Thursday, February 24, 2011

Home work

I'm taking some time lately to get a few things done around the house.  We've lived here two years already and the garage is still a mess!  We have a three car garage and only two vehicles; you'd think there would be lots of room.  NOT!!  But I am slowly making progress.  Went to Home Depot the other day to pick up a couple of things.  I saw this guy just waiting patiently for his boss to return.

This guy finally got tired of standing and just lay down in the bed of the truck. 

It's still pretty chilly here; 28F (-2C) this a.m. and we may get to 60F (15C)today but I'm not really counting on it.  We had some rain the other day; it was snow just a bit above the valley floor.  These are part of the Nopah Range to the south and west of the valley.  It was obviously pretty gray as well.

More rain is expected next weekend.  Just like it used to be when I was working in Seattle; nice mid-week and lousy on the weekend.  It's good to know there are some things you can depend on.  We have visitors from the Pacific Northwest passing through Pahrump; they will be here Saturday & Sunday just in time for the rotten weather.  I'll have to remember to thank them for bringing it with them. 

Have a good one!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What can one say???

My heart goes out to the people of Christchurch, NZ who have been so devastated by the terrible earthquake.  How can it be understood to be riding along in a bus and have a building fall on it!  What can prepare one for that?

"How's your mum?"
"Oh, she's dead."
"Oh, I'm so sorry.  How did she die?"
"A building fell on the bus she was riding in last Tuesday."

What's with that!  Well, I guess it's better than what's happening in the Arab world.  In New Zealand we are talking 65 dead; in Libya it might be 500 or 5,000.

The changes we are seeing there; almost minute to minute are staggering.  What on earth can one say about the Egyptian leader leaving office after 30 years?   There are certain to be amazing changes in the direction of Egyptian politics.  Then there are the other Arab/Islamic nations who are feeling the desire for change - Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, who knows where?

I'm no foreign policy genius but any nitwit can see that when an autocratic regime suddenly disappears there is a power vacuum and there is no guessing what will happen.  All those boffins who advise the leaders of the world will be grasping at any straw to suggest the future direction of these countries.  I'm glad I'm not one of the boffins or the leaders!   Come on Obama, I supported you because I thought you were smart enough to lead us through mine-fields like this.  Go buddy, go!

All I know is that almost everyone prefers stability to disarray so I'm expecting some military take-overs in some Arab countries really soon.  The prince of Bahrain, in canceling the Bahrain Grand Prix, has signaled that he wants to talk with at least some of his people.

"Bahrain's priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together to remind the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united. At the present time the country's entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain."

At the very least, the Prince's words give one hope for this one nation.  Libya is certainly not so fortunate!  The death toll is still unknown; most likely will never be known.  Who knows about the other Arab nations?

 This is one of those times when I wish I believed in a God.  I would certainly be praying for peace!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Almost Seattle

We have a day today that reminds one of Seattle in the winter.  It's gray, I can't see the mountains even.  We used to see Mt. Rainier from our house; I remember one time our daughter visited for a whole month and she never got to see the mountain.  I don't think this is going to stick around that long but it does bring back memories!  Don't get me wrong, I love Seattle.  I lived in the Pacific Northwest for about 17 years.  I remember the billboard someone put up when Boeing was in a severe downturn:  "Will the last person leaving Seattle please put out the lights."  Today it's a beautiful and vibrant city; but it certainly has it's 'gray days' in winter.

This morning I opened the blinds that open onto the patio to find a group of doves.  Apparently they prefer cold concrete to being wet.  Of course having the bird buffet about ten feet away probably aided in their decision.  Here's a shot of some other guys waiting for the buffet.

It actually reminds me of people just waiting for an opening.  My wife won't go to Outback Steakhouse any more because we went there once and people were standing around in the parking lot waiting for a table.  I've heard more than one ex-GI refuse to stand in line because they did a lifetime's worth of that in the service.  I can't imagine waiting in line to get into a dance club or somewhere.  It's just not in my DNA!  Anyone else have that feeling?  Do you know the origin of your distaste for waiting in line?  How did it happen.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quiet Day today

Hopped up this morning and went to the casino for breakfast.  It does us good to get out together.  Then we transfer from the restaurant to the video poker machines.  Our daughter calls them video crack machines; they seem to be that addictive!  We each put in our $5 and whoever loses first times our escape.  This morning I lost and my wife made a quarter.  How's that for wild living?  Yep, almost puts me to sleep as well. 

