not yet...   : )  It's kind of a fun thing - of course, the sculptor is insulted.  He doesn't like people making fun of his sculpture. 

I saw the surfer statue when I took the coast route this morning - traffic on the freeway was awful with the rain - well, kind of rain.  Really just drizzle on and off.  Clogging the freeway.  What would San Diego do if it snowed?  We couldn't cope.  Coming from the Sierras where it snows in the winter and people just go about their business, it's absolutely amazing to me that a little drizzle almost doubles my commute sometimes, but it does. 

That's all I've got for today - a little bit of local history.

From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  : )

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm almost ready for Christmas

Well, I'm almost ready for Christmas!

My son and his family are coming here for Christmas dinner.  I have a small condo and Tom has a huge house - a really huge house - so he always hosts when we have holidays or family get-togethers.  This year, Kristy and her family are coming the week following Christmas, so on Christmas Day, it will only be me and Tom, his wife, and three kids.  So this will be a great time for me to cook the turkey.

I've got most of the food - just need a few more things including the turkey.

Monday night I made a double batch of my world famous fudge.  I used to make it every year, batches and batches, and bring some to work, give some to friends and family, but I haven't made it in a while.  It's just the Fantasy Fudge recipe on the marshmallow creme jar, but somehow mine is smoother than other people's fudge that I've tasted.  I'm not bragging - it just IS.

I make great turkey dressing, gravy and fudge.  I've always said anyone who can read, can cook.  No excuses.  You just need to be able to read and WANT to follow a recipe.  So, I can cook, and most things I make are pretty good.  But my fudge, turkey dressing, and gravy really are GREAT.  It's nice to have something you're great at.  : )  I'm a good person to have around during the holidays. : ))))

This year I got a container that sprinkles candy cane crumbs, and I sprinkled candy cane crumbs on the tops of the fudge in the pans.  I made two pans without nuts, because my family doesn't like the nuts, but that makes it too sweet for me, and so I made one pan with chopped walnuts.  After the pans had cooled in the fridge, I cut out a tiny piece of the walnut fudge (see top left corner of square pan - really tiny piece gone!) to see what it tastes like with the candy cane sprinkles, and it was the BEST!  I'll see what my family thinks.  If they like it, I have a new twist to my familiar fudge recipe.

I've never used foil before, but it makes sense - less clean-up, the fudge should come out easily.

 The tiny bite I had was delicious - I liked the peppermint on the top.

The pans of fudge don't look very fancy, but once I cut it in squares and put them in pretty boxes, they will look good.  When I make it in a round or oval pan, I always square it off and keep the curved pieces for myself.  Yum.

Since three grandchildren will be here for Christmas, one less than two years old, and then Kristy's family is staying with me this year while they are here for a few days, and some of us will be sleeping on the floor - having a campout in our sleeping bags (I'll let Kristy and Matt have my bed), I thought I'd better shampoo my carpet.  So yesterday after work I got out the carpet shampooer and got all the carpets shampooed.  It looks really nice - and clean.

I was tired and hungry after vacuuming and then shampooing, so I microwaved a fish dinner, made a Waldorf salad, sat in front of the TV and finished every bite.  And fell asleep.  When I woke up, the carpet was dry so I put back all the furniture and things I had moved off the carpet, cleaned up the shampooer, and was done.

Not much else to do.  The presents are bought and wrapped, the house is ready, and just a little food shopping to go.

I always make my own Christmas cards, and usually have them all mailed out by the end of November, but this year...  Well, I'm lagging a bit.  I've put together a couple, printed a sample, and haven't liked them.  I'll have to work on them again and try to get something I like.

When Gavin was here for his Birthday cake baking, I showed him a Christmas tree I made in Photoshop Elements.  He didn't like the way I positioned the buttons (ornaments), so I pulled up the file and asked him how he would have done it.  I moved the buttons where he liked them, and I think I may print it out on photo paper and paste on the front of cardstock, put a greeting inside, and call it a Christmas card for 2010.  I really like the way he positioned the buttons.  Here is what he did.  What do you think?

 I think this is the one!

On nice shiny photo paper, it looks great.  Perfect size.  Gavin specifically liked the "zig-zag" of the diamond buttons.  He took a photo of the tree home to tape to his door.  They are so cute at six years old. 

From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a great Wednesday everyone!  : )

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My 100th post! And grandson Gavin's birthday

I love milestones, and 100 posts is a milestone for me.  Especially the way I'm posting lately! :)

Last week was my grandson, Gavin's, sixth birthday.  He's in kindergarten this year.  So Gavin came over on Wednesday to bake a birthday cake.

