Oct 31, 2010

Gray Hair Color...finding a subtle HAIR COLOR change!!!

I like to change the color of my hair.  My first gray hair appeared when I was around thirty.  I pulled them out while my children took piano lessons and I waited in the car.  Like most women at that age looking older did not make me happy.  I didn't want to be gray.  I wanted to be blond or red...just not gray!  

I am 68 now and for almost 25 years I have been having perms and coloring my hair looking for the perfect look.  It has been a learning process and I would like to share what I have learned.

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS...There are many ways to color your hair.  Hair dressers have become very sophiticate and techniques are so much better than they were the first time I had a "color weave".  I am learning about things that I did not even know existed.  Did you know:

You can bring you color up or down without a total hair dye job.  By adding highlight, twilights or lowlights you can change the appearance of you hair color in such a subtle way your friends may not even notice.  
  • Twilights will tone down a hair color if you feel you hair color has that "glow in the dark" shade and you don't like it.  
  • Lowlights can take your gray hair color and bring it back to a younger shade without getting rid of all the gray.  I have a friends that does this.  Her hair is blond with gray at the roots.  By using lowlights she hides the gray but does not change what is left of her blond hair color.  
  • Highlights will just brighten your hair in a very subtle way.  I found a website that said you can even do this with mascara.  Christian Dior and Revlon both have a product that will work.  It just washes out the next time you shampoo.  
 There are several techniques that will make a bigger statement.
  • Veiling is a technique that will bring your gray hair dye or mousy brown dye job back to life. This process actually is done using an all over semi-permanent hair color.  I did this for myself recently when I found my hair so blond it looked almost white.  By adding the semi-permanent dye I brought the tone down to a reasonable level and it has lasted much longer that I thought it would.
  • I have a friend that does a chunking process...her husband helps her.  She takes a chunk of hair in the front of her hair but not totally in the bang area.  She usually used a blond to get a highlight in that area.  My granddaughter would like to do this to her bangs and leave the rest a natural black color.  
USE A PROFESSIONAL IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT...In most cases I don't recommend you do it yourself...professionals know what they are doing.   Having said that I will have to confess that I will do things to my hair on Sunday when the beauty shop is closed and I don't think I can wait another day.  I guess that is why I have ideas and opinions and know just enough about the process to be dangerous.  This is my disclaimer if any of you take my advice and it doesn't turn out!   Not everything I have done to my hair has turned out to be a good idea.

WHAT I DO...My hair is gray...really gray.  I use a ten minute hair dye that works beautifully.  By following the instructions I get a dye job that does not totally color my hair and leaves it with highlights as a result.  I don't mind that gray shows up in some places.   I think it looks more natural.  I do not try to make my dark brown/gray hair a color that is so far from normal that it looks fake.  I just don't think that is a good idea.  Any color that has the word "ash" in the color will not have nearly as much red highlight as one that does not have that word.  I think it just depends on what your hair color was originally...something in that same tone will go with your skin color.

TRY IT WITHOUT TRYING IT...Now, if you are ready or are thinking seriously about making a change but are not completely sure, you need to try it without trying it.  On those websites that allow you do a virtual makeover you can see how a new style/color looks on you.  By uploading a picture of yourself, you can try on the hair color of you choice and then make a educated decision.  I love to do this.  It is fun to play around with hair styles and color.  Nothing permanent...it is just make believe.
Should you cover your gray and have a change?  I can't give you the answer for that.  I do know that it is a lot of fun.  We are going to Mexico for our fiftieth wedding anniversary.  I am going to get a special hair color for that vacation...just for the fun of it.  There is some beautiful hair color for gray hair and I am going to take advantage of it.   Hair color is a bit like painting your living room...it is not forever.

Have fun!

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Tucson Arizona...Marriot and the outing!

This has been a very busy week for us.  Company, good food, friends and a drive to a 5 star resort twice in one day.  We love a full calendar.

On Friday we drove up to the premier Marriot Starr Pass Resort here in Tucson...twice  We had purchased the Tucson Coupons for the first annual Barbeque Cook Off at the resort on Groupon.  We chose the pre-cookoff party because me husband was playing golf on Saturday.  Before I say anything about this outing I want you to know that this is the first time this particular event had ever been held at this location.  The team at Marriot was doing a wonderful job but they had overlooked the online advertising specifics.

We drove the first time out to the resort in the afternoon...we are barbeque cook-off newbies so we didn't quite understand the drill.  I had done a search...a very long search...online to see if I could get some information...like the time when the public would be welcome.  I could not find a single thing.  I should have called the resort and gotten the information needed but I didn't...darn.  

SO WE MADE SWEET LEMONADE.... It is a good thing we are lemonade makers...we make a good time even when we are wasting our time.  After getting a little more specific information we decided that we would just stay and have lunch in one of the three restaurants at the resort.  We chose the grill and scored a patio table overlooking the pool.  The we ordered a $12 hamburger and split it.  I ordered some Pesole Soup and the kitchen gave me the recipe for this tasty mixture.  She had asked the chef to type up the recipe for us and this is the exact recipe the waitress handed me.

