Good food, Good company, Good day

Although rain is scarce, it has been overcast for several days, and I got the blues. Today was better: the sun shone at least part of the day, and we gathered with the rest of the Flower Fields volunteers for a "thank you" lunch. I didn't volunteer but as Randys' wife, I got lunch anyway. Teresa, Jack and Jackie had all volunteered so they were here also. After lunch they had to return to Riverside but it was so good to see them again! Later we joined Ashley and Dan for dinner. Dan grilled chicken, Ken and Patty brought several side dishes and Randy made some killer mac-and-cheese with bacon. And later that night Randy finished the day with a turtle ice cream malt. Great day!

Crown repairs

Thursday I got the two temporary crowns replaced with permanent crowns. I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Steven Steelman!  I need to have more work done, but it will wait until a little later this year.  Even when the process is painless, the cost of dental work is out of this world. Plus I don't want to be in the middle of crown repairs when we head to Utah; although we will not be hurrying, we won't be in one place long, either. Better to be settled before starting more crown repair.

A peaceful day

Yesterday our dogs were alone most of the day because we had to leave so early to beat the traffic. We drove back after the graduation party, getting home after midnight. To make up for leaving them alone so long, we let them sleep on the bed with us, instead of in their kennels. They love it, but they don't sleep late. So we were kind of tired today. 

This morning was overcast with showers but we wanted to get out so we went to Oceanside for breakfast. Good decision; Oceanside was bright and sunny. We wanted to try the Beach Break Cafe but there was a long line, so instead we went to the 101 Diner. Randy ordered pancakes and I had a bacon-cheese-avacado omelette. These are products that we love but, dang it, Randy cooks them so much better! It's so hard to find a place that serves food we like better than Randy's home-cookin'.

At home we snapped leashes on Shorty and Julienne and went to Petco. They both love walking but Julienne gets tired. Since we plan to do more hiking, we need something we can carry her in when she's done walking. Petco didn't really have anything that fit her, so we dropped the dogs off at home and went to Walmart, where we got a baby carrier. It should work just fine.

Next we went to Costco to get a container, where we discovered their samples included Belgium chocolates, flank steak, grilled cheese, breakfast sandwiches and Girl Scout cookie bars. Anytime I can get free chocolate, I am happy.

We got a few things done later in the day, and closed a peaceful day.

Another High School graduation

Friday we celebrated another graduation in the family.  Mitchell, the grandson of Randy's brother Butch, graduated from High School, and since we are in Southern California, we were able to attend the ceremony. We are only an hour away but on Friday afternoon that could mean up to a 3 hour traffic delay. And it's the holiday weekend, so there might be even more traffic! So, in order to be there by 5 pm, we left at noon. We beat the traffic, but of course that meant we got to San Diego way early. It  still beat sitting in traffic for hours, and now we had time to try a new restaurant. Our niece Melissa recommended Hodad, so we went there. Hodad's had been on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives", and to celebrate that event they created a special sandwich called the Guido Burger. It's a burger toppled with pastrami; that sounded good to Randy, who ordered it with a side of onion rings. Really good! I was perfectly happy with my bacon-cheeseburger and fries. The only off note was the fact they served Pepsi instead of Coke.
Still had some extra time, so we looked for a place to get a manicure. At the last minute I went for acrylic nails instead. I have never had acrylic nails. I thought they just stuck fake nails on, but there is a whole process of buffing the nail, adding fake tips, then painting some build-up material over the whole nail to smooth it out. And for some reason the nail polish at salons stays on much longer than mine. I like this!
It was a little awkward at first; I felt like I had long sticks at the end of my fingers. But I think I could get used to it.

By then we had used up most of our time so we headed over to our nephew's house, where we caught a ride to the graduation. Mitchell not only graduated with honors, he was also the class Valedictorian. His brother, who graduated in June of 2012 was Valedictorian of his class, too. Smarts run in this family! 

