Saturday, July 26, 2014

Naked Lady Outside Our Door


We just can’t have this!  The neighborhood is going to … let’s just say “H”!!!!  I guess we are just going to have leave pretty soon…nothing we can do about it.  Arny and Sandy say that her name is Belladonna, ‘Bell’ for short.


Even the dogs are mesmerized by it.  If you look close, you can see the reflection of “Bell” in the window….if you dare to look.


There she is….Belladonna Lily, aka, Naked Lady.  She “pops out” [pun attended] every year around now…along with a few of her friends.


The Amaryllis belladonna is a native of South Africa.  When we arrived a few months ago, they looked like any other lily plant, but without flowers.  The green plant died off a few weeks ago, and about a week ago the flower stem popped up out of the ground, and today the first flower bloomed.  They are known as a “Naked Lady” because there is just the stem with the flower on the top.


Here it is a few days ago, and you can see another stem coming out of the ground next to it.  It sure is an interesting flower/plant.


As for Bubba and Skruffy….they don’t care about the “Naked Lady Plant”, they were just waiting for the drapes to open showing the sign that Arny and Sandy were up.  It was Friday morning, and Sandy only works Monday through Thursday during the summer.  Although they are up well before 5 am when she works, on the weekend she gets to sleep in some….this day was one of those days.

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One thing these pups do care about is beef bones.  Last night Marcia and I went to Claim Jumper, and I ordered a combo plate which included two big beef ribs.  To say they were happy when we got home is a understatement.  


Today this dog shows up. Hard to tell it is the same dog chewing on that bone above..but it is Bubba, fresh off a new hairdo. 
On Monday I ordered this Andis 2-Speed Pet Clipper with No.10 Blade.  The Andis clippers we already owned is fine for Skruffy, but Bubba’s hair is so thick.  The new clippers came in Friday, and I braved the 100+ temps today to give Bubba a long overdue hair cut.  I love these new clippers….went right through his hair with ease. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July Rain & Both Chairs Are In


The chart above shows the average rainfall that Sacramento receives each month.  As you can see, July typically has no rain, while June and August have very little.  So we were all surprised with the “little” rain that we received Sunday morning through Monday morning.  Well, there was rain, it amounted to .02 of an inch….still, rain in July in Sacramento, it just doesn’t happen very often.  The forecast is a 50% chance of more rain over the next few days...we will see.

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Now in Arkansas, where I lived for over 22 years, and in Florida, where I have lived for over 2 years, it rains every month.  But both are very hot and muggy during the summer….here in Sacramento area it is just hot, but cools down just about every month due to what they now call the “Delta Breeze”.  


Now when I was a kid and into my early 30’s I don’t recall ever hearing the term “Delta Breeze”.  Kind of like the “polar vortex” it is one of those “Weather Terms” to draw interest to, what else, the weather.  A look in Wikipedia and you see that the Polar Vortex has been known since the mid-1800’s.  The term Delta Breeze is not even in there under its own heading.  Now I know that there was a cool breeze just about every summer night when I was younger…and they called it various things such as “Sea Breeze”, “Breeze from the Pacific”, etc. etc.   Don’t know when everyone took up the term “Delta Breeze”, but it is a term you hear every summer night on every nightly weather report.


Getting the couch out was a small chore….of course, Arny helped, or I helped Arny would be the better way to say it.  With his tools and expertise, we had it out in an hour, and put back together again in about 15 minutes.  After we got it back together again we moved it just a small ways, and we were both surprised how heavy it was.  The chairs made it through the door without a problem.  Of course, one thing we “RVers” like about La-Z-Boy recliners is that the backs come off making them easy to fit through motorhome, 5th wheel and trailer doors.


We both have these slick TV style laptop trays, which also double for an eating table.  Yes, there is a large table we could put up, but it is not as friendly as these movable trays are.  And the trays fold up quick for travel…we just lay them along the side of the bed or on the bed .  The other good thing is that we will be able to store some stuff back behind the chairs, which will be a nice feature.


Skruffy just wants to know where Bubba and Mom are going to sit??????

Friday, July 18, 2014

Out with the Couch, in with the Recliners….errr!


Our couch once sat here in the slide out.  It was also a fold-out bed, although I don’t think anyone could sleep on the bed with that thin mattress for more than a night.  As I mentioned about a month ago, we ordered two new recliners from Lazyboy.  Well yesterday was delivery day…and tomorrow will be delivery day too…because only one was on the truck, the other got left back at the warehouse down in the L.A. area.  Anyway, I will wait until both are in before I take a picture.  


In the meantime, we are having an issue with a few of our windows.  Here you can see the opening mechanics.


We have five windows that open like this….this one is open “all the way”.


