Friday, December 31, 2010

These are my beautiful daughters.
What they can do in the kitchen is totally amazing.
I am so blessed that they like each other!
This picture was taken with my new iPhone, which I'll talk about later!


This morning after I woke up, but was still in my warm bed, I began to think about luxuries.

Someone said that middle class was when you can afford to do more than just survive.

But to me it was different.

I am old, I know, but I remember when an add for a good car might include this line: “Radio and heater.” The radio was AM only, and played through a real tin can speaker, and the heater on a cold day might never warm the inside of the vehicle, but there was one there.

Then I think of the real “old days” when travel was in an unheated and often open horse drawn device of some sort.

For the last ten nights we have slept in a 12’ cargo trailer. We had a mattress on the floor, a pile of blankets, but we were warm. Since we were plugged into “shore” power, we had an electric heater, lights and even a portable toilet.

It is 16 degrees outside now, and all do not have a warm fire or a warm bed to snuggle into, and I feel so luxurious in my small, almost tiny, house.

And, being a good card carrying christian, while I am feeling blessed, I also feel a bit guilty for all of this.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

happy hour?
shucks, we had a happy weekend,
the whole thing.


My cup runneth over.

We had a great week with kids and grandkids and extended family.

Right now the grandkids are playing a noisy game, but they are having a great time. I am always so pleased that they find enjoyment in each other’s company and get along so well.

I did not have any close cousins, nor did my kids, so it is with a particularly grateful heart that I watch and listen.

We are always fed well. The 4 daughters get into the kitchen and all you can do is get out of the way and watch. They work together so very well.

So, as I said, my cup runneth over.

There were some wonderful, thoughtful gifts. We did not expect any, and we were superbly blessed.

Before we went to church daughter four helped her mother with hair and make up. Miriam looked beautiful. Tonight the same daughter and I went to buy new makeup to replace Miriam’s aging collection.

I have been fixing Miriam’s hair of late. It is quite long and I pull it back and clasp it with a barrette. It looks good and I like helping her.

Nurse daughter (2) had to go home this evening (she works tonight delivering babies), another leaves tomorrow, and another on Wednesday.

We will go home with a head-full of super wonderful memories. It was the best christmas ever, one daughter reported.

Indeed, it was.

Monday, December 20, 2010

not much is.


It is winter.

There is snow, new snow, a fair amount of it.

My winter is running deep, deeper than some years past.

We lost Leon yesterday. He wasn’t my closest friend, but he was a good friend, and his loss is rattling my winter brain.

Tomorrow we go visit family. Usually I get a lift from family. But there is snow and I am pulling a trailer.

We went to church this weekend, it is a habit of my mother’s creation. The pastor droned and I napped. When it was over I wondered why.

But I got a couple orders of garden seeds in the mail today, maybe I can get solace from thinking of spring and garden.

But then again, maybe not.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My favorite model again.

self care

This week there was another hunter accident.

This time no one accidentally shot another, it was a heart attack.

The hunter was a bow hunter, a relative of friends. He was in his early 50’s, a heavy smoker, who never saw a doctor or did anything to take care of himself.

He was an avid hunter (bow hunters are that) and fisherman.

It is just that his body could not keep up with his wishes. He had pushed his luck long enough. This time he sat down on a rock to rest, or to relieve the pain in his chest, and never got up again on his own power.

I am not a great friend of hunting, but that is not what this is about. Ignore your car, don’t change the oil, or even check it and sooner or later that proud beast will let you down, maybe where you don’t want to be.

At 20, we all look good, but as the years pass taking care of the machine we call our body pays off, a little and then big.

Yesterday we had dinner with a friend who is on a severe diet. His heart acted up last year. He is serious about taking care of himself. No free oil of any kind, little to no sugar, little salt and so on. While the meal was not really what I might have chosen, it was not all that bad and my friend seems to be doing very well with it, and if I had the choices he has I could adapt as well.

I guess that is part of this “life is an experiment” thing that I seem to espouse.

Friday, December 17, 2010

in need

Someone once said: "A friend in need is a friend indeed."

That was the time the guy (or gal) needed a friend, and one that would help was indeed a good friend.

Later a wag changed that to: "A friend in need is a pain in the neck."

Makes a difference what side of the need you are on!

I am retired, comfortably retired. (That is not a statement about money but contentment.) I help people sometimes, but when they pull out the checkbook I run. If i like you I may donate some time, but I will not accept money, it messes up my karma. (However Karma figures into all of this.)

And with all of the additional duties I have assumed I do not have a whole lot of extra time to give away.

