Saturday, April 13, 2024

A Quick Trip to Las Vegas

 


Last Thursday I drove up to Las Vegas and met up with two friends I danced with at the MGM Grand Hotel in Reno, Nevada.  We were all in the show together in 1984.  Carol Channing was the headliner.  We had lunch, tea, and dessert at The Lemon Tree Cafe.

I didn’t realize how different Las Vegas is now.  I was very disoriented and had culture shock.  The amount of development was just amazing. 


The photo above  is from one of our backstage birthday parties.  I turned twenty-one there, and the dancers always made a big deal for our birthdays.  It was such a fun and social environment backstage.  We were always celebrating something.  

It was wonderful to see old friends, but I was also very relieved to return to my cabin in the mountains, sit by the fire, and to enjoy this peaceful spot in nature.  The dogs had a terrific time at dog camp, and came barreling down the hillside when I arrived to take them home.

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Sunday, April 7, 2024

The Healing Power of Live Music

Yesterday afternoon I noticed a flyer on social media advertising  a concert in Wrightwood by some local musicians.  It started in ten minutes!  I hurriedly counted out twenty-five dollars from my wallet and jumped into my car.

I arrived in plenty of time, said hello to a few people I recognized, and found a seat on the aisle.  The band was seasoned and well rehearsed.  I knew some of artists from previous performances that I had attended.  It was exciting to see them onstage playing with such ease and enjoyment.  All the years of training, practice, and persistence were evident.  I love being in the presence of master energy.

I stayed afterward and chatted with each of the men from the cast,  complimenting them on their performances.  It was still light outside when I arrived back at the cabin. Inspired, I sang through my songs and worked on some choreography in the living room.  I was so jazzed from the music!  I couldn’t sleep.  Normally I wind down slowly before bed with yoga.  It is getting to the point that when I am at a concert, I feel like I AM the music.  It is an amazing and spiritual sensation.

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Monday, April 1, 2024

A Snowy Easter in California

 


We woke up Easter morning to a blanket of fresh snow.  “A White Easter,” I thought to myself.  Not exactly what you would expect in California.  It was elegant and beautiful, though.



The snow plow came through and I spent the holiday shoveling my deck, parking spaces, and driveway.  It was tiring, but an excellent workout.  After clearing the powder off the cars and their windows, I took a sauna and cold plunge to relieve my aching muscles.  

I love the rainbow shades of pink, peach, and yellow daffodils and tulips that I bought from Moonstruck Farms.  They are arranged in a crystal vase on my kitchen table.  What a contrast against the clean, white, cold snow.  


How was your Easter?

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Monday, March 25, 2024

Why I Don’t Want to Live Off Grid


 Recently I have been watching shows  like Homestead Rescue, and YouTube videos of people attempting and struggling with their dream of grid living.  What most of them don’t realize is how expensive and exhausting it is.  I personally greatly appreciate having electricity, snow plow services, Internet, septic,  gas and water.  

These conveniences make it much easier to do chores, cook, and keep your food from spoiling.  They also provide safety, space, organization, and cleanliness.  Personally, I think many of these back to the land people are simply drawn  to the pull of nature and a majestic mountain view.  When I moved into my cottage, a yoga student described the yards here as “having just dirt and rocks, and nothing growing.”  As you can see in the above photo, I planted a front garden, and now have an inspiring cocoon.

After seeing my backyard orchard, some of the neighbors planted their own fruit trees.  They look stunning, especially when they are in bloom.  The trees have room to reach upwards and stretch. The couple who live behind that white fence bought their home and land, improved and remodeled the house, and turned the acreage into an alpaca farm!  My neighbor and I get to enjoy watching the peaceful animals while eating meals and drinking coffee on our front porches.

We can hang our clothes to dry in the sun, cook and bake from scratch, and enjoy a hot bath before bed without transporting ourselves to a remote location with no amenities.  Sometimes it is better to keep what you have and improve it.

