1-31-09 Saturday (Happy Birthday Pearl)

Today, a cake made history. Not just any cake. It was a birthday cake. A cake we had made for our dear friend Pearl for her birthday. OK, I'll explain. Sometime in June of last year, we bought a birthday cake for Pearl. We had the man at the Publix bakery write "Happy Birthday Pearl". It came out horrible, but it was the last one they had of the kind Pearl would like. We bought it anyway. Later we noticed that the balloons and the writing were having a directional dispute. That made Nancy, Pearl, Laurie, Jim and I laugh even harder.

I follow a blog called "Cake Wrecks". They take professionally made cakes that have come out awful and post them with a wonderful commentary. I submitted Pearl's cake in September and today I was surprised to have found it posted. Click here to see. What's even more amusing is to read the comments users have submitted. At last count, this entry had 44 comments. "Cake Wrecks" is a huge blog.

We left the hotel and made our way to the Roseville Fairgrounds, where we were a few weeks ago. Good news! On the way here, I got some photos of that castle off I-80. Here's what I got:

After a quick setup at the campground, I called my Aunt Claudia. A 30 minute ride later, we arrived at her house. We decided to go have lunch at a Chinese restaurant that she likes. She drove. She's a small/petite kinda gal and is driving this big SUV that's been attacked by a lift kit. I'll get more photos of her, but here she is getting into the vehicle. The restaurant was called Fats. It was upscale Chinese and was awesome. We ordered an appetizer (Chicken in Lettuce Cup water chestnuts, pinenuts, and hoisin sauce) and 3 entrees to share. Food is served family style. Here's what we had:
Fat’s Almond Chicken with almond crusted chicken breast and zesty orange sauce. Genghis Khan Beef stir-fried flank steak over crispy wonton. Sweet and Sour Pork with pineapple, onions, and bell peppers.

Now it's time for a BAD DASHER! story. So the other day we went out and about and when we returned, we found destruction. This fine pleather recliner in our room complete with exotic texture, was torn apart. Dasher apparently was digging into the cushion to save a poor child who was undoubtedly stuck in it. We really must get Dasher to stop watching Lassie. Anyway, he destroyed it. the cushion is attached and can't be flipped. Maybe the hotel won't notice if we try to repair it. Thinking that we have been upholstery repairmen all our lives, we buy a $10.00 kit at Walmart. You know, the kind of kit that you mixed several colors together to make a new color. You apply the magical colored goo, spread it around and iron something somehow. Or something like that. Jim did it. The area was too big to handle, the iron couldn't get where was needed and it might just be worse than what Dasher had done. The picture below is the after. Generally, I prefer "after" photos that look better than the "before" photo. Mmmmmm, not so much here.
But... he IS cute.

1-30-09 Friday (Thanksgiving Food)

Another exciting day of....... nada! Yay. We did go pick up the RV today. The patch came out good. The awning is nice and new once again. The various roof top shrouds are now bright white (new). It's all good.

After paying our balance, we dropped the RV off at Tires Les Schwab to have the valve stem cores replaced. We have difficulty airing up the tires because the cores are bent.

We've passed by this castle looking building off of I80 and have been curious about what it may be. Whizzing by at 70mph, we've only been able to see that it looks like a private residence, the "front yard" is facing the interstate, and that two vehicles (boat and RV maybe) are facing the interstate with "For Sale" signs and phone numbers. Today I finally marked it on the GPS and while we waited for the RV, the castle hunting adventure began.

We got close to it. It's sights were so close but we still couldn't make out what the deal was with this place. Was it some ecentric guy's home? Was it a reclaimed commercial property? We rerouted and got to the entrance where a large iron gate blocked the driveway. We may never know it's story. I've Googled for it, but come up empty. There's a lot of theories on the Internet about it. One source had several stories. Click here if interested. Oddly what we did see a block up the street were these 2 birds walking around. Are they turkeys? Freakin' odd!

Back to Les Schwab we went to find they didn't do what Jim requested. Apparently they misunderstood so we had to wait for them to do it while we sat around. That was the point to dropping it off... so we wouldn't have to wait. They didn't charge, probably because of the inconvenience. Strange that a tire store didn't understand something having to do with tires. Almost scary. Les Schwab is a big chain out west. Whatever.

