February 2008 Archives

Awake: 6:36am Temp 57 sleep 7:05 cloudy—windy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Starting @ 7:10am, we clearly see & talk with Nick, Jerry & Eriko on Skype. Jerry is very attentive to this activity & often makes reference to his grandma & “G” daddy; he holds up some of his favorite toys for us to see. Our (40) min Skype contact was very comforting for us.

Katrina calls @ 10:34am; she whispers a request for us to visit a little later than originally planned because she has to check out of her room. We understand we should be @ the Venetian Casino & Hotel @ 1:30pm & Nurse Kathy is to bring a thermometer.

Parking @ the Fashion Show Mall is very convenient; from here we visit a few stores of interest & then walk the strip over to the Venetian Hotel & Casino. Katrina & I talk with each other via cell phone to arrange our meeting @ the entry porch. Her voice is very weak but not whispering; while talking, we goggle @ the masses from the porch lookout that are walking to & fro on the Las Vegas strip. People from all over the world visit this dynamic city.

After we meet & talk a bit, it starts getting breezy & cool, so Katrina leads us upstairs to the Concierge level where we make ourselves comfortable with some tea & fruit. Here we can relax & Katrina can speak more softly with less straining + we can easily hear her voice. We also meet Kelly, a Denver friend who is sharing a room with Katrina. After a good hr, Katrina takes us on a limited Venetian Hotel tour; K & I toured this hotel several times in the past but missed seeing the outside swimming pools & several other items of interest. We stroll over to Saint Mark’s Square where we watch a very talented juggler & mime.

Then it’s back to the Concierge level where delicious snacks & wine are waiting for our palates. Not long after our arrival, the remainder of Katrina’s group joins us; Kate from New Jersey, Henry from Denver (Stephanie’s boyfriend), Stephanie (Katrina’s roommate) who’s celebrating her birthday & Kelly whom we met earlier. We gab for about (30) min & then it’s time for K & me to leave. Kathy did take Katrina’s temp and it was elevated. We were happy to spend some time with Katrina but felt bad that she didn’t feel good. She missed having a really good time with her pals.

Back in our motorhome, we watch the DVR of the Oscars while eating popcorn.

Lights out: 12:54am

Awake: 6:44am Temp 38 sleep 6+05 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Nick surprises us this morning @ 7:10am with a pleasant (40) min Skype call from Seattle. Watching & listening to little Jerry + Eriko & Nick is almost like a personal visit.

Later, Melissa calls from PA; we take turns talking with her & Matthew. Matthew was excited about their glow-in-the-dark Thomas jigsaw puzzles.

I call my 1st cousin Florentz in PA; his wife Anna has made nearly a complete recovery from her partial thyroidectomy; we are all very thankful about this.

Katrina calls from Las Vegas; she is not feeling well, has a sore throat, possible fever, & has lost her voice & whispers. It was difficult to understand much of her conversation. She & Kathy talked longer and made plans for us to visit Katrina in Las Vegas tomorrow. She didn’t realize how close we were to Las Vegas & when she found out she asked if we might make the trip. We were excited to see her but unhappy to her she wasn’t feeling well. With some much needed sleep, we hope she’ll quickly recoup to her former self & have a good time with her Denver friends this weekend.

Meanwhile, with such nice weather, K & I take a walk to the Ace Home Center where I pick up (2) “0” rings for my PA well water filters. Then Kathy talks me into walking over to Smith’s Grocery store to replenish our whole grain bread supply. During the walk, Mary Ann B. from Memphis calls & talks with Kathy; she stays outside while I buy the bread, then we begin walking back to our motorhome. Along the way, it’s my turn to talk with Bob, her husband. Mary Ann & Bob were close friends & lived in our neighborhood for (5) yrs during our time in Memphis, TN.

Later, Nick & I agree on a Skype contact tomorrow @ 7:00pm.

K & I attend 5:00pm Mass @ Our Lady of the Valley Catholic church. On our return, more shopping @ Smith’s for a heavier load of groceries.

Dinner: leftover chicken and apple with mushroom sauce & 4 bean salad. We’ll have popcorn with our movie tonight.

DVR movie: “Ace in the Hole” with Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Bob Arthur, Porter Hall, Frank Cady, etc. An embittered New Mexico reporter looking for the elusive brass ring finds it when he tumbles onto a story of a man trapped in an ancient Indian ruin. Unrelentingly cynical (yet mostly believable) tale of how the reporter exploits the “human interest story” for his own benefit…and how the potential tragedy turns into a three-ring circus; biting & extremely well acted. 1951. No doubt about it, a real cliff hanger of a story.
High temp=59 Lights out: 11:31pm

Awake: 7:02am Temp 50 sleep 6+58 rain…heavy @ times overnight @ Pahrump.

Another stay @ home day for us; too windy & rainy for outside activities. In our spare time, we review the many brochures on the model homes we visited yesterday; also we check the digital pictures taken & add more ideas into our master notebook.

Dinner: Crab cakes, rice & spinach salad.