But a friend called. In all the proper ways I am very fond of her. Her husband is a really specialized mechanic, and his job dried up and the job he got was in another area. Would I come over and give them some advice on fixing their house.

So I went, advised, and offered to do a sheetrock patch that they did not really know how to do. That done I went home (actually any sheetrock work takes about 3 trips, so it was not a quick thing).

As she was on her way out of town she called: "Dave, would you go to the house and repair the linoleum and put the new bath floor in. I will pay you." That last part was poison.

But, they were on their way out the door, and I was cornered.

These repairs look so easy to the ones not doing them, but they are a pain and it will kill a day to do. So, I will delay my trip to Daughter's house by a day. That may put me into a snow storm over the passes, but I have chains and I'll be careful and grr.

And you know I'll somehow forget to even send her a bill!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

About now I get to thinking about camping.
When Revere came out with this cute little tea kettle, they did not plan for people like me.
It has served me well is getting blacker each year and only some parts have melted!
When anyone threatens to wash it, I thoroughly resist.

my heroes are dying

I am loosing my heroes.

My first summer on a lookout tower, in 1955, a radio station in Spokane, Washington broadcast a baseball game a day.

I quickly became a Cleveland Indians fan. (Probably not something I would bring up with a shrink).

They had a fabulous group of pitchers, who at that time were in the twilight of their careers. Bob Lemon, Early Winn and Bob Feller were the ones I remember.

Feller died yesterday at the age of 92. He could throw a ball close to a hundred miles an hour and owned a good many records in spite of spending 3 years in the Navy in World War II, right during his best years. He became a Major League pitcher at the age of 17, then went back to high school that winter to graduate.

Lefty Gomez is said to remark as Feller blew pitches past him: "That one sounded a little low."

Feller was always outspoken. But it was his ability to throw a ball very fast that made him famous.

There aren't many left of his generation, the generation of my parents.

I miss them.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In my case it might be "arcane"


To me life is a big experiment.

Almost every time I go camping I am experimenting with a new piece of gear or a new way of doing things.

We are going to daughter 1’s house for Christmas. They have a good sized house, but there will be 26 or 27 people there some of the time. Space is critical.

“Dad, could you bring your camper trailer, the big one.”

The big one is a 1984 model that I remodeled a while back, after Miriam was diagnosed with AD. My thoughts and my reasoning as I rebuilt it was that it would be a comfortable place for me to live sometime in my life, after I lost her. But her disease has progressed very slowly and I have largely ignored the last details.

The trailer is big, though not huge, and there is the thing about a few details and a license, which would cost for a year and be good for about 2 weeks! Hmm.

We could take the teardrop. It is comfortable to sleep in, even in really nasty cold weather. The issues there are getting up at night, and where to put clothes etc. This is not a camp trip, and we may stay for a week or three.

So I am back to experimenting.

I have one more trailer that I have long considered for a simple re-fit as a small camping trailer. It would be comfortable and it is licensed!

As they sometimes say: “details to follow.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

What have I done for you lately?
I moved.


I started to high school the fall of ‘51.

My world history teacher was Leon. He had graduated from college a couple years before. He was 23 or 24. I remember his wife as being one of the most beautiful women I had seen -- I was 14. (She was beautiful and still is).

Email last night that Leon had a heart attack followed by a stroke. He was the one who could turn a church announcement into a 5 or 10 minute talk, now has trouble talking. He was listed as in critical condition.

We who knew him well knew this day would come. Not this combination, but that something would get him some day. He was one of those larger than life characters that occasionally pop into our lives. Leon kept doing the ever ready bunny gig. He kept popping back into my life.

Leon and I got on great in that history class. The class would not start until I told a joke. I always liked history and I liked the teacher and I got an A. Though I was capable of a lot of those (I had a steady diet later at the University) I did not often then. It was too easy to be lazy and I was "allowed."

The last time I saw Leon, just before our Thanksgiving trip, I hugged him and told him how much I loved him. He hugged back.

He may snap back, but not as the old Leon, I fear.

Life is short, eat your desert.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I get confused on this guilt thing.

Should I feel guilty when I don’t do much that dad would call “productive?”

I am an artist (two decent universities say I am) who does little art. The fire that should be in my belly is at best a flicker.

Almost any art has limited appeal. In theory I could make a bucket of new pieces and give them to my kids who have no space and no place to put more and more stuff they do not really need.

It might be better to write a book, it would take less space. Shucks a book of poetry could be even smaller, maybe a quarter of an inch thick, but I am a really lousy poet, and that fire never got lit.