When my grandkids have a birthday, I have them over to bake a cake for themselves and decorate them to bring home for their birthday.  (At least my son's kids.  Kristy's two live too far away, but I bake with them when I can.)  Lots of kids don't help mom bake in the kitchen anymore - in fact I'm not sure my kids helped me when they were little.  I made their birthday cakes myself.  But now that I'm a grandmother, it seems important to let them bake and decorate their own cakes.

Here are Gavin's, from 3 to 6 years old:

 3 years old - blowing out his candle.

 Yummy cupcake!

 4 years old - measuring.

 Decorating star-shaped cupcakes.

 5 years old - this poor cake looked great when it was decorated, kind of...

 Getting ready to blow out the candles!

6 years old - licking the bowl, the best part!

 Decorating the cake.

Beautiful! He carefully drew lines, crossed them, put patches of color - all very carefully constructed.

It's really fun to see how Gavin has grown.  At first I just let him stir the batter, then each year he did more of the prep.  This year I measured, and he did everything else, pouring the ingredients into the bowl, stirring, pouring the batter into the pans, and all the decorating.  I decorated one and he decorated one.  He wanted to take a photo of me holding "my" cake:

Happy Birthday Gavin!

That's a tired Grammy at the end of a long day, but the photo he took of me was actually flattering, I thought. I was pretty beat by this time.  Such tired eyes...   But worth it for the memories!  Notice the professional-like decorated cake! Gavin was very impressed - I love working with kids!  : )  

Then the next night at 5:30 Gavin had a pizza party with a few of his closest friends at his house - here are a few photos from that evening:

  Blowing out the candles.

 Gavin and his sister, Kennedy

Gavin, baby brother Graydin, and Kennedy

And that's it until next Saturday when the REAL birthday party is - a couple of Gavin's best friends couldn't come on Saturday, that's why they had the pizza night.  He's having quite a Birthday this year!

From me and Katie, have a great Tuesday, everyone!  : ) 

PS:  If you noticed the difference in my kitchen counters, the first year the tile was an old yellow - from the early 1960s. Still pretty much in good shape, just worn.  The next three birthdays, look at the tile - beautiful.  That's what my company does - refinishing.  Kitchen counters, vanities, bathtubs.  Instead of replacing the fixture, you can have it refinished.  Click on the photos to really see what a difference it made in my kitchen and bathrooms.  : )

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Monday

WELCOME to our new follower, The Old Geezer! Thank you for following along with us as we prepare to RV full time.  Hopefully in one more year!

I just haven't felt like blogging lately, but am still enjoying reading your blogs!  So glad Gypsy made it home safely in her new "Sir Lance-A-Lot!"  What an experience she had in her adventure to pick up her new truck camper between the baked potato disaster and "the fall," she's had quite a time of it.

I was also wishing I was on the cruise with Kim, it looked and sounded wonderful, but she is already back home, it seemed so short to me.

Jeana is still in Arizona, I guess, checking out new homes and RVs to full time (?) in.  She has given me some new ideas - with home prices in Las Vegas and Merced so depressed, I am thinking I might buy a home after I retire in one of these areas, and use it as a home base for RVing.  I'd sure love to have a home base to return to once in a while, and have waiting when (if) I tire of RVing full time.  We'll see.  I'll figure that out when the time is closer.

I am going to have a Realtor come by soon, maybe this weekend, and let me know what he thinks my condo would sell or lease for at this time, and if he has any idea of the numbers for one year from now.  That will give me an idea to plan from.

Even the people who aren't RVing full time are traveling.  And the snowbirds.  Some of you have found warmer weather, and for the rest, I hope things warm up for you soon!

New mushroom family in the yard:

There are three more families, but I won't take space for them all.  I love my mushrooms. : )

Above is just an odd-ball photo I took when I was up in Julian a month or so ago.  These large concrete stairs looked like they were very important once upon a time.  I stopped the car and walked up them to see if anything was left of the home they used to lead to.  Nothing.  Just brush, weeds, and trees.  I wonder what the house and grounds looked like in it's prime.  Funny how sometimes all that's left is a chimney or stairs.  If these weren't concrete, they would have been long gone.

That's all for now.  My grandson had a 6th birthday last week, I'll post some photos tomorrow.

