Monday, August 23, 2010

Little Road Trip

We're making progressing in the "life style change". Our fabulous truck is gone and we are now the proud owners of new Ford Edge and looking forward to going to Wisconsin on approx. $300 worth of gas, not $1,100. In logging the first 100 miles on the car it was a bit disturbing to see we were getting 9 mpg. Then slowly it edged up (maybe that's why it is called an Edge?) and last night at 111 miles logged the dash was showing 25 mpg. Excellent! I'll try to keep records for the first month or two and see how much of a gas savings we have. I would have insisted on the Escape Hybrid - electric car that used electric under 47 MPH except to charge the battery. How cool would that have been? However Tim's head was close to the roof and it was very tight for leg room, he would have hit his knees all the time on the dash. Good excuses. However, if you are going new you might as well check out the electric cars, it isn't out reach financially. We are heading out later this morning and are going to check out the Great Salt Lake, since we never saw it, or at least I haven't. Then on to Yellowstone for 2 nights and we'll get in some sight seeing at Custer's last stand and try to see Devil's Tower. After that, it is straight to Stone Lake to gather up lots of stuff we left behind, like a big TV, tred mill and alas, my spinning wheel. We'll have to rent a U-Haul trailer. Then down to Milwaukee, see family, shhh dont' tell Mom, I'm going to try to surprise her, and then home. Zoe is off the hook for traveling but Rocky is making his road trip debut. Looking forward to posting pix of our trip. Later gators-Go Pack, Love, Mummy and Diane

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Following bloggers

I've rediscovered the joy of just paging through blogs, next blog, next blog, next blog and so on. Lots of fun and pretty interesting at times. Then along came yahoo news and directed me to This chic buys resale dresses, limit $1.00 and remakes them - she's doing this for a year ala Julie and Julia. Some of her creations are amazing. Now that sound like alot of fun. I might just try it I do however, have dogs so considering that Zoe sheds a small dog a day and both of them lie down on anything I'm involved with at floor level, I'm limited for cutting space. I could go to the spare room though for laying out and cutting. Jackie's cat has access to it and she'll leave if I hiss at her, louder than she hisses at me.

Night before last Tim and I found ourselves out and about long after dark. It is amazing how beautiful all the lights are out here. At night, this doesn't look like such a big city since darkness and mountains frame the valley. I guess it really isn't that big. We were out after dark on the 4th of July too, we were coming down from Mt. Charleston and watched the fireworks for a bit. They were going off everywhere and it was amazing. 90% of them were illegal. According to the news, homeowners should have nothing that leaves the ground so I figured why bother spending $$$$ if they are going to skitter around the ground? I guess nobody paid any attention to the laws. Bye for now. Love from Mummy and Diane

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It was a dark Saturday morning

Actually it is a dark saturday morning and I am up earlier than usual and can't get back to sleep on the couch so I turn to my trusty companion, my new BF, Dell. A few days ago I submitted my blog to the search engines hoping I would get some fresh hits for the book. My keywords were extremely common, I couldn't think of anything truly unique. So in the darkness of the wee hours and out of curiosity I decided to put the title of my book "Resurrecting Clara" into the yahoo search. To my surprise several items with Clara and Resurrection came up. One lead me to a blog about an old but snazzy motorcycle named Clara. There is hit for The University of Santa Clara and resurrecting auto graveyards. One interesting hit is another blog with references to resurrecting photos of Clara Bow. The Philipinos have an award called Maria Clara -- those are the names of my main characters. How odd. Another link to an author, Elizabeth Letts, got me nervous. It turns out she has a book with a main character being Clara who works in labor & delivery and somewhere the word resurrecting comes up in the book. A 1993 movie, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, resurrects people, one whose name is Clara, and that is just a bit disturbing. There were several more hits referencing Santa Clara County and Univeristy of Santa Clara, all "resurrecting" something or another like neglected heritage, etc. It was actually interesting. But I became bored with that. Then I googled me. Intelius knows me. And anyone who reads this too! At least they charge for the meaty information. I don't have any criminal records but maybe some of the other Diane Puzas do. Lester Buildings, the builder of our barn in Edgerton, has our barn and names on their website. We won an award for it, well they did but we designed it. I didn't realize until now that it is on the internet. Having once been involved in the Babydoll Sheep industry I am out there as an officer, but those days are far behind me (but the fiber addiction still lingers). And then there is Kathy Miller's Soap Making pages. Her pages were the place to go for reliable information. I once made a bar that wrinkled so bad I made it into her "botched batches" section. I had totally forgotten about that. It was interesting to see how many Puzas there are in this world. I have never met another one outside of Tim's immediate family. And folks, Mario Puzo is not Mario Puza, although I must have seen it a dozen times in the hits. Have a good day. Bye, Hugs and Kisses to all who want or need them. Mummy and Diane