While I am dealing with this guilt thing, I am going to get another cup of chocolate, maybe a cookie and like the gal in South Pacific, but paraphrased, I’m going to wash that guilt right out of my mind.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What an idea, and at these prices!

friends who build fires

When we got home last night, there was a fire going in the stove and the front door was unlocked.

I joked (I thought) to family about how someone had broken into my house, built a fire and left, maybe after a big party where they put everything back where they found them. My joke was not understood by all, but that is the life of a jokester.

My thought was that I had "blamed" the on my friend David who does this kind of thing from time to time. Our house has a LOT of thermal mass and when it is cold for a long period of time, it takes a while to get it warmed up again.

David knows all of this and will often have a fire going, and have had it going when we get home.

That was very good, and I am thankful for the David's of the world.

It was good to sleep in our own bed last night. Shower in our shower, putter in our kitchen and so on.

No matter where it is and how tiny it might be, there is no place like home.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ahh, this is someone's home.
Bet they are glad to be there.

goin' home

Today is another travel day. It is time to go home.

On this particular expedition we have had a couple of days where we drove 650 miles, but today is the shortest leg of our trip, a mere 45 miles!

Two daughters live that close together. That is good, they see each other more often that way, and it makes a shorter journey for us!

Right now I have bread raising, but when it comes out of the oven we will be ready to hit the road. We will stay just one night with daughter two's family (I promised to come back when it was a bit warmer and spend more time).

Mostly I want to go home, and tomorrow after breakfast we will go.

The sad thing is that we won't see much or any of our daughter. She is an RN who works 12 hour night shifts and she will be sleeping the days we will be there, but we will see her husband and the grandkids.

I remember when we lived in Texas, which was only "home" in a very stretchy way. I assured everyone I was a "temporary Texan" even going so far as to keep Idaho plates on our car (it was legal since we were students).

We would come to the NW two times every year. It took three days of 600 mile a day driving to make the trip, but when we got to Amarillo or Wichita Falls, we were eager to get "home" even though it was not really home.

But this time we are going to the home we have lived in for a long time, down the street from friend david and my sister Joyce.

It really is home.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Really old signs are particularly interesting.
This was taken in down town Portland Oregon.
I think it is about Overland cars.


I attended a meeting at the local college.

At one point the college chaplain took the stage and announced that he was going to ask a series of questions.

He further said that the questions would indicate in a very non scientific way how the students were doing.

So, he asked that the room be darkened. Totally dark.

“How many cell phones?” He asked. Maybe a couple thousand people and nearly that many lighted cell phones were held high.

“How many of you had real turkey for Thanksgiving, raise your phone.” Lots of phones.

The questions moved from entertaining and light to serious. “How many of you are struggling here at the college?” Many phones.

And so on.

What amazed me was the universaility of cell phones in that group. The second was the injunity of the whole project.

Voting by phone. Not a phone call, but a phone light.

Who would have thought.

Friday, December 3, 2010

OK I stole the image.
It is the answer to "Why do you write?"


We went to visit Miriam's sister.

She is 7 or 8 years younger, but AD is taking a toll. Of course she won't admit any problem.

If her husband was well and healthy it would all be more or less alright, but he is not.

First of all he is ten years older than she. That is not bad and has not been bad, but his lifestyle is catching up with him.

A year ago he had multiple bypass surgery. We saw them last Thanksgiving time. He looked bad.

This year he looked worse, far worse.

He is lined up for a host of health issues, many fatal I fear.

She has one semi detached son, he has a daughter and son (twins).

What would happen to her if he died? Does he have the legals in order? Is there a will?

Questions keep coming to me.

These are good people and I am very fond of them, but I fear they are denying way too much.

And that leaves me wondering what to do next.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A view out Lia's front windows.
I always wondered what it would be like to live in a city.
After a weekend staying on the 5th floor, taking the trolly and walking, I think it would be fun.
But, the cities are so full of temptations.
Temptations to spend money!

is there life after AD?

One of my daughters asked me about my “plans.”

She meant for my plans after AD. This subject is talked about a fair amount in the various AD on line forums. The question is usually asked a bit different: “Is there life for the caretaker after AD?”

So, I have to say that there are thoughts that run though my head. Some of those thoughts are about unworkable solutions, some have enough merit to be thought about later.

But, realistically, my plans are to take care of Miriam as long as I possibly can, and after that there is this huge grey fog of bantering ideas.

When do ideas need to become plans? Maybe not for a bit yet.

I am not sure.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We all have a lease.
We do not know the terms, the costs or the expiration date,
but we have one.

