Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!!!

Just a quick wish to all for a happy, healthy and successful new year.  2010 has been a tough year; let's hope 2011 is much nicer to us all.  Happy holiday!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rant

'After welcoming Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John on Dec. 25 via a surrogate, Sir Elton John, 62, and partner David Furnish, 48, shared the joyous news with UsMagazine.com"

I wish the best of wishes to both parents and the baby.  Actually, what else can you do?  Are you going to start a rant about being gay?  Or gay guys with a baby?  Bah humbug!  Get over it.

There are millions of 'normal' folks reproducing and most of the fodder for COPS and all the other 'reality' tv shows are their children.  Don't even try to tell me that a child brought up by gay guys is going to have problems just because of his/her parents sexual orientation.  It just doesn't fly.  If there are so many screwed up kids in the world whose parents are 'straight'; gay parents cannot be any worse!  Shit oh dear, maybe they will be better!  Go watch 'La Cage aux Folles' - or 'The Birdcage' if you can't stand the French. 


Happy New Year to all if I am absent!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spectacular Sunset

Somewhere I got the idea that looking AWAY from the sunset can give you some spectacular photos.  Here's one I took tonight.  These are the mountains to the northeast of our house.
The weather forecast is that a front is coming down on Southern Nevada from the Pacific Northwest.  We are supposed to be getting rain and snow above 5000 ft (1500m).  So far we've had an overcast day and nothing much else.  Maybe tomorrow will be rain but this is certainly a lovely sunset.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Nice for a moment

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were beautiful here.  I got a new camera so I should be taking more photos.  Here's one of the mountain in the sunset; taken with the new camera.


And what is my new toy?  It is a Canon SX210 IS - much like my old camera but it is smaller, more pixels, and still a great optical zoom.  It also has a built in battery and no viewfinder both of which I dislike.  I keep running out of battery power when I am out shooting something.  It's nice to be able to plug in a new set of AA's and keep going.  I also have trouble seeing view screens in the sunlight so I like using a viewfinder.  BUT both cameras using AA's and viewfinders are really scarce.  I wanted a shirt pocket size camera; this was just so close to what I wanted I had to do it.  My wife got one too.  She has no more excuses for not getting out and taking pictures.

We also got our bikes fixed up.  They have been through a lot of traveling and not much care since we bought them in the Netherlands over 10 years ago.  Now everything is lubed up and working so we can actually use them.  I've got a long term goal of weighing 200 lb (90kg) when I turn 65 in three years.  I want to make some lifestyle changes that enable me to lose that 35 lb (15kg).  Regular exercise is one of the changes.  Recently we've been walking about 40 minutes out in the desert.  When it rains the desert turns to mud and we can't walk.  But now we can ride! 

Hope your Boxing Day was great and the rest of the week as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Still raining

It finally stopped raining here in the desert; it is very unusual of course to get this much rain.  The cloudy days are reminding me of Seattle; I thought those days were behind me.  Today is a beautiful day; hopefully people will be able to get out and get some things done that they have been putting off.  More rain is forecast for next week though.

Yesterday was 'go get the food day' for Christmas.  The only problem is that everyone else is on the same trajectory.  I was coming out of Wal-Mart and some old guy almost reversed his car into the building through the door I was trying to use to leave.  That's too exciting for this old guy!  Menu is standard for us:  ham, mac-n-cheese (my wife isn't a potato person), asparagus (probably), salad.  No desert because everyone is trying to lose an ounce.  Simple, traditional and easy; can't beat the combination for a kind of stress heavy day.  Plus there aren't any ingredients we can't find here in Pahrump!  In some ways living here reminds me of living in Iowa as a kid; exotic things just aren't available. 

I bought some wood and I'm planning on making a rifle rack.  I've got a few old .22 rifles that I had when I was a kid.  My mom kept them and now I've got them.  They are probably worth $10 each but they have a sentimental meaning.  They have been standing up against the wall in the closet long enough.  My adventure in woodworking will hopefully begin before Christmas.  I'm planning a simple rack where the rifle is stored vertically.  It shouldn't take me more than a month to build.

One of my excuses for not posting is that I've been doing stuff around the house.  Simple stuff:  my wife finished a board for a new shelf about 3 months ago.  We finally put it up two weeks ago.  But that isn't the top of our procrastination list.  We bought a new kitchen faucet about eighteen months ago.  We just installed it last week!  Installing it nearly killed both of us.  I'm too big to fit under the sink comfortably and my wife isn't strong enough to do some of the job.  We had lots of fun.

Gotta go.  I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season regardless of what you celebrate. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I've been AWOL

No excuses, Sir! 

We are in the middle of a storm here in the desert.  It's coming in over California then coming to see us.  Most of the precipitation is already out of the clouds but we have these marvelous streams of clouds rolling overhead with cloud and fog up in the mountains.  The sight is fantastic but the photographic opportunities are beyond me.  I need a 120 degree wide angle lens with the ability to distinguish about 50 levels of gray and another 50 levels of beautiful sunlight on the mountain sides.  Hmmm, guess I need a camera with a human eye for a lens!

We did make another trip to Las Vegas; it's almost Christmas so I'm not saying what we bought but we helped the local economy with another grand or so.  I would like to buy things here in Pahrump but if it's not here, it's not here.  Bought a bunch of scotch though so I can last through the holiday.  The lines for checkout at Wal-Mart were exceptional today so I'm hoping the local economy will be ok.  There was no local collection for the food bank; I've no idea why but apparently no one set one up.  Here's hoping that those folks who needed help on Thanksgiving will be getting it again for this holiday.

We were watching 'The Thin Man' the other day; I love those old films.  Someone was asking Nora Charles if her husband, the detective Nick Charles, was working on a case.  She replied "Yes, a case of scotch!"  (My kind of guy!)  Boy, we just don't get lines like that any more.  And you have to remember that there wasn't a knee-cap in the movie much less a crotch or breast!  I appreciate the freedom we have today but I must admit I miss the way we've replaced a rules based society with one which sees no value in rules.  (Getting old, huh?)

In another sign of incipient old age, I'm moving more of our portfolio into dividend paying stocks.  I'm not abandoning 'growth' entirely but we need some income in the mix.  I bought some Cisco (CSCO) the other day; it just isn't a p/e 15 stock.  On the other hand, Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) isn't a p/e 13 stock.  The thought that they are in the same p/e area is fantastic to me.  Doesn't it bother anyone else?  Oh, and my old employer Paccar (PCAR) is at a p/e of 63!  Please let me disclose that I own all three of these stocks!

We are talking about our next phone plan.  It won't be for a while but are talking about smartphones.  Today I found this article about traditional cell phones:  http://www.appolicious.com/finance/articles/4344-which-dumbphones-are-still-worth-buying  - I have to recommend watching at least part of the vid about the Motorola Tundra; it's got guts!

I'm going to try to post more but if I don't - Happy Holidays! 

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Valley of Fire

Yesterday we took a day off from doing whatever it is we usually do and piled into the car (with the dog) and visited Valley of Fire State Park.  It was really cool.


As you can see, it was a rather gray sort of day but it was comfortably cool and we got to see some really interesting rock formations.  It was Red Rock Canyon on steroids.  Really I think Red Rock has taller formations but Valley of Fire has a lot more of that startling red rock.  There was a small visitor center where you could learn a few things about the geology of the place, some of the plants and animals common to the desert, and a tiny bit of the history of people in this area.  It's about 35 miles (55km) north of Las Vegas if you hop on I-15 Northbound.  Highly recommended.

Coming home we drove on a couple back roads that were almost completely without traffic.  It was really odd to come down this road that was empty except for us down into North Las Vegas.  We struggled through traffic for quite a while finding our way out of town.  We had almost made it when we heard on the radio that there were two accidents currently being worked:  we had passed both of them!  It just wasn't a day for speed.

I've been reading a site about self-defense called No Nonsense Self Defense.  I like the site.  The people seem to know what they are talking about.  They are NOT about judo or carrying a knife or gun; they are trying to teach the reader about using his/her head to recognize and avoid dangerous situations.  Give it a shot.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What a difference a day makes

This morning I was singing.... (well, thinking about singing!)

