Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Las Vegas Christmas

Tuesday: (12/23) We left Bakersfield at 1030 after a nice breakfast of Helen's left overs. I had checked the weather earlier and confirmed the winds shouldn't be too bad. We're to meet brother Ernie this evening. He's driving in from LA with a load. The weather was good all the way, no real winds at all and clear skies most of the way. We arrived at about 4pm. We did see some snow on the side of the road near Tehachapi and on the road summits nearer Las Vegas. We checked with security at the Rio Casino, our usual hangout, and they no longer allow RV's overnight. We had heard they now prohibited RV's but that doesn't always mean it will be so. The security guard confirmed that the reason was one idiot RVer that dumped his holding tanks and the casino was fined $400,000 plus the cleanup costs so now RVs are not welcome at any of Harrah's casinos here. We went over to The Orleans Casino and they welcomed us. Ernie came over and we went over to the Black Bear Diner for too much diner. We then visited the casino.

Our Campsite At The Orleans Casino, Las vegas.JPG

The oversize parking area is a mix of trucks and RV's. Most of the trucks are together further out. We parked next to two small Toyota class C RVs. A while later, there arose such a clatter, I stuck my head out to see what was the mater. It wasn't Santa. Beyond the two small RV's, a refrigerated bobtail truck was parked. The driver was probably enjoying the casino. The refrigeration unit on his truck would start and stop automatically. When it ran it was noisier than a locomotive with a thrown rod. We can sleep through anything so ignored it. When we woke up, both small RV's had moved across the lot.
Wednesday: (12/24) Lou fixed pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Brother Ernie came over for breakfast. After breakfast we went out looking at the possible RV parks for our stay but, being very thrifty, decided our location at the Orleans Casino was as good as anyplace. We stopped at a thrift store on Boulder Hwy and made our way to the Pet Kingdom pet store on Tropicana near Eastern.

Cat In A Bunny Corral.JPG Cat In A Bunny Corral.JPG Cat In A Hammock.JPG

It's a great store with many exotic pets. There are three house cats as well that make themselves quite at home. Two of them were comfy in separate Bunnie corrals and a third was perched above the cash register. One of the cats for sale and himself comfortable in his hammock.

We were a bit hungry so we went next door to a King Ranch Market (2475 E Tropicanna) very much like the Ranch Market in Bakersfield. A Mexican market with a really good taqueria. Lou and I had chile relleno and Dawn had a Central American tamale. Everything was excellent. We did a little grocery shopping and refilled our drinking water bottles as well. We then headed on home and invited Ernie over. We'll probably relax here and in the casino this evening.
Thursday: (12/25) Christmas. We went over to the Wild Wild West Casino where Ernie is staying. We enjoyed breakfast and then borrowed a shower in his room. After breakfast we went over to the Mandalay Bay Casino to the Shark Reef Aquarium. Next stop after a walk of Ernie's dogs was a visit to the Flamingo Casino to see the flamingos. Ernie wanted to get some pictures. I didn't bring my camera . To see Ernie's pictures go to these links: Sharks and Flamingos. And then it was time for an early dinner at The Orleans buffet. The buffet was excellent and only $16, about half of most of the buffets on the strip. The crowd wasn't bad when we dined but when we left the line was out the door. Something about a big meal causes us to seek rest so we relaxed the rest of the evening.

Friday: (12/26) The wind really blew last night and we had a good rain. It also got down to 29 degrees. In the morning the sky was clear and the wind still gusty so the ground dried out. Lou and Dawn are off thrifting. Lou has a map of Las Vegas with markers for each shop. Somehow she finds them all and even her way back to our home base here? Ernie and I are are each updating our blogs and publishing pictures. Lou and Dawn had a salad at Jerry's Nugget Casino, in North Las Vegas where all the thrift stores they're visiting are. Ernie and I got together in the afternoon for lunch at Slots of Fun for hot dogs.

