Friday, December 25, 2015

Snowy Christmas!

Woke this a.m. to find a snowy Christmas scene.  NOT expected in southern Nevada.  Have a Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Holy guacamole Bat Man!  Really, it's almost a month since I posted.  Who the heck wants to read something like that?  Well, sorry but I am a lousy correspondent via snail-mail so I guess expecting me to be a better blogger might be kind of wishful thinking.  So has anything been happening?

In a word, yes.  Most importantly my wife had some dental surgery planned IF this one blood test came back right.  As it turned out, the test suggested that the surgery should be put off so that got canceled.  Of course, having that sort of thing going on still involves trips to the lab, the dentist (in Vegas) and plenty of phone calls to the insurance people, etc.  It's not a minor deal even though the surgery was canceled.

So then there is the great bed purchase investigation.  We have had our bed for eight years and it is increasingly annoying.  It's not a standard size (2 inches too narrow er, 5 cm?) anyway that means sheets don't fit; it is foam so it is hot; it weighs a ton so can't be moved.  Ask my wife, I'm sure she has four or five other reasons to get rid of it.  Of course, shopping here is limited so after checking the local options, it's off to Vegas.  Off to Vegas five or six times that is!  Every bed place wants to sell you a Tempur-Pedic since they are two or three times the price of a regular mattress.  Happily for me, my wife really liked this one mattress that we saw early in our search.  Unhappily (in this case), she believes in investigating the market place so we had to hit six or eight other sales rooms.  FINALLY we got back to the first place and bought the darned thing!  Then, of course, it takes an act of Congress to the it delivered.  I love living out here but the once every 2 or 3 week delivery schedules are kind of 1870's.

Also on our list was our trailer.  Last time we used it we has a couple things that bothered us.  The big thing was that the linoleum in the main room was lifting up around the edges.  We loved the stuff when we had animals because it was so easy to clean.  But you've gotta agree that having it lift up is a bad thing.  Plus we had half a dozen other minor problems.  We scheduled a stop at the dealer so went over to Vegas a day early to get there at a reasonalble hour.  That was a happy thought.  We stayed, as usual, at the Las Vegas RV Resort on Nellis ave.  The spaces are kind of tight but it's all paved (level!), clean, 24 hour security, kind of every thing you would like in a city RV park and it was $30.  Can't beat it. We didn't have anything to eat so went out to a local place Aces and Ales.  It is a nice little sports bar-pub that has a huge selection of different beers and some not-bad food.  We each found a different porter to drink and some pub-grub to eat.  What's not to like?  To make it even better when my wife texted our daughter our whereabouts she responded "I'm on my way".  Well, I guess the way to the girl's heart is via a pub.  Who knew!  So we had a nice little visit with her.  Dropped off the rig then off home.

Of course we had to go get it a couple days later.  Back to the Resort for another night.  This time off to dinner at Casa Di Amore for an interesting experience.  The good:  the decor is 'classic Vegas' done well, the food is respectable.  The not good:  there was a huge birthday party of about 20 people making the place both really crowded and really loud.  We were lucky and got a booth on the edge of the room but it was still really loud.  And, of course, the service wasn't great since almost all the servers had some part of that huge party.  It's a place we might go back to but the clam linguine was kind of short on clams and whatever I had was forgetable since I've forgotten what it was! 

The good news about all this back and forth is that we got two breakfasts at Blueberry Hill.  We hit on this place years ago when we were visiting Vegas and it's still pretty good.  My wife loves the crepes and they have lots of other stuff.  Not cheap but it is Vegas!  There are several locations and I'm not enough of an expert to prefer one to the others.  Still, if you want breakfast that is good food and not on the strip; it would be my go-to place.

Having had the RV in the shop there are, of course, things we needed to do as well.  Highly technical stuff like putting Protect-All on the roof, replacing burned out light bulbs, replacing the anode in the water heater:  stuff like that.  It all takes time.  How did we do all this crap when we were working?  Oh yeah, we didn't have an RV.  Replacing the anode did have it's high point.  Ok, it's not tough, socket on the anode and unscrew, right?  Well, I kind of forgot that we'd used the trailer and there might be some pressure buildup in the water heater.  Result?
Yeah, I'm pretty covered in the crap that was in the water heater.  The impressive thing is that I'd taken the old anode out a few days earlier and had rinsed the heater.  Apparently I'd not done a very good job!  LOL  Anyway, it's cleaner now! 

On a less dramatic note I spent a day wandering around Nye County (here!) with some folks learning about testing our ground water for nuclear particles.  The Fed's had been doing it but now the county has taken it over so they wanted to show us all what a great job they are doing.  Actually it was kind of interesting.  The water testing itself is totally dull; it's the wells that are interesting. 
The photo is of our group checking out one of the wells supplying water to the town of Beatty, NV.  That little well house is really well insulated and from the parka in the foreground you can tell why.  It was darned cold up there!  That was a public well that is always in use so the water is always 'fresh' from the ground.  In other wells, it required hundreds of gallons of water to be pumped out before you could be sure that you were getting water from the groundwater source.  Apparently water in the pipe gets contaminated FROM the pipe so you have to pump it clear.  One of the wells being tested is in a place called Oasis Valley.  There is a spring nearby so it's relatively 'green'.  The unusual thing about that well is that some scientist from UNLV checked the water and there are elements in the water whose DNA is unknown.  Who knew water had DNA?  But apparently most water has stuff in it whose DNA is common; not like yours or mine but common for water.  Anyway, this place has DNA that just doesn't fit in with regular water.  The guy who noticed it will probably spend his career working on that little unknown thing.  Who knows what it might be!

Also on the naturalist side of things, our annual cowbird invasion has come and mostly gone.  I've no idea where they live in the winter or the summer but in the fall they come through here and pretty much take over!  They are late this year but there were plenty of them.

They are much more aggressive about the bird bath than our normal pigeons.  There would be a dozen standing on the lip of the bath and three or four more bathing.  They are the only birds other than pigeons that we've seen actually bathing.  Don't know what the deal is but if it works for them, ok.

Well, that's enough for this post.  I'll do another soon (I hope!) so until then, thanks for stopping by.  Take care.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Well, it hasn't been boring!

