Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

It was a short walk from my room in The Big Texan motel to the restaurant of the same name…minus “hotel” of course. 😉. I’d already looked at the menu online and for once decided what I’d order before I got there. But I wasn’t going for the free 72-ounce steak! Free? Yes, if you can eat it and all the accompaniments in one hour.

You do not need to make reservation for challenge attempts. When you’re ready, we’re ready! Challenge attempts available during all regular business hours. 72-ounce Steak Dinner Challenge Includes: Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato, Salad

There are a number of rules that you can find here but even without anything else, 72-ounces of even the best steak would be a challenge…a Texas-sized challenge!

The restaurant is enormous, filled with all sorts of Western decorations.

Everything on this trip runs along or nearby Route 66. There are museums, souvenir shops, and sections of the actual route everywhere, even in The Big Texan.

While I was there, a two-man musical group came on, playing guitar and singing.

I ordered a Whiskey Barrel Stout to go with…

…my meal of smoked BBQ beef brisket, side (salad for me but there are lots of other choice), and two rolls for only $14 plus $7 for the pint of beer. There was so much meat that I finished the rest of it tonight at the motel with one roll while the other was part of my breakfast. Pretty good deal. The meat you can see here was just the meat on top. There was just as much underneath. I did NOT eat the jalapeño!!

I know I haven’t told you about the motel yet but I will. Today’s trip took me through hundreds of miles of endless deciduous trees all changing colors. It was gorgeous. I arrived early and have spent the afternoon and evening watching “Midsomer Murders” and “Hart to Hart”, plus did a few other things. Nice to relax a bit. Tomorrow it’s on to Naperville.

It’s Monday and it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. Sit down with me for a few minutes, have a cup of tea (there’s enough left in the pot) or some coffee, and let’s talk about random acts of kindness.

Random acts of kindness have been around for some time, but during Covid they became a bit harder to perform because we were staying away from others. I decided that was a perfect time to start sending lots of postcards and notes, thus also propping up the post office. 🙂 Although I’ve only gotten a few cards in return, I’ve received lots of feedback about how much the recipients enjoyed getting real mail. I mean, how many of us get real mail for a live person in the mail once a week or even once a month? But isn’t it exciting when you do? A postcard or card means you don’t have to write too much but it let’s the person know you’re thinking of him/her.

I have two other rather random things I do on a regular basis. I try to return at least one shopping cart other than my own to the cart corral during each visit and I push them all together properly. I’ve actually had several workers thank me, which was surprising but nice.

In Arizona most lawns are rock as are communal areas such as those on either side of walking paths. For a variety of reasons, small rocks are always getting onto the sidewalk and I’ve made it my mission to kick a number of these back into place whenever I walk. Yeah, it’s a bit like Sisyphus, (with my original misspelling of his name, the suggestion from auto-correct was syphilis, not exactly an interchangeable word), but every little bit helps.

Now it’s your turn. What random act/s of kindness do you practice and why? Answer in the comments or if you write a post about it, please link it in the comments.

OK, now go out and meet Monday with a smile and some joy in your heart!

It’s Thursday again and thus time for Thursday Doors, one of the best challenges out there. We’re still in Hermosa Beach, California living the beach and grandson life for a few more days so here are a few of the more unique doors I’ve seen on my walks. Sorry I couldn’t avoid reflections in the first one but I think it stands on its own (so to speak) anyway.

Tough to beat an old-fashioned mail box.

I drive a van, but it certainly doesn’t have a door like this one. But then I don’t live where there’s any surfing, either.

Most of all, happy 38th anniversary to my a-door-able husband. Thanks for putting up with me for so many years and you’d best be prepared to put up with me for many more! ❤

Day 2 didn’t start well as I had some trouble at the gate. The stadium has stringent rules about what you can and can’t bring in, rules that I’d looked up in advance thankfully as the “what you need to know” information came in an email about halfway through the day before the tournament started, a bit late for people to adjust. “A small clutch purse 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ ” was part of the worse-than-TSA rules and mine came in at about 5″ x 8″ as well as only about 1/2″ in thickness, good enough for day one but not two. Not only that but I saw plenty of people with items that extremely exceeded or flouted the rules. Sigh. Not the way to start the day. I was not happy!

As mentioned yesterday, many fans wear costumes. I didn’t catch most of them on camera, but there were some escaped convicts near us. There were people dress in fake chain mail armor, Irish fans in green tutus, Romans in their togas, and so on. There was also a group of men in Speedos and nothing else but thankfully they were quite a distance from us. No need to make me nauseous! We’d discussed dressing up but it never came to anything.

