A day of laundry and a Blood Moon

Today I noticed a bad smell on one of our blankets, and a lifetime of having pets told me what that smell was; someone had had an "accident".  I know it was one of the dogs; cat pee smells even worse. I suspect Julienne was the culprit but there's no way to know. It wasn't a big accident; maybe she sneezed, and had a leak. Regardless, today I had to wash the bedspread, blanket, sheets, and mattress cover. The mattress cover is a thin fitted sheet with waterproofing on one side, and it has come in handy for more than one pet accident. There is only one machine here and I had to work around another work-camper, so I finished tonight around 7 pm, by the light of a beautiful blood moon.

A Viking Festival in Southern California

This weekend Vista had a Viking Festival. Not sure what the connection is, but they have this festival every year, hosted by the "Norwegian Fish Club Odin and Norge Lodge of Sons of Norway" - that's a mouthful. My knowledge of Viking is limited and corrupted by TV, so I didn't know what to expect besides beards and horns. And there were a lot of those! Some vendors sold jewelry, some sold wood carving, some sold swords, but almost every vendor sold drinking horns.
Judging by the vendor booths, Viking culture was a mix of Swedish, Nordic and Celtic. Most of the booths were constructed with big Celtic cloths, and a lot of the jewelry designs included Celtic knots. 
The guests took it a step farther, getting their clothing inspiration from Celtic, Renaissance Fairs, pirates and Steampunk. A very popular item was feathered headdresses; I doubt if any Viking wore those!

There are always vendors at festivals, but this event had a lot of interesting and educational things going on, too. There were demonstrations for spinning, baking and weaponry. The participants had tents set up for the weekend, with interiors as accurate as possible. I would have loved to have this chair: 
There was a line for the ax-throwing lessons. When a little tyke about 4 years old came up, I wondered if they would give him an ax, but they did. When he threw, his instructor reached around and put his own hand between the ax and the child's ear, just in case, but there were no accidents.
It was hot, hot, hot, but that didn't stop the participants from donning full-body costumes and heavy metal armor to do battle. There were half a dozen warriors, taking turns so nobody collapsed from heat exhaustion.
Like any good festival, food was an important part. We tried some scones first. The vendor used period tools and ingredients, and cooked them in authentic clay ovens. 
Our scone was a little burned, and it was still so good that we went back later and got another one! Next we tried Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and the obligatory side of Lignonberry; it was all very good. 
Less impressive was the Lefse, which is a very thin flatbread (like a crepe) made from mashed potatoes, flour and milk. It's served with butter, sugar and cimmamon and it tasted OK, but I would have liked it better with Nutella.  

We sat outside to eat, listening to a band behind us play some great music. A second stage in another area also hosted bands. This one got their costumes wrong and just repeated a chorus of "Rape, Kill, Burn and Slaughter!", but they did it with such enthusiasm that they made it sound funny - what good Vikings they would have made! 

And...more water problems

Last night Dan called to say he thought there might be another small leak in the water lines. But there was so much water on the ground that it could just be a wet spot that hadn't dried yet. So Randy went down and dug a small hole, to see if it would fill with water overnight. This morning he checked and, sure enough, there was water in the hole. Dang. 

So he started digging the pipe out. He was joined by Ken and Rick - Dan had to go to work today so he missed all the fun. This is horrible ground to dig out - hard and heavy with water, and it was terribly hot today.
They dug the thing out and discovered it was leaking at a joint where the pipe was twisted. So they turned the water off, drained the line as much as possible, and Randy cut the pipe. Unfortunately there was still some water in there. 
Once the line was cut, the rest of the water drained right into the hole they just dug out. Dang again.
It took a combination of siphoning and bailing with a cup to get enough water out to work. Then, with the hardest part done, they put in a new length of pipe.
Ken brought some rock fill to pack around the pipe, Randy and Rick shoveled it in and then it was done - yea!!! Randy went back to the area they fixed yesterday to check it, and discovered a tiny wet spot - a new leak, on the other side of the regulator. Double dang!
More digging to clear the new problem area. A quick effort to seal the leak by tightening the joint; no good. We got one of the volunteers who used to do plumbing to look at our leak, and everyone agreed the regulator needed to be brought above ground. When trying to turn the water off yet again, the backflow valve broke, and suddenly nobody had water. SERIOUS DANG! 

Ashley made some calls and discovered we could probably re-seal the backflow valve just by turning it on very slowly. Thank God that worked! 

Randy and Ken went to find a new connection and discovered some problems with the plan. Now the new plan is build a support platform for the regulator before putting it in. That can't be done until the part is ordered, so they were done for the day. 

Tired and dirty, everyone retired to Ashley's front yard. Rod joined us with growlers from Prohibition and later Ashley got pizza and salad. A great way to relax.

Another problem

This morning when we got up, there was no water. Fortunately we have water on board to get by, but there was something seriously wrong, so Randy went out to see what happened. Sometime during the night a big water pipe broke near the office. By the time Randy got there, Ken, Dan and Rick had opened a trench and turned the water off.  

