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


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


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


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!