Monday, December 23, 2013

Interesting days....

Tuesday was the day when the carpets were to be cleaned.  It actually come to be but not in the normal way.  First we have to get up early and pull/carry all the furniture off the rug and onto the tile.  We can kind of squirm around to get from here to there.  The guy who does the cleaning showed up about 09:45.  He has kids to get off to school before starting.  That works for us though because of all the funiture moving!  So he starts work.  He is just going to town:  done with the master bedroom, living room and has started the dining room when things get quiet.  He explains that the machine he is using runs on gasoline and it has just run out.  Not only that, he left his debit card at home so he has to go home, get the card then go buy gas.  Sounds like he's having a good day already.  This is about 11:30.

We had a little lunch then decided I'd go into town.  I'm wandering around in the grocery store when my phone rings.  It's my wife.  She wondered what happened to carpet guy so called him.  She got his wife who said he had been home, got the debit card but now was on the side of the road having been pulled over by the state highway patrol.  Hmmm.  The wife actually used the words 'he is being harrassed' by the officer.  I go on with shopping and come home; still no carpet guy.  It was 15:15 by the time he got back to our place and finished the job.  That's almost 4 hours!  I don't know what he was doing but I really can't see the highway patrol officer keeping this guy on the side of the road for more than 15-20 minutes.  Anyway, I hope had fun.  He only had about 20 minutes more work to do the two small bedrooms. 

Wednesday we went into Las Vegas so my wife could go to a movie with our daughter.  They insist on going to this theatre that serves alcohol so I get to do the chauffeur bit.  Good thing I did, my wife slept most of the way home.  While they were at the movie, I got to hit the liquor store and Sam's Club.  Exciting times, huh. 

Then we had to make our annual trip to buy stuff for Toys for Tots.  We usually go for the little kid stuff since we feel the presents are more important for them.  Then Saturday was the Christmas food drive.  We have lots of homeless around here so did two carts:  one for vets and one for familes.  The one for the vets is all single serving stuff with pop-tops if we can get it so a guy doesn't even need a can opener.  Some of them live in tents out on the BLM land and who knows what kind of cooking facilities they might have. 

We have a couple tomato plants that we've been raising in buckets.  It is getting pretty chilly in the night so I carry them out in the morning & bring them in at night.  Believe it or not but the darn things are finally coming up with ripe tomatoes.  Who would have expected tomatoes at Christmas?  We were thinking like maybe a month ago!

It is getting chilly; ice on the birdbath almost every day.  Here I was breaking the ice this morning & having a little fun with it.  I've poked several holes in the ice then when I tap the center I get a fountain.  Doesn't take much for me sometimes!  LOL

So the house is clean; the charities taken care of and the Christmas tree set up.  Sounds like we are in good shape.  Please have a happy and safe holiday.  Take care.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Jeez, time really does fly!

I just noticed that I haven't updated the blog since Tuesday.  The embarrassing thing is that I can't think of anything even remotely interesting that I've accomplished in that time.  Jeez, really? 

Back a few years ago Microsoft came out with this pc-thing that took over the world.  Yeah, I know about the Fruit company but in offices it was pretty much Windows.  Anyway, they had a notepad that I think they are still supporting and I discovered that if you opened the notepad and put .LOG in the first line, it would time-date stamp it every time you opened it.  Hmmm.  From that day to this I've used that piece of software.  These days it is more of a diary but it used to be that I'd be on the phone with someone making notes of what we were saying.  I'd have a note that I promised a software fix by Tuesday; or they promised a new spec; or whatever.  And after I got off the phone and talked with three people about three different problems, I still had my notes right there.  I absolutely love it.  It must have saved a tree's worth of paper from me taking notes in notebooks.  Also my typing is a hellova lot easier to read than my penmanship!

So, what have I been up to?  We took the photo of the cat that I posted last time and went to Walmart and in an hour got our custom Christmas cards printed up.  Our Walmart appears to have cut people's hours.  The checkout lines were crazy so after paying for our cards at the photo counter we just left.  Didn't do much on Wednesday.  I was convinced we could buy screen-storm door for one of our doors; two hours on the internet convinced me that it may not be possible.  The problem is that the door isn't a standard size; it's about an inch off and I can't find any that are adjustable.  Grrrr.  Apparently that was about all I accomplished on Wednesday.  Well, I did sell a stock that we've had for a couple years and it's up a bit but hasn't paid a dividend so it's outta here. We also got those Christmas cards out.  They mostly go to folks who aren't too computer savvy but there are a couple going to friends I've had for 40 years but don't really correspond with all that much.

Thursday we went into town and bought a bunch of stuff for Toys For Tots.  We usually go for the small kids stuff; by the time a kid is in the teens they ought to have a grip on reality.  I don't know if I'm done with that; there are an awful lot of poor kids out there and the hype about Christmas drives them all crazy - rich or poor. 