After graduation there was a party at Mitchell's parents house. His mom is so talented; she baked cupcakes, decorated the house, set up the caterers, and created gifts of leis and roses from dollar bills.
And now one more graduate is ready for college! Mitchell is brilliant. He has picked UCLA as his college; he will do awesome there.

Old Town Temecula

Randy worked the last two days; as usual, on his first day off we like to go somewhere. It was too cool and breezy to go to the beach so we went to Old Town Temecula. Even on a cool day it's a good place to walk around. We went through most of the shops; I bought a bracelet at one and Randy bought a little German Shuttle at another (that one is going to take some research). For lunch we stopped at Mad Madeline's and had an OK burger and fries. Since his time at the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort Snack Shack, Randy has spoiled me forever on French Fries.

One shop is devoted completely to wool products, where wool materials were sold as "wool fats".  According to the shop owner, this refers to cutting a section of wool into quarters, instead of cutting it into lengths. The cut sections are shorter but fatter. I don't know if that's true, but its how he sold his product.
The part of town we were in was pretty nice. They have banners supporting soldiers along all the roads and in front of the lovely City Hall.

Rainy day

It rained all last night and into the morning, which means the Museum is closed today. The interior roads cannot handle rain; the top layer gets so slippery that cars can slide sideways. Randy can drive on these roads, so he went out grocery shopping while I planned some of the route for our upcoming trip to see the canyons of Utah and Yellowstone. 

For lunch we went to Costco; sometimes we get the hot dog special, and sometimes we just graze through the samples. Today was a sample day! Then we stopped at The Indian Store, which is filled with beautiful things that won't fit into our RV. One of the display racks is made of Saguaro skeleton; it's a bit deformed, but that's what makes it look so cool!

Mother's Day at the Spa

Sunday Teresa invited us to join her family for dinner at their house, to celebrate her mom on Mother's Day. Sounds good! We decided that since we would be driving as far north as Riverside, we would go a little farther to visit the Imperial Spa in Fullerton first.
We visited here in April of 2012. At the time I noted how odd it was to be a tall, full-figured and very white woman in a crowd of short, petite Korean women. The only thing we had in common was our age. This time, however, because it was Mother's Day, a large group young Korean ladies were there with their moms. Probably they all arranged this outing as a treat but apparently they missed a couple of things in the fine print, which became very clear when they entered the shower area.

(1) Everyone has to shower before using any of the hot, warm or cold pools. 

(2) Everyone showers in the open. And everyone in the pool has to be naked. 

The older Korean ladies didn't care one way or another.  They casually took a quick shower, then sauntered over to sit on the edge of a pool. The young ladies, however, were speechless. They had kept their pretty underware on under their robes so they just stood together in a quiet group, not sure where to look or what to do. Eventually they skipped the shower/pool area entirely; instead they went back to the changing room where they took turns taking selfies together. 

I headed for the Red Clay Sauna room, with its individual little caves to lie in, under a warm red light. The peaceful quiet was broken when a group of the young ladies came in. From inside the cave all I could hear was a lot of giggling, snaps of cameras, and the occasional loud whisper of "QUIET"! I don't think they every got into any pool or sauna, but they got a lot of photos!

Myself, I fell asleep in the Red Clay Sauna for an hour. Eventually I woke up, made my way back to the changing room and got ready to go. Randy met me in the foyer and we headed towards Riverside. Traffic can be awful on 91; one time it took us almost 4 hours to make the trip, but today traffic was minimal, and we arrived in plenty of time. Teresa had cooked enough for a crowd, which was good because a lot of the family was there, including Teresa's crew of Jack and Jackie, plus Tara, Dennis, Ian and Riley, Mike, Kara and Britteny, Jim and Marla, and Amanda and her new husband Aiden. We all ate well wished Jean a very Happy Mother/Grandmother/Aunt Day!