We went to In N Out Burger. This was our second time to one of these burger joints. Every one of these locations we've seen has had lines at all times of day. It's like they taste THAT great or the price is THAT good, or a combination. We decided to try it out again and found that neither is true. The price for a double, fries and drink is $6. The burgers themselves are OK. If you remember my previous post about this place, I told you the menu consisted of 3 burger choices, fries, shakes and drinks. That's it. Well, I've come to the conclusion that Californians don't like choices. Maybe it confuses them. This place makes it easy. A hamburger, cheeseburger or double cheeseburger. Pick. Awwww shit, now I'll have Californians reading the blog and sending me hate mail.....

Once we returned to the hotel, we started loading up the RV. I washed all of the clothes at the laundry room. I have a bitch though. Well, OK, a couple, no make that a few. First of all, they had 4 washers, one out of order. They had 8 dryers. It was $1.50 for wash and the same for dry. There was a small packet of liquid fabric softner on a shelf. I swiped it. I see why someone abandoned it. It was purchased from the dispensor on the wall. It's liquid. There's no place to put it in. I guess they figured it was useless so they left it there. Funny that they'd vend something useless. After depositing quarters into the washers, as usual, the countdown started so I knew I had 28 minutes until I had to come back. Later when it was time for dry, the dryers were old and didn't have a countdown. Now when the hell will I know when to come get my perma-press out of the dryer before it turns off and they wrinkle? Damn them. When we came back, luckily it was still running BUT they were almost completely dry. I like to hang them a little damp. Speaking of hanging... last bitch... above the folding table was a closet rod/shelf combination. The rod was too low and as we hung the clothes, most of the fabric laid on the table.

So to celebrate our 3 or so days of eating right, we ate double cheeseburgers at In N Out today. Well, you knew that because I told you a few paragraphs above. What you don't know is that we ventured out to have a Dairy Queen Blizzard. But of course the darn place closed at 9 and we arrived at 9:15 so we had to settle on Frosty's from Wendys. Look at the sign below! Sweet tea!

1-29-09 Thursday (Four! or Ten!)

Jim and I played mini golf today. We played 2 games. I probably lost both games although I never added up the scores. Unfortunately there were some holes that I scored 7 and one even 9. I know we could have maxed out as 5 or 6 but it was more fun to keep trying. It's about the fun, isn't it.

Above: This was the worst. I got it in 9, Jim in 10. Argh!

Above: Leave it to me to get the ball where it shouldn't go.

Above: It's me, it's me.

There was an old couple several holes behind us. At one point, suddenly they were just a hole behind. Jim was getting a little cold and left to go to the Jeep to get his jacket. I stepped aside and let the old couple ahead. They rocked. They were both very good. The woman especially. I watched her hit a hole in one. She nor he were excited about it. I'm not sure if it was expected or possibly smiling too wide would allow her dentures to fall out? I should have gotten a photo of them.

We got to a supermarket after golf. Nothing special, just some discount place. We got a lot more fruit and dinner for tonight. I won't speak about dinner... we over ate.

American Idol Season 8 tryouts are on as I'm typing this. I've never watched Idol and don't plan to. I can't believe some of these people auditioned. How tragic!

1-28-09 Wednesday (New Addictions)

Kudos to fellow blogger Liz of Eternal Lizdom for her heartfelt post about religion vs. homosexuality or in her case religion AND homosexuality. Read it here!

It's almost 2pm and we haven't done anything yet today. We got a little involved in playing Scrabble on Facebook. Now it's kinda addictive. I like it because you can play a nice slow, long game that remembers where we left off. That's great for people who don't want to be tied to playing at the moment. They can make a move now and hours later make another play.

For lunch today, with some leftover tortillas, I made wraps of ham, cheese, lettuce and some Light Asian Toasted Sesame dressing. I love this dressing. It is incredibly yummy. Yesterday, I made them with turkey and added tomatoes to mine. We're just finishing up some cheese that we have but next time we'll buy some 2% shredded. Even though we switched to olive oil mayo, I'm still trying to get away from using it. I thought this dressing was an excellent way to do that.

Jim has gotten a stew going in the crockpot for tonight's dinner. I love chili and stew in the crockpot. Both are mighty tasty. By the way, a blog of crockpotting exists. A woman made something in her crockpot 365 days and posted the recipe and results. If you like crockpotting, check this out.

Mostly out of boredom, Jim and I went to Walmart and then Target. We walked around aimlessly. It was a nice leg stretch and I feel better that we left the room for reasons other than walking Dasher.