As I said before, I hope everyone had either a good Thanksgiving or at least a good Thursday.  We actually had a very nice one.  Number One Daughter brought a friend so there were four of us at dinner.  The turkey came out early as usual but it turned out ok.  He was a tough little devil and it took longer than usual to sub-divide him into dinner-sized portions. 

Friday was pretty normal:  my wife and I mostly rested!  This cooking thing takes it out of you.  As I often do while watching tv, I fell asleep in my recliner.   I usually wake around midnight, go to the bathroom and off to bed.  This night I woke as usual and made it to the bathroom then it hit, vertigo! 

If you haven't heard of it, vertigo is severe dizzyness.  I've had it three times in the past four or five years.  The first time we went to the emergency room because we were both terrified not knowing what was going on.  Basically they gave me a drug called meclizine to ease the dizzy feeling and sent me home after a few tests.  When we learned meclizine is an over-the-counter drug, I bought a bottle!  The two other incidents were minor in comparison. 

Anyway Friday night I headed off for my chair again but didn't make it:  I face planted into the carpet in the living room.  After a while I managed to make it back to my chair but it was a struggle.  There was no way I'd make it to the bedroom!  So I spent the remainder of Friday night in my chair.

Saturday morning my wife found me and went into 'super-nurse' mode.  It was a good thing.  I lay in the chair with my eyes closed taking meclizine for the remainder of the day.  I really couldn't open my eyes for more than a few minutes and turning my head was out of the question.  Food for the day was a small turkey sandwich. 

Sunday I felt better.  I could turn my head if it was done slowly.  I certainly wasn't walking anywhere without leaning on my wife.  Lunch and dinner were pretty low key as well.  Monday I still needed help walking.  Finally, today, I can walk unaided.  We even went to the casino for breakfast.  The real reason for going out was to see if I could manage being in the car because my wife has a medical appointment in Vegas tomorrow.  We needed to figure out if I would be ok in the car or if I was staying home.  Looks like I can go!  I'm still light headed but it's not bad.  I wouldn't want to climb a ladder or walk a narrow path but it's not bad. 

My advice is that if you can avoid vertigo, do it!  This is three days after the face-plant.
Gotta go.  It's time for more left-over turkey!  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Getting ready....

Yep, Thanksgiving is just around the corner for those of us in the U.S.  It's one of the favorite holidays in our house because we have a lot to be thankful about and we know it.  It's also a pretty nice time of year in this part of the country; the extreme heat has finally let up and it isn't actually snowing yet.  I have to wonder if the number of traffic accidents doesn't skyrocket though; people are just crazed about getting that 'just right' turkey or a special tablecloth or something.  Personally I prefer to hide at home if I can!  The cooler weather also means I can post a photo like this:
In the summer our oven doesn't get much of a workout since the a/c has plenty to do without the additional heat.  The bbq is definitely our go-to cooking method in the summer.  This little piece of pork loin came out really nicely and the bacon added something to the peas even after it had contributed it's good moistness to the loin.  Yum!

On a completely different subject, I take a lot of photos.  I'm currently using two cameras and my cell phone.  I guess I could use the computer but not that many people want to see photos of me!  The cell phone has both forward and backward facing cameras so you can take photos of yourself and something else at the same time.  My wife and I were fooling around the other day and I took this one that is so bad it's funny.
I saw some famous guy on tv talking about his selfies where he takes a photo of someone else with just maybe one of his own eyes in the photo.  I thought I'd try it with this feature of the phone.  It actually turned out better than I'd hoped when my wife tried taking a photo of me at the same time.  Hm, another life in the fast lane moment! 

I'm probably going to be busy until after the big day so I'll take this opportunity to wish all of you in the states a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Thursday to the rest of the world.  Let's hope it is a peaceful and loving one everywhere.  Thanks for stopping by.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veteran's Day!

Here in the states it's a day to remember our military veterans and you know I've got to say it, you deserve it!  Thank you for your service!  Some of us did very little, like me, some gave all.  Let me tell you, you just don't know what's around that next corner.

Aside from the holiday I still don't have any exciting news.  Our weather has cooled to highs in the 60's F (15C).  Sometimes we get a shoulder season and sometimes we don't.  This is one of the 'don't' years.  We did get some rain in the last month and it's caused some havoc.  Much of Death Valley National Park is closed due to flood damage.  That's pretty lousy and some of the areas like Scotty's Castle is going to take some extensive repair.  It is going to be closed for quite a while.  I'm a member of a public advisory board for the Nevada National Security Site aka the Test Site.  It is where the U.S. tested nuclear weapons from the 1950's through 1992.  They had some pretty substantial road damage due to flooding as well.  Happily that whole area is carefully monitored so we can know that there is no radiation washing down off the test site or anything like that.  I always get a kickout of this photo showing people sitting out in the desert on folding chairs waiting to see the bomb go off.  A different time indeed!  This photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Field Office.

 Well, that's it for today.  I've definitely got to get out and do SOMETHING!  Take care and have a good one.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

It's been a while.....

Posting hasn't been high on my 'to do' list lately simply because I haven't had much to say!  Here in Southern Nevada we are transitioning from way-to-hot to downright-chilly.  We had snow down to maybe the 4,000 foot level last night (we are arougn 2,500 ft) but it's pretty much melted now at 10:00. 

Apparently my wife and I needed something to do because we've decided to look at new cars.  Our RAV4 is a 2010 model.  It's very basic with an automatic transmission and power windows but otherwise nothing.  Even though it only has 50,000 miles we would like something with more toys.  We like the car and the type (mini-suv) but would like a bit more power and, as I said, toys.  It's kind of a pain shopping because we have a Jeep dealer and a Chevy dealer here in town; anything else is in Vegas.  And, of course, going in and talking with a salesperson takes a couple hours so it pretty much blows the whole day since getting my wife out of the house before 10:00 is pretty much impossible.  (I guess if there were a fire......)

The first hurdle is the sticker shock.  You see these cars 'starting' at $2x,000.  Well, when you go for the top of the line you are closer to $35,000 and we haven't looked at any of the luxury brands.  So far we've seen the Ford Escape, Honda CRV, Subaru Forester and Outback, Mazda CX5 and Kia Sorento.  Someone told us there are 14 cars in that niche and I'm thinking it is more like 100.  At least it feels like it!  We have one request that keeps tripping them up:  a power seat for the passenger.  Only the Ford and the Kia manage that one.  How tough is it?  Everyone manages a driver side power seat but the rest don't even have an option for a passenger side seat.  Geez.  We'll see how the luxury brands handle it but neither my wife nor I are hot to spend another $10,000 to get a name and a power seat. 