Friday the big thing was working on my pension.  I turned 65 this year and have been having difficulty communing with the Retiree Benefits departments of a couple corporations I worked for many moons ago.  Each company has a different set of rules and they stick by them.  It won't be enough to live on but it can't hurt.  I guess that's pretty much out of style now; pensions I mean.  I don't agree with that.  My wife worked for one company for 28 years; how is it that an employee like that shouldn't be kept on the books.  It doesn't have to be a free ride but to be kicked to the curb sounds wrong.  She has her pension but I don't know that current employees are going to be as fortunate.

Yesterday was Number One Daughter visit day:  she and her mom watched movies and I hid in my den.  I don't care for most movies these days:  too many dead bodies and gratuitous violence for me.  But the food was good and we had a good talk after dinner so it wasn't all bad.  Today we are munching on left-overs and contemplating a walk.  We call it Life in the Fast Lane.

Have a good one.  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Going to the Birds

Yeah, I know it isn't much but I am pretty much out of news.  We took the cardboard that our new closet was shipped in off to the recycler.  It filled the bed of the pickup.  I used two of the boxes to hold all the little stuff and flattened the rest.  It was pretty impressive.  Our recyclers location is in the same place as the landfill so that was kind of interesting.  Even in a small town like this the landfill is a huge operation.  Did I think to take photos?  Duh, no. Sorry about that.

It was chilly this a.m. 18F or -8C.  We had a flock of doves in the backyard this morning.  It was kind of a nice change from the pigeons we usually get! 

In the front yard our borrowing owl was all puffed up trying to stay warm.  Don't know why but he seems to have adopted our culvert as a home.  It seems kind of big for such a little guy but he's been here a while.

We did manage to get the annual insult-the-pet picture.  Doesn't he look happy?
Well, I guess that's it for today.  Have a good one.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Not much to say!

I'm kind of out of news.  The closet has been such a big deal for the last week or so that I haven't done much else.  We planned this to be a quiet day because all the weather forecasters in Vegas said there was a big system coming down from the north that would bring us at least rain but most likely snow.  Well, that didn't work out!  It's about 55F (more than 12C) which certainly isn't anything to complain about.  Not here in December for heaven's sake.  It's been mostly sunny as well.  The wind is blowing but you can't have everything.

We have this huge pile of broken down boxes in our living room.  There are some boxes full of 'protective packaging' but lots of empty boxes.  Here is what the protective stuff looks like: 
On the left is a piece of maybe inch and a half (4 cm) cardboard that is cut into the right size to protect stuff in the boxes.  It's just ordinary but thick cardboard.  On the right is some cardboard that has been sliced up so it still has some strength but is really flexible.  I have serious cubic feet of this stuff!  It ranges from about a foot long (.3m) to 6 feet (almost 2m).  Then there is a pile of flattened cardboard boxes.  I'm pretty sure I've got a pickup truck load.  I'm thinking I'll load it into the truck then wait until next week and take it to the recycler.  Life in the fast lane.

I saw two stray dogs in the neighborhood; one would come to me, the other wasn't really willing.  It's the first time I've touched a dog since our dog died last January.  It was even a black dog much like ours.  It was tough; I wanted to grab them and take them around the neighborhood asking if anyone was missing a dog but don't really have the facilities for that - not to mention the one with a collar didn't want to come talk.  Called Animal Control; I guess that's about all one can do. 

My wife is wrapped around her own axle about Christmas.  It's looking like we'll have both Number One Daughter and Number One Son (and Number One Daughter-In-Law) for the holiday.  That would be great but it brings up questions.  Presents:  should we or should we not?  We are talking 40 year old 'children'; they can buy anything they want.  I'm hoping the don't still believe in Santa!  Food:  everyone has an opinion and everyone but me is a picky eater.  Can't have this; can't have that:  I probably draw the line at bugs but who knows?  Length of stay:  we have one very jealous Number One Daughter.  Can't have anyone else staying longer than she does.  Let me tell you, I'm in search of a place to hide next Christmas; somewhere they won't want to follow us to!  I'm reading Kevin & Ruth's blog and they are making Africa sound really great.  Who knows.

Gotta go.  Time for some feet up time in the recliner before dinner.  Have a good one!

Done! And boy does it feel good!

Ok, no more whining about the closet.  It's done; most of our clothes loaded into it and, gee, we have a lot more room.  Well, that's what organization does for you.  Here are a couple shot of his and her's sides.

You will notice that there are quite a few empty shelves; if you could see into them, there are empty drawers too.  Let's hope we don't go buy more 'stuff' to put into them!  I already have half a dozen shirts I should be giving away.  Anyway, you won't have to listen to any more whining about the closet except possibly for the trip to the recycling place.  All those boxes need to be broken down and carted off; I'm thinking a full pickup load of recycling.  You know I might whine about that.

In other news, Las Vegas is expecting some snow; mostly rain but in the higher elevations it might be snow.  They don't talk much about us but we are higher than Vegas so if it comes this way I might have a snow photo or two. 

Yesterday the birdbath was completely frozen.  It started to thaw around the edges and the pidgeons started fighting over the little slurps of water.  It was kind of funny but I couldn't let it go on.  I broke some of the ice away and filled it with water.  Calm was restored.  AND I was smart enough to go out and empty the water at sunset so they have a full bath this a.m.

