Rudy the repairman

Sometime before noon I had a visit from a neighbour. A tire on his golf cart was very low and he needed to fill in more air so he could drive it to the shop to get it repaired. He knew that John had a compressor and wondered if he could use it to fill up the tire. I plugged in the compressor and let it run for a bit before using it on the tire. It didn’t take long and the tire had 20 lbs of air, good enough to drive the cart. But as I was putting the cap back on the valve I noticed that the valve was the problem — leaking lots of air. But the neighbour thought the tire would make it to the shop alright.

Well, if I’m into ‘fixing’ things, why not try to fix the kitchen faucet which has an annoying drip. I took the tool bag into the kitchen and took the tap apart. I took the cartridge out and hopped onto my bike and headed to ACE hardware. They had a replacement part in stock but encouraged me to first try repairing the cartridge before replacing it. And that’s what I did. And it worked.

I spent much of the afternoon reading. I was going to go out for Chinese food for supper but just before dusk I changed my mind and decided to make dinner instead. So I got back on the bike and cycled back to ACE hardware to return a couple of O-rings that I’d bought to use on the faucet, but now didn’t need. It’s half a block further to the Albertson’s grocery store, so I stopped in there to pick up some shrimp and stuff to make fried rice.

It was completely dark outside by the time I left the grocery store, but there are clearly marked bicycle paths that I could take to get home without a light for my bike. I started supper and turned on the TV — the Republican debate was on, although by now it is really not at all relevant anymore. Dinner was delicious and I had enough leftovers that I can have a nice lunch tomorrow before heading to the airport for a 6pm departure.

I watched the John Batiste documentary on Netflix after supper. Then I wrote my blog while I waited for the start of the Jimmy Kimmel show. And that’s the news from here.

Golf, a burger, and a movie

What a fun day! It started as usual — with a delicious cup of ‘special’ coffee. I worked at my usual morning puzzles and read the latest news. By around eleven I decided to cancel breakfast go directly to lunch. Well, actually lunch is a bit of an exaggeration. But I had a piece of pseudo-bread with ham and cheese and dipped into my little bowl of cherry jello and whipped cream. And then I was off.

I arrived at the Tahquitz Creek golf course in Palm Springs with nearly 30 minutes to spare before my scheduled tee time. I parked the van, squeezed into my golf shoes, and headed to the clubhouse. I had booked the game on GolfNow and so when I gave the guy at the desk my name he looked it up and told me that I was ‘good to go’. I went out the where the starter was lining up golf carts and told him my name and tee time. Oh! Hey, your group just teed off. Do you want to grab a cart and catch up with them? Or, if you prefer, there’s hardly anyone behind you — would you want to golf by yourself? No, I don’t wanna golf by myself. Okay, no problem. I’ll escort you out to your group.

So we drive past the group that’s loosening up on the first tee box and the guy leads me to the three gentleman who I’m supposed to golf with. They’re chipping onto the first green. He announces me and leaves me there. I drop a ball and give it a ride with one of my newly re-gripped wedges. Not a good shot. Again. Phew! I’m on the green, but a mile away from the pin. So now the ‘group’ waits for me to park my cart and come with my putter. Well, putting isn’t my strong suit.

It gets better quickly. I’m golfing with Jim, a doctor from BC, and Bjorn from Norway, and Mark from Oregon. We’re at the second tee — and Mark says to me that the other two started from the yellow ‘forward’ tees, so he was doing the same. Well, okay, I’ll play the game. The fairways on this course are big and wide, with great views of the mountains. No danger of hitting a house here. And after a couple of holes the crew seems to accept me a little better. I guess those initial shots I took gave them a bit of a scare that I was gonna prevent everyone from finishing the round before sundown. But I did NOT hold them back — and played a very good game, not only out-driving them but also out-scoring them. No birdies, but lots of pars and nothing worse than a double. Anyway, it was a fun course to play, and I’ll very likely play it some more before I’m outta here.

By the last couple of holes the sun had hidden behind the mountains and the temperature was quickly coming down from the daytime high of somewhere in the mid-80s. By the time I was leaving the parking lot it was dark. I headed to the nearby airport just to scout out a possible parking spot for my van when I fly home for a few days at the end of this week. Yup, there were lots of cars and lots of parking spots on some of the streets near the airport. I took a quick spin down to the big Honda dealer and pulled into the lot behind the garage. I asked one of the mechanics if they would have a bit of power steering fluid for me — the pump on my van was making some noise when I turned the wheel and I didn’t need a whole quart of fluid. Oh yeah, I’ll bring you some. And he returns with a brand new bottle. I opened it and topped up the fluid reservoir on the van. When I tried to return the bottle the mechanics insisted that I could just keep it. So that was a win for me — I expect I will need to top up again before I eventually make it home with the van.