Speaking of my wife; she's signed up with a personal trainer for twice a week workouts.  He's a young guy, born the year our daughter graduated high school, but pretty low-key.  He's putting her to work though.  She never perspires but she sure is after almost every workout with him.  The gym has all kinds of machines and she's learning to use every one.  I'm staying away because my theories of working out are completely different from his.  (Yes, I do have opinions on working out.  You might not think it considering my rather round shape.).  She's enjoying the experience but is already wondering how she can keep exercising after the string of lessons runs out.  (She signed on for 24 or 36 lessons; I didn't pay much attention.)  It should be interesting though. 

So you see it's been pretty dull around here.  Maybe next week something will turn up.  I wouldn't count on it though!  Have a good one.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A few photos

Ordinarily I take photos of the things I see around me.  They aren't especially amazing just things that catch my eye.  When we were in California I took only a handful of photos because it seemed like a time to be 'in the moment' rather than recording it.  We were within walking distance of Venice Beach.  It wasn't crowded but parking would be a huge problem if you drove there.  It's not a small beach!
Not very crowded either!  There is a pier here that is pretty laid back.  I understand the Santa Monica pier is completely different with shops and all.  Here there were walkers and people fishing.  But it's a LONG pier!
I've seen quite a few photos of the blood moon.  Living in the desert I thought this would be a piece of cake.  Well, maybe not!  The mountains in the east kept the moon hidden until it was quite high so the red color didn't really come through.  Then there was a cloud layer!  Oh well!
My wife and I like to walk around our neighborhood in the early morning.  In summer that means before sunrise.  Now that it is a bit more temperate we are still getting out by 07:00.  We had some rain recently and that means snow on the mountain.  It probably won't last but on October 7 we saw this for the first time since last spring.
The rain is also a signal for the desert to come to life for a few days.  We pass this saguaro when we walk.  This display lasted one day.  The blooms are still there but the color is completely gone.
We don't get things that dramatic often but we do enjoy just looking at the clouds.
Even some man-made formations.
All those folks zooming past/over us travelling to and from California and other points East and West.  I like the quiet, the cool morning air and the familiar path.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Older, yes, wiser, well you can't have everything!

I managed to turn 67 years of age last week.  We had thought it might be a quiet time but decided that we should return to Los Angeles to see a few of the sights.  It was still quiet but just not here!

We drove over on Thursday landing at a Hilton near the Marina del Rey.  We wanted to be within walking distance of the beach and this turned out to be a good choice.  I got to see lots of boats, water and sand.  Each of those is pretty special if you live where I do!

On the Friday we drove up to Malibu just because I'd never been there.  Getting out of Santa Monica heading north was a huge pain because they are fooling with the roads.  We ended up driving through the Brentwood Park area which is apparently a pretty ritzy neighborhood.  We found a restaurant on the beach and had lunch then headed back towards the hotel.  Coming back was much easier; how the roads can have detours in only one direction is beyond me but there they managed it.

We were in time to take a nice walk to the beach and find a lovely little Italian place for dinner.  They had a neat little trick.  They would bring you a large (1.5L) bottle of chianti and a couple of glasses - not wine glasses just ordinary glasses.  Then they say just refill your glasses as you wish and tell us at the end of the meal how much you drank.  It's $6.50 a glass so it's pretty easy to blow through $25 worth of wine.  Well, at least it was easy for us!  You have to know that wine wasn't top grade so they have a nice little profit center thing going on there.  Of course once in a while someone is going to lie about the number of glasses they had but I'm thinking the waiters are pretty expert at judging the amount missing from the bottle.

Saturday we headed for the La Brea Tar Pits.  I've heard about them since childhood but this was my first visit.  It was really pretty cool.  They have over 5 million fossils that have been recovered from the tar; a good number exhibited in the associated Page Museum.  There was a creature called the Dire Wolf who got caught way too often.  They had an exhibit consisting of 400 wolf skulls!  We took a tour around the grounds of the park.  There are places where the tar is leaking through the earth and creating new 'pits'.  They are mostly fenced but there were a couple that were new enough that you could step in them if you weren't careful.  Our guide was careful to warn us to keep out of it because it does not come out of clothing or off shoes!

After the museum we decided to check out 'downtown' Hollywood.  Wow!  Talk about people!  We didn't even get out of the car.  LOL  We wandered back to the hotel and hid!

Sunday was the day for the Getty.  We got there about 11:30 - we were on holiday!  There is a cable car that will take you from the parking to the museum on the top of the hill but there is also a way to walk up so we did that.  It was really cool!  We saw two deer wandering around.  They were shy but certainly not afraid of us.

The museum itself is amazing.  Another word is HUGE!  There are five major buildings of two or three levels each plus some outdoor gardens.  Entry is free but parking is $15.  The artwork we saw was European mostly from the 15th through 19th centuries however there was some Greek statuary.  The exhibits do change so I could certainly go back.  As it was we spent four and a half hours going through the place and only saw about half of it.  There is a separate Getty Villa up the Pacific Coast Highway towards Malibu but we didn't stop there.  I understand it is specializes in the art of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.  Maybe we'll check it out on another visit.  You can visit both the museum and the villa and only pay for parking once but I'd be dead from exhaustion if I tried it.  Back to the hotel and after a bit of a rest we wandered out to a Mexican place we'd seen for dinner.

Monday we started slowly again walking around the marina and finding a nice place for breakfast.  Then we pretty much took all afternoon to drive home.  It was raining and that made it extra fun.  It was a great little get-away.  I have to say not cheap but lots of fun.

Thanks for stopping by.  Take care.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Still hoping....

As you might guess from the amount of posting it's been pretty quiet around here.  We are looking forward to losing the triple digit temps.  104F (40C) is the highest so far in September;   when I started this update a couple days ago we were down in the 97F (36C) range.  Now we are back in triple digits.  We did get some rain in September:  .01 inch on the 12th and .03 inch on the 15th.  That's kind of deceptive because that's measured in one spot near one of the city parks.  Rainshowers blow through the valley leaving a very small footprint.  I must admit that we drove into Las Vegas and were in rain at least half of the way; maybe it followed us like the raincloud follows Pigpen in the old Charlie Brown comic strip.   There is a wunderground site that shows .13 inches on the 15th.  At least we get some nice rainbows out of the deal!