From me and Katie, have a great Monday evening, everyone! : )

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Katie's bike ride, a little Christmas decorating

Last weekend I tried out the bike with Katie in the basket.  Unfortunately there's something wrong - I'm going to have to bring the bike to a bike shop or have the man next store look at it for me.  When I put Katie in the basket and walked the bike, there was a rubbing sound.  I couldn't tell where it was coming from, somewhere in the front, and the front tire looked like it had lost a little air.  I think I'll take it down to a bike shop and have everything checked out.

It was really hard to ride - even downhill - so I decided not to risk wrecking the bike and just walked Katie for a couple of blocks.

 Hey, Mom, this is fun!

I have to tell you - Katie was a natural!  She just loved it.  Never even tried to jump out.

When I walked her back up our little hill I parked it and held on the the handlebars to steady the bike to get her out and she wouldn't budge.  Just looked away from me.  So I checked what I could on the front brake, tried to see where the rubbing was coming from, but - nothing obvious to me.

Don't park - let's going again!

Finally I had to MAKE her get out of the basket, and she let me lift her out.  I have no worries that she'll be fine when we're streaming down the roadway.  If I can get in good enough shape to stream anywhere! : )

 Okay, Okay!  Lift me out already!  But I'm not happy.

Today I did a little Christmas decorating.  I put up a lighted wreath on my mantle mirror and hung my Barbie ornaments from it, a couple of outside decorations, wreath on the front door, etc.  Small things here and there. I have scented candles lit and the fireplace going.  It's very cozy here tonight.

 This is an Electric Fireplace, I love it!

Christmas presents all wrapped -  a few more to buy!

I am going to a Christmas show/service at my friend Alice's "other" church.  Alice is in her 80's, as quick, bright, healthy and busy as any 40 year old I know.  MUCH busier than I am.  She married a man a few years her senior around three years ago.  They had the BEST marriage for close to two years, then he died.  He and his family were very active in a different church, so Alice started going to his church with him.  Now that he is not here with her, she is dividing her time between his church and our church here at the lake.  The service tonight is at her late husband's church.

Alice invited me and Jan, from our church here at the Lake.  I haven't seen Jan for a long while, and am looking forward to seeing them both tonight.

That's it for today.  It's been a busy weekend, and now I have to get ready.  Alice is coming by at 6:00 to pick me up.

From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a nice Sunday evening, everyone! : )

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Subscribed to Norton and an AOL RANT!

WELCOME to our new follower - I don't have a name ("Hi" is all I've got) or blog site, so I can't thank you by name, but we're still very happy to have you along on our journey to future full-timing. 

Unfortunately my blogging has become very sporadic lately, I'll try to do better!  I've been either too busy or too lazy.  And there's not a lot going on in my neck of the woods lately.  When I have real "woods" outside my windows that should improve. : )

I decided my laptop needs a new program to protect it, and my brain doesn't.

I subscribed to Norton Internet Security.  My original 30-day trial is up so I'm going to continue it. It really does make me feel safer and more secure, so that's the one I've chosen to protect my laptop. It's also the one recommended by our IT guy here at work.

Warning - long winded rant ahead:

Then I TRIED to cancel my subscription to Cognifit that I posted about a month ago.  They have a 30-day refund policy, and I opted to use it.  I still think it's a great program, it ended up costing me nothing, and I found out my brain is still working just fine. Good to know. : )  (And there are other free programs you can access that seemed to do the same thing for you.)  If I was having difficulty performing the tasks, I would have kept it, because then obviously I would NEED it.

I e-mailed Cognifit that I wished to cancel and have my initial payment refunded.  They immediately e-mailed me back (this was over the weekend, so I was surprised to hear from them so soon) that since I went through someone else to purchase, I had to cancel through them. 

So, I then tried to cancel through AOL, since I purchased through them.  Since I am not a member of AOL, I didn't have the option to speak to a live PERSON, but had to send an e-mail.  I needed to go onto my personal page and click on the program I purchased, then cancel it from there.  Soooooo, I go onto my personal AOL page, where it shows I am not subscribed to ANY programs.  That 's funny, since I was already charged through AOL for the first month. 

There was absolutely no option offered by AOL to contact them. 

I could not call - I tried the number provided and was informed by a message voice that if I didn't have an AOL account number, I couldn't speak to a live person. However, if I wished to join AOL as a paying member.....   

I couldn't send an e-mail.  You can cancel certain listed services provided by AOL by e-mail, but Cognifit was not listed.  I was not subscribed to any services on my "page."  Therefore, I couldn't e-mail. 

