Saturday, April 18, 2009

Harvey House - Barstow, CA - Saturday 4/18/2009

The former Casa del Desierto hotel, which housed a Harvey House restaurant back in the day, faces the railroad tracks in Barstow, CA. Harvey Houses were restaurants and sometimes motels, along the Santa Fe passenger rail lines.

The Judy Garland movie Harvey Girls (1946) was probably the first time I ever heard of a Harvey House. It was a great place for young women to work in the late 1800s. I'm pretty sure the song "The Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe" was in this movie, and I grew up singing it.

Hydra waits in the shade.

The plaque.

Arsty photo taken near the entrance to the rail museum.

Inside the Western America Rail Museum, there are samples of the dishes that were used in the Harvey House. Lovely California poppy pattern. Boy, if I ever see some of this in a shop, I will be tempted to snap it up.

Front end of a Model T Ford at the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, which is also housed inside the old hotel. We had a great chat with a couple of the volunteers here, one of whom is a terrific photographer named Steve Diffenbacher. The other--K.J. Diffenbacher--wrote up the very interesting guide "Things to Do Within 100 Miles of Barstow."

How the towns along the rail line got their names. (Yes, Mom, I still like Just So Stories!)

The old and new photographs in this museum were my favorite parts.

The mat Hydra bought at the museum (for $5.98!!) outside our travel trailer door.

Saturday night and we're ready to relax. Dodger keeps me company on the front porch. Later, D & J will stop by for more conversation. They just got back from northern Indiana!
Our neighbors have a nice little fire going. I always forget to bring wood! (Next time!)

Someone's Been Playing - Saturday 4/18/2009

This nifty little kitchen set was on display across the aisle from bins of plastic animals at the Target in Victorville.

Somebody knows how to play!

I dunno, I just thought it was cute. This is probably how I would have played with something like this. I used to tell the story of the Brementown Musicians with the animals that went with our creche (nativity scene).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Random Camping - Friday 4/17/2009

Okay, even I had to really think to figure out what this was a picture of, other than the bug-splattered windshield of the Tahoe. Ah, it's Mojave Narrows campground as we approached on Friday afternoon.

I worked at home on Friday and Hydra had the day off. We packed up and got on the road in record time (12 minutes to hook up the trailer, which is amazing) and then the drive to Victorville only takes about an hour. We set up the trailer, made the flock comfortable and met friends for dinner at Di Napoli's Firehouse Pizza. Ooh, good Italian food and even better conversation.

Then off to a hoot being held near by. Sang some songs and enjoyed some fun performances. (I fell back on Teenager in Love because people can sing along with it, and it is precisely in my range.)

And this time we had the combination to the lock on the campground gate, so we didn't have to maneuver around the puncture strip on the exit lane when we got back after hours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exotic Chocolate - Thursday 4/16/2009

Pretty little handcrafted chocolates from the new shop down the street from where I work. Sadly, I can't recommend Amber Chocolatiers.

Weens and I bought two pieces each on the way back from a coworker's birthday lunch. At just about $7.00 for the four pieces, we really would have liked to have been able to tell the difference between the pomegranate and the passion fruit.

Pictured above, the Aztez and the... I think it was Jasmine. Aztec is chili/apricot, which was okay. The Jasmine had a kind of gritty mouth feel and not much of a distinctive flavor.

The owner seemed very nice, so if you're in the area and stop by, please try the shop and let me know why I'm wrong.

I am amazed that anyone got a loan to open a high-end business like this in a neighborhood like this, which is nice but most of the foot traffic is office workers from the Disney Channel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tenderloin! - Wednesday 4/15/2009

Sent to me by a friend who is visiting the home state!

This and an update about my 30th high school reunion arrived in the mail on the same day. Pushed me right over the edge. Made reservations to go all Hoosier in June!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post Easter Apocalypse - Tuesday 4/14/2009

Peaches had two too many chocolate bunnies in the house after Easter, so she brought them in to meet their fate at the hands of a bunch of women who have been really working way too hard for the past six months.

Jens deals with the bunny.


We stage a scene from a classic movie! Do you know which one?

Maybe these added effects will help...?

This one may be a little harder to get without the theme music.