I also must announce the suspicion of a bird casuality.  Let the picture tell the story.
The circle of life and all that.  I can't think that one of these birds flew away.  Maybe our friend the hawk visited but I didn't see it.  Anyway, there you go.

Gotta go.  Have a good one!

Thursday, December 05, 2013


OK, Thanksgiving has come and gone.  The remainder of the turkey is still with us however!  Well, it will be a couple more days and we'll have 'disposed' of it one way or another.  Then there is the asparagus.  My wife and daughter think that eating two spears is getting their veggie.  It takes a very long time to eat a pound of asparagus at that rate!  

The closet is still kicking our asses.  First it was paint the damn place.  You know that it would take about 1.2 gallons; not a gallon; not even two but now we have plenty of leftover Pineapple Fondue or whatever if we want more light yellow walls.  Then it is put up this track that everything else hangs from.  Needless to say the walls are nowhere near straight.  I used a whole package of shims!  One spot actually required two.
Like they always say, measure twice & cut once.  Well, there is a missing piece there; check the level twice too!  But we managed.  The blue tape is marking where we are wanting vertical pieces since they are supposed to be pretty close to studs.  I can see it.  This metal track is going to hold up something over 900 lb of shelving PLUS anything we want to put on it.  I guess having it secure will be a good thing.

This is as far as we are now.
Shelves and hanging bars are in but the drawers and clothes hamper are still in the working stage.  It should be ok but we are taking today off.  My wife is going to the dentist and I've got a bunch of errands that have stacked up. Hell, I'm getting used to picking my clothes out of the pile on the floor.  My shirts get to hang in the laundry room over the cat box where, well, there might be odors from time to time but I'm not that pristine either.

Life in the fast lane, huh?  Hang in there.  Life is better than the alternative. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Having fun in the desert with closet renovation.  On top of Thanksgiving, of course!  So now would be the time for the Toyota's power windows to stop working.  Grrr!  There are THREE fuse panels that we've found but we haven't found a burnt fuse yet.  Double GRRRR!  Well, maybe it's time we talked to an automotive repair professional.  At least we need someone who isn't 65 and 225 lb trying to stuff himself under the dash of this damn thing. 

We (well, mostly my wife) did get the closet painted.
Then there was the time I came home from grocery shopping and the closet had been dropped on the front porch!  I'm not sure they even rang the doorbell; my wife didn't hear it but she was painting! 
This is only part of the delivery!  It's kind of funny.  Two boxes will be the same size; one will weigh 10 lb and the other 50.  I've no idea how they do these things but so far it looks like everything arrived in good shape. 

Gotta go get things ready for Thanksgiving.  Have a good one and if I don't get online again, all you U.S. folks have a great Thanksgiving.!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vegas again???

Yep, had to make another trip.  I could almost get a job over there for as much as I'm burning up the road.  Anyway, our excuse this time was twofold:  booze and paint.  The booze thing; well it's just a hell of a lot cheaper in Sin City.  The paint is trickier.  When we bought the house there were some Dunn Edwards paint cans in the garage.  The paint in the house is really standing up well so we thought we'd check into that brand.  We found the store and while they will sell to individuals it's not user friendly.  They are more into selling 5 or 50 gallons than 1.  It's also about twice what other stores ask for paint.  Maybe it is worth it but I'm having trouble thinking that.  Anyway, all we came home with was the booze. 

The pass between Vegas & Pahrump is 5,600 feet (1,700m); there was snow on the sides of the road and it was coming down but not sticking to the roadway.  It was not dangerous but did call for caution.  First snow of the season folks!  This is the view from our house today; kind of a gray day.  I love the snow on the mountain with the clouds below it.

Later in the afternoon we went over to our local Home Depot and picked up some Glidden.  We want to paint the closet before we install the new system.  Bought the paint & all the crap you need to clean & prep the wall.  Fun!  Today we unpacked all the stuff from the closet and took the old stuff down.  Let me tell you, whoever invented the pneumatic nailer has a lot to answer for!  One piece of wood, a foot long, had 7 nails!  Here is a photo of the closet as it was.  It's about 10 x 10 feet (3m) almost square. 
It just had a simple bar going all the way around the room with a shelf on top.  I must say though; I was surprised by the material used to support the shelf. 
100% recovered and recycled fiber.  What the heck is that?   It did the job though and was rather tough to take down!  Something to do with all those nails I guess.  Anyway, now we have all that removed and lots of holes to fill.  The closet set isn't supposed to be delivered until Tuesday but we are sure going to be ready for it. 

Gotta go.  Have a good one & thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I read way too many blogs.  OK, it's a lousy habit but recently some of the blogs are just going crazy about the end of civilization; demonizing President Obaba, just going completely off the tracks.  Get a grip folks!  He's a dummy but that's about it.  I'm sorry that there are people who believe the Pres is a POS non-American commie nigger.  Well, I don't think he is doing a very good job but Mr. Cruz is bringing up a much more interesting slant on being American born.  As for the rest, if you understand the definition of communism, you know Mr. Obama isn't one.  And for his color; who really gives a shit?  If you do, you're an idiot.  I expect he would agree that he's not meeting his own standards as a President.  But he's not the anti-Christ. 