Dinner was delicious. We had a salad. Jim doesn't like tomato but for me a sliced one up, added a little salt and enjoyed it along with my salad. We then moved on to the stew. At Walmart I bought whole wheat pitas. Jim and I split one with dinner. It was tasty dipped in the gravy of the stew.

1-27-09 Tuesday (Hairy Motorcycles)

When we got to this hotel, I was determined to make it a more enjoyable stay. More enjoyable than when we were in Salt Lake City. Remember those entries of us doing nothing? I don't care if we just walk the mall, we need to get out and we certainly need the excercise. There must be some super center something or another to go check out. Some place to look, but not to buy.

It's already 1:30 and as much as I've expressed a desire to go somewhere, Jim is still surfing the net or whatever. I plan to remind him in a few minutes which will result in him being defensive and me being bitchy. I'm not sure which will come first. Usually it's bitchy me and defensive him.

We had talked about going to the RV and getting a knife. All we have here is a cheap steak knife. We also talked about buying a cheap but effective knife somewhere. Of course, we've made no definite decision. Oy. We need a knife to cut up veggies for tonight's stirfry as well as for a crock pot stew later this week. If I had remembered, I would have looked at Walmart last night.

We're back from a couple of errands and then stopped off at the RV. American RV has the body repairs done which look spectacular. They were working on the roof shrouds and drip rails. They'll probably have it done Thursday at this rate.

OK, we spotted this guy on the freeway. A few things to look at closely here: Some sort of toy guitar in his back pack. A furry front end. A mohawk on the helmet. All so odd.

1-26-09 Monday (Necked a Ring?)

My 200th post and all I have for you today is: Walmart. Yes, that's it.

I got carried away with Facebook today and added tons of photos.

Ummmmm, did I mention Walmart?

Above: This was in the Asian section at Walmart and it just sounds gross to me.

Above: The Walmart we went to had a medical clinic. Do click on the photo to enlarge and checkout the price list. Aside from the ailments listed, it's just weird in general to see a price list, period. Below are a couple of blown up shots:


Above: This guy was pushing a baby stroller. Where's the baby? It's only plastic bottles in it, or so I hope. Should I have called the authorities?

I have some bitches about our room. Nothing major but it's more fun to complain.

Above: The bathroom faucet is stiff and makes a "oops I stepped on a puppy" sound effect.

Above: The foot of the bed makes a lot of noise. I'm too scared to see what's making the noise.

Above: The shower head is so bizarre but it's powerful!

Above: Worst things can happen than a simple spider web, but if I'm gonna bitch, I need to take it all the way.

By the way, I'm fruit and vegetable dumb. While at Walmart, I felt up some nectarines which seemed firm. I put several in a bag and approached an employee who was stocking vegetables with "Excuse me, how do you ripen nectarines". She didn't understand me, I repeated the question. Language barrier. She then seems to have an epiphany and takes me to the nectarines, points and smiles. Sigh. While I am tempted to ask my question louder, I resist knowing our world thinks that people who can't understand, are also deaf. I ask again slower and ready to give up. The woman gives me the finger... the wait a moment finger and returns with another employee. Awesome! I ask my question again. The newly arrived employee understood it less. I moved on.

I grabbed some other fruits and vegetables. Jim and I have decided to eat healthier. I'm not going to call it a diet because as soon as it's labeled as such, the psych takes over and immediately wants everything and anything that you've decided you CAN'T have. It's human nature.

In a previous post, I've mentioned my lust for Count Chocula cereal. At some point since then, I've evolved and have taken a liking to Special K Redberry. That equates to me eating the Walmart knock off. I like it, but why does it all have to have so much sugar? Today I bought regular corn flakes. Wish me luck!

Well, I guess I had some material for today after all....

1-25-09 Sunday (Friday Hop)

We've made it to the Extended Stay Hotel in Sacramento! The room wasn't ready when we arrived. What could we do to kill some time? I know, lets eat! Oh, I got it, not just eat, let's go have all you can eat pancakes at IHOP! Hmmmm, where's this gut coming from?

We're on the 3rd floor, corner unit which is nice for noise consideration but sucked for the trips up and down with all our crap. We used one of those hotel carts and the elevator to load stuff on. Remember, we have a lot of stuff crap we need for a week, including emptying our fridge out. We made many trips! We take the stairs when we can for at least a little exercise. Typically we also skip escalators too.