Ron and Miriam

We spent much of yesterday with our old friends Ron and Roz.

Ron has AD and has always been pretty much on the same level as Miriam, but this time i noticed a huge difference, and it was not with Ron.

Later Dea wrote me to say that her observation was that Mom had deteriorated more during the last year than at any year so far.

It is one of those things where those closest cannot see.

There was a great write up in the Oregonian about AD. It might even have been an advertisement from the Alzheimer's Association, but it portrays Ron and Roz in a kind way.

One thing we have done is to create a new hair style for Miriam. She has worn her hair quite long since we met 59 years ago. This time we pull the side hair back and hold it with a barrette. It looks good and I can do that for her once we are home again.

Tomorrow we go north a hundred miles to visit Miriam's youngest sister who has developed her own case of AD, I am afraid. Their family (9 in all) have or had 2 Parkinson's and 2 dementia/Alzheimer's.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

apartment parking

Daughter Lia lives in a very nice apartment building.

She lives on the 5th floor (there are 6) with a very fine north view. The place would not be referred to as luxurious, I suppose, but it is very nice. And, there are a lot of goodies that go with the building.

There is covered parking in the garage under the building. In order to use the space to maximum benefit (there are LOT of apartments) the parking spaces are made for pretty compact cars. Lots of Honda and Toyotas with a sprinkling of BMW’s. Daughter has a Jeep Liberty, which is a smallish rig.

They even provide guest parking. The problem is that the rig I am driving is a full sized Dodge pickup. It is a single cab with a full sized bed, so there are larger ones, but this one is huge enough.

A parking spot was assigned. But there is no way to get that Dodge into that Honda sized spot. There is a concrete wall on one side of this fairly narrow spot, a BMW on the other, and not too much space back to another concrete wall. So we parked in another space and left a note.

Later, the office called to give her a new parking spot. It was at the other end of the space. I got the pickup in without too much trouble, thanks to a walking space instead of the BMW.

But today I need to get it out so we can drive to visit friends. I’ll spend several minutes (at least) jockeying the rig around to get it out successfully. When I come back I’ll back it into the space.

Next time I’ll bring the small car!

Friday, November 26, 2010

It is not me, but the owner and I do share names.
I don't really want to own a gas station at this point of my life!

black friday

We went shopping this morning, Lia and I.

I am not a world traveler, by any means, though I travel around my little corner a fair amount.

Portland and SanFrancisco are my two favorite small cities, and right now we are in Portland.

And, this being Black Friday (what a name) we went early shopping, daughter 4 and I.

GAP. Everything in the store half price, what was on sale was half of the sale price!

She found some nice clothes and I found a $170 coat. I really needed a good warm coat, so we made a quick deal!

The weather here, during our stay, will be what we think of as "typical" for this time of year: grey, grey grey, and cool to cold.

But where we are going next is Cold and Grey.

I will be glad for that new coat.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

more thanksgiving

Lest it sound like I am only thankful for my portland daughter, there are few daughters and grandkids more loved than mine!

We spent a delightful week with daughter 3. She and her well mannered family are always a delight to be with. The time went very quickly.

In the middle of that time we spent a day and a half with our oldest grandson and his wife. They have a new house and two new kittens. It was good to visit them.

Before we get home we intend to go visit Miriam's Sister up in Olympia, then both of the other daughters.

This old grandpa/father/husband/friend is extremely proud of them all.

special day of giving thanks

Today is Thanksgiving day

It is a day set aside by the government to pull us out of our narcissism and self absorption for a day of thanks.

Before that last line sets in too much, let me remind us that a good bunch of narcissism is good. The big book talks about loving others as we love ourselves, which seems to give us a bit of permission.

So, love yourself and be thankful for all of the blessings.

We arrived in Portland last evening and found our daughter's new apartment fairly easily. I have been thankful for her and her sweet daughter for many many years.

We are going to dinner today with family and friends, and we/I will be extremely thankful.

It is good.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

travel again

Tomorrow we leave SF and head north to Portland.
We are to have thanksgiving dinner with daughter 4, her daughter Emily at the home of old friends Dale and Kathy. We will be in Portland for a few days, or longer!
It wil be good, but I will miss these big grandsons.
They are growing up well and grandpa is very proud of them!

Monday we went to the Winchester Mystery house in San Jose.
The winter I was 12 we lived in Santa Cruz and on the way to see Dad's Brother in SF we would go by the Winchester estate.
Mrs. Wincheter was the widow of the president of the Winchester Repeating Rife company and had way more money than was good for her.
This endless castle shows both her nuttiness and her good sense of design.
I'll run more pictures from time to time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The office building was made from "scrap" granite. The pieces are smaller, but no less precise. The inside is plastered.

griffith griffith

Yesterday we went to the Griffith Quarry.