Come on folks, he's just some twit who isn't very good at politics.  Not many remember but Kennedy was cruising for a really lousy presidency when he was killed.  VP Johnson stepped in and in spite of f*&king up Vietnam did a really stellar job of changing civil rights law. He isn't given much credit but in 100 years he'll be seen as a real deal changer.  Obama is like Kennedy; a newbie who can't get things done.  His VP, Biden, should be in charge of getting things done but Obama isn't capable of letting go that much.  It's a shame.

Anyway, the end of America as we know it isn't around the corner.  The economic collapse isn't either.  So stop prepping and start living.  My folks made it through the great depression and mom (20 in 1932) didn't even have to sell her self to the highest bidder.  Neither did my wife's mom.  Hard times, yes.  But not the end of the world and it isn't coming now either.  Take a big salt pill and wake up to smell the roses.  They really are nice.  Just like forever.

Thanks for checking in.  Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another trip to Vegas!

Yesterday we made yet another trip to Las Vegas; this time for lunch with our daughter.  She gave me a gift card for my birthday that was good at several chains; we decided to go for Maggiano's in the Fashion Show mall.  It is actually on the strip just across from the Wynn.  We got there early so we could stroll around the mall before lunch.  That was pretty cool.  There are tons of high end shops so there are lots of opportunities for leaving behind a small fortune.  Dillards, Macys, Nieman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, even some place called Forever 21; if you have a dollar they would love to relieve you of it!  Of course there are probably 100 smaller stores; I think there were three from Victoria's Secret!  We had a good time looking at all the stuff and as good a time people watching.  There were some amazing folks wandering around and I mean that is both a good way and a bad way.  The Eastern Europeans are especially obvious; guys just don't wear lime green jeans in this country.  But everyone likes the tourist dollar so Welcome to Las Vegas!  One gal was wearing some kind of lycra pants that were at least a size too small and her hip measurement had to be well over 40".  It was just wrong.

There is an art gallery, Centaur Galleries that is the only place I've ever seen work by Dali, Picasso and the like for sale.  They seem to specialize in LeRoy Neiman having paintings from $3000 to close to $1 million.  They were running a special on some small Dali's; usually $2,500 each you could select three for $6,000.  Not my kind of place but they had a big space so someone is buying that stuff. 

Anyway we made it to the restaurant; the bar first.  It is a U-shaped bar with one side where the floor is two steps higher than the other two.  As a result the people on side A have lounge chairs while the people on sides B and C have high chairs that aren't high enough.  Really a weird design and uncomfortable for all of us.  So we had lunch; $15 entrees and $14 a glass wine.  The food and wine was ok but really not special.  So we blew through $110 for lunch making it a "definitely a won't go there again" place.  To ice the cake, our waiter seems to have taken a break during service, he was just gone.  My wife and daughter eventually went back to the bar to get another drink; I was hoping he might notice his diners leaving and come to see about us.  It still took him a while to bring the check.  Lousy service is putting it mildly! The wine in the bar, now that it was happy hour, were only $5 each but it is still an uncomfortable place to sit.

So we came home.  We had a lovely sunset with great color but by the time we made it into Pahrump it was dark.  We were driving past one of the local watering holes and nearly got T-boned by someone leaving the place.  What happened I think was this.  We have two lanes going each direction and a turn lane in the middle.  I was in the left lane; there was someone in the right lane signaling to go into the parking lot.  I think this guy just didn't see me coming because of the car that was turning it.  As it was I jerked the car into the turn lane and I think the other guy must have turned away from us but we sure didn't escape by more than a foot or so.  It was all over in a second.  There was no honking or squealing brakes or anything; I was just glad there wasn't a big 'CRUNCH' when the guy took the back end off the car.  My wife was happy that she didn't have a truck sitting in her lap!  Anyway, it was exciting in all the wrong ways.  It did make the last 4 miles home rather quiet by comparison. 

Today we made up for all the excitement yesterday by ordering a new closet arrangement for our master bedroom closet from EasyCloset.  The closet is a walk-in design.  The existing 'design' is just a hanging bar with a shelf above it going around all three sides of the room. We have light colored wook throughout our house and they have something that looks pretty much like a match.  One thing we like about their system is that it hangs from a bracket attached to the wall and doesn't touch the floor.  This way we can vacuum under everything without any hassle.  We'll have drawers, a clothes hamper and lots of hanging space.  They claim they will ship it tomorrow so we'll have it pretty soon.  Looks like we'd better get busy taking the old stuff down, filling holes and painting.  Now I just need to remember to take some before and after photos! 

Gotta go.  Thanks for checking in.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Is it really 41 days until Christmas???  WTF, where did the year go?  Jeez.  I know my folks said the years sped by more quickly every year but now I'm getting to see it for myself.  Wow; it's time to start thinking of ideas for Christmas gifts.  Amazing.

