Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oddball Health Stuff

Oddball health stuff today.  First of all, lets talk about cell phones.  They are amazing, especially the smartphones.  But, like anything, there are some problems – aside from using them while driving though that is probably the biggest problem.  Here is a link to a Dr. Oz segment on Oprah’s website talking about some of the dangers.  I don’t think he is an expert on all things but he doesn’t seem to be selling anything.   (They also suggest the cell phone radiation can cause infertility in men but at my age who cares!  Younger readers might want to check it out.)

Here is another doctor who is concerned about all the radio wave activity surrounding us.

How about a personal story.  A few years ago my wife was diagnosed with osteopenia; it is a weaking of the bone structure that can lead to osteoporosis.  Her doctor has her take a bone density test every year to keep track of this condition.  This is done on each hip.  Her right hip has always had a higher density than her left.  This year her left had a higher density than her right.  Last year we got new smartphones, she carries her phone in her right front jeans pocket.  Is there a relationship?  Who knows!  But we are being a lot more careful about putting the phone on a table or desk rather than carrying it all the time. 

How about an alternative medicine story.  I had one of my thumbnails get really corrugated and thick.  I went to the doctor and they took a sample but found no fungus so had nothing to prescribe.  A few weeks later my wife happened to see part of the Doctor Oz show.  Someone was complaining of a problem much like mine and the doctor said to treat it with a mixture of sunflower oil and tea tree oil.  I did and it worked; my nail is almost completely normal now.  I’ve no idea why he recommended the sunflower oil mixture since the Tea Tree Oil was such a small dose of ‘the real thing’.   Apparently it was a bacterial infection of some sort and the tea tree oil cleared it right up.

Please excuse the old photo.  One of our local casinos was having trouble with the flag so they got this guy to fix things up.

Have a good one!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The holiday is still with us!

Well, at least the leftovers!  And Number One Daughter though I imagine she will be leaving in a couple hours.  Per our new tradition, we forgot to put the cranberry sauce on the table AGAIN this year.  Grrrr.  I suppose I should say that I forgot it since I'm the only one who actually likes the stuff but I was not the one who made it.  We do the real stuff with real cranberries as opposed to those cans of whatever.

I decided to try making dressing from scratch.  There are plenty of recipes but I couldn't really find any that called to me so I cobbled together something using about eight 'starting points'.  It turned out fairly well.  I used marbled rye bread and sourdough to start with and those seemed to be good choices.  I added sage sausage, onion & celery and basically called it a day.  I used a cup of chicken broth to moisten things up.  One of the recipes suggested cooking it covered for a while then uncovered so I tried that.  Somehow we ended up with bread that was partially crispy and partially soggy.  Weird.  Guess maybe that covered thing was a mistake.  Some of the 'recipes' didn't even have a cooking time; the ones that did varied between thirty minutes and an hour and a half.  Do you wonder why I ignored them and did my own?

I found a new blog to read The Caretaker Chronicles written by a Canadian who is living in Vienna.  I've always heard it is a lovely city and he is nice enough to post the ocassional photo.  He's also got an irreverant, humorous way of writing.  I'm liking it.

I went all crazy the other day posting photos so I'm pretty low on anything new to share.  I apologize in advance for the quality.  We did have a slightly demented 'centerpiece' on our table.  Here's the photo:
The pine cone turkey is something Number One Daughter made when she was much younger.  The squash I just bought.  My wife is always telling me that an odd number of things is more interesting than even so I got three.  I wanted different shapes and colors but nothing too large so here I got these three.  Then my wife set them out in this manner.  Is it me or does it look like that turkey is getting the goose? 

So much for the excitement of Thanksgiving.  Now on to Christmas crazyness!  Have a good one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Been AWOL again - sorry!

