Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alfred at Last!

The waiter came over to get our drink orders at this cozy restaurant in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.  Munchkinhead ordered a pomegranate margarita and showed him her Wisconsin ID.  Alfred ordered a margarita and showed him her Iowa ID.  I kind of wanted to order something just to show my California ID, but the restaurant had milk.

Munchkinhead and I had met up with Alfred in the morning when she arrived in Flagstaff.  We were so happy to see her!  She had arrived much earlier than originally anticipated (she had spent the past few days driving down from Iowa), so that meant we had time for some fun before she had to meet with her new supervisors.

prairie girls in kitchen cropped First stop, the Prairie Museum.  It’s in an old indigent hospital and covers the history of Flagstaff.  We saw an old iron lung, lots of saddle stuff, and some other old stuff.  And we found the kid’s room.  Hee hee.  We built Lincoln Log structures, played school, dressed up like pioneer girls, served dinner and had a gun fight.


gun fight at the flagstaff museum After the Prairie Museum, we all headed to Alfred’s new home at the Museum of Northern Arizona.  While she met with her people and was shown around her new home, Munchkinhead and I explored the museum.  It’s a fairly small museum, most of the exhibits are about Indians, though there is some geology and dinosaur stuff.  Alfred is going to be helping the museum catalogue its new plant and bug finds.

wendy cutting cake cropped When we finished with the museum proper, Alfred showed us to her new home.  It used to be a chicken coop, but you can hardly tell. It’s a nice dorm-like room in a long building.  Her room is closest to the kitchen and bathroom buildings.   We helped her unload her car into her new room and then shared the cake we had brought for her to celebrate her new job and new home.

Then we set out for our next adventure of the day.  There’s a 10-mile gravel road in the area called Schultz Pass Road.  It goes between the San Francisco peaks.  We really wanted to go on this road, but alas, it was closed because it was still covered in snow.  So, we took a few pictures with some of the signs and decided to go see a National Monument north of town instead.

pretty feet cropped and shrunk

The drive to the monument was very beautiful, with lots of neat mountain scenery.  The monument was probably beautiful too, but we didn’t see it because we didn’t feel like paying for entry to the park.  We headed back down the long road linking the park to the highway.  Then, there it was, directly in front of us, the other end of Schultz Pass Road, and it was open!

cloud of dust shrunkWe spent the next hour or so exploring gravel roads, taking pictures with signs and kicking up a huge cloud of dust.  Despite the snow on the ground outside, it was too hot in the car to not have the windows down.  Consequently, dust filled the inside of the car, coating the insides of our mouths with the flavor of a  bowling alley.  The outside of the car, once white, became a chalky grey color.  It’ll need a good washing and vacuuming by the time we return to the Yay.

car turning in dust cropped

The remainder of the evening was spent helping Alfred settle in, grocery shopping, unpacking and dinner at that delicious restaurant mentioned above.  We bid Alfred an early goodnight at about 9 and headed back to our hotel to prepare for our sunrise departure and long one-day drive back to the Yay.

Sorry Folks

I hate word verification on websites.  Most of the time, I can’t read the letters or numbers and it takes me several tries to type one verification sequence in correctly. 

However, I have had to turn word verification on for comments on this blog.  I’m just getting far too many spam comments and don’t know any better way to attempt to prevent.

Please don’t let the word verification dissuade you.  Continue to leave comments.  I love reading them. - me

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We Got Our Kicks, and Plenty of Great Pics

me and route 66 signThe second day of our journey took Munchkinhead and me Bakersfield, California, where we stopped the night before, to our destination of Flagstaff, Arizona.  On I-40 and Hwy 58, the drive between Bakersfield and Flagstaff is about 6 hours.  We took 12 hours; we didn’t take I-40 or Hwy 58 much at all.  We took the old Route 66, at least where we could, and National Trails Hwy.

burma shave sign 1 cropped Arizona has maintained Route 66, highlighting it as an historic scenic route.  Although the Route overlaps with I-40 in some places, it is still separate through all the downtowns which Route 66 passed through back when it was the main thoroughfare.    The towns, even if very small, are still there and functioning.  In one area, there’s even a town who’s main street is designed to look like an old western town.  And there are still Burma Shave ads along the side of the road.  I was so excited to get to see real Burma Shave ads!!!

