Tuesday, November 29, 2016

eating good!

Good morning.We're having one of the coldest weeks so far this year. Sunday was cloudy, windy and rainy with a high of only 50! We look to be below normal temps all week with highs only in the low 50's. That should be our highs at the end of Dec. But it should be sunny the rest of the week, so that will help. We're working on some inside decorations, and I'll take some pics when we are finished.
Craig has been making some good food.
Ravioli lasagna!
Um-mm! It was good! Paired it with roasted Parmesan zucchini. And enough for leftovers.
Next day, turkey Kielbasa with peppers and onions and mozzarella cheese.
We are still walking every day, but with the very cold mornings(low 40's) we've moved our walks to the afternoon.
I've been asked to apply to be on the Architectural Review Committee. They have an opening, and one of the current members think I'd be a good fit.  I'm thinking about it but not sure I want to commit myself.  It's only 4 days a month for about an hour each morning, but still not sure I'm ready for a regular routine yet. I'm still enjoying my retirement freedom.  :-)
And that's all I've got for now. Now I've got to get the trash cans out. Tuesday is pick-up day.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

liquid deliciousness!

Good afternoon.
Today is by far one of the worst days weather wise we've had since we've been coming out here. Today is a high of only 50, with clouds, wind and scattered rain.  But still better than a lot of other places.   :-)
So, we made a big batch of broth.....
Bags of veggie clippings we've saved from other meals along with the first Thanksgiving carcass.
Liquids Craig saved from various meals.
All simmered down to a delicious base!
11 wonderful pints of hearty liquid. Ready for Craig to use to boil rice or noodles, or add to any meal that requires plain water. He's been doing this for years!
And here's our Christmas tree.....
Just a little 3 footer placed in the corner of the kitchen counter. It fits perfectly behind the sink! We don't do a lot of indoor decorating, but I'll post a few pics once we do put out what we have.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

ready for Christmas.

Good morning.
As usual, I'm stuffed from Thanksgiving and the leftovers the day after.  But we did power walk twice yesterday, so that's a good restart.   :-)
We have 2 trees in the front yard. The one on the left is an African Sumac, and the one on the right is a Southern Live Oak. They are both evergreen and keep most of their leaves all winter.  The Oak even has acorns.
But as I found out, the oak doesn't like to be decorated for Christmas....
The interior of the tree is filled with short sharp twiggy branch thingies that really tear at you. But I got it done. Obviously I need to wear a long sleeve shirt next year. Also, I discovered that decorating trees in brilliant sunshine is very difficult. You can't tell where you've already put lights. It was much easier back in cloudy dreary Michigan.. :-)
I also wanted to do each bush with a different color. I had to run to nearly a dozen different stores to find colors other than green, red and blue.
But here's the end result with about 4000 lights.........


The lighted globes along the sidewalk aren't bushes, but chicken wire I bent into globes and covered with lights. We're not allowed to put plants that close to the foundation and I thought it needed something there for Christmas.  If you click on the last pic, you'll see our steel door lighted up. Craig wired lights to the inside of the door. Gives the door a real neat effect.
It's really nice to be able to put lights up any day I want and in nice weather.   :-)   It reached a high of 62 yesterday.  I did finally turn the heat on as the last few evening have been very cold.  Upper 30's and the temp inside had dropped below 70. A little too chilly for us in the morning. But it is almost Dec.   :-)
We did put up some decorations inside, but not much. We have a small 3 ft tree I'll probably decorate today. We're not big on decorations, but love all the lights.
It's now been just over 3 months since we retired. Still lovin it!   :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving.

