Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Hey, Where’s The Harley?

 

DSCN1209Ken has been trying to grow out the rest of his hair, so that he is party all the time instead of just party in the back. To accomplish this without having his hair looking a fright all the time, he has taken to wearing a dew rag. He is also getting a bit hairier elsewhere (watch your gutters, now). I mean he is letting his mustache and his goatee grow out, too. I think he wants handlebars by the time he is done.

Interesting . . .

DSCN1278Unfortunately, his attitude has changed as well. Why, the other day, he tried to throw me over for a wench. What nerve!

 

DSCN1276And people are beginning to think I picked up an old hippie along the way. Have you seen how many tie-dye shirts this guy has? It is unbelievable. And it is no wonder people stare when I take him in public.

DSCN1073Now he has his eye on a Harley Davidson three-wheeler. Next he will be wanting leather chaps and one of those helmets with the spike on top.

I am afraid, though, if he wants to pursue this new lifestyle (second childhood), he may need to get a less cute dog to ride his trike with.

DSCN1280Ain’t my baby adorable? (Both of them.)

DSCN1283

 

DSCN1285

Vroom! Vroom!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Comfort Foods

 

DSCF2420The other day, I talked to my Dad again. We’ve been talking often lately, which is a good thing. Only this time he had bad news. It did not catch me completely off guard, however, because when he was in the hospital a few weeks ago, I half expected a diagnosis of lung cancer to be the end result. What took me by surprise is that the doctor believes that it has already metastasized. This I was not ready for. It complicates matters more than he needs them to be.

When I am upset, I can tend to be destructive. I used to throw things, scream, and pitch fits like any overgrown two-year-old. In my maturity, I have learned to channel my frustration, my bitterness and tears, into cooking or cleaning or something along those lines. Loud music when I know I can get away with it. Crying in the shower when I cannot.

For dinner that evening, I took my aggression out on the poor chicken breasts which I had thawed earlier. And I made a huge mess of potatoes to go with. Starches, no matter their origin, seem to be universal in their comforting ability. Potatoes. Rice. Pasta. Bread. Pastries. My all-time favorite comfort food is mashed potatoes with white sauce. If I happen to have some frozen peas that I can throw in the sauce as I am making it, all the better. That night, however, I did not make mashed potatoes, though I could have easily taken more of my frustration out on mashing them to bits, that is, if I had a masher in the rig.

PA200014RECIPE: Pounded Chicken Breasts

This is the simplest way I know to make chicken breasts. And the best part is that they come out moist and tender, instead of dry as chicken breasts have a tendency to be.

Hold the chicken breast so that you can easily cut it in half, making two thin filets from each breast. Next, lay a piece of plastic wrap on your cutting board. Place one filet on top and fold the plastic over it. Take your handy dandy meat tenderizer (something no kitchen should be without) and whack the heck out of the filet until it is thinner. Turn it over and do it again. Pound each breast filet in the same manner, and feel your pent up anxieties as they leave your body.

Heat up a skillet, and add a few tablespoons of oil to the hot pan. Dredge the pounded breast filets in flour (I used rice flour to make then gluten free) and place them in the pan. It only takes about two minutes or so on each side for the filets to cook. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fixing them this way makes them about as low in fat as you can get, and still be flavorful. It is quick and simple, and there isn’t a lot of extra calories from sauces or dips to moisten the chicken after it is cooked (unless, of course, you want to add a sauce).

I served them with red potatoes prepared with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Wild rice is also a good choice. We also had a green salad on the side, with home-grown tomatoes. (What would life be without home-grown tomatoes?)

Once I was finished cooking and eating, I wasn’t as upset about my father’s health situation.

DSC00322A warning, be careful not to turn your back when you make such wonderful smelling food, or you may return to find your plate has been sampled already.

A Dog’s Life

 

DSCN1281What would it be like to be a dog? A pampered pooch? A spoiled  mutt? The reigning princess of the palace?

I envy my dogs sometimes. They have it all.

 

When they get in trouble, we humans look the other way. No need for punishment for puddles. Nature called at an inopportune moment. That’s all.

DSCN1315

When they come in, all wet and dirty, we simply towel them off and rough house a little while. We all gotta have some fun once in a while.

DSCN1319

What wouldn’t I do . . .

To have my every need met with a smile?

To be loved and cherished even when I make a mistake?

DSCN1129

To be hugged and snuggled and loved just because?

To run and chase and play whenever I want?

DSCN1243

To be so comfortable in my surroundings I could sleep anywhere, at any time?

DSCN1306

Well, I guess I do have that last one covered already . . .

DSCN1304

DSCN1340

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rainy Nights and Favorite Places

 

DSCN1317This weekend we are checking out a new private RV campground. Neskowin Creek. On our arrival, which was about an hour late because of traffic and a wrong turn, it was pouring cats and dogs. Did you know that the phrase “raining cats and dogs” comes from in the olden days when they had thatch roofs. When it would rain really hard, the pets, who slept in the thatch, fell through the roof when the thatch became too saturated with water. I imagine it probably also rained rodents. Yikes!

