Thursday, September 15, 2016

On the road finally

We are finally on the road again but as usual internet access is a sometimes thing.  Not to mention the time to write posts!  I admire those who manage daily posts while traveling but I'll certainly never be one of them.

Anyway, it took us something like 32 hours of travel before we got to our first hotel.  It was a very nice place in Naples, Italy.  Makes a change from Naples, Florida anyway.  Now we are slowly winding up our travels and soon I'll be blogging away happily from home.  Lots of photos to share; more than a couple stories; and even a little 'wisdom' to offer.

I'll be back soon.  Take care.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Still here....

These are quiet times so in being quiet I'm just going with the flow.  I looked at my last post and I was whining about the dust.  Well, I'm not the only one!  The Las Vegas Review Journal is as well.  Their weather system is sometimes different from ours but this time it's pretty similiar.  This was taken this morning about 06:00 when we were setting out on our walk.
Pretty, yes, but the air quality does leave something to be desired. 

We were in Las Vegas yesterday.  It's amazing the things you can decide you need.  We went into a store looking for a new cheese grater.  Well, $85 later we got out of the store.  We needed all that stuff I guess.  One thing that I think is pretty cool is an outlet that will recharge phones, tablets, etc.  My wife especially is a great one for reading in bed and her electronics are always running out of juice so she has to get up and wander around to get them charged.  Now she can just hook up one device and go play on the other for a while.  I know lamps are coming out with such things but we like our bedside lamps.  Why replace something you like?

We had lunch at Chipotle Mexican Grill.  I don't know if they have some new competition in town or if all the bad publicity about E. coli, etc. is scaring people away but business at that particular restaurant was really slow.  In the past we've eaten there and have had trouble finding a place to sit.  Not this time.  This time there were only two or three other tables with diners.  I certainly hope they can fix whatever ails them because we really do like the food. 

My wife found a ham on sale last week.  I'm sure you know the old line defining eternity as the length of time it takes two people to eat a ham.  Well, it's coming close:  ham and eggs; ham sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, ham stuffed peppers, ham and bean soup, ham ham ham.  I'm not really complaining because we both really like ham but it is certainly something to remember!  Just to break things up I bbq'd a chicken the other night.  Throw some asparagus and a couple ears of corn on the barbie as well and you have a lovely meal with minimal clean up.  Hmmm, I must be hungry!

Speaking of my wife, she went to the optomotrist recently complaining her glasses were no longer right.  $550 later and in a couple weeks, she'll have new glasses.  She likes the progressive lens style and needs something to reduce glare and something to reduce scratching and.... Well, you get the idea.  By the time all the bits and pieces are added in, it's getting pretty close to expensive.

As you can see if you've made it this far, it's quiet around here.  I'll shut up now.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Interesting stuff

Well, not all that interesting!  Mostly we've been thanking the air conditioner for keeping us cool!  It is either 9 or 10 days in a row of over 110F (43C).  Not all that much fun outside!  There is something in the paper practically every day about some idiot leaving either a kid or a dog in their car while shopping.  Jeez!  And they vote!

I did get up to Amargosa Valley for another deal with the Nevada Test Site's citizen's board.  It is kind of remote up there. 
They are probably the first who would get radioactivity in their groundwater from the tests done back in the day.  The Department of Energy does a lot of testing and there is next to no chance anything will ever leave government owned land.  The test site is nearly surrounded by the Nevada Test and Training Range which is run by the U.S. Air Force.  It gives any groundwater a heck of a long way to travel before it reaches land that is used by the public much less owned by individuals.  Plus the water is moving only about a foot a year!  We were up there to help people understand that there is no real danger.  Happily most folks already are on board and know they won't be turning green anytime soon.

One of the things we have a lot of around here is dirt.  Overnight the wind really picked up and, though you can't really smell it, the air is full of dust.  Here's a photo I took on our walk this morning - that's the sun not the moon!
That was taken about 06:30.  Sunrise was about 05:45 so it's not like the sun was on the horizon.  This time of year we walk as soon as we get up.  Even at that hour the sun feels hot but not today.  Even now at 4 pm I can't see the mountain though it is clearer.  

This week has been 'donation' week.  First we made our monthly trip to the supermarket for food for the VFW Food Bank.  The guy working there says they help feed 35-40 families every week and another 5-7 individuals - and they are only open 4 hours a week!  Two hours on Wednesday and two hours on Friday is all they can do.  In the winter when the snowbirds are down here they have more donations so are open two more hours on Monday.  Today was the day for school supplies.  There are lots of kids whose parents can't afford to buy them all the stuff they need for school.  So our local electricity co-op runs a drive every fall to help.  Every year we ask the volunteers if they are short of something special.  Last year it was backpacks, this year it was antibacterial wipes.  Who knows?  But it gives us a starting point and we can go from there.