Fremont Street Experience.JPG Fremont Street Experience.JPG
Later met the girls and went to see the Fremont Street Experience downtown Las Vegas. They have a huge tv screen under the roof over the street for three blocks. It was quite interesting but quite cold as well and the wind was blowing we watched three of the shows that differ each hour and visited the casinos in between. After our first show we stopped in the Vegas Club's Great Momments Cafe and had their $2.99 ½ a sandwitch and a cup of soup. It was excellent. The sandwiches were made with a really good bread and the Manhattan chowder was the best we've ever had. Ernie had a grilled cheese sandwich. After the third show we headed just North of town to Jerry's Nugget Casino for desert. They have the absolute best deserts in town. It's a real good thing we don't live here!
Saturday: (12/27) Ernie came over to the RV for breakfast this morning. Then he returned to his base to handle normal chores while we went off to play. We went over to the thrift store and picked up Lou's chest of drawers. She had measured the rear of the wagon to be sure it would fit. it does but just barely. The chest is exactly sized to fit a wall in her craft room and she's been looking for a chest for quite a while. The store is close to down town so we headed on downtown again and visited the casinos. Then we stopped at the Main Street Antique Mall, quite an interesting place to look around.

Haufbrahaus Las Vegas.JPG
Then we were getting hungry so we called Ernie and met at the Hofbräuhaus Restaurant at Paradise and Harmon. We have to stop by whenever were here. Above, a performer plays his huge horn.
Then we headed out to the Silverton Casino, actually the Bass Pro Outdoor World store there. I found some good hiking boots. It took a combination of three pairs of boots to make a pair that fit both feet. They were all the same size but each different enough for my feet to feel the difference. Dawn found a good sausage making book as well.

Sunday: (12/28) Breakfast with Ernie at the Wild Wild West casino again. We also borrowed few more showers before we said goodbye to Ernie and the doggies. He's headed off toward Utah with his load today.

An interesting note, we learned from our neighbor here at The Orleans that there is a sanitary dump at the Wild Wild West. Hadn't thought of that. It costs $7 but may be worth a visit if we're ever in need.

We headed out to the outlet mall South of town at Spring Valley Road and Las Vegas Blvd. Lou and Dawn wanted to visit a particular shop where they've found clothes they like before. The didn't find much, but I did. I found some of the western short sleeved shirts I were for a good price. Dawn did get some turtle neck shirts as well.

We then stopped by a market and got more soy milk, this time the light version to try out. We also got some salad mix and drinking water refills. We returned to the RV and enjoyed a nice chef's salad for lunch.

After lunch it was nap time. I did take a moment to install the new paper towel holders I picked up over at Pismo Beach. They really work so much nicer than the ones. The new holders have a rod clear through the towel roll and don't fall off when using a towel like the previous holders that just tried to grip the ends. I also caught up on the blog. Later we decided to take the shuttle downtown. Actually we tried to take it to Sam's Town casino, another of the Coast Casino's but they don't go there dirrectly and then it only runs every 2 hours so we just looked around the strip for a while until it was time for dinner and then had dinner at the Gold Coast Casino. While Lou and Dawn gambled, I walked across the street to the Rio and saw one of their Show In The Sky performances. They've changed entirely but are still good. A final shuttle ride home to The Orleans and we called it a night

Monday: (12/29) Another sunny clear day, though still very cool when the sun is gone.

Lou fixed corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast.

We went out shopping today to the Mall on Maryland Ave. Dawn had to check at the bookstore and both Lou and Dawn at the Bon Worth clothing shop. We managed to fill the day with our mostly looking. We shared a combo of vegetables, cashew chicken and orange chicken for our lunch and enjoyed our afternoon tea.

Still in the eat at home mode, Lou fixed chicken baked potatoes and baked pumpkin for dinner with raw mixed vegetables.

About 7:30 we headed over to Sam's Town casino and watched the light show and looked around. They've remodeled some since our visit last year.