My wife made a little pork roast last night and while I was cleaning the roaster I was thinking of lunch today.  Cheese, pork roast, crackers and a bottle of wine.  Sounds pretty good doesn't it.  Even kind of decadent.  And then I thought of the perfect bottle of wine.
Unless I'm confused a week from tomorrow is the reveal for the 2013 version of Beaujolais Nouveau.  We might get some on that day or maybe later but it won't be too long before we try it.  I remember one year, perhaps 2006, that we liked the wine so much I bought an entire case!  It is light and fruity usually, just a very nice wine if you like that sort of thing.

Our owl is still around.  He is taking cover in the culvert that runs beneath one side of our drive so I've been trying to remember to use the other side!  Believe me, it's tough.  I'm at the age when I walk from the den to the kitchen and don't remember why I'm there.  Grrrr!  I know it happens to others but that really doesn't do much to relieve that feeling that you are an idiot.  Or that you are one step away from Alzheimers. 

We took the Toyota in to Vegas for servicing yesterday.  They had a deal where if you bought 4 oil changes you got a better price; we have one left.  They usually manage to find something else though; this time it was a new air filter.  Ok, I could do stuff like that but sometimes I'm just too lazy.  The last time we were there they said our battery didn't pass their test but I resisted the $125 or so they wanted for a new battery.  When we got home I checked and it was low on water.  So I added water then put the battery charger on it for a couple hours.  This time the battery passed their test without a problem.  Jees, I wonder how many extra batteries they sell from just people not checking the fluid level. 

We stopped at a parking lot where a guy was setting up an RV show for this weekend.  We spent some time wandering through the lot.  They were all locked of course but there were no sales people to bother you - worked for us!  They did all have either a description, if used, or a manufacturers sheet if new.  Wow, $225K for a motorhome?  It was certainly fancy but really I just don't think I could do that even if I could afford it.  Especially since the thing loses so much value the minute you drive it off the lot.  Somehow I think we'll be towing our rig for quite a while.   

Gotta go.  Thanks for checking in.  Have a good one.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Still poking along

This seems to be the quiet before the holiday storm so I don't have much to report.  It is Veteran's Day so 'thank you' to all who served and those family members whose support is so important to the service member.

When we lived in Europe flowers seemed very inexpensive and easy to find.  Not so here; I'm sure that is partially because this is a desert.  But one of the stores had some flowers on sale last week so we perked the place up with a couple bundles. 
The vase is one that we bought in Delft.  We went through the factory where people were making all different plates, vases, etc. then into the sales room.  We walked around the whole place individually and both chose this as our favorite.  Strange but it works for us. 

We did have a little visitor this week:  the burrowing owl decided to make the culvert under our driveway his or her temporary home.  The first I knew was when I was driving out the drive and there was our visitor giving us the eye.  I've read they are not afraid of cars and this guy was just standing there checking us out.  That can't be good for their survival rate!
The next day a group of people were driving past and all of a sudden backed up and started taking photos of the owl.  Again, it was just standing there.  Blends in with the rock and dirt pretty well doesn't it. 

That's about it from me.  Happy Veteran's Day to all. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The curse!

I mean, of course, the curse of saying something is going well!  I was bragging about our great weather and now it's a good bit cooler and I get to share a 'first ice on the birdbath' photo.
It fairly thick but not well attached to the sides of the bath.  Exciting stuff, huh.  It is a hint that I need to get the rv drained for the winter.  That should be later this week. 

My big plan for today is to go into Vegas to have the truck serviced.  There are places here that could do it but I like having the dealer do it.  No real reason; it's just what I've always done.  Someone has to keep them in business and I certainly don't want to buy a new one.

We have an appointment with a lawyer for Thursday to discuss our living trust.  It is primarily used to avoid probate where a judge has to settle one's estate.  Ours was made in Florida and we want to be certain it is valid in Nevada and make a few modifications.  It should be a pretty painless thing but one never knows!  I chose this lawyer for two reasons:  the person is a woman and that will make my wife happy AND she has never shown up in the newspaper saying stupid things.  Most of the attorneys around here are either ambulance chasers or spend their time defending meth-dealers.  I just don't like either catagory. 

As I said before, quiet times.  Have a good one!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Staying home....

My wife and daughter went off to California to spend some quality time at the beach.  I drove them to the airport; stopped on the way home at the grocery store and haven't left home since.  Talk about a dull guy!  Here's my excitement:  taking care of the tomato plants; making salsa and watching old movies.  Wow!  Anyway, I'm doing ok with the tomatoes.
They are about an inch across so they have a ways to go but I haven't killed them!  That's a big deal for me.  I tried getting bugs off some basil and managed to kill it deader than dead!  All we have left is dried sticks that used to have leaves.  Oh well, unlucky in gardening but lucky in love I guess.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to my wife coming home so that's a good thing. 

I'm not looking forward to her coming home because I'm starving or anything!  Here was dinner last night.
One huge cheeseburger, fresh salsa and sauted brocolli.  Yes, I really do enjoy the green stuff!  The salsa is my wife's recipe but I found some new red peppers to put in it; it's hot but won't take your face off. 