DVR movie: “Murmur of the Heart” with Lea Massari, Benoit Ferreux, Danielo Gelin, etc. Fresh, intelligent, affectionately comic tale of bourgeois, sensuous Massari & her precocious (14) year-old son (Ferreux) builds to a thoroughly delightful resolution. 1971. Foreign films with English subtitles are not Kathy’s favorite; thus her review is biased accordingly. My impression: not for children but very entertaining for adults.

Lights out: 12:39am

Awake: 6:42am Temp 43 sleep 6+39 mostly cloudy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Since we’ve been hanging out in the city of Pahrump all these weeks & visiting Las Vegas now & then, we couldn’t help noticing a vast home building expanse as we enter the Westside of Las Vegas on our trips. Someday, we said to ourselves, we’ll take a look @ some of those model homes for new & modern ideas. Well, today is that day.

Driving the Suzuki, K & I motor to the western edge of Las Vegas & spend the entire afternoon touring (27) model homes from (6) different builders; the huge complex is called: “Mountain’s Edge.” We weren’t necessarily looking for floor plan ideas, but perhaps better utilization of floor space and the latest in appliances, lighting, fixtures, etc. We were casual about this self touring & took our time; if a good idea was discovered, I covered the scene with picture; there weren’t many.

My sister Corinne calls from PA shortly before we arrive @ our motorhome; she informs us that Vi, Josie's mother, passed away today. She was 85 & a real nice lady.

Dinner: leftover crab & corn chowder-mac, cottage cheese & peaches over spinach leaves.

Mid evening; Gary & Grace J. call from Florida; Kathy talks for about (35) min & I talk for (70) min. Gary had me so mesmerized with his exciting story telling about the classes he attended this last month, I could have talked & listened for @ least another hr. I think they are having more fun than we & they are not even retired yet! It was a good call. If all plans materialize, we’ll be spending time with them in about (2) weeks down in Vegas.

DVR movie: “Four Daughters” with Claude Rains, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, Priscilla Lane, Gale Page, John Garfield, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, etc. Believable, beautifully acted soaper of small-town life; four young women with musical father Rains have lives altered by four young men. 1938. Great story….add it to your long list.

Lights out: 12:04am

Awake: 6:15am Temp 48 sleep 6+41 wind & frequent rain overnight @ Pahrump.

A perfect day for reading some of our magazines, books for dummies & other assorted material; plus we shared time on our computer. Google

Katrina calls @ 1:51pm; she & Kathy talk about her roommate situation. Also Katrina is not feeling well due to Gastro Intestinal distress & they talk about the possible cause.

Dinner: chicken with apple & mushroom sauce & asparagus.

DVR movie: “Mr. Skeffington” with Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel, Richard Waring, etc. Grand soap opera spanning several decades of N.Y.C. life from 1914 onward. Davis is vain society woman who marries stockbroker Rains for convenience, discovering his true love for her only after many years. 1944. Great story with a strong message that one should definitely marry for love, love & more love.

High temp=51 Lights out: 12:03am

Awake: 6:45am Temp 43 sleep 6+44 partly sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

K & I walk to the Pahrump city library before noon & spend 2+45 hrs looking thru more books for house ideas: i.e. location of fireplace, bookshelves, ceiling fans, stairways or ramps, lighting, kitchen arrangement, high tech devices (wireless for computers), alarm systems, room to room intercom, etc, showers, bath tubs, access to main hot & cold water connections, access to main entertainment units & wiring, etc, etc.

Taking pictures of ideas helped out a lot; however, it appears that our house idea sources in Pahrump may be running dry; future thoughts will have us leaning toward Vegas & their library for more & updated ideas. On our return, we make a brief stop at A relatively new grocery store, “Bargain Groceries.”

My Sister Mary Jo calls from Lodi, CA; She continues to be faithful to her (3) times a week exercise but doesn't really like doing it; afterwards though, she feels good that she's done it. The rest of her family are doing fine. Both Kathy & I total a little over (30) min of talk time.

Dinner: crab & corn chowder with macaroni & spinach salad.

Tonight is our night to do the town; gaming…. & we both hit the big one: I, $6.00 & Kathy a big $18.00. Then we went next door & blew some of that loot buying groceries.

DVR movie: “The Public Enemy” with James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edie Woods, Beryl Mercer, Joan Blondell, Mae Clarke etc. Prohibition gangster’s rise & fall put Cagney on the map, & deservedly so, he makes up for film’s occasional flaws & dated notions. Still pretty powerful, this is the one, where Cagney smashes a grapefruit in Clarke’s face. 1931. Myself, I was most intrigued with the period smart & fancy cars, fuel trucks; the ladies classic attire & lastly, the not so professional & meaningful dialog. Yes, I know, it was made in 1931.

High temp=68 Lights out: 11:34pm

Awake: 7:02am Temp 43 sleep 6+31 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

This morning I finish reading a “Highways” magazine; then pass it on to Kathy to read.

Next, I start reading “Windows XP for Dummies.”