It was ‘rush hour’ traffic now. I pulled in at the In-N-Out Burger on the way home. Ordered an ‘animal-style’ cheeseburger (you can look it up), fries, and a strawberry milkshake. That’s how I celebrated a good day out on the golf course!

Back at home, I rehydrated and watched a movie — The Fabelmans on HBO. I stayed up until Jimmy Kimmel started at 11:35, and wrote my blog while he did his monologue. I was in bed before 1:00am.


Good book, good walk, good football game, good will hunting

Had a lovely morning, cup of coffee, oatmeal, wordle, reading. I finally left the house at one o’clock. Went out walking. Didn’t have a destination in mind, but I ended up at the Westfield Mall, or whatever it’s called now. The old movie theatre in the mall is gone. Too bad. The seats were worn out and uncomfortable, but they used to play lots of good independent films there and it was fun to go there. The mall still has a JC Penneys and a Macy’s. Also a Dick’s Sporting Goods. And a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Looks like the old food court is getting a do-over. And there are some vacant spots. I wandered around a bit. Looked for golf shorts on sale, even though I have enough golf shorts. I was surprised to see a sign in the bookstore promoting banned books. I guess that’s how they make lemonade out of lemons. My photo missed the sticker on the sign which had a Stephen King quote.

“Hey, kids! It’s your old buddy Steve King telling you that if they ban a book in your school, haul your ass to the nearest bookstore or library ASAP and find out what they don’t want you to read.”

By the time I had meandered back to my place I was hot and sweaty and my feet were killing me. I made myself a cool refreshing drink and stuck my nose back into my kindle. I lost my sense of time and the next time I looked up the house was dark. I got up and turned on a few lights. I went to close the blinds and was surprised to see a gorgeous pink sky. A few of the homes across the way already have Christmas lights up.

Sunset over the Monterrey golf course

I had planned to go out for supper but then I remembered there was a Monday Night Football game on. Besides, it was dark outside and I have lots of leftovers in the fridge. I microwaved the lasagna and settled down to watch the game. Well, the game was between two teams that I actually don’t care about at all — and neither of them have a hope of making it to the finals either. I turned the volume down and went back to my book. But from time to time I would look up and get sucked into watching a bit. And by the 4th quarter I was totally into it. And the game went into overtime and it really was a great football game!

It was 9:00. Too early to call it a night. I flicked through the TV channels and ended up watching an old movie. Good Will Hunting was already in progress. I remember seeing it in the theatre when it first came out in 1997, but I had forgotten most of the story. I very much enjoyed watching it for a second time tonight.

Weekend Update

So this is what I did this weekend:



If that looks like ‘nothing’, it’s pretty much EXACTLY what I did.

Yesterday (Saturday) it was a little cooler than usual here. Instead of going out and working up a sweat on a hike or on the bike, I put on my hoodie and socks and curled up on the couch and read my book. Pretty much ALL day. I have a fridge full of leftovers so I didn’t go out for meals or groceries either.

Today (Sunday) I made a big bacon and eggs breakfast and watched the Sunday morning talk shows until the football games began. I did a big load of laundry. I chatted with Alex on FaceTime for a while. I went out for a decent bike ride in the afternoon. There was a big Ironman race happening here in Indio but unfortunately I didn’t get my registration in on time so someone else won the prize for that. The Sunday Night Football game was a close one so I got quite involved in that.

While the temperatures here this weekend have been in the 60s, it’s supposed to get into the 70s tomorrow and the 80s by midweek. That should be all the incentive I need to get off my butt and DO something.

Rolling Stones and YouTube

Well, now I really am here ‘alone’! I spent the morning reading and catching up on some house-keeping. I visited with Naomi on WhatsApp for a while — she was having a relaxed morning at my house, drinking tea and doing a puzzle. I was still quite into the latest Rolling Stones album, so I read a bunch of reviews and listened to it again. Reading the reviews got me going back to some of their older albums and so that was the playlist here for most of the morning.

I’d replaced an outdoor lamp on the garage here yesterday, but when I saw the light pattern last night I decided it was way too dark and didn’t really light up the walkway from the driveway to the door. So I removed the fixture and took it back to Lowes. I found a lamp that I thought might be better suited for my location and installed it this afternoon. Well, now it looks a little too bright! Maybe I’ll put just have to replace the bulb with a 40-watt one.

