Wednesday, March 07, 2018

I'm doing well - 1 post a month!

Hi there.  I hate to admit it but I have exactly no excuse for not blogging this year.  We've mostly been home, haven't been sick or anything, don't have a new job.  Nothing.  I guess the best I can come up with is that I'm just lazy.  And that is certainly not a new condition for me! 

January and February were really pretty nice around here; we even flirted with 70F (21C) on the odd day.  I feel for all those folks in the midwest and east where they are having such a lousy winter.  It was so nice that all the weeds started growing in our yard and I had to go after them with the Roundup.  Our daughter and her new boyfriend (40ish) have been out from Vegas a couple times.  He can't get over how quiet it is out here.  We were doing pretty good taking our daily walk but then we got a cold spell with consistant 15 mph (24 kph) breezes and that keeps us off the walk. 

No one has been doing any building in the valley for several years.  I remember 3 or 4 years back where there were 17 new construction permits issued all year for the entire county.  Now people are building again and entire neighborhoods are under construction.  There have been three new houses built in our vicinity and now someone is building one right in our neighborhood.  We walk past it every day.  Hopefully they will be able to sell it.  One new problem is that the state is requiring that the purchaser of a piece of land buy 'water rights'.  Up until now it was possible to just buy a piece of land and dig a well on it.  Now you have to pay the state quite a lot of money (I've read somewhere about $10,000) to dig that well.  Needless to say there is quite a backlash from the "Don't Tread on Me" crowd and I must say the state has been rather heavy-handed about the whole thing.  The problem is that people build places out here then pretend they are living in Georgia and think they can have trees and grass and flowers just like people who live in rainy climes.  We just don't have unlimited water.

We did take a trip down to visit parts of Southern California.  We visited Joshua Tree National Monument where we got in a little hiking.  We went down to San Diego, of course, to see Number One Son & his girlfriend of 23 years.  And on the way home we stopped in Palm Springs for a couple of days.  That was kind of interesting.  There is so much 'history of the stars' sort of thing.  I guess it would be appealing to some folks but the town is changing a lot so I'm not sure where it is going now. 

A few photos:  we'll start with hiking in Joshua Tree.  Turns out we didn't take a single photo of a Joshua Tree!  But there were plenty of boulders!

Farther on there was a cholla walk.  This was a short trail through an area where there are an abnormal concentration of cholla cactus.  Some were nearly 10 feet tall!
Driving down those backroads in California is a totally different experience from the freeways of LA.  You didn't meet many cars and the speed limit was mostly 55 mph (88kph).  We also saw several signs warning that there were no services for 80-100 miles (125-160 km). 

Next we spent time in the foothills northeast of San Diego where our son lives.  There are several wineries in the area and we visited one that had a huge sculpture garden:  the Salerno Winery.

It was quite nice and totally free.  We were somewhat put off by the fact they seemed to want to serve food rather than wine tasting so toured the garden and left.  I cannot say anything at all about their wine.  (That's a first!)

Coming back through Palm Springs was interesting.  Of course the first thing we wanted to check out was the Tramway up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park.  There are two cars on the opposite ends of a line so when one goes up the other goes down.  They move people through the place pretty efficiently and you get a timed ticket.  Ours were for 13:00.  Here's the view from the waiting area.  I didn't get a photo of it but one of the cars came down with two maintenance workers hitching a ride on top!  Clearly it's the easiest and cheapest way to get folks up there but you've gotta like heights.
The cars are round and they rotate so you get to see lots.  Once you get to the top they mostly want to sell you food or beverages.  My wife and I split a $15 beer - a large beer and good but $15? 

From the top of the tramway you can actually go hike in the state park but most of us just ohh and ahh and head back inside.  Especially when it was 16F (-9C) and spitting snow.  The view of the city is pretty spectacular.  What I found more interesting was the HUGE wind farm.  The photo shows possibly a third of it; it was massive.  While waiting to go down you can see some of the mechanical parts that make the tram go up and down.  Coming down you can see the sights again.  I spent more time looking at the actual tramway.  Here is a car that we are helping pull up by the weight of our car.
There is a recorded story while in the tram that talks about how the thing was built by having everything brought up via helicopter.  You can see one of the landing stages that is probably still in use for maintenance work.  There are a few trails as well. 
 So that was our visit to the Palm Springs Tramway. 

The other big deal that we checked out was the  Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.  The zoo is divided into two parts:  Africa and North America.  The animal exhibits were nice.  They put compatible species together in the same area quite often.
Some of the exhibits were totally child oriented but most were for children of all ages.  (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)  There was a lot of information about various desert plants as well which we, as desert residents, appreciated.  I could see where it might get kind of boring for someone from Ohio.  One thing that they don't talk a lot about is the model train exhibit.  They claim it is the largest G-size exhibit in the world.  It was spectacular.  This photo is about a huge canyon.  It made up 15-20% of the total area of the exhibit. 