Route 66 in California is a whole ‘nother story.  The road is in bad shape, very rough, lots of burma shave sign 2 croppedcracks and pot holes.  The former towns along the route are now empty shells, disheveled buildings with half-collapsed frames, graffiti covered bricks, piles of old tires and rusting vehicles of yesteryear.  Even though there are frequent ramps leading to and from nearby I-40, there is nothing for miles and miles.

delapitated house on route 66 in cali

The scenery however, was magnificent in both states.  Arizona’s high mountains through which Route 66 winds round and round, up and down, narrow road, sharp turns and the most amazing burma shave sign 3 cropped views looking down into the valleys.  Munchkinhead and I had a lot of fun looking across to roads we could just make out across the great abyss and predicting if we would later be on that road.  We often were.  We stopped at many of the turn-offs to take pictures.

katrina on route 66 in the mountains shrunk

California’s Route was flatter than Arizona’s, with soft hills Munchkinhead called “roly poly hills,” flanked on either side by large mountains in the distance.  In some places,burma shave sign 4 cropped huge, jet black rocks, protruded from the cactus covered ground.  We took  pictures of these so Alfred could tell us what they were and how they got there. 

One really nice thing about Route 66 in California, we were pretty much the only car on the road.  (This was certainly not the case in Arizona.)  Being the only car on the road, we were able to stop whenever we wanted to take pictures, including pictures in the middle of the road.  (see above)

We were also pretty much the only car on National Trails Hwy, a windy, two-lane highway running roughly the same direction as Hwy 58 in California through some large hills/small mountain areas.  It was a very good thing that we were pretty much the only car on the road because Munchkinhead was driving!


me and burma shave shrunk

Adventures with Munchkinhead Part 1

Yesterday, my little Munchkinhead and I set off on a three-day tour.  Me behind the wheel and her as navigating skipper, we set off from El Cerrito down the coast of California.

Highway 1 from San Francisco all the way down to San Louis Obispo.  It was absolutely gorgeous!  The sea was a deep aquamarine with black rocks jutting abruptly from the frothy white waves.  The sky, a perfect light blue with light wispy clouds.  The day was sunny and warm.

me and munchkin on hwy 1

We stopped several times along the roadside to watch the waves crash against the rocks, hike down to beaches covered in glossy pebbles or soft sand, and take pictures.  We laughed as a large wave crashed into the shore, sweeping away our newly made footprints, glad we had moved in time.  “Hey look at this big tubby one!” “or this cute little baby one!” we yelled to each other from above the elephant seals sunbathing on the beach, throwing sand onto their backs with their flippers.

me and munchkin on rock

Lunch was served on a deck along the shores of the Big Sur river.  We both had salads, yummy white people salads that were designed more to be decorative than to be eaten.

After finishing our stretch of Hwy 1, we jogged up a bit of 101 to Hwy 58.  We had no idea of the crazy adventures that awaited us there!  Curvy, narrow roads climbing huge hills, round and round, up, down, left, right, weeeeee. 

Munchkinhead and I are both a bit prone to motion sickness.  Some of those hills, as we went up, up and then crested the hill, our stomachs felt like they were gonig to drop right out of our bodies and be left sitting there at the top of the hill.  Luckily, a good supply of water, fresh air from the windows and the absolutely breathtakingly beautiful scenery kept us together.

Then we saw the sign.  A sign no girl ever wants to see, “Next services 82 miles.”  At least we had a full tank of gas.  (My car gets great gas mileage, amazing really if you consider that it’s a 17 year old boat.)  The countryside was beautiful.  We wound our way up and around high hills, going up over 2000 feet, and then winding our way back down the other side.

Needing that 82 miles to end soon, Munchkinhead found a great little shortcut that cut straight east while our hwy dipped down sound and turned north again in a V-shape.  So we took the shortcut.  Right through Chevron’s oil fields. Neither of us had ever seen so many oil rigs before!  The smell wasn’t great for our already slightly dizzy and nauseous bodies, but it was a neat shortcut.

We finally stopped for the night outside of Bakersfield, ready to continue our journey east in the morning.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cute as a Bucket

There was one thing still missing from my beautiful new bathroom.  A storage place.  You see, my roommate has the left side of the sink, but I had already monopolized the drawer on that side.  And things in that drawer, I wanted to keep on that side.  Clearly, I either needed to keep being an unfair vampire, or I needed to create a new solution.

