Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Perks of the Job

The folks here in Sacramento gave us a membership in their gym to use during our stay.  The building was originally a church.  Upstairs classrooms now house bicycles in various forms.  The main sanctuary is the weight room with other torture machines.  We have been faithfully using our yellow membership cards to make our bodies ache. 

We start in the bicycle room, riding some sort of stationary vehicle for 30 minutes; gets our blood flowing.  Then it's off to the sanctuary for weights.  Bill uses much heavier ones than me.  He has been going to the gym in Tucson since it's included in his Medi-care insurance.  Since I am sooo much younger, I do not have Medi-care to pay for a membership, so I walk instead of lift.

The machines are easy to use,  or at least figure out how to use.  I started on light weights, usually 15 pounds per arm, but am all the way up to 25 on most of them.  You may stop laughing now.......My left arm and shoulder, which I fell on last summer, are sore from the use, but I think it is getting better. Wish we could continue this all summer, but I don't think there is a gym in the village where we will be in France.  We will have to alternate our arms when lifting our glasses of wine.

On the days we don't go to the gym, Bill walks 6 to 9 miles around and around William Land Park.  I speed walk 3 to 5 miles in the same area, usually breaking my walk at 3 miles to pick up Toby for the rest of the time.  Toby seems to enjoy walking fast, if he is allowed to stop and smell every once in a while.  This exercise we will continue, just a change of location and dogs.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Race for the Cure in Sacramento

Geri and Donna, two amazing women!

Every year the Susan B Komen Foundation sponsors a 5k run/walk to raise funds for breast cancer research and screenings.  This year we were invited to join a team from Anna's work, Geri's Gang of Support.  There were 14 of us who walked together, while there were 13,500 who participated!  It was a pretty amazing sight.  Most of the participants were in white tee shirts, with bright pink ones worn by those who are survivors of this horrible disease.  We had two survivors in our group; Geri, who organized us and Donna, who is Anna's mom and our dearest friend.

Arriving at our table to meet the Gang.

At the finish line!

Breast cancer research has come so far in the last 10 years.  We can all hope that a cure will be found in the next 10.
Celebrating Donna's survival at lunch.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wine Tasting in El Dorado

In the foothills above Sacramento are two wine growing areas.  We visited Amador last time, so El Dorado was our destination for this trip.  Our tour guide was the lovely Anna, who we have known and loved since she was 3.  She is an excellent guide!

Our first stop, Narrow Gate.

Miraflores Winery

Sierra Vista Winery

The view from Sierra Vista!

Holly's Hill where we shared a bottle of Rose while eating out sandwiches.

Obscurity Cellars
Oakstone Vineyards

We visited 6 wineries, made several purchases and enjoyed many different samples of wines.  The folks at the wineries are friendly, knowledgeable, and generous with their pours.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Back in California

The drive from Tucson to Sacramento seems longer each time we do it.  Getting through LA isn't a problem, but when we hit I-5 headed north watch out!  The road is still just 4 lane, 2 either direction.  The cars have one speed limit, 65, while the trucks are going 55.  So, anytime a truck moves over to pass a slower moving truck, bam, every one is down to 55 or maybe 60.  California needs to  widen I-5 to at least 6 lanes, limiting trucks to the first 2 only.  Now I'm off my soapbox.

The house and garden here in Sacramento so incredibly comfortable.  Between late rains and other things to do, not all the vegies were planted, so we offered to do it after the owners left.  Due to unseasonable warm weather, the giant Catalpa tree was blooming a full month early.  Lots of pollen and flowers falling, then we had a huge thunderstorm with a hard driving rain for several hours.  The next morning, most of the blooms had fallen and all the pollen was washed away! 
These blooms are huge; about 8 inches in length.

Love this planting!

Sweeping up the fallen blooms.

Straw flowers blooming; I always thought they were dried, but they really just grow this way.

Looking over the garden toward the back of the house.

The grape arbor with the vegetable beds behind.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


The floors in most of our house were covered in carpet which was originally white, but had deteriorated into a dirty beige.  No amount of cleaning made any difference, dirty beige it remained. The kitchen was different; a laminated plastic wood look which terrified the dogs because of the noise made when walking on it, plus it was slick!  The three of them avoided walking on it.
Our solution was to rip everything up until only bare concrete remained. As we emptied each room, I went through and painted all the walls, ceiling and trim; why put down new floor with old paint? Then we tiled it all in 16" Peacock slate.  Each tile weighed about 11 pounds.  We started in late October 2012 and worked until the end of March 2013, with breaks for Thanksgiving through New Years and occasionally for too wet and cold weather.  Cutting tile in the cold is absolutely no fun!
We haven't finished all the floors;  there is still the kitchen, because we want to change out the cabinets before going on, and a dressing area/bathroom which needs walls moved before the tile goes down.  Not too bad though, we laid over 2900 square feet of tile!

The tile, mortar and grout being delivered; 3400 sq. ft of tile.

Our bathroom with the new tile and a new dual flush tiolet.

Amy and Bill setting up the tile saw and mixer (which ended up not working!) so we could begin tiling.  We started on the east side of the house and worked to the west side.

Dining room with the floor finished and funiture back in.

Family room floor before the furniture and rug went back.

Our bedroom half way tiled.



Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Vintage Cars at the Knighton Fair


Keeping Busy in Tucson

.We haven't been housesitting for the past year and a half.  There has been alot going on at home to keep us busy.

Amy, JP and I after finishing the 2012 Arizona Distance Classic 5K.
I learned to speed walk and entered my first 5K.  I finished 4th in my age group; the top 3 were runners.  I have been polishing my technique, losing weight in the process!  Who'd a thunk at age 60 I'd become an athlete.  Har Har!   I've continued my speedwalking, entering the Saguaro 5k and then the 2013 Arizona Distance Classic quarter marathon. 

Amy and Bill cutting down the olive tree.  Dan and I were on the ground doing our jobs.

Owning a home comes with all sorts of duties.  The olive tree in the front had been planted too close to the house.  It had gotten too big and was rubbing against the edge of the roof.  Down it had to come.  Amy did the cutting, with Bill standing on point to help.  Dan and I were on the ground to give the pull so the branches would land in the proper place, or at least close.  We left the stump, which has grown out from the ground, keeping it pruned into a bush, with a stump to put a potted plant on if we want.

We added a fence around the front yard to keep the javalena out.  They so enjoy eating all the plants and uprooting the ones they don't want to eat.  The fence is a combination of wire and Ocotillo fencing.  The Ocotillo blooms after it rains, but the rest of the year it is just sticks with barbs to discourage visitors. 
The front yard also needed something else, so I built a patio from brick pavers we already owned.  We added a few chairs, a couple of tables. Viola!  A comfy place to sit and watch the world go by.

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, a man who was the power behind the throne as Regent for James I of Scotland,...