And sunset the other night was ok as well though that pretty color is probably created by smoke from the wildfires in California.

As you have probably guessed from all the weather info things are pretty dull around here these days.  We walk almost every morning while it's still cool and my wife has started visiting the gym twice a week working with a personal trainer.  So far I haven't gone with her but it's coming.  Losing 20-30 lb (10-14kg) is clearly needed. 

I'm turning 67 in a couple weeks and we'll probably go over to Vegas for dinner.  We don't care much for the strip because it's over-priced and pretentious but there are plenty of other fine places to eat.  If we are absolutely under-whelmed we may just hit our local steak house.  It's pretty good and half the price of Vegas. 

I've been using the smoker somewhere around once every 10 days or so.  The salmon is coming out pretty well if we can find Pacific salmon.  Around here we mostly find Atlantic salmon in the stores and the Atlantic is a fattier fish and that causes some problems.  The Pacific is dryer and firmer.  I'm still struggling with brining the fish; sometimes I over brine and sometimes under brine.  Steaks are pretty reliable after an hour or so in the smoker then a couple minutes on the grill.  I did manage to do some smoked pork chops that were amazing!  My only real problem is that with only two of us the smoker is WAY too big and if I were to fill it even a fourth full we'd have frozen smoked whatever for the next three months.  Happily it is electric so smoking something takes very little effort just some time. 

Sorry to be so dull but there it is.  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Going to the birds

We are home for a while so there won't be a lot of photos from exotic locales.  One of our favorite occupations is to watch the birds out at the bird feeder while having a meal.  Sometimes we have quite a selection but other times it's mostly pigeons like this.

Then when this guy comes most every other bird takes off.
We think it's a sharp shinned hawk though it wasn't willing to turn around for a better photo.  Oddly one of the finches was unwilling to leave the feeder.   Maybe it figured it was safer hiding behind the feeder than taking off. 

We aren't as bird crazy as some people though.  My wife and I like to walk in the mornings.  During the warm months that means before sunup.  There is a house down the road where the real bird people live.
Yes, those are pigeons covering the roof of their house!  There were more on the electric line behind the house but that wouldn't fit into the photo.  Sorry about the quality of the photo; I took it using my phone.  They must have quite the bird feeder! 

That's all for today.  Happy Labor Day to those in the U.S. and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The end (of the California trip)

After our adventures at Disneyland and the Queen Mary we were all warmed up for Catalina Island.  Driving from the Queen Mary to the ferry landing was some ten minutes or so; it was kind of between the QM and the restaurant where we'd had dinner.  They sure jam stuff together on the waterfront these days.

The Catalina Express  does the island a real favor by offering a free trip on one's birthday.  There were at least a couple dozen people on board celebrating their birthday.  Of course most had companion who was paying full price.  Many places on the island offer you a bottle of wine or something on your birthday; of course you have to stay there so... Let's just say that bringing more people to the island does everyone a good turn.  The two boats we rode on were 140-150 foot (45 m) catamarans carrying 350-400 people.  They ran something like 30 knots and were very smooth; the trip takes about an hour.

Something like 90% of Catalina Island was purchased back around 1919 by the Wrigley family (of chewing gum fame).  They set it up in a trust that controls the land through the Catalina Island Conservancy - their mission is to protect the island.  They have all kinds of ties; we took a tour of the island and the tour guide said his paycheck was signed by the Conservancy.  They own pretty much everything except the little bit of land that is the town of Avalon.  You can see from the photo, it's kind of dry on the island.  I think we were told they average 7 inches (17 cm) a year.  All water is held in cisterns except for a bit that is pulled from the ocean via desalination.  

I chose to stay at the Edgewater Hotel in Avalon.  Reviews sounded ok and it was right in the center of the town.  We had a mixed experience.  It is in the middle of the beach, the middle of all the restaurants, nightlife, whatever the town has to offer.  It was an easy walk from the ferry to the hotel.  Our room was comfortable but not extravagant.  There wasn't much noise from other guests except those using the ice machine in the middle of the night.  (We were next to it!)  The first bad thing we noticed was that the handles on the sink in the bathroom didn't work properly:  they didn't stop but just kept going.  I pointed it out to the manager and she fiddled with it and it shut off.  It wasn't fixed you understand, just shut off.

(The next day I spoke with the owner who happened to be in the office.  She was outraged at the lack of concern and had a plumber over that day to replace the faucet.  How it got to be in such bad condition, I could only guess! Or how much water it as wasted in the last year!)

The real problem is that this was called a Fountain View room.  We pretty much kept the drapes closed because this was our view.
Really?  Five feet away are the windows of the next room!  They really ought to do something about that.  Even if they hung a curtain between the rooms it would help.  It wouldn't do anything for the hall window that also looked into our room but one step at a time!  Breakfast was a bagel with only jelly and coffee; not much of a show.

We weren't there for the beach but it was fun watching people enjoying it.  It is VERY small!  We found restaurants and bars with nice food and drink - that's pretty much what we were there for so we were good.  We even played miniature golf!  On our second day we took a tour of the interior of the island.  The tour was in a bus from the 1950's so no air conditioning.
I'm sure they have re-powered it but the speedo and the tach didn't work.  I can only guess about the smaller instruments!  We did something like 30 miles but it was all switchbacks and dirt road.  Heaven help those buses if it ever does rain!

That is the road that we were driving on.  It is a two way road but fortunately you don't meet too much traffic and the driver was very experienced.  The thing in the middle of the photo is another of the island's attractions:  a zip line.  That is the starting point.  From there you zip over a canyon and get off; then you repeat that four more times before ending up about a mile down the road.  I've no idea how long it is or how long the ride might be!  

There were buffalo imported for a movie back in the 1930's then the movie company found them difficult to round up so they left them.  Now there are lots of buffalo.  The Conservancy has watering holes for them even. They don't pay much attention to the bus but no one was throwing out carrots either!