Anyway, on to Neskowin Creek. It must have been raining here long before we arrived, because everything was soggy, with puddles everywhere.

DSCN1311As another side note, (yes, I seem to have a lot of them some days), Tink seems to not be afraid of water any more since we played in the ocean. She was sloshing right through the puddles as if they weren’t even there. Darn her pink little butt. Last winter when we went to Seattle, I had to walk her in the rain before bed. When we were attempting to cross the street back to our motel, she put on her brakes and refused to cross because there was a tiny stream of water running down the gutter. Meanwhile, I was already halfway into the street. Just then a car whipped around the corner, going at a very reckless speed and nearly hitting me—all because Tink is tugging me back toward the wrong curb and I was stuck in the middle, trying to get us to the other side.

Wow. Do I get side tracked easily when I am tired.

Neskowin Creek wasn’t too impressive at first glance, but that was because it was almost dark and raining heavily. Accordingly, I reserved judgment until this morning, and I am glad I did. As you can see by the first picture, the sun was shining brilliantly. The puddles were gone.

DSCN1313And Ralph wasn’t lying. (You say, Huh?) There were rabbits absolutely everywhere, and they were coming right up to us, so long as we didn’t have Tinker Belle with us. They were even going right up onto people’s RV steps. Talk about getting to know the locals, which is another thing Ralph recommended. (Hi Ralph, and thank you.)

DSCN1321After taking care of some business in the office this morning, and getting plenty of tips from a well-seasoned full-timer, we meandered over to the puzzle table, just to see the progress.

Over two hours later, we remembered that Tink was still waiting for us to take her on a long walk. Oops. But it was so wonderful to just sit and relax. Idle conversation with others who came and went. No pressure to be anywhere or do anything. Not even any pressure to talk. Breathe. Pure. Simple. Aahhh.

The best part came this evening, however, when we returned for Joker Bingo. I was expecting simple Bingo. How exciting could it be, after all? The only exciting part about normal Bingo is when you get to yell, “BINGO!” If you are lucky enough, that is. When we entered the clubhouse and they were dealing out decks of cards, in my mind I was saying, “Wait a minute. Did I read the sign right?” Despite the confusion, Joker Bingo was a blast.

I even took one step toward crossing something off my bucket list. The main goal of my bucket list is to do all those things I have feared doing in the past. One of my fears has been singing in public. So on my bucket list is Karaoke. Well, tonight, as part of Joker Bingo, the “joker” part involved different things the players had to do. I was fortunate enough to be one of those who had to entertain the rest of the group. I decided to sing a camp song from way back in my school days. On top of spaghetti. Maybe you sang it as a child, too. I’ve never laughed so hard among strangers.

So, the final review of Neskowin Creek RV Resort: Two thumbs way up.

The Colors of Autumn

 

DSC00214

 

DSC00221

 

DSC00303

 

DSC00328

 

DSC00323

 

DSC00334

 

DSC00335

 

DSC00338

 

P9300590

 

DSCN1118

 

DSCN1275

. . . and nothing says “autumn” better than a slice of pumpkin pie.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Collage Foods

 

DSCN1274Have you ever been treated like a long-lost, beloved friend upon first meeting? Have you ever sat down for a meal in a new restaurant and felt like part of the family? Have you ever felt like such a welcome part of the unique collection of patrons in that restaurant, that a conversation at one table easily carries over to the next? Laughter is shared as if we were all long-time friends. Laughter, the unifying bond between this group of hungry souls. Kismet is the only word I can think of right now to describe it all.

We had such an experience this evening at a new restaurant in Lincoln City, Oregon. Yesterday when we were out antique shopping, we just happened upon Colleen, the proprietor and chef of Collage Foods, when we entered in the wrong door, in search of a cup of coffee. Before directing us to the Cyber Garden CafĂ© next door, we had a wonderful conversation about the fresh, organic produce she was preparing for the weekend’s menu. It was, as I said, like we had run into an old friend. So we promised to return the next night for dinner, as her restaurant is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings.

DSCN1270It was even so homey that we did an art project at our table while waiting for our dinner. Ken and I jointly made a collage of the ocean. The shark infested waters were his doing.

I must enter a bit of a warning to die-hard meat eaters. This is a vegetarian restaurant. Even so, my guy was willing to forego his steak to please me. I so wanted to try the pumpkin au-gratin Colleen was preparing—and it was well worth it. Ken had a stir fry with wild and brown rice, which was also delightful. He did comment, though, that it might have been better with scallops. That would have been too much for me, because I thought it was perfect just the way it was.

I must also say, however, that my guys, both my hubby and my son, are known to indulge my forays into vegetarianism, as I try to have at least one meatless meal per week. I had to quit using tofu for a while because it is my son’s absolute worst nightmare. But if I really want to gross him out, all I have to do is cut up some dry pack tofu and begin nibbling, without marinating or cooking or anything. Yum! (Yes, I know I am weird.)

