Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Life in the slow lane!

The visiting family wandered off last Sunday so I'm finally catching up with the blogs I read.  It's really amazing how much time I can spend reading about other people’s lives.  You’d think I didn’t have one of my own; life that is.  As it is I’m driving myself nuts trying to figure out what to do with some of our mutual funds.  I know I want to move more into index funds; it’s just that there are so many to choose from!

I can see why some people prefer to have a professional manage their money.  It’s a lot like work.  Fortunately I enjoy it.  Yahoo Finance is my friend.  Our brokers, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade, each have research available as well so if Yahoo doesn’t have the information I want there are other sources I can use.  One of the things I like to check is what companies are owned by the fund.  For example, we own Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX).  One might think that they would hold stocks that might be out of favor with the intent of making lots on them when they recovered.  Well, you’d be wrong.  They own Apple, Google, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney – how much more mainstream can you be?  It gets really fun when you go into the ‘Basic Tech. Analysis’ section and compare the last years price chart of FCNTX vs SPY (an index fund for the S&P 500).  That is when you find that FCNTX sometimes tracks the S&P 500 really closely and sometimes, like now, it falls behind.  So now I’m paying extra for a managed fund that isn’t doing as well as an index.  Grrrrr!

When I’m not grinding my teeth over stuff like that I sometimes get out to work in our yard.  This is weed time in the desert so pulling the big ones and spraying the little ones is my lot these days.  At least it is good exercise.  It’s not very satisfying because they seem to spread faster then you can get rid of them.  There are a couple of guys in our yard that we like:  two cacti that we actually planted.  I’ve started watering them; you are supposed to let them be over the winter.  Here is a photo of the results; new growth.  I’ll try to get more photos after the growth becomes something more.

I guess that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  Thanks for reading.  Have a good one.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yet another AWOL

Well, what can I say, I live a dull life. For example, here is my hot photo of the week.
I woke the other morning to find this little guy resting on the pillar in front of our house.  The glow is from one of our outside lights.  Apparently he just needed a place to stop and catch his breath and doesn't like the dark. 

We have family visiting kind of - my sister-in-law and her husband are staying in their motorhome in one of the local RV parks.  We had been expecting them to stay at our place but apparently they highly prize cable tv which we cannot offer them.  Guess I'll survive the disappointment.  The downside of their visit is that we are eating like we've never seen food.  My wife actually made brownies!  Dessert is NOT something we usually have.  She let me pick the recipe so I chose the one with the most chocolate.  Go figure.  Turns out the SIL isn't all that fond of chocolate, who knew.  Happily her hubby likes it just fine.

I got sent to the store for a few things; basil was one of them.  They had 2 different packages; one really looked a lot better.  Did I bother to read what it said on the outside, hell no!  Turns out what I bought was a little tiny basil plant with a 1 inch square root ball!  Happily there were enough leaves for the recipe and now we have a little basil plant sitting out on the patio.  Hmmm, maybe we'll have an herb garden this year after all.

We managed corned beef and cabbage on St. Paddy's Day - the corned beef was a tip cut and was the best we've made in the past several years.  Unfortunately the cabbage was overcooked and tasted like green slime; which is basically what it was.  Oh well, the corned beef was definitely worth skipping the cabbage.  Had to have a Guinness with it of course.  Guinness is ok in the bottle; better from a tap; I can't wait to taste it in Ireland!

Gotta go.  Lunch, leftover pizza, is calling.  Have a good one!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

San Diego sadness

We did have a very nice time visiting San Diego; did lots of tourist stuff, had a great parking spot, looked at water a lot since we can't do that here at home but there was one very large downside:  no dog.  We had stayed in this same park once before and taking the same walk we took last time only with no dog was pretty sad.  There is an excellent place for walking, complete with little doggie bags so you can pick up after Rover, but we had no dog.  We still have the cat and he is an annoying little sh!t but it's not the same.  Well, we'll just have to get over it.

We have an appointment to have the trailer axles lubed next Wednesday over in Las Vegas.  We are taking the trailer back to the people who sold it to us.  They want us to get there early so they can get us out the same day.  It shouldn't be too tough but who knows.  We had Camping World lube the axles on our old trailer and that was the start of a number of problems.  They didn't bother to use the right size dust caps so they came off, spread grease all over & just generally made a mess.  Of course, without grease, the bearings went south.  It was bad.  I don't think I've been back to a Camping World since.  After getting the maintenance done, we'll put the trailer away until our trip next summer.

