Monday, March 30, 2009

Quiet day here

My wife promised me biscuits and gravy for breakfast a couple of days ago but things came up & it wasn't until this morning that she was able to make them. We also had the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix race on the video recorder: it was a great combination. We had good food and the only sport that I follow! To crown the event, a real underdog won the race. What's not to like?

The weather here is still pretty windy. Gusts are over 30mph (50kph). Yesterday evening we couldn't see the mountains because of the blowing dust. Today it is fairly clear but not you still can't see the detail on the mountains.

I'm going to make a trip into town anyway; I've promised to do fried rice for dinner. Needless to say, it's nothing that you might get at an asian restaurant. None of my cooking follows a recipe. My fried rice has about 50 times more meat than a restaurant meal and I don't usually put egg in it. No reason, I just leave it out. It is a nice hearty meal the does not require me going out in the blowing dust to bbq!

Have a good one; be careful out there!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rummaging About

The big excitement on Friday was talking with the landscaper. He's going to develop a little plan for us so we have an idea of what we'll get for our $10K. So far it sounds like he'll move some dirt around a bit; add an awful lot of rock in various colors and install gates. Sounds like fun, huh.

Saturday night we went out to eat at the steakhouse located in one of the casinos. Overall, it was ok but I don't think we'll be taking any truly discerning guests there. The presentation of my steak was awful; one appetizer was cold when it should have been hot; the server was nowhere to be seen most of the time. It just wasn't good enough; we may go back sometime but I don't know if we'll even do that.

Part of moving into a new house is the opportunity to go through your things. I'm rummaging around in some of my computer backups finding things I wrote and photos I took. It's kind of fun but it makes me want to travel more especially in Europe. And just now we can't do that. So, here's to the memories!

Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

Antibes, France:

Rome, Italy:

Take care, it's dangerous out there!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quiet Day in the Neighborhood

We had a pretty quiet day today, the big event being taking the dog to the vet for her shots. We went to one of the vets here in the valley and were disappointed to find that he took your animal off to the back of the building to be examined. The owner was not allowed to be present. I've had animals almost continuously since 1979 and I've never had a vet who wouldn't allow the owner to be present while the animal was being examined. Sure, when they are putting the animal to sleep while they operate on it; well, duh! Who needs some fat old guy like me fainting? But giving the mutt a shot in the butt isn't going to lay me out. Anyway, we didn't like that guy's business plan; told him so and left.

New vet is MUCH better! Not only do we get to be there, she's willing to get down on the floor with the dog to give her her shots. And, I think, she is quite a bit cheaper. We were both happy with the experience.

Second high point of the day was when FedEx delivered a voltage converter so we can run our little Dutch lamp on 120 volt current. We like our little souvenir to work! It's funny; the lamps we saw in Dutch shops were so different; so innovative to our stodgy American eyes. This one was tiny; we knew we wanted to take it home with us and I wasn't going to spend $300 on a lamp that we might not be able to use in the US. Those lamps we saw almost 10 years ago are in Home Depot now. Wonder what's available in the Netherlands now. Wish I could go find out!

Bummer of the day was when we discovered that a tool with little rubber feet had left apparently permanent marks on our new table. The table is very light colored wood (pine most likely) and now we have these little round marks on it. We'll talk with the furniture store but nothing we've tried made a dent on the marks. We may have to sand them out and refinish the table! Not my thing but what the hell.

That's pretty much all that's going on here. Hope your days went well. Take care; it's dangerous out there!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dark nights

About a mile north of where we live is a road that goes over into California. When you leave Pahrump you go over a small mountain range then descend to the southern part of Death Valley. Then you go over another range and land in the Mohave Desert. Even now, when I watch vehicles leave town at night headed into the darkness I wish them well. I cannot imagine what the people who settled this land must have felt. Mountain after mountain; desert after desert; it would almost drive a guy to believe in God. Or at least wish like hell that there was one!