New Solution: bucket!

 bathroom bucket (1) cropped Isn’t it cute?  Would you believe that in it’s former life this beautiful bathroom bucket was red, plastic Lego bucket?  You wouldn’t!

I have a number of empty Lego buckets lying around.  They’re perfect for lots of things.  So I thought, ‘why not use a Lego bucket instead?’  However, after all that hard work making my bathroom look superb there was no way I was going to just stick a red, plastic bucket in there.  So, I made a cover for it.

It was a bit more work than I expected.  My original plan was just to wrap a big rectangle around the outside.  Problem: Lego buckets aren’t rectangular; they’re sort of trapezoidal with rounded sides and corners.

So I tried a new prototype with stripes.  The center blue stripes and the brown flowered stripes are all regular rectangles.  But the blue corner pieces, they’re trapezoids. 

When I sewed all the strips together, I had a sort of little skirt.  A little skirt that fit snuggly around the bucket.  Then I cut some slits to go around the handles and added a rounded-corner square to the bottom.  From little skirt, to little bag.

The bucket just nestles right into the little bag, perfect fit.  The top edges fold-over into the bucket and are glued to the insides.  The handle cover is also glued on.

The lid was one of the hardest parts.  You see that blue fabric is actually an old blouse of my mother’s that I really loved.  The blouse had too many stains to be worn as a blouse any longer, so I used it for my bucket cover.  After piecing together what was left of the blouse’s large flat parts (as opposed to collars and sleeves), there wasn’t enough to fully do the lid the way I wanted.  So, I added a 2” band of the brown flowered material all the way around.  Like blanket binding.

The lid is wrapped in the very large square (about 3x the lid’s size) and wrapped with string to create a cute little bow/flower looking thing.  It looks much cuter in real life than that picture.  There’s fiber-fill in it to poof it up a bit, make it look cozy and hide the red color that would otherwise be seen through the blue.  (The bucket cover itself is lined).

I’m really pleased with how the bucket turned out.  It’s a great addition to my new bathroom.  :)

three buckets cropped

Monday, March 8, 2010

My New Bathroom

Maybe the desire to overall my bathroom was hereditary.  Over the years that my parents have owned their home, I think they’ve redone every bathroom (and trust me, there’s a lot of bathrooms).  With mustard toilets and avocado sinks, I can’t say I really blame them.

In the beginning, it was simple things, like removing the carpet.  Carpeting is probably the worst thing you could possibly have in a bathroom with a potty-training toddler.  By the end, they were hiring interior decorators and completely redoing the wood work.

I certainly couldn’t get that fancy.  For one, I can’t afford an interior decorator.  Besides, I rent, which means whatever I do has to be easily undone and scars need to be easily repaired.  Sucks, but hey, it opens the door for more creativity ;)

Disguising the Enemy

Somewhere in this blog, at some point, I must have complained about the bathroom here.  Don’t get me wrong, it has some redeeming qualities, like a speckled counter and real tile.  But it also has the one bathroom fixture I hate more than any other in the world: shower doors.

My bathroom growing up had shower doors.  It’s a strange tub, accessible from both sides, a separate bathroom off each exit.  Somehow, I always managed to knock those shower doors off their tracks, get them jammed, knock them out of the tub.  It was bad.  When my parents decided to reglaze the tub from orange to blue, they removed the doors on my side of the tub.  To this day, if I’m home and I want to take a shower, I walk all the way around to the side of the tub without the shower doors.  I hate them that much.

In addition to my inability to use them properly, I detest shower doors for a number of much more logical reasons as well.  They are evil.  (See, very logical reason.)  And like most evil things, they are out to harm you any way they can.  Trying to shave?  Dropped the soap?  Bang!  There’s a pretty fresh purple bruise for you.  Want to get out of the tub?  Sc-raaaa-aape.  Oops, looks like you didn’t quite lift your shin high enough to get over those extra inches the rails add.  Hope your towels go well with blood red.  And the worst when you’re trying to get out.  SMASH!  Why are the rails for shower doors so much lower than curtain rods?! Really, I mean is there any reason I should have to duck just to take a clean myself?  And lastly, quite simply, they are ug-ly.

Seeing as how this is an apartment, I can’t do anything other than duck, be careful, and keep band-aids on hand for most of those problems.  But I could do something about the ugliness.

new shower curtain

Isn’t that fabulous?  It’s a decorative tension rod, no damage to the walls at all.  The branches on the curtain blend through several different shades of blue.  ugly doorsAs you’ll see, it coordinates well with the rest of the decor.  :)   Thank you Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Of course, the ugliness is still behind there, but this adds so much.  As a bonus, it keeps the cold air (from the window in the tub that is designed not to close, aka our ghetto-fan) in the tub instead of the bathroom proper and the hallway.