This black “gadget”, for lack of a better term, runs along this guide.  But we have one window which has broken “gadgets”, and finding a replacement, or a total replacement of all the opening hardware, is a challenge.  We are still in communication with Dynamax, and sent pictures today, but this may not work out either.  Arney tried using two small washers, but they just bind up so much, and now we have another window which has one broken gadget that runs inside the guide.  At least the washers allow for the window to stay locked, while the other window is loosely locked since only one side is still in the guide.


Mom finished up her rehab yesterday…walked with her PT over to my sister’s house and back, causing another sleep period like the one I photographed previously.  She is doing real well, and we are all so happy that much of her pain is gone, although some might question about that pain in her lower bottom exterior that lives in a motorhome next door, also known as her PITA youngest son.Open-mouthed smile

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Skruffy One – Condo Zero


At the end of March I blogged that we had to file a HUD complaint against the Condo due to conditions the Condo Association was trying to force on us as a condition to them allowing a service dog to live with us.  Of course the very next day I blogged about the fire which wiped out our motorhome….and Skruffy seemed to be on the back burner.  However, she was not.  We filed our complaint around March 24th.  By mid April our lawyer, who is really a real estate lawyer, asked if he could back out of the Service Dog issue, and we agreed…..if we needed a lawyer for this, we would hire one which deals with Service Dog issues, and I had one picked out if we needed to go that far….but we did not wish for this to go that far. 


April 29th I finally was asked by HUD to provide more information….copy of letter from the Doctor, dates, issues, etc.  I sent my response that day, and receipt was acknowledged.  There was also a small blurb about “back log” and “don’t know how long it will be before we get to it”.
Well, June 19th we received a “official” HUD complaint form which we needed to sign, but some of the information on the form was not accurate.  By the 20th everything had been fixed, we signed, and awaited once again.


On June 27th in steps “Bob” from the Florida Commission on Human Relations.  What a SUPER NICE guy Bob is.  After an initial request for some more information, we schedule a “phone interview’' for Monday, June 30th.  In that phone call he reveals that he had already talked with the Condo Lawyers, and they “sounded as though” they might want to resolve this before it goes any further.  (My first thoughts….why did they not contact me a few months ago before it got this far?)  He said that it sounded like the only issue was the “waiver” that they insisted that we sign which included a whole bunch of rules and ignored our rights before they would agree to us having a service dog.  Bob, who had to remain neutral did point out to the lawyer that one item they were asking us to sign was for Skruffy to keep quiet, yet the Doctor said in his letter that one of the things the dog would be used for is to alert Marcia that someone is at the door by barking.  Bob asked that I write up what in their agreement was unacceptable, and if I wanted, to write up an acceptable waiver.  


So I took their waiver, did a “red line” through all of the items we did not agree with, and in “Green Print” the reason we did not agree with what they issued.  I also rewrote their waiver so that it did not look like a set of rules, but instead did the following:
  • Acknowledged the needs of the individual who requested the use of a Service Dog
  • Acknowledged that the dog could fulfill those needs, and that the dog could go anywhere the person who needed the dog could go
  • Finally, an agreement that the person requesting the service dog would keep it under control, clean up after it, and be responsible for any damage done directly by the dog.
Well, today we heard that the Condo Association would agree to our re-written waiver, and that the issue is essentially resolved.  I sent a signed copy to the Association’s lawyer, sent a signed withdrawal of complaint to Bob, and emailed signed copies to Bob of both.  


It sure put that smile back on their faces…. ours too.

Friday, July 4, 2014

What A Country!


I, like many of our readers, love The United States of America.  Both my father (Mayflower ancestry) and my mother (Delaware ancestry dating to the late 1600’s) have ancestors who have lived in what is now known as the United States of America before July 2nd/July 4th, 1776.  My roots run deep, my love runs deep, and yes, I do have concerns which I will not address here.  


Yakov Smirnoff, an American born Russian Comedian (aka: American Comedian of Russian Descent) has made a load of money off the line, “What a Country”, followed by, or proceeded by, talking about our beloved United States of America and comparing it to his ancestral homeland of Russia.  Here is an example: In America you can always find a party; in Russia the party always finds you.  Want more?  Click here.

What I do want to address is something that struck me after I read today’s post at Travel with the Bayfield Bunch.  Al, who is an excellent blogger, talked about some of the famous people he has seen or met through his life.  It reminded me of some of close encounters too…which I wish to share today.


Governor Pat Brown was the 32nd Governor of California.  Sometime in the ‘60’s, mom had taken us kids on a visit to the Capital in Sacramento where we lived.  When we got to the Governor’s office, we went in and mom asked, “Can I see Governor Brown?”  The secretary asked who we were, did we have an appointment, and mom let her know that we were just visiting the Capital and wondered if we might be able to visit the Governor to say “Hi”.  Well, she called into his office, he said sure, and we trotted into his office for a short, friendly visit…including a hearty handshake for each of us.