A foggy day in a Pahrump town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The county museum has lost its charm



Whereas yesterday was slightly different:

Thanks to Joe in Vegas for reminding me to look up!  It's a beautiful world if we only look for it.  You might check this out:  http://www.wimp.com/breathtakingfootage/  - It's a guy who got a ride in a U2 spy plane.  It's a different world at 70,000 ft (21,000+ meters).

Have a good one!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Going to Vegas

For most folks 'going to Vegas' is a big deal.  For us 'over the hump'; not so much!  I went in alone on Wednesday and we are planning on returning later today.  It's all about shopping, gift giving and all that jazz.  You know the drill.  On Wednesday I got to go via Red Rock Canyon.  It's a lovely place!



My wife and I have been talking about electric vehicles.  We'd love to have one but it's got to have a lot more range than they have today and be a lot cheaper.  It wouldn't surprise me if the RAV4 we have now will be our last gasoline car.  (Of course we usually keep a car for about 10 years so there's no need for the dealer to call us quite yet.)  Still, the range would have to be over 150 miles (say 250 km).  The electric grid would probably need some beefing up too if we were all recharging cars every night.  Right now we'd be buying a 'coal fired' car since that's where our power originates.  There is a huge solar project planned for just north of us but we put so many roadblocks in front of progress that in the two years we've lived here they haven't put up one panel.  I have trouble understanding why it's so difficult but you can be sure there are a bunch of lawyers living well over the discussions.  Looking at the area you'd expect to have solar everything but it's just not reasonable at this point.  As an investor I know it's the next great disruptive technology but we've been looking for it to come into it's own for at least thirty years.

What I don't know is if electric trucks will ever be a force.  There are plenty of people towing 5 ton loads; the truckers are towing 40 tons or even more.  That's going to be a heck of a battery!  But look at cell phones; they have changed!

Thanks to Wikipedia for the trip down memory lane!  Speaking of Wikipedia; they are having a fund raising event.  If you use the site as much as I do, you really ought to donate.  I'm off to do so now. 

Have a good one!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving is over; now for Christmas!

Well, really, BAH HUMBUG!  Tis the season to go out and buy stuff for people that they don't really want and is most likely fairly useless.  Joe asked me if I've got the lights up yet, NO!  I'm an atheist! 

We do have a small tree that we put up and put presents under but it's pretty low key.  We can celebrate the solstice a few days late.  It won't offend the earth.  We like the tree because it's a fake we bought while living in the Netherlands so it always reminds us of those days.  The lights may get changed out for some LEDs this year but I think that will depend on how the current ones survived the year.  The ornaments all have a story; some the kids made; some are from my wife's mom; some are Swarovski's that we bought when they did more than just put the year on a snowflake.  Like I said, there is a story for almost every one.  I'll post a photo when we get the tree up but it won't be for a while yet.

When I was growing up my folks had a clothing store.  In retail, December is perhaps a quarter of your year; maybe even more.  We were open 13 hours a day, six days a week.  We weren't open (still had 'blue' laws) but there was always work on Sunday as well.  Putting up the Christmas tree was about the last thing my folks had time or energy to do.  It usually waited until the Sunday before Christmas.  My wife's family was just the opposite, they would put the tree up soon after Thanksgiving.  After we got together we kind of compromised so it goes up when we get around to it. 

Gift giving among adults doesn't do a lot for me and I doubt if it does for anyone.  Not having any children around makes the whole thing much more somber.  We have a tradition of me giving my wife some sort of tool; one year it was a set of screwdrivers for her to keep in a kitchen drawer, that sort of thing.  It has become almost a joke but I still have to search Lowes & Home Depot for something.  Who else can claim to be in a family with his and hers Dremel tools?

If you've got a great idea, let me know.  This shopping thing takes way too much time!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Duh!!!!

My wife and I managed to drink a little too much last night.  Then we looked outside and saw this strangely colored apparition.  We couldn't imagine what it could be.  Here's what the camera saw:

This morning, somewhat more sober, it's obvious that our neighbor has put up their Christmas lights!  Duh!  Well, that's what you get from having thought altering substances.  The red light in the top of the photo is on a radio tower.  LOL  Hope I didn't make any investment decisions!

We also got some 'rain' last night.  There are little pools around but it's 36 degrees so no white stuff.  The mountain is looking pretty sporty though; much like the photo at the top of the blog.  We are at almost 2,700 ft (822 M); it looks like the snow came down to about 3,000 (914 M) so it was pretty close.

Gotta go.  Just had to post about my Duh moment.  Have a good one!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

Yep, I was so busy I haven't been on the computer for three days!  And our only guests were the kids.  I can't imagine the frenzy next April when various older relatives show up.  It should be ugly.  Why do we do it to ourselves?  Obviously I don't have that great a grasp on human nature.

The good news is that everyone is gone and there is lots of turkey left for me!  Even after sending everyone home with 'goodie bags'; there is still a lot.  Leftover stuffed mushrooms too that are calling to me to be cooked for lunch today.  Tough life but there I am.

I was reading Random Roger today and he was talking about buying country funds then being sure to know how much they are investing in various sectors of the market.  Sometimes I start going cross-eyed from all the different things one needs to consider.  Of course I could always go dump all our financial stuff on the desk of someone like Roger and let him/her do the work but then I'd miss out on all the challenge and frustration.  Can't have that!  It's much more fun to make your own mistakes.  I held Barrick Gold (ABX) for years & years; it did absolutely nothing just sat there around $25 and paid maybe a 1% dividend.   Now, of course, it's $50 still with a 1% dividend.  Who exactly is making money from the $1,300 gold; it sure isn't the shareholder. 

Have a good one!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blue moon???

Ok, yesterday I read a Yahoo article about the blue moon.  Whatever it is, here:

I just love living in this mountain surrounded valley.  No matter which direction I point my camera, I find a mountain. 

I was reading a blog by an rv boondocker who is visiting the Sequoia National Park.  He talks about being among those tall old trees and feeling as though this is the real church.  I agree so totally!  When I am enveloped by nature I am totally awestruck.  Does it mean I think some super-being made it?  Hell no!  Am I completely aware of my own tiny insignificance?  Yes!  Definitely.  We humans think we are the top of the food chain.  Bah humbug.  We are about as important as ants; if that's not an insult to ants.  Being among those great trees or viewing the stars on a dark night or looking at these amazing mountains explains that to me very clearly.

Go have a wonderful, humble day! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brrrr

It's getting chilly in our part of the world.  Went out and put some anti-freeze in the p-traps in the rv.  It usually only gets down to the mid-20's F (-5C) but there is no reason not to take the precaution.  Got the batteries off the rig as well; watered them and will get them all charged up.  The 'phantom loads' had pulled them down quite a ways. 

A supermarket here was advertising turkeys for $7 with a $25 purchase.  There was a food drive going on so my wife and I went shopping.  You can buy a heck of a lot of stuffing, instant potatoes & veggies for $25!  But we persevered and managed to get a $7 turkey and two huge bags of other stuff for the food drive.  It's the second food drive this season but I can't imagine it going to waste with almost 15% unemployment.  Saw one of the servers from the casino in the store and hardly knew her with her hair down.  Funny how a little change like that transforms a person.

The sun is just setting.  The mountain gets all beautiful.  Life is good.  Have a good one!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not much to say!

I've been quiet lately because there just isn't a lot going on in my life.  My wife hurt her foot so we aren't walking in the desert.  I've been visiting the dermatologist and have 5 stitches in my back; 5 in my right shoulder and a big band-aid on my stomach.  You'd think I like getting carved up for as much of it as is going on but I have to say I don't like it and it slows me down. 

This morning I did the semi-annual window washing.  It takes a couple of hours to do all the windows and all the screens.  I tried just putting the screens back once; nope, doesn't work.  The screens get all crudded up and are difficult to get out.  Then you clean them and they just drop back into place.  Amazing huh.  I would have preferred leaving it for a couple more days because of my shoulder but it's going to get cooler and windy so it was pretty much now or never.