Mid afternoon, K & I take a (1.8) hr walk in a different area of town; this time, no shopping or grocery buying. Katrina calls as we are on our final (5) min to the bus. She wasn’t driving for a change; she was a little frustrated because she wanted to get her banking taken care of but all the banks were closed for the holiday. She also wanted to finish her report cards for her students, but for whatever reason, she couldn’t access a program that was crucial for her work. She was also frustrated with the behavior of one of her roommates, not the least of which is that her rent check bounced…again. Good job maintaining your cool, Katrina!

Dinner: Pasta with broccoli, sausage with a ricotta surprise, salad & toast.

DVR movie: “Bataan” with Robert Taylor, George Murphy, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Nolan, Lee Bowman, Desi Arnaz, etc. Realistically made drama of famous WWII incident on Pacific island; good combat scenes. 1943. This story was not attached to the infamous “Death March” but regardless, not a comfortable narrative of war to watch by any means.
High temp=67 Lights out: 12:01am

Awake: 7:32am Temp 42 sleep 7+56 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Morning breakfast, Kathy makes a delicious omelet. Then before lunch, driving the Suzuki, we return to a model home on Winery Road that we visited Saturday, 26 January. In lieu of taking so many notes, I will be using my digital camera & taking pictures (with permission) of notable things we might be interested in. A picture is worth a thousand words....say they.

Next, we drive to the southeast section of Pahrump Valley (30) min, where there are numerous model homes built & open for exploring; in our attempts to tour the Artesia model homes, we found only (1), & it was locked up with a closed sign.

Mountain Falls, a master planned golf community, however, had (23) dwellings for touring & we ended up spending the remainder of the afternoon touring (16) of the (23) available. We liked their style of operation; one enters their office which usually is the garage of one of the homes, the sales person points out a few highlights of the (4) homes that are built relatively next to each other; then you go off on your own taking the floor plans with you. A temporary metal fence corrals the (4) homes so you must return to the office when leaving. There was no pressure what-so-ever. Again, my digital camera captured a few thoughtful ideas to add to our list.

In some of the homes, each of the bedrooms had a different theme, i.e. NASCAR, cowboy, princess, sports. Many rooms also displayed interesting painting techniques and colors. However, we didn’t find any of the more updated technical aspects that we found in the Winery Road homes or more modernized kitchens.

Each block of (4) homes was located in a different area of the larger planned community as it wound around the golf course. Each area had a different name i.e. Paradiso, Tivoli, etc and was offered by a different builder.

Melissa calls @ 4:43 Pacific time as we are touring our #14 home; 5:00pm was closing time so we thanked Glenda for her brochures, etc & returned to the coach. All in all, it was a beautiful day for seeing these new up-to-date homes & some of the high tech gadgets that are now available. I explained our touring day to Melissa & she was delighted to hear of our gathering new & exciting ideas for a home. En route, Kathy took her turn getting updates on the Foote household & Matthew who, unfortunately is having a tough time “being brave” when it comes to getting his insulin shots which means it takes a long time to accomplish what has to be done. Andrew is getting more proficient at working puzzles and Nathan is still trying to master crawling. The Foote family has had a fun time ice skating at a local rink the past (2) Saturdays.

Dinner: leftover Ratatouille pasta with Knockwurst & a salad.

DVR movie: “Hunt for Red October” with Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scoff Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones, Joss Ackland, etc, Exciting, complex thriller from the best-seller by Tom Clancy. Connery stars as a Soviet submarine captain who may (or nay not) be planning to defect to the U.S. during the maiden voyage of a super secret nuclear sub; Baldwin is the American intelligence ace who tries to anticipate his every move. 1990. No argument here; it’s a darn good spy movie.

High temp=66 Lights out: 12:31am

Awake: 7:25am Temp 43 sleep 7+15 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Mid morning K & I walk up to the Ace Home Center & return. As we walk, Katrina calls from Denver while driving back from snowboarding with friends. She outlines her busy social plans for the rest of the day & nearly makes my head spin. What a gal!

John B. from Nicktown calls: we have our usual interesting & adventurous conversation giving updates & what-have-you…..for a good (40) min. Always good talking with John.

Next, another session with Nick, Eriko & Jerry using Skype; this time, all systems worked but not so good….due to, we think, heavy cell phone traffic in our area. Signals not strong enough to keep those megabits flowing in a robust fashion; and it might have been the atmosphere; winds, rain, dust storms, etc as well? Anyway, we again reverted to our cell phone backup using (41) min of free time.

K & I attend 5:00pm Mass @ Our Lady of the Valley with some light grocery shopping afterwards.

Dinner: leftover stuffed peppers.

DVR movie: “Iceman” with Timothy Hutton, Lindsay Crouse, John Lone, Josef Sommer, David Strathairn, etc. A Neanderthal man is found frozen in ice. Scientists manage to bring him back to life, but only Hutton is interested in him as a human being & not a lab specimen. Fascinating, credible science fiction made all the more involving by Schepisi’s fine direction & a remarkable performance by Lone, the caveman. 1984. Now we’re talking; this movie was fantastic. No predictables here; just the edge of your seat viewing.

High temp=57 Lights out: 11:36pm

Awake: 6:32am Temp 40 sleep 5+59 sunny & windy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

My water filter canister continues to be leak proof so I did get lucky on the 2nd fix.