Pork Pozole  10 gal
  • Pork both 20lb
  • Fresh hominy 10lb
  • Garlic 20 pc
  • White onios  3 pc
  • Guajillo chile  6 pc
  • Bay leaves 1 full hand
  • Mexican Oregano  2 tsp
  • Put to boiling 10 gal of water, cut pork in small dice add to hot water with hominy and let to boiling for half hour and added onions,garlic, oregano, bay leaves.  Let cook until everything is cook.
Now I want you to all understand that our hispanic population has some of the best cooks in the world...especially when it comes to the ethnic food they have grown up with.  I could hear this person telling me the ingredients in that wonderful lyrical Hispanic way of speaking English.  I only wish I had a recording for you.

You must realize that this recipe will make a whole boat load of soup.  I just looked online to see what the history of the soup is.  I knew I would find something special...my waitress said her friend used it to cure a hangover.  Bryan B. submitted the recipe to Allrecipe.com and he said,
"Authentic Posole is made with the pig's head; the ears are the delicacy. This simple recipe uses more 'acceptable' ingredients."  I will skip the pig head because I don't even know where you would get such a thing.  However, here in Tucson you can buy pig ears, the hoof and other pig parts you don't normally find in a grocery like Safeway or Fry's.


  • 2 pounds pork loin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • water to cover
  • 4 cups hominy
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage for garnish
  • 1 small head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon onion
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. In a large pot over high heat, combine the pork, salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Allow to simmer for two hours, skimming foam as necessary.
  2. Remove from heat and take the bones out of the stock. Cool and de-fat the stock. Remove pork from bones and return meat to stock. Add the hominy and chili powder and simmer over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Serve by placing soup in bowls. Each diner then adds their own cabbage, radishes, onion and lime juice to taste. Eat by dipping spoon deep down to bottom of bowl, lifting to bring up the meat, hominy, soup and layered vegetables.

LATER THAT EVENING....When the event actually began at 6:00 PM,  it turned out that there were only 4 vendors with food to be tasted.  We were given 4 tickets when we checked in so we could sample.  On Saturday those taster tickets would cost $2 each.  Then we wandered around and my husband visited with one of the judges.  I talked to a chef from the Starr Pass Country Club restaurant.  It turned out to be lots of fun.  Next year we will go on Saturday and take part in an afternoon of tasting great barbeque from professionals.  We would actually have done that this year if we could have gotten a clear picture of what was going on. You can learn from our mistakes...hopefully!

Have a wonderful week.


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Oct 30, 2010

Skinny Blue Jeans and Horse Shoes!

Beautiful well used horse shoes!

June...a cowgirl dressed in vintage denim jacket and creased skinny blue jeans.

Hal and his beautiful hand crafted horse-shoe box...a gift.
When people like Hal (Harold) and June come out to play we take note. They are the heart of our winter home and have our admiration and affection. 

Hal is in his late eighties but he still plays golf several times a week.  His second hobby (if you don't count playing poker) is horse shoes.  Hal lives directly across the street from us.  He is a widower and his name along with his late wife's appears on a name plate on the front of his park model.  His lady friend doesn't seem to mind...they are very close but live in different parks.  I think he is a wonderful example for the rest of us.

June is approaching 90.  (Advanced Style.com...you have nothing on us!)  She was very ill winter before last.  She had lost control of her diabetes.  She showed us what strength and a lot of smart can do when you are ill.  She is very well now so she shops, plays bingo and attends the cocktail hour several times a week.  On top of all this...this woman knows how to dress!!  Her denim skinny blue jeans and her vintage blue jean jacket show what a very very stylish lady she is...here in Tucson AZ.  After all this is cowboy country!

I am very proud to share the lives of people that are wise and very strong...someday I want to be as well respected as they are. 


Cowboy Songs for the Country Music Love in Your life!
After all Christmas is coming!!!


Oct 29, 2010

Tucson AZ Restaurants....El Charro Cafe Orginal Location

When Marcia and Leon were here the other night we decided to take them all the way downtown to original El Charro Cafe on Court Street.  The old restaurant located in the El Presidio area is the oldest Mexican restaurant in Tucson.  We have been visitors to this restaurant for all the years we have been coming to Tucson.  The area has gone through a lot of changes during those years but El Charro remains a gem in The Old Pueblo's crown.

Food in the restaurant is more than your normal "Taco Town Mexican Plates and Pet Food Store"...much, much more.  The wonderful Sonoran food that it is famous for is a treat for out of town guests.  We sat outside on the patio under the stars.  We could look up above the roof and see the cage used to dry the beef for their carne seca dishes.  Everything in the restaurant and cantina had a sparkling clean refurbrished appearance and almost every table was full even on Tuesday evening. 

I would give this restaurant 5 stars...5 for location and ambience and 5 stars for food.  Okay it gets a lot more than 5 stars.


