Friday, February 22

Plans and Decisions

First up, we sold the motorhome! Yippee, we are so happy. We feel like a weight has been lifted and we can get on with the next chapter of our life. We ended up selling it to the first guy who looked at it. He offered us a very low offer and we said “no deal.” Well, time went by and we had very little interest, although we did have some, and all our paid ads had expired, so we decided to give that guy a call and, if he was still interested, accept his offer. He said, “I’ll call you.” Uh-oh.

A week went by. We paced. We worried. We asked ourselves, should we call him? I said, “hey, wait a minute, today’s a holiday, maybe he went away—let’s give him until tomorrow.” He called the next day. And he flew down the day after that and drove Rover to Northern California. Done.

Now we can decide what to do with our summers since the “traveling condo” concept didn’t work out. This summer we are traveling in July (Ireland, Scotland, Norway), but there is still August and September to endure. We think we’ll go up to the central coast and visit friends in August, and in September we’ll go over to the coast and see about buying an itty-bitty condo. I am looking online already.

We had snow on Wednesday, and the mountains were beautiful and white. This shot was taken yesterday (Thursday) from the golf course—the snow is already mostly gone. It doesn’t mean it’s not cold, though. I wore long, heavy pants and a fleece vest the whole round. DSCF1164

When we first moved to the desert I played a bunch of different courses and settled on this one to join. (Not the course, but the women’s club.) Indian Springs is a challenging but interesting and fun course, and I love to play it. LOVE. I really like the women I play with, and I am on the board so I have an interest in the club itself.

BUT.

We have to tee off at 7:00 AM. In December and January, it’s still dark at 7. February is a little better, at least the sun is up, but it’s fricken freezing out there! I hate getting up at 5:15, in the dark, in 38 degrees, stiff as a board even though I stretch in the shower and warm up. HATE. The manager of the course, a real horse’s ass, won’t budge on the time. Or the rates. We get no special rate.

Consequently, when a nearby course re-opened last year, there was a mass exodus of members who left for that course, for the reasons I mentioned. Today we have very few members who play on a regular basis, usually only 10 to 12 of us diehards who are committed to keeping our club going because we care.

I also belong to that other club, even though I seldom play there. But I can’t play with the members if I am not a member. Capture

To the point: I am thinking of dropping Indian Springs next season. PDCC is a nice enough course, but I don’t love it like I do Indian Springs. They tee up at 8:30, which is a whole hour and a half better in winter. Plus, it’s an active, enterprising club with many members, and tournaments and events, etc. Our little club doesn’t have enough people to even think about hosting tournaments. It’s kind of sad and I’m really torn.

Okay, next topic:

Now that the motorhome problem situation is off my plate, and I have finished the task of finding/deciding/booking all the plans for our month-long sojourn to the North and Arctic Seas this summer, I have started to think about quilting.

I have decided to make Christmas quilts for [undisclosed recipients] this year. I am exploring fabrics and designs. It’s a start, and it is bringing my attention back to studio and fabric. There was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever make any more big quilts, but right now that’s where my interest lies; art will come later. I want to make another quilt for us, too. We use them every day--it gets mighty cold at night in the desert, even when the days are warm.

How about a recipe: Calgary Salmon. I call it that because we first had it in Calgary, Canada. It’s a winner and makes in a snap.

3 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS maple syrup
1” chunk fresh ginger, grated (optional)
2 pieces salmon fillets
BBQ_Salmon

As usual I’m guessing at the amounts, so make it to your taste. Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the first three ingredients in a small dish.

Heat a skillet or grill pan on the stovetop and drizzle a little oil on it. Place the salmon face down on the pan and sear until a golden crust forms. Turn the salmon and drizzle on half of the sauce. Place the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking. Plate and drizzle on the rest of the sauce. Delicious.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 17

Nothing Doing

My sister and her granddaughter (and the boyfriend) were scheduled to come for the weekend but they canceled so I have a free weekend. I am usually a slave to my very busy schedule, so finding myself with empty squares on the calendar is like having a weekend holiday. A mini vacation.