Well, it worked once, so let’s try it again with another Governor.  Governor and future President Ronald Reagan was the 33rd Governor of California.  On another visit to the Capital, this time with cousin who lived in Ohio along with us, mom once again entered the Governor’s office….but this time we were told that he was not there, he was flying down to L.A. in 45 minutes from the Executive Airport in South Sacramento.  Well, guess who lived just 1 1/2 miles from the airport?  So we rushed down there, and yep, we met Governor Reagan.  So gracious of him to walk over to us, shake our hands, ask my cousin what happened to her arm which was in a cast. Finding out that she broke it going down the slide into our pool “standing up” on the slide, he says, “Oh, our Skipper (Ron Jr.) did the same thing, but broke his leg.”  

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The 1968 Presidential Campaign brought many a Politian into Sacramento,with many of them landing and taking off from the Executive Airport close to our house.  During that summer my brother and I, sometime with a cousin, would ride bikes over to the airport to watch planes come and go.  During two of these occasions we met Presidential candidates Robert Kennedy and George Wallace, each of whom shook our hands as they passed by.  The next year mom and dad took us to Washington D.C., and we saw the small white cross which still stands over Bobby’s grave.  I am fairly sure it was the last time he visited Sacramento when we saw him.


In 1976 the Sacramento Railroad Museum opened.  In 1981 the museum’s complex was complete, and Governor Brown was there to celebrate the opening….as was I.  Now I took pictures of this on my old film camera, but those are back home or with my daughter. I am in this crowd somewhere.  And oh, just to keep everyone straight….this is Governor Jerry Brown, Pat Brown’s son, who was the 34th Governor, and after a nearly two decade hiatus, he is also the current Governor (39th) and the longest serving Governor of the state.  Of all of the people listed in this posting, his is the handshake I never got, but I was there at the opening of the new Railroad Museum, and if you have a chance, you should plan on visiting it too.

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Bill Cartwright played for the Bulls, went to school in Elk Grove, just south of Sacramento.  One of my employees knew Bill and brought him into the restaurant a few times….he literally had to duck to get under the door.  A real nice guy.  Two or three times I saw John Madden up at Harrah’s in South Lake Tahoe.  One of the biggest hands I ever shook. Around 1983 I attended a Fellowship of Christian Businessmen in San Jose with the founder of the restaurant chain I worked for.  An Oakland Raider, who was on the 1980 Super Bowl Team, was there and passed around his ring.  It could fit on my thumb without touching the sides.  I think it was Mickey Marvin, but frankly, I was so excited to see and hold that ring that his name just has not stuck with me.

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My parents met Jacob Henry in the late 70’s or early 80’s.  His full name is Jacob Henry "Buddy" Baer, brother of Max Baer, Uncle of Max Baer Jr. (Jethro on Beverly Hillbillies TV show who also happened to by my Uncle Mac’s newspaper boy back in the 1950’s).  Buddy was a Heavy Weight Boxer, with a record of 52-7 with 46 knockouts, with two of those losses coming to the legendary Joe Louis. Like his brother and nephew, he also was an actor. Buddy had the biggest hand I ever shook….no doubt about that.  When I met him, he looked like the picture on the right, but a tad bit older.  There have been a few other sports figures…but let’s go back to the dirt…errrr…Politician's.


It is difficult to live in Arkansas, be the Director of a Public Library, and NOT meet the Governor of the state.  First was Bill….no offense taken to the offices he held….if you are from Arkansas, you call him Bill.  Even many of those who followed him to D.C. said it was hard to not call him Bill, but they learned very quick to call him “Mr. President” in public.  I had not been in the state more than 3 months before I met him for the first time.  Hillary, well, I met her in D.C. while eating in the Senate’s Restaurant.  I never met their daughter, but all three were avid Library users up in Little Rock.  Ok, a few stings here….the Clinton Presidential Library looks a lot like a very large double wide trailer, and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock has been called the “HillBilly Airport” by many of the locals.

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Governor Jim Guy Tucker, left, followed Clinton…went to prison due to White Water investigation.  Governor and former Pastor Mike Huckabee, center, was my favorite turned least liked Governor due massive cuts he made to the Public Libraries during his administration, and the half truths he told about it to try and justify his actions.  And my favorite Governor, and current Governor, Mike Beebe, who, along with local State Senator Jay Bradford, saved and later restored the funding to the Public Libraries.  

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On our blog-site, at the bottom, you will find these two images.  To us, they represent all that is right about our country.  Who would have thought that this boy born in the ‘50’s would have such an opportunity to see so much, and meet so many.  There are others who are not listed that should be, but this is long enough…..Have an enjoyable 4th of July, and remember what it is all about.  What A Country…yes indeed.