Oct 28, 2010

Small Kitchen Style from Style at Home....love it!

Images from Style at Home Magazine....
Style at Home had this beautiful small kitchen in their email newsletter today.  I would love to have a kitchen with these colors.  That brings me to the question...do you put something this unusual in your house or do you just look at the picture and love it from afar?  For now I will have to just look.

Full article at Style at Home.


Fox TV, John Erickson and me!

I am about to write about politics!!!  I know...I don't normally do that on this blog.  But what I have to say could be important to the aging population.  I want to talk about the ramifications of how this huge segment of society votes.

I received an email from a representative of John Erickson, owner of Retirement Living TV, the other day.  The representative asked me to write a blog about Mr. Erickson's concern that politicians are ignoring the needs of our senior citizens.  I asked you to take a look at his point of view even though I am not really in tune with what he is saying.  I watched an interview with him Fox News carried.  As a result, I now feel that I need make it clear where I stand.

First of all, I am not a Fox News fan.  You need to know that about me.  A young beautiful blond woman conducted the interview.  She was very good at eliciting the statements that would tout what Fox wanted Erickson to say without actually asking "Are you a Republican and would you agree that the Democrats have had time enough to straighten out the mess created over a period of eight Republican years?"  I find it hard to believe that anyone believes that. Her comment that "politicians are expecting the youth vote to save them (the Democrats) again" struck me as a partisan point of view unworthy of a major news network.

The solicitous tone of the woman's voice when she commented on Erickson's age and suggested that he didn't look nearly old enough to be...well how do I put this....old, did not go down well with me!  He deserved better than that.  I wish that looking "old" was a good thing.  I wish that young people would realize how valuable and wise the elders in this world really are! 

So let me get this political stuff out of the way. 
  1. I think we are all in this together.  I do not want the education of our young people to take a back seat to old people getting more money.  Most of us have figured out how to live on what we have and we pay the consequences for what we did in our youth.  We have all suffered because of the economic mess created because of the politicians(?) serving us in
  2. I don't believe that the business sector and very rich can be trusted with our lives unless they are watched...very carefully. 
  3. I do not resent the fact that President Obama is trying to get the young people of America to pay attention.  Without an involved, well educated hard working young population that  participates in our economy and our government, old people are in a lot of trouble.  By involving young people in the political process we make them commit to our countries future. 
  4. I do not resent paying taxes.  I think a strong infrastructure is necessary to a good quality of life.  Even if I have my own swimming pool or tennis court and can afford private schools, I want to pay taxes so everyone can have the same advantages I enjoy. I think we will all benefit in the end.  In fact, I have seen information that in States with a poor quality education, prison populations and the crime rate rises markedly.  Does that seem logical? I think it does and I would cite Arizona as an example.
  5. I like "ObamaCare" as Rush Limbaugh and all those of his ilk call our new health care plan.  Here is why.  a) I have known people who were deemed uninsurable by an insurance company because they developed a serious illness.  b) After I became eligible for Medicare, the quality of my physician care dropped markedly even though my physician did everything he could to keep the quality high.  He hired a nurse practitioner to care for his medicare patients.   c) Worse yet, I have known a LOT of people that were dropped by physicians that had provided their health care for all their adult life when they became Medicare eligible! As I understand it, physicians will not be allowed to do this unless they are willing to take their chances with people that can afford to pay full price for a physicians visit. We will see.  d) My son and his wife were employed by a private sector 911 paramedic service. Their company health insurance plan was dropped and they were forced into a employee-paid "health care savings plan".  It devastated them financially and made medical care almost unaffordable.  My daughter-in-law had to find a different job so they could survive.  The owner was on vacation in the Caribbean when the managers announced the decision to change.  It was a very hurtful situation.   Profits for the company may have gone up significantly but even if they didn't, was that the RIGHT thing to do?    e) Lastly, I find the idea that the insurance industry has thrown it's support to the Republican Party simply because they are being hurt financially by the new government health care plan is very telling.  Hopefully, "ObamaCare" will correct at least some of these inequities. 
  6. I do not believe in nor do I support lobbyist or large industrial interests controlling our lawmakers decisions about laws that effect the American people.  AARP needs to be very careful when it comes to satisfying their needs at the expense of education or veteran's health care for example.
I am a senior citizen but I am also a parent, grandmother, active human, educator, home owner and voter.  All issues that come into play in my life concern me.  But just because I am all those things does not mean I want all other issues to be ignored.

It is not about me or aging or health insurance or living wills or even the crisis in our economy.  It is about the WHOLE and when you believe that, you have a hard time raising your hand and saying "HEY, YOU HAVE MORE THAN I HAVE AND THAT IS NOT FAIR!" 

Finally, I believe in high flown ideals and I do not believe in hateful rhetoric.  

Just so we are clear!


Oct 27, 2010

It said "USED RECREATIONAL VEHICLE FOR SALE"...their dream is coming true!