I have seen the sign every time I come to SF but never checked it out.

Seems that John Griffith lived in Wales, no suprise since that is where the name comes from, and he had a son he named David who died as an infant, so John and wife had another child they named David who also died in infantcy. Their next son (the museum volunteer suggested they were not taking any chances) they named Griffith Griffith.

There is another famous or infamous Griffith Griffith, who donated the land that became Griffith Park in Los Angeles, but he had a middle name of J and was somewhat of a scoundrel (google him).

This GG seems to have been just a hard worker, a stone cutter.

He came to the are during the gold rush, but when that did not work out, he found a run of good granite and set up a quarry. His crew would cut and shape the blocks of granite to very precise dimension needed for the building industry. This was not too long after the SanFrancisco fire and fireproof materials were in demand.

GG granite was hard and solid and found use in many buildings around the area.

WIth us were three of our grandsons. Our oldest who has my first name, the 6th who has my middle name and our youngest grandson who has my last name. WOW.

We are visiting our oldest grandson --David and his lovely wife Mandy -- at their "new" house in the Sacramento area.

I don't remember my grandparents driving over to visit with us when we were just married. We drove to see them fairly often though.

Still, it is good to spend time with those fabulous grandsons (and granddaughters in law!).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We were on this bridge today. I was here a few years ago, right after one of that day or two after a major earthquake.
Every time I cross on the bridge, I am amazed, and pleased

we made it

It was a fairly fast rather boring trip.

A bunch of hours, a lot of gas and two egg salad sandwiches, and we are in SanFrancisco.

OK, fast may not be the right word. I drove pretty close to the speed limit, and it took 11 elapsed hours to make the run, but we made it.

It is good to get to where you are a going!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When I started this blog there was a group of AD caregivers who kept in touch.
But their loved one was further along than Miriam and they are all gone now, and once gone they really needed to take on a new life.
So readership of this blog has dropped off. But, since I am a compulsive writer, who cannot stop, I will keep writing.
Subject matter may be a bit more scattered, since if I have few readers, I have few to irritate!

my fear

We elected a new Prosecuting Attorney a cycle back.

By all indications, he did his job well. He streamlined the office and made it work better.

Of course there was a fly in the ointment. The job paid a whole lot less than he had been making as an attorney, and his financial house was not in order when he took the job.

He negotiated a deal where one of the entities he oversaw paid him directly (I don’t understand that one), and he would repay someone else. But when he missed a huge payment he resigned.

Now he has declared bankruptcy. He shows debts of over a million and assets of little more than his house and car, but he owes more on both than they are worth.

But what caught my eye was that he still has $122,000 in student loans from the 1990’s. It seems he has been paying on them for 11 to 19 years and he still owes that much.

Payments on those loans would be in the $1400 a month range.

What scares me about my grandkids future is not their intelligence or their social skills, but that to get what they see as the necessary education for their chosen life, they take on too much debt.

I read that the average student graduates with about $30,000 in debt, and one estimate is that the repayment rate is about the same as payments on a decent car, which would not be bad, but the now ex-student probably has one of those too. Another estimate was that about half the student loans in California are not being paid down (interest only payments, or less).

If my brilliant grandkids all get high paying jobs they may be in tall grass, but if one of them would like to follow a less financially rewarding career, they better know how to cook beans and eat cheap.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I quit growing Russet potatoes, they require more gardening control.
This year I grew Cal Whites, which makes me some kind of a socialists or anarchist or something.

russet potatoes

I live in the state of Idaho.

Part of that is a mine (or mind) state, but that is a different subject.

We used to have the most one sided government in the US, but now we are only the 2nd most. We have one dominate church and one dominate governmental view point. And, we grow mostly one variety of potato.

Our governor is named Butch, and out next governor is likely to be Little. (Our back up governor, who is in line to be the big guy, is Brad Little.)

Our new congressman is named Raul, and was born in Puerto Rico, which some argue is not a part of the US (it really is though). He replaces a wealthy businessman who was born in the same village as my grandfather.

Remove one letter from our senior senator’s name and it is a slang word for excrement. Hmm.

Our other senator was reported to be the 12 richest in our millionaire forum we call the US senator. That is logical since his name is one letter beyond Rich, but is pronounced pretty much the same.

So I am going to go to south for a week. Their new governor was once the youngest governor his state, now, a long time later, he will be the oldest.