Happily the 'honey do' list is alive and well.  Currently I'm installing more shelving in the pantry.  This is the first time we've ever had a pantry worthy of the name and we love it.  Finding that can of chicken broth or the new can of peanuts has ever been so easy.  I'm also adding a rack for wine; it will only hold 10 or 15 bottles but it holds both the 750 ml and the 1.75l bottles.  It even has a shelf for extra scotch, vodka & stuff like that.  All that stuff has been sitting around on the floor of the garage so I'm getting some garage space back as well.  We have a three car garage and only two vehicles so there ought to be lots of room.  Don't know what I'm doing wrong but it's kind of crowded out there.

Our first attempt at feeding the birds is working out better than expected.  The little devils are going through at least half a feeder full every day.  Good thing they don't want steak!  Gotta go.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm not happy but....

Here's the title of an email that I received today from someone trying to give me investment advice:

Demise of America: What income investors should do

Give me a break folks! Ok, I agree that the US isn't going to always be the be-all and end-all of the world.  But isn't that just reality?  Have you ever read any history at all?  Are you over 15?  THERE is an investment adviser that just got an un-subscribe message!

Granted we have a huge deficit that is going to be difficult to pay.  Granted we have some social problems that are tough to deal with.  Granted this isn't entirely heaven on earth.  Get over it!  This is still a wonderful country where people have more wealth and freedom than most places.  That isn't going to change for a very long time.  I read a blog by an investment adviser who advocates increasing investments in other countries because he believes their rate of growth will exceed that of the U.S.  Ok, I suspect he is probably right (and the headline I'm quoting is NOT his!).  But it doesn't mean that we are looking at the 'demise of America'.  There is a very rich Mexican by the name of Carlos Slim.  Who in the world would think that Mexico would be the basis for the world's richest man?  He's not rich because he is a dictator stealing from the people.  He's rich because he brought the Mexican people things they wanted to buy.  It doesn't matter if the U.S. is the richest country in the world or the poorest; you can still make good investments and make money. 

Ok, sorry about the rant.  When I took the dog out this a.m. we had mostly blue sky but the clouds are filling the valley and we may yet get rain.  Not lots but the odd .001 inch - it ain't much in centimeters either!  Loved the look of the clouds and the mountains though!  Have a good one!

Monday, February 14, 2011


My previous post about the tragic fire has taken yet another turn.  Apparently one of the children who died in the fire had already set several fires inside the house that were not reported to either the fire service or the sheriff.  The mother has been arrested for manslaughter, child abuse and neglect.  Her lighter was not found in her purse where it should have been.  What a total waste.

To turn to a more positive thought; here are a couple photos from the San Diego zoo.  It's an amazing place.  We've been three or four times and I still haven't seen more that about a third of it.  This first character was definitely interested is staying on the nest!

The second seemed like a lonely and bored character; a lone wombat having a nap.

I think I'll go for a hike.  Have a good one!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tragedy in Pahrump

We had a true tragedy in our little town Wednesday morning, a young woman and three children (all under 6) perished in a fire.  The story is here.  Somehow the mother escaped the fire; the young woman was on the phone with the 911 operator when she died.  There are so many questions but I guess what I'm really left with is just how terrible it is that these young people lost their lives. 

In happier news, we had a bank robbery!  Want to see the suspect?  Here.  Will wonders never cease!  And, no, I was nowhere near that bank today.  LOL

Over in Vegas they had a bit of a scare when an aircraft leaving Nellis AFB had an engine problem and had to drop it's two 500lb bombs rather closer to the city than usual.  I'm glad they have a place designated to drop them and that the pilot was able to get there!  They have something else to celebrate:  no one has been killed in 20 days!  Darn, we might lose that 'sin city' tag. 

Gotta go.  Stay out of trouble!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Taking a drive

I like my little town and often take a ride around town in the afternoon.  There are all kinds of people living here; some very nice houses, lots of manufactured homes, plenty of mobile homes and lots of shacks.  A couple blocks from our home there is a nice house with an old mobile home in the back yard that is used as a stable for the people's horses!  Folks out here can be pretty creative. 

There are also a lot of empty homes; lots and lots of foreclosures.  There just isn't much work here so people have to travel to Las Vegas to earn their living.  It's tough.  We've lived here two years; this photo is of a house that has been just sitting all that time.  It is probably 75% finished; paint it and put some doors and carpet in and it would be complete.  Instead it just sits empty and unusable.  What a waste!