Kathy does (2) loads of laundry while I sit around, read our FMCA magazine, spend time on the computer, etc. I did manage to solve the audio glitch on Skype by accident; while searching in properties & securities, I noticed our Skype audio was being blocked as a precautionary procedure; unblocking brought its return.

Around 3:15pm, the nearby flags were @ rest & the wind calm; we don’t talk the walk, we just start walking. Now the day is beautiful; Kathy brings a jacket, I in a ‘T” shirt. We explore the nearby baseball fields, the soccer field & the skateboarding runs. It feels good to be outdoors again & stretching our legs; Kathy is humming & I am smiling. This is GREAT we clarify to each other. And then….without warning, “Vroom”, cold & strong winds from the north catch us off guard. Smart Kathy wastes no time in getting that jacket on & zipped up; not so smart me in my “T” shirt, shiver within minutes. We high-tail it back to our motorhome ASAP.

Dinner: Salmon burgers with Caesar slaw, broccoli, red peppers & whole grain toast.

DVR movie: “Splash” with Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Dody Goodman, etc. Entertaining comedy about a man who falls in love with a mermaid, who’s played to perfection by Hannah; buoyant cast, winning gags make this a lot of fun despite a tendency toward over length. 1984. A second opinion: we didn’t fall for this number; Kathy checked out within minutes; every recheck she made, thumbs down & I approve of this message.
High temp=57 Lights out: 12:10am

Awake: 6:05am Temp 38 sleep 6+13 sunny & very windy overnight @ Pahrump.

K & I vow to be each other’s valentine. After a casual morning, we drive to the Pahrump city library & spend several hrs scrutinizing the books for more house configuration ideas.

Dinner: eggplant steak Parmesan with spinach pesto & chicken meatballs.

After the dinner dishes are cleaned up & put away, we call Nick & Eriko on Skype. For whatever reason, we had no audio, but very good video. Nick tried his best to help me solve this problem by checking all audio settings, to no avail. To overcome our primitive hand signal communication, we used cell phones throughout the rest of our contact time. Watching little Jerry run, play & look @ us, plus seeing Nick & Eriko so clear was still very comforting for both of us. Tomorrow I will dedicate some morning time to, hopefully, solve the audio glitch.

DVR movie: “Westward the Women” with Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel, Beverly Dennis, John McIntire, Hope Emerson, etc. Intriguing Western with Taylor heading wagon train full of females bound for California to meet mail-order husbands. 1951. This story & film were terrific; what made it even more intriguing was a (20) min behind the scenes coverage of the movie being made. Don’t pass on this one.

High temp=48 Lights out: 12:33am

Awake: 6:36am Temp 44 sleep 6+45 sunny & very windy overnight @ Pahrump.

It’s too windy to be outdoors so we spend most of our time reading some of our computer books: Firefox for Dummies & Windows XP for Dummies; then going to the computer & checking things out on our browser & operating system.

Mid afternoon, I go outside & check on my repaired filter canister; it passed the (1) day test without leaking a drop.

About 4:20pm, dark & dusty clouds could be seen coming in from the west….when they encompass our area, visibility is low with strong winds pushing all sorts of debris across the asphalt covered campground. Our motorhome nearly behaved like it did during the almost perfect storm in Newport, 12 November, 2007.

The weather didn’t effect our Satellite TV however so we watch The O’Reilly Factor before dinner.

Dinner: Swordfish, four grain rice, broccoli & sweet peppers in Boursin cheese sauce & mixed salad.

Late evening: “Shadow of a Doubt” with Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotton, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers, etc. Perceptive Americana intertwined with story of young girl who slowly comes to realize her beloved Uncle Charley is really the Merry Widow murderer.1943. Great mystery flick; don’t miss this one.

High temp=69 Lights out: 12:08am

Awake: 7:17am Temp 49 sleep 7+48 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

K & I walk to Ace Hardware; Radio Shack; CVS/Pharmacy; Health Food store; Albertson’s & Wal-Mart. Temps were very comfortable with little wind & we needed the exercise; plus we found a few items we were looking for in the stores.

Back @ the campground, I get out the (Stanzel Brothers) model airplane I purchased in Texas last yr & do a test flight on the asphalt. This airplane is battery powered with a small diameter, 5 ft long metal cable tethered to the plane itself. My flashlight batteries were well used, but having the unlimited circular asphalt runway for liftoff, the 1940’s design ship finally went airborne. I am saving this easy to fly craft for demos with our grandchildren.

A few weeks ago, while depositing garbage in one of the campground Dumpsters, I rescued a rather good-looking (2) stage battery charger, complete with battery cables. Today, using my Fluke meter & Suzuki car battery, I do a thorough electrical check & find the old charger working as it should. This will be a good present to pass on to Kevin later this summer.

Dinner: Stuffed peppers & a fresh mixed salad.

Before cleaning up the dinner dishes, I take Kathy out for our Tuesday gaming night @ the Nugget. After some careful button pushing, Kathy wins a BIG $6.00. Then we visit Smith’s grocery store & blow most of those big bucks on food items.