After awhile I walked up to see how it was going. Randy was the one in the ditch, but he had lots of advisors!

Dental work and a skunk

Time for more dental work. Back in May I got some work done and everything went fine, so today I went back to the same dentist. Unfortunately this time I forgot to take the pre-visit Valium. I wasn't in pain but when he started working on my teeth, I panicked. So they stopped everything, dragged the gas canister into the room and hooked me up with some nitrous oxide. A few deep breaths of that and I was OK. Dr. Steelman replaced one crown and filled a couple of cavities for me. My jaw was sore from being jacked open for over an hour so I when I go home, I took half of the Valium I should have taken in the morning, and took a long nap. 

I woke up to lovely smell - Randy was baking peanut butter cookies. And they were excellent! We took most of them to Dan and Ashley's, where Patty and Ken were supplying burgers and hot dogs for dinner. Ashley added some side dishes, Randy provided the cookies, and we were set. The weather even cooperated - it was a perfect evening to sit outside. Ken, Virgil, Randy and Rick relaxed while Dan cooked, and later "Cheeseburger" Jack joined us.
It was a lovely evening but later, after dark, we were joined by an uninvited and unwelcome guest. I said I could smell skunk, and a minute later Patty saw him under the house, eating the cat food that Lee had put out for their cat.  
The skunk was ignoring us so I thought if I went up to him slowly, he would go under the porch without getting upset. But he was enjoying his dinner and had no plans to leave. He didn't stop eating when I got closer, he just fluffed his tail up as a warning. I got the message. We all did, and the party broke up, with Dan and Ashley using their back door to get into their house. 

They love that day-bed

This morning, apparently, was Missy's turn to have the day-bed
They don't actually fight over it - if one is in the bed, the other one looks at it longingly, then walks away. But today when Missy got up for breakfast, she came back to a "No Vacancy" sign!

Encinitas again

Looking for something to do today so we went back to Encinitas for breakfast at the Potato Cafe, then walked through all the household decor shops. Shop after shop of beautiful, unique things that we can't get yet. But someday.

And then a quick trip to the beach - can't pass up a chance to to visit a beach! And we were glad we didn't, because this beach, at this time, allows dogs! We didn't bring ours because we didn't know it was here, but we will.
It was a lovely day for a walk on the beach. I would think, however, that dreadlocks down to your knees would get hot. Plus the one long enough to tuck into a pocket...

Time to replace the sink ... again

It was just a little while ago that we replaced the kitchen sink - actually it was in December of 2012 - but now it needed to be done again. The sink just didn't hold up. It stained and cracked and there was nothing we could do but replace it. But Randy installs things to last, so getting the old sink out was kind of a chore. 
The countertop had already been cut to the max, so we were limited to finding a sink of the same dimensions. Found one, put it in, and we are ready to go again!

A visit to Valley Center

It rained yesterday, so the Museum grounds were closed. The ground here needs rain but it just makes mud. And it's slippery mud - even golf carts can hardly get through. 
But today the roads were better so we drove to a nearby little town called Valley Center. We tried to find a good restaurant for breakfast, but that didn't work out too well. So next we went to Bates Nut Farm, where we sampled fudge and hot tea. Outside they have a petting zoo, including this beautiful bird.
It was a funny day today; I didn't feel like doing anything, and didn't want to do nothing. Tomorrow will be better.

Sur La Table class

Randy took a class at Sur La Table today. When the class were asked to make croissants, most to them made small, unappetizing croissants. Only one teams'   croissants came out large, flaky and delicious - guess who's?

Dog eating habits

I wonder why our Julienne won't eat out of her food bowl? She scoops the food out of the dish with her little paw, then eats it off the floor. Sometimes she just plays with it for awhile, which is how we get dog food under the living room slide out. Makes it harder to keep the ants out! And she's taught Shorty that way of eating, too, so now they both scoop it out of the bowl!

Memorial Dinner - Sept 10

The past couple of days Randy has been preparing a dinner for today. Ashley's grandma passed, and the memorial dinner was held in the Assembly building on the Museum grounds. Ashley asked Randy to make a dinner for 50 people, and she based the menu on the recent retirement dinner Randy made. So he cooked a lot of pulled pork; Costco's best deal was on pork shoulder so he had to cook it in the smoker and oven for over 26 hours, but it came out tender and juicy! He made baked beans and potato salad for side dishes, and for dessert he baked lemon meringue, coconut cream, banana and French apple pies. 

Today was one of the hottest days of the year and although there was very little to clean up, I still almost passed out from the heat. But dinner was worth it - I would do a lot more for Randy's lemon meringue pie.

Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens and Nursery

Ashley and I went to the Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens and Nursery, where I fell in love with this beautiful Gypsy wagon. I decided I must have one of these. Not now, of course, but when we get a house, Randy can build one in the back yard. I haven't told him yet, but I'm sure he will be fine with that.
This is a major theme of our life now - what we will do when we get a house. We are both sure we want that, we just don't know when the time will be right. Until then, we often say "that would be great in our house" or "if we had a house, I would get that". Gypsy wagons haven't come up yet, though.