After all the organizing, and man, we stuffed this place pretty full, we drove to the RV place and left the the coach behind.

OK, I know it was only a few paragraphs ago that I mentioned IHOP but at this point in the time line, it's much later..... really. We went to TGI Friday's for dinner. Yummy. We both had a very healthy grilled chicken..... errrrrr ,uhhhhhh, it was really good. Maybe not so healthy.

Did you read the description? Mmmmm. Oh, then we took advantage of a special they had. 1/2 price appetizer with the purchase of the an entree. Jim had Potstickers and I had Buffalo Tenders. Leftovers are in the fridge. Hmmmm, does my ass look bigger? The good news is that we HAVE leftovers. I won't tell you how much is left..... too incriminating.

1-24-09 Saturday (Life Long Preservation)

Sandra (Jim's ex-coworker) called this morning. Jim and I drove to her parents house in the city of Petaluma. Sandra drove us on a scenic tour of where she grew up and pointed out schools she attended and a beautiful church where she was married. We all went downtown and walked around. We were so busy talking, I don't know if we passed any cool shops or not. Funny.

The 3 of us had a yummy lunch at a bar and grill place. Luckily the place was really slow because we sat at the table for a long ass time chit chatting. Sandra asked the waitress if it was OK to hog a table. I drank so many iced teas. I know, they weren't sweet.... well they were sweet by my hand. We got back to Sandra's parents house, said our goodbyes and plotted our course home.

Let's revisit bottle deposits again. California charges 10 cents. We've found that most places don't refund the money. There's only a few places per city that will take them back, unlike how the other states run. California is a little weird about that. We got back almost $5 so I guess it was worth it.

Another stop on the way home was to a Trader Joes. We wanted to see what the big deal is about this place. It was pretty busy, and sold a lot of healthier, gluten free and/or organic foods. I'm not sure if their prices are in line with nonhealthy versions or not. I doubt it's as cheap as Walmart to eat healthier. When we have money again, then perhaps I'll join the craze. Until then, I will continue to pump my body with preservatives. Perhaps that will make me live longer?

Yet another stop, to the Anthony Chabot state park to see what it was like. When we come back to see more of San Francisco, we're going to stay here. It's a little cheaper than Sandev (where we are now). The state park only has 12 RV sites. We saw several deer driving through the park. The trees were thick and beautiful. I think this will be a beautiful place to go.

Tomorrow we go to Sacramento, check in to the extended stay hotel and then drop the RV off on Monday. My Aunt Claudia lives in Folsum which is close to Sacramento so we'll be seeing her towards the end of the week. I haven't seen her in a long time so it will be nice.

I was going to insert some clip art into the blog but the connection is sucking this evening and I barely got the 2 photos uploaded. I think I'll NOT push my luck and publish this post when the connection isn't looking. Quick, time to po

1-23-09 Friday (Train Dedication)

As I was typing yesterday's blog entry in, I was finally able to catch a video of the train that runs behind us. This video was filmed from my beloved dinette booth seat (Blog HQ). Please enjoy the video as much as I enjoy the train. I dedicate this to John & Derek, previous inhabitants of SanDev.

Wondrous, wasn't it? Mind you, this train wasn't as loud as others, but louder than some.

I'm afraid I must have blogged too much yesterday and am out of blogging material for today.

We've not accomplished much today at all. We picked up another movie to watch tonight, and I have enchiladas in the oven. I think this is the last of the frozen foods in the oven. When get into the extended stay hotel we'll be subjected to non oven meals again. Argh. Once we're out of there though, I'll mass produce a bunch of meals to freeze for future eatin'.

1-22-09 Thursday (Wonton Soup Nazi)

I generally like to write the blog entries on the same day while things are fresh. I'm very tired at the moment and am having trouble focusing on what we did yesterday.

Got it! We stopped at a Radio Shack to get an adaptor we need for the speakers. A few miles away, another stop to Home Depot was in order for some Allen Wrenches. Jim needs one to adjust the bike so the handle bars stay firm and also to adjust the seat.

Jim spoke with the body shop and all the parts are in. We've booked an extended stay hotel in Sacramento and will arrive there this Sunday. We both enjoyed San Francisco a lot and feel there's still plenty more to see so we'll come back here before going to Los Angeles.