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Friday Rant

Okay, we are here because of me and we did buy a home with an HOA but it isn't gated and the fees are dirt cheap so how bad can it be. Right? Well 3 times now, since May 27, we've received notices. The last notice involves our driveway which we had approved by the association. We sent drawings, contractor information, approvals by both neighbors blah blah blah. So today's letter states we are in violation because there isn't a drain down the center to direct flood waters to the street. I cant' wait to see a flood here in the land of the dry and drier. I know, it will flood during the monsoons which are actually during this time of year but I doubt we'll flood our neighbors out and when it rains we run outside like kids to enjoy it. We have yet to see more than 1/100th of an inch. So at Tim's behest I took a walk up the street and the next 3 houses all have RV parking and all have the exact same pitch as ours (you can compare by the bricks on the walls) and none of them have gutters down the center to divert flood waters). Not one! And our neighbors, whose RV parking is directly next to ours seperated only by the wall, is exactly like ours. The picture doesn't do the pitch justice because of the angle and the shade but it is about a 3 inch pitch for the entire stretch from back to front.

If that didn't fry my beans enough, there is another paragraph addressing the trees we planted behind the walls - which trees can be seen from the common areas. Dahhhhh. They are trees. We are of the understanding that what we do behind our wall is our business - it is not considered a common area and by what I've seen, most people don't give a rat's ass what is in their yard. As for our yard, I can't wait until the short trees start showing over the top of the wall. Landscaping in the front has to be approved and that sucks because most gardeners I like, me included, get a bug up their ass and want to put in flowers immediately. If I see a nice plant and want to have it, I buy it and plant it. I don't want to have my neighbors approve it and sign forms indicating their approval, fill out 4 HOA forms and submit with drawings for their approval. Oh, I should do that. I should have everyone just shower them with garbage. I should go through all that for a geranium plant. Signatures, drawings, the whole 9 yards. Oh just the thought of it calms me down. I feel giddy with revenge!

Our concrete fellow called and assured me there are no codes in the City's laws that require these drains unless, for example, you are putting a pool next to a patio and then you need a drain because both concrete sections are going in 2 different directions. But the drive has a pitch and that's all it needs. Now if they would have gotten on my case to get that gait painted, I would have understood. Bye for now from both of us, Mummy and Diane

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Ramblings and a 2nd Blog

A good friend, who chooses to remain "anonymous" asked if I got busy with gathering soap supplies. The answer is yes. I have plenty of fragrances and I have been spying such goodies as goats milk, coconut oil, coconut milk and fancy oils but have yet to locate good old fashion lye. It is pretty much off the shelves because it is used for making meth. I can't imagine ingesting lye in any form but it is an ingredient and the lack of it puts my soap making on hold. I think I have to order it on line but that is in bigger bulk and I'm not looking to buy more than 1 pound at a time. That said, I'm anxious to get going started up with making soap again. First of all, the house always smelled really amazing. Second, I was hard pressed to find people who didn't like handmade soap so it is always appreciated. Artistic expression is endless with soap. I hate to create the same thing twice. Mom suggested trying put it out in the "little shops" here in Vegas. I said "Mom, they don't exist here in Vegas" and that was hard for her to understand. At least I haven't found the small gifty cutsie type of shop you can find all over the U.S., except here. I think the closest I have spotted to a gifty cutsie shop is a Coach scratch and dent shop with purses at close to no discount. And if you really want to drop your jaw shopping, Caesar's Palace has unbelievable shops. The first time I was there was the first time I ever saw shop about 200 square feet with 5 items showcased and no prices. AND, it was staffed with 3 sales persons dressed in black to move these 5 items. Being born, raised and aged to near perfection in Wisconsin my first thought was HAHAHAHAHAHA. My second thought was . . . I had no second thought.