I cleaned my house last weekend, so I don’t even have housework vying for my attention. Isn’t that sweet! A couple of scheduled golf dates got canceled, too. One by me (migraine), and one by a friend whose husband is very ill. I’ve been watching golf on TV instead.

I badly want to get into the studio but I am plum dried up in the creativity department.  It’ll come back, it always does. I am tired of making scenes. I am going to make some Christmas quilts this year and have been planning designs and shopping fabric, but nothing in the art world.

We saw Life of Pi last week. It is a beautiful film about a skinny Indian boy (Pi) and a tiger named Richard Parker cast adrift in the Pacific.

lifeofpi

We are planning our summer travels and I have to research the ports-of-call for excursions and things to see and do. We are going to Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. I’ll work on that this afternoon while golf is on—it’s a time-consuming project. Isn’t everything?

We have not yet sold our motorhome. We are very disheartened about it. We don’t know if we should buy more advertising and keep trying, or take the hit and sell it to the RV dealer, which is a last resort. But at least we have a last resort.

We did our taxes yesterday. We do our own—we use one of those tax preparation software programs. We have done it that way for 15 years (hard to believe that much time has flown by!) and it only takes us the better part of one day and $39.95. The reason I mention this is there is a new clause in 2012 regarding mandatory healthcare—the one that Obama assured the American People was not a tax—if you don’t have HC insurance, you get dinged. Mr. Obama, what about those people who cannot afford private health insurance because they have pre-existing conditions or are unemployed? I am healthy and health insurance costs a fortune!

At the tender age of 70, J has suddenly developed an allergy to peanuts. I cook Asian frequently, and it looks like satay and crunchy bok choy salad are off the menu. I can use cashews or almonds. Fortunately he’s only allergic to peanuts.

I’ve rambled on long enough, so I’ll leave you with the recipe for Crunchy Bok Choy Salad. It comes from Carolyn Shitanishi. This is a warm-weather staple in our house, which is pretty much year-round. I serve this with Korean BBQ steak or Chicken Satay. It’s also great with grilled turkey burgers and pineapple slices. 

peo-lunch-sausage-and-cabbage-0111

Crunchy Bok Choy Salad (serves 4)

Dressing
2 T sugar or Splenda
2 T rice vinegar
3 T soy sauce
2 T peanut butter
1/2 t curry powder
1/3 t crushed red pepper

Salad
1 pkg ramen noodles, broken (sans flavor packet)
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
1 large head bok choy, sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced in strips
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Friday, February 8

Weather Report

Our kids live in the east (Connecticut and Ohio) so we pay attention to the weather there. About a week ago they had a storm around the Great Lakes and my son and his girls went skiing on fresh powder. Today a nor’easter is pounding the eastern seaboard and they are expected to get many inches of snow.

We have weather here today also. When we get a weather change, in this case a cold front, it manifests wind. And, in this case, the snow level is to get down to 3 or 4 thousand feet, which means pretty pictures and fresh powder in the mountain ski resorts. It also means I can don a sweater and make some soup before it warms up for good.

DSCF1163

I am watching the clouds slide east (right to left) along the mountaintops as the front makes its way in from the coast. The lacy tree is a pepper tree, in summer it has clusters of pink peppercorns that smell divine. Winter is citrus season and trees are heavy with colorful fruit. Delicious oranges, lemons and grapefruit are there for the taking.

Pity the poor golfers out there today. I have no golf until Sunday, and by then the weather should be stable (but still cold). This picture was from yesterday, on the first tee, just after the sun came up and its rays filtered through the trees. My pocket camera did not do the scene justice. It turned out to be a nice day, albeit a little cool, and a fleece vest was all one needed to stay warm after the outer layers were peeled off.

DSCF1160

In other news, we’re taking care of our health in February. We have money left in our flexible spending account and it will be lost if we don’t spend it down by March. So our calendar is crammed with doctor appointments—dermatologists, optometrists, dentists, mammograms and colonoscopies, the whole gamut.

It’s a very busy month! I have jury duty next week, my sister is coming for a visit, and I am playing in an invitational. A tournament that I have very little chance of winning, but that’s how the old ball rolls sometimes. I have never played the course (Indian Hills) so I am going out for a practice round Sunday.