I ate the leftovers from yesterday’s supper tonight. I watched the evening news and looked at the TV guide for what’s on tonight. Hmmm… not really anything I’m interested in. I turned of the TV. I checked the AllMusic website to see if there were any new releases I might like. That got me into a rabbit hole that led to YouTube, and after listening to a couple of tunes up comes a 50-minute concert film featuring the late David Crosby doing a 2011 fundraiser for a school in Santa Monica. Well, that was so good I listened to it twice THRICE! Here’s a link, if you’re interested: David Crosby and Venice – Live at Santa Monica High 2011 (And if you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, go to the 28 minute mark and listen to ‘Ohio‘, featuring the school band and choir!)

And that’s my Friday!

November, Good-bye

Slept in until after 7 this morning. It’s an unusually cool morning — the golfers teeing up just outside my patio doors are wearing long pants, jackets, toques and some even have mitts on! I made my morning coffee and sat down in the living room to read all the latest news on my MacBook. I sat there so long I had to hurry up and make my oatmeal so I could have breakfast before lunchtime.

I had two things on my t0-do list today: fix the outdoor lamp on the garage and make supper for my dinner guests, Robert and Arlene. So after breakfast I got to work. I couldn’t figure out why the light wasn’t working — and then I couldn’t figure out what kind of a light it was. It wasn’t a ‘bulb’ lamp; I was a round circuit board with lots of non-functioning LEDs on it. Is this fixable? Replaceable? So I tinkered on it for quite some time before texting John P. to ask what I should do about this. He texts back that the fixture is only 2 years old — and LEDs are supposed to last forever. I took a photo of the circuit board and used the image to have Google figure out what it was — and that led me to Lowe’s. The actual part was no longer available, but I decided to hop into the van and go see what I could find at Lowes. I had removed the fixture from the garage wall and took it along. I was hoping to get a replacement that had a square wall plate that would match (or cover) the square of ‘old paint’ that was left by the original  fixture. Well, there were no outdoor lamps in my price range that were going to nicely cover the old paint — so I picked something that was ‘close’ but not very expensive. And when I got home and connected up the wires and bolted the lamp to the wall, it didn’t look too bad.

After a quick sandwich I got to work on the second chore of the day. I cut up some vegetables and fried up Italian sausage and chicken. Once I had the sauce mixed I set it to simmer for about an hour. Robert and Arlene arrived at four o’clock. We had some drinks and Robert surfed through all my ‘NHL’ channels, looking for the Jets game. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get it on my TV, but Robert was persistent and sure enough, at five o’clock there were the Oilers and the Jets playing on Winnipeg ice.

By six o’clock it was time for dinner. Robert helped cook the (gluten-free) pasta and Arlene put the salad fixings together. Supper was served — and my sauce turned out pretty good. Too bad the game didn’t turn out so good! The Jets played well but the Oilers played weller, tying up the game and then getting a power-play winner in the last minutes of the game. Robert and Arlene had been busy packing the car and the motorhome today. They plan to leave very early tomorrow morning. After a small dish of ice cream for dessert, we said our goodbyes. I’ll see them in early January in Phoenix. Happy trails.

I put the dishes into the dishwasher and sat down to watch the Thursday Night NFL game and write my blog for the day. Hmmm… the only photo I took today was of the defective LED light — and that’s even less interesting than this whole blog entry, so I’ll go ‘sans-photo’ today.

Golfing with ‘superstars’

Another beautiful day. I got to the Big Rock Golf Course at around 10:30. Our tee time was for 10:50. It’s the last golf game of the year for the Robert and Arlene and Rudy team. And with the new grips on my (and one of Robert’s) wedges this should be a good day for golf.

And so it was. For the first time in all our games together, we got to celebrate a birdie (by Robert) with some birdie juice! The greens on this course are the fastest we’ve played, and most of the greens were sloped, if not undulating. And there’s water in play on about 14 of the holes. But the fairways are wide and most greens are not surrounded by huge bunkers.

After we’d finished the front nine, and just before Robert handed out ‘goodie bags’ with lunch (an act of kindness that’s been a highlight for me when golfing with the Dycks), Arlene reminded us that 2 years ago on this day, we played this very course. And on that day she announced that it was the one-year anniversary of her father’s death. So today is again, a day to remember; it’s been three years since Mr Coleman passed away.

By the time we were on hole 15 the light breeze we’d enjoyed for most of the day was picking up a bit. By the time I ‘fluked’ my last putt, hitting it into the cup in a long sweeping arc from just off the 18th green, the wind was blowing pretty good.