Speaking of a good laugh I hurt my throat really bad last night laughing at Tosh.O on the comedy channel. I laughed so hard I couldn't inhale and when I did it sounded like a sports car burning rubber on asphalt. Oh man, I think I "skinned my throat". I have a dry cough as a result of this dry patch of tissue on the left half of my throat. I was alone at the time and that was a good thing because if Tim had been there he would have been laughing at me for laughing so hard that it would have made it impossible for me to recover from my breathlessness and I might just have passed out. The injury, however, was well worth the jokes and I will risk injury again!

As if this blog, knitting, putzing and watching dogs isn't enough to humor me on an hour by hour basis, I've decided to begin a blog dedicated to my longest running passion; my novel. I've been working on it and when it is fully up and running I'll send a link.

By the way, I stepped outside and the weather is fabulous. It is 7:20 a.m. and the temps are in the 70s, it's rather chilly and oh so fresh. Lovin' it.

That's about it for this morning so bye for now from both of us. Love, Mummy and Diane

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sometimes I get to thinking

I have a lot of time to think. Too much time. Sure, sure, "I think, therefore I am". Therefore I am my ass. New econimic news is soooo depressing and I find myself changing channels so I don't have to listen to it. Naturally, it turns my thoughts to earning some money but more to the point, to be out in the world, being productive, being around interesting people and doing something I really like in order to provide all that. I'm too young to be home BUT with this economy and MS, it is a sort of dead end waste of good thinking time.

For a while I thought I would make cupcakes and cakes. We could have a homegrown family business called "cakes in bad taste". We could put distasteful messages on them. On the other hand, I have grandchildren now and I can at least learn to make fabulous cakes for all the holidays and milestones in their lives. That's a lot of cake. I started with a fabulous white cake from scratch (triple sifted flour) which is toted as the best white cake ever. Lacking round cake pans I used two 8x8 brownie style pans. I cut the cakes down the center, cut the tops off so they would be flat and built a loaf cake much like the tortes that are in the bakery departments at the market. The cake tasted like fresh nilla vanilla cookies and was very good. Holding everything together was my home made butter cream frosting. I forgot to let the butter reach room temperature so I put it outside at 9 a.m. to warm up because it was 101 degrees already. I figured 5 minutes would do it but not quite and the butter cream frosting had speckles of solid butter in it. Tasted awesome though. Then on to the fondant. Not at all my forte. I might have discovered a new method of creating bricks. I turned to the internet and perused the troubleshooting sites for fondant and discovered several sites which assured me this wasn't going to be easy. I took a small amount and continued to add crisco until I had a wad of stuff at a consistency sufficient enough to make flowers with, sort of like play dough. And I created a beautiful rose. It had, however, been so handled I didn't even want to put it in my mouth. Most of the articles stated fondant does not taste good so most people peel it off and eat the cake with the butter cream frosting. Not so. I discovered powdered sugar and crisco is the "goo of the gods". Within in the week I am going to be attempting "marshmallow fondant" which is supposed to be easier to make and work with. We'll see how that works out.

It's not just cake and cupcakes that gets me thinking. Every now and then I hear a success story involving food like 2 guys with a lunch wagon. They invested in a used food wagon, supplies and a vendors license. A bazillion gazillion sandwiches and dollars later, they were sitting pretty. I thought about what I do well in the kitchen and frankly, not so much. Tim is the cook here and that's more than fine with me but, I can make a truly fabulous corn chowder. Now, could I make a humongous vat of corn chowder and serve it up by the cup with a huge hunk of french bread and expect to make money? Granted, the corn chowder has all fresh and pricey ingredients, like heavy cream and Canadian bacon. I could add up the cost of ingredients, calculate the volume of the finished product, divide that by 12 oz servings and see what kind of profit it would create but that's cyphering and "cyphering" and "thinking" are two different animals indeed. I'll have to think about it.