Anyway two days on the island was enough and we were happy enough to get back on the ferry and whoosh back to Long Beach.  The drive home was totally crappy once we got out of the city.  Going up Cajon Pass there is road work so we all climbed the pass at about 30 mph.  Once out on the 'flat' area something happened I've never experienced.  We would be going along about 60 mph then suddenly everyone would slam on their brakes and go down to 10-15mph.  I never saw anything but then we'd speed back up to 60 and it would happen all over again!  Weird stuff!  But we did manage to make it so I'm not complaining.

I do apologize for the extended time it has taken to publish this post.  I made a huge tactical error letting my wife take all the photos on the inland part of our journey.  She takes good photos but short of turning her upside down and shaking her I couldn't get her to share them with me!  It has taken two weeks of pleading to get them; at least the ones she hasn't deleted!  As a long time husband I should have known better!  Sorry!  Thanks for checking in.  Take care.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

More travel!

We had been talking about the trip to the Northwest for some time when my wife comes up with this promotion that comes from the Catalina Island Ferry system:  a free trip to Catalina Island on your birthday.  Well, free is her favorite word so now we were talking about two trips at the same time.  First to the Northwest then three weeks later heading for Los Angeles and Catalina Island.  Hmmm.

You know driving all the way to L.A. for a couple days on Catalina didn't sound that wonderful and I was pretty sure the neither of us would care for more than a couple days on the Island.  But, it is L.A. and there are other attractions.  One, right next to the ferry terminal is the Queen Mary.  We love the old ocean liners and staying on the Queen Mary would certainly fit into our trip.  Then I remembered all the advertising Disney is doing about the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland.  Do you see what's happening here?  See how easy it is to fill a week in L.A.?

We took off on Sunday the 9th headed for Disneyland.  My wife was taken there the first year it opened.  Then she lived in California until her mid-twenties and continued to visit from time to time with the kids.  When we lived in Orlando we visited Disneyworld quite often but I had never made it to the original Disneyland.  She wanted to show me.  We found a much different situation now; I guess 40 years does make a difference!  We stayed in the 'Resort District' at the Doubletree Inn.  It is the last property in the 'district' and walking from there to the resort was probably about a mile.  Still, it was an ok place to stay.

Disneyland was all alone when my wife started going to it then in the mid-70's it got surrounded by hotels so that the attractions looked small.  Well, they've fixed all that!  Mostly they bought up the hotels, demolished them and turned the land into parking lots.  The remaining hotels are farther away and only six or seven stories tall.  While walking around in the park I didn't see anything outside the park at all.  The park itself is much smaller than the Florida park but seems to work for the kids.  We were there in summer so there were quite a few kids; actually hordes of kids!
There were hordes of strollers as well!  That is one of the smaller stroller parking areas. 
We saw plenty of kids sleeping in the stroller while Mom and Dad were visiting Disney!  We got there about 09:00 (they open at 08:00) and it wasn't too bad but as the day wore on it got more and more crowded.  It was only about 80F (26C) so not really hot but because it is closed in there was no breeze.  By 13:00 we had had enough and left for Downtown Disney.  Downtown is an area of independent shops and restaurants; i.e. they serve alcohol!  After dodging strollers for a couple hours we needed wine with our lunch!

We could have gone back to Disneyland but we'd seen almost everything there was to see so were more than happy to wander back to the hotel.  We didn't go on any of the rides except for the train and the riverboat but that wasn't the reason for our visit; my wife wanted to see the changes and I just wanted to say I'd been there.  We were done!  That night we ate in the hotel restaurant and had a fairly nice meal.  Then went into the lounge for one last glass of wine.  The bartender served us then went on break!  She just sat there reading her paper and ignoring us; her only customers!  Absolutely amazing.  We stretched out drinking our wine so that she could come back on duty and give us the check.   Really?

The next day we didn't hurry but made it to the Queen Mary around 10:30.  We were amazed to find that our room was ready!  So we dumped our stuff in the room and took off touring the ship.
There is a Russian submarine tied up with the QM but it was closed for repairs.  I was just as happy to skip it as subs can get a little tight.  It wasn't so bad when I weighed 180 but these days those tight spaces are just a bit tighter!  You can tour most of the QM.  Inside in the passenger areas the walls are wood and beautifully finished.  We got to see some of the mechanical spaces but none of the really good stuff like the engine room, etc. We did get to visit the bridge, officer's country and the radio room; they were done to passenger level.  The radio room is kept up by a local ham radio club which was pretty cool.   Much of the deck is beautiful teak but there are places where it has been replaced with plywood.  The plywood may be cheap but it sure isn't lasting. 

I loved this view of the hull.  They wanted this ship to stay together so they used plenty of rivits!

Our room was quite nice.
This was taken from the entry way and the bathroom is beside me.  We got 2 portholes for the view and the door visible leads to a small closet.  There was a tv mounted in the corner partially obscuring one of the portholes.  The view was of the dock.  We could have had a sea view but figured who is going to stand at the porthole and look out?  I was really kind of surprised at the size of the room.  I'm sure it must have been one of the more expensive cabins when the ship was in use.

Some people complained about noise from neighbors; we had no problem with that.  We did get some noise from the hall because there was a 1 ft by 2 ft louvered opening in the door for ventilation.  My wife noticed that the toilet dripped water when used and when we reported it to the desk they had someone come over and fix it right away.

We ate at a restaurant that is just across the water so we could see the QM.  This was Parkers Lighthouse.  They were a little screwed up offering wine that they didn't have but the food (sushi for my wife and shark for me) was good and the location/view was fantastic.  Parking was validated to only cost $4 rather than $10.

I've blathered on way too much already.  I'm going to hold the big trip to Catalina Island for another day.
Take care and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

More catching up....

So we made it back from the latest Pacific Northwest trip on July 14th.  On the 15th I had a meeting of that advisory board  of the old Test Site.  These days it is called the Nevada National Security Site but all but a few sticklers call it the Test Site.  (Please note that the famous Area 51 is NOT part of the site so don't expect to see any little green men if you choose to visit!)  Like any governmental unit they love acromyms which drive the rest of us crazy but we all try to get along.  The meetings are in the late afternoon-evening starting about 4 p.m. and ending around 9 p.m.  This one was mostly about transportation of contaminated waste.  I got to learn all kinds of wonderfulness about the required signage and good stuff like that.  Of course I already knew that this stuff is radioactive but that the packaging is sufficient to make it safe to handle.