I love the way they arrange the grounds and buildings here to show off the plants and decorative items - it looks less like a store and more like a home with a great big yard.
So now I have more things for my "when I have a house" list.

Rancho California RV Resort

Today we joined Dan and Ashley for a relaxing day at the Rancho California RV Resort. It's about 18 miles out Highway 79; along the way we started seeing some amazing sculptures. Big, outdoor metal sculptures. 
Horses, dragons, dinosaurs, rams, and an amazing stagecoach. Later I learned that the artist is Ricardo Breceda. I would like to go back and see more than what can be seen from the road. When we got to the resort Dan led us to a 5th Wheel on a site called the "Rock Lot". At first I thought the name referred to a large rock in the front yard. But then we walked to the back yard. Dang, that's a big rock.
Dan and Randy took the golf cart out to see the resort but it ran out of charge a couple of blocks away, and they had to push it back. So Dan hooked it up to a charger and we all walked to the clubhouse area, where a craft sale was going on. We didn't buy any crafts; instead we went for a walk around the resort. There are some beautiful lots here (most without huge rocks in the backyard). Many of the owners have built covered cabanas on their side lots; some are even small buildings. And almost every one includes a kitchen/bar. Nice!

Little Allie couldn't walk all that way so we took turns carrying her. She liked Randy's technique best!
Randy bought lunch for us - burgers and hot dogs  - and then we decided it was time to visit the pools. Randy, Dan and Lee got in the big pool, Ashley and Ally went to the kiddie pool, and I headed for the hot tub. Ashley and Ally joined me and, after some fierce water gun fights with Lee, Randy and Dan did, too. Eventually we all ended up sitting under a patio umbrella for awhile. By then the golf cart batteries were charged so Dan took Randy, Allie and me out for a tour of the farther reaches of the Resort. Allie fell asleep on my lap; she knows when it's nap time! The rest of us agreed, it was time to call it a day. So we packed up and drove back to Vista.


Another lovely day - the weather was so good that we turned the A/C off and opened the windows. Rick told us about a place to try for breakfast so we drove over to Encinitas. The Potato Shack Cafe has a lot of options but we had to try the Manhole Pancake. It's named for it's size and rightly so - this is half of one:
And it was a good pancake; Randy's is better, but it's nice for him to not have to cook every meal. We plan on coming back to try their french fries. 

Since we had a good parking spot and the weather was so nice, we decided to walk around to see downtown Encinitas. This is the first place we have seen these cactus in bloom. Pretty! It's called Mexican Fencepost because, since it's practically spineless, it's easy to handle to use as fencing. 
Down the street is the Self Realization Fellowship, behind a white wall with lotus-topped towers.
The SRF was founded by Paramahansa Yoganada in 1920 and has a pretty firm foothold in California, even influencing street names.
And this may be my favorite crossing sign:
Across the street is the Hansen surf shop. Apparently Hansen is a big name in surfing. In 1961 Don Hansen started a Surfboard company and now they sell everything associated with surfing. Nice, but nothing I needed. Next we spent awhile in the Savory Spice Shop but didn't need anything there, either. 

Cardiff Classics is just down the street, and one of their most eye-catching vehicles is a 2001 Lido Woody Cart. It's not old, but it's special! And it's parked next to a black 1965 Plymouth Barracuda and a red 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible. I would sure love any of these.
This silver 1957 Porsche Speedster has hood straps - didn't know about those, but I like them.

Beach day!

Randy just finished a few hard days organizing some of the junk at the Museum and fixing the office countertop. The countertop is a big, long slab of wood covered in some kind of polyurethane. When they installed it several years ago, it wasn't sealed properly and became home to a host of termites. They were bad enough that the whole office had to be tented to get rid of them. The 3-4 foot section of the countertop that guests lean against had enough internal damage that it broke down, making that section shallower than the rest. For years they have held it together with clear strapping tape while someone has been promising to fix it. Last week they asked Randy to fix it, so now it's done. He cleaned out most of the damage (it's not possible to clean it all out and retain the piece) and filled it with wood putty. He stained it, I added a bit of oil paint details, and it's done. It still needs to be covered with the same polyurethane as the rest of the wood, but it will not fall apart now. 

So today was a good day to go somewhere. We didn't go far, just to Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which is a big shopping center with mostly pricy shops. Randy was able to find some tennis shoes there, which was nice; he has a terrible time finding shoes that fit. We celebrated with pizza at Blaze Pizza. Haven't been here before but we will probably come back. A pizza is large enough for us to share but not too big, and they build it on the same lines as Subway Sandwiches. You order a pizza type (meat eaters for us!) then add whatever free toppings you like. This works really well for us because Randy and I like different things on our pizza. It's not hard to see which half is his.
Carlsbad, like Oceanside, is built along a beach. So to the beach! The trees on the walkway have been shaped by the never-ending wind coming off the sea. The city keeps them trimmed down, so they don't fall over.
The sand on this beach doesn't have black sand mixed in, like Oceanside beach, but it's still wonderful. The endless sound of the waves, the sun on the water - a beach is the most relaxing place in the world.