I'm on day 5 of the Atkins diet and these cake and chowder concepts, all carbs mind you, are devilish details. I think I need some sugar to help my mind work properly again.

So, moving away from food I fantasize that The Gates Foundation will dump a chunk of cash on my lawn so I can lease a storefront and properly stock a shop. I have the perfect one already picked out. It's in the middle of a shopping strip mall parking lot in the Aliante area. Three sides of the building are glass. I would fill the inside with fiber, tables and chairs, a few rocking chairs, samples, books, supplies, knitting needles (hordes of needles), wheels, looms, yarn from all over the world and of course a coffee machine, scones and mood music that would hypnotize for hours. I've searched and nothing in Vegas holds up to world class yarn shops, one in particular in Tempe AZ would be a good example. But, maybe there aren't enough knit freaks and fiber addicts here to support such a "home away from home". What am I saying; what am I thinking? Build it and they will come. Fiber addicts and closet knitters exist all over the world, and Vegas is no exception (I would think).

I think, therefore I am. Good day from both of us, Mummy and Diane

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some Pictures for Y'all

I have been so lax in keeping up with everyone and that saddens me. But . . . since pictures are worth a thousand words I'll be making up for it here. Since March we . . . . bought a house, rescued a dog from the desert, played with family, celebrated Jennifer and Jorge's wedding, bought some furniture, welcomed Jackie (who traveled from Wisconsin to Vegas by herself and kuddos to her for that!) to live with us while she goes to school at College of Southern Nevada (she starts in a few weeks) discovered Mt. Charleston 30 minutes to the west (with its very cool temperatures) and Valley of Fire to the east. We bought a tiny hot tub, king bed, bedroom set for Jack, living room set, had a patio cover put up on the southside of the house, planted 8 palm trees, had solar screens installed, security system installed, water tests, sold our pontoon boat, Zoe had 7 teeth pulled and Rockie was neutered, Tim put his shoulder out cleaning the grout around tile, we are trading in the Jayco on a Class C and selling the truck. Tim turned 60, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and are looking forward to a cruise to Mexico in about a month (with some of the family) and I'm dieting for obvious reasons. I keep trying to get back to writing the great American novel and look forward to getting my spinning wheel from Wisconsin. Tim wants his treadmil and might have a nibble on selling the trailer we have in Stone Lake, WI.
We've just been busy. So hope everyone is healthy and happy and stop back again soon, I'll hopefully be posting more regularly now.
Love to all. Mummy - Diane

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nanna's House

Who knew? Who would have thought I would prefer Vegas over Wisconsin? Life leads us in odd directions at times but being a Grandma has changed what I want out of life. So poor Tim agreed and here we are in a nice sized house in North Las Vegas and just finished up our first of hopefully many visits with Rachel and her family. We did catch Darrian's cold and if his throat was half as raw as mine, I am impressed with how well he held up all that time. I feel rather bad for him.

We still see jets, stealth jets and all sorts of military aircraft but they are much higher here and do not rip the lining out of my ears. Did you know there is a pig farm right in the center of this valley? If you go to Goggle and find 5th and Ann in Vegas you'll see it. My point? We can occassionally smell it. We are in monsoon season and our winds are now coming from the gulf instead of southern California and with the winds is the smell. I'm grateful to the realtor who pointed it out during our hunt and can' timagine those who bought right by it.

In addition to the Grandkids, Tim and I have been able to enjoy a few outings in this area. We have tried to make a habit of going to Mt. Charleston on Sundays and enjoy the cool air and sights, food and art sales. Last week we went to the Valley of Fire have plans to visit Red Rock Recreation Center soon. Another point of interest is the new bridge of Hoover Dam. I understand it is almost finished and that should be a real amazing bridge. I would prefer to admire it from the lower, original road.