On the 19th we celebrated Number One Daughter's birthday.  I won't offer the number but it's getting up there!  Then on the 20th-22nd my wife and I attended a three day class driving to and from Las Vegas every day to learn about the Community Monitoring program.  This is a bunch of volunteers who oversee weather stations planted around the Test Site.  I wanted to learn more about them and the Desert Research Institute which oversees the program and does a lot of the physical work at the Test Site - taking measurements and that sort of thing.  When we hear that radioactivity in the groundwater is nearing the edge of the Test Site; they are the ones making the measurements.    It turns out they do a lot of environmental research and are part of the state higher education system. 

That gets me to the last week of July and by this time I was ready for some time off!  Of course that means I have time for stuff like smoking some pork, making a couple more trips to Las Vegas for normal 'shopping' and the like.  In addition, in August my wife will turn 65.  This means she is eligible for Medicare; there are quite a few hoops you need to jump through especially if you aren't taking Social Security and she isn't.  I'm wanting to spend some time at home!  We'll see how that works out.  Don't hold your breath!  In fact we are off to Vegas yet again today. 

I can't make this post a total whine so I'll include a photo I took back in June.  When you go to Las Vegas from Pahrump you leave our valley and go up over a 5400 foot pass (1,650 m for the rest of the world).  Then you come back down into the Las Vegas valley.  If the weather is nice and it isn't too windy you can get a balloon ride across the valley.  Here the balloons are coming back to earth just before the mountain gets pretty steep.  This was taken about 07:00 on one of my commutes into the city.

Take care.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Yeah, I know, no one missed me.  Well, I'm back anyway.  It's been quite a month so I hope you will be ok with me covering this in a couple posts.  It all started on June 28 when we left on vacation.  What was unusual was that for the first time in years we were taking the car; not our RV.

We have a Toyota RAV4 that we bought basically to drive back and forth to Vegas.  It gets almost 30 mpg where our truck is pretty lucky to get 16.  And, of course, it actually fits in a parking space where the truck really needs two or three!  We were a little concerned about taking the car since the only long trips it has been on have been to Southern California which is only a few hours away.  This would be a weeks long trip up to the Northwest.  As it turned out the car worked out really well.

Our idea was simple.  The family has several birthdays in the July-August timeframe and this year we had 85-65-60-45 quadfecta come up so it was time for a party.  We lived in the Northwest for many years and never really got to spend enough time in the British Columbia cities of Vancouver and Victoria.  We decided that spending some time in Canada then doing the party would be a good thing.  It turned out to be great.

You could make the drive up north in two days but three is really more our style these days.  So we spent three days getting up to Washington.  We had some stuff to drop off before hitting Canada so while we left home on the 28th of June it was actually July 2 before we crossed the border into BC.  July 1 is Canada Day and, of course, July 4 is Independence Day here in the states so we were concerned about crowds; turns out we were right but for the wrong reasons.  Now everyone knows the Women's World Cup Soccer match was played in Vancouver on July 5.  I've got to tell you we sure didn't know that when we scheduled our visit!  (Congratulations to the U.S. women for winning!)  Had we known about the world cup we would have found another time to visit for sure.

Anyway we spent a couple days visiting Vancouver.  You have to visit Stanley Park and we spent a lovely afternoon there; most of the day actually.  Gastown is also a kind of iconic place:  it's near where the city began and has older buildings and trendy shops.  Of course we had to visit it again.  We are uncertain but are thinking that the last time we were in Vancouver would have been 1982.  Hmm, nothing like spending all your vacations in the same place!  And it's really odd but I don't have a single photo of the city!  What on earth is coming over me?

Anyway we escaped the mainland on July 4 and headed off to Vancouver Island and Victoria.  Actually what we were really focused on was Butchart Gardens since my wife had never visited.  To that end we stayed in Sidney, BC which is quite close to the Gardens.  However we certainly had to have High Tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria and this was the day of our reservation! 

Well, I have to say it's kind of not that special.  We had a nice table next to a window which was great because it was warm and there wasn't any a/c.  The 'tea' is a multi-level tray:  sandwiches, scones and candies.  Are you full when you leave?  We certainly were.  Was it worth the $63CDN plus tip each; nah.  Even with the exchange rate in our favor it wasn't that special.  We'll not have to return.

On July 5 we woke to find the world to be an odd color.  Turns out that there were wildfires burning on Vancouver Island and the smoke was visiting Victoria.  We visited Craigdarroch Castle which is a Victoria 'landmark'.  Apparently it was built by some early 'robber baron' to show off his wealth in the 1890's.  I don't know what he did but one of the placards refered to questionable 'employment practices'.  Sounded kind of harsh considering it was posted on what he must have considered to be his crowning achievement!  It is quite the place and wonderfully presented by a group of volunteers.  The family was pretty unlucky except in that money thing:  they had 8-10 kids most of whom died fairly young.  One of the survivors had another 8-10; the last of whom died in the 1950's.
You can see the color of the sky behind the castle.  It was really most odd.  I didn't smell smoke but the air quality was really poor.  The web site has some nice photos of the interior of the Castle.  I love the catch phrase they are using:  "Lavish lives and wayward daughters".  That pretty much says it all.

Butchart Gardens is just amazing.  A wealthy family started re-purposing a dis-used quarry and now have ended up with this world famous garden.  It's amazing!  We heard that it is a busy place in summer so got there when they opened; a VERY good choice!  It was relatively uncrowded when we started but by lunch time people were streaming in by the busload.  I didn't count but we must have seen twenty gardeners slaving away; the place is immaculate. 
The house is now used for a restaurant, offices, gift store, etc.  We did have lunch there and it was very nice.  The only sore spot would be the $34 for a half-carafe of their house wine.  Hmmm.  Well, gotta pay those gardeners somehow I guess. 
This seems to be the quarry where it all started.  You can tell we were early because there is only one person in the photo!  You can also see the haze in the air.  Butchart is some way from Victoria and between the distance and the wind direction the air was much cleaner than in Victoria.  Still it's obviously not bright and sunny. 

After our visit to Canada we headed back to the USA via the Black Ball ferry, the 'Coho'.   It is a nice big ship but we were glad to have reservations.  We got home and the customs guy asked why we went to Canada and I answered 'Just a vacation' and he asked 'yes, but why Canada?'.  I swear those people must go to school to come up with weird questions.  Oh well. 