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Thursday, March 21, 2024

Cooking Your Own Healthy Meals in Retirement

 


Yesterday I made a batch of bone broth using leftover chicken wings, celery, celery leaves, carrots, onions, fresh garlic and salted water.  After simmering on the stove for a few hours, the stock had formed, I added some herbs from my garden.  Bay leaf, thyme, fresh sage, and creeping rosemary were tossed into the pot.  They make all the difference.


The dogs enjoyed some of the flavorful hot liquid on their kibble, as gravy.  They licked their plates clean.  I sipped on several mugs of I it throughout the day.  It has so many benefits.  I feel like it helps me to achieve and maintain homeostasis.  It is flavorful, relaxing and nutritious.  I also boiled some  Brussels  sprouts in boiling, salted water, and drank that green broth, as well.

The green gnocchi in the top photo are from Aldi.  They are so easy to cook, drain, and serve.  I like mine with melted Irish butter, freshly pressed garlic, sea salt,  and freshly ground pepper.  When you cook your own meals in retirement, you can nourish your body simply, healthfully and inexpensively.  The better we eat, the better we will feel and sleep as we age.  

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Sunday, March 17, 2024

Financial Routines

 


Spring is tax time in California.  Last week I diligently kept a running total of all of the taxes I owe for this quarter.  Property taxes and estimated taxes are due next month.  It is always a shock for me to see the numbers.   Each year it costs more money to live here.

It requires financial discipline to have enough in liquid savings well before the bills are due.  That cash needs to be liquid.  For me, that means the money is stocks and CD’s is not used.  

I double check my account balances daily, to be sure the checks have cleared.  I also mark the items with a check in my checkbook register.  It’s important to examine every detail before mailing them in, or paying online.  Dates, social security numbers, and numbers must be accurate.

The accountant needs to be paid, and there are still all the regular costs of running a household that are occurring, as well.  Staying disciplined with grocery purchases, heating, electric and water usage insures that there will be enough dollars to pay for the luxury of living in California.

How are you doing with your taxes?

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Saturday, March 9, 2024

Do You Sleep Well?

 


One of the top difficulties that many seniors face is that they have trouble sleeping.  Before I had my hips replaced, I was one of those people.  I would dread going to bed, because I knew that the pain radiating down my legs would increase.  If someone or something woke me in the night, I would feel enraged, because it was so difficult to get back to sleep, or to get any sleep.  This sets up a vicious cycle.

Thankfully, I now fall quickly into a deep slumber after heading to bed.  It is such a relief to be pain free and to experience the peaceful, healing qualities of deep sleep. It is restorative and rejuvenating.

These fresh flowers are something I started splurging on in the last year.  I showcase them in  vintage crystal vases the previous owner left at the cabin..   I buy the bulbs from a local woman in Wrightwood.  I also grow tulips, daffodils. and irises of my own.  They are so lovely to enjoy while living life inside the cottage.

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Saturday, March 2, 2024

A Well Built Home

 


Recently I have been watching some of the real estate and homesteading shows on Max.  It is fascinating to see how other people live.  The older I get, the more I appreciate having an older home, antiques, my mom’s vintage cookware, and the quality materials that were used.

Unlike many real estate agents in California, I prefer to restore, rather than remodel.  The cabin I own was built by a talented and disciplined man from Germany.  His two sons helped him.  You can see the love and care that went into this home.  They took pride in their work, and spent money on supplies that would last for decades.

With RV traveling becoming so popular, many people are living full time or part time in vehicles.  Myself, I put great value in residing in a physical house.  During a storm like the one we have experienced recently, it is reassuring to be in a solid and safe structure.  

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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Making Your Own Sweet Potato Tortillas

 


Last week I tried a recipe for sweet potato tortillas.  The ingredients are simple: baked sweet potatoes, flour, and salt.  I used one cup of each, with a half teaspoon of salt.


The dough came out a beautiful pastel peach color, and it felt elastic, even though there is no yeast in the recipe.  I patted small ball of the dough onto my floured cutting board. Using a dry cast iron skillet, I cooked the flat bread up quickly.