I stopped at Wal-Mart this afternoon and bought a bunch of canned goods for the food pantry.  It's not much but I figure it all helps.  Thanksgiving is next Thursday so it's about time to think of others.  I ought to do it more often; like every month maybe, but haven't gotten to that level of enlightenment yet.

There's a pretty good chance that we will have both daughter and son (and his S.O.) for the holiday.  That would be the first time since they were children!  We've already got the turkey so we are good until about Tuesday to get all the rest of the goodies.  Monday is already booked for a trip to the liquor store in Las Vegas; gotta have a kind of special Pinot Noir to go with Mr. Turkey.  We need to get some Beaujolais Nouveau as well even though it's been out for a few days.  Having to wait is just one of the costs of living in the boonies.

The Nevada Dept. of Transportation (NDOT) has decided to repair the main road through Pahrump (Highway 160).  That's a great idea but it's been about three weeks now and they are still fooling with it.  I'm thinking they need something to do until Xmas.  Well, it keeps them occupied and makes us locals happy that we live here & not over the hill!

Have a good one!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Confused

Ok, I had to stop along the road and pull this sign up.  It was posted on a piece of empty land between here and the main part of town.  It was placed there a day or two before the elections.


Whoever placed the sign is clearly angry but I guess I'm having trouble figuring out if they really know what they are angry about or not.  President Obama; lots of people are tired of him.  Sheriff DeMeo; he won re-election but by a much smaller margin than I had expected.  Senator Reid and his son Rory Reid; the Senator won and the son lost his bid for Governor.  People are angry at all career politicians and Harry and Rory are certainly that.  Finally, mosques.  What the devil does that have to do with any of the above?  This person seems to be striking out at any authority figure.

Can there be anyone reasonably thoughtful who really thinks the President isn't Christian?  The Reid's are Mormon; not mainline Christians but there are lots of Mormon's around here and even more just a couple hundred miles north of us in Utah.  The Sheriff's religion is unknown to me but I can't imagine it is Islam.  I don't think there is even a mosque in the county; Las Vegas probably, but not here.  So what is going on with this sign?  Look how carefully it is made! 

The only think I can come up with is that the person is so angry that he or she just isn't thinking straight.  There are so many things going wrong for this person that they needed to strike out; to just say 'NO'.  I really don't know what to make of this but I hope it made the person feel better.  Now, if everyone in our country could just let go of a little of this anger and start trying to work together to fix things....... 

Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More quiet times

We've been having some quiet time here in the desert.  We get up; walk then spend the rest of the day trying to figure out what to eat.  Tough life!  I've been shifting some money around in our portfolio; selling some Paccar (PCAR) stock is the big thing.  I worked for them for nine years and ended up with way too much of their stock in the portfolio.  It's doing pretty well right now so it's time for a little re-balancing.

We are headed for Las Vegas today to help our daughter spend money.  She has decided to buy a house and one of her criteria was that it be a new house.  We are going to the 'design center' with her to help choose carpet, tile and all that stuff.  We have never bought a house that was not yet built so it should be interesting.  Our first house was un-lived in but it was already built; the next three were from 20 to 40 years old; and this one was three years old when we bought it; so helping to chose options in a new home will be cool.  We are planning on 'helping' a bit with money, of course, but she's on the hook for most of it.

Who's the boss around here:



We had 32F (0C) this morning for the first time this fall.  Don't know if the 'boss' is going to stick around for the cold weather or not.  I guess we'll just have to find out.  At least you won't hear any more whining about being hot for a while.  Hope you folks in the Southern Hemisphere are enjoying the warmth.  Have a good one.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Republican's Problem

I've been thinking more about how Mr. Obama can become a one term president and it seems to me that if the Republican party can find the right candidate, Mr. Obama is toast.  On the other hand, finding that person is going to be really tough.  I can hear people talking up Sarah Palin now.  I've gotta say, it's tough finding someone less experienced than Mr. Obama but you've got one there!

Here's something that Jack Welch (former head of GE) says:  "The Republican Party has a real challenge and I think more than I've ever seen in my life they need a vision,".  I couldn't agree more.  When Mr. Obama won election it was because it sounded like he had a vision.  Maybe he did but he's been unable to implement it so it's like it was never there.  One of the mysteries of history is whether Jack Kennedy could have implemented his vision had he lived.  Lyndon Johnson inherited the office and the vision and he was politician enough to implement the vision.  Welch went on to say the Republican's must not be merely obstructive:  "If we get wild gridlock and we don't get constructive discussion about these policies, we won't be better off but no worse off,".

So why are our politicians unable to think these ideas?  Jeez!  A quote for Mr. Obama from Samuel Johnson:  "He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

We're all voted....

I hope that at least some of your candidates won.  I've had a couple elections where I didn't get a single winner; happily that was not the case this year.  I didn't bat 100% for sure but at least Senator Reid was returned.  I hate having to vote against someone but that was the position we were given.  Bah humbug.

Now it's going to be interesting to see in the new Congress can manage to do anything at all.  From what I've heard of the Republican leadership, there's a reasonable chance that nothing will be done at all in the next two years.  That might be a good thing! 

Random Roger, who is an investment advisor, had an interesting post that included his opinion that it's going to be very difficult for Mr. Obama to be elected for a second term.  I agree that it will be difficult but don't see it as an impossibility.  The way Harry Reid was re-elected was because his opponent was to far right for a lot of people; no reason why Mr. Obama might not have the same good fortune in 2012. 

Hell, Mr. Obama might even stop sounding so good and actually do something.  A reasonable immigration bill might be a start.  (I was watching "Undercover Boss" on tv the other night.  As an aside, the guy says getting his US citizenship cost him $15K.  Can that be true?  What the hell is that?)  Simplifying and clarifying Obamacare would perk up a lot of people.  Since we are supporting Fannie May and Freddy Mac anyway, why don't we just write down every mortgage by 25% or so.  Your outstanding balance was $200K; now it is $150K.  You still might be upside down but it would have to feel better and you would be much more likely to be able to afford it.  Do I like the idea?  No.  Is it the American Way?  Probably not.  But we need to get this behind us and foreclosing on 20% of the population is going to be ugly.

Well, at least we don't have a bunch of political ads to listen to any more.  Thank goodness for small favors!  Have a good one.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Lots of little stuff

Is it really November 1st?  Jeez, time is sure flying.  We had zero trick-or-treaters last night.  Can't say that I missed them though I did always get a kick out of the really small kids.  I asked a couple of the neighbors and they said not to expect any.  I still bought a small bag of candy so I'll get a couple thousand calories out of it.

We went in to Las Vegas Sunday; our daughter has found a house she would like to buy.  Well, she has found a builder who has a model she likes and wants to have one built.  We checked the company out; looked at the model; that stuff.  We can't see any reason she shouldn't go ahead with the deal so come March or so she should have a new home.  Very exciting time for her.  She works from home so is excited about the extra space.  It is practically a zero-lot-line area so she won't have anything outside to worry about and it is still only about 10 minutes to the airport for when she is traveling. 

Quite a long time ago my wife got a recipe for hummingbird food from her mother.  It was supposed to be 'top secret' but, of course, it is all over the internet.  Anyway, we finally got our feeder out and after about 10 days, our first little guy has showed up.  (Apologies for the photo; it was through the window AND the blind!)






We are forecast to have good weather later this week so I'm going to be doing some window washing and other outside tasks.  Winter is coming and doing the windows then isn't nearly as much fun.  We are expecting number 1 son and S.O. for Thanksgiving (25 November) so having the windows half-way clean will be a requirement.  We also have a certain amount of rock-raking to do to level things out.  How's that for life in the fast lane? 

You all have a good one!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good....

I managed to get into Las Vegas yesterday afternoon in time to meet the plane bringing my wife and daughter back from their Mexican cruise.  Seems like they had a good time but are suffering from lack of contact with the world.  Cell phone charges are something north of $2 a minute to or from the ship; internet is $25 an hour; so they abstained but it was difficult.  More difficult for our daughter; in our travels we are often without internet and cell service is sometimes spotty.  Anyway, everyone is fine.  My wife is a little sore from a horseback ride that was mostly trotting but otherwise things are good.