That concludes our travel for the year.  So far.  By car.  Travelling by car is kind of different for us and it's got it's own challenges.  Motels can be weird.  Finding meals likewise.  Neither of us is ready to give up on the RV but this is a new interest.  We'll see what happens.

We got home and Pahrump had it's annual Balloon Fest.  It is a three day weekend thing that usually works well.  This year, unfortunately, the balloons were only in the air on the Saturday as Friday and Sunday were both too windy. 

I guess that's all the news that's fit to print from around here.  Thanks for stoping by.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

OMG - nothing?

Jeez, I'm worried that the President has died.  I mean he hasn't Tweeted anything stupid in at least 24 hours.  He must be gone.

Yeah, I wish.  But I sure don't care for the sound of President Pence either.

However, it is a beautiful sunny morning in southern Nevada.  24F when I got up with no breeze and certainly no clouds.  Aside from the usual creaks and groans from my body I'm feeling good so I really ought to be pretty happy.  My wife and I are in the process of planning our next three trips; a bit of a stretch even for us.  The first is pretty simple though:  visiting our son in San Diego.

This time we'll leave the trailer at home and try the motel route.  We are planning to abandon the Interstate highway system as well.  We'll find backroads down to the Joshua Tree National Park and 29 Palms and spend a day or two there.  Then on down to San Diego for a short visit then back up the back roads home.  I-15 and I-5 are just kind of ordinary even if they are quicker.  What the H, we are old retired farts with plenty of time!

The second trip is a cruise so that just takes money not planning.  The final trip is a return visit to England and Northern Ireland which we just didn't have time for when we visited Ireland.  Those will be documented when we finally get there.  Trust me, it won't be next week.

I am proud of being a veteran of the US Army and have been a member of the American Legion since at least the 1980's.  Last week I attended my first American Legion Post meeting.  Yep, after 30 years, I decided to visit the local post.  I'm a real 'joiner' aren't I?  Well, anyway, it was darned dull.  I'm not sure why but, jeez.  First of all, I'm going to be 70 on my next birthday and I was feeling young in that crowd.  Not to mention fit.   So here are 15 old white guys, sounds like the beginning of a bar joke but that's the situation, most wearing Legion hats and the Chaplin wearing a uniform....  Well, it goes downhill from there.  I won't bore you.  I'll probably try to go again if only to bring some youthful enthusiasm to the place. 

I'll quit rambling on now.  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Another day; another stupid remark

So it wasn't yesterday but Mr. Trump certainly managed once again to make a fool of himself.  This time he's explaining how he doesn't want immigrants from 'sh*thole' countries.  What a delightful fellow he must be in real life.  I read somewhere that people shouldn't just read things they agree with but should read other viewpoints.  One of the suggestions was that liberals should check out conservative, but responsible, news outlets like the National Review.  Well, I haven't heard of the National Review since Mr. Buckley was the editor but I thought it worth a try.  So what was the lead article this morning?  "Donald Trump the Porn President." 

To quote from the article.  "Stung by Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, Trump held an open negotiation on immigration with congressional leaders in order to showcase his executive mettle — and then went on to provide a slow day’s worth of headlines when he voiced his contempt for tropical “s**tholes” and their would-be emigrants.

Scatapalooza was a fun news cycle, but it immediately was surpassed by pornapalooza."
Read more at:
'Pornapalooza' was their name for the claims that Mr. Trump paid a porn star $130,000 to keep quiet about him having an affair with her.  It was really rather fun reading their take on the Pres.  They point out that he's never been shy about  public affairs and has actually bragged about them; even in his own book.  The article goes on to discuss con artists and, while they don't actually call the President one, the author comes close making it sound almost acceptable.  Well, I guess to some people it is acceptable but not to me.  I would much prefer a President who could at least sometimes sound like the leader of the free world.  For that matter, I would prefer a President, unlike Mr. Clinton, could keep it in his pants much less brag about it.  Mr. Obama keeps looking better and better.

In happier news, we have had rain!  The last time it rained was September 12 when we got .01 inch. has just over an inch of rain in Mercury, Nevada on the 8th and 9th - the closest station that they have to Pahrump.  Since our annual average is about 5 inches; we're doing good!  To make it even better, there was no flooding.  Yep, sometimes we get flooding.  The rain comes down off the mountain and picks up some dirt and rocks that it deposits mostly on roads!  Actually, we are required by our lender to have flood insurance on our house.  Unusual I would have thought for a home in the desert.  

Ok, I'm going to quit whining.  2018 is upon us so I may as well learn to like it.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Good God!

Really?  What the hell are these people thinking?  I can think of several terms for them but none are sufficiently rude.  'Responsible' and 'adult' are certainly not among them.  Full points to the parent who complained to the league. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Thoughts about the new year

I've read recently that October 20 was 'Information Overload Day'.  I find that an interesting idea.  I've read that the average person is spending over 2 hours a day on their smartphone in 70 sessions.  People find they cannot ignore a call or even a text message.  Why not?  It certainly isn't because every call, much less every text, is all that important.  I suppose it is because that attention from others makes us feel important.  And who doesn't want to feel important?  I certainly don't know the answer and I certainly WILL be answering calls from my wife(!) but there must be some middle ground.  Thoughts can be shy, fleeting things and losing them because of a text about a football game is a poor choice indeed.

