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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Dining In & Out With My Mother

Aloha Everyone,

During our stay with my Mother, J.J. and I enjoy planning interesting dishes. Here are but a few selections including lobster tails, grilled pork ribs, Japanese style bento lunches and my specialty, fresh green salad.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bigwound, the Survivor Rabbit

Aloha Everyone,

I will call him Bigwound. Borrowing from two of the main characters of Richard Adam’s 1972 classic novel, Watership Down: Bigwig and General Woundwort. The story is an adventure tale of rabbits’ courage, friendships, battles and survival. This book was one of our two sons’ favorites when they were in pre-school.

I first noticed this not so attractive rabbit nearly a year ago, I dismissed it as an anomaly. After all, he popped out of a rain-water drainage, glared at me, then disappeared. But this time, the big, scarred covered rabbit was around on my morning walk in my Mother’s neighborhood. Curious, I paid more than cursory attention. I thought of Watership Down and tried to see if I could correlate one or more characters from the story to this one.  

Was Bigwound still part of a warren? Or was he forced out? His scars seem to indicate numerous past battles. Is he a winner or a loser? Does he have a permanent home? Is he a refugee living in the rainwater drain? What happens when it rains hard?

Bigwound seems cunning. He is definitely a survivor. He glared at me but showed no inclination to move. Instead, he is always stuffing himself. So here he is Bigwound photographed over 4 different mornings. I actually missed his gruff presence the last couple of days of our stay.

On our next visit to my Mother’s home, I plan to have a few carrots for Bigwound.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, February 21, 2019

My Own Credit Card

Aloha Everyone,

I alway had my own credit cards. During my working years, I had two cards: one for business and the other for my personal use.

When J.J. and I retired in 2014, we decide since the two of us will be together most of the time, we should reduce and combine our cards. A big mistake.

It all began last November in the Philippines when Terttu, one of my dearest friends, asked me if I have my own credit card. My response was yes. Terttu wanted to know if it was my OWN credit card or was it issued with J.J. as the primary card holder.

I decided to apply for one in my name. It’s challenging when we own no home, have no mortgages or monthly payments and no liabilities. Credit card companies reward those who have debt. Our practice of being debt free is frowned upon.

I am pleased to say that my new credit card arrived while we were in Mexico.  

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

To Torrance, CA

Aloha Everyone,

A bright and sunny morning with a cheerful songbird is a glorious way to start a day. I even squeezed in a quick 1 1/2 mile walk before we began our drive to Torrance.

One of the benefits of steady rain is that dormant wildflower seeds are germinating. The forecast is another "super bloom," a spectacular display of wildflowers in California. J.J. and I have to schedule a return during the bloom at Anza-Borrego desert. The experience of viewing miles upon miles of brilliant color helps to revitalize our spirit.

As more people relocate seeking for less crowded cities, communities are being built. Progress and changes are a part of life and inevitable. However, whenever I see open fields and hills bulldozed to make new communities, I
have mixed feelings. Personally, I love to see better planning that would still preserve the beauty of natural surroundings.

Chinese New Year was February 5 and it was the start of the Year of the Pig. Today the event has become very commercialized and being celebrated globally. Entrances to the Pechanga Resort & Casino were all decked with red lanterns and golden colored pigs, the lucky colors for Chinese.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Temecula Wine Country

Aloha Everyone,

Temecula has a rich history that can be divided into multiple chapters. To summarize it in a single paragraph, the city had Native American origin, a period with Spanish missionaries, followed by cowboys and ranchers. The advent of stage coaches and railroads helped this once sleepy town to grow.  Development of planned communities, cultivation of vineyards began less than 50 years ago. Today, Temecula has become a popular tourist destination in Southern California.

Jim and Kay are wonderful friends and guides. With their intimate knowledge of the area, the four of us toured Temecula’s wine country.

The Gambling Cowboy in the Old Town Temecula was our lunch stop. They also showed us the ongoing dredging of a canal. It is easy enough to visualize how this town will further reinvent itself when the canal becomes a reality. One can eventually enjoy water sports and water frontage dining.

