January Jumble

rainToday was one of those rare wet days here in the California desert. Silly me, I got out my camera and took a few still pics as well as a video of RAIN. WHY? Maybe I was missing the normally very soggy Seattle weather? Anyway, it was strangely comforting to have a cloudy, damp day here at our “Desert Oasis”.

We’ve been here for about three weeks, for the first time living the “snowbird” lifestyle.  Hubby has been golfing, fixing this and that around the house, and I’ve been reading, shopping (a little), and cooking.  All good things 🙂  So here’s a synopsis of some of the stuff we have been up to of late…..   (Please remember to click on the photos to enlarge them)

lamb1

This, my friends, is my VERY FIRST attempt at a “rack of lamb”.  I was so crazy proud of it, I had to take a photo. Used to be, I wouldn’t touch a bite of lamb, and then one day… we were invited to dinner at friends Phil and Phyllis’ home.  Wouldn’t you know it, they were serving the dreaded lamb.  I LOVED IT!!!  I’m now what you might call a “lamb-fan”! HA!  Anyway, we bought this little beauty at Costco and I used my new “SkinnyTaste” cookbook to season it. Then hubby took over the cooking on the BBQ.. and yes, it was SO good.  Here’s a pic (sort of) of the recipe from my new book:

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I even made the mint-yogurt sauce to go with it.  Simply delicious.  So, if you are a bit “lamb wary” as I was, give it a try! It’s not the gamey icky tasting stuff your mother used to make for Sunday dinner anymore!  Ours was labeled as “bred, born, and raised in Australia”.  Thanks Costco!  Oh, by the way, my mother (RIP mom) used to try and fool me into thinking lamb was beef.  I never fell for it.

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Last week my dear hubby spent two days re-staining the concrete around the pool.  He did the paths first and then the raised edges encircling the spa and walls of the pool.  I love the darker color we chose. The sunshine is so strong here most of the year, it was not a surprise the color had faded quite a bit in the past 2+ years.

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A little bit of horticulture now.  Above is our Pink Powderpuff plant.  We have never been here in January, so this is the first year I have been able to personally witness the beauty of this thing in bloom.  Here is a close up of one of the “powder puffs”:

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I don’t have a fancy SLR camera, so I really struggled to get a clear shot of the bloom. If you click on the pic, it will enlarge and hopefully you can see that each of the little red bits has a teeny tiny black dot on the end.  Uniquely beautiful, in my humble opinion.

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The above picture shows the three stages… far left – it’s still a bud in red.  Top right – in full bloom.  At the bottom, fading away.  Note how the white prongs still remain, after the red ones wither.  Such a shame that the blooms only last about two days.

lamb7You may need to click on the above photo to see properly, but I just had to zoom in on the Goodyear Blimp as it flew by late Sunday afternoon.  The PGA had just finished playing “The Humana” golf tournament at a course not far from here.  Looks like the blimp was making a beeline towards Phoenix — maybe for the Phoenix open next weekend… or maybe for the Super Bowl – also being played in the greater Phoenix area next weekend.  Okay, I simply cannot help myself —–   My team is in the Superbowl again this year!! GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Seahawks-Logo

Okay, where was I???  Oh yes….

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If you are not a cat lover, please feel free to skip over the next three pics.  Here is our beloved old man kitty, Jinx the cat, lounging beside the spa/hot tub.  Sometimes we let him outside without his walking “jacket” and leash, and Sunday was one of those days.  The time of day was after 4 pm, so the pump was off, and the spillway, still.

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At age 11, he is still a cute kitty, just waaaaaaay too thin and we can’t seem to fix that.

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For the first time ever, Jinx ventured across the top of the spillway… drinking sips of the salt water along the way. We have tried to convince him that salt water is not very tasty, but he always takes a tiny sample.

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I happened to be near the hummingbird feeder when one stopped by for a snack.  Shortly after arriving here, I filled up the old hummingbird feeder and again, it was literally SWARMED by bees.  I wanted to continue feeding the birds, but NOT the bees.  So I went onto Amazon and found this great little feeder, which claimed to keep the bees away, while still making the nectar accessible for the birds.  Shockingly, it works!  If you too have this problem, look into the Hummzinger Ultra bird feeder!  It’s mahvelous, simply mahvelous!

sprouts

What do we have here???  Ahhhh all you 70’s hippies will know what it is!  I’m once again growing my own sprouts!  I love alfalfa sprouts (and lentil sprouts too) on sandwiches and in salads, and I can’t seem to find them at the store anymore.  Problem solved.  Grow your own.  I got the organic alfalfa seed off Ebay.  It’s fun, easy, nutritious, and cheap!