If you visit Collage Foods, I am sure you will have a similar experience. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Pug Funny

 

On the hunt for Mama’s hat:

DSCN1259

I think I can. I think I can.

DSCN1260

I just know I can get under the chair. There’s treasure under there.

DSCN1258

I can’t quite reach it.

DSCN1261

Oops! Mama, I’m stuck. Help!

DSCN1262

Such a lucky dog that Mama and Daddy know how to rescue their precious Tinker Belle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How Low Can You Go?

 

Showers are a modern marvel. It is said that the first private man-made showers in use in the United States were at the Hearst Castle. It is rumored that when Mr. Hearst’s guests were faced with needing to freshen up and found this oddity instead of the normal bathtub in the guest rooms, they tried to plug the drains so as to make the shallow drain pan of the shower into a tub. How bizarre, considering that the shower is one of today’s necessities of life.

Even more bizarre is all the different forms this modern marvel comes in today in our campgrounds and other public facilities. There are pay showers, as if manipulating a coin into a tiny slot with soapy fingers and shampoo in your eyes was suppose to be easy. There are showers with preset temperatures, where one will scald you and the next will freeze you. And there are some with controls even a rocket scientist would be hard pressed to figure out.

The campground we just left, Beverly Beach, had showers which seemed only appropriate for children or anorexic midgets. Please forgive me if you fall into the second category. I mean no disrespect by the reference. I, myself, am a distant, blonder cousin of the Amazon women (or so it seems). I am large and have incredibly long legs for my 5’ 9” frame. The shower heads in the Beverly Beach showers hit the middle of my back. In order to wash my hair, I had to limbo Louie, while at the same time trying not to touch the tile walls which where incredibly close together. And forget trying to dry off within the tiny designated “dry” area within the shower stall. I finally had to give up and forego any shyness and my fear of being nude in public, leaving those claustrophobic confines for the larger community area. Luckily, every time I went to shower, I had great timing, as I had the four-stall room to myself.

Behold, however, the glory of the Devil’s Lake State Park shower stalls. Each shower on B loop has its own room. Each shower head is at a  more appropriate level for adults. I could wash my hair without stooping, craning, or squatting. And each tiled shower stall is large enough that I was even able to safely bend over to shave my legs, something I was definitely unable to do at Beverly Beach in the H loop showers. Though I later found out that one loop over, they had “good” showers.

My long legs are great for many things, such as taking long strides and covering more distance in a shorter time. My height has been a benefit most of my life, being able to reach top shelves from an early age. I was even taller than many of the boys in my sixth grade class. In high school, they caught up with me, though.

Even though Ken is about an inch taller than I, I have longer legs. He often complains when he has to drive after me because the seat will be all the way back, and he has to readjust it.

The other day I drove the Raven for the first time. It was technically not much of a test on my part, as I only went 5 mph, with little to no obstacles or traffic, and my destination was maybe half a mile through the campground to the dump station and back to our site (no sewer hookups in most of Beverly Beach State Park). Ken backed it in. I had barely mastered backing our king cab Chevy truck before we sold it, so there’s no way I am ready to try backing this beast, especially without a rearview mirror or backup camera (which is on our wish list).

With the driver’s seat as far back as it will go, I am still way too close to the pedals. Now I know why Ken sits on two pillows when driving (it raises him sufficiently to get him far enough away from the pedals, since our seats do not adjust up and down). My calf and foot were cramping even from my tiny little jaunt. I cannot imagine driving a couple hundred miles without taking steps to fix this issue. We may have to put a new driver’s seat on our wish list as well.

So, limbo Louie in the shower and pillows under my bum to drive. Height does have some disadvantages. At least I am not as tall as my son, who, when standing upright, grazes his spiky hair on the ceiling. At 6’5”, his legs are easily 3 or 4 inches longer than  mine. Can you imagine him trying to drive our chariot?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pug Funnies, Two

Tinker Belle’s Beach Adventures
DSC00081
Ready to race, mama.
DSC00167
Uh oh, it’s starting to get a little deep.
DSC00179
Whoa! My belly is getting wet.
DSC00062
It is much safer up here with daddy.
DSC00224
Oh, no. I see trouble coming. I better be a good girl.
DSC00235
I don’t think mommy loves me anymore. Maybe because I poo’ed under the table.
DSC00236
“Hey Boo Boo. I see a pic-a-nic basket.”
DSC00244
In a pack-it-in pack-it-out campground, even the dog has to do her “duty.”
DSC00291
Now I am in prison. Maybe because I chewed on mommy’s slippers.
DSC00294
Alas, what’s a Pug to do?
DSC00301
I think I will just lay here on the picnic table and sun myself.
Life is good.

**No Pugs were harmed in the creation of this blog post, only a little humiliated by having to carry her own poo.