We packed our clubs back into our vehicles and headed for the ‘pub’ which is attached to the clubhouse. It was time for a celebratory drink.

The bar is decorated in rock and roll memorabilia, mostly autographed guitars and posters and paintings.

We snacked on nachos and talked about what’s next. Robert and Arlene are heading to Phoenix the day after tomorrow. I’m staying here for another four-and-a-half weeks and then I too will be moving to Phoenix, and we’ll likely pick up where we left off. It’s been a great month spending time with good friends here in Palm Desert. And while I very much look forward to having my kids join me here for the Christmas holidays, I’ll surely miss golfing with Robert and Arlene.

Last round at Eagle Falls for Rudy, Robert, and Arlene

I had to hurry my morning coffee and oatmeal. I drove all the way out to Agua Caliente Casino to fill up my van before heading out to Robert and Arlene’s place. When I got there I parked and, as usual, threw my clubs into the back of their CRV. It’s our last game together at Eagle Falls, our favourite course.

We checked in and drove out to the driving range to hit a few balls before getting called to our tee-off. I took my two ‘new’ used wedges and hit a few balls just to see if I could notice any difference between the two. The seem good although the grips are hard and worn and don’t match my ‘newish’ grips on the rest of my clubs. And then, boom, we’re off.

My game began so well! I was getting the ball onto the greens in regulation. But then I proceeded to 3-putt (or worse) and so the scorecard didn’t look nearly as good as my game ‘felt’ to me. And, eventually, it started to catch up with me. Although the DAY was super — sun shining, warm and bright, no pressure from golfers behind, not a lot of waiting for the group ahead, and, as has become the ‘usual’, a DELICIOUS wrap, with apple slices and baby carrots, courtesy of Robert and Arlene, for lunch at the 10th tee box — okay, really NOTHING to complain about, but jeepers! why does my game eventually fall apart and I end up with a failing report card scorecard! Well, I guess all I can do is try again (tomorrow!).

After the game we head back to the RV park and Robert sends one of his clubs along with me; I want to take 3 of my clubs to the PGA Tour store to have them re-gripped, and I’ll get Robert’s done at the same time.

Before I head home I stop by at the grocery store and do a bit of shopping. A bit? Well, I only had a few, mostly breakfast things, on my list, but once I roll that big grocery cart up and down the aisles, before I know it, I’ve got enough stuff to provision the neighbourhood! When I get home I need to rearrange the fridge just to find parking places for all my new groceries.

Then I bundle 6 clubs onto my bike with a couple of bungee cords and I’m off the PGA store. The guy doing the ‘operations’ says it’ll only be a few minutes and he’ll have them finished. And he does! So that’s great — no time to wander around in the store and end up with a few more golf shirts and shorts!

I cycle back home and start supper. Might as well take that huge tray of chicken breasts, which probably doesn’t fit in my fridge as is anyway (yikes, the Americans love their chickens with Triple D breasts!). So for half an hour I cut and slice and carve those babies until they’re perfectly ‘clean’ and in individual baggies and resting quietly in the freezer. I keep one out and slice it in half and fry it up in lots of butter and some spices. I microwave one last big twice-baked potato, a leftover from a previous dinner, and fill the one empty corner of my plate with a small salad, and voila! dinner is served.

I wash the dishes and clean up the counters and settle into my place on the couch. I wrote this post while the PBS folks were busy spoiling an evening of excellent musical concerts with their monthly ‘pledge drive’.

And that’s all for today. If anything really exciting happens after this, I’ll have to add it to tomorrow’s post, because I’m just gonna upload a few photos from today’s golf game and then close the computer and watch Sting’s concert in Paris. Good night.

A long bike ride — and a lucky find

I did the usual morning things today: woke up early, checked my phone, read my emails. Got up, made coffee. (Added the usual splash of Bailey’s to make it more of a ‘holiday’ drink.) I read the news, SteinbachOnline, CBC, NYTimes, Washington Post. I checked some of the blogs that I follow. Did today’s Wordle, Connections, Letter-Boxed, Mini-Crossword. You know, the IMPORTANT things 😉

I read a bit of my book and ate my oatmeal with raisins and cranberries. Need to get more bananas. Maybe later. Took out the garbage. Swept the patio. Made a bowl of strawberry-flavoured Jello so I have something to snack on while watching Monday Night Football in the evening. Made some more Rice Krispie squares, with a nice thick layer of chocolate on top. Wrote my blog.