Tuesday: (12/30) Another nice day. When that sun is out it's great weather. Today, the reality of living in an RV has raised it's head. It's time to dump the tanks. So today is a take care of business day. Holding tanks dumped, laundry cleaned, and grocery shopping. We'll be here through new years eve but then move to the Valley Of Fire on New Years day.

Wednesday: (12/31) Today was another shopping day. We had a list.

Our first stop was the International market at Tropicanna and Decauter. We got all sorts of stuff to try out. Much more thanwe shoud have. We're in for some new culinary delights.

Next stop, Trader Joe's again. We've been trying various soy milk products and found the organic unsweetened soy milk from the shelf not the dairy case is the closest to a milk taste. It doesn't need refrigeration until opened either so is ideal for use in the boondocks.

Next stop Long's drugs for disposable washclothes (big wet-ones). Good for spit bathing.

Next Costco for blue towels. Blue towels hold together in use and we use them for everything. Saves on laundry costs. They are half the cost of most other sources at Costco.

And finally, a stop at Smith's market for some last essentials. Here we found something we've been looking for at all markets for months, canned grapefruit. They had both regular and pink.

The weather is quite nice this evening for the fireworks. We're enjoying the view from the parking lot here overlooking the downtown fireworks. Last year we were here and rode the bus to the strip. They set off synchronized fireworks from several casino rooftops. We hadn't heard of it before but evidently they caught the Monte Carlo hotel roof on fire so this year all the fireworks was on the ground and unsynchronized, behind the casinos. Cute idea. No one had a good view, not even the TV cameras. All probably because one fire watcher enjoyed his beer instead of watching for embers. I doubt they will be doing it this way next year. We enjoyed the evening at the RV with a little visit to the casino.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Sunday: (12/21) Visiting with Helen here in Bakersfield.

Monday: (12/22) We went over to the Ranch market for breakfast. We shared a couple of breakfast burritos. Helen had a quesadillo Lou and Dawn continued on to visit all the local thrift stores. Helen and I headed home. I then took the RV out to Camping World to fill the LPG tank. The needle on the LPG gauge was totally gone. It took 16 gallons, the most I've ever added. I visited the RV sales floor on my way into the store. I needed some new bungee cords for the towbar cables. The did have a very nice new 37' diesel class A for $109k. That's cheap and the floor plan was pretty good too. Fun looking. On the way back to Helen's, I also filled up the gas tanks. Much cheaper than the last fillup this past summer. Then it was about $4.79/gal requiring three passes of the credit card to complete the fillup. This time, the 56 gallons cost barely more than $100, a single pass of the credit card. The second pass was only for $2. I like the difference. It's a little painful to realize that the first leg of our trip with these low gas prices everywhere was using the expensive summer priced gas. We always fill up on our return home so that we have plenty of gas in case of one of the pesky unscheduled earthquake emergencies that happen around home. If we didn't, we could be the cause of a serious quake. Bad things only happen when you are unprepared. Something like always wear you best underwear or you'll have an accident.

Dinner was Helen's spaghetti and some of her son's sauce.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pismo Bound

Wednesday: (12/17) I stopped off at work for a pancake breakfast at 7am. That meant getting up about 5am. Too much like the old days! Not too many changes there at work. Excellent pancakes, sausage and eggs. It almost seemed like old home week. All the recent retirees were there. It was nice to catch up on what's happened this past year.

I met up with Lou and Dawn at a nearby park, hooked up the toad and we were off about 11am. They can get bored as I catch up on all the news so they did their own thing for breakfast. We stopped in King City to do a little shopping. We needed to replace our drinking water bottles. I also needed a nap and Lou needed one as well so I couldn't talk her into driving while I slept.

We made another stop in Paso Robles for Lou and Dawn to check a thrift store then we were off again toward Pismo Beech. It was getting dark as we selected our campsite. I took a short walk and met a nice cat. The cat and I enjoyed a short hike toward the beech looking at the sunset.