It's funny how the human mind works; or at least how mine works!  I was reading a guy's blog and he discovered that his car is without an oil dipstick.  We've had the Toyota for three years and I don't remember ever looking under the hood so of course I had to rush out to the garage and look to see if it has a dipstick.  Sure enough; in fact it has one for the engine and one for the transmission.  I don't really care but if I hadn't gone to check, it would have bothered me until I did.  I'm so easy!  The car is coming up on 29,000 miles so I'll be taking it off to the dealer one of these days to have it serviced.  This driving to Vegas is getting habit forming.

I've been trying to figure out if I should take the truck over for an oil change.  The thing is that it was due 'by time' in January but we really haven't used it much so we are about 3,000 miles short of needing to change it 'by mileage'.  Seems kind of silly to change it but I would like that engine to keep going for a long time.  I imagine I'll split the difference and take it to get fresh oil just before our summer trip.

Well, that's all the wheeled news that's fit to print.  Have a good one! 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

A few more photos

Here are a few more photos I took during our week in San Diego; in no particular order! 

We visited Pacific Beach.  There is a pier that you can use to get out over the water.  Actually, there is a hotel with little cabins all along the pier.  You can 'sleep over the ocean' if you want.  For me the pier seemed a little creaky so when a car came along the boards definitely moved.  It is one of those 'you want a small car' places.  Anyway, there were some guys trying to surf even though there wasn't much of a wave.  This guy did better than most but fell soon after this photo.
Some years ago a guy did a statue of the famous photo of a sailor kissing a woman in New York on VJ Day.  A statue has been made of the kiss; it's entitled "Unconditional Surrender".  It was displayed in Sarasota and now it has been in San Diego for five years.  They may be losing it soon though; it is getting weathered and having a bronze version would cost a bunch.  Anyway, it was there last week!
Finally I've got a photo of our trailer in it's spot at the park.  We have a picture window in the back of the trailer so being backed in is ideal for watching the birds and all.  You can barely make out a light post right near the rear of the rig.  It was extremely bright!  Happily our sleeping quarters are in the front so were quite dark but it was llight in the living room even with the blinds closed.  There is a small walkway between the rigs and the bay but few people used it and they didn't bother us at all.

Of course we have more photos but I've been unable to pry my wife's photo out of her grasp.  Maybe I'll get them next week!  Until then, have a good one!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Back home...

Our quick trip to San Diego is over and we are back home.  It was really a great trip.  We spent more on the site than we would usually do but it was great watching the water.  We also did more touristy things than usual. 

One thing we did was to visit the aircraft carrier Midway which is docked almost downtown.  One of the docents estimated that about 25% of the ship is available for visiting.  You are given a audio player to provide information about the various displays.  The flight deck has a display of aircraft some of which were flown from the carrier and others that were not carrier based.  They also had quite a few helicopters on display; between the Navy and the Marine Corps. there are lots of uses for them.  The Midway was a working carrier for 47 years; longer than any other ship.  It was commissioned just after WWII ended and was still out there during Operation Desert Storm.  Quite an accomplishment.  Did I take any photos, aw, you've got me there - not a photo.  The hanger deck was mostly open as well and it mostly had WWII era aircraft.  Down below you got to visit some enlisted quarters, the mess hall, officer country and the dispensary.  The audio for the dispensary pointed out that they had lots of head injuries because the overheads (ceilings) were pretty low in places.  The headphones kept me from hitting my head at least twice!

We also did the two hour harbor tour.  It was kind of fun.  The first half was the northern part of the bay.  It was kind of fun going past the airport, all the pleasure boats and the Navy base on Coronado Island.  There were about 20 of us on this ship intended for several hundred passengers.  Then we stopped back at the dock to take on more people before doing the southern part of the bay.  OMG, there were probably 200 people trooping on for the second half of the trip!  Most were Asian with some kind of tour group.  Looked like they were having fun though.  The southern bay has shipyards where many Navy ships were being worked on.  They had a fence around the yard so you couldn't get too close and a security boat came out to watch the harbor tour boat! 
There is more but I've got to go do things.  Have a good one!