After lunch (leftover pizza, what else!) I got on my bike and cycled down to the Big Rock golf course, hoping someone had turned in my favourite golf club which I think I left there last Friday. It took nearly an hour to cycle there, but I was hoping that a positive result would make the cycle home, against a light wind, easy. Nope, sorry, no one had turned in my club. The clubhouse guy tells me “Christmas is coming!” Hmmm… But what if I’ve been not nice. I don’t think Santa will bring a ‘naughty’ boy a new Callaway wedge. Then he suggested I check out the “Roger Dunn Golf Shop” just a mile down the road — they might have a used club for me. Nope again. And the used wedges were not less than $140 US. That sucks! As I was cycling back home it occurred to me that I might stop by that little par 9 course Naomi and I frequented the last few weeks. They have some used clubs. So I made a little detour and Boy! was that ever a good decision. They didn’t have EXACTLY my club, but close! No 58 degree Callaway, but they had a 60 degree. Plus, they had what appeared to be a brand new Cleveland 58 degree, with the original store price tag ($139) on it. I bought both irons for $35.00! What a deal. I bungeed the irons to my bike and cycled home — altogether a 25 mile bike ride.

When I got home I carved my pan of Rice Krispie squares into squares and stashed them in the freezer. I was going to go out for supper, but when I checked the TV guide I noticed that Monday Night Football, with the Vikings playing the Bears at home, was about to start. So I sat down and started to watch the game. Just before halftime I got a text from Ed Peters: could we do a FaceTime call? So that’s what I did through the halftime show and most of the 3rd quarter. I’d no sooner hung up when I had a second call, this one with Ingrid, who was also watching the game. And the FaceTime calls only interrupted what turned out to be a TERRIBLE football game, so I really didn’t miss anything at all.

After the game (and the FaceTime calls) I warmed up the leftover pizza from yesterday and washed it down with some red wine. Then I wrote my blog and watched some crappy TV until around 9:30. I’ll post this now and then do a bit of reading from my ‘new’ book, Rage, by Bob Woodward. Can’t get enough of that very stable genius!


A Day on the Green and Evening Cheers: Golfing Adventures and Pizza Delights

I had such a good time reading my Kindle that although I’d woken up at 5:00 I ended up having no time for breakfast before leaving the house at 8:20. As usual, I was on my way to the Emerald RV park where Robert and Arlene were waiting for me to throw my clubs into their CRV for the ride out to Eagle Falls Golf Course, about 20 minutes east on Hwy 10. We golfed as a threesome. It was cool in the morning but after a couple of holes I took off my sweater. The day turned out beautiful — not too hot, and not at all cold.

It seems as though the three of us are taking turns having good, bad, or mediocre games. Today my game was back on track and I finished with a score of 92. Arlene’s new putter, which has served her very well for the last few games, let her down a bit — and Robert had one of the more frustrating outings. By the time we were back in the CRV and heading for home, it was 2:00 and we were already looking forward to our next game. We have Tuesday and Wednesday booked, and then the Dycks are leaving me and heading for Phoenix. I’ll have one week here alone before I fly home for a long weekend to celebrate Christmas with Naomi and family.

The Dycks once again invited me to join them for supper. We arranged to meet again at their place for happy hour and to watch the Jets’ game at 5:00 and we’d order in pizza for supper. I offered to pick up the pizza on my way over.

I went home and showered. I checked in with Naomi who is hanging out at my place for a couple of weeks. She’s happy to be back home and will be catching up with her kids and playing with her grandkids. But she’s also okay to have some ‘alone time’ after a busy day of socializing and doing childcare, and appreciates the chance to have some quiet time at my house.

Just before 5:00 I headed back out. I stopped in at Billy Q’s to pick up the pizza order that Robert had phoned in for us. When Robert texted me before ordering to ask what kind of pizza I wanted, I had replied that I liked “anything with meat and cheese. Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, ham, and pineapple, whatever…”. Well, it turned out that Robert had ordered me a small pizza with ALL of those toppings! I guess I will need to be a little more specific next time 😉

We ate our pizzas and salads and watched the hockey game, which started off with the Jets outplaying and out-shooting the Predators. But before long the Predators got their game going and turned the tables on the Jets. (Jets lost 3-2)

I said farewell and headed for home after the second period. When I got home I watched the last half of the Sunday Night Football game and FaceTimed with Alex for a while.

I was too tired to stay up late and watch anything interesting on TV, so went to bed at around 10:00. I have a ‘day off’ tomorrow. Maybe I’ll bake a cake.