Good afternoon and Happy Thanksgiving! 
We have the turkey in the oven, it's sunny and 63 out, and life is good!
We also have a free pumpkin pie!
For over 20 years, a customer of Craig's has brought us a fresh, made from scratch,out of the oven pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving. When we moved here I figured we'd have to buy one, but to my surprise, our Realtor that we bought the house from 2 years ago, gives away pies every year! So yesterday, we received our pumpkin pie. it was nice to see her again. She was an awesome Realtor!  And no, it wasn't made from scratch, but it still is a very nice gesture.
So as we celebrate our first Thanksgiving, in our new home, in our new state, and newly retired, I hope all my readers have a nice holiday too. We're living the dream!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

projects

Good evening.
Yes, an evening post. I'm trying desperately to stay awake later so I don't keep getting up so early. After 3 months here, I'm not having very good luck.   :-)
Anyway, I've got some pics of the wall cabinets I've added to the garage....
Of course, they come in 'kits' that need to be put together. We got 4 cabinets and placed them side by side along the back wall of the garage. We have a pretty deep garage, so plenty of room for them and to walk around the cars.
And here's the completed cabinets with the items we are storing underneath them.
Everything fits perfectly. Even room for the ladder at the end.
Craig originally was going to hire a handyman to mount the cabinets, but I said let me try to do it. I think they look pretty good! And saved us some money!   :-)
And I think we have enough Christmas lights to decorate the outside.
1400 lights total. When I get everything done, I'll take some pics.
Also, we did get our 4 turkeys. We have one thawing in the fridge right now. We also got a nice ham. Like I said, they have some good sales on meat. Our little chest freezer is pretty full.
And before I fall asleep here in the chair, time to go to bed.

Friday, November 18, 2016

a day trip to Laughlin NV

Good morning.
We took a little drive down to Laughlin NV. yesterday. It's a small resort area down at the corner of Nevada on the Colorado River meeting Arizona. It took us about 2 hours from the northern part of the Vegas Valley, mainly due to all the traffic in Vegas. No easy way to get from the northern valley to the southern valley. You either take the 215 all the way around, or you go through the city. Either way, it takes a lot of time. But it was a nice drive. We had been there once before, but many many years ago.
Here's a few not so good pics....

The boat in the pic below is a water taxi that shuttles people back and forth to the 7 or 8 casino resorts along the river.
We started out at Harrah's at the far end and spent the day working ourselves to the other end. Checked out all the casino resorts, the views, and had lunch. Did a little gambling, but as usual, no luck. Got back to Vegas right in the middle of rush hour. Took some time to make it back home, but got home without incidence.
In other news.....
The weather has definitely cooled this week after a warmer than normal fall, with our daytime temps now in the mid to upper 60's. Nighttime temps in the 40's to low 50's. Wore long pants for the first time since we got here yesterday.
We also picked up a couple of wall cabinets we want to hang in the garage. Got 2 on Wed. and plan on getting 2 more. So this weekend will probably be assembling them and hanging them on the wall. Will be nice to get the garage more organized. And so far, we have 2 turkeys and plan to get 2 more this weekend. They are not as cheap as back in Michigan, but still a real good value.
And speaking about prices, we've found some things are cheaper out here, and some are not. But that's to be expected considering regional pricing. So over all, I think we're spending about the same here as back in Michigan.
Well, that's it for now...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

haircut day.

Good morning.
Well, yesterday I had to stay at home while waiting for Fed-ex to arrive. For some stupid reason, the new phone I ordered for Craig had to be signed for. Soooo, I made use of the time. I power cleaned the master bath, dusted all the wood furniture, Swiffered the tile floors, and vacuumed.  Then we gave each other haircuts.
I had mine cut nice and short. As thin as it's getting shorter looks better I think.
No pic of Craig. He hates to have his pic taken.   :-)
The phone arrived around 1pm. Not to bad. The tracking said it would arrive by 8pm.
And here's more pics of our mountains during our walks....
Sunrise on the Sheep mountains just north of us......
and sunrise over on the Spring mountains on the west side of the valley.
Getting more and more settled in our new home and city. Been venturing out further and further from our community. Slowly getting acquainted with all the main roads.
Starting to fill our little chest freezer we bought. There's been some good sales on meat, and we stock up when the price is good. turkeys go on sale this week. Planning on getting 4 this year. You can't beat the price of turkey near Thanksgiving!
Thanks to the time change, it starts getting dark around 4:30 in the afternoon. Making it real hard to adjust to Pacific time. I'm getting up around 4-5 every morning. I try to stay up later in the evening, but find myself waking up in my recliner around 9:30. Then I get up and go to bed. Maybe I need a less comfortable chair.  Or maybe no after dinner glass of Sherry. Or maybe I'll just stay an early morning person. Does it matter? I'm retired!   :-)

Friday, November 11, 2016

no cable bills for me!