How's that for dull:  a post full of photos of food and plants!  I didn't even use the new camera for the photos; the point and shoot is just so easy.  Besides; do you really need a $500 camera to take a photo of a $3 dinner?  Naw! 

But I thought I'd say 'hi'.  Gotta go.  The laundry is calling me now.  Have a good one!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Las Vegas Springs Preserve

We went over to visit the Springs Preserve yesterday and I took a few photos that I wanted to share.  First a little background.  For the last few thousand years people have lived in the Las Vegas valley because there were some natural springs out here in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  Makes sense, doesn't it.  It started out as not too many people; now it is way too many but that's what people seem to be good at.  Anyway the Springs Preserve has some really interesting interactive displays in the Origen Museum (that's how they spell it!) about how this all came about geologically and about the people who first moved here.  They also have the Nevada State Museum on the grounds; unfortunately, no one mentioned to us that it is closed Tuesday and Wednesday each week!  So I guess we'll have to go back.  There are lots of conference rooms around; lots of displays for kids even a little cafe that was pretty good.  For residents it is pretty affordable:  $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $5 for kids.  Unfortunately for visitors it is almost twice that. 

A huge majority of the Preserve is devoted to gardening.  They have many, many different styles shown all of which work here.  Some are pretty drought tolerant; others not so much.  They also point out that a yard can contain different area:  an herb garden; a flower garden; an outdoor living space.  They do a good job illustrating these different areas.  We spent 4 hours wandering around in the garden and the Origen Museum.

One of the parts of the gardens that surprised me most was the sculpture interspersed here and there.  A man named David Thompson did some animals from 'found objects' that I really liked.  I thought the roadrunner was pretty cool!

He also did a ram that I liked.  Wouldn't it be cool to have something like that in your yard!

In the early days a derrick would be built to drill a well in the valley.  There are four of them on the Preserve property. 

Most of the trees and plants are nicely named; not this guy!  We were puzzled and there was no one to ask.  The small fruit had sort of a skin on it. 

It is getting to be Halloween and they have special decorations for the holiday.  This is only one of the MANY decorations.

There was another sculptor whose work I rather liked.  His name is Mark White.  The day was absolutely still so these didn't move but they are designed to do so. 

So that was our day at the Springs Preserve.  This is a great time to be in the Las Vegas area:  sunny, warm days and cool nights.  Hope you had as good a day!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jeez, almost a week later!

Yeah, I'm a crappy blogger.  Even when what I write makes sense I still don't do it regularly.  Sorry! 

Well the front page of the LV Review Journal said it for me "Government Reopens".  What a bunch of idiots!  We may as well have the third grade class from our local school running things except that then the laws they pass wouldn't be 5,000 pages long!  I'm thinking we need term limits on all senators and representatives; re-do their pay and benefit package and ban lawyers from serving at all.  Hmmm.  What do you think that would do for the lobby industry?  LOL  I know where all the lawyers would go.

Happily I've been taking my mind off the dumbshit government by driving back and forth to Vegas.  I made one of our regular runs for booze and stuff we can't get here a week ago Wednesday.  (Just as an example, a bottle of scotch that is $27 in Vegas is $42 here.  I like to support local business but really!)  Then last Tuesday we went back so my wife and daughter could go see 'Gravity' in 3D.  I got to run around town a bit.  They gave the movie a C+ and were totally underwhelmed by the 3D.  My wife said that aside from the occasional bolt floating by the 3D was pretty much wasted and using the glasses drove her nuts.  Granted it may be a short trip but I'm pretty certain there won't be any more 3D experiments for some time. 

While I was in Sin City I made another visit to Harbor Freight; how exciting is that!  Well, I also went to an "Adult Store".  I bought a little thing for my wife and the clerk offered me a free 'cock ring'.  I said 'sure' because I figured why not.  Free is good.  Not the kind of thing I usually share on the blog but this thing is amazing!  Amazingly funny that is!  Don't worry, I'm not wearing it but I do have to share a photo of it.  Needless to say this is going into the drawer reserved for weird crap - aka the trash.  My wife almost fell over laughing when I showed it to her.  She promised me that if I DID wear it she would run the other way.  Well, anyway I'm pretty sure why it was free!
Did I mention it is supposed to glow in the dark?  I've been afraid to look!

Otherwise it is cooling down nicely.  We had some snow on Mt. Charleston.  Highs are in the 70's (23C) and lows in the 40's (5C).  After a long hot summer it is kind of nice to be wearing long pants again.  Our fall tomato plants have blossems but I'm not counting on them actually growing a tomato before the frost kills them.  Perhaps I should build them a little shelter.  There are several farms in the valley providing custom produce for restaurants in Las Vegas but they are using greenhouses.  Some are hydroponic farms; some not. 

Gotta go.  I'm being threatened with a good breakfast!  Take care.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Along with the camera.....

I got my Medicare card:  I'm officially 65 years old.  Whew!  Takes a while to get here but the view is fine.  Please believe me; it's got to be better than the dirt nap.  Having said that, we decided to go over to Vegas and spend an evening.  We got a room at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club just off the Las Vegas Strip for the night.  We dined at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris.  It was a really nice get-away.  The room was on the 25th floor; the hotel goes up to 55 or so.  It was a nice room with a mini-kitchen, a jetted tub, etc.  Very nice.  It did take us a couple minutes to find the electric switch that controled the electric drape! 