DVR movie: “D-Day the 6th of June” with Robert Taylor, Richard Todd, Dana Wynter, Edmond O’Brian. Well-executed study of WW2’s Normandy invasion, with massive action shots; film focuses on American officer Taylor & British leader Todd, their professional & personal problems; especially being in love with the same girl, Wynter.
1956. Kathy’s opinion: it was pretty good. She liked the ending.

High temp=70 Lights out: 11:51

Awake: 6:02am Temp 48 sleep 5+40 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Katrina calls @ 6:00am en route to her school & talks with Kathy about Karina & her roommate situation. Katrina entertained Karina at her abode yesterday; they cooked together and hung out. Karina is possibly moving into another foster home. Since Steph has to drive almost an hour to get to work, she is going to move out at the end of the month and take many of her belongings which helped to furnish Katrina’s townhouse with her. She and Katrina were roommates for over 2 years, working thru some bad times but mostly enjoying good times. Katrina will be using Craig’s list to find another roommate.

Remember my ill-fated water filter canister(plastic) that froze up & popped its top; well, after checking all the stores within easy reach around Pahrump for a similar canister as a replacement, I found none…..then decided to try another fix on what I have. After roughing up both the lid that popped & the main body connection with a file, I am hoping my next epoxy job will have a better grip; I also drilled (6) holes into the popped top & about an inch into the canister body; using roughed up pieces of copper wire, I inserted those wire pieces into the (6) holes & filled them with epoxy as well as the popped top to the main canister body. Now I’ll keep the canister warm on our heated tile floor for at least (24) hrs for curing.

With sunny, warm temps & little wind, we cut each other’s hair. (50) min cutting time for her….(10) min for me. She requested a shorter hair cut this time; I was reluctant, but of course, agreed.

Kathy drives the Suzuki to the nearest FDX shipper & sends out a couple packages for Valentines Day and to the post office to send out a couple cards.

Dinner: Roasted Ratatouille Pasta & spinach salad.

DVR documentary. The making of the movie: “North by Northwest” hosted by Eva Marie Saint. Then we watch the 2nd half of “The Pacific Highway.”

High temp=68 Lights out: 11:29

Awake: 6:38am Temp 41 sleep 6+56 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

A Skype call from Nick, Eriko & Jerry; hey, this is really neat. We can see & hear each other very well; all talk @ the same time & with no cost to either party. We carry on for about (20) min with terrific audio & visual. We intend to get a lot more use from our new high-tech gadget as time goes on.

Call & talk with my sister Corinne in Lilly, PA. Patty, one of her roommates, answered the phone to begin with & updated me with their local weather report: heavy snow, strong winds with little visibility + they just got their electricity back on from a (45) min outage. Corinne confirmed the entire report but indicated that she would be going to her dedicated functions of the day regardless. It feels kind of awkward listening to these winter announcements while we are generally bathing in sunshine & clear skies most of the time here in Pahrump. Of course, we do knock on wood now & then also.

Mid afternoon, K & I walk over to Smith’s Grocery store for a few items. When we return, Katrina calls @ 3:38 pm Pacific time while driving in Denver; I get an earful of roommate talk which was difficult to give an opinion on or recommend ideas. It was just my time to be a sounding board; I think I did ok with it. She plans to call tomorrow & talk with Kathy about this same subject.

Melissa calls @ 4:59pm Pacific time from PA. We both talk individually for about (30) min. In a nutshell, life is going about as good as to be expected @ this time. Matthew continues to fight getting insulin injections & they are not too happy with their winter weather.

Dinner: leftover eggplant with curry; leftover chili, leftover chicken & pork with noodles.

After dinner, I set up the new printer, run the software, insert the ink cartridges & presto, it works even better than that (12) yr old one.

DVR movie: “How the West was Won” with Carroll Baker, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, George Peppard, Carolyn Jones, Eli Wallach, Robert Preston, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart, John Wayne, etc. An all-Star Cast; narrated by Spencer Tracy. Blockbuster epic about three generations of Western pioneers isn’t same experience on TV as it was on Cinerama screen, but great cast, 1st rate photography. 1962. I have to admit, it’s all they say it is; one interesting & somewhat historical look @ the earlier settlers slowly developing the west.

High temp=67 Lights out: 12:22am

Awake: 6:22am Temp 42 sleep 6+36 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Mid morning, Kathy & I agree to sign up for another (28) days here in Pahrump. The RV department was delighted to have our continued business.

It takes some time, but I think our Skype system is ready to test. I make a call to Eriko & Nick but nobody answers.

K & I take a (53) min walk southeast for exercise; then attend 5:00pm Mass @ Our Lady of the Valley church.

Dinner: leftover Italian sausage in spaghetti sauce with whole wheat pasta & a mixed salad.

DVR movie: “Night Passage” with James Stewart, Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea, Brandon de Wilde, Dianne Foster, etc. Sound Western of Stewart working for railroad, brother Murphy belonging to gang planning to rob train payroll; exciting climatic shoot-out. 1957. It might have been exciting for them but not for the tired western cowgirl Kathy.