He is less than a year younger than I, and obviously has a lot more energy.

Briefly, I am envious.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

this is a tile job I did a long time ago.

grumpy grandpa

Last week went off daylight savings time.

In my warped mind it is winter when the sun goes down at 5:30 and by 6 it is dark.

Then Friday I got my first seed catalog in the mail. It is a good company, one I buy from each year, but in early November? By the time I actually plant seeds, I expect to get a bushel of catalogs, that cost someone more to make and send than I spend on seeds each year.

Yesterday i opened the home page of my local newspaper and across the top was a banner ad for a radio station that has wall to wall Christmas music, before Thanksgiving even. There is not a lot of new christmas music each year and after listening to a dozen versions of "little drummer boy" over the period of a few hours, one might be tempted to retreat to silence. How anti american/christmas is that!?!

So now, I will avoid commercial radio and tv (having just come through a particularly nasty political season, that is an established habit). I will be careful.

I fear I only have a few drops of this precious Americhristmas stuff to begin with and it must be carefully hoarded.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I was having a conversation with granddaughter Emily one day a while back.
"Do you know what I want for Christmas, Papa?"
"It's something you could give me."
Carefully, I urged her to continue.
"I want you to grow your mustache back. That is what I want for Christmas."
How is an old guy to deal with that one?

anger and abuse

It is both amazing and scary how this disease affects different people.

Some wonderful grandmothers (and grandfathers too) turn into total monsters as this disease has it’s way.

At a support group the other day one person was talking about how her sweet, kind mother had turned abusive and mean, particularly to her only grandchild. The grandchild is an adult woman, but still it is hard for the mother/daughter to see.

The abuse gets worse when mother/daughter is not around, or grandma thinks she is not.

Miriam has always been very even tempered. I would argue that a bit more temperament swing might have been good for her and for us, but that is not how she was.

Sometimes when we go camping and I forget to take her meds (oops), and she does not take her anti depressant for a few days, her mood begins to change, so I try to not do that very often.

The grandmother I talked about first is on all sorts of very heavy duty medications, a bunch of them, and no one in the world knows exactly how all of these work together or against each other, there are just too many variables.

I am glad our lives are a bit smoother. Right now I like smooth!

There is something to be said about boring even.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ahh, the secret of a healthful life.
I like it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I repair my own computers (with help from these guys), but i am not smart enough to fix my own cars.
When I had a VW years ago, I fixed them, but I had to fix them.
In spite of the legend, they did not stay together too long.
But that VW sure was fun to drive!


The car passed inspection!

Between the time I took the car from the repair shop to the inspection shop and back, the owners wife (who is the office manager) had an appendicitis attack and was taken to the hospital, so I did not see either of them.

I left the car and got a ride home.

Next day the Mike, the shop owner, called. There was nothing wrong with my car. Apparently I did not get it warmed up enough to get the cat converter working right. Mike sent his son out to drive the car for a few miles to warm it up. Back at the shop, checked on their machine, it passed easily.

So Mike had his son take the car right then to the inspection shop and it passed easily.

We will take it on our trip next week, and save about $150 on gas!

Mrs. Mike will have surgery this week and she will be as sweet as ever in a bit!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I never did own a Chevy of this vintage, but on Fords, we would exchange the door handles, left to right etc, to hide the wear on the handles and keep them at the horizontal position.
My memories of these old cars is confused on a good day.
They might have been romantic, but I don't remember any of them running terribly long or well.

a 25 hour day

Ahh, a 25 hour day!

What to do with that extra hour?

I did not change the bedside clock so Miriam thought it was an hour earlier than it was, which is OK for today.

Her brother is coming for his monthly visit, and if she is slow getting going in the morning, he is here before she is ready.

He is not a patient soul. He will arrive pretty promptly at 8:30. He will talk loud and continuously for about 30 minutes then he will say he has to "press on" and he will drive 25 miles back to his apartment in a Lutheran retirement home. (He is not remotely Lutheran).

So it is not like he uses up a lot of that extra hour we have today.

I slept almost 7 hours last night, which is a lot for me, and it will get dark about 5:30, so maybe the day is not so long after all.

It is that time between dark and bedtime (about 6 1/2 hours in my life) that is the challenge.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ketchikan Alaska.
It rains about 200 inches each year!
Not good for desert rats.


We went to a concert tonight. Classical music.

All were amateur musicians. Maybe 60 or 70 of them.

They played well (though not without flaw), but for what they were being paid (zero) they were amazing. There were some young musicians, in their late 20 or 30’s, but there was a few who looked to be in their 80’s. Lots of gray hair.