We went out to Country Kitchen Restaurant in Arroyo Grande. Unfortunately, our favorite fish and chips restaurant is closed through Christmas.

Our Campsite Lots of water in campground
Thursday: (12/18) Wow, quite a difference today. Last night it was cool/cold and hazy and overcast. This morning, it's clear and 52 degrees now at 10 am. Looks like a great day. Google says it's 41 degrees at home in Palo Alto and having showers today. 30 minutes ago it was only 34 degrees. The weather in Pismo is usually good and I hope good weather follows us on this trip. However, we saw a report this morning about 4 inches of snow last night in Las Vegas, our destination? Above left our campsite. On the right one of the many flooded areas. You would have to be careful where you pitched a tent.

Birds on the beech at Pismo Pismo Beech Boardwalk and our campsite beyond
We took a walk on the beach this morning. Above left some of the birds playing at the surfs edge. Right, the boardwalk back to camp. Our RV at the end. The weather is quite nice. Later we visited several thrift stores in Grover Beech.
Lunch at the Girls Restaurant in Arroyo Grande. Lou and Dawn shared a cob salad and I had chicken fried steak and eggs.
Lou and I looked at the Miners hardware store while Dawn looked at a book store. I found the light fixtures I've been looking for but not finding. They are for our side yard lights. I wanted motion controlled lights that had a standard lamp base with a jar lens. They had scads of them. It's one of the best hardware stores we've toured, and we tour them all.
We went up to San Luis Obispo for the Thursday night Farmers Market. We picked up some grapes and avocados.
Back at the RV, we had left overs for dinner.

A Nice December Sunset At Pismo Beach.JPG

Friday: (12/19) We returned to San Luis Obispo and visited three thrift stores there as well as the shopping center. Lou and Dawn found a deal on pants. I got a few things at the market.

We also stopped by the Madonna Inn and looked around.

Saturday: (12/20) Another great day. Lou fixed baked potatoes with blue cheese and bacon for breakfast. We then went over to Arroyo Grande and looked through the shops there. Many are closed now that were there last year. An all too common sign of the times. We nibbled our way stopping at the Eclair Bakery. We shared a slice of chocolate pecan pie and a chocolate eclair. and then stopped at Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab and shared a scoop of peppermint ice cream. We also stopped by a pet store that was having a kitten adoption show. Lots of cut kittens.

After all this excitement, we went back to camp and had lunch. A bunch of left overs featuring chicken as the main course.

Next stop was Solvang. We drove the 65 miles down and looked around the village. It seemed like a good place to get a real feel of Christmas. Always on the lookout, I found the paper towel holders I knew existed but hadn't been able to find until now, not for lack of looking. Dawn examined a couple of book shops.

We topped off the visit with a stop in Buellton at Pea Soup Anderson's for pea soup, of course. We got back to camp camp a little after 8 pm.

Butterflies At pismo Beach Grove.JPG

Sunday: (12/21) Lou fixed breakfast burritos for breakfast. We went over to look at the butterflies again and I snapped a few pics. The Lou and Dawn were off in the car to Nipomo, about 12 miles South of camp, to a flea market. I took care of the RV, dumping the tanks and then headed down to meet them. We hooked up nearby an were on the road to Bakersfield via Highway 166.

At the summit above Maricopa there was still some snow on the side of the road. It must have We continued on to Helen's place in Bakersfield. We went over to Carrow's resataurant for a bite of lunch.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Trip Prep

Monday: (12/15) Pretty good rain last night and this morning. There was even some snow and hail in the San Francisco Bay Area last night. I guess winter has begun. I played wit hthe computer trying to restore the programs I really need on the new hard drive. Probably about have done now. Unfortunately, it was probably the easy half. Dawn finished her packing and then Lou did hers. Tomorrow I'll catch up. Dawn was in the baking mood as well and backed cookies. Hopefully some survive for the trip.