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print.  Thanks for stopping by.  Take care.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I'm back!!! And dull!!!!

Ok, it's a Wednesday in the dessert.  110F = 43+C  Brought the garbage pail in and got the paper.  Exciting, huh?

Well, actually the paper did have something kind of cool.  These two kids are trying to make the world a better place!  And, no, they don't require the assistance of the world's largest asshole, Donald Trump.  They are just trying to get some local folks to take the first step to All Lives Matter.  My wife and I are planning to be there.  It took me a long time to find this quote:  "Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."  Thank you, John Stuart Mill. 

Our country, the good old U.S. of A., seems to be under the misaprehension that it is AFU.  Well, no.  Not only no but HELL NO!  Actually this place seems rather like heaven on earth without the assistance of either of the Presidential candidates.  (How the hell did we get in this position?)

Ok, lots of places get things working better.  Health care in many countries is more affordable.  Until recently I would have said race relations were better in Europe than here; now I'm not so sure.  Education is clearly more valued in many countries.  It is a f*cking crime but it's true.  I've actually lived in Florida and Nevada and each has an education system that is pathetic to put it mildly.  Criminal does come to mind!  Then there is the gun issue.  Sorry, I want my guns.  But, clearly we need to do SOMETHING.  Nice, France showed us that guns aren't the be-all and end-all of any problem but in this country they sure as hell are part of it. 

You know, if you want to make a life here, it's not that tough.  My wife, with a high school education, retired as a second level manager in the phone company.  Our kids, both of whom declined college, are each making nice livings in sales, nursing and IT.  Really if you look beyond working at McD's life can be pretty good.  Our favorite Mexican restaurant is run by a family from Durango - as in Mexico.  In the eight years we've been here they have gone from a small place off the highway to a much larger place on the highway (which is obviously a big deal) and another place in a small 'community' that is in a business area.  This is in the middle of another 'Depression' if you listen to the idiots.  All you have to do is try and this country will work really well for you.

I'm off to a meeting of the NSSAB - Nevada Security Site Advisory Board.  All that Area 51 crap is the center of a MUCH larger area where A-bombs were tested back in the day.  It's about 50 miles from the nearest person but people are worried that something is going to be in their water.  The government has this stupid board to help spread the word:  it ain't happening.  But the people who are afraid aren't going to listen so WTF.  Let's just tell them to put their heads under their wings and drop off to sleep.  Grrr!

Gotta go.  Have a good one and thanks for dropping it!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Busy busy - for me anyway!

We are just back from a quick trip up to Washington state.  The occasion was a memorial for my wife's late step-father who passed away last February.  It was his birthday and the family just got together to say a couple things.  It was quite touching at times.  At other times it was kind of painful.  Life goes on I guess.

We flew up on Thursday and came home on Sunday; not exactly a long visit but we had things to do.  We haven't been doing much flying lately and it was a pretty good experience.  We flew Alaska Airways where we've always had pretty good treatment and this was no exception.  The flight attendant managed to drop something out of an overhead onto me so decided she needed to buy me a drink to make up for it.  I've got to figure out how to make that happen more often!  The landing back here in Vegas was the smoothest I've ever felt.  It was so amazing I had to compliment the pilot.  Vegas is surrounded by mountains and often is kind of gusty but this time you literally couldn't tell when you actually touched down.

I did visit the surgeon who did my discectomy on a followup last monday and got official permission to go do things.  Good thing because we were just back from Washington!  Still, it's good to know he thinks I'll live.  Unfortunately I'm still an old crock so all my aches and pains won't be going away.  As they say though at least I'm on the right side of the grass.

We got home and now have a painter in fixing a couple cracks in the ceiling.  One especially is being a bit of a challenge.  The topsoil around here is pretty flimsy stuff so the builder will dig a hole 3 or 4 feet deep and fill it with compacted gravel trying to start the foundation on something stable.  Of course, stuff happens and a few cracks happen.  (There are homes in the valley that were not built on a gravel base and are in the process of collapse.)  Anyway, these cracks were in the living room and my wife wanted them fixed and she was sure she didn't want an amateur job.  From all the work, I'm thinking that was a great idea!  The guy had to take out a section of drywall about 3 inches by 30 inches; replace it and then resurface it.  He says part of the problem is that the builder didn't install the drywall in same direction as the joists.  I never knew it mattered but what do I know.  He is doing lots of fooling around to get it looking good.  My wife and I will get to take care of the ones in the spare bedroom but those are much smaller and won't require the drywall work.

We got home in time to find our cactus in bloom.  Well, one bloom.

You can probably imagine why we have always considered the cactus to be male.
And a very proud boy he is!