Lights out: 11:42pm

Awake: 6:15am Temp 41 sleep 7+32 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

After fueling the Suzuki, we drive to Las Vegas (55) min. Drop Kathy off @ the Outlet Mall (3) huge buildings on LasVegas Blvd, while I visit Fry’s Electronics store about (1.5) miles further north. After some fast looking & questioning, I purchase a remanufactured Canon Printer (nearly the same size as our (12) yr old one), which was basically un-fixable due to lack of parts; also purchase a Logitech Camera with microphone for use on Skype. The Fry’s store is so vast & loaded with hi-tech equipment, I was disappointed that we agreed on so little time to browse. After picking Kathy up, she had similar feelings.

From here, we use Lady Garmin to direct us to a Borders Book store off of Decatur Blvd where we find (2) books for Dummies: Windows XP & Firefox; hopefully these technical editions will further help us in understanding our rare computer woes.

We lunch @ “The Egg & I” Café a few blocks down the street on West Sahara. Then we really get serious & do some specialty grocery shopping @ both Trader Joe’s & Costco. En route back to Pahrump, we stop briefly @ Office Depot @ the strip Mall on Blue Diamond Blvd to have our AARP cards laminated. Road construction + Friday’s rush hr slowed our pace a little but, otherwise, it was a beautiful & fun BIG spending day for us. We arrive back to our coach @ 6:20pm.

Dinner: leftover Tuna & noodle casserole.

DVR movie with popcorn: “Time Machine” with Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux, Sebastian Cabot etc. Taylor, as a single-minded turn-of-the-20th-century London scientist who invents time-travel device & has vivid experiences in the future; look for the vivid fashion dresses in the shopping window as years fly by. 1960. Quite the adventurous story; add it to your list.
Lights out: 11:46pm

Awake: 4:55am Temp 34 sleep 5+26 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Before 7:00am, I make (3) calls to the east coast, then after 7:00, another (3) calls to Las Vegas; preparing for our shopping trip to Vegas tomorrow.

Kathy makes some special (no sugar) cookies as a test for Matthew’s diabetes. The cookies are very small (1&1/4 in); he would be allowed 2 for a serving. They taste pretty good. Kathy will send them for Valentine’s Day and wait for feedback.

Late morning, I begin rebuilding the broken water filter canister that blew its top a few weeks ago; strengthening the canister top section with (6) holes drilled & (6) copper wires inserted into those holes, then epoxy. (24) hrs required for curing.

K & I walk to Ace Homecenter to return an Oster blender blade she bought for Melissa yesterday to replace her broken one; Melissa told her they already have one ordered on-line. From there, we walk to the Pahrump Library & spend (1.5) hrs scrutinizing the architectural books for ideas on rooms, electrical & mechanical stuff. On our return, a stop @ Walgreen’s for bargain items.

Dinner: leftover chicken, pork & broccoli + a mixed salad.

Kathy & Melissa talk on the cell phone for about (10)min; blade discussion.

DVR “Modern Marvels.” drama, history: We watch a 1/2 of “Building the Pacific Highway” from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Most interesting; we’re looking forward to the second half.

High temp=61 Lights out: 10:43pm

Awake: 5:54am Temp 33 sleep 6+42 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

K & I attend 9:00am Mass for Ash Wednesday. This was the 1st time we had “wet ashes” put on our foreheads in the form of a cross &, boy, the crosses were dark & obvious. Afterward, we did some light shopping @ Wal-Mart & Albertson’s; some people must have thought the Nazis are coming…. the looks people gave us. Several guys knew it was Ash Wednesday, others asked why we have such a black cross on our forehead.

Talk with Barry in Nicktown; we discuss our 50th high school class reunion coming up this summer in August. Unbelievable….50 yrs!

Nick calls using Skype; we see him, Eriko & little Jerry in their living room & hear them talking to us but we can’t respond. There is no microphone on our computer; eventually I reply by using our cell phone. He encourages us to get the proper equipment so we can communicate more frequently & see each other in the process plus talk & watch little Jerry grow.

Dinner: Tuna & noodle casserole, spinach salad & whole grain bread.

DVR movie: “Blue Gardenia” with Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Raymond Burr, Jeff Donnell, George Reeves, Nat King Cole. Engaging murder caper with 1940’s flavor; Baxter is accused of murdering wolfish Burr, decides to take columnist Conte’s offer of help. 1953. Prepare yourself for a twist ending.

High temp=54 Lights out: 11:29pm

Awake: 6+42am Temp 40 sleep 6+42 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

A beautiful day for a walk; we talk the walk….then walk the walk; 1st to Ace Hardware; then a thrift store; Walgreen’s, Albertson’s, CVS/Pharmacy, Family Dollar, & lastly, Martinizing Dry Cleaning; we were careful not to load up with too many items until the last stop as our total walking distance was over (3) miles.

Back @ our motor home, I have a casual talk with Sam R. @ the Newell factory. He reminds me of the FMCA convention in Pomona, CA coming up later this month. I tell him we will consider attending this very popular event.