It's a big house with a carport and a two car garage.  The windows are in; the tile roof is almost finished.  Someone's dream died here.  It's just sad.  There isn't even a real estate sign; I suppose some bank owns it and just hasn't bothered to list it.  With all the other houses on the market, it wouldn't pay them to finish it. 

Sorry to be so negative today.  I'll find something good to cook tomorrow and that will put me in a better mood!  Take care.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Back at the ranch!

We got home yesterday from our little trip.  We had a good time and got home safely but it wasn't exactly without event.  The trip started badly when my wife looked into the shower compartment and found that one of the faucet handles had come off.  Hmmm, a little investigation and it became obvious that the faucet was dead.  So our first stop was at a local rv dealer where we bought a new faucet. 

The stop slowed us a bit and it was somewhat windy so we decided to stop at Kingman, AZ. for the night; we had wanted to continue on to Congress, AZ.  It was early enough so we could install the faucet in the daylight.  Tried it and it seemed to work though the hose leading to the showerhead was leaking.  It was cold though, down to about 26F (-3C).  The next morning we towed the rig down to the Escapee's park in Congress, AZ.  Again we were battling the wind but the rig handles wind reasonably well and it wasn't uncomfortable, just slow.  We left the rig there and drove down to Sun City, AZ to visit family.  We had a great visit and even got an invitation to their 60th wedding party to take place next June in western Nebraska.  Hmmmm.  Well, maybe.

Back to the rig; it was supposed to be 22F (-5.5C) this time so we tried something new and left the slide in.  With the slide out it's a lot more comfortable but with it in we reduce the area that is being heated by something close to 25%.  It worked and we spent a comfortable night in Congress.  Finally it was time to head for California. 

Grrrrrr!  More wind!  Plus going through the mountains means you get odd, unexpected bursts of wind as you round a corner or go down a grade.  We went to Blythe, CA on I-10 then took CA-78 down to Brawley and El Centro, CA.  There we met I-8 and took that in to San Diego.  Not long after getting on I-8 we saw a sign saying there was a wind advisory for 'high profile' vehicles.  Well, it was only an advisory so we went anyway.  Not a very smart idea but we managed to get through it ok. 

We stopped for gas before the last jump over the mountains to S.D. and I managed to snag both rear stabilizers on the concrete; bending both.  Looks like they will have to be replaced.  Grrr.  Anyway, we managed to find San Diego and landed at a park we've visited before.  I was hoping for warm weather but, you guessed it, it was chilly and nasty! 

We were planning on having a good time though so first thing Thursday morning I decided to try our shower.  Grrr, again!  The shower head was spraying water all over; mostly out the handle.  Happily we were close to the campground showers so used them for the duration of our stay.  After all that, we did manage to do a little shopping and see our son for a while that evening. 

Next day we toured two of the museums in Balboa Park; the automotive museum and the Timkin Museum.  Don't ask why we chose those two; there was no logic involved.  LOL  (Automotive is easy but Timkin has mostly medieval paintings.)  It was still chilly but we persevered and had fun.  It's a beautiful park with amazing buildings.  We will have to visit S.D. a hundred times to visit every place we want to see!  That evening we took our son & S.O. out to dinner at Prado, in the park.   They each have a birthday in the next couple of weeks and this was their present.  We had an excellent dinner for four with appetizers, drinks, wine, and desert for $250.  Not bad for the kind of place. 

On Saturday the kids took us to the zoo.  They have season passes and get a few tickets for friends (or relatives!).  The zoo cannot be covered in a day except by some maniac runner but we had a good time walking around enjoying what we could see.  It was a great day and we had fun looking at 1) the animals, 2) the people and 3) the plants.  (You may order the attractions as you wish.)

The trip home was pretty uneventful.  Windy, of course, but not bad.  I was getting sleepy so asked my wife to drive the last 50 or 60 miles.  I don't think she has driven this truck-trailer combination before but, of course, she had no problem with it.  She's an excellent driver and I got some relaxation but discovered that the truck seat isn't very comfortable for sleeping.  I'm buying a pillow before we go anywhere again! 

Started this post on Monday but got interrupted and didn't finish.  Tuesday has been pretty quiet.  I worked in the garage trying to organize things.  We've only lived here for two years; wouldn't you think the garage would have SOME organization?  Well, ours is coming close but.... 

Have a good one!