Marcia and Leon

The Cactus Wren forever making a nest!

It's all about the nest....retiring in style that is!  Those of us that live the life style love to see others working toward the day when they too can enjoy all the things we love.  That is what we were privileged to do yesterday.

My husband and I were treated to a visit from a fellow blogger; Marcia (RV Poetry) and her husband Leon. It really is amazing how much we knew about each other even though this is the first time we had been in the same room/state/part of the world!  That is the way the blogging community works. 

They live in Fort Lauderdale, FL. but have ties in Washington State where they recently sold a home. This was their maiden voyage in the small recreational vehicle.  They have been on the road for six weeks, visiting Washington to take care of business.  Now they are making their way back home and visiting other bloggers/friends along the way.  We were very lucky that they chose to stop overnight here in our RV resort in Tucson, AZ.

Leon and Marcia are in a business that allows them to work on the road part of the time.  So, when they made the leap and bought a beautiful used recreation vehicle (Class C) recently, they could hardly wait to begin making the coach look and feel they way they wanted.  They are very creative people and once they are done, the manufacturer may want to follow their example in a future design.

We talked for several hours, ate dinner at a gorgeous authentic Tucson, AZ restaurant and this morning, I invited myself to their coach where I took some pictures and got a vision of what this small RV "doll house" on wheels was going to look like.

The ultimate in small used recreational vehicles!
It seems the manufacturer of Lazy Days RVs built this wonderful small Class C recreational vehicle to last.  The addition of a new sink in the kitchen required the use of a crow bar to remove the old sink.  
The area normally used as a bedroom can be converted to a living room during the day!
 The design was very unique too.  Features included a lounge like bedroom area.  They had removed the old bed setup and installed foam mattress that were free of all odor emissions but were still fire proof.  The beds slide apart and convert into couches against each wall.  They have added a wall mounted flat screen TV so the area becomes a perfect living area during the day.  Marcia and Leon decided on this crisp blue and white color scheme that make the area look so clean and beach like.  Because all the curtains can be removed, they can take advantage of the views.  I like this a lot.  I can't tell you how many times the actual scenic view is out the small back bedroom window especially in the back-in spots in camp grounds or RV resorts.

Cab Area is curtained off while parked and stores clothes!

Marcia had several ideas for how to use the cab area when they were parked.  Because they need office equipment and have much of that stored in what was once the clothes closet, they decided to convert the cab area into a closet/storage area that can be set up and dismantled in matter of minutes.  A closet rod was attached to the cab over bed area and did not interfere with their movement when the clothes are moved to a small rod in the back of the vehicle while they travel down the road. She had also thought of a drop down desk for this part of the coach but decided against it.  The over cab bed will be used as storage. 

They will be back...I hope.  Leon can golf with my husband and Marcia and I will visit Tubac or go up do the art galleries in the Catalina foothills.  I will be anxious to see how this beautiful small recreational vehicle has evolved as they use it more and more!

So, like the wren that works on a nest in the cactus next to our park model, those of us that travel are always making a home out of whatever we can find to use....I think Marcia and Leon have found just the perfect nest making material for their life style.  I wish them well!

More Information on buying a used RV:
I thought this little Christmas tree ornament might be the perfect gift for the RV enthusiast in you life!
We are always concerned about covering our RV when it was stored.  This is a very good solution.
I just thought this Pimp My RV would be a fun gift too.  We are looking for ways to make our RV just a little different.

Oct 26, 2010

Grandparents.com....Are boomer Grandparents different?

Here is an article written by Barbara Graham on Grandparents.com.  She asked the question, "Are boomer grandparents different than their parents?  Read the article and the comment I posted below.  Do you agree??? Here is the beginning paragraph:
My mother loved my son and my brother's kids — just as her mother loved us — but neither woman seemed as gaga and blotto about their grandchildren as my friends and I are. My mother and my grandmother didn't seem to obsess and worry the way we do, either.

(Complete Article:   http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/expert-advice/new-grandparents/article/baby-boomer-grandparents-barbara-graham.html?refresh#comments#comment55217#ixzz13UxI2zrq
This is a wonderful and thoughtful article. We all have a different approach to family dynamics. I personally am a grandma that thinks that distance is a good thing for children and grandchildren. My husband and I spend half  of our year in Oregon near family and the other half in Arizona. It is a good healing time for all of us.

As a result of the choices my husband I have made, our children have grown more independent and are solving their problems without us lurking in the background.

Don't misunderstand me...we love our grandchildren more that we can even believe. We just know what we must do. Our parents gave us the opportunity to grow into strong parents and we want to do the same for our children.

This all ties into our mother-in-law position in the family. This might be more significant than the relationship to our grandchildren. The example we set for our family can be distorted because of a poor relationship with our child's spouse. Related article "10 Ways to be a Good Mother/Father-in-Law"



How to...Sawhorse Table Examples and Links

Image from Habitually Chic.  Photo of Todd Romano Showroom at the Fine Arts Building, Los Angeles

I wrote last week about a table made with saw horses (Living in a Doll House)....here is the upscale version of that table.  If you look at this closely you will see that it is put together with pipe fittings.  I think it is absolutely gorgeous. 