I upgraded the blog to WordPress 2.7 a few days ago. The new blog is also using the domain (tbd) rather than  (dw). Both actually get you to the same blog but now it's actually hosted on the tbd site rather than the dw site. I kind of like the new look but it may change as I polish the theme or find a better theme. There were a few problems with photo links so if you see a bad one on older posts, let me know.

Tuesday: (12/16) Dawn went down to San Jose for a class. Lou brought home some baked pork buns from the Hong Kong bakery for breakfast. It's my turn to get packed today. I also filled the water.  All ready to leave early tomorrow. Lou and I went over to the Sizzler Restaurant for lunch. We shared a steak and lobster special. We haven't been to a Sizzler in 10-15 years. Lunch was good and enough for the two of us. I haven't had lobster for twice that and now that I have, it will likely be another 30 years before I need it again.

Lou baked some chicken and cooked some Brussels sprouts and baked potatoes for dinner. Those pressure cooked Brussels sprouts are sure good. Who would have thought?

We're down to the wire now. Lou's doing the final refrigerator transfer. It seems like we always depart on garbage day. It's unintentional but handy to be rid of the stuff rather than have it ferment while we're gone. I've got all my junk laoded except for this laptop. Everthing is battened down and we're ready, or as ready as we ever are. Once we break free of the magnet of home, all becomes much easier. It's just the getting away that is always hard.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Monday: (12/08) Well, another week at home, but, looks like the last one for a while? Lou and Dawn are off on a little trip of their own to Fresno so I'm on vacation at home. About 10 days and the "hard" work of living on the road begins again.

I try to keep my political ramblings off this blog. I also have my personal blog and today I observed a stroke of efficiency worthy of note. UPS is just great. My comment got too big for this blog so I moved it over to my blog. Don't explore my blog too much though unless you think left of center or are considering it.

Tuesday: (12/09) Up early and headed over to the Kaiser hospital to get the stitches out of my finger. It's doing fine. I then treated myself to breakfast at the Country Inn in Cupertino on the way home. An Italian and artichoke omemette souffle.  I spent the rest of the day going through some of the junk in my study. I contacted the Computer History Museum in Mountain View asking if they still wanted my old computers. They do. The computers were fairly easy to find, the stuff that goes with them wasn't as easy to find.

Wednesday: (12/10) A little more junk review in the study. I also installed some new memory modules in my 4 year old laptop doubling it to 2GB. I also checked into replacing the hard drive which has run out of room. In order to do that, I started backing up the hard drive. About 42GB of the 75GB needed to be backed up to n external hard drive. Nothing really significant accomplished to day but everything takes time.

Thursday: (12/11) I was up early. I went over to Central Computer in Sunnyvale to get a replacement hard drive for my laptop. They opened at 9am and I was out in 10 minutes. No Christmas rush that early. I had an appointment at 10am so I had time to stop in downtown Mountain View for breakfast of a baked pork bun and an egg tart from the Hong Kong Bakery.

Commodore B128-80 Commodore B128-80 Rear
At 10am I went over to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. I had some old computers they were interested in having. The Commodore Business Machines B128-80 above was Commodores attempt at getting the office machine market. It came out about the time of the IBM PC and they abandoned it.

SFD 1001 SFD 1001 Back
The SFD1001 was a 1MB floppy drive for the B128-80.

I also delivered my first computer, an Ohio Scientific C4P. Both computer were quite useful in their day but they'll never be put to any real use again. The best use, since they are both in excellent condition, is as museum specimens.

Next stop, the muffler shop. The toad's muffler is damaged and need repair. While I waited for the shops evaluation, I walked down to the San Antonio shopping center and browsed the Sears and Walmart's. When I got home, I battened down things in the RV getting ready to head down to San Jose tomorrow morning.

Friday: (12/12) Up far too early to drive the RV down to San Jose for an 0800 pre-trip check / oil and lube at Leale's RV. It's also getting the Dometic refrigerator recall fix.