A Lil’ Color

The bathroom tub, sink, tiles, walls and ceiling are all white.  Nothing wrong with white.  White tile floors are way better than black, orange and yellow shag carpeting like my first my-own-bathroom had.  But, it was just too much white, dreary, no fun.  I fixed that.   Can’t paint?  Enter wall decals!

The tree theme carries over between the wall and the shower curtain.  I blended decals from two companies, Flair4All and Dali’s Decals.  Dali’s allows more customization, but I prefer the ones from Flair4All (reusable and easier to put in place).

wall decal sample

No More Cold Toes

old rug When Mr. Trizzle and I first moved into the apartment, the bathroom included a small bluish-turquoise-ish round bath rug.  With it’s short, prickly texture, it looked like it should be for a dog and it shed like one, too.  But it was a rug, and we were glad it was there. 

new rugsI ditched the old rug, put it in storage to put back when I leave.  I replaced it with two beautiful, light blue, soft, squishy, luxurious rugs.  One for the tub, and one to stand on at the sink so my toes don’t get cold while I brush my teeth.  :)  The blue goes nicely with the blue in the flowers of the Wall decals.

Wrapped in Warmth

Now, what good are warm toes if the rest of you is freezing?  Enter, beautiful, soft towels  Light blue and tan to coordinate with the rugs, wall decals and shower curtain.  They’re embroidered too, with little A’s for goldenrail.  The blue towels have tan A’s and the tan towels have blue ones.  I really wanted towels like my mommy and daddy have at home, superbly soft and fluffy.  But there’s are from Linen’s and Things, which is now gone.  The ones I got turned out to be just as fabulous.  They’re from JC Penny’s.  Same brand as the rugs, that way I could be sure the colors would match when they arrived.

The ducky towel stayed; there are still a number of small ducks around the bathroom, they match the yellow flowers and go with the general bird aspect of the theme.

bath towel hand towel

The Finished Product!

Ta da!  Here it is, the final result.  Because of the size of the bathroom, it’s a bit difficult to get a good overview shot.  Here are the best two pics I could do.

left side

right side

I really like the results.  Stepping onto a soft rug after a warm shower, wrapping myself in a fluffy towel and taking a deep breath of fresh clean air in a room full of happy images and uplifting colors fills me with so much happiness!  The Legend said “I thought it was fine before.”  And Mr. Trizzle said, “there’s a lot of stuff on the walls.”  plhhhh.  guys.


[All pictures on this post are licensed under CC-BY  by goldenrail. ]

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

He’s Back!

In the three years I have known Mr. Trizzle, I have helped him move five times.  And I wasn’t even around every time he moved.  That’s a lot of moving!  Luckily for Mr. Trizzle’s very nice friends, he doesn’t have a lot of stuff.  He also takes people out for breakfast/lunch/dinner when they help him, so it’s a fun time.

This past weekend, The Legend, Berkeley-Boy, B-B’s girl and I helped Mr. Trizzle move back to the Yay.  We were all pretty happy he’s come back.  We’ve missed him!

For those who don’t remember, Mr. Trizzle moved to Merced in November for a new job.  Well, now he’s got another new job.  Sort of.  It’s actually his old job, but this time it’s real, not liable to disappear any day.  He is so happy to be back.

I’m a little sad, in a way.  I liked Merced.  It reminded me of home, at least more than the Yay does.  The houses were still way too big for their lots and only a foot or two away from each other.  But, the streets were wide, with abundant parking.  There was grass all over the place and sidewalks big enough for two people to walk next to each other.  Bumper stickers were friendly; people were friendly.  imageYou could go out and it would just be chill, no pretentions, no guest lists, no cover charges.   And there were seasons.  Cold enough in Winter to actually need an ice scraper.  Hot enough in Summer to wear a sun dress – or so I’m told, Mr. Trizzle wasn’t there for summer.  I think I’m going to miss Merced, probably more than Mr. Trizzle.

But, it is good to have Mr. Trizzle back in the area.  His mom’s happy.  I’m happy.  B-B and The Legend are happy.  But no one, no one’s as happy as Mr. Trizzle himself.