Sunday, June 29, 2008

Popcorn in the Microwave

Both Terry and I love popcorn, but it can be pretty messy to make.

Then we discovered microwave popcorn.

At first it seemed like a miracle. Easy and not too messy, if somewhat expensive. As the novelty wore off, I found myself getting really disgusted by the taste and feel that microwave popcorn left in my mouth. About six months ago, I started reading all kinds of things about how something in microwave popcorn was possibly really bad for you. So it was back to the stove top method.

Then I started reading about making your own popcorn in the microwave. This, of course led to a bit of experimentation, but now I think I have it figured out.

The first step is to get some regular old brown lunch bags. I got one hundred of them for about a penny apiece at the supermarket. When making popcorn, make sure to open the bag completely so it stands up nice and stable.

Next, take one quarter of a cup of plain old cheap popcorn, use your favorite brand. Put it in a small bowl and drizzle just a few drops of oil, olive, vegetable, whatever. Mix it well so that all the kernels are coated. Then put the popcorn in the bag and if you like, add a bit of salt.

Now fold the bag closed three times, creasing the fold each time. Then rip the folds a couple of times and fold them over, so they hold the bag shut. The purpose is to seal the bag, but make it loose enough to let the steam escape just a bit while leaving room for the kernels to expand.

Now all you have to do is put it in the microwave and cook it up. This may take a bit of experimentation on your part, but for the microwave in my rig, one minute thirty five seconds is just about perfect This still leaves a few unpopped kernels in the bottom, but I get about ninety percent with this timing. Experiment with your microwave to get the perfect time.

Just remember to be kind of careful when you open the bag, it's going to be pretty hot.

Then you can dress it up in any way you like. I like a bit of butter and a couple of shakes of this which I found at Costco. Or some Parmesan cheese. Or some chili powder.

What do you like on your popcorn? I'm always looking for new tastes.

Leave a comment or email me with suggestions. Is anybody here? Sometimes I think I'm writing to myself, which kind of makes me wonder why I'm blogging instead of just keeping a journal!

Anyhow, I just thought I'd post my favorite popcorn recipe.

It's one of the many things that make Life so Good.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Strange Day

Today has been a strange one.

The weather's been funky lately, HOT (like 106) one day then overcast and rainy the next. I believe the monsoons have arrived.

Today, after a 100 degree morning, the sky suddenly turned gray and was pierced by lightning every 20 minutes or so. Then came torrential rain, complete with streams running in front of the rig. While the rain let up after a while the skies haven't cleared up all afternoon.

But you know what?

I kind of like it.

During the week, we have most of the camp ground to ourselves; however since the park is usually full on the weekend, we've gotten in the habit of staying in. Today was no exception, and it's days like this that make me realize how very lucky we are to have Cholula Red.

And are we ever happy to have all the comforts. Air conditioning for when its hot, heat for when its cool, a stove, an oven, a refrigerator, a television, DVD player and a microwave. And a roof over our heads, unlike the many tenters here at the park. Sometimes we read, or play on the computer, and often we get involved in movies and DVDs. I just love having a whole television series to watch at one time. It gives you a chance to really get into the characters with none of those messy commercial interruptions.

We're currently involved in the television series Bones, which we both are enjoying immensely. Longtime readers know we're huge Joss Whedon fans, which means we are also fans of Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alyson Hannigan and the whole group that Joss Whedon utilizes over and over again.

So when we started watching Bones, it was because we liked David Boreanaz. Now we have become big fans of this series. A bit grisly at times, but great character interaction and development. I like it!

So while the other residents of the campground huddle in their tents, cold and complaining, we're snug as bugs in a rug.

And for that I'm truly thankful.

Life is Good.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Opening Up to Those possibilites

It's weird how our lives go.

We've always found that if we keep our minds and options open, new possibilities seem to magically appear.

Over the years, this has led us into down varied and interesting business and recreational roads. These includes Disney collecting, writing for fun and profit, a framing studio, a book selling business, a four year eBay enterprise, blogging, motor homing and, well, you get the idea. Adventures are everywhere!

And now we're feeling a new call. Well, not really new, but we seem to keep running into Route 66.

I've known it all my life and traveled it extensively when I was a child. We used to visit my Grandmother in West Virginia from California most every summer and I have wonderful memories of the Mother Road.

Now that we have spent time in New Mexico, Route 66 seems to be everywhere. It permeates the mythology of this fascinating state.