Dum-dum. Dum-dum. Dum-dum dum-dum dum-dum!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Songs from the South - Monday 4/13/2009

I received this lovely book, which I am reading like a book of poems, from my lovely cousin, Bells, with the following note (reprinted with her permission, in case you ever want to send me anything...I'll check before I quote you) :

"Ben Conley, the original owner of this book, grew through a hardscrabble childhood into a Methodist minister and later psychologist, therapist and author. But most of all he was an eternal hippie in the best sense of the word. He met everyone fully expecting that he would love them. He was environmentally conscious and into natural health long before those concepts were well received. He tore out the pristine lawn of his river house and created a wild jungle of a garden with secret rooms and constant surprises. He gathered rocks he loved and formed meandering paths. He looked a bit like Warren Beatty at his peak and had that same quiet sexiness. He adored, and was adored by his wife, my friend. He died last November as he would have wished. He just lay down in his garden and was gone. So take these songs and sing a round to Ben."

Am I not a lucky person, to have such individuals in my family? And they wonder where I get my writing's in the blood, I tell you.

More About Food? - Friday 4/10/2009

Yeah, I'm still fixated on the stuff. This is what I had for breakfast today. I figure that cheese is better on bread than butter because at least I'm getting a little protein. Plus, this Irish Blarney (white cheddar) cheese we get in blocks at Costco-which you pay more for at Trader Joe's and a lot more for in the specialty cheese section of your local grocery store--is delicious.

And these grape tomatoes from the farmer's market are outta this world.

See? See?

The vintage Pyrex refrigerator set is not just lounging around in the cupboard eating grapes. It's actually working for it's keep.

Made a double batch of that evil artichoke Parmesan dip to take along for part of the appetizers we bring for our family's Easter Saturday dinner.

These? Well, I am 98.99 % sure that these will make more sense when they're laid out on a nice plate.

They're the result of Hydra and I both tossing celery into the shopping basket, and they actually taste very good.

Into the celery I have stuffed a mixture of cream cheese, bleu cheese, walnuts, and garlic. I wouldn't have added the chopped parsley if I didn't have to transport everything two hours south of here. (The parsley will keep them from sticking together.)

And here's your grand finale! The UFO-like hovering pineapple/pecan upside down cake!

Why hovering? Because the sun's going down and it's blue in the back yard, that's why!

Are we in retro heaven yet?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Sick Day Outside - Sunday 4/12/2009

Well, it could be worse.

It could be raining.

I woke up feeling lousy again today. The Never-Ending Bronchitis, plus the long day yesterday. Hydra was also seriously under the weather on Saturday, too, but there was celebrating to be done that involved, food, chocolate and assembling jigsaw puzzles and we weren't about to miss it.

We had a great time, but about 40 minutes into our two-hour drive home, we had a call letting us know that I'd left my antibiotics prescription there.

Oh no. We'd left the house at 7:15 a.m. and didn't get home until a little after 9 p.m.

Anyway, this is the view from the little swinging bench we put between the house and the slope that leads to the open hillside. We call this the back of the house. We also call the back yard the back of the house.

We have no sides.

This is taken from my reclined position. Very good advice from Hydra to get outside to continue my convalescence. It lifts the spirits.

He busied himself cutting the lawn and cleaning up the shrubs and stuff while I hung out with the lady bugs in the vinca. I've never seen as many flying lady bugs as I did today. I wasn't even sure what they were at first.

Giant (overexposed) California poppy in the back yard. He's not really threatening it, just showing how big it is.

How is it that California poppies are so fragile that you can't pick them and bring them inside, and yet they have the strength to fold up at night to protect themselves?

I really love this about poppies. Poppies have good boundaries.

If you've gotten this far, here's a reward. Or a punishment. It depends on how much you like amateur poetry.

Still writing a poem a day for the month of April. Here's today's :

From Where I Lie

Mint and vinca mingling on the slope
The old table, decaying
The shed waiting for paint
The tilled soil waiting for herbs
The grape vine sprouting
The tip of my shoe resting
on the far end of the sheltered bench
The book
The water glass, sweating
The cedar, the willow,
the apricot, peach and plum showing promise
The lady bugs defying gravity,
orange asterisks on the breeze
The geranium sprouting from the nest
of last year’s bloom
The round brown bird of unknown origin
who nevertheless enjoys
a good reputation in our back yard
for bug consumption and dancing
The man who told me, rightly,
to rest outside.