The outdoor version from RE-Nest
I found this one on Re-Nest.  They are using it outdoors as a dining table. Sara Rae Trover wrote the article about the many uses of sawhorses.  She said:
We've used saw horses for everything from tables to kitchen counters in the past and they've always served us very well. But with Fall in full swing and the days growing shorter, it's a good time to remember to make the most of the daylight and warmth you have and get outside. Try this quick idea to make an outdoor dining area that can be disassembled for the winter months.

Anna White table!
On a website called Anna White you will find the plans for making sawhorses that look like the one shown here. In fact this is a very cool website with more projects for those of you that like to "how to do-it-yourself". 

I just thought you would want to know....


Oct 23, 2010

Thoughts on High Blood Pressure, Dark Chocolate, pointy people and Digg!

How pointy are you?
You would think that once you have retired and settled on a second home in a warm climate, you would have it all solved.  Perfect weather, hobbies, and a plan that can be replicated year after yet.  Still, I find people are discontented and always looking for something just a little better/bigger/greener.  Isn't that interesting?

Does it ever end?  Do we ever really, really grow up?  I am beginning to wonder.  As I have said so many times before...just because we get older does not mean we become sweet, cute or settled!  In fact all the sharp and pointy things about our personality become more so.  It is just a fact of life.

Do You Like Dark Chocolate?
I have some good news for you...it is really true.  Dark chocolate will lower blood pressure!  I saw it on the web so it must be so.  To be right honest with you I don't even care if it is a lie.  I like dark chocolate...a lot.  The Aussies are advised to eat a whole bar of dark chocolate which made me want to move there.  Then I read that American doctors say it may only take about a square of dark chocolate to get the job done.  Now, really, is that right?  American's are such spoil sports when it comes to things that taste good.  Anyway you can check it out on the Sun Sentinel website.

What is Digg? +a little education about this blogger and the blog.
Here in the blog world there is a site called Digg.  Some blogs have it at the bottom of their blogs.  My Digg button is in the ShareThis pop up window...the button is found in the footer.  So what does that mean?  Well, believe it or not, those of us that write for a blog depend on you, our readers, to tell us what you do and do not like or even what you would like information on.  That is what the comment button is for.  The Digg button is just a way of supporting you local blogger and maybe helping them get a few more readers.

Picture of the ShareThis button at the foot of the blog.
Actually the website for Digg is very interesting.  It can tell you what the hot topic for today is and how many people thought those topics were worth passing on to someone else.  Like my free blog, it is just there for the using.  

I write on a free blog but I pay in a way.  In order for my time to be well spent, I have to do research for subjects and keep up with those things I think might interest you.  Your way of paying me, the blogger, for my time is to comment, Digg my work, tweet or post to your Face Book account.  The ShareThis button makes it all so very easy.  It also helps if you take a look at the ads that surround my writing.   So, you see, nothing is really free anymore.

Thank you!
Thank you for stopping by.  Leave your url if you have a blog or business and I will visit you.  If you are just an interested reader, go to the foot of the blog and comment or Digg a post that you enjoyed.  I will do the same for you.

I just thought you might be interested.

Have a great Sunday!


Oct 21, 2010

Antique Store Dilemma....did I own that?

Quote of the Day:  I guarantee that if you throw out all your "clutter" in your twenties, you'll spend your middle-age years trying to buy it all back in second-hand stores.  Lisa Hunter on Apartment Therapy

This really is the paradox of getting old...you still love to visit antique stores but when you do, all the stuff you see is junk wonderful items you got rid of 30 years ago!  I think that Lisa is probably right.  Getting rid of the cluttering does carry certain risks.  My thinking has alway been that someone else can store the junk  wonderful items I give away until I am ready to buy it back.  It is a win win.

I just thought you would get a laugh out of this!

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Oct 20, 2010

6 Small Kitchen Storage Ideas + get your recipe published here!

Italian olive oil, both oil and an oil bottle ...Wine bottle with a spout.  Image via Wikipedia 
I  love kitchen tools...micro planes, food processors, beautiful chopping boards, a wonderful whisk, a wooden spoon and even a great pair of orange salad servers are in my collection.  I did not break the bank collecting these.  Antique stores have some very useful kitchen tools that have survived the test of time.

Here in Arizona I have one beautiful knife I use for chopping plus a great pairing knife.  I have a very small kitchen but I have beautiful small kitchen tools. The trick is finding a place for everything.  I have a few hints for those of you that live in a small space. These can help with your kitchen storage and function...even in an apartment. 