2018 is going to be another 'interesting' year.  Financial markets are up, a lot.  Crypto-currencies are likewise up except when they are down.  Then there is the elephant in the room.  We have a President in this country who seems to lack the filter between his brain and his mouth that tiny children are easily taught.  He is certainly old enough to have some of the various age-related diseases both mental and physical that we hear touted.  And who, in their right mind, would declare themselves to be "a stable genius"?  Not to mention the many, many times he has made a statement then a few weeks later deny he'd said it?  Who thought the number of people at his inauguration were record breaking?  No one but him!  I've had experience with older people and their faulty memories.  It's not a condemnation, it's just what it is.  We may need to remove him.

Personally, it looks like a fairly good year assuming the President doesn't start a war or Congress doesn't triple the income tax.  We have an early trip planned down to Southern California but that's only for a few days.  Then there is a trip to Europe which, at the moment, is somewhat free-form.  We have been promising ourselves a dog after that but are having lots of second thoughts.  Many of the dogs in our local kennel are pit bulls; we could certainly manage one but traveling with it might scare a lot of campground hosts.  Then again leaving Fido in a kennel for several weeks at a time doesn't seem like something one would do to one's best friend!  Perhaps we'll do more trailer travel in the fall (with or without dog) but we certainly haven't planned that far ahead. 

Right now we are reveling in the first rain in something like 115 days.  And, for the first time this season, there is snow on the mountain. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one! 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

For once my wife and I actually saw the new year in - awake!  We weren't even particularly drunk.  Went outside to see if our town had any fireworks and they did but it was pretty chilly so we decided to go back inside to watch the ones from Las Vegas on the tv.  Still, I imagine I was in bed by 00:10.  It was a long day but pretty good.

Our little town has been blessed with a French bakery.  They make a really nice flute (short baguette) and some amazing desserts.  We had some of each for our celebratory dinner.  I wish them luck staying in business in this little place.  It cannot be easy.

My thoughts for 2018 are definitely mixed.  I'm hearing uncomfortable things about the economy.  I detest the idiot we have for President.  Discussions about war against North Korea are frightening to say the least.  Everyday violence seems to be an every day thing and not just in this country.  Maybe I'm paying too much attention to the news.

In contrast to my fears related in the previous paragraph  my hopes are quite different.  I'd like to wish everyone peace, joy and prosperity.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

OMG another month!

Well, obviously this old guy is living life in the fast lane.  LOL  Maybe not!  Actually it's pretty quiet around here.  Just doing our usual computer fun; reading; going out for lunch and shopping.  Not much. 

This week was kind of different.  Monday was filled with shopping.  First the grocery store for the VFW Food Bank then Walmart for Toys for Tots.  Yeah, we probably could have done it earlier but this was the time we managed it.  Trying to get my wife into Walmart is a job in itself.  We were there one time 3 or 4 years ago and some old dirtbag sneezed on her; she caught a cold and hasn't wanted to go back since! 

Shopping for the vets was actually 'laugh of the week'.  We were checking out and I was using a debit card that I don't usually use.  I used the wrong PIN and immediately realized what I had done and said something about it.  My wife immediately said (fondly) "You old codger!"  The woman checking us out about fell on the floor laughing!  She said something like "You are just like my husband!"  Hmmm, should I be insulted?  I'm not sure.  

Tuesday was doing some cleaning around the house - I mean stuff that we don't ordinarily do.  Wednesday we washed both the car and the truck.  It doesn't sound like much but, hell, we have to get the ladder out to clean the truck!  My wife spent at least an hour cleaning bugs off the front of both vehicles.  Nasty.  Maybe we should do it more than once a year? 

Yesterday was one of those pleasure and pain days.  Wifie went for a spa day with our daughter in Vegas.  The daughter just got passed over for a job she wanted so there was some healing needed.  Hopefully it made her feel better.  I wandered around shopping for a few trivial things (mostly wine) before meeting them for a late lunch.  See how tough the week as been?  Yeah, boring!

We did seind out a few Christmas cards.  Yep, actual physical cards.  Of course it is mostly to older relatives but I do have a couple friends who are almost my age so they get them as well.  You can never tell about these 'old codgers'.  Anyway, we wanted to do a photo of us next to our tree.  I had to skip over this one where I am too close to fondling myself!
The tree is actually  old enough to vote!  We bought it in the Netherlands 19 years ago.  The tree skirt is something my wife's sister made even earlier.  The ornaments are all over the place.  Some are things the kids made when they were little; some are from my wife's mother; a few we bought.  Funny how the whole tree is full of memories. 

Merry Christmas to all.  Let's hope for a wonderful and peaceful 2018.  Thanks for stopping by.