Things have just been perking along out here in the desert.  Haven't done much to report on except we are trying to get ready for the U. S. holiday of Thanksgiving.  Our local radio station advertised a food drive so my wife and I headed for the supermarket.  She got a cart for veterans and I got one for the foodbank.  The idea is that the vets are often living somewhere where they might not have cooking facilities so things in small packages and not requiring much in the way of cooking implements are better for them.  The foodbank stuff is more traditional, like a frozen turkey, large packages, etc.  I always throw in a few cookies or candys because kids are always kids & need their treats.

I think it is my wife's favorite holiday since it involves family, celebration and no religion.  Probably mine as well though I find celebrations kind of depressing.  Celebrate every day; not just once in a while.  Anyway, I got to feel the anxiety in the air while we hunted (in the supermarket!) for the perfect bird.  We found one but it wasn't quite right so we went to the other store, they had nothing.  So zoomed back to the first store & grabbed our new little buddy.  Jeez!  Then spent another half hour leisurely filling the cart with other stuff.  The butcher was really nice to us; he must think we are crazy though! 

Here is a photo I took back on the 12th:
That is 26F outside - or minus 3C.  Granted it was 06:30 in the a.m. but that's chilly.  Glad I drained all the water from the trailer! 

Here is a shot from a bit later that same day.  It warms up nicely during the day and we were in the hot tub enjoying an early happy hour.  Note the distinct lack of snow on the mountain in the background.  It has been getting snow then having it melt several times lately.

We've had variable weather so the sunrises and sunsets have been pretty spectacular.  Needless to say I have to inflict at least one such photo on you.
Here is my version of an artsy photo - a photo of a real piece of art!  We bought this sculpture in Paris way back before the turn of the century.  It isn't the one I wanted.  That was probably 4 feet tall (1.3m) and was making a rude gesture; my wife was afraid we'd never have a space big enough for it and she didn't much care for the gesture.  So we compromised on this one which is about 2 feet tall (.6m).  We didn't even notice that the woman is smoking a cigarette; now it is the first thing we notice!  We like it in spite of the political incorrectness.  And we really liked the way the morning light lit it up.
I'll close with a photo I took the other day of our flag and the mountain.  There are some really incredibly beautiful sights around here, you simply need to look for them. 
For those in the U. S. have a happy Thanksgiving.  For everyone else, celebrate EVERY day of life!  have a good one.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I've joined the bloggers who require a name on a comment.  It's not like there are that many people who read this drivel that I write but apparently some robot somewhere has found me.  I had to delete six 'comments' this morning.  That's just too many. 

I went in to Las Vegas the other day.  Nothing exciting, just doing errands.  BUT I had pizza for lunch then we went out to dinner and had pizza.  How many guys get to have a two pizza day?  I knew I was lucky but that's special.

My wife finally settled on her new laptop.  It's another Toshiba from; it's got the i7 chip and a 1Tb harddrive.  It's also got Windows 8 which is a whole new ball of wax.  She is managing it but as everyone says, it's a steep learning curve.  She has been switching between Firefox and Microsoft's Explorer on her old machine for some time.  Now she has a new Explorer as well as a new operating system.  I'm just standing back and trying to be encouraging; I sure as hell don't know anything about this brave new world she is entering. She was told to do a backup either on three DVDs or a thumb drive; she tried DVDs first and it just wouldn't work.  Happily we had a 16GB thumb drive and that worked.  Funny that they even suggested DVDs.

One of the casino's offered a free tee shirt to vets on Veteran's Day.  I just couldn't figure out how to prove I am a vet.  I guess my American Legion card might have done the trick but I don't carry it around with me.  After some thought I remembered my dog tags but, again, I don't wear the things.  So I didn't get my shirt.  Guess I'll just have to live.  I did FIND my dog tags though; they are at least 45 years old and still look just like new.  Guess that is what happens when you use something for a few years then throw it in a drawer for a few decades.  I know I'm sure worse for wear after all those decades!

