Monday, April 30, 2012

Not the best news...

We took the dog to the vet today to have the stitches removed from her surgery two weeks ago.  Three of the cuts have healed very nicely but the one on her chest is giving us some worry.  The vet explained that the mass they removed was neither liquid nor really a solid.  Again they could not remove all of the mass because it is too closely associated with the muscles of her chest.  She was also worried that the skin might be affected and that the wound might not heal.  Well, the skin has healed but there is still something distending the skin and making it warmer to the touch that it should be.  So the dog is on antibiotics again and we'll be stopping by the pharmacy this afternoon for more pills.  Well, at least we are only worrying about a dog!

I'm still copying old photos.  I think I've found most of the loose photos so now I'm starting in on those in albums.  We bought an Epson V500 Photo scanner for this project and so far I'm pretty happy with it.  I copied nearly 2,000 35mm slides.  It does four at a time; the downside it that it's pretty slow.  It takes pretty close to a minute a slide.  Enough time for the user to get really bored!  Photos also take about a minute but, because there is only one, it doesn't seem as bad.  I must be pushing a couple thousand of those as well.  This is a landscape that I took on a trip to England in 1990.  It was scanned from a standard 4x6 print (about 10 cm x 15cm).  The resultant image takes up 246k bytes.

Here is a slide from a 1981 trip to Leavenworth, Washington.  It runs to 300kb.

So I'm pretty happy with the scanner.  It's not archival quality or anything but my photos aren't either.  I do have a certain number of photos of the kids that would make perfect blackmail material if I were so inclined.  Big hair from the 1980's, leisure suits and cowboy outfits are the 'nice' photos!  I'm not worrying over much about removing dust or anything though if I spot something truly nasty I'll try removing it.  One photo, probably taken about 1965, had a fingerprint on it.  You didn't really notice it on the photo but the scanned version had a print good enough for the FBI.  The only real downside that I've found is that unusual sizes of film confuse the scanner.  I have some old 120 size slides and there doesn't seem to be a way to get the scanner to recognize it as a slide. 

I've got to say that going through these photos has given me some detective work.  Most are not marked as to year or subject or anything so I have to try to remember - when was I in Hibbing, MN or Farview Point (elevation 8819)?  It's kind of searching out those old memories helped along by the marvels of the internet.  The problem really arises when I don't remember the people!  There's no help for that.  I'd better get back to it though.  Have a good one!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Am I here?

Today I got an interesting email from Google-Blogger.  They are under the impression that I haven't accessed my account since 2007.  Hmmm.  Here is what they say:  "You are receiving this message because your email address is associated with an unmigrated legacy Blogger account. As we announced in April of last year, legacy accounts will no longer be accessible after May 30th, 2012 unless they are updated to the Google Account system. Any blog content associated with this account will also be unmodifiable after that date." 

So I haven't any idea what is actually going to happen here.  I'm playing with the addresses they offer for correcting the problem but am not really getting anywhere.  Actually, it might be a good idea to dump this blog entirely and create a new one whose name isn't 'tampabaystuff' - after all, it's 2,334 miles (3,756 km) away from here!  If I disappear, I'll be looking for something like 'nyecountydiary' for my new blog.  Just a warning!

We've had a lot of wind and cloud activity lately so I took the opportunity to make a run into Las Vegas.  Spent my usual $$$ in the liquor store then looked all over for semolina flour.  Jeez!  It took a visit to Whole Foods to find the darned stuff.  My wife has a pasta roller accessory for her Kitchen Aid and tried making pasta from ordinary flour.  It was really very nice but she wanted to up the ante to semolina.  Well, six or eight supermarkets later, I found a small packet of the stuff.  I probably spent more on gas going from store to store looking for it than I did for the actual product!  Anyway, I'll be able to report on the resultant pasta one of these days. 

I also took the opportunity to check out some of the stores we don't have; places like Best Buy (electronics) and Target (general merchandise).  It's funny but as I grow older I seem more resistant to the siren call of buying 'stuff'.  Well, we can hope anyway!  Bottom line is that I wandered through all those wonderful electronic gadgets and all and managed to spend nothing at all.  Cool! 