Dinner: orange pork tenderloin, leftover mashed potatoes & noodles, cinnamon applesauce, tossed salad.

DVR movie: “Biography of Joan Crawford, private life & movies.”

High temp=51 Lights out: 11:12pm

Awake: 6:33am Temp 37 sleep 7+19 sunny, very windy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Late morning I walk over to the Saddle West Casino & pick up a letter from Matthew to his Grandma; it was his 1st typed letter & very short.

Later, I venture outside again to get a few items from our basement storage; otherwise, it was a great day to spend inside our motorhome.

Kathy does 1.5 loads of laundry & I spend my time reading & working X-word puzzles.

Dinner: Oregano turkey casserole, 4 bean salad, bread.

DVR movie: “Harry & Tonto” with Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, Chief Dan George, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Larry Hagman, etc. An old man takes a cross-country trip with his cat as companion. Art Carney won an Oscar for his performance in this bittersweet, episodic comedy. 1974. Very moving, touching, but enjoyable story.

High temp=47 Lights out: 12:00 midnight

Awake: 6:45am Temp 44 sleep 5+49 cloudy, very windy overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Nick calls from Seattle @ 9:07am; we both share talk time for a total of (64) min. It was a good call.

Kathy takes her turn on the computer while I do some reading; then she watches the Super Bowl during my computer time. I admit to not being a football fan; but occasionally my curiosity got the better of me & I peeked around the corner for some replays.

Dinner: Leftover power burger & a fresh spinach salad.

DVR movie: “The Letter” with Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Frieda Inescort, etc. Lushly photographed Somerset Maugham drama set in Malaya, tells of murderess (Davis) who tries to cover up her deed by pleading self-defense. Davis, quite appealing in her unsympathetic role. 1940. Excellent murder mystery & its in black & white.
High temp=55 Lights out: 11:14pm

Awake: 7:02am Temp 37 sleep 7+10 high thin clouds overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Kathy calls Katrina in Denver; then Jeri in Florida; Melissa in Pennsylvania & Marge in Colorado. Later she makes a call to AARP on issues of her on-line site.

Besides listening to many one-sided conversations, I dig out all papers & envelopes regarding our 2007 taxes & start the process. UGH! Sometime mid-afternoon, I make a call to Barry in Nicktown….but he was out on a business call.

We attend the 5:00pm Mass @ Our Lady of the Valley church. Afterward, some light shopping @ Wal-Mart.

Dinner: leftover Chili with corn chips.

Long DVR movie: “Gone with the Wind” with Clark Cable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O’Neil, Victor Jory, etc. If not the greatest movie every made, certainly one of the greatest examples of story telling on film, maintaining interest for nearly (4) hrs. 1939. (4) hrs can slip by so quickly when you’re watching a great movie.
High temp=49 Lights out: 12:56am

Awake: 5:30am Temp 34 sleep 5+29 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Kathy calls Melissa @ 5:40am Pacific time, besides talking with her; we talk briefly with both Andrew & Matthew.

Driving the Suzuki, we leave the campground @ 8:15am & top off the Suzuki’s fuel tank @ Smith’s; then follow state road 160 to US route 95 to Beatty, NV; then state road 374 to the Ghost Town of Rhyolite, about (5 miles) west of Beatty.

Gold was discovered in Rhyolite in 1904; the townsite platted in 1905; the population in 1907 estimated @ 8,000. The town boasted (3) water systems, a telephone service, electricity, (3) train lines & more than (50) mines. In 1910, Rhyolite’s population was estimated @ 675.

In 1907, several large corporations & stock brokerages went bankrupt, stock prices fell & traders withdrew their money from banks to cover their losses. The failing of the banks, coupled with the difficulty of extracting gold from the quartz, causing the mines to close, completed the demise of Rhyolite. On March 14, 1911, the directors voted to close down the Montgomery Shoshone mine & mill. In 1916, light & power was finally turned off in the town.

A park ranger gave us a fact sheet, pointed out a few skeletons of buildings & then we drove the streets taking more pictures of ruins of the (3) story bank, the school, the Las Vegas & Tonopah Depot (which actually was in fairly good condition but fenced off) etc. We could have spent the day walking around these ghostly ruins but had to watch our time closely because of further interests.

From Rhyolite, we continue southwest on state road 374, entering Death Valley Nat’l Park in California on state road 190 & then state road 267 northwest to Scotty’s Castle.

Our visit to Scotty’s Castle gave us a chance to view a large, opulent, & ingeniously designed home (didn’t get any ideas for our own house plans, however) built in a very remote site and to hear tales of Mr.Johnson’s unlikely friendship with Death Valley Scotty and about Scotty’s outlandish escapades and legendary spending sprees.