I arrived at the shop at 7am to avoid any traffic problems. They open at at 8m but accepted it a little earlier. Leale's is pretty close to downtown San Jose so I walked down to Dawn's apartment. On the way I stopped for breakfast at La Victoria Taqueria for a breakfast burrito.

At Dawn's, I installed a new router in Dawn's computer network so she has a cable for her laptop to be able to print. That went well.

Then, while I was there I used the toilet. That didn't go well. It was stopped up. It may be because of the intermittent use but it changed my day anyway. Her apartment is part of our house there and the only thing stopped up was the toilet so I walked over to Walgreen's and got a plunger. I couldn't free it up so I will have to return later to remove the toilet to see what the problem is. It has to be a good blockage in the two feet before it joins the main drain. Nothing else is affected. Sounds like a fun weekend. My relaxing morning sure changed.

I walked back to Leale's at noon to get the RV. All ready to go. I stopped for a nearby Chinese Buffet lunch and headed home.

Just after I got home, the shop called to say the toad (our 92 Volvo) was ready with it's new muffler. I walked down to pick it up. Sounds much better. It really shouldn't have needed it. Must have been poorly installed two years ago but it was broken. It looks like it's installed properly this time.

Lou called about 1pm and said she was leaving Fresno. They arrived home about 10pm. There are a lot of thrift and antique stores along the way.

Don's Finger Repair
Good news, the doctor called this evening and my biopsy was clear. Also, the finger is looking better.

Saturday: (12/13) We're getting our first real cold snap starting today. We may even freeze up with the arctic air coming in. Nice time to head South next Wednesday. I fixed fried eggs and home fries for breakfast and then started dinner. Italian sausage, potatoes and some of Dawn;s homemade sauerkraut.

First thing, I dropped off some old computer monitors and printers at the recycle store. Little by little, my study is re-appearing as this junk is disposed of. Then, I went back down to San Jose to clear Dawn's drain. When I got there, it was working fine? Since I was there I cleaned the bathroom anyway. My brain doesn't work like it used to. As I was leaving I finally decided to look at the cleanout in the front yard, it was overflowing into the flower bed. Problem found. I spoke with the tenant and asked him to call the city to cleanout their line to the street. All the drain pipe is new except the line from the edge of the sidewalk out into the street. The roots clog it up occasionally. Seems like we had to have the City clean it every year but it's now been many years since it clogged. What I really can't understand though is why the tenant never called. I had heard them using the sink and they must have needed the toilet sometime in the last two days? Tenants?  I'm glad this happened now rather than next week or later after we had gotten on the road.

The dinner started this morning was very good.

Sunday: 12/14) I fixed a nice breakfast of some leftover home fried potatoes from yesterday morning and some left over potatoes and sausage for the sauerkraut dinner last night. Quite nice.

More fun today. I went back down to San Jose. The City had cleaned the drain so I cleaned up the mess. This is too much like a bad day at the RV dump station?

When I got back home I went through my tool bags making sure I had everything and placed them in the RV. Then I tinkered at the computer. Lots more to do to re-install all (or at least some) the software on the new hard drive.

Dawn's been packing today and Lou's working with dolls and sewing and helping Dawn. Later Lou got into a baking mood and backed an apricot pie and made some tarts as well. Excellent pie. She used some frozen apricots from our tree as well as some dried apricots. The dried fruit really amplifies the flavor.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Warning And Not Much Else

Monday: (12/01) Not much happening. I'm relaxing Lou's cleaning. Sounds like I'm being lazy, great!

Tuesday: (12/02) My recently typical relaxing morning. Lou recently busy morning. I dabbled with the computer, she was busy cleaning up after the doggie visit.

We both stepped out about 1:30 and caught a bus toward San Jose. We hopped on and off vising various stores and thrift shops along El Camino Real. We walked through the new village along the Alameda near downtown San Jose and then walked along Race street. Several years ago I had eaten at a good Cuban restaurant there and thought that might be good for our diner. We arrived about 4:30 but they didn't open until 5pm so we continued on to a big sporting goods store, Mel Cotton's on San Carlos. We brosed through it in no time and returned for an excellent dinner at the Habana Cuba restaurant. We then caught a bus to the Valley Fair shopping center, looked around a while then caught a bus to downtown San Jose.