I made a carrot cake for her homecoming.  I can't say it is as good as I had hoped and the cream cheese frosting is a disaster. I lost my original cream cheese recipe so got one off the internet.  Bah humbug!  The one I chose has way too much butter which I had to offset with way too much powdered sugar.  Not very good at all and I can see my cholesterol count rise just looking at it.  Between all my minor injuries the other day and the cake; I've got to stay in bed more!



I've talked about the local race for the Senate seat held by Harry Reid.  I just cannot vote for the challenger, Sharon Angle.  Her ideas about abolishing social services are just too radical for me; I'd consider it a step backward for our society.  I also think she would be far less effective at promoting Nevada in the Congress.  I would love to have someone to support rather than Harry but there it is.  One of our neighbors has had some anti-Harry signs in his yard for quite a while.  This one I found amusing at least.

Poor Harry!  Headfirst in the trash can.  LOL  At least the guy has a sense of humor.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just a last thought

I'm not a 'prepper' who is expecting The World As We Know It to end at any moment.  I do, however, think that preparation for normal inconveniences is appropriate.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Since our household consists of two reasonably careful adults, we don't have a lot of minor injuries in our lives.  Today, while my wife is away, I've been the victim of two accidents!  In it's own way, it's kind of a vote in favor of marriage and joint vacations!  Hmmmm.  Anyway, injury number 1 was when I was burning a nylon rope; the rope separated and one of the hot ends landed on my hand.  This is basically melting nylon so it stuck to my finger.  Not life threatening but definitely better when bathed in cold water!  Point is; you need to know what to do.  I was home and had access to all kinds of books plus the internet.  Out in the wilderness; you'd need to just know.

The second accident was just a few minutes ago.  I was lubricating the garage door and managed to scrape my hand.  It's only a small wound (about a quarter of an inch) but I wanted to put a little anti-bacterial ointment on it.  Well, we don't have any in the house since my wife took it with her on her cruise.  (She had a mole removed and the spot requires daily medication.)  Ok, so what's my backup?  Well, actually there was some in the first aid kit I"d put together for the car.  So that was another problem avoided. 

The lesson is simple:  having some knowledge and a few extras of simple but important items can make a big difference in your life.  I don't know about you but I"m off to the drugstore tomorrow to stock on extras of a few staples.  Oh, and I need to find time to go to the airport to get my other half!  Have a good one!

Wandering around again

Got up yesterday and decided to go to Las Vegas mostly just to wander around.  It worked; I got reasonably lost even.  This was a decidedly low-key trip.  The big thing was going into a Lowes and finding a drawer pull that matches the ones in our house.  I've been wondering where the builder found these things; now I know.  Actually, I just need to get out of town from time to time and yesterday was it.

It has been cloudy for several days; yesterday it was even raining a bit on my trip.  I just love looking at those mountains.  It is my kind of religious experience.  Here's a poor rendition of what I was enjoying.






I had taken a pork chop out of the freezer (how does one manage to freeze just 1 chop?) and made fried rice for dinner.  It's nothing like the stuff you get in a restaurant so I probably should re-name the dish but I'm not imaginative enough.  The differences include brown rice, lots more meat and lots more garlic.  Gotta have garlic!  It also turns out a lot more moist than 'real' fried rice.  Watched another movie. 

I don't watch a lot of stuff on tv; mostly cooking shows and a few things on PBS.  So, unlike many households, my wife controls the tv.  As a result, I don't know what channels we watch or when things are being shown.  Being a tv-impaired temporary bachelor, I can't find anything.  We have Direct tv so have 50 or 60 channels but they are spread out over 999 numbers.  The only two I can reliably find are Fox-5 (channel 5 amazingly enough) for the local news and weather and 864 which is the symphonic music channel.  I'm even learning how to run the DVD player!

Gotta go.  It's time to throw myself into the shower & get started with the day.  Have a good one!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What a cook!

I actually succeeded using that charcoal grill to do my kabobs.  Hurray!  Finally it worked.  The first chimney of charcoal didn't take but I just re-fired it and things went well.  I cooked them a little longer than needed perhaps but the fire was relatively mild so it went well. 

I found a lovely rosemary-ranch marinade I wanted to use but we didn't have any ranch dressing.  SO I dumped a bunch of Italian dressing in to marinate the chicken since we had 3, count them 3, partial bottles of that.  It actually turned out pretty good.  I used green pepper and mushroom on 2 of the kabobs and let the other two just be chicken.  Forgot the onion entirely but it was still ok.  Skipped the rice & just did a simple salad - yep, more Italian.  Thought anything else would just confuse me. 

This morning I took the walk (alone) that I usually take with my wife before breakfast.  It's an overcast day but I was warm by the time I got home.  I'm thinking I walk a little faster when I'm alone.  Found a couple of lovely rocks for lining the driveway.  At this rate we should be done in a couple of weeks.  I can't stop wondering how long those rocks have lay out in the desert.  Maybe not long; they used to grow a lot of cotton in this valley and there aren't any trees or large bushes established in our area.  Maybe some farmer plowed them up just 50 or 60 years ago or maybe they have been in that spot for a thousand years.  Who knows.  (I do find the weirdest things to obsess over!)

So I had two small kabobs of chicken left over and used them for breakfast this morning.  Used the chicken, more mushroom, green pepper, green onion & egg-beaters to make a little breakfast dish.  Very nice.  I'm impressing myself; not only was the original dish nice but I've got the leftover's used up already!  Now THAT is amazing. 

Haven't decided on dinner tonight but I'm thinking either pasta or rice.  My wife has been doing a modified Atkins diet for the past couple months and I'm low on my carb count.  Gotta go check out Epicurious.  Have a good one.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Exciting Times

Yesterday was the first day of my temporary bachelorhood.  I took my wife into Las Vegas, picked up our daughter and put them on a plane for San Diego.  In San Diego they got on a cruise ship and are now headed for Cabo San Lucas.  Our daughter has never cruised and wanted company and my wife was just inebriated enough to say 'yes'.  LOL  I certainly hope they have a good time.  My wife called while they were still tied to the dock; they were sitting on the fantail with the 'cocktail of the day'.  Turns out it was some sweet thing that neither enjoyed; at $7.50 each!  The cruise line has some pretty high charges for both internet access and phone usage so they are pretty much out of my life until they return next Wednesday.

I celebrated my new 'freedom' by taking the car in for it's first service and a trip to Sam's club.  How's that for life in the fast lane?  Had some leftover cajun roast for dinner and watched a couple of movies.  Ain't I just the wild and crazy one.  Just so you know where my head is:  I'm already planning today's dinner.  I've got some chicken thighs out of the freezer and am planning kabobs over the real charcoal grill.  I'm going to learn how that thing works if it kills me.

Woke this morning to 54F (12C) outside and 64F (17C) inside.  Brrrr.  Now I'm waiting for the sun to come up so I can walk the dog.  I'm hoping we'll get some fall but we might be headed for winter.  It looks like there is snow on Mt. Charleston but that could be just wishful thinking.  Wanted to share this photo of the sunset I took a couple of nights ago; sorry but I just can't stop myself from taking sunset photos.  This unsettled weather is making for some lovely evenings.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rain - and more medical crap!

We've had rain on and off all day.  We are talking about a rain that in Seattle you wouldn't even wear a coat but it's rain for us.  In one of the clear bits I went into town to get a couple things.  On the way home I was following a pickup and it looked like the guy had his dog in the back.  That always bothers me; I worry the dog might jump out.  It's not my dog or anything but I worry.  Then the guy pulled into a little strip mall:  it wasn't a dog it was a goat!  LOL  You've gotta love Pahrump.

The other day I went to the dermatologist.  We are so important that he's only here one day a week!  Anyway, he cut three moles off my back and yesterday I got the happy news that one is cancerous.  I'll go back in a couple weeks to have him carve on me some more to ensure that the entire thing is gone.  Damn, isn't this getting older fun! 

Have a good one!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Almost a rain!

They (!) are thinking we have a 60% chance of rain in then next day or so.  When I opened the house this evening you could smell the scent of wet desert.  I'm not sure that it is wet but somewhere in the valley it must be so.  I took the dog out and it was dry here; desert areas must take their turns getting wet.