Today we have a return to calm and sunny weather so I'm going to spend some quality time working on the benches for our new seating area.  I've got one finished; two to go.  I'll post a photo when I get them done and installed.  Getting away from the computer is a good thing!  Have a good one.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Interesting Guy

Reading Ed's blog I read about another blogger (amazing huh?) named Fred Reed.  He is a writer who lives in Mexico and is putting his ideas about life into his blog.  I've dipped into his stuff here and there and find him quite interesting.  Not to say that I agree with his every word but he's got some interesting takes on life.  I just read one that kind of spoke to me.  It's about illegals coming into this country from Central America or Mexico and how difficult the journey can be for an uncomfortable existence in this country.  It spoke to me because my father-in-law's father was such a person.

I don't know much of his story but I know a little.  This guy came over the border in the 1920's or even a little earlier.  He figured that the best way to not get sent back was to be as far from the border as he could.  Personally I think he kind of overdid it; he went to South Dakota!  Somewhere he met an Irish immigrant woman and they married and had the kid that grew up to be my father-in-law.  They were dirt-poor farmers; working for maybe a share of the crop.  Even when he was a small child my father-in-law was working with his parents or doing something to provide for the family.  Farming, hunting, trapping, gathering berries or weeds or whatever, the young man did not have an easy life.  Most of the time they had a house but there were times when they lived in a dis-used railroad car.  If you don't know South Dakota; it can be 95F (35C) in the summer and -20F (-29C) in the winter.  That's a hell of poor excuse for a home.  Eventually the FIL joined the Navy and made his way in the world.  I'm not even sure when his parents passed away but Fred's words reminded me vividly of his story.

We are having a short spell of almost ideal weather.  It's in the mid 60's (18C) at night; almost 90F (32C) in the late afternoon.  We open the windows at night then close up about 09:00.  The house remains comfortable without any air conditioning.  We have eaten out on the porch the last two nights; last night we brought out some of the newly painted boards for our new seating area and enjoyed the sunset in comfort.  It's been a long time getting put together (and isn't quite done yet) but that seating area is going to be great.  The porch deflects a lot of heat from the southern aspect of the house but it does hold the heat for quite a while in the evening.  Being out away from the house is much more comfortable.

I'll close with a photo of a magnet we have on the car.  It's one of the Libertarian ideas we agree with.  The United States needs to get over this idea that we are the policemen of the world.  Have a good one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tough week

This has been a pretty tough week for us though in the grand scale of things it's a gnat's eyebrow hair.  Our dog went in for cancer surgery on Monday and just watching the poor thing is tough.  Here's a photo of her when we got her home.
She had masses removed from her right hip (shown), her left side, the inside of her left leg and from her chest.  The chest one and the one inside her left leg were cancerous.  The other two were not.  She was still pretty out of it when I took this photo.  The blue bandage was to keep her from bleeding all over; though it didn't do much of a job of that.  We were a little worried because she is, after all, eleven years old and for a large dog that's getting up there.  However she seems to be recovering quite well.  Here she is on Wednesday waiting for a treat (her pain medication wrapped in some cheese).
Animals are really quite amazing.

Wednesday morning I met Ed from the blog The Peregrinating Graybeard for breakfast and a chat.  He lives in his class C with his dog Patches.  It's easy to see who rules THAT roost!  Happily she treats her person rather well.  Being an idiot I didn't think of taking any photos.  Maybe next time.  Like many full-timers Ed prefers to park his rig in nice weather and in a couple months it's going to be really warm here so he'll be long gone but he'll be back in the fall.  I'd be doing the same if we were full-timing.