We squeezed some more sight seeing in today. A drive to San Francisco with a plan in hand! Our first stop was the San Francisco Railway Museum. This cute, little, free museum was packed with information. It gave a great history of the Cable cars, Street cars and Trolley Buses. We bought "50 Adventures on Foot: City Walks - San Francisco". It's like a tourguide in a box. It contains 50 large flash cards that provide a map on one side and a narrative of the walk on the other side.

On the way back to the Jeep, we took our time walking through the Embarcadero Center. A large shopping, dining, and hotel area complete with this giant, nifty fountain.

A short drive later, we're at the San Francisco Maritime Museum. Oh, even with our eternal love of museums, we decided to skip the interior crap (based on the disappointing Seattle Maritime Museum) and head for the docks to see a couple of ships. Our National Parks pass gave us free entry. Free was good as this was not worth the fee to me. 2 ships were available to tour. The first, 1895 schooner C. A. Thayer was rich in history but weak on views. We could stand on the deck and that was it. That was fun. NOT! The second ship, 1890 steam ferryboat Eureka, was interesting. I think we enjoyed looking into the on board newspaper stand and reading some REALLY old newspaper front pages, more than the ship itself.

Back to the Jeep and another short drive to the "Full House" house. This was the home used in the credits of that TV show. I hardly watched this show and when I have seen it, I wondered how it lasted as long as it did. Nonetheless, here it is:

Jim said a website indicated the red doors from the show are now on a home to the right of it.

Another short drive and we went for a drink. Mind you it was only 5pm. At least it was Happy Hour at the Eagle Tavern. The place was pretty empty. We finished our drinks and then walked up Folsum street for several blocks. I'll say "interesting neighborhood" and leave it at that.

Time for dinner. Jim was recently reacquainted with a High School friend through Facebook. He had suggested "House of Nanking" for dinner. I enjoyed the food, the service and atmosphere sucked. Jim thought the food was "OK". (Jim's standard reaction). Alright, now for the in depth happenings here. So we get to this little hole in the wall, and the place is busy. In the distance are 2 women, sitting at one 2-top table with another 2-top table next to it. The hostess or whatever, has them move (while they are eating!) against the wall, pulls the now vacant table away 4 inches and sets down silverware for us. I apologize to the women for the "intrusion". They were also visiting from out of town and had gotten recommendations. One had commented on the abrupt/rude service but said the food was delicious. I don't care if I sound racist, 90% of my visits to Chinese restaurants have been run by rude, abrupt Chinese people. Perhaps it's rude in our culture but not theirs? I witnessed their staff cramming patrons in, reaching across tables to get to others, and impatient about people not instantly knowing what they want to order. Looking at the expressions of the patrons, I could tell who was used to it at Nanking's and who wasn't. A waiter served a table while totally leaning in front of 2 women chatting. He blocked their eyesight of one another to serve a table next to them! Unreal. The waiter did this about 4 times and the women never batted an eye.

See the table distance above? By the way, the plate on the left (the women's table) is the beef with crispy rice that I also ordered because it smelled and looked good.

Let's talk about how they serve the food. It seems maybe more family style. Although we ordered an appetizer and 2 entrees, the entrees were brought out about 15 minutes apart! We did have an empty plate each and so we ate as it came out. It's a good thing we both ordered things that one another would like. We'd have been eating out of sync. I watched other tables carefully and saw the same thing happen. A large bowl of rice for the table, and a plate of food was brought out as it was done. The good thing about the food was it's uniqueness. With a limited menu, you weren't going to find the typical American-Chinese dishes. These seemed much more unique and perhaps even authentic.

Today, I read several reviews about this place. It's almost a landmark, but has VERY mixed reviews. Humorous in ways. Each review has a pro and con section. I laughed when I read "pro: leaving this place, con: entering this place". Another review described it as the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.

I could go on and on, and apparently I have so I'll tell you what we had. Appetizer was dumplings with peanut sauce. Yum! 1st entree which is what Jim ordered was pork stuffed mushrooms. The veggies in this were cold and crisp and we think it may have been raw squash. It was good, and the sauce mixed in was tasty. Very unique. The entree I ordered was beef in crispy rice. The crispy rice mixed with the sauce, beef, and white rice was a tasty experience.

After all that, we came home, watched "100 Million BC". That movie, lost us just under 2 hours of our lives that we'll never get back. Bad acting, dumb plot, and low budget special effects made this a poor ending to our evening.