I keep telling myself that today is the first day of the rest of my life.  Unfortunately I don't seem to be making any inprovements in my behavior.  It's not like I'm all that bad but I'm not all that good either. That's the rub.  If anyone has a secret method for making one do one's situps and pushups I'd love to hear it!  Not that it will get me off my ass but.....  It would be interesting.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Strange World

The news continues to confound me.  For example, this woman who runs over her husband with a car because he didn't vote.  Imagine what she would have done had he voted for someone she didn't like! 

Then there is the very strange story of General Petraeus; everyone involved seems to be behaving strangely except maybe the General's wife.  She is just pissed off.  Wonder why.

There is a long article claiming that Mr. Romney lost the election because some software that was supposed to help the Republican's Get Out The Vote campaign didn't work.  Gee, is it possible that maybe Mr. Romney's and by extension some Republican ideas aren't acceptable for moderate American voters? 

Apparently there are at least twenty states where people have signed secession petitions including some where Mr. Obama won the popular vote.  I understand this is not unusual after a Presidential election but it sure is weird.  I wonder what these people think they are doing.  They voted, they lost:  how tough is that? 

Maybe it is just that we have so much more news available to us then in the past.  After all, newspapers have limited space, the internet seemingly doesn't. 

Have a good one.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sore loser - to put it kindly

We went out to breakfast this a.m. and I spotted this.

I can't tell you how offended I am.  I'm not offended if some dumb ass in Iran or somewhere wants to disrespect our flag.  But to do this to your own country's flag just pisses me off.  This asshole probably thinks he/she is a great patriot or something.  I’m not going to say any more what I think of him/her, it would just be profanity.  I've read a good argument that the only place the flag should be flown is on government buildings.  But there are a lot of folks, especially around here it seems, who want to fly the flag.  MOST of them don't follow proper etiquette but do at least give it a try.  

If you have the time, you might try reading a few articles from this compilation of articles written by Charlie Reese, a newspaper man who is now retired.  I think he has some pretty good thoughts.  A warning however:  if you like Ron Paul you probably won't like Charlie; if you like Mr. Romney you probably won't like Charlie; if you like Mr. Obama you probably won't like Charlie.  If you think G. W. Bush was a good president, you certainly won't like Charlie.  Damn, I miss Charlie's writing.

Anyway, have a good one.

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all the vets out there.   As you can see, it’s a bit windy here today.  Having served our country is a privilege that those who have not done will never completely understand.   Odd, but true.

We had a murder here yesterday or maybe it was just lunch.  I just posted a photo of all the finches having lunch.  Well, apparently I have a hawk as a reader because he dropped in for lunch.  On the finches as it were.  My wife and I were sitting in the kitchen nook talking after lunch when I spotted a hawk out in the yard.  She grabbed her camera and got a shot or two of him standing around.  Then, in a moment, he had grabbed a finch and was dining!  Yep, just started pecking away at the little guy.  If you look closely you can see the finch in his claws.  After 10 minutes or so, we figured he was full.  He’d moved off a bit to finish his lunch and was kind of hidden in the shadows.  The other birds decided it was safe and returned to have more seed somehow ignoring the hawk.  Big mistake, huge actually for one because he came zooming in and grabbed another finch!  Yep, one just wasn’t enough.  I must admit, they are small. 

So we had a lesson in life yesterday.  We’ve all got to eat.  Have a good one!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Back to normal

After all the excitement of the election it’s good to return to normal stuff:  like watching the birds.  In the fall we get a ton of these little gold finches.  There are rose finches as well but the golden guys really go for thistle seed.  There is an ongoing fight to see who gets the best spots on the sock. 

We also had a rainbow yesterday.  No rain but the rainbow was nice.  There is a big storm coming our way from California so we are getting wind; perhaps rain over the weekend.  

On the CBS news this morning I saw a segment called  “Note To Self”; it was a man’s advice to his much younger self on the eve of going to war in Iraq.  The link is here – it is very highly recommended.  The guy, Alex Horton, works at the VA.  I cannot help thinking we will be hearing more from this guy.

Short post today.  Just wanted to share the ‘normal’ thing in life.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Thank You!