Since we've been in Santa Rosa, it's all the more evident. Our recent trip to Tucumcari convinced us that we needed to follow this new adventure, so as of next Tuesday, we're off to Tucumcari.

I've been doing some research. I know that we want to visit the Tucumcari Museum, take a long look and lots of photos of the remaining neon signs, visit the Blue Swallow Motel and the newly renovated Safari Inn. We'll also look at the TeePee Curio Shop and hope to explore the surrounding area.

Anyone have any suggestions for places we might miss in the area?

If so, please let us know, we're open to suggestions.

And because I like bunnies, I'll include a photo of this little fellow, who we found drinking from our nearby pond.

Life is Good.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rainbows and Birds & Lazy Daze, Oh My!

Not a whole lot has been going on lately so thought I'd post a few shots from around the camp.

We have a lot of birds, but the rosy finches are certainly the most numerous. As the summer progresses, their color just seems to intensify.

Make sure to click on any photo to see a larger version.

It seems we're into a monsoon season here, with warm days, then almost every afternoon, we get rain. And when it rains, the sun is still shining, resulting in lots of rainbows,

This one was taken through our back windows, which are tinted, so the photo is pretty dark. Still if you enlarge it you can see the bight sunlight on the tops of the trees.

And often, after a rain, the light is a pale yellow. It makes the whole world look like there's a sepia lens over the sun. This photo of a double rainbow was taken on just such an afternoon.

Over on the Lazy Daze board (where I spend Way Too Much Time) we've been discussing cutting boards and freezer storage so I'm posting these next two photos for the folks over there.

This is a picture of my new cutting board that fits perfectly in the sink.

And here's a shot of the door of my freezer. I use a piece of craft mesh in the short freezer door compartment so I can fit a bit more ice in a baggy in the compartment. Not very elegant, but it works!

Okay, enough of the insides of my motorhome for now, let's go back outside.

I'll close today with a few shots of the sunsets.

We've just about decided that when we leave here, we're going to go spend some time in Tucumcari. We want to explore some of the Route 66 lore and Tucumcari seems the perfect place to start.

I have no idea what the sunsets will be like there, so I thought I'd post them while we're still here in Santa Rosa.

The skies amaze me every day.

Life is Good

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mesalands Dinosaur Museum-Zowie!!

Just a note before I start this. There are thirty seven pictures in this blog entry. Believe me, I cut them down as much as I could, and many of them are not as clear or sharp as I would like (I did NOT have my tripod). That said, this museum had so much to offer, I wanted to share it with my readers. As always remember that you can click on any photo for a larger version.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, we recently spent a day in Tucumcari, New Mexico. While there, we had a wonderful time and have definite plans to return, since there was so much to see.

But the highlight of the day was certainly the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, WOW!

I won't add comments to every one of these pictures, as I think they pretty much speak for themselves.

I really liked the entrance.

This museum is exceptional, in that in addition to showing fossils, it's also an art museum. There are paintings

And bas reliefs

And resin casts, some from fossils and some original art.

But the real draw here are the bronzes. This museum is associated with Mesalands Community College, which not only specializes in geology and paleontology, but also has its' own foundry.

This rare combination of studies and facilities allows them to exhibit their finds in bronze. While on paper this sounds a bit odd, the results are stunning.

They have included this display case that details the entire casting process.

The displays include skulls cast in bronze,

And whole dinosaurs,

This bronze skeleton is at least eight feet long

And here's a forefather of the modern bison.

I thought it was great that they let you look right into their labs. They also have a buzzer, just like at the meat counter, where you can talk to the folks in the lab.

They're quite happy to answer any questions you might have.

I've never seen anything like this one and I neglected to get its' name.

The next few pictures are of a huge diorama. While the dinosaurs are bronze, in this case, they made the choice to colorize them so they blend in better with the diorama.

And here are some close ups of the diorama

For some reason, this picture came out looking like a painting. Guess I went a little heavy on the Photoshop!

Another bronze skeleton

Here's a cast of a footprint, which Terry stumbled into!

When these little ones saw him, they couldn't wait to jump in.

I took their picture and promised their Dad I'd post it here.

This is a bronze casting of a leg bone. I surely wouldn't want to meet this total beast!

These are vertebrae! They come from a Seismosaurus, better known as an Earth Shaker! If these are the vertebrae, can you imagine the whole thing? They were some one hundred and ten feet long.