  1. Don't keep anything you do not use.  Box it up and store it in the garage if you must but, if after say a year, you have not used it,  give it away.  If you don't have a garage give the extra stuff away now. You never will find a use for it.
  2. Use every wall you have.  If you buy beautiful kitchen tools hang them in plain site.  On Apartment Therapy you see peg boards used frequently.  In a apartment you need to keep in mind the rules about that sort of thing.   Think of the space you will free up by getting big items out of drawers and how handy everything will be.  
  3. Find a place for a pot rack...a very simple pot rack...and hang your pots up in plain site.  You can free up so much space by doing this.  My husband put a 1/2 inch copper pipe hung between the two cabinets over my kitchen sink. You will need to make a visit to the hardware store to find hooks.  We found black rubber tie downs with hooks on the ends and removed the hooks.  The hook could be twisted so they faced in the right direction.  It is beautiful.  I love to show off my cookware. 
  4. Think outside the (kitchen) box.  This old cliche should become second nature when you live in a small space.  For example, you can also use a tension curtain rod for hanging small kitchen tools. You could spay paint it to fit your kitchen decor.  This could be put up inside the cook hood or between upper cabinets.  If you have beautiful olive oil bottles or even empty wine bottles buy a spout and store these on the counter top back in an unused corner.
  5. Store a party under the bed...drink glasses, wine glasses, etc.  I have a set of glass ware, lots of beautiful paper napkins/plates (Tuesday Morning)  and candles (Trader Joe's dripless candles) for entertaining.  I store these in a box under the bed.  Living small does not mean you cannot entertain big!  I love a party.
  6. Buy small counter top kitchen appliances.  They are less expensive yet serve the same function.  For example, I have a very small Cuisinart food processor, colored lime green, that does everything I want.  I can make a batch of hummus in this with no problem. Recipe:
  • whole can of chickpeas 
  • 1/4 cup tahini, 
  • 1/4 cup oil, 
  • 1 tsp salt, 
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • garlic cloves (you decide how many)
  • The seasoning of your choice.  I have added olive topenade, sun dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning and curry powder.
    I love crackers and snacks.  They just taste good to me.  The trick is finding things that are not fried or loaded with salt and sugar and still have lots of flavor.  AND they must be easy to cook in a very small kitchen.  I live in a doll house.  Recently I came on a recipe from a website from Beekman 1802 for crackers.  I have been trying various recipes for a while now but could not come up with anything that was not soft and tasteless.  Then I found this idea for crackers made using semolina flour,  flour and what ever you have around.  They are very good.  The basic ingredients are:
    1 1/2 cups semolina flour
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I add quinoa, flax seeds, sesame seeds...crunchy/healthy is my goal.)
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup warm water
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 healthy dose of your imagination. 
    Mix the ingredients with a mixer or by hand in a large bowl.  It should be easy to work with...if it won't hold together, add a little more water. Rolls out and cut with a cookie cutter or bake in a sheet and break up after cooking.  Place the crackers on a bake sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal and poke crackers with a fork.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  I found the large sheet needs some cooking time adjustment.  I will leave that up to you.

    When I am at home in my doll house, I roll the dough into small balls.  The size of the ball depends on the size of the cracker.  I pressed the ball into Parmesan cheese when I made them yesterday.  Roll the crackers out with the rolling pin on a small chopping block.  I don't even put flour on the surface.   The balls need to be small enough that the dough can be rolled out without wrapping totally around the pin.  I like mine very thin.  They are crispy but can still be topped.   I have been making these for a couple of month now and each batch is totally unique. You can even bake a few of these in your toaster over and store the uncooked dough balls in a plastic bag in the fridge for a couple of day!!!

    Have a party and make crackers AND hummus...your guests will be so impressed!!!  I would love to have you send more ideas for meals that be cooked in a small space.  I will publish your ideas and choose the best!

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    Oct 18, 2010

    Mark Twain and Free Blogs! Twain was the first blogger!!!

    Writing a blog is not an original idea and certainly not a new one.  Journal writing has been common since man first took up the pen.  But in this day and age anyone can have a free blog.  Templates and artwork is readily available.  

    The Mark Twain bio will be released in the middle of November and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it.  He had been dead for 100 years.  It seems that Mark Twain had a tender heart and promised his family and friends that he would not bury them.  Telling the truth was not hard for him but hurting people was.  So, according to the Christian Science Monitor: 
    "Mark Twain completed his autobiography – which he called "a complete and purposed jumble" – more than a century ago. But he told his publishers that they would not be able to publish it till 100 years after his death – which happens to be this year."
    One hundred years is a long time but people like me are very interested in what he will have to say...still.  The delay in the publication of the biography has not dimished the interest in this book.   It seems that the more things change the more they stay the same...so I think I will find that his take on people, business and politics will be as relevant today as it was then.  We will see.

    According to an interview given to the Sunday Morning Show, Twain took a very unusual approach when he put the story together.  It seems he dictated the story.  Whatever happened to be on his mind on any particular day made up the next chapter.  So the story does not follow his life chronologically.  I could only think....that is what a blogger does.  Like journal writers have been doing forever, we write what is on our mind when we sit down at the computer.  Mark Twain was just a man ahead of his time.