Thank you U.S. of A. for avoiding the election of Mr. Romney.  Yep, I can't say thank you for electing Mr. Obama but, once again, I had to vote in favor of the lesser of two evils.  Jeez.  What a world. 

Locally we had a couple of people elected that I voted for and a couple that I didn't.  Isn't it always that way?  We'll stumble along as usual I suppose.  This area was a farming community; during the Las Vegas boom times it became a bedroom community.  Now during the downturn, it has no where to go.  Farming can't support all the people and commuting is pretty expensive so the only support are retirees who can live in this beautiful area without needing to work.  It's a tough place to represent in the best of times and these ain't!

We did refill the hot tub yesterday.  We drained it way last summer when we were traveling and it's been so warm that sitting in warm water didn't sound all that great.  Now, however, when the sun goes down it starts feeling chilly so sitting in warm water is sounding a lot better.  Silly, aren't we.  Anyway, starting tonight, most likely, if you want to see two old naked people come look through our gate or over the fence.  We've been sitting out enjoying the sunset most nights; now we'll have somewhere to go after the sun goes down.

Gotta go.  I've got another set of augers to install to hold the shed down and it will be too warm to work later in the day.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day

It's finally election day so if you are eligible and haven't already done so:   VOTE!  I know who I would like you to vote for but that isn't the way it works.  Go ahead and make up your own mind.  LOL 

We voted last week and the local election seems to be more agressive than in years past.  One candidate had a big bus conversion parked on the street with a 20 foot (7m) banner saying 'vote for me'.  Another had a little shade tent pitched where they could tell you what wonderful things they would do.  There were even a bunch of people trying to take an exit poll.  Jeez, I don't know what has come over all these people.  Anyway, I'm hoping that we the people make some wise choices and get this country off it's ass. 

We did go into Las Vegas yesterday.  I got roped into helping our daughter fix a mirror attached to a chest of drawers that she has.  This thing was flimsy when it was built and that was quite a while ago.  The mirror is about 3 feet by 5 feet (1m x 1.6m) and is being held on by four pretty short screws.  The maker actually put some solid metal attachment points but the bolts have been long gone and in fact one of the attachment legs has been replaced.  Anyway it was a less than fun hour of fooling around doing a truly lousy job.  What really made it worse is that the ladies both want to advise me on what to do but to about things in opposite directions.  My wife is slow and painstaking; my daughter is hurry and slap it together.  I was ready to rub them together and start a fire.

We also checked out more computers.  While that was fun, we did find a Samsung that was pretty nice.  It was sitting next to a Toshiba.  We currently both have Toshibas - hers a 2005 model, mine a 2008.  It was then that we noticed the Samsung has a matte screen while the Toshiba is quite shiny.  We orginally were basically looking at the new Toshibas and now we have more to think about.  I think I've talked her into only looking at 17" machines with the i7 Intel chip.  If she keeps the new machine for 7 years as well, it won't be a total boat anchor at the end and we don't really care about portability that much.  The new touch screen machines are pretty cool but I'm thinking we should wait a generation or so for the technology to become a bit more mainstream.   

Gotta go.  Here's hoping for the best.  Take care.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Promised Photo

I'm still fooling with the shed.  It's together but we get some really interesting micro-burst weather events around here so keeping it on the ground is a priority.   I bought the thing from our local Sears affiliate.  They had a little demo version put up in front of their store that was bolted to the concrete.  One day they came to work to find it totally knocked down.  It was still bolted down but apparently the wind got in the open door and just ripped it apart.  So keeping it in place might be a challenge.

The maker suggests bolting it to concrete or wood or using an auger type anchor.  We decided to try the augers.  They are kind of a pain to dig into the ground but seem pretty sturdy.  I’ve done the front pair of augers and installed a steel cable going over the top of the building.  The other set will have to be installed another day.  Anyway, here is the promised photo of the building.