Be careful, y'all. This isn't the only place it's dangerous out there!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I took this photo this morning of the mountain almost due north our house. (Sorry about the power lines!) This afternoon I can hardly see it because of dust in the air. We are having 25mph winds with gusts to 50 (40kph gusting 80 kph). This is from one of the Las Vegas tv stations:

The National Weather Service in Las Vegas has issued a dust advisory for the weekend due to high winds. Clark County Air Quality officials are advising residents that there could be unhealthy levels of dust due to expected high winds. Dust can cause people with respiratory illnesses like asthma to have symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Not a great day for outside activities; not to mention it is kind of cool. Good day to stay inside and spend way too much time on the net. Whatever you are doing, be careful, it's dangerous out there.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lazy Day

Had a good trip to Vegas yesterday. Kid (she is going to be 39 this summer!) is kind of crazy - working really hard & no boyfriend worth speaking about. Still, we enjoyed hearing all her news. She got a new camera and took a photo of me so I have a new blogger photo that is only a day old. The wine was on the table next to me this time rather than in my hand. Funny how many photos of me include alcohol.

I'm lazy today; doing almost nothing. I am, however, hungry for chicken stew. Who knows where that kind of lust originates! So I'm off to the store in a while to get the makings. Have a recipe that has chicken, tomatoes and cannellini beans. I got it off the net quite a while ago and never made it; or at least never made any notes about it. It's one of those cook until the meat falls off the bone things.

Be careful, it's dangerous out there!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Traveling man

Photo is of the mountains west of our house in light from the sunrise.

Today we are headed over the hump to Las Vegas to see our daughter. She has been traveling a lot lately so we thought it would be easier on her if we came to her place. We'll just have a couple glasses of wine and dinner then come home. Nice low-key visit.

Got the blinds put up yesterday; today my wife is online ordering more! No good deed goes unpunished I guess. She helped me put the largest one up; it's over six feet long (nearly two meters). Now she is going to be telling her entire family how SHE put the blinds up. I know how this woman operates. Her family thinks I can't tell one end of a screwdriver from the other. How I come to have all those tools must be a mystery to them.

I just looked at that photo I have on the blog and figured out that it was taken in Nice, France ten years ago in May. Wow, does time fly when you are having fun. I'll see if I can't find another. Haven't changed much though; weigh about ten pounds more (four kilos) and grayer. Imagine that! Still drink wine. I am usually behind the camera; maybe I'll talk the kid into taking a couple for us.

Gotta go. Take care, it's dangerous out there.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


This house was a foreclosure. Twelve of the thirteen houses we saw when we were buying were foreclosures. When people are forced out of their houses they get mad; and they try to take whatever they can. Here, one of the things they took were the blinds. The bank replaced the blinds on the street side of the house but not in the back. We finally ordered blinds for the back windows of the house and they arrived yesterday. Today I'm "the blind man". Lucky I don't have to drive anywhere (for all you blondes out there).

The instructions say allow 25 minutes a blind - we have six so I have three hours of work. Better get going or I won't be done by Happy Hour. Have a good one but be careful.

On that note: glad to say Braja - from is recovering. It is obviously going to be a while before she is completely recovered but at least she's on the road.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Things are cooking!

Today seems to be the day for cooking. I bought some london broil beef the other day & got around to working on it yesterday. London broil is also called Flank steak; it is from the under side of the cows stomach, near the back legs. These folks have a nice picture of what comes from where.

Anyway, yesterday I cut up one piece of the steak for jerky. I marinate the jerky over night then today I put it on the dehydrator to dry. When done it is pretty tough but very spicy. Don't have any trouble getting rid of it!

The other piece of london broil I cut up into .5 inch (or 1 cm) chunks for chili. Brown it in olive oil then add a beer and a can of Rotel canned, spiced tomatoes and let it cook. About an hour later I figured out that I hadn't put any chili powder into it! Well, the meat would need more cooking anyway. Added a couple of tablespoons of chili powder (three centiliters - if that is the right measure) and a teaspoon (maybe three/fourths of a centiliter) of cayanne pepper. After another hour & a half, I added a can of red beans. Letting them warm while I cut up some onion & cheese for toppings. Opened the salsa and invited my wife to lunch. Yum!

Lots of leftover for the next few days. Hope you are having a good one. Be careful, it's dangerous out there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Patrick's Day......

Friends in Florida always celebrated St. Patrick's Day; not that they were Irish, they just liked a reason to have a party. We had to have the traditional corned beef, cabbage and potato boiled dinner. Yum! I loved it. I'm surprised that there are leftovers. Comfort food; sometimes I think it is what I live for. It is an easy thing to prepare these days. God knows what is like to prepare the piece of meat that we buy in the package (or what's in it!).