As I listened I got to thinking: How many years of practice is represented in this group? Of course there is no way for me to know, but it could be a thousand or two.

Often I will talk to an amateur musician and thank them for taking the time to get good enough to perform in public. It is not easy nor quick.

I like high church with big organs and good choirs. I always feel lucky and blessed when I hear music well performed.

Thank you each for taking the time to get proficient at this thing called music.

In an orchestra like this not every one plays all the time. The strings play most, but the brass section spends has long breaks. Some may only play a few measures the whole evening.

Tonight the tuba player looked to be mid 80’s. He had a lead part for a few measures and he played flawlessly. Then he sat there for the rest of the symphony trying to not look bored!

We will go again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Once upon a time there was a man who thought that business could not do anything really right.

He had been told that, he had observed the fact, so that he really truly believed it.

The irony of the situation was that the man was a medium level manager of that company he was sure could do nothing wrong.

And, since the company could do nothing right, there was no point in him even trying to prove the statement wrong, so he did his job as badly as he could, since, as I said, he was sure there really was nothing wrong with his logic. He did not get fired, and he did not get advanced, he got by, year after year.

The problem was that the company had a lot of employees that thought the same thing, and worked and acted accordingly.

When the company failed, it was the sales department, or the computer guys or someone that caused the failure.

Now that I think about it, I remember that the guy actually worked for the government and not for a business.


I bought the car for Miriam's 55th birthday. The most expensive present I ever gave!
If I sell it, I had better have a good reason, I mean a really good reason.
Even with AD that is true!
She need not worry. Both Miriam and Cavalier are keepers!

car testing

This fall our county began requiring vehicles to get emission tested.

That is not a bad idea, get those clunkers off the road.

So I took my car in to be tested (the pickup goes in next year). I had just gone through a bunch of work on it, and I was quite confident.

Fail. Fail. Fail. I don’t even understand the words they used! So I took it back to the shop where it has been for most of the last month.

Yesterday I paid for their work ($775) and with confidence I went back to get it tested. Failed again, but not so badly, so back to the shop.

I don’t argue at all with the concept of inspections. And, I know that a car that will meet the requirements will run better and more efficiently, but curing the problem is sort of a fishing trip.

It could be this or it could be that, but more than likely it is partially this and partially that and it can involve a lot of spendy parts.

The shop owner tells me that some inexpensive cars (to buy), are not doing well in these tests, and the parts can be horribly spendy, so I will be glad it is a model with a few less spendy parts.

It is a solid little car (though 19 years old), so I will pay to get it up to snuff, only this time I will have to make payments on the bill, I fear. But it will be done, it will pass inspection and we will all be happy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The sign says it all.
BTW, I swiped the image from someone!

low price

Once I did a built a display cabinet for a grocery store.

The owner was a good friend and I was perplexed about what to charge him.

"Charge me enough so you can make a profit and enough to stay in business when I need you again."

We always want the lowest price. Most of that is OK, but I once was forced into a good price for the customer (it is a long story). I worked for months on the job for about $3 an hour (this was not that long ago), and when it was over I quit the business. My working capital had been exhausted.

The customer got a wonderful price, but at a huge cost to me.

I think of this often.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Today is Election Day.

Vote for the millionaire of your choice,

but VOTE.

daughter 2, Miriam and I with youngest granddaughter Amy


Yesterday an old friend came to visit.

He is not as old as I am, but I have known him since Nixon, I believe.

With his marriage a sham, as he said, it ended a couple years ago. They are still married, but living far apart. Both are fiercely religious and divorce is not an option, though I suggested that if there is a SIN in this issue it would be in the remarriage part, not in the divorce, but what do I know.

He has some rather perplexing health issues. I am not sure exactly, I listened and did not ask.

It was good to see him. He told me more than once this is the new man and he is not like he used to be, though the difference may well seem larger to him than to me!

It was his rightness that struck me. He has moved seriously north since I knew him. *

Today he is driving from Idaho to LA, in one setting. He says he can do it in about 14 or 15 hours.

Maybe he is not as old as I thought he was!

*(we talk about a left hander as having a south hand, so I make the obvious comparison!)

Sunday, October 31, 2010



My family are not German (or Ukrainian), and I don’t remember ever eating borscht. For a long time it was a mysterious name to me, then I found out the major ingredients were Cabbage and Beets.

Today I found out it also includes carrot and tomato sauce.

We have the ingredients, so I looked up a recipe and produced a pot of Ukranian Borscht today!