We walked over to San Jose State to meet Dawn at a showing of the documentary film "The Warning" shown by its writer/producer/director Joseph P. Sottile. Per the announcement: "The film is based on extensive interviews with five authors who have warned of authoritarian trends in America: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Crimes Against Nature, Naomi Wolf, The End of America, Chris Hedges, American Fascists, Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, and Joe Conason, It Can Happen Here." Hopefully more people see it and heed the warning. Dawn went and since we were nearby, we met her there not knowing what it was. I'm glad we met her.

We all then caught the bus back home to Palo Alto.

Wednesday: (12/03) Lou headed off to volunteer at the Stanford University rummage sale. She prepared the childrens section for the Saturday Sale. Me, I played with the computer all day. the most exciting thing today was watching the garbage pickup. I like to watch big machines. Exciting!

Thursday: (12/04) Lou took Dawn to a doctors appointment. They did their thrift shopping before getting home. Me, the usual, at the keyboard.

Friday: (12/05) The day began much like normally, each doing the usual. Lou doll making and spring cleaning, Dawn job search and me not much. A little after noon, we all headed out. We dropped Dawn off at the trolley station in Mountain View. She attended an Anthropology club meeting.
I had a doctors appointment for a biopsy. It didn't take long at all. We then had lunch at the Home Town Buffet then went home. I then relaxed the rest of the day.

Lou has been busy working on her dolls sewing micro clothes and making micro shoes. Dawn started making entries to her own blog, Her writing talents far exceed mine. She has posted many of her short stories as well, some works in progress.

Saturday: (12/06) Lou, Dawn and our neighbor Meilie are off to the Stanford rummage sale. Lou is working there today so I'll pickup the others when they're done looking. I enjoyed working at the computer doing a little programming all day. Not much change there. And of course, Lou worked with the dolls. She, unfortunately broke a doll's foot while dressing it. Back to the begining for that foot. Dawn continued the job search and writing.

It's more like winter now, cooler and occasional fog.

Sunday: (12/07) Lou and Dawn are off to Fresno for a few days to Lou's sister's place. I get to be on vacation again. I'll start preparing the RV to go. I've ignored it long enough. Looks like we may get out on the 17th toward Pismo beach then out to the desert through Bakersfield, Las Vegas and Quartzsite. We didn't get everything accomplished on this visit but we did get a lot done. Un-done things will be here when we return.

Since we'll be heading out, it's great that the fuel prices are MUCH lower. Less pump shock. I read a thought on Nick Russel's blog about the real reason for the drop in gas prices and it seems more realistic than a reported reduction in use of our cars. That reduction isn't always apparent. He suggests that the real reason for lower prices is less speculation in oil. No one has any money to speculate. Sounds logical.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

Monday: (11/24) Another week begins. I started the day with a dentist appointment. They had to do some warranty work on one of my fillings. It only took a few minutes. I did a little looking around at the old Vallco Shopping Center now Cupertino Square. They've been remodeling it for years, going on decades. It's finally taking shape but still mostly empty and with the current economy, probably will remain that way for a while. they changed to an entertainment theme. They've always had an ice scating arena. A big multi screen theater opened a while back. A bowling ally more recently and now, the food court reopened. it only has two tenants now, Burger King and Popeye's but within a few days a third will open and it looks VERY interesting. It's the HB Express a german fast food eatery. They are going to open a big HB Hofbräuhaus sometime but the Express will provide schnitchels, bratworsts and other different fare. We've been waiting for the HB to open. We make it a point to drop by their Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas and their Biergarten in Las Vegas every time we pass through.

Lou Hanging The Pitures.JPG Wilton Security Door.JPG
Lou got the living room back in order