I went all crazy and made chili yesterday.  It takes me about four hours from start to eating.  Good thing I’m not competing on any of those cooking shows where you get half an hour to create something!  One time I put about two-thirds beef and one-third pork in my chili and kind of liked it.  This time I tried putting in some chicken thighs (diced up of course).  It didn’t really work for me; the chicken just kind of disappeared into nothingness.  I use ancho chili and chili arbol mostly then toss in a chipotle with a bit of adobo sauce for a smoky touch. 

Tomorrow we might go into Las Vegas and look at computers.  My wife’s laptop is 7 years old; she is still on XP!  It is getting really slow; especially when she is using big files like in some of the games she likes to play.  Still, we are hesitant about going to Windows 8.  Have you tried it?  I haven’t played with it enough to tell if it is actually different or if it is just more of the same with a different face. 

Have a good one!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Not dead; just kind of creaky!

I just figured out that I haven't posted in two weeks!  Bad Don!  I haven't been just sitting around though I am awfully good at that.  While my wife was gone I decided to put up a metal shed that we bought an embarrassingly long time ago.  Well, I decided to start putting it up anyway.  The kit came in this large box; the size you have to unpack rather than try to move around.

The first few steps are where you get a nice level surface for the frame and put together some other parts, like rafters, that you’ll need later.  I spent a couple hours each day getting all that done.  Getting the frame perfectly level was a lot like hard work, I must say, but it really paid off because later in the construction we had very little trouble getting things to fit just so.  Then I got to Step 6 in the instructions (of 20 steps).  Let me quote the note preceding Step 6.

“The remainder of the building assembly requires many hours and more than one person.  Do not continue beyond this point if you do not have enough time to complete the assembly today.  A partially assembled building can be severely damaged by light winds.”

I was alone so I needed to stop then once my wife returned to assist/direct me, the wind started.  Grrrr!  I had the individual sheets of metal all set out on the ground divided into piles according to the instructions and couldn’t do anything.  There were 12 different types of panels and 23 other braces, trim strips, brackets, channels and frames.  It wasn’t until Monday of this week that we got calm conditions.  By then a few of the panels had been blown around and a couple had dents even.  But what can you do; just make it happen.  So that’s what we did.

I must say that the idea of completing assembly in a day seemed pretty optimistic; and it sure was!  We worked about 4 hours on Monday; 5 on Tuesday and another 5 on Wednesday.  We finally finished the thing with an extra hour or so this morning.  That’s a total of 15 hours (30 since there were two of us working) in addition to the 6 or 8 I’d already put in. 

So what do we have?  It is a 10’ x 11’ (3.04m x 3.35m) Arrow storage building that mostly just covers our well and the associated parts:  the control box, pressure tank, etc.  There is room for some other things but not a whole bunch.  You can however get all around the well should you need to work on it.  Another part of the reason for such a large building is that the pressure tank is over five feet tall and smaller buildings just weren’t tall enough.  In the end, the fact that we had a couple of dented panels didn’t really matter a lot.  It made fitting the panels a bit more difficult but it wasn’t that bad.   Most of the requirement for a second person was to stabilize the building while the other was putting in a screw or to tighten a bolt that the other person put in.  We managed it ok and we are both in our sixties so it isn’t all about strength.  

I must say that the kit was complete and the instructions quite good.  We ran out of the little plastic washers near the end but that was about it.  We had extras of the screws, nuts and bolts used.  They did have a habit of saying something like ‘only put one bolt in the beam at this time’ but not saying WHY you were only using one.  There was always a reason that we discovered some way down the line but it was kind if disconcerting to leave things half done hoping to find a finish later.  You also had to be very attentive to the instruction AND the diagrams; one of the reasons we stopped work after 4 or 5 hours was because we were getting tired and making silly mistakes:  like losing track of which end of the door was the top.  Still, I’ve got to say it is a pretty good product and it’s ‘Made in the USA’. 

Photos?  Ah, well, my wife took a few but hasn’t downloaded them yet!  The good news though is that it will make for another post.  LOL  Have a good one!