I loved this skull casting, kind of looks like it's smiling!

And here's my favorite. This is a full size Torvosaurus skeleton, rendered in bronze. This baby stands some forty feet long

And these guys were fast! Thought to be closely related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, it's believed that they chased down their prey

Can you imagine two tons of this fellow chasing you down?

One more shot of the Torvosaurus.

A full sized replica of a Triceratops head, rendered in bronze.

And here's a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, also in bronze.

I loved this piece. In a former life, we collected figures cast and sculpted in various materials. I have so much appreciation for the talent and skill that it takes to master this art form, this Museum was such a treat.

It also seemed that whoever curates this Museum has such an eye for art and display.

Isn't this skeleton of a raptor displayed next to a painting of the same a wonderful display?

If you enlarge this, you can see some of the detail that is put into this work.

Here they have a display of two sabre tooth tigers in a duel. This one is up on the ceiling.

And this one is on the floor. This whole display is probably thirty feet long, rendered in full scale.

Is this one amazing place or what?

I really can't say enough good things about the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum. We have hopes of going again and taking the tripod so we can get better shots.

Also, if I can get to a spot with high speed internet, I'll be posting a Quicktime Movie of these shots, so keep an eye out for this. If you have a love of sculpting, dinosaurs or bronzes, don't miss the chance to visit this museum. It's worth going out of your way to visit.

And while this last picture has nothing to do with the Dinosaur Museum or even Tucumcari, it's what we saw when we were on our way back to the rig. It was at a gas station where the local kids are trying to fund raise for a trip to Walt Disney World.

I just thought the Mickey was hilarious. We gave them some money any way because we know they'll have a great trip. Maybe if they get to go to WDW, they can see what Mickey really looks like!

Boy is our life good.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

George Carlin

I'm sure that everyone now knows of the passing of George Carlin.

I've been debating on writing about this, since I seem to be doing a lot of obits lately. But hey, I guess that when you reach my age, people that mean a lot to you pass more frequently.

Sad but true.

So I loved George Carlin and have very little to add.

But thought I would reproduce one of my favorite pieces.

“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends.

I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death!

What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way.

Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement.

You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school.

You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.

George Carlin

So while it's a nice idea, it's not the reality, but a good reminder that we should enjoy what we have while we have it.

Because Life is Good.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Get Your Kicks . . .

Ah, Route 66, the Mother Road.

It winds through the United States like a broken chain, coming and going. In some places it survives and in others is just a wisp of a memory.

And while many areas of the US lay claim to its' name, here in north eastern New Mexico, it is very much alive. Not as it was in its' heyday, but certainly not dead and gone.

Santa Rosa lays claim to the name, with signage and memorabilia, but really, it kind of feels like an effort, with Route 66 having been eclipsed by Interstate 40. But about fifteen miles east, you can take off at Cuervo and drive on the real authentic, two lane blacktop Route 66.

Now, I ask you why should there be any difference between a four lane divided highway and a small two lane road that rides directly beside it ?

For one thing, you'll have the road almost completely to yourself. No semis, no screaming fast cars whizzing by, so you're automatically more comfortable.

Then, there's the view. Since it usually rides a bit lower than the newer supposedly snazzier highway, if you look off to the side, you get an unobstructed view of the incredible New Mexico landscape, no guardrails, no huge sloping shoulders, just open vistas and blue skies.

I like it! There's just something about it that has a kind of magic. I have to admit that whenever we drive it I feel transported.

While it is quite special, it's also kind of sad. Passing through these towns that once thrived on this national highway and now sit crumbling into dust.

Still, I find an austere beauty in these old villages.

And remembrances of days gone by.

We try to drive as far as we can, but eventually the road joins up with I40 and we head on in to Tucumcari.

And boy, these folks know how to celebrate the Mother Road!

This monument stands on the outskirts of Tucumcari, proudly commemorating Route 66. There are also murals all over the community, brightening up the neighborhood.

These newer murals are interspersed with memories of the glory days of Route 66

I love the La Cita Sombrero

And the Tee Pee Curios front door takes you right back in time.

If you're in the area, I recommend that you spend a bit of time in Tucumcari and take a little drive on what is left of the real Route 66.

My next blog will give some details another unknown treasure (at least it was unknown to us), the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum in Tucumcari.

What fun we're having . . . Life is Good.