Jim remembered to make a stop at the Temecula City Hall so that I can take a souvenir photo. As mentioned to Kay and Jim, because of their friendship, Temecula has become a very special place for us.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, February 18, 2019

Quiet Presidents’ Day

Aloha Everyone,

Pechanga RV Resort has 210 individual sites on their map. When we checked in on Thursday, the place was fully booked. Today, after enjoying the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, perhaps only 30% are remaining. In fact Row D where Honu is assigned, all except for our next door neighbor have left. With children gone to return to school tomorrow, it turned out to be a quiet Presidents’ Day.

The two of us went to a nearby shopping center. To use our time efficiently, J.J. went to Von’s for groceries while I went to Target to resupply household goods. Finding parking stalls that are long enough to accommodate Honu is a challenge — especially in California.

Marie Calendar as our lunch choices was heavily influenced by their tandem parking. My veggie tacos with fresh fruits were superb. J.J.’s quiche seemed unusual but he liked the potato soup.

Stopped to load diesel and J.J. also asked for propane which is used primarily for cooking in Honu. The last time we loaded propane was 2 years ago at KOA San Antonio, Texas. Today J.J. asked for 8 gallons and paid $30. 

Our plan on calling for a free shuttle to check out the Pechanga Casino was aborted by a sudden downpour and drop in temperature. Tomorrow is expected to be sunny with the early morning temperature at 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Exercising Before the Rain

Aloha Everyone,

Temecula’s average temperature in February is 68 degrees high and 42 degrees low.  

The weather forecast for today was that it will start raining at 1:00 pm. Taking the weather into a consideration, the two of us finished two loads of laundry before noon.  There are many families enjoying camping over the long Presidents weekend. It is endearing to watch children approach each other and within a short period, new friendships are forged.   

I was nearing the 6 miles mark when heavy droplets started to cloud my sunglasses.

Rainy days are a perfect opportunity to catch up with my reading, work on my drawings and continue with my Spanish practice. So far I am satisfied with the Duolingo and the Google Translate apps. By setting aside between 30-60 minutes a day, I am able to maintain what I already know of Spanish and achieve a little progress.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Getting Together With Kay & Jim

Aloha Everyone,

Temecula is approximately 58 miles north of downtown San Diego. J.J. and I have seen the highway signs to Temecula numerous times but this is the first time we actually exited.

Our first destination with Jim & Kay was the Saturday Farmers’ Market in the Old Town.  

Pauline, originally from England, is a photographer who sells her art as metal prints. The 11” x 14” size for $69 and a smaller size for $34 were well-priced. We especially admired some of her landscapes photographed in and near Temecula Valley.

Taste of Argentina, Nora’s Empanada Factory was a perfect place to buy snacks. I also purchased 5 different specialty nuts of Nature’s Harvest Brand.

Cafe Champagne at Thornton Winery located at the start of the Temecula Valley Wine Country was our lunch venue. Perched on a higher ground, we enjoyed the ambiance of wine country. Jim and Kay being a member of Thornton Winery, we were treated to a sampler of 5 chocolate wines. They are all flavorful with distinctive individual bouquet. My favorite was “The Kiss of Mint”.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, February 15, 2019

Pechanga Resort and Casino & RV Resort

Aloha Everyone,

The Pechanga Resort and Casino looks like a city. It is also the largest employer in Temecula Valley with about 4,100 employees.

The RV Resort is located in a adjacent property and there is 24-hours free shuttle to ferry people staying at the RV Park to the casino.

This morning the sun came out and I was able to do my 5 miles walk within the RV Resort.  

J.J. and I also ventured out to check the Old Town of Temecula which is the city’s downtown district promoted as one of the prime tourist destinations. Driving Honu on Friday, at the start of the Presidents Day Weekend was not a good idea. There was absolutely no street parking big enough to accommodate Honu. Nor did we see any private paid parking lots. A collection of historic 1890s buildings including the iconic City Hall are definitely worth another attempt to visit. Several photos I took do not justify in presenting interesting antique stores, hotels, and restaurants.

Aloha -- Cathi