Suz

Thought I’d throw in a recent selfie – clearly taken on a sunny day 🙂

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I know, I know…. I always seem to throw in a sunset photo.  I can’t help it. I never, EVER get tired of admiring God’s handiwork. I took this about a week ago.

I’ll leave you with my little one-minute “rain” video.  Till next time……………………….  GO SEAHAWKS!!!

By the way, the little white bowl on the table is NOT, I repeat NOT an ashtray! I burn little “cone” vanilla incense in there that I get from the Dollar Tree 🙂  The little hula girl on the table is also a Dollar Tree find, courtesy of my neighbors, Paul & Brian. Since she’s solar powered, I was surprised she was still hula-ing in the rain!

Some possibilities

We have spent 3 grueling days looking at property!!!  It is so much fun, but work too.  I keep a notebook of all the places we see with our impressions written down, I snap some photos, hubby has taken bits and pieces of video for us to review as well.  I think what’s also sort of tiring for us is THE HEAT!!  In and out of the airconditioned car — from reasonable temps to 108 — over and over again.    Today we checked out one of those “over 55” communities.  It was nice, but we just weren’t sold on it.   You can get a great house, and they are offering quite a few free “upgrades”, but we simply found others we liked better. 

Here’s a sampling of what we have seen…  Keep in mind that ALL of these places are in foreclosure.  We have learned that when people find out they are going to be foreclosed on, they tend to “trash” the home they are living in!  Some of the places have been absolutlely horrific.  Well, maybe not quite that bad but it really is amazing what some of them look like.  One house had the microwave oven smashed up, many others were super dirty, with many closet doors torn off and cabinet doors askew.  Foreclosure homes (AKA bank owned) are normally sold “as is”.  In other words you can’t ask the seller to fix this or that.  You take it on as YOUR project! 

Here are some pictures of places we have seen. 

Fun in the sun

We have safely arrived here in the HOT California desert!  Our first night was spent “meeting and greeting” the super nice folks that own the house we are renting.  Sharon and Kevin live in LA, but have this place as their vacation getaway home.  When they’re not here, they rent it out to folks like us!  We hit it off so well with these people that we ended up sharing a bottle of wine and then going out for dinner (Mexican food – YUM) with them. 

Sunday we spent driving around all over the Desert Cities… checking out different neighborhoods that we may or may NOT want to look at homes in.   Then in the late afternoon, we came back “home” and hit the pool!  What fun!!!!!!!!  We barbecued our dinner, and fell into bed exhausted at 10pm.  Today we will spend some time with our real estate agent, Tracey.  Here are a few pics I wanted to share:

The pool and part of the back yard

The pool and part of the back yard

 

We think this is a pomegranate bush? In the back yard garden

We think this is a pomegranate bush? In the back yard garden

 

They have a fig tree!  We've been picking and eating - delicious!

They have a fig tree! We've been picking and eating - delicious!

 

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Suz in the pool 🙂

 

Desert sky in the morning

Desert sky in the morning

The late winter blues

desert-springs.jpgI’m getting a little sick of winter.  Funny thing, when we lived those four years in the California desert, I was flat out craving all-things-winter.  Maybe that’s human nature, looking at things you used to have and wishing you had them again.  Now I’m itching for the sunshine and the warmth that comes with spring/summer.  When we lived in California, we didn’t have seasons.  Nope, out there in the desert we had “Pleasant” (which meant the days didn’t go above 90 and the nights managed to drop below 60), and we had “Big time burn your hands on the steering wheel Summer”.   I got sick of knowing that every day I’d wake up to the sunshine.  I wanted some change.  Well, I got it.  Except the “change” meant that I’d be faced with waking up for 5 months (at least!) of the year to gray skies and often times rain.  Here we go again, human nature… hard to be happy with what we’ve got.  Thats a shame really, and I need to get over it!   Which brings me to the topic of contentment. 

Sometimes it’s good for the soul to write out a list of things you are grateful for.  So here’s a short list in no particular order:

  • New glasses, that I can read AND see distances with… AND that the insurance company paid for in FULL 🙂
  • Money enough to pay the bills and that includes the PROPANE bill (which has gotten pretty darn bad) and my gasoline bill – which is also qutite hefty.
  • A wonderful loving husband who was sure blessed with a sense of humor
  • Good health
  • A job that allows me more that twice as much time at home than at work.
  • Fantastic neighbors
  • The knowledge that yes, SPRING IS COMING, soon.

One more “cheery” thing —  check out www.unclaimed.org  — I did, and woohoo!  I found out that T-Mobile has some money they are just itching to give to me!!  This is a totally legit website.  Who knows, you might just find some long-lost $$ too.