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)


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:


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.


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.


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”:


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.


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!!!


Okay, where was I???  Oh yes….


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.


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


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.


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!


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!


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


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!

Time for a holiday

Yup, it’s time for a bit of a break.  A vacation if you will.  Soon we will board our aircraft and fly south for some of the hottest summer weather anywhere.  Are we crazy you ask?  Crazy like a couple of foxes I say!  We lived for four years in the California desert (it’s all we could take of the summers to be honest) and so when I say that the area around Palm Springs virtually becomes a ghost town in July and August, I do know what I mean.  We are going there for a variety of reasons.  One – to enjoy some honest-to-goodness sunshine; Two – to romp at will in the swimming pool; Three – to look pretty darned hard at the real estate market there, and TRY like crazy to find a steal of a deal!  We doubt there are many folks braving the 114 degree weather to go make silly, low-ball offers on homes this time of year.  We hope to be one of the few.  Our goal is not to move back to California permanently.  No, we are hoping to find a good investment property, possibly a home we can rent from time to time to friends, family, and acquaintances.  A place that in a few years time we will be able to “escape to” for a week or two at a time in the winter especially.  A home that maybe, just maybe… we will flock to as real ‘snowbirds’ do – flying south for the winter and back north for the summer.  A residence that sometime in the future will again be worth substantially more than we plan to pay for it. 

While there we decided to rent a house for the week!  We looked at staying in a hotel, and while they are much more reasonably priced this time of year (as opposed to wintertime), we still felt like it would be nice to stay in a home.  A place where we can not only sleep, but also cook lots of our own meals as well as enjoy the thrill of our own private swimming pool!  We found it on VRBO.com – a fantastic site that has vacation home and condo rentals all through the USA and the world!   We also have plans to visit at least three of our friends still living down there.  Hopefully it will be a great week long getaway. 

I’m taking three books with me — ahhhh I can close my eyes and see myself beside the pool, reading eagerly as I LOVE to do!  Here are the three:

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

This book I have in audio form – it’s on my iPod and I will be listening to it on the airplane, waiting at the airport, etc.  So far I’m really enjoying it – I’m about 1/3 of the way through. 

The art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This is a new book (published in May) and has received RAVE reviews!  If you are a dog lover, if you read “Marley and Me” – apparently it’s a must-read!  I had it on ‘reserve’ at our local library and picked it up today.  Can’t wait to get started. 

James Herriot's Cat Stories

James Herriot's Cat Stories

I have happily read everything by James Herriot, and loved it all.  So this will be a re-read for me.  Picked this one up for pennies at a garage sale 🙂  Since it’s been a good few years since I’ve read it, it will all seem like new!
Our lap top is coming with us to the desert so my next post – complete with pictures- will be from Palm Springs!  I CAN’T forget the sunscreen!!!!