Talked to our friends (the Florida folks) today. Steve is already blaming everything in the world on Obama. He is amazed that we think Bush should be prosecuted for war crimes. What kind of weird world does he live in? Of course he only watches the Fox news channel. He did give us some tips about gambling in the casino. He's married to a great woman. I couldn't stand being married to her, mind, but I do like her. Kicks him in the ass regularly (figuratively of course).

Got the blinds for the back of the house today. We ordered them a couple of weeks ago. Guess what I'll be doing in the morning. Now there are only the glass doors and a couple more windows that need covering. Finishing the house will never end!

Braja from was in a hell of an accident - here is the story: Please send your good thoughts to her, her husband and their taxi driver. Sounds like they ran head on into a really big truck.

On that happy note, I leave you. But remember, like I always say, be careful, it's dangerous out there!

Friday, March 13, 2009


Yea! We went somewhere other than Vegas! We went the other way, to Death Valley. I admit you must like rock if you are going to like Death Valley. Guess I like rock. Especially when it is in fantastic shapes and colors. Took a bunch of pictures but the colors were all washed out. Don't know what I did wrong; maybe a filter or something is in my future. (NO, getting up for the sunrise light is probably not in my future. LOL)

Many centuries ago there was a lake at the bottom of the valley; now there is still a bit of water. It's called Badwater because it is salty. Here is the obligatory photo of the sign telling you where I was.

I only took the one photo of the sign; there was another couple there who were just crazy about it. They had what looked like a VERY expensive camera with a lens that was about eight inches long (20cm) with a glare shade and all that. They used this wonderful camera to take turns taking photos of each other with the sign. They spent five minutes taking photos there; first of her then him. It's not like they were Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie either - they were about 50 & quite ordinary. They weren't even speaking with an accent. Whatever turns them on, I guess.

What I really liked was the sign showing where sea level would be.

To really enjoy the sign, you need perspective. That's my truck at the bottom of the cliff; the sign is circled in red.

We took a lunch and the dog and made a day of it. It is only about an hour's drive to get there. You don't see all that many cars though (and NO trucks). Bought our annual pass that lets us into all the national parks - $80 and well worth it since there are lots of parks here in the west. Left the park about 15:00. Stopped in Shoshone, CA to buy a CA Lotto ticket and got home by 16:30. All in all, a great day.

Be careful out there; it's dangerous!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Great comment!

I subscribe to this service that offers quotes from the time when the US was being formed. Some are from people like Washington or Jefferson; you would need to do some searching to know some of the other speakers. I really liked this quote:

"If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150 lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, & talk by the hour? That 150 lawyers should do business together ought not to be expected." --Thomas Jefferson, autobiography, 1821

I was watching an interview with Warren Buffett the other day where he said that we need the President to come out with at least the start of a plan to fix some of our financial crisis. It sounded good coming on the heels of Jefferson's comment. We can't committee this thing to death; we need to do something. Thankfully, we seem to have a President who is NOT planning on prosperity-by-making-war; unlike our last!

Have a good one but take care, it's dangerous out there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dull and duller?

Sat around fooling with the internet today until after lunch. Then thought I'd take a drive. Left town on highway 160 headed north; ended up visiting the small 'town' of Crystal, Nevada. Maybe there used to be a town there but now there are only a couple of business ventures: a bar (with some old newspaper clippings called a museum); and two brothels. I'm a dull guy so I went into the bar.

That was really kind of interesting. There is a woman behind the bar and two old guys drinking. Both were drinking mixed drinks and were pretty drunk, especially for 13:00! They were both saying 'one more and I'm leaving'. Anyway I just walked around learning some of the history of this part of the country. Apparently there have been a few brothel owners who have disappeared or have been murdered. Didn't know it was such a dangerous occupation. Anyway, I had my beer (a light one at that!) and left. The brothels were a series of mobile homes and small factory built homes that were connected by enclosed walkways. One was 'closed for remodeling' but the other two were still going. Business wasn't very good though; two pickups full of guys isn't a crowd.

Came back to town and hit Home Depot - I'm not sure how long it will be here. There just isn't enought traffic to support it. When I went to check out, there was only one checker and she wasn't busy. Maybe I should go buy some stuff!

Take it easy out there, it's dangerous!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Quiet times

We are having a little quiet time here in Pahrump. There are plenty of things I should be doing I suppose but I've no energy for it. Today my big thing was to make a pot of bean soup. It was a different recipe than I usually use but ok I guess. What can you do to bean soup anyway!