Meeting Friends in Old Town Temecula

Yesterday I slept most of the day; I guess it took that long to get the Valium out of my system. Today I felt more like a person so I got caught up on tracking our finances and balancing our accounts. Randy worked on the RV awhile, then we went to Costco to get cat litter. One of the benefits of shopping at Costco is that they offer a lot of samples; today it was crepes with Nutella and potato chips, two of my favorites!

For dinner we drove to Temecula to meet with Dave and Margie, friends from Hilton Head. Another couple from Hilton Head, Kim and DeeDee, joined us. They were at Hilton Head before our time but it was nice to swap stories of experiences and food. Old Town Temecula looks like fun; we'll come back here sometime when we have all day to explore.

One year Ago: Acadia National Park
Two Years Ago: One Hot Mama's
Four Years Ago: Paul Revere's Boston

A surprisingly good dental experience

Well, it was a quiet day at the dentist, and that's something I never thought I would say. The doctor gave me a prescription for a Valium last night, to help me sleep, and one today before my appointment, to ease my stress. All that Valium made it necessary for Randy to be my driver, and sit in the waiting room for 2 hours until the procedure was done. When I sat down in the chair, the assistance offered me some sunglasses (so I didn't have to stare at them while they worked), gave me a light blanket to snuggle under, set up a movie for me to watch (I picked Nightmare Before Christmas) and used two topical anesthetic swabs on my inside cheek. The doctor gave me two shots of novocaine, and, after a while, because I could still feel a test poke, he gave me a third shot. And then everything went just fine.....

The dentist I went to last month thought I would need a root canal but after cleaning away the decay, Dr. Steelman discovered I do not need one after all. It was a near thing, but the tooth is good enough unless the tooth nerve decides to become inflamed. He also took the crown off a nearby tooth that was decaying near the crown edge, cleaned up that decay, and fitted both teeth for new crowns. Now I have a two temporary crowns in place. I also have a couple of 800 mg Ibuprofen for pain; I took one because I know my jaw will be sore after 2 hours of work, and right now all is well. I didn't even need the Nitrous Oxide! I never thought I would be able to sit through dental work without that. I always pray my way through dental work, and I gratefully thank God that this went well!

Happy Cinco de Mayo !

A couple of weeks ago I went in for a routine teeth cleaning which unfortunately revealed major problems. Apparently most of my crowns have some decay or damage around the edges. I am a terrible patient who cannot handle dental work without Nitrous Oxide; the dentist who cleaned my teeth doesn't use Nitrous, so today I went to see a different dentist to prioritize the work. Thursday he will take care of the worst one; I can hardly bear to think about it.

But it's Cinco de Mayo today - a good excuse/time for another get-together! Randy put together all the goodies for shredded beef tacos, shredded chicken tacos and refried beans, and other folks brought guacamole, chips, rice and salad. We all enjoyed a leisurely dinner outside under our awning; then, as the night got cooler, Randy started a fire for us. All of grownups stood or sat around the fire talking, but Lee, 7 years old and kind of bored, was thrilled to finally find something interesting do to. He fed the fire bits and pieces until he ran out of wood scrapes, then sat really close to enjoy his handiwork. It's tough being the only kid in a group; next time we should get marshmallows!
Four years ago: Flight 93

Lovely Italian lunch

For lunch today we went to Ciao's, a lovely little Italian restaurant where they put on a great lunch buffet. It's not large - fresh bread, grilled veggies in olive oil, a couple of chicken dishes, a couple of pasta dishes, pizza and canoli - but everything is really good. 

Today there was a large group of people in the corner, all speaking Italian. Soon someone brought out a guitar to play and another man started singing. Our waitress told us that he used to be a professional opera singer, and it showed - he was excellent! The songs sounded like they could be traditional Italian songs, and sometimes the simple guitar accompaniment made the song sound like something from "The Godfather". 

Lovely, lovely lunch.

The many colors of Swiss Chard

Virgil, one of the guys who often works here on the weekends, has a garden at home. He often shares his Swiss Chard with us. Randy enjoys eating it; I just think it's pretty.