    Unlike Mark Twain's family, many of our families are interested in our lives and want to have the story told now so the opportunity does not pass them by. Most families are not afraid of what you will say! Genealogy has become a popular hobby for many people.  Your autobiography and family history seems to go hand in hand.

    When you have an online journal set up so only your children can read and you record what is on your mind each day and do some research while you are at it, you have started an a body of work for your family to look at for years to come.  There are even services online that will publish your blog along with pictures you upload. Blurb is the one I am familiar with but I do not know much about them.   So think about blogging.   Go to Blogspot.com or Wordpress and check it out.  The instructions are very clear, it's free and very simple!  FREE BLOGS...it doesn't get much better than that.

    Thank you Mark Twain...you are still making us think. 

    Oct 17, 2010

    A Day in a Retirement Community or What do you do all day?

    What do you do? people have often asked.  Soon after we retired our friends began to think about retirement themselves...would they be bored?  what would they do?   To begin with we answered simply What ever we want!  But then it became very clear that on most days we were too busy to do what we wanted...at least not all the time!

    The big cactus is gone!!!
    We just arrived here in Arizona on Friday.  We have a small park model in Tucson...the Doll House!  We live in a Rincon Country West RV Resort (retirement community).   It is just perfect for the two of us and we love it.  But, when we get back, there are things that must be done to make it home again.  This year we lost a HUGE Saguaro in the front of our park model.  It destroyed most of the plants in that flower bed and left a very large hole behind.  We love our flowers.  We have a corner lot so we can sit out in the morning sun each day all winter and everyone that passes inspects the flower bed.  It is a great conversation piece.

    So today we removed rocks and debris.  My husband dug out a half dozen agave plants and we threw them away.  He spaded the bed.  I cleaned a small bed under the palm tree where we have finally gotten Jasmine to grow.  Then I made the hummingbirds some syrup.  We finished up around 1:00 pm.  I needed a shower and a nap!!!!

    After the nap I ate some licorice and we went to Lowes for plants, steer manure and potting soil.  We spent a lot of money and came back home.  Thank heavens it was almost time for a margarita because I needed to be done for the day.  Oh but I am not done yet...there were the dishes and dinner and the dishes!!!  Good golly miss molly...what do we do all day???  I'm going golfing sometime soon...because that is what I REALLY want to do.

    Be well.


    Oct 16, 2010

    Southern Arizona Desert Museum + Snakes in the RV Resort!

    Rattlesnakes lurk under shrubs and in the shed.  That is a simple fact of life here in the Southern Arizona.  My husband and I were raised in a small town in the eastern part of Oregon.  The little community was situated in a small valley surrounded by sagebrush covered hills that held the heat in the summer and shaded the valley from most of the suns warmth in the winter.  It was a rattlesnake kind of place.  So when a rattler comes crawling across the road on a hot October evening, we don't run for cover and call the police...we don't like them and I would chop them into a million pieces if I had my way.  But we just take care of it and we are very careful.  My husband is not for killing them and will return them to the desert where they belong.  It scares me but he does it without much thought.

    Many of our neighbors from the mid-west have never seen a rattler and so they have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that my husband will take our "reacher tool" and actually pick the snake up and throw it out into the wash as far from our homes has he can get them  We think it is ordinary but they are absolutely awestruck!!!  And that is exactly what happened today!

    Living in the desert or anywhere close with nature takes a certain amount of getting used too.  Here in Southern Arizona,  our RV resort is situated on the Pantano Wash and is bordered on the south by a large vacant area we call the desert.  Houses will fill this one day but for now the lizards, Javelina and snakes share their land with us.  Javelina wander in and out of the park and have chosen the underside of our neighbor's park model as a place to go at night.  They have eaten our flowers and, when they come in a herd, they can put up quite a racket.  They stink really bad and you usually smell them before you see them...I guess that is why they are often called a "skunk pig".  They are just part of our life.  We try to remember who was here first.  Incidentally, the Javelina are hunted here in Arizona.  While they look like a pig they are actually from the pecarry family.  

    If you are a visiter to Tucson,  beautiful Southern Arizona is on display out at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum  located west of the city.  We have been to this zoo/museum/botanical garden.  I will have to say that Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is one of the most interesting place we have ever been.  For most people in our country, the exotic nature of the creatures that live here is fascinating.  Everything from Gila Monsters to beautiful Anna's Hummingbirds grace this ferocious yet beautiful country.   We absolutely treasure every minute we spend here.  

    NOTE:  Be sure to check the Groupon coupons for the Desert Museum...I see they have a 50% off coupon in the google search page.  You can use the search function at the side of the blog to find more information.

    Back here at the resort we are hoping there will be no need to toss anymore snakes over the fence.  We will plant flowers tomorrow and clean up after our Saguaro fell over.  Hopefully the critters will behave themselves tonight so we can sleep...the breezes are lovely.