Good morning.
Another beautiful sunrise on our Sheep Mountains yesterday morning during our walk.
With the clocks turned back it gets light here around 6:30 right now, but it gets dark by 5pm.  :-/
That's the downsize of being on the eastern edge of the Pacific Time zone. Where as Lansing was on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone. Makes a huge difference when the sun rises and sets.
And we finally got a better antenna.
We had a 'bar' antenna we hooked to the wall above the TV. It worked pretty good getting about 30 channels. But we needed a better antenna mainly because many of the stations would 'come in and out'.  I also don't want one that sticks way up in the air outside looking bad since our homes are so close together, and we are way out in the northern edge of the valley so signals have to travel farther.
Funny looking isn't it? Went to Best Buy and this is what was recommended. Put it together and propped it on top of the entertainment center to see if it was better than the old one. Got 58 channels! All crystal clear! Decided to try it in the attic, got 62 channels! Twice as many as the 'bar antenna. We were originally  thinking of having it installed outside on the side peak of the house, but we are now getting everything there is available over the air. Now, of course, there are many channels that we won't watch. Shopping channels, Spanish speaking channels, schools channels, etc. but there is still plenty. And no cable bills!  :-)
Since we have a Smart TV and high speed wireless internet, we might eventually get Hulu or Netflix. We'll see how this works for now.
Yesterday, Craig tried to call Humana about his policy and couldn't get the phone to dial. You could put the number in and press the call button, it would say dialing, but you'd hear no ringing, and then it would disconnect. I tried calling him and nothing.  I check the settings to make sure airplane mode wasn't on. I checked to make sure calls were allowed.I tried to use his to text mine, nothing. I turned it off, took out the battery let it sit, replaced the battery and turned it back on and still wouldn't work. So, I went online and ordered him another phone. Found one very similar to his current one for $29.99. He doesn't need a large screen or the latest phone.  Should be here tomorrow. Then, this morning, I got one more idea to try. I decided to try a factory reset, where it wipes out everything that's been done to the phone and returns it to the original condition the day it was bought.  That seems to have done the trick! I can now call and text again.   Well, I guess we'll probably keep the new phone unopened in case we eventually need it. I'll see if maybe I can send it back.
Well, that's it for now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A lot of change

Good morning.
Wow! I hadn't realized I haven't posted since last Sat. So here goes.....
We've been walking every day. Sometimes twice a day. 
We finally got our flu shots. Had to wait for new insurance to kick in since we had to change all of that when we moved out here.
  And I've gone online to the healthcare.gov site and got insurance starting in Jan. Of course, That looks to all change now with this election. I'm sure I'll probably lose my subsidy, and that will make the insurance terribly expensive. I may have to go without insurance until I turn 65. But then, they might get rid of medicare too! At least my Social Security should be safe. Or will it?
Anyway, we'll deal with stuff as it happens.
We decided to have some bushes ripped out in front of our house.
Before, and after.
They were just too big and overgrown, even though I've tried to keep them a reasonable size.
Here they are cutting out all the branches before ripping out the trunks.
This was the same company that did our back yard. And as with the back yard, I was very happy with the results.
I had them plant 3 spreading red Lantana and they redid the drip irrigation for them and cleaned out the stones and re spread them. And you can actually see the huge boulder that was nearly swallowed by the 3 bushes.