We spent the 7th through the 10th visiting family then on the 11th had the big birthday bash.  No photos but it was lots of fun; too much food and wine as usual.  On the 12th we headed back south getting home on the 14th.  Another quiet drive with just the ocassional idiot being an accident looking for a place to happen. 

Our excitement wasn't over but I need to go do things.  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a good one.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Photo Op

We had a visitor to the bird bath the other day; a young hawk.  Needless to say there weren't a lot of other birds hanging around!  He didn't stay long but did hang around for one portrait.
The birdbath is attracting attention these days.  It's getting warm outside and everyone needs a little water.  We even had a crow stop by one day.  (No photo, he was shy and quick.)  Plenty of the ordinary birds:  pigeons, doves, sparrows and finches are the most common.  Once in a while we spot a newbie but this isn't exactly on the way to anywhere!

I mentioned the fun with the septic tank.  Found a photo that gives one an idea of the job.
This big old tanker truck with a tractor on a trailer was just the thing.  The top of the tank is about four feet down (1.2M) so we were all glad the guy had a tractor.  No one knew exactly where the openings were so he used a tool to probe around in the ground then proceded to dig in exactly the right place.  You've gotta say it might be a stinky job but he sure knew what he was doing.  Yes, the black thing in the photo is the 'straw' they use to suck up the sewage.

I said it's getting warm.  Here's the latest from the Fox news in Las Vegas.
That's 39C-41C for our highs and around 27C for lows.  Needless to say we are running the a/c a lot.  It is basically 24/7 now for a while.  We like to walk around our neighborhood but when it is this warm we either go really early or not at all.  A new alternative is for us (wifey needs exercise too) go to the gym.  Yes, I said  gym.  It's not a word you've heard from my mouth (keyboard) before but there it is.  As part of my medical care under Medicare (health plan for oldies here in the states) I have a gym membership.  I haven't used it much but these days a treadmill in an airconditioned building is better than walking in the neighborhood at 05:30 or so.  I tried out a stationary cycle; found muscles I didn't know I had in 2 miles.  I tried out an eliptical stepper thing; yep, more muscles I didn't know I had.  Finally tried the treadmill; at least I can do that!  I strained my foot back when we were in Ireland and 15 minutes on the treadmill make it quite painful.  There is something about the surface that is harder on my foot than ordinary walking.  Still, gotta move it or lose it.  They also have strength-training machines.  These are weird machines I've never seen and can hardly figure out how to use even when I'm reading the directions!  I tried two of them:  one for your chest and one for your abs.  I guess they are ok but it's another episode of 'old dog, new tricks'.  As though the new pc wasn't enough.

That's it for today.  My spouse wants to go to the gym again.  Stock market hint:  buy Advil!  Have a good one.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

More Life in the Fast Lane

We are spending most of our time inside these days since the triple digit days are here.  Actually we are hovering in the high 90's most days but we have seen 101F (38C).  To bring some excitement to my life I have just purchased a new computer:  an HP Envy 17" laptop.  Wow is that some learning curve!  My old machine is from 2008 and had a pretty basic version of Windows Vista.  I know some people had a lot of trouble with Vista but actually I was fairly happy.  The new machine is Windows 8.1; it has lots more screen (!) and it's a touchscreen to boot.  So far it's acceptable but from time to time it decides to cancel what I've typed or delete an email without consulting me.  It's just learning curve I keep telling myself!

 One thing that has me going is the amount of software that I'm needing to download to make this thing work.  I forgot how many extra pieces of software are on the old machine.  Of course the stuff HP put on here is not my style at all.  It's a good thing we have a decent internet connection because I'm going to be using it!

Otherwise we did exciting stuff like having our septic tank pumped out.  That was a thrill!  We didn't know where the tank was; there is a pipe coming out of the ground but as it turns out the pipe is 2 feet west of the actual tank opening and 5 feet south.  Happily the guy who did it knows what he is doing and found the tank relatively quickly.  Then he had to dig down about three feet to the tank, remove both the caps and empty both chambers.  Two and a half hours and $500 later; we should be good for another 8-10 years. 

Anyway, that's it for today.  I'd post a photo or two but haven't resized them.  Maybe there is something on the machine that would do it but I don't recognize it if it is here.  Grrr!  Later

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Still here!

No I haven't dried up and blown away quite yet but it's getting close.  Actually my wife and I have been occupied with planning a couple more trips in the not too distant future.  These will be much closer to home but should be fun anyway.  I'll fill you in more later.  Can't post a photo of someplace I haven't been yet, can I?

We have had pretty good weather but it's getting warm enough to make firing up the bbq rather than warming the house using the stove or oven a valid consideration.  The lesser cleanup with the bbq has absolutely nothing to do with our choices I promise.  I was looking at a video about smokers (food smokers!) the other day and the presenters ended with 'You can never have too many smokers or bbq's'.  Well, I'm approaching the limit I think!  We have a full size Wever kettle; a Weber gas grill and now the smoker.  That's a lot of iron on the back patio!  Of course I didn't mention the little Coleman grill that we carry on the trailer   Hmmm.  Can I spell addiction?

However I must admit to using all this stuff.  The Weber kettle gets the least use just because I'm too lazy to get charcoal going before we are actually starving.  I do love the charcoal taste.  The gas grill gets used at least once a week and often three times.  The smoker is taking it's place somewhere between the kettle and the gas.  You kind of need all day to smoke something so it's not a spur of the moment thing.  That's not even considering marinades which are used quite a bit.  I did learn something new last week though:  reverse sear.

"Reverse sear" as I understand it works like this.  It is a technique for a small piece of meat like a steak.  you smoke it to add flavor then sear it to finish the cooking.  In this case we had a couple of t-bones that were a bit more than a pound each.  So you do whatever you want to with them first.  We marinate in soy sauce and worchestershire for 20-30 minutes; they get to come up to room temp during that time as well.  So now we put them in the smoker for an hour or so.  This is how they looked when they came out.  I cannot tell you how soft they felt; almost like completely raw meat.