So that's most of the news from around here.  Hopefully I'll get back to nothing to say soon.  All this activity is quite tiring.  Thanks for stopping by though.  Have a good one.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy 4th USA

Happy Monday to the rest of you.  I've got to admit that I'm grumpy again.  First, and mostly, look at the Presidential race.  Then check out Brexit.  Ok, granted that I'm an old white guy and things have been going pretty well for guys like me HOWEVER things are getting AFU in a hurry and it won't be just for guys like me.  I mean I think there is at least some argument that both of the 'presumptive' candidates for president should be looking at jail time.  And, if things weren't interesting enough, "Great Britain" is flopping around like a harpooned whale trying to turn itself into one of the least important nations in the world rather than the reasonably respected leader it has been for like 300 years.  Frosting on my cake is the news that Texas actually has citizens who would like to secede from the union.  I mean I don't like driving the 900 miles through Texas listening to my wife bitch every inch of the way about how ugly it all is but having to pack my passport would just make it that much more special. 

I mean, WTF!  Bah, humbug.  I need to write about the weather.  It's for my blood pressure.  Really.  Of course, being July in Nevada, it's hot.  We've been over 100F (38C) for like the last three weeks or so.  Happily someone invented air conditioning some time ago and ours works pretty reliably.  Actually just good insulation helps a lot.  Our garage seldom gets over 85F (30C) which isn't that bad.  One good thing is that some car dealer in Vegas donates $100 to charity for every day over 100F so at least someone is gaining.

When we lived in the Netherlands we enjoyed the public service commercials around New Years telling people to be careful with fireworks.  Well, yesterday I saw the US version.  I certainly hope it reaches a kid or two or maybe even an adult!  Some guy who is playing in the NFL (US football) was showing off his right hand.  He's got a stub of a thumb and is missing at least one finger from a fireworks accident.  Do people learn?  Oh shit, they vote too!

We try to walk every morning.  Yesterday morning we were on our usual walk and some guy comes out of his yard apparently doing the same thing.  Only he was wearing a gun on his belt.  Ok, I'm a gun owner.  My wife and I had concealed carry permits for maybe 20 years.  Did we every actually carry a weapon, hell no!  But we liked exercising our right to do so.  But really?  It's like 06:00 and in our 2+ mile walk we seldom see more than one car and maybe two people.  It is neither some dangerous inner city or the wild, wild west.  And this asshole is carrying his gun?  Did I mention I was grumpy?  Granted there are dogs along our route who bark at us but in 8 years I think we've only seen one dog that wasn't fenced in.  We've seen more coyotes.

Anyway, Happy 4th of July USA.  I'm know we'll live through all this crap but I'd really like it to be a good experience rather than that other kind.  Have a good one and thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Time!

We've got summer time here in all it's glory; even technically now that the solstice is past.  Our Las Vegas weathercasters are talking between 108F (42C) and 113F (45C) for the next 7 days; tonight they are talking a low of 93F (34C).  This is a bit warm even for here!  Still, this is the time for it.

One of the changes we make based on the season is when we walk.  In the winter, mid-afternoon sounds good but these days, the earlier the better.  This a.m. we were out before sunrise.  Walking is the exercise we are best at for sure.  It's been a staple since we moved here in 2008.  Of course there have been pauses; like after my surgery.  We started walking again about a week after I had my surgery.  Then we were doing the short walk which is about a mile (1.6km).  Now we have worked ourselves up to the 'long walk' which is a bit over 2.25 miles(3.6km).  At first the short walk had me resting for an hour or so but now we are pretty much back to normal.  Also last Friday was three weeks since the surgery and the day my doctor anointed as the day I could start driving again.  Wow, was that a relief!  My wife is actually a very good driver and she enjoys driving but laying back in that passenger seat is pretty unusual for me.  I've been susceptible to motion sickness for as long as I can remember so riding with others is something I really avoid.  Making it to Las Vegas for the followup appointment with my doctor is the farthest I've ridden with anyone else for quite some time.  Back on 2004 my knee went out while we were on a trailer trip to the midwest.  My wife got to drive something like 1,400 miles (2,250km) that time! 

We have noticed that this summer seems to be a year for rabbits.  Believe me when I say I know nothing about rabbit populations but here in the valley the population seems to run in cycles.  This is a lots-o-rabbits year.  I think they come around every three or four years but don't really know.  Year before last we could take our walk and see maybe two rabbits; this year we are seeing twenty or thirty plus a few jack rabbits.  I keep telling myself that it's just the year for them.  Maybe later in the summer we'll start seeing coyotes and then the year-of-the-rabbit will come to a rapid end.  What we haven't seen is quail.  No idea why but I don't believe we've seen one all year.

Anyway, that's a summer morning around here.  The other good news is that we are up for the sunrise on the mountains. 
Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one!