Scotty’s Castle did not belong to Scotty; the name & the stories about the Castle in Death Valley Nat’l Park are long, adventurous & unbelievable tales. Albert Johnson, a very wealthy insurance executive, originally from Ohio & relocated to Chicago, began camping in the Grapevine Canyon in the early 1900’s with Walter “Scotty” Scott. The perennial springs in the Canyon in the desert made it a green oasis in a rocky landscape. Scotty was a very successful con man who claimed to have more than one gold mine none of which could be found because they didn’t exist. But he did manage to con Johnson and others who gave him thousands of dollars; even when Mr. Johnson knew he was being taken, he continued his friendship with Scotty who brought adventure and excitement into his life. Johnson fell in love with Death Valley and began acquiring land in Grapevine where he built his Death Valley Ranch during the 1920’s & 30’s. Due to Scotty’s bragging that he was building the estate with earnings from his gold mine, it became renowned as “Scotty’s Castle.” The house, annex, outbuildings & grounds grew into what some consider the second most lavish private estate of the era in the West after Hearst’s San Simeon.

We toured just about every building we were allowed. I was especially intrigued with the early 1920’s water powered electrical system & huge bank of rechargeable batteries. Mr. Johnson had an engineering degree from Cornell & used that knowledge on many ingenious ideas to bring creature comforts into the desert Castle. As a last hurrah, we climbed the hill where Scotty, the super con man, was buried overlooking the Castle that Johnson, his talents & millions constructed.

About (5) miles south of the castle, on state road 267, a wolf slowed us to a crawl as he sauntered down the middle of the hwy. Slowly, darkness robbed us of our return viewing of the Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek & whatever else we missed in our motoring back to Pahrump & our home on wheels.

Dinner: Leftover taco chicken and leftover Himalaya Curry.

Evening DRV movie with popcorn: “Spielberg on Spielberg.” Himself, telling of how he got started in the movie industry & expounding on the various movies he has made & directed with many behind the scenes features.

This was a casual, wonderful & adventurous day for us. We might consider doing more touring in our spare time.

Lights out: 11:52pm

Awake: 6:47am Temp 30 sleep 7+14 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

I read the latest AARP magazine. Then we watch some more of the Republican Debate from yesterday.
Mid afternoon, I reorganize one of my basement storage bins & by accident, find the FCC Amateur Radio papers that I’ve been looking for. Then go on-line & continue the registration process for renewal; only to find out my (2) yr extension has expired & now I’ll need to find a volunteer exam coordinator to give me a waver; dang!

Late afternoon, we watch some of the Democratic Debate.

Dinner: Power Burger (hamburger with caramelized onions & provolone cheese melted on top & a mixed salad.

DVR movie: “Narrow Margin” with Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White & Queenie Leonard. Hard-boiled cop, transporting a gangster’s widow against his will to the trial in which she’ll testify, must dodge hit men aboard their train who are trying to silence her. One of the best B’s ever made….fast paced, well acted, impressively shot in claustrophobic setting. 1952. You don’t want to miss this one.

High temp=50 Lights out: 12:01am

Awake: 6:25am Temp 34 sleep 6+21 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

K & I put the final touches on our medical plan & envelope, so today they will be sent out.
Kathy drives the Suzuki & spends over (3) hrs casually perusing some stores & restocking our refrigerator & freezer & other things this afternoon. Meanwhile, I finish reading the Escapee’s Magazine, the AARP Bulletin & work a few crossword puzzles.

Dinner: Turkey/chicken meatballs & eggplant, spinach, veggie Nepal Himalaya Curry. The curry was made from one of the packets we received from Eriko’s family at Christmas & which Eriko translated for Kathy. It was very tasty but a bit spicy.

Later we both watch the “O’Reilly Factor” & some of the Republican Debate & comments afterward @ the Reagan Library in CA.

DVR movie: “Get Carter” with Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, Britt Ekland, John Osborne, Tony Beckley, etc. Brutal crime drama about a cheerless hit man who goes to Newcastle to investigate his brother’s death. Caine perfectly embodies his amoral character & the film’s violence still packs a wallop. 1970. A little too much blood, killing & violence for us seniors.
High temp=48 Lights out: 11:33pm

Awake: 6:09am Temp 31 sleep 6+00 sunny overnight @ Pahrump, NV.

Today we take more action on our medical plans: forms filled out for electronic funds transfer; check writing & paying in advance for (3) months & later this evening, copies made of our contract with AARP & medical card as proof of our membership.

A Sprint agent calls: finally I am able to control my on-line account with Sprint.

Melissa calls @ 5:09pm. K & Melissa talk for (30) min. The Footes are hanging in there.

Dinner: Kathy’s homemade Chili with noodles & Triscuits.

After dinner, we drive over to the Nugget Casino & take our (3) free turns pushing buttons on a chance of wining Megabucks. I won $10.00 & quickly cashed in & spent the loot on grocery shopping @ Smith’s.

Katrina calls @ 8:44pm while driving back to her condo. She is delighted to have received the package containing a gym bag and clothes that she left at the Foots at Christmas.

DRV movie: “Kitty Foyle” with Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan, James Craig, Eduardo Ciannelli, etc. A tearjerker story about the troubled love life of an attractive secretary; Rogers won an Oscar for her performance. 1940. A serious problem where the In-Laws of elite status could not accept their son’s choice of a spouse, who was neither college educated nor of wealthy parents.
High temp=52 Lights out: 12:04am


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