    Be well.

    bwhile longer.  It will cool down soon and we will move the chairs into the sun!  Did I tell you I love being retired.

    Oct 15, 2010

    Arizona and Living in the "Doll House"...Apartment Therapy helps!!

    Note:  If you are interested in anything mentioned below just copy the information into the google search box at the side of the blog and it will take you to a list of websites with that information.

    I loved this image from Apartment Therapy DC. The article called Pong's Punch of Color Pad they tell about the 568 square foot studio apartment that Pong calls home.  You really should take a look at it.   It is the perfect example of what you can do with a little imagination and not much money.  The picture frame painted the same color as the flowers and table made with two sawhorse and a door or what ever you have are the perfect restrained accent for this room.  This is very cool!


    Sawhorses in the world of carpentry are made of two metal brackets with slots for two by fours.  You would need 4 brackets (two sawhorses) and 2x4s cut to the desired length.  Each sawhorse would require 4 legs and one 2x4 piece for the spine of the sawhorse.    You could add the door as I mentioned above or a glass top.  It would be very inexpensive and a great addition to an apartment or a first home.  The legs on the table above are quasi sawhorse.  Mother Earth News has plans for the "Worlds Best $6 Sawhorse".  You can go to your big box lumber store for the metal brackets or they are available on Amazon.   

    I could not help notice the idea from Apartment Therapy Chicago from an apartment dweller.  This person had enough space to hang bikes on the wall by the wheels with the seats out into the room...it really did make such a wonderful statement.

    You really should link to this website or their blog.  I am always so inspired.  Incidentally they run contests and you can enter and maybe your small space will be featured.  Behr is running a contest called Room for Color 2010 and by going to the website and choosing your favorite rooms you can enter the contest.

    AS FOR ME...
    It rained here in Arizona this evening.  The temperature was around 80, a storm moved in and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees in 5 minutes.  Of course the wind blew like crazy but it smells so beautiful now.  We just came back this morning and it was a lovely way to begin our 6 months in Arizona.

    Be well and come on back soon.


    Oct 13, 2010

    Worldmark Resorts! Mid Century Modern Mecca...Palm Springs!

    World Mark, Palm Springs, Ca

    At a website called Vacation Palm Springs.com, all things mid century modern are on their minds.  It seems that Palm Springs is the mecca for lovers of the style both in architecture and interior design.  During an event in February called Moderism Week, lovers of the era come to see what is going on in the mid centruy modern scene around Palm Springs.

    We are in Palm Springs for a couple of nights on our way to our little home in Tucson.  My husband indulges me every time we travel this route even though it means a 2-3 hour trip through Los Angeles traffic.  We are owners in a World Mark Resort (Worldmark by Wyndham)  so we take advantage of our bonus time and book a room for around $60 a night in the condo resort.  The resort is beautifully appointed (5 Star) and this ownership is one of the few good deals left in this type of vacation timeshare...or at least I think so.  I say that because it is still not playing with the big boys and use is not overwhelming.  The rooms stay very nice and we can always find a place to stay. 

    From Nood Furniture and Design

    While I am at it I might as well tell you that of all the Work Mark Resorts, Palm Springs World Mark is my favorite.  The design is mid century modern and the lobby has all the windows with a staircase featured in the middle that earmarks that type of decor. It is relatively small and not over crowded during the week .  On the other had it is busy enough to make you feel that you are in a place where people come to play.  The pool is 2nd to none and, if you score one of the room in the back that lead directly out onto the pool, you will think you have died and gone to heaven!!!  I love it!!! 

     In the link from Vacation Palm Springs called Shopping Mid Century Modern they touted a recent visit from Martha Stewart.

    "When Martha Stewart most recently visited Palm Springs in Spring 2009, she paid homage to the owner of the Galleria building by visiting his shops and the owner's private residence, too. The Galleria shops of Palm Springs are an absolute gold-mine treasures for designers, mid-century modern enthusiasts, vacationers, Palm Springs locals, collectors as well as casual shoppers strolling along Palm Canyon Drive. Located near the popular Blue Coyote Restaurant."

     Our resort is located a few blocks from The Galleria and Blue Coyote Restaurant.  If it were not going to be over 100 today, we would walk down.  We did have dinner at Blue Coyote last night...we sat on the front patio under the stars.  It is one of those places that will let you be in the front row or in a romantic back corner.  You get to pick!

    I will shop a bit today for a treasure or too.  Palm Springs really is very affordable in it's own strange way.  I visited a wonderful shop this morning that sold everything for $16...bling is the thing for a night in Palm Springs.   People come here to "be stylin' " as a friend once said to me.  You can drive by Bing Crosby's old house or see Bob Hopes mid century modern that sits high on the hill.  Stars in the sidewalk honor everyone from a chimpanzee to Doris Day.  Ghosts walk the street at night and it feels as though the melody of Thanks for the Memories is being whispered in your ear.

    Did I mention "I love Palm Springs?"

    b  (Barbara)

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