Rugby fans are as enthusiastic as any fans around but unlike soccer/football fans who get into fights, wreck grandstands, and send death threats to players they feel didn’t perform well, most rugby fans just want to have fun while supporting their favorite teams. Of all the teams, Fiji had the most fans and flags even though there were plenty US fans in attendance. Three of the Fiji supporters sat in front of us and when they left for a time, we told them we’d watch their seats. They didn’t come back for several hours and we wondered what had happened, finding out later that lots of people are there mostly to watch their teams play and then go back to their vehicles to tail gate until the next game. We were there to watch all the games, so we mostly stayed in place, sustained by the snacks I’d packed and plenty of water. I was happy to find we weren’t far from drinking fountains and one of those spots where you can refill water bottles. At $5 for a water in the stadium, I figure we saved about $50 just on water.

When these three came back, they thanked us for keeping their places (not that we had to run anyone off) and bought me a lemonade as a thank-you. Later another lemonade followed. And after another prolonged absence, they came back with food not only for them but something for us to share.

The Hawaiian chicken was SO good but we felt bad taking all that without something in return, hence the four beers for $75, an absolutely ridiculous price but when you’re in the stadium, you’re captive. Meeting them made day 2 even more fun and we talked about seeing them again in February as we’ll be trying to get the same seats.

The winners of the tournament were the New Zealand All-Blacks, a perennial rugby power but held back in the hunt for the series title this year by COVID flight restrictions that kept them as well as Fiji out of a number of the first tournaments. Confetti shot from a confetti canon obscured the players.

The series championship went to Australia, giving them a double as the women won the women’s series as well. My Blitzboks ended two points away from taking the series. I have hopes that in the World Cup tournament in Cape Town in less than two weeks, they’ll play the way they did during the first part of the series. But no matter the outcome, we had a wonderful time and plan to be back in February for the LA Sevens 2022-23 series. In the meantime, I’ll be looking for a see-through bag that will fit in the shoebox-sized box at the gate and will put all my odds and ends either in there or in my pants pocket. Can’t wait! And yes, Brian, I’ll have not only a hat but lots of suntan lotion along with everything else. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even be in costume. 🙂

Here’s how we do a tournament. Get up at 3:30 am, driving straight through to California, spend the day with daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, go to bed, get up early, pack a gallon Ziploc bag with various snack foods (all that’s allowed to be brought in), grab two bottle of water each, and head to the stadium for a 9:20 am game. Phew!

The first obstacle to negotiate after paying $30 for parking (and being sure to remember where you parked) is to hope you can get your items through almost TSA-level security. There aren’t many people there for the first games as you can tell from the almost empty stadium.

The sevens series began in Dubai back in November of 2021 and traveled to Malaga, Seville, Singapore, Vancouver, Toulouse, London, and finally LA, close enough for us to get to easily and combine with a grandson visit. Win-win. Not saying we wouldn’t have loved to watch in one or more of the other cities, but the cost of going to LA was much cheaper. 🙂

Although we should be rooting for the US team, my heart belongs to the Blitzboks of South Africa. Ever since starting to watch, I’ve loved their intensity and play although they unfortunately were rather flat at this tournament. Also unfortunately for both me and the team, my favorite player Selvyn Davids wasn’t in LA due to injury. Here they are getting ready to play Argentina.

One of the fun things about sevens rugby tournaments is that fans dress up in all sorts of costumes and everyone has a good time. We didn’t dress up and didn’t have any team paraphernalia but I fell into conversation with fans from South Africa. This woman apologized for how the team was playing, introduced me to her mom saying that I knew all about the team, let us wrap up in her flag for this shot, and then went off and bought me a small SA flag. That’s all part of the fun

Other than South Africa not doing well, the only downside was that my face got rather sunburned. After the games, we headed over to our daughter’s for a bit of family time and a drink before heading back to our AirBnB for the night. Were we ever ready to sleep and try to recover for Day 2.

What a weekend! We watched 45 rugby 7s matches, met lots of nice people, and had a blast. It’s late and bed is calling but I’ll be posting pictures and photos tomorrow. Spoiler alert. The New Zealand All Blacks won the tournament even though Australia took the entire series. At the end of the presentation, the All Blacks did one of their famous hakas one, I was told by a New Zealand fan, that’s a thanks to the fans. No matter the haka, I always love them and I hope you do too. See you soon for a peek at the fun. Tomorrow we make the switch to family time, specifically grandson fun. 🙂

For more about the haka (very interesting) click here.