You can't even tell they were ever there.  The Lantana should fill in the space nicely and I should be able to keep it trimmed and looking good.
Not much else going on.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Who eats these things!?!

Good morning.
A beautiful day yesterday. Sunny and 82. We are running about 10 degrees above normal for this time of year and it should continue through next week.   :-)
The main store we do our shopping at is called Smiths. It's owned by the Kroger company and even carries a lot of Kroger brand goods. We also have Albertsons, and WinCo.  Anyway, we tend to shop at different Smiths depending on where we are at the time. Such as when we go to Lowe's over on Lossee, we go to the Smiths on Centennial. If we go over to Walmart on Durango, we'll go to the Smiths on Durango and Ann.
So you get the picture. Yesterday, we went over to Star Nursery so we went to the Smiths on Craig Rd. We tend to go to this one often as it's a larger store, carries more stuff and the second closest Smiths to our house. And, we're retired! We have time to drive around.   :-)
The point I'm getting to, is this particular Smiths must cater to a more diverse clientele because this is what we saw in the fresh meat case......right next to the fresh hams....
And no.....we did not buy one. I don't even know what you'd use one for.  :-/
So, back home, we spent most of the afternoon cleaning the rest of the windows, screens, and blinds. Good thing we have a small house with only 7 windows. I was surprised at how dirty our 2in wood blinds were They are white and looked fine until I laid them out on the floor, sprayed them with cleaner and started to wipe them down. They were filthy! And so were the screens! But now, all the windows, screens and blinds are done and they look great! But like I said before, I don't think anything had ever been cleaned by the previous owners.
The rest of the weekend I think we'll take it easy. Then next week, we both have to find new health insurance. Craig will need a new medigap policy and has until Dec. 7th to get one, and I'll need a new healthcare.gov policy (Obamacare) to start Jan. 1st. So that may or may not take some time. We'll see. But we're retired, so we do have plenty of time. And I'm liking it!   :-)

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Zion and Bryce National Parks

Good afternoon.
We've just returned from our 3 day trip up to Zion and Bryce National Parks.
Zion is about 2 1/2 hours from our house, and Bryce, another 1 1/2 hours.
We left early Tuesday and arrived at the entrance to Zion around 11 am their time They are in Mountain time.  They are an hour ahead of Vegas. I had bought a Senior Park Pass online over 3 weeks ago, but didn't receive it before we left. We figured we'd have to pay to get in. I printed out my e-mail confirmation, hoping that would be enough to get us in.  The ranger was so very nice and understanding and gave us a free pass.   :-)
It was a little cool, around 60. But not bad. We had been to these 2 parks about 20 some years ago. Zion, you travel through a valley surrounded by giant vertical cliffs that were carved by the river that runs through it. This is the only pic I got in there because the valley is so narrow and the cliffs so high.....
Surprisingly, despite everything I had read, the park wasn't that busy. We were able to easily see everything we wanted. We had lunch at the park lodge. Then we headed out of the parks other entrance to spend the night in Kanab.  On the way to the other end of the park, there's a mile long tunnel through the mountain.....
Kanab is sort of between Zion and Bryce. The next morning we headed to Bryce. It was about a 1 1/2 hour drive. Again, I explained the the ranger about buying my pass online but didn't receive it, and they again, let us in without paying.   :-)
Bryce was a lot colder than Zion even though they are only about an hour apart. That's because you go through Zion on the canyon floor, and Bryce, you go along the top of the canyon which was between 8000 and 9000 ft. A chilly 50 degrees.
But the views more than made up for it.   :-)





The unique erosion of the area produces these amazing rock towers! 

And here's me here some 20 years ago near the same spot. Back then, they had iron bars for railings, now, they have these massive wood beams and stone columns  to keep people from going over the edge.


It was a really nice trip remembering and re seeing everything. From Bryce, we headed over to I-15 and spent the night in Cedar City Utah. This morning we made the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Vegas. A very nice trip and a good time of year to do it as the crowds were very small.
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