I looked everywhere I could think, did a bunch of Google searches, clicked on every "contact us" link provided by AOL, only to be brought back to the same messages. : (

I finally called the number shown on my AMEX bill that is associated with the charge.  The woman I talked with was very nice, but she said I was not signed up for any programs.  She was very sorry, but since I wasn't signed up, she couldn't cancel it for me. 

My only option at this point was to dispute the charge through AMEX.  Which I did, and asked to have it removed.  It's in process now, according to a letter I've received from AMEX, and they will let me know.

I'm thinking that AOL takes your application, charges your account, but does not show the service on your AOL page until the 30 days are up.  Then they probably list the service, but at that point, it's too late to take advantage of the 30-day refund policy.  Since I was unable to reach anyone other than the number provided in my AMEX bill, I don't know for sure, but ??????

I think it's awful to provide a service that bills monthly, offer a 30-day refund policy, then have absolutely NO WAY to contact the company to cancel.  So, beware purchasing anything that you see on the home page AOL has - they often have interesting stories I click on to read, and they are really "advertorials," trying to sell something.  If it looks good, GO TO THE PRODUCT'S WEBSITE AND ORDER FROM THEM.  It might cost a bit more, but at least you can reach the provider if you want to cancel it.

Thanks - it's nice to get that off my chest!

From me and Katie, have a great Thursday, everyone!  : )

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Santa's message to Katie

WELCOME to our new Follower, Taz -  Only a Moment in the Grand Scheme of Things.  Thank you for following along with me and Katie on our journey to future RV full-timing.

My daughter sent me e-mails with messages from Santa to her kids, and I thought they were so cute, I did one for Katie.  Honest, I'm really a normal person with a dog who is a pet.  I really don't think she's a real person,  I just think these things are cute.

This is free, and you can go on the website and make them up for your kids or grandkids.  Or husband or wife.  I'm going to e-mail Katie's to my grandkids.  I doubt they will question that Santa will bring Kristy a present from the North Pole.

 Santa checking his book for Katie's file

My grandson Andrew was doing well, just needed to try a little harder to keep his room clean and help around the house - he's five.  Lauren, on the other hand, little darling Lauren who is three, Santa put her on the "Naughty List" for now, and told her she needed to keep her voice quieter in the house.  Poor thing.  Oh well, maybe she will try harder for Santa.

 Katie's file in Santa's Book

So here it is:

Santa's Message to Katie

Click on the link above; be patient, it takes a minute to load.

Have a happy weekend, everyone, from Me and Katie! : )

Thursday, November 25, 2010



I am very thankful for all my loyal Followers and also the other folks who read my blog.  I am thankful for the wonderful comments I receive.  And I'm thankful for two new followers:

WELCOME to Karen, our new follower!  It's nice to have you along for our journey.  I don't see a blog listed for you, let me know if you start one.

And WELCOME to Tom at Big Sky Chief, a man who cooks!  It's nice to have you along to share our daily adventures as we prepare to RV full-time.

I'm thankful for this RV blogging community.  I'm thankful for having my dream to RV full-time with my dog, Katie.  When I am able to follow through with this dream, it will open so many doors to  me and also solve a lot of problems I would otherwise have when I retire.  It will be, I hope, the perfect solution to retirement for me.  I can't wait! : )

The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and lasted three days!  That sounds like a long holiday, but these days most of us get four days off, so...  Lucky Us!

I'm thankful for so many things.  I'm not going to list the things I'm thankful for - it would be too long.  Every year it grows.  All year long I appreciate my family - I have two wonderful kids who've given me five perfect grandchildren and they would top the list, and of course Katie.

I'm sitting here typing as I watch the Macy's Parade - there's a really good float of a huge turkey going down the road right now.  I'm thankful even for little things like that.  I'm in my warm home, Katie is laying out in the sun on the patio, four days off ahead of me. A fridge full of food, cupboards full enough to find almost anything I'd need for any recipe I'd care to make.  A car full of gas - I can drive anywhere I want.  Great neighbors around me.  These are the kinds of things I'm lucky enough to have all year long, and I DO appreciate them all year long.

 Isn't he beautiful?

My son and his family drove up to visit my daughter and her family in Vacaville, and I know they are all going to have soooo much fun.  The grandchildren all love to be together, so it's a treat for them when the families visit.  I'll see them all together during Christmas week down here in San Diego, and I'm looking forward to that.

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving everyone, from Me and My Dog, Katie! : )