So after an hour in the smoker I fire up the gas grill.  These Weber gas grills go from 0-60 pretty much like a Corvette - fast!  So now I grill the steaks for 1.5 minutes on a side.   For us it was a little too much.  Next time I'd probably use a minute on each side.  (Without the smoking, I do my wife's steak for 2 minutes on a side and mine for 3 minutes on a side and it's pretty perfect medium-rare.  My wife's steak lets out a little 'moo'!)  After resting for a few while my wife made some potatoes to go with the steaks it makes a nice plate doesn't it.  There is still some pink to the steak but not a lot.

Sorry but getting cross-checking grill marks in 3 minutes is beyond me.  Guess I'll lose Master Chef!  Have a good one and I'll be back later!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The end of Ireland as we saw it

Finally!  I know.  All these photos of someone else's vacation are boring.  Sorry.  It seems to be a totally human characteristic though.  Certainly I've seen qute a few vacation photos in my life.  Anyway.

We basically ran out of time to see all we wanted to see in Ireland.  We wanted three or four days in Dublin and we just had to skip Northern Ireland.  We'll just have to include it in another trip.  We both have family from that area so there is some motivation.  However this trip we got on the motorway in Galway and headed east for Dublin.  We thought we'd stop at the Tullamore distillary but when we finally found it there was no parking so we decided to keep going.  Finally we found the Kilbeggen distillary and toured that!  Actually I don't think they do much here but it was a great old time distillary water powered with gears all over the place.  I took a TON of photos because real old time machinery is a facination but I won't bore you with them.  Here's just the one.
So then we finally made it to Dublin.  Went to the airport and turned in the car; who needs a car in a city?  And it turned out that about 80% of the traffic in downtown Dublin was buses!  While at the airport we stopped at the tourist counter and had them find us a downtown hotel - for only 115 euro a night!  We were amazed!  It was the Cassidy Hotel; rather old and some of the work that was done on it over the years wasn't the best but it was actually pretty good.  We'd certainly stay there again!  The big thing was that it was downtown.  We could and did walk almost everywhere.  The hotel is on Upper O'Connell street which is a great location.  Just down the street was this weird thing.
It has no name or anything to identify it; it's just this tall tapering thing.  Dublin was great.  Lots of older building with lots of character that are being re-used for modern stores.  Of course we went to see the Book of Kells (photography not permitted) and Trinity College but mostly we just enjoyed the city.  We did find the worst bar in town:  the Bruxelles in the Temple Bar district.  It was only the second place in Ireland where we had bad service but certainly the worst by a mile.  The bartender couldn't even be bothered to pour the Guinness properly!  What a tourist trap. 

So then we wandered back across the Atlantic and home.  We were more than happy to be back.  Three weeks in hotels is trying even if they are nice places. 

Next time I'll talk about our future travel plans.  Yep, there's more on tap.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jeez, what's with my blogging?

I just am not doing very well with this blogging thing.  I don't have a good excuse; hell, I don't have ANY excuse.  This is a great time of year around here.  Temps are in the 70-80 range (21-27C) and it's not too cool at night.  This means the air conditioner and the heat both get some time off.  It helps offset the mid-summer time when it runs 24/7 and our monthly electric bill can reach $300. 

I'm not sure what happened while we were gone, the neighbor says nothing, but the weeds just took over our yard!  Being on the wrong side of 65 years old and overweight, an hour or so of weed picking is all I'm up for so we've got several weeks of work here.  Then toss in a few days when I'm recovering from the previous day's weed picking and you can see it could take a very long time.  Makes me want to think of more pleasant things, like Ireland!

After following around the Ring of Kerry we wanted to go North along the coast.  The owner of our B&B very kindly suggested that there is a ferry that would cut off several hours driving.  He didn't have to suggest it twice!  We raced off to get the 11:30 ferry.  This being Ireland and the roads being as fine as they are; we made the 12:30 ferry by the skin of our teeth!  We were the last car on.  There wasn't a lot to do because it's a very short trip across the wide Shannon river but it was cold!

One of the sights you are supposed to see without fail are the Cliffs of Moher.  It is wild and beautiful but I've got to say that the best photos of the cliffs are going to be taken from either a boat that is offshore or a helicopter.  This was my best effort.

This coast of Ireland is mostly rock.  There is an area called the Burren where the rock is about all there is to see.  The famous description of the area dating from the 1640's describes it as "a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury."
I like that photo because it not only shows the Burren but it shows what was rather typical of the roads we found.  It is hard surfaced but narrow; sometimes there is a center line and sometimes it is too narrow for two lanes.  At that time either you or the other driver has to kind of dive for the side and let the other pass.  It's interesting enough when you meet another car but meeting a bus gives you a whole new appreciation for small cars!  Most of Ireland had either fences or hedgerows along side the road.  Only here in the Burren do you get sheets of rock.  There was more that one occasion when meeting someone that the side of our car was pelted by the weeds in the hedgerow.  Happily we never hit any of the rocks or fence posts.

Thanks for stopping by.  I'll try to figure out something interesting to do so I can blog about it!  Take care.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It's not ALL about our travels!

Though today seems like it might be!  I've spent quite a lot of time selecting photos to load to Flickr to share with the family and resizing them in the process.  It takes time but hopefully is worth it.  However, there are other things going on at the old homestead. 

For example, we had a special visitor last night at the bird feeder.
The doves are typically here late in the afternoon.  The bunny isn't usually here!  While we were in Ireland the weeds grew quite a bit in our yard and I'm hoping that Mr. Bunny is eating some of them.  Well, when he isn't filling up on birdseed. 

This morning I was all energetic; I've no excuse.  Sorry.  But I made breakfast of toasted cheese sandwiches with prosciutto and a bit of mustard.  Pretty good if I do say so!  The butter was just from the fridge so the browning was kind of spotty but it didn't bother me a bit.

Then I got started dealing with some pieces of pork sirloin that we bought a couple days ago.  We got this long plastic tube with about five pieces of pork sirloin in it.  Each was somewhere between one and two pounds (something under a KG).  I froze some but two were headed for the smoker.  I used a rub of salt, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder. 

I smoked it for three hours using a combination of apple wood and hickory chips.  Then we brought them in and put them covered in a pan in a 225F oven for another four hours. 
We had to try a bit from the one on the right; it's pretty tasty.  Two forks pull the meat apart nicely so I'm thinking it is done.  Now the trick is not to dive in right away but let them rest.  That's the hard part!

That's all the news for today.  Have a good one!