Simple, inexpensive ingredients (though I have not bought beets at the grocery store of late).

A side salad of romaine lettuce, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries made a good addition, and of course, there was whole wheat bread.

Miriam agreed. It was good.

We’ll do it again, soon!

Look at the license plate!
Another kind of barn maybe.

rebuilding barns

Once there was a farmer (the Big Book talks about it).

He had a couple of good harvests and his barn was not big enough to hold it all, so he made the decision, since he was so wealthy, to tear down the barn and replace it with something bigger, the better for his personal wealth.

With that wealth, he could lay back and relax and live the good life.

But he died that night, before he could do any of it.

There is a part of my land that I have ignored for many years. Lately I have been working on reclaiming this land. It is too small to do too much with, and I don’t need more dirt to worry about, but I do need to clear it out of the weeds.

As I was working on this project other day that Parable came to mind. With AD as an increasing part of my life, just how many barns should I replace?

I am not sure.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just like my little iPod.
Except the wires are not as clean on mine!

my iPod Nano

I broke my ipod.

Not break like I had a hand full of pieces, but broke. I could plug the earbuds in, but little sound came out and what there was did not sound good.

My analysis was that the port that receives the earbud was worn out, so with great sorrow it put it away.

Then I got reading about problems like that.

One guy said he had to take a toothpick and clean out the fuzz and fibers that had worked thier way into that port. It sounded like it might be related to what was going on with my iPod.

So, with a toothpick I carefully dug and I blew and did it again.

When I plugged in the earbuds I was rewarded with good sound, on both sides.

So for the price of a simple toothpick my iPod rides again. It is an obsolete model, the 3rd generation version, but I like it. Besides I got it from a good friend -- Stefanie. I traded her a good old exposure meter, a mid classic in the exposure meter world for the iPod.

Glad it is working again.

garden journal

I am working on a garden journal.

The perfect, totally wonderful version. There is no doubt of the advantage of having years of information in one place.

This one won't be perfect, of course, since I a not remotely perfect, but I will strive!

There is a good version from Lee Valley that is pretty good looking. It is huge (9 by 11) with 544 pages! It also sells for $40 plus another few to get it here,

I debated whether a bound book (one I would make) would be better than a loose leaf version. Since I am not sure exactly what will be in this journal I decided to go with the loose leaf version.

So I reclaimed an old Day Timer (I have a box full), set it up with the sheets and dividers. This DayTimer is one of the larger ones. I can cut and punch paper, almost any paper I might wish, and insert it into the 7 rings.

I have a page for each variety of vegetable, a calendar to remind me when to do different things, and a place for notes and information about each variety of plant in my garden.

Now to find information. I discovered that in 1998 I bought 2 peach trees, a Hale and a Red Haven. I had forgotten what variety they are.

This should give me a place to keep all of this information, and maybe make my garden more productive.

Now to get all of the good data into this one book.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Every book on heating with wood will tell you to only burn hardwood. but those books are written by easterners. Here we have softwood forests, so that is what we burn.
This hunk is from my son in law Sid's collection.

cutting wood

It's fall, no question about it.

Monday is November 1, in case I need to be reminded.

This week I dug the potatoes, brought in the squash and pumpkins, husked the flour corn and generally got ready for cold weather.

A day or two ago this morning was forecast for 27, but right now (7 am) it is 36.

Still cold temps are inevitable.

I should be making plans to go south for the winter, but frankly, as long as I don't have to work in it, I rather enjoy winter!

Yesterday I worked on getting firewood in, today I will continue that endeavor. I should get by on two cords of wood, but I try to have at least 3 in the shed when cold weather begins.

I have a big pile of pallets that I got free from various sources. That is my back up wood supply, but this year, I want to make that pile significantly smaller.

So cut and stack.

Monday, October 25, 2010


It happened.

Walt lost his sweet Dorris this weekend.

Dorris and Miriam were diagnosed with AD about the same time. Dorris is gone now and Miriam is doing alright, except she can't remember anything. I met Walt at a support meeting about the time our wives were diagnosed. That was a long time ago.

I wrote a note to Walt, who responded that he is OK, but a bit lost. Habits of looking after Dorris, of making sure she is OK and comfortable are still there.

He will do alright, he has known for a very long time that this day would come.

Walt had two prayers: that he could take care of her at home to the end, and that she die in her sleep.

Both were answered.

Hang in Walt, you have been an exceptional caregiver.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life does not stop either.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I took this picture last spring. It is a favorite.
Dad and son fishing.
It does not get much better than this Dad.