We are expecting family to visit near the end of April so are frantically looking for bedding and dishes and things like that. Went to one of the 'better' restaurants in town and decided the food wasn't good enough for our guests. My wife's fish was either old or had been frozen; my chicken was tasteless. There is another place; we'll try that soon. If that doesn't work out, we'll be looking for recipes for ten! I may be forced to buy that new bbq grill!

We did finally order blinds for the back windows of the house. They should show up in a couple of weeks. I hate being in a lighted house with the windows open to the world. I've read too many stories of assassinations. Besides, our guests may not be as comfortable undressing in front of an open window as we.

We simply must bite the bullet and have someone come rock in the yard. It's just a matter of choosing the person we like, opening the wallet and handing over the money. Everyone in town needs the business.

Hope you are having a good one.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Buying stuff.....

Went over the hump to Las Vegas today because there are just a lot of things that aren't available on this side. Went to various stores and found that things are far from inexpensive. I've been hearing a debate whether we are experiencing inflation or deflation. Well, I don't know that the prices are going up but if people don't feel they have the money to buy them; what's that? (I promise you, we did manage to spend over $500 even so. Gotta do our part for the economic recovery!)

It reminds me of the builder we talked with before buying this house. He said that if one bought one of the foreclosed homes it would cost less than his cost to build the same thing now. His costs have not gone down - lumber, paint, cement are the same or higher than a year ago. His competition is existing homes that he built a few years ago; therefore he simply cannot build anything.

This was brought home by the people next door. I've never met these people but their house looks nice. It is about the same size as ours however their yard is landscaped (rocked in) and there is a nice two car garage built in the back yard. (There is already a two car garage attached to the house.) They do NOT have any kind of fence. They are asking $410K for this house; we paid well under $300K for ours. Do you see the problem here? Their extra garage probably cost about the same as our fence to build so the difference is their landscaping which is being estimated to us at $7-8K. It's an awful position in which to find oneself. I hope they aren't in a hurry!

Take it easy out there; it's dangerous!

Monday, March 02, 2009

AMERICA, God Shed His Grace On Thee....

Someone with whom I generally agree; Lee over at "A Curates Egg.htm" had a moment about national service on one of his blogs. He was talking about military service and I'm not certain about my feelings on that. I went to classes during my college years and emerged an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. Those lessons and the two years I spent in the U.S. Army have been very important to the way I have lived my life: that is by way of open disclosure.

Currently, however, I'd like to see EVERY citizen required to spend at least two years working for our country. They needn't carry a gun but they would be required to help our nation. Not thinking about "number one" is good for the soul. I would love to see national service for ALL if it included more choices: military service; hospital service; the park service; etc. And I'd like it to include women as well as men. Women need to be treated like men; how tough it that to grasp? I think there are social values and lessons to be learned by being in a group. Some people do well in the military; some would crash and burn. However, I think that almost everyone would do well to have to give some time to "the greater good". Sure there are some who need to be exempt but in my mind people who were exempt could pretty much kiss off their political aspirations! (i.e. G.W.Bush)

Our new President is talking a lot about overcoming the political questions and focusing on the real problems of our country. Fine, during the Great Depression, there were a lot of guys on the government payroll in a program called the CCC: Civilian Conservation Corp. They needed work and the Federal government hired them. They built bridges and roads and did all kinds of things in our national parks. Now, seventy years later, we are still enjoying the fruits of their labor. It is time to renew some of those things though. What the hell is wrong with hiring a bunch of people to fix the roads in Detroit? I've been on them; they need work! BTW, don't wish to be nationalistic but only U.S. citizens need apply!

I'd love to see a new CCC. And they needed not stick to the parks and all. What state would object to the federal government not only funding but providing the manpower & all for a replacement of their highways? State highways are fine but they aren't built by state employees - why shouldn't a new CCC build the highways for the states?

We could also reduce the cost of health care dramatically by offering thousands of young men and women to serve as aids in hospitals and nursing homes. It doesn't take a lot of training to serve lunch or supply aspirin to patients. You get some choices: think of the help these people could give to their fellow citizens; think of the good it would do them to help others; or think of the good it would do our economy to have people earning money while reducing the national governments outgo.

BTW; I think it wouldn't hurt if EVERY COUNTRY required something of their citizens; the U.S. is not alone in thinking that freedom is not free.

Have fun but remember, it's dangerous out there!