This has been quite the year for blogger meet-ups and the tradition continued in Wyoming not many weeks ago. During the course of a conversation with Deborah of Circadianreflections about my upcoming trip to Wyoming, I mentioned that my husband wouldn’t be coming. She said, “So you have to go alone”, (which is something I don’t mind at all although it’s better when my husband can come too) and I replied, “Yes, unless you want to come out.” And that’s what happened.p, setting up another in-person first meeting with a fellow blogger.

Deborah seems to know almost every flower, bird, and butterfly as well as a LOT about photography. I struggled to learn a bit more about getting off Auto on my camera even though she tried hard to teach me. We even went out one of the last nights to get some shots of the Milky Way. Imagine us with our little headlamps (red so we can see a bit but not destroy our night vision, white for problem situations), trudging around on a somewhat steep bit of land not far below one of the cabins carrying our cameras on tripods, Hopi g not to meet any moose. I told her that if the occupants looked out, they might think aliens had landed. But we survived and once I upload my camera photos, I’ll see if my shots are good enough to share. Yes, Deborah, I still haven’t gotten that done but to be fair, I’ve been doing a lot of work on house, yard, and my Dad’s estate since I got back, and his memorial service was just this last Saturday.

My sole expertise was horseback riding so thankfully I was able not to feel completely incompetent. 🙂 We had some excellent rides, saw and photographed lots of wildlife and flowers, and had fun exploring Sheridan, having coffee and lunch and doing some buying. Here we are, ready to ride, yours truly on the left, Deborah on the right.

Once the unpacking is done, it’s time to see what neighbors are in residence. Fair warning: not every photo in this post is perfect. For instance this first one was taken in somewhat of a hurry with my phone because this neighbor is always leery of spending time in close proximity to the rest of us. But this isn’t so much about the photos but about the story told by those photos, about shy but always welcome neighbors and inhabitants of the mountains.

Although it was hot and getting close to the end of July, I was pleased to see plenty wildflowers, many of which were hosting their own guests. These guests never overstay their welcome.

The first two neighbors, although always enjoyed, aren’t as rare as these next drop-ins. Since we moved to Arizona at the end of March in 2020, the so-called monsoon season hadn’t produced much rain at all. I felt we were getting a good rain if there was enough water so that individual drops melded into the wet pavement look. (This year we’re thankfully getting lots of rain; lots for a place averaging 9″ a year.) So I was thrilled to see more drops in this photo than our back patio sometimes got in rains past at home.

Once the walk or walks are over, there’s always the porch. I like porches a lot. Spanish-style houses don’t have porches; they have patios. Patios are fine but they aren’t porches.

There are lots of good sayings about porches. Here are a few I really like.

Nowadays, people are so jeezled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more. ~Tasha Tudor

True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation. ~Ashton Kutcher

My ideal summer day was reading on the porch. ~Harold E. Varmus

I dream of land, cut only where streams glistened with birdsong wander through quiet hills burnt hard by the scrape of wind, and of a porch from which a single road leads only homeward. ~Nancy E. Turner

It’s that time of year again, time for me to do the two-day drive to Wyoming (about 10+ hours each day) to spend 2 1/2 weeks in the Bighorn Mountains, time I crave each year. There’s very, very limited wi-fi access there and no phone access unless you have a satellite phone. You can get wi-fi but we have yet to do so. It’s become a discussion, but I do like not being online that much. I go on to check (and delete) email or to send a text or photo to family and friends but why be on vacation if I’m on the internet all the time? So until the second week in August, keep this California mural in mind to let you know how I appreciate you. And of course, there will be photos, many photos, and a surprise or two as well.

Lavender is one of my favorite scents although many scents that advertise themselves as lavender don’t really make the scent grade. They just smell artificial. One year when in Provence, my sister-in-law, our younger daughter, and I took a road trip to an area where the lavender grew. It had been harvested but the scent still lingered everywhere. I gleaned a number of stalks at the end of the rows and managed, through packing them in bubble wrap at the top of my checked bag, to get them home mostly intact.

The trip was memorable in other ways as we were in a Mini Cooper convertible with my daughter and my s-i-l’s large Rhodesian Ridgeback male in the back. Every time we hit a speed bump, they levitated. If the top was up, the dog was vying with my daughter for the most direct line to the air conditioning as it was a hot summer. It was quite funny.

I thought where we lived now in Arizona would be close enough in temperature and humidity (or lack thereof) to grow lavender but after a few failed attempts, I found out that there are three types: English, French, and Spanish and in our particular area, Spanish lavender is the way to go. Live and learn but take time to smell the lavender this week.