Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Small things

Lots of interesting things going on around town. Last weekend was a big memorabilia auction, with stuff from Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and others. Most things brought ten times the estimated prices, or more. There was one of Michael’s sparkly gloves, an x-ray of Marilyn’s chest, and enough stuff to keep the auction going for three full days.

Our temps have leveled out to our summer normals, high today will be 107f (41c) with nighttime lows of 80f (27c), and sunshine sunshine sunshine. The water temperature in our pool is up to the 93f that we like, so it is very pleasant to float around in the evening and watch the sun set and the bats come out. I guess we are adapted, as last Friday we went to our local Sonic drive in, just a few blocks from our house, rolled the windows down, and enjoyed the sunset and the carhops skating by. Oh, temp, yes, it was 99f and we were enjoying the cool weather as we ate burgers and ice cream shakes.

Nevada continues to add to its first place standings, we are now number one in unemployment rate in addition to being number one in home foreclosures. And new number show we are number one in high school graduation rate, that is number one in number of dropouts, as it seems that less than 42% of students entering high school end up graduating. The next lowest state was New Mexico, with a rate of 55% - big difference. Part of the reason is probably our transient rate (number of students changing schools) which also is number one in the nation, around 40% of students moving between schools each academic year. Iowa, New Jersey and Wisconsin graduation rates are over 80%. This probably relates to having tourism as our major industry, as most jobs in hotels and casinos do not require much education. A new boutique hotel recently opened, and of the 150 advertised positions none of them specified an education level, being maids, cleaners and manual laborers. It must be hard for a student to be motivated if there are few examples of why an education is important.

Our legislature seems to be following along with the lack of education stuff, recent discussions are leading to a new law requiring repair shops, smog stations and oil change locations to check tire pressure when vehicles come in. I know that having properly inflated tires is important, but how many restrictive laws are required to save us from ourselves? Do they have so much time that they can ignore the huge budget shortfalls, high unemployment and schooling rates that they can talk for hours about tire pressure? Reminds me of congressional sessions investigating drug use in athletes while ignoring all our national problems.

Outside our kitchen window the sage is blooming again. In the background are white and red olianders.

Friday, June 25, 2010

E Friday

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics.

Back when they came down to visit a while ago I took some pictures of E just being a four year old. She is five now, so we can look at these and remember when.

It was last August, but for some reason she wanted the window open.

Fortunately she isn’t wearing a thong (yet)

She was acting grown up, wanting to take photos of us taking pictures of her.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First day of summer

How to tell you’ve lived in Vegas long enough: when you look at the weekly weather report: 97,98,101, 103 (40f) and say out loud “oh, 103, that’s not too bad”. Then the smart side kicks in and you think “did I really just say that 103 was not bad?” Then you realize that this is summer in Vegas, and yes, 103 is not that bad.

Friday, June 11, 2010

E Friday, with cake

In following the tradition of Clare we return again to E Friday, where I post photos of my darling granddaughter E, because VG really likes to look at these pics.

When she was down visiting from Portland a while back we decided to make a cake. She picked out what kind she wanted, and the icing, and for both she chose chocolate. She also helped with the making and the icing of it. The mixing and putting into the pan went fairly well.

The icing of it also was rather smooth.

But unfortunately that icing implement seemed to have a mind of its own, and just could not stop slapping her in the face.

When done of course it had to be tested to insure quality.

I think it passed.

Fit for consumption, with milk.

Monday, June 07, 2010


Out in our front yard the two Palo Verde trees we planted are blooming. They present big masses of yellow flowers, and are looking pretty good.

Yesterday we set a record for June 6, and hit 110f (43c), a temperature we usually don’t see until July 1, then we get an additional ten days of over 110f over the next month or so. After a chilly and unusual spring it seems we will be having a warmer than usual summer. But not to worry, a cold front is coming through and Friday we are only expecting a high of 83f (28c). It is sunny, and windy (gusts 25 to 30 mph) and humidity currently at 9%. It still feels hot when you go outside into the sunshine. It was 100 at 10am, so the heat is still here for a while.

Even though the Palo Verde trees are blooming yellow it is starting to turn from yellow season to purple season as it warms up. Our sage bushes are starting to bloom and will soon be big balls of purple.

The purple lantana is also starting to fill up with flowers.

As are the cast bushes around the valley (I think that’s the name for them, no tags left on ours). These are big bushes that can get up to three meters tall and across, ours are only a meter high, but growing.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Cooking with Joe - chicken and BACON

Back to our semi-regular series on what I’m cooking at home, and today we turn to a chicken dish that I recently saw Amber cooking in her ‘Cooking with Amber’ series. (well, actually, it was the first time I ever saw her post anything about cooking). But I was reading her blog and saw the recipe, had the ingredients in my refrigerator and just made it up right then. It came out pretty good, so I figured I would share it with you. And for Dana it has BACON.

This is a very simple main course. Amber used chicken breasts, but we usually have a bag of frozen chicken tenders on hand which I use for a lot of different things. The ingredients used are some boneless chicken breasts (or tenders), bacon strips, feta cheese and spices.

Amber used mozzarella cheese, I had feta and thought it came out pretty good with that. I also have some herbs growing in my garden, some basil and thyme and other stuff, so I just went out and cut some and used those.

First step is to take a big hammer (or plate or heavy pan) and pound the chicken flat. Then lay out a bacon strip, put the flat chicken on top, layer some of the cheese and herbs, salt and pepper. Since I used tenders they come out thin, breasts would probably take two strips of bacon.

Roll them up, and put on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick stuff. Pile on some more cheese and put into a 375f oven for 40 or 45 minutes, the bigger the pieces the longer to cook.

Then on a plate and serve. It looks kind of dull here, but the bacon, cheese and herbs make it tasty.

Quick and easy. Thanks Amber.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Getting warm

Spring is here, it’s nice and sunny (well, we have sun over 350 days a year) and no clouds in the sky. Humidity is down to our normal summer range of under 10%, and tomorrow we will be hitting a string of 100f days, which should last through August.

For those of you not adept at our backwards American measurements, here is the more civilized version.

I have started seeing television ads for the new Twilight movie. As a reminder from us old timers, we can display this again.

Wishing you all happy summer vacations, and enjoy those kids at home.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

End of Spring

Last week I went down to the Strip and had lunch with a friend. On the way we walked over to TI from Fashion Show Mall and I noticed my favorite stripes in the sky, over the semi abandoned condo structure in front of the Venetian. Perhaps someday the tourist hoards will return, and Mr. Adelson will have the funds to continue on with construction there.

And out in front of the Venetian the gondolas were still moving. It’s amusing to look down at the boats and blue water and think how calm things are, then look up at the busy street and all the traffic and walkers and things going on.

Almost summer, and this coming Saturday is the last of the Spring free concerts in the park, temps then are expected to be over 103f, (41c), so it looks like summer is here.