Since I'm doing photos this a.m. I'll close with one of the bird bath.  We usually have a selection of small song birds, a couple doves and maybe one pigeon.  Mostly the bird bath gets ignored; I think we've only seen one bird actually bathing.  This morning though was slightly different, the pigeons were enjoying the bath.  Sorry for the quality of the photo; I was using my cell phone and shooting through the venetian blinds.
Have a good one!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

AWOL - reason DULL

I haven't blogged in quite a while mainly because life has been pretty dull around here.  We did get a little rain yesterday so have light snow on the mountains.  That makes the place look pretty reasonable!  Otherwise I am still on the photo copying jag.  Most of the photos are ones that I actually kind of remember taking but now I'm into the ones that my mother kept; little Donnie (5.5 months old) in the scale being weighed an all that stuff.  What on earth do I do with that mess???
I don't know how other people do it but we have boxes of photos that have never been put in an album; that's what I'm working with.  (We have tons of albums as well but that's in the future!)  It's kind of fun to stick your hand into a box and bring out a packet of photos not knowing what you are going to find.  Sometimes I find my ex-wife - eek!  Sometimes I find the Eiffel Tower in 1999 when they had a countdown to the new millennium going.

On nice days we've been working on benches for our new outdoor seating area.  Here is a photo of the prototype as it stands now.
As you can see, we aren't really into lawn mowing.  The 'T' shaped concrete pad is new as is the seating.  The seating is pretty minimalistic; just boards on top of concrete blocks but we just want to go out there for a drink at sunset so getting too fancy won't work.  It also has to be pretty solid to stay in place when the wind blows.  We'll do a little more work on it, like painting it, but not a lot.  Yet to be discovered/created/decided upon are tables for the ends of each bench and a fire-pit for the center of the 'U'.  Also, in the background, you can see the new spa.  Yes, those are concrete blocks on top of the spa; we've been having heavy winds lately and the top was straining at the clips that keep it anchored.  We figured we'd rather heave the blocks around to get into the spa than to have to chase the top across the road!  The little stumpy posts are electric outlets.  We had to run 240V electric to the spa so ran 120V to each concrete pad at the same time figuring that at some point we'll want it out there.  At the moment we are not thinking of covering either pad but the sun in July might change our minds.  We'll see.

At any rate that's enough of my dullness, have a good one!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Just a thought...

We hear constantly about obesity in America and how eating out is a primary cause.  Today I had an excellent demonstration of that.  We have a all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet here in town called The China Wok.  We never go because we don't eat enough to make it reasonable however we do get take-out from them.  Today I picked up some hot-and-sour soup for my wife and some chicken with broccoli for myself.  My wife has half of her soup left and I have a tupperware full of chicken-broccoli and another full of fried rice.  It's just amazing the amount of food you are offered; yet more amazing that some people actually eat that much!  Wow!

Yesterday we spent the day in Las Vegas.  We went to a place called Bachi Burger for lunch.  It's in a little strip mall well away from the Strip.  They do $7 to $25 hamburgers with an asian twist.  You can get Wagyu beef if you want and toppings include things like kim chee or hoisin mayo or a fried egg.  We each had the $7 burger and split some salt and pepper garlic french fries.  It was all quite good.  They did my wife's burger rare as she requested; mine was also rare though I had requested med-rare.  The fries were tiny - most were about an inch long and thin but they were quite good and the garlic aioli was excellent.  We'll probably go back but I couldn't rate it as fantastic.  The reviews are good, probably better than I would give it but that's what makes a horse race.

We also got to see our daughter's new cat.  She adopted a rescued animal and we think she got a nice little critter.  She's part Siamese with big blue eyes and has six toes on each foot.  The front paws are especially odd with four toes together then a gap and then two more.  Odd looking but the cat seems to have a great personality and is quite friendly.  She's supposed to be four years old and seems quite happy in her new home though she doesn't let our daughter out of her sight for long.

Otherwise we did our usual shopping; coming home with the RAV full of scotch and wine and paper towels and such.  Life in the fast lane!  LOL  It was a bit over 80F (27C) and we were both wearing long pants so we got to run the a/c for the first time this year.  No fear, it will be on every time we start the car before long.

When I can force myself to do it I've been copying old photos to the computer.  It does get dreadfully boring even for me and I took most of them.  Still, having them in digital format means we will be able to share them much more easily.  We haven't decided yet what is going to happen to the photos themselves; I think it will depend on the amount of space required.  I'm already got half a pail full of duplicate photos weeded out.  Anyway, here are a couple from Florida in the 1980's.  Have a good one.