Watched a few weeks of Top Chef Just Desserts - I'm still on the fence about watching it some more.  I love the idea that we might have more desserts around  here but these folks can be pretty over the top.  (In a good way, of course!)  They are talking center-pieces; wedding cakes & that kind of stuff.  In one episode they had to do stuff for a high school bake sale & a few failed totally.  Hell, even I could manage a brownie for a bake sale!  Granted I might use a mix......

Tried frying some my carnitas for use in a taco for dinner; didn't have the heart to fry them enough I guess and it was a soggy mess.  A tasty soggy mess, granted, but not my fave!  Gotta keep learning; maybe next lifetime I'll know more.

Hope your weekend was a good one. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Made it, kind of.....

We did make it to Las Vegas the other day but didn't really spend any money and didn't get my National Park Pass either.  Wandered around looking at things but nothing was quite right so we kept our money.  All we got was tired.  The only money we spent was for lunch and that was pretty reasonable.  Went to BJ's Brewhouse.  It's a chain out here in the West that we'd never visited before.  They have some lunch specials for $8-10 that are pretty good.  Having lunch for $20 plus tip isn't bad!  Not drinking at lunch does make it more affordable!

I've been trying to cut back on the amount I drink and lunch is an easy one.  Especially if we are in Las Vegas, I don't need to be drinking then driving in the crazy town then driving the 60 miles (100km) back home.  We used to have a couple of drinks with lunch just as a matter of course.  Not doing that has to be good for my health as well as my wealth.  I do like a couple of glasses of wine with dinner though and late at night a scotch tastes pretty good.  I'm getting better at moderating the whole thing though.

Thursday was fun; I went to the dermatologist and he found three moles to remove.  I'll find out in a couple weeks if they were just ugly or if they were nasty as well.  It was all pretty painless.  You get a shot near the area; there was a slight prick but nothing much.  Then in comes the doctor with a scalpel, slice and it's gone.  Then there is a little pop and the smell of burning flesh as he cauterizes the wound.  A band-aid on each, a pat on the hand and you are out of there. 

It just keeps getting better!  Gotta go check out the supermarket.  Have a good one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back to the big city....

Off to Las Vegas again today.  This time it's for fun!  Well, kind of.  Our daughter emailed her mom the other day saying that she would like to shop for a few things for their cruise the next time she's in Pahrump.  My wife responded "What do you want from WalMart?".  That really is about our only option.  There is an Ace Hardware/General Store but the only clothing you can get is athletic uniforms and sneakers.  There is a place where you can get 'gangsta' crap; a place that sells used clothing but that's about it.  If you want a towel; you'd better like what they have in WalMart.

This isn't really a complaint.  We knew when we bought the house that frequent trips to Las Vegas would be part of our lives.  It is actually a part that we like.  Las Vegas is there but it's far enough that it's quiet out here.  We walk in the morning in the desert, not on sidewalks.  We see the mountains, not a bunch of houses.  We think 6 cars in front of us is a traffic jam.  We are 'regulars' at the casino for breakfast.  We are home.

I"m going to take my camera and I hope to come back with something I can share on the blog.  NOT a 'seen at WalMart' kind of photo but maybe something a little classier.  "Seen at Best Buy?"  LOL  No, maybe something more like Red Rock Canyon.  Hmmm, I'm over 62; I should stop by and get my Senior pass.  Just another day of life in the fast lane.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Colonoscopy - Part 2

Went in to Vegas yesterday afternoon to get the results of the colonoscopy.  Forgive me if this is more than you wanted to know but ... well, frankly, it's important.  The two polyps that were removed were flat, pre-cancerous polyps.  That means that they are difficult to spot and more difficult to remove.  The big deal though is that if I hadn't had the colonoscopy, in a couple years I would have colon cancer.  Damn it, get checked!  Don't wait, don't say maybe next year, just do it.  The doctor wants to see me in another three years.  So I'm drinking that cool-aid.

After that little visit, we went out to dinner.  Went to the same place we went with our daughter a couple weeks ago.  My wife had mussels and clams; I had a chicken pasta dish.  She was happy; I thought it was ok but not out of the park.  Drove home arriving about 21:00.  I think it's the 2nd time we've used the headlights at night on the car!  LOL Don't get out much do we?

Thought I'd end with a happy note.  We got used to buying flowers for the house when we lived in Europe.  Here's our latest bouquet.

And if you will forgive my vanity in posting a self-portrait:


Have a good one!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quiet Sunday

All right, it's just not right.  I haven't heard a single thing about today being 10/10/10.  Sorry, I just had to say it.  My wife and I both noticed and we aren't all that hot on numerology.  Isn't the world supposed to end or something?

Had a nice quiet day.  Started with our walk then went to the casino for breakfast.  Snowbirds are coming back to Nevada (or at least through it) and the place was crowded.  The Las Vegas paper says August gaming revenue was up so that's good news for the state.  It doesn't do anything for the housing market but in time it should help. 

This afternoon I did my carnitas.  The pork shoulder I bought was bigger than we needed so I have some meat left over.  Don't know what that will become but it should be interesting.  Right now I'm thinking chili but we'll see.  The last time I got inventive I made ham and bean soup using pinto beans instead of navy beans.  It tastes ok but looks like something the dog threw up.  Nasty! 

Gotta go.  I'm going to try using the charcoal grill again tonight.  I expect an ass-whipping but maybe my luck will change.  Have a good one!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Back to normal?

Normal is one of those words that doesn't say much but I think we are 'back to normal'.  Got up this a.m. and walked.  Found more stones we are using to outline the driveway.  It was only about 50F (10C) when we walked but it is warming up nicely.  Should hit 85F (30C) or so today and warmer early next week.  This is pretty nice weather for us so we are doing what we can outside.  We do have a breeze but nothing like those tornadoes they had in Northern Arizona a couple of days ago.  Then we showered, had breakfast; normal sorts of things.  Yesterday we did most of the cleaning we wanted to do in our trailer so this morning we finished that up then put the trailer back in it's shelter.  It will probably be there until after the holidays.  Then I wandered around town spending money like we have it.  Didn't buy anything special just everyday necessities.  (As long as you include scotch as a necessity!)

I bought a big chunk of pork shoulder to make carnitas.  I think that means something like 'little meats' in Spanish.  My version is taken from a comment left on a version listed on Epicurious.Com.  The guy gave a rough account of his version and I've gone from there.  I use pork but I've seen recipes that used beef.  There is a fair amount of fat but after it sits in the fridge it's easy enough to remove.  I'm sure it is too Americanized for many folks but we sure like it.  The Rotel and the chili powder gives it a very mild spice.  It is very moist; traditionally you fry it to dry it out if you want it in tacos.  My wife makes homemade salsa so we can always spice it up.

pork roast - cut up roughly
1 can reduced sodium chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel original
1t curry powder
1t chili powder
1t oregano
1t ground cumin

Salt & peppered the pork & gave it a 2 minute brown.  Cooked for about 2 hours; broke up the meat with a spoon & served.  Turned out just delicious.  Good flavor.

Have a good one!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Couldn't resist!

Another Sharon Angle idea:  Muslims are taking over cities in the US.  Will the people of Nevada actually elect this nutbag?  I sure hope not.  I'd just as soon see some real change in the Congress but I'd like someone a little more mainstream to represent me.  I got an email from someone the other day with this idea.  Now here is an idea that I do like!

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they didn't pay into Social Security, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for  sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do  not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. 


Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution  

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States".

Home again, naturally!

Well, obviously I made it through the procedure which is terribly minor on the scale of things.  Loved all the comments.  Poor Croft, no more popsicles!  Here they are recommended so our insurance covers them for us older people.  Maybe you aren't old enough!  No results yet, I get those  late Monday when I see the quack again.  And, as it happens, I gained .2 lb according to the Wii.  So I don't know what to say.  I'm more full of it than ever?  Laxatives don't help my problem?

The procedure was done at a Catholic hospital and my wife was saying about when she was a girl the Catholic hospitals were run by actual nuns; habits and all.  Here there wasn't a habit in sight.  It does me good to go some place like that to be reminded that everything done by a religious organization is not bad.  Of course reading in the paper about some nitwit who is protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in the middle east didn't do me any good.  Apparently this asshole thinks that since the US is becoming less homophobic we are going against his religion and that's the reason these young people are being killed.  Apparently if we started stringing up gays and lesbians our troops would be unassailable.  Or something equally asinine.  Glad I got that dose of 'religion can be good' to keep me somewhat sane.

 We are going to clean the rig today and put it away in it's shelter.  It's been sitting out beside the house waiting to be cleaned and we've just been too lazy to bother.  That reminds me that I've got two, and only two, photos to share from our San Diego jaunt.  The first is of the Point Loma Lighthouse.  It was neat to visit; when it was first erected it was a day's travel to get back to San Diego.  Now, of course, it is surrounded by one of the nicer residential areas.



The second is a reminder of the military presence in San Diego.  It is a magnificent natural harbor and the Navy has made good use of it.  We saw a ship coming into the harbor as we were leaving the light house.  It was foggy; making for very poor photos of both the lighthouse and the ship but I tried!


Between Point Loma and San Diego is a Naval reservation and a huge national cemetary. I wanted to take some photos of the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery but couldn't find a good opportunity.  It is huge and very beautiful.  It would be a lovely place to while away eternity with a great view of San Diego, the bay and the airfield.  Come to find out one of my wife's ex-father-in-laws is buried there.  Ex-Navy, of course!  The cemetery is still in use.  In fact, we stopped at a Subway for lunch and at the next table were two members of an Honor Guard getting re-fueled for another funeral.  It must be an honor to participate but depressing as well. 

Have a good one!  I'm going to go take a walk.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Fall!

Fall has arrived in Pahrump.  It was 49 degrees (F) this a.m.  That's 9C for all you linear thinkers in the rest of the world.  We aren't expecting it to last long; it has been so slow in coming we expect it to be wintery pretty soon.  When we took our morning walk I needed a sweatshirt. And I got a little more exercise that I was expecting; we collected some largish rocks, about the size of a loaf of bread.

As I've said before, our yard is entirely rock with only 4 small cacti.  The fact is though that all rock is not created equal.  There is driveway rock and decorative rock; many different decorative rocks in fact.  The driveway rock has some clay mixed in with it causing it to compact really well so it can support being driven on better than just decorative rock.  Our problem is that people can't tell the difference easily so they are driving on the decorative rock which pushes the rock down in the dirt and it will just go away.  So we've decided to line the driveway with large rock so people will know where to drive.  The thing is that walking 2.5 miles is not too difficult but carrying large rocks in your hands for the last half makes it a lot more daunting!  I'm going to have one hellova handshake by the time we get the drive lined.  We are also outlining the different kinds of decorative rock with medium sized rock (fist size) but those aren't nearly as difficult as the driveway markers.

We had rain the other night.  It rained hard for about 10 minutes then it was gone but the smell remained for a couple of days.  It's funny how there is a smell to rain.  You don't notice it in most places but it is very obvious in the desert.  The next morning it was dry enough that we could take our usual walk out in the desert.  (We go a block on our street then we are out on a dirt track across the desert.)  The dirt was all loose; no longer packed down by traffic it was like we were explorers in a new world.  Then the next day it was fun to follow our own tracks.  The dog gets a big kick out of ranging far and wide at first but by the time we are headed home she is tired and comes to heel without being told.

My only other news is that I'm having a colonoscopy tomorrow morning.  Today is the day for laxatives; what fun!  Here's hoping the doctor doesn't find anything nasty and I get turned loose for another five years.  I was careful to weigh myself this morning so I can find exactly how full of it I am really.  I MAY share that news or not. 

Have a good one!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Home!

Sorry for the absence but I've been long gone.  We headed off to San Diego to visit our son last Wednesday.  It was a too-quick trip; leaving on the Saturday.  We drove to Las Vegas on Sunday; then spend Monday and Tuesday in the city; to come home on Wednesday.  In retrospect it was way too short a time but what do I know! 

Got to visit Point Loma; the site of a famous lighthouse and hear a lot of Navy activity.  My wife's family has been in the Navy for generations so she's loving that.  My dad was in the Navy in WWII that's my only connection.  It was fun looking at the lighthouse though and thinking of those poor people who were at that time a day's travel from San Diego. We did get to take our son & his SO out to dinner; they chose a steakhouse that's been around for a while  Perhaps, too long.  Anyway, everyone else had a good experience and my steak was at least ok. 

The approximately 350 mile trip there and back would take 70 gallons of diesel at $3 a gallon.  The campground was $27 a night so the whole thing was in the $300 range.  My wife will have exact figures later but that's pretty close.

The reason for returning to Las Vegas rather than here was twofold:  my wife needed shopping time for the cruise she is taking with our daughter and I had an appointment for my colonoscopy.  The wife managed to do great with shopping; unusual for her as I have mentioned before, and the doctor was ok except for the amount of laxative he prescribed for me to have before my procedure.  Yeah, I know; it's gotta be drunk but it is still a real experience.

Went to dinner with our daughter to a fish place:  King's Fish House.  It's a small chain that is mostly in California.  Wife had swordfish, daughter a blackened salmon and I had salmon cakes:  it was pretty good but no dish really called out to us.  The swordfish was rather small; the blackened salmon wasn't all that blackened and the salmon cakes were thin on the promised mustard sauce.  I'll go back but will try to look for just plain fish. The fish WAS nice, fresh and well cooked.

Anyway, now we are back in Pahrump and, wonder of wonders, there isn't any news about the DA drinking,  Maybe tomorrow.  So, until tomorrow, have a great day/week.''

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Better!

My back has finally gotten tired of making my life miserable and is pretty much 'back to normal'.  Sorry, I couldn't stop myself.

Went into Vegas yesterday to do some shopping.  My wife has this odd idea that all her clothes shouldn't come from Walmart!  She is a most unusual woman.  Not only does she put up with me but she hates shopping.  Honestly.  I do almost all the everyday shopping and the only reason I don't buy her clothes is because the sizes are all different.  If she could she'd order stuff via the internet and never go into a store.  However, she desperately needs some clothing for a cruise she and our daughter are taking in October so we decided to look.  MUCH to my surprise, we scored 4 pieces of clothing.  This is a woman who wears things for years.  We were talking about buying her a new belt; she has 2 and they are at least 20 years old.  Weird gal but I love her.

Saw a story today about Jimmy Carter; he's got a new book out and is mouthing off trying to make it interesting.  I kind of liked him but never thought too much of his Presidency.  One thing I have heard that I expect is true (because of the source) but haven't verified is that he set the rules for the use of uranium so that once it is used it must be discarded.  Other countries allow the re-use thereby reducing the amount of waste that they create.  Odd if he did that since he was a naval officer and took part in the nuclear submarine program and should have known more about the technology than almost any President.  Who knows!  I was looking him up in Wikipedia and it reminded me that when he ran for re-election one of his opponents was John Anderson.  Hell, I voted for John Anderson!  How's that for a historical fact that no one cares about?

As you can tell, I don't have much to say today.  Have a good one anyway!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Oh my aching back

Friday morning I woke feeling fine.  Went out to the garage to add a little paint to a shelf I've been working on.  That done I came back in and somehow my back started bothering me.  By noon I could barely walk and by 14:00 I was helping myself to some prescription pain killers I got about nine months ago.  Not a good day.

Today I am considerably better but still at only about 75% effectiveness.  Odd stuff this getting older.  And not always fun.  Hope you are having a better day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Exciting day yesterday

Yesterday was pretty exciting by my standards.  We started the morning with our usual 2+ mile walk (3.5km or so) then decided to try planting some of that cactus that we bought at the Springs.  Now that was life in the fast lane!  Too fast for me actually.  First we have to scrape the rocks away, then dig the hole, then make sure it 'perks' then put in the plant.  Sounds ok but the dirt we have here has a lot of clay in it.  Since it is dry, it is hard clay.  Very hard clay.  Digging four holes a foot deep was more than enough work for me. The plants are in very dry soil so, of course, the root ball on one just fell apart.  We finally managed to get it planted but we are only hoping that it will survive the rough handling.  By 09:30 we were both exhausted and even a shower didn't revive us.  I think I drank a gallon of water too.

As if that weren't enough excitement, I got to visit with another blogger.  Ed is a full time rv'er who has decided to make Pahrump his legal residence.  I've been reading his blog, Peregrinating Graybeard, for some time.  He's traveled widely and had some interesting experiences.  And, yes, he sure does have a gray beard.  We met at one of the casinos and talked for an hour and a half or so.  If I hadn't had some errands to do it would have been much longer.  I also got to see his rv; an absolutely immaculate class C.  Not that it was a surprise since I've read his blog but it was pleasure to meet such an articulate and thoughtful person.

Two posts in one day.  What's getting into me?  Have a good one.

OMG

This morning on Yahoo there is a story about Gov. Ed Rendel of Pennsylvania being embarrassed by some homeland security memos suggesting that there might be violence at all kinds of ordinary protest meetings.  I was so happy to hear an official saying this:

"I am deeply embarrassed and I apologize to any of the groups who had this information disseminated on their right to peacefully protest," Rendell said at an evening Capitol news conference.

Rendell called the practice "ludicrous" and said the fact that the state was paying for such rudimentary information was "stunning."
All too often our officials think they can run roughshod over basic human rights in the name of 'security'.  Thank goodness that there is at least one person in authority who remembers the constitution.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vegas Baby!

We made the trip 'over the hump' to Las Vegas yesterday.  The occasion was the Springs Preserve fall plant sale. When we bought this house there were 20 or so dead trees planted around the yard.  The previous owners had purchased trees that need irrigation then hadn't provided any.  Duh!  We want plants that, after they get started, will not require watering.  Or at least not much!  Cacti!  This way we can still travel and not worry about the irrigation system dying.  In Florida it seemed that all we had to do was think about taking a trip and the sprinklers would start having problems.

I've not been to the Preserve before and we didn't visit it this time but now I am going to make it a priority.  It looks like a great place with lots of information about this area.  And they had some lovely plants for sale.  There were enough people for me but one of the guys working there said the spring sale is when they have many, many more people.  Ain't that great.  Anyway, now we have four different plants awaiting the big day when they taste the soil on this side of the mountain.

We also got in lunch and a little shopping.  I even got an early birthday present:  a micro hi-fi by Sony for my den.  Now I'm loving Bolero as I type.  The speakers on this laptop just are not the same and wearing earbuds all the time hurts my ears.

Gotta go.  It's my day to cook dinner - pork roast on the barbie, salad and a vegie.  Have a good one.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More quiet times....

It certainly doesn't surprise me that we are having some quiet times these days.  We seem to need quiet times more, the more we have them (if that makes any sense).  Besides the news gives us lots of excitement.

Our local District Attorney Bob Beckett was found "asleep behind the wheel" of his county vehicle.  Here's the local paper version.  When tested both at the scene and later at the station his blood alcohol was almost half again the legally drunk level of .08.  Where was he?  On one of the many streets that has been platted but is just a light coating of gravel going out into the desert.  There is nothing there folks and while I have no idea of where Mr. Beckett lives, you can bet it isn't out there!

In April 2009, he pleaded guilty in California to misdemeanor reckless driving in conjunction to two accidents in the same day; as part of his probation he is not to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in his bloodstream.  I'm waiting for the next episode of this farce. And just to add a certain touch, he was reported by Heidi Fleiss whom you may remember as a famous Hollywood madam. 

Also in local news one of our County Commissioners, Butch Borasky, is having trouble with the Ethics Commission.  Seems he may not have been as out of the construction business as he claimed.  He is awaiting a hearing. 

With all of this you would think I couldn't get past the local news but.....   Well, there is that idiot in Florida who wants to burn a Quran.  Jeez, I know Muslims attacked us on 9/11 but that is no reason to shit all over their entire religion.  I'm an atheist; I think all religions are wrong in their beliefs about God/Allah or whoever.  But that doesn't mean I'm going to go burn Qurans or bibles or any other religious tract.  I believe in live and let live.  Disrespecting another's beliefs IS something I'm against.  And I don't care what weird thing you believe.  It's the American way!

I did manage to read one national headline:  "Obama:  Voter anger could hurt Dems in elections".  OMG, imagine that!  By God (the one I don't believe in), you just can't keep things from that man. 


Have a good one.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

OMG!

Rain!  First in a long while though Vegas did get some a few weeks ago.  This was the view on our morning walk before the rain.

And here is the water gushing off our roof.


It's not exactly like the water coming off the roof when we lived in Florida but it works for us.  The air is filled with the smell of rain.  I guess the smell was there in Florida as well but it seems much more intense here.

Have a good one.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Whining

Here's what our local Fox affiliate thinks the weather is going to be like in Vegas for the next week:

I'm loving it!  There is a pawn shop in Vegas that contributed $100 to a charity every day it was over 100F (38C) - I think they are right at $6,000 now.  It's a bit cooler here but not much!

I heard some woman on the radio this a.m. suggest that we should fly the flag on 11 September to remember the 'heros' who died that day.  I think that is so stupid!  Those people are victims, not heros.  People who can't tell the difference need to spend some serious time learning what a real hero is.  It's not someone who is killed at work; it might apply to the firefighters and cops who lost their lives but it sure doesn't apply to the guy sitting at his desk playing a video game  rather than working.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Just for fun....

The sun is pretty strong around here. Here is a sign that's just around the corner from our house. Thankfully it's not much of a turn.


This poor sign has clearly seen better days.  Maybe that's why the county put another below it.

That Dead End is clearly dying. 

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hot again

First a dog update.  She came through the surgery just fine and seems to be back to her happy self even though she has a six inch scar on her chest and a fair sized hole on her right rear leg.  She's been throwing up though so we aren't totally happy.  The vet thinks it may be a delayed reaction to the drugs she's been given so we are giving her chicken broth & keeping her on the tile!

I've talked of the Senate race here in Nevada.  The Republican candidate is fairly popular out here in the sticks; I saw this sign on the lawn of one of her supporters.  The funny thing I see here is that like her politics, her sign leans to the right.  Honest, this is straight on; I didn't tilt the camera at all!


Her web site here has some interesting stuff on it. Statements like:

On Energy: America must build upon her vast coal and natural gas resources to expand our domestic oil resources.

Now just how does using coal and natural gas resources expand our domestic oil resources? Doesn't make sense to me but it was only a bullet point so maybe she has an idea here that the website didn't make plain.

On Taxation: She sponsored the Angle Property Tax Restraint Initiative (aka Nevada's Prop 13) which placed a hard cap on property tax increases that future Legislatures could not repeal.

I am just basically against laws that 'cannot be repealed'. I prefer more flexibility rather than less in almost everything. We have to pay for all the wonderful government we are getting somehow.

National Security: She supports strong sanctions against rogue nations that export, support or harbor terrorism and believes that we must do whatever necessary to protect America from terrorism.

I'm actually ok with sanctions against nations that harbor terrorists; and I much prefer sanctions to going to war. It is that phrase 'whatever is necessary' that bothers me. Already this anti-terrorist terror has resulted in phone taps that are not approved by a court; incredible bureaucracy; travel restrictions and I don't know what else. Anyone expect these rules to go away soon? I sure don't.

Family Values: Sharron worked to pass the Constitutional Protection of Marriage Act in Nevada, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

I'm just against this. If a religion wants to mandate marriage as between male and female; fine. I don't think it is the business of the U.S. government.

Gotta go. Have a good one!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dog days....

We had a tough day today though perhaps things will work out ok.  Our dog, Sammie, had an operation about three years ago.  She had two different cancers; one on her chest another on her abdomen.  Today she had another operation to remove a fatty mass from her chest.  It is in almost the exact same spot as one of her cancers.  The doctor wasn't too happy about getting all of the mass.  We didn't bother to have it analyzed; we'll know soon enough anyway if it was cancerous or not.  The dog is home now but is still pretty sleepy from the drugs.  I don't like the helpless feeling I get when all I can do is wait. 

That's a tee shirt she is wearing; she can't really get at the site of the incision but she is leaking a bit of blood.  She had a sort of wart on her rear leg and the doctor took that off as well.  I'll update the blog as things go along.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Idiots!

We are surrounded by idiots.  Sometimes it is just more apparent than others.  Here's a sign here in town.


First, I'm in only in favor of lawful felony's; those unlawful ones can lead one to spend time in the pokey.  Secondly, I've no idea what 'abandon or cruelty' means.  And why do you have a big sign about cruelty to animals?  Doesn't everyone know it's illegal?  Or is that one of those lawful felonies? 

The sigh, by the way, was placed between the lanes of a divided road which eventually widens into a small local park.  Go town sign planter!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BS!

Yahoo Finance has an article today about the Hindenburg Omen which is supposed to warn of a stock market downturn.  What is it?  Here's what they say.
    * -- The daily number of NYSE new 52-week highs and the daily number of new 52-week lows must both be greater than 2.2% of total NYSE issues traded that day.
    * -- The NYSE's 10-week moving average is rising.
    * -- The McClellan Oscillator (a technical measure of "overbought" vs. "oversold" conditions) is negative on that same day.
    * -- New 52-week highs cannot be more than twice the new 52-week lows. This condition is absolutely mandatory.

Now I don't know if you remember what I think about statistics but my opinion is pretty low and it gets lower with every increase in complexity.  You gotta know the Hindenburg Omen is down there a ways!  I don't have much time for stock market chartists anyway.  I just keep remembering the disclaimer on every prospectus:  past performance is no guarantee of future results.  If you are that worried that the market is going to go down (and of course it will from time to time), then get out.  Back after the dot-com meltdown a friend said his father had lost about a third of his money and was taking the remainder out of the market for good.  Doing that, he missed out on a great rally but maybe he slept better knowing his money was safe.  Whatever works for you!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Duh, just special stuff

It's just a great day here in the world.  Here's a link to some idiot who thought there was easy money to be had in day trading without any knowledge whatsoever.  Jeez, this idiot is certainly going to get off the hook but why?  Ignorance is just ignorance and this guy is way too dim to procreate!  At least the government should cut off his balls.

Tiger Wood's wife has finally dumped him.  Why should this be news to anyone?  Jeez!  He is such an idiot!  Granted she was way idealistic but don't we all want to expect the best from our spouse? 

Went into Vegas yesterday to get a tire replaced on the truck.  We were driving along in Oregon when we had a choice:  either every road we were traveling over was total crap or we had something wrong with the truck.  After some discussion with my BIL, we actually looked at the tire and you could see a bulge in the sidewall.  NOT GOOD!  We put the spare on.  Many miles later, the guy at the dealership just took a quick look and started finding me a new tire.  It took all afternoon but I have to say he managed it.  Good on you Gaudin Ford!

That Mexican weather I was grouching about is finally about to dissipate.  We have clouds and 20% humidity, a chance of rain (not likely!) and the weekend is forecast to be in the 90's (~36C)!  Ok!  Works for me!  Here's what our sky looked like tonight.

 
Hmmm, we might make it through this summer after all!  Have a good one.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quiet Sunday

We were scheduled to have the daughter and her latest boyfriend here today but they canceled for some reason.  We've never met the guy but generally she has pretty good taste in guys so we aren't too worried.  Having the day to ourselves, we were both extremely lazy.  I surfed a good part of the day and my wife watched tv.  Life in the extra-slow lane.

I'm going to try my luck with the charcoal bbq again tonight.  My victim will be a pork tenderloin that  we found in the freezer.  You know, I was over 60 before getting the bright idea to itemize what was in the freezer.  Jeez, talk about slow!  Anyway, we have these cryovac'd tenderloins so we are coming up with three different ways to serve them.  I'm a little worried because we have quite a wind going today.  It's hot but breezy; weatherbonk says 17 mph and I believe them; at least!  I'll do indirect heat using only the briquette charcoal.  That lump stuff is for experimentation when I get better with the stuff I used to know.

There is a nice piece in the Vegas paper entitled "To insult idiots, call them 'politicians'" The guy is so 'right on' it's amazing.  Of course we have people like President Obama who came into his job with a pretty good rating and now he's in Bush country.  If only he'd stop waffling and do something!  There was a story this week about the last combat troops leaving Iraq; of course there are still a few thousand 'advisers'.  Bah humbug!

There's a line in 'Pride and Prejudice' that I love:  "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?''  The thing about politics in the US is that while it is absurd, the same is true for other countries.  Belgium, for example, can hardly remain one country it is so divided between the Flemish and the Walloons.  Australia is doing it's part by not electing a majority government; much as the UK did a few months ago.  In the UK they seem to have found a temporary agreement, let's hope Australia can follow their lead.  What would we do without politics to complain about?

Have a good week.

UPDATE:  I must admit to a small success in my war with charcoal.  The tenderloin was a tad dry but not bad at all.  Maybe next time I'll have the courage to top it with some bacon?  It was 97F (36C) while I was out watching the bbq; I was sweating lightly but the breeze caused the perspiration to dry almost immediately making me comfortable or even slightly chilly.  Amazing!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harry Reid?

There is an election scheduled for November and the newspapers are full of the race for our Senate seat; it's between Harry Reid, the incumbent, and Sharon Angle, his Republican challenger.  Here in rural Nevada it's likely that Ms. Angle will carry the day since people out here are generally more conservative than in the cities.  Of course there are a lot more people in the cities so....  However, in addition to being one of the power elite which is not a good thing this year, Harry has managed to piss a lot of people off by his associations with President Obama.

We have tons of signs around town for candidates for various offices but very few for either state or national positions.  I did find one for Harry Reid which, unfortunately, has been the victim of graffiti.



A couple of blocks farther along is this sign; not so professional but full of meaning.

I don't know but Harry might be in trouble around here.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mountain!

I'm trying to pretty the place up a bit so added a photo of Mt. Charleston; the view diagonally out my office window.  It may or may not stay; but I'm happy about it for a first effort. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Darned Mexicans!

Now if it wasn't enough that we've got this illegal immigration problem, the weather man says the Mexican's are sending us up some warmer weather!  Jeez!  Low 100's today (39+C); another 5 or 8 degrees (42+C) later this week.  Grrrr!  Even the people who've been here a while are getting tired of it.

I was reading that the Mexican President has said perhaps they should consider legalizing some drugs, like marijuana specifically.  His justification is he wants to reduce all the violence that the drug cartels are causing.  I think legalization makes perfect sense.  The country could tax it and we could all go over the border and have a quick joint if we wanted.  Hell, it would probably increase tourism 200%.  (I can just see Croft trying to figure out how to stay there year round.  LOL  Just kidding!)  Actually, we ought to legalize in this country as well.  Logically we'd have to let about 25% of the people out of our prisons (since they were in for something that was no longer a crime) but that savings wouldn't be too painful to the states and the tax income from the weed would be most welcome. 

These hot days I'm spending my energy trying to figure out how to cook things without warming the house.  The crockpot is in use as is the bbq.  I got my first gas bbq about 20 years ago; before that I was a charcoal guy.  Now I've decided to try charcoal again but it's kicking my ass!  I think I've complained about it before but it's still killing me.  Made a real rookie mistake the other night.  Put a pork loin on that I'd made slits in for little pieces of garlic.  I'd done something similar on the gas grill just a couple weeks ago and it was great!  Unfortunately, I forgot that the charcoal grill is much cooler and didn't sear the meat the way the gas did.  Ended up with a fairly dry pork loin.  Bah humbug.  Like I say, a rookie mistake.  Next time I'll just put the garlic on the outside and we should be good to go.

I'm also trying 'real charcoal' aka lump charcoal.  The stuff that doesn't fall through the grate burns pretty quickly and the charcoal I add doesn't really take off well.  It's to the point that I stopped and bought some Kingsford briquettes yesterday.  I've never used lump charcoal before so going back to something that I have at least used before ought to help with this re-learning process.  I spend quite a bit of time on the BBQ forum but some of those folks are really close to professionals!  Not that they aren't helpful, it's just they are on a whole different level. 

Gotta go.  Tonight I'm the garlic bread guy to my wife's pasta cooking.  Hopefully I won't screw that up.  Have a good one.