I was thrilled with the result!  I layered  the above quesadilla with grated Tillamook cheddar cheese.  They keep well in the fridge.    I cut the recipe in half.  You can use two cups and of flour, sweet potatoes, and a full teaspoon of salt if you have more mouths to feed.

Let me know if you try them.  Some people use spelt flour.  I just scooped out what I had on hand.  They are fantastic!  My gluten free neighbor turned me on to them.  

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Reaping the Rewards of Growing Fruit

 


This week I will continue to harvest Meyer Lemons, Blood Oranges, and Ruby Red Grapefruit.  Citrus trees take many years to mature and produce fruit.  Once they hit a certain level, their production power is amazing!  I am able to share the sun ripened fruit with several of my neighbors.  The rain we are receiving right now from the lates atmospheric river will greatly help next year's harvest.  It is also plumping up the citrus that are still hanging on the trees.  I like to wait for the rain, and let it do its job.  


I am growing mostly fruit right now.  I used to plant and harvest more vegetables like artichokes, lettuce, mesclun greens, and potatoes.  Since I receive so many of them from the co-op, I really don't need to grow my own at this point.  I may plant a few favorites in the spring, like zucchini and pumpkins.  I focus mainly on fruit, since it is more expensive in the stores.  I studied the prices in the produce section of our local mountain market yesterday.  It was shocking.  I felt sorry for an elderly man with just a few items in his basket.  It made me realize how important it is to be able to feed yourself.    

It is very rewarding to produce food in your front and backyard.  Building the soil, composting the fruit and vegetable scraps, and spreading straw mulch have made it much easier.  So has the plentiful rain.

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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Vegetables For Breakfast in California

 



This morning I boiled some green beans on the stove in a small amount of salted water.  After draining them in a colander, I swirled them in their original pot in a small amount of Danish Creamery butter, and pressed a clove of fresh garlic over the surface.  The warmth of the saucepan will melt the butter.

Sunchokes are a vegetable that I was recently introduced to through our local farmers.  I expected them to taste like artichokes, of which I am a huge fan.  Instead, they remind me of homemade potato chips with a sunflower flavor. They are addictive!  I couldn’t wait to make them again.

Shaped like a bulb, they resemble  ginger.  I sliced them width-wise,  thinly, and baked them in olive oil, seasoning them with salt and pepper.  They cook very quickly, and make a delicious side dish to any meal.  I enjoyed  them last night, for dinner, with spicy chicken wings and a vegetable salad.

What do you eat for breakfast?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Downtown Disneyland Yesterday

 


I drove down to Anaheim, California yesterday, to meet up with an old friend from my dancing days.  We toured with the Broadway show, “My One and Only” together.  She was staying at The Holiday Inn.  I was able to book a room there at the last minute and join her.

We took a beautiful stroll to Downtown Disneyland, and enjoyed a delicious meal outdoors.  I splurged on a rich, bacon cheeseburger.  My friend savored a delightful salad with teriyaki chicken.  It was very relaxed outside, and we sat at the bar.  The tiki lights gave it a fire-lit atmosphere.  


I ran into another lovely performer from MGM in the hotel lobby.  She was our leading lady in the show, EFX, at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.  Michael Crawford was the star.  He selected me to be her understudy.  We both got chills upon seeing each other again.  It was such a special surprise.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

A Winter Wonderland in California

 


Hello from snowy California!  I’m sorry I have not been able to answer all of the latest comments.  I have been busy shoveling!  I will respond in the next couple of days.  Heating the cabin with wood takes a lot of time and energy.  I appreciate all of you reading the blog, and I love hearing from you.


As you may have read, we have been experiencing atmospheric rivers in California.  They are amazing and powerful.    I have had many friends call to check on me.  It’s been so much fun to catch up with them.  We received about a foot of rain, and then all of this gorgeous snow.  It just sparkles…


My body is very sore and tired from digging out the cars, and clearing the deck.  We have more snow on the way.  It is lovely to sit by the fire, enjoy a tuna casserole, and sip a cup of rose hips tea.  I wish I could post videos here, because I made a beautiful one during the snowstorm.

How is the weather where you are?

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