Mon Ami has an outside area right on the strip.  There were 6 or 8 lanes of traffic between us and the Bellagio but it wasn't bad; only annoying when you didn't get to see the fountains!  We all three (including Number One Daughter) had steak frites.  Very thin steak but tender, well cooked and tasty; frites turned out to be a cross between potato chips (American version) and fries.  They were about an inch & a half long (4cm), 1/4th of an inch wide (6mm) and only 1/16th of an inch thick (2mm).  Different.  I liked them; wife and daughter didn't. 

In the afternoon we went over to the Bellagio and checked out the scene set in the conservatory.  It is fall so there were trees with falling leaves.  The leaves were glass.  The trees rather amazing.

The eyeballs in this tree trunk would move from side to side.  Some woman almost fell over when she saw the eye moving! 

This guy was weird from the other side; didn't look like a tree or face at all but from this side he actually looks kind of friendly.
 This is a huge glass display in the lobby of the hotel. 

I had to try my luck with getting a photo in the night.  I admit to resting the camera on the arm of the sofa but didn't use the timer to reduce camera shake.  You can see the Gucci and Fendi stores on the strip.  You can exit the hotel lobby directly into the Mircle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.  You can spend some serious money in this town! 

We came home the next morning and are back in the quiet country mode!  Gotta go.  Have a good one!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Announcing the arrival....

of my new camera:  a Nikon D3100.  I've been trying to avoid the DSLR route but just couldn't take it any more.  So now I've got a new toy on which I can spend yet more money equiping it with lenses, filters, all kinds of crap! 

A new camera calls for something to photograph, happily we had an event happening in our small town, our annual rodeo!  I don't believe I've ever actually attended a rodeo so it was a new and interesting experience.  First of all, this is small town stuff so there weren't 20 guys in each event.  One event had three entrants and only two showed up.  I mean these guys are risking life and limb for probably a couple hundred dollars.  But it was fun.  The announcer couldn't run the sound system very well, there were equipment glitches, some of the entrants were downright lousy but, did I say, it was fun. 

Here are a few of the photos I took.  What impressed me first about the camera was that I could get three photos of an eight second bull ride.  Of course these are all hand-held and I'm far from steady as a rock on a good day.  The distance to the bull riding was probably 100 yards (or meters, I'm guessing here folks!).  The distance to the calf roping was probably half that.  The camera has a 'sport' setting that I used.  I'm going to have to work with that a bit because I had trouble getting the autofocus on the right spot.  Still, for photos from a camera where I've taken a total of four photos before last night, I'm a happy camper. 

Here's an airborne bull and rider!

Here I got that horse doing it's thing. 

One of the bucking horses was a fairly new mother.  After she had shown the rider who was boss they let her colt out into the arena for a little intro to mom's work area.  I love the way they look so much alike.

Local girls make good with some precision riding.  One of these kids was still a pre-teen!

This bronc rider made it all the way dispite the best efforts of the horse.

I love the look on this guy's face.  He knows his ride is ending really soon.
There are plenty of hats in the way, heads and questionable composition but having never photographed a sporting event in my life (and sitting in the very crowded stands, I'm good.  For sure I'm going to keep the Canon SX210IS around as a pocket camera, it is so small, handy and good at that point and shoot thing, but the Nikon will be my new photography 'hobby horse'.

Gotta go.  Have a good one!

Photos - bah!

I've been trying to organize the photos we took on our trip and it is still baffling me after being at home for a month.  Grrr!  Anyway, let me start with a traditional one:  Old Faithful. 

I must say I have many more photos of Old Faithful just spurting a bit here and there.  We were hanging around looking at the displays the park service has put up but finally were afraid we'd miss the eruption so went outside.  It took it's own sweet time but it was pretty spectacular; in fact I was too much in telephoto mode so didn't get the top of the geyser but I like this photo anyway.  I like the way the spray, the residue and the wisps of cloud in the sky are all pretty much the same color. 

After the big news we went wandering around in the park for a couple days just looking at 'named' places.  I don't remember where we took this photo but it really was amazing to see steam just rising out of the ground!  It's a simple thing but really weird.
Of course being in Yellowstone in August; there were crowds.  We completely missed seeing the Tower Roosevelt area because they were ripping up the parking lot.  If you can't stop you can't stop; get over it!  I guess we could have gone back at 07:00 or something but that's not us.  The park rangers keep telling people not to stop on the road if they see something but to pull off.  Do people listen?  Hell, no!  We actually saw very little wildlife.  We have several excellent photos of buffalo butts but I won't inflict them on you.  The elk were loving the Fort Yellowstone area wandering around like so many sheep loving the grass and leaving presents. 

Still, that's not very 'wild' wildlife.  (Did you know that Yellowstone was created before there was a park service?  The army ran it and the buildings are still there and in use:  General's row, enlisted barracks, etc.; anyone who has spent time on a post in the U.S. will recognize the layout.) 

The geysers aren't all dramatic.  Some just spurt out something all day but in the end have quite a display.
The park service came up with a name for this thing which I don't remember but it looks pretty phallic to me.  It is near this cascade; which is still steaming, still growing, still proving our earth is alive.
These are both from the Mammoth Hot Springs area.  Very impressive stuff, especially if you can get a parking place so you can walk around and see it.

We did see some wild wildlife when exiting the park one day.  This herd of elk decided to bed down in this big field next to the road.  We thought it was hilarious. 

That is the end of the photos I currently have from our trip.  There is more, mostly Salt Lake City, but I haven't pried them out of my wife's little grub hooks.  I'll get them though and share them as I can. 

Have a good one.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

It takes me a while....

I finally got up the guts to go into the registry and fix my id.  I can't tell you how much I dithered back and forth about doing it but finally made it.  One of the things I read about fixing the problem was that you ought to have more than one id with administrative priveliges on your machine.  Gee, that would have been nice to have known several years ago when I bought the darned thing!  Anyway, I'm back.  I'll be fooling around with photos from our travels now that I can access them again.  We did have a great trip but felt a little rushed.  Don't know how we managed that but we were.  Drove a bit over 3,300 miles (5,300 km) in about three weeks.  Tow miles were probably 2,400 (3,800 km) but I'm guessing there. 

The Ford dealer has been calling asking if we would like to trade in the truck.  It's an '08 but has only about 35,000 miles (56,000 km) and pretty much does what we ask of it.  We talked about it a while because we like bells and whistles and this truck doesn't have them but in the end decided we'd rather not have a truck payment.  As a trade-in it is probably worth about $25K but we'd end up owing at least $15K and who needs that?  Especially as our travels may be more about flying overseas than in the past. 

Here is a shot from Yellowstone showing the Gibbon River just  downstream from Gibbon Falls.  Note the haze from the fires farther west. 
I'll manage more photos later.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I've managed to screw up my computer - when I log in I get a message about my profile isn't recognized.  Apparently I have to screw around with the registry and my operating system.  Sorry but I'm not up for commenting on my travels.  More later.  Hope everyone is having a great time.  Take care. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013


As I said, I forgot my camera!  Grrr!!  However my faithful wife did bring hers and we have been using it.  I'll start with one from Craters of the Moon from way back on the 12th. 
This is some of the hard lava.  There must be square miles like this.  All the walks are paved because it lava is actually quite fragile. 

We finally made it to Glacier.  Apgar Village is just a disaster.  Way too many tourists, little parking & not much except trash and trinkets to be seen but I guess you have to check these places out.  On the Friday we took a horseback ride!  I haven't been on a horse in probably 50 years and haven't really wanted to try it again but my wife loves horses.  We were pretty disappointed not to be doing it in the park but their rides were all full.  Happily our horses were pretty calm and the route through the forest fairly level.  It did kick our asses though and we were feeling it the next day as well.

We checked out the park a bit on our own but the highlight was really taking the Red Bus tour across the Going to the Sun Road.  I don't like driving on roads with no guard rail or shoulder so taking the tour was a no-brainer.  Here would be a few photos starting with our bus.

These buses were built by White Motor Co.  for all the parks.  Most of the other parks got rid of theirs but Glacier managed to get Ford Motor Co. to fix theirs.  They took the body off the running gear and put it back on a modern Ford truck chassis.  So you have a propane powered Ford truck with the old, restored body on it.  This was done in 1999 and our driver said Ford ponied up about $250K per vehicle to do the update.  I must admit to being pretty happy about having big disk brakes under us when coming down the mountain. 

The fun part is that the roof is canvas and can be rolled back.  The driver stopped at the hotel so we could check that out and he could roll the roof back.  It made it pretty chilly riding along in the cool morning but there were benefits!
We rode in the last row of the bus.  The seat was really close to the floor but we had more leg room.  Since we weren't full, my wife and I got the last row to ourselves.  That was fun.  It was also cool because we couldn't see the road at all, only the mountains.  The other rows had three people per row; intended to be four if the trip was full.  There are only doors on the passenger side so you have to slide across the seat to enter & exit.  Because of wildfires over in Idaho we had quite a lot of haze.  Most of our mountain photos are pretty crappy because of haze.

This is a photo of a bus that was ahead of us going up the hill.  This west side road was built in 1928 and it is really just carved out of the side of the mountain.  The east side was done a couple years later.  Some places, like this, they had to just build a place for the road.  You go through two tunnels on the trip.  We were told that one had to be dug by hand without using dynamite because they were afraid of taking the whole section of the mountain down. 

At $80 (plus tip) each for the all day tour we thought it was a pretty good value.  Lunch at the hotel at Many Glaciers, a bit farther north in the park, wasn't such a great deal.  $14 overcooked hamburgers just aren't that wonderful.  The view was pretty spectacular. 
The hotel was built on the side of a beautiful lake with a great view of this fan-like mountain ridge on the other side. 

My internet connection is pretty crappy here so I'm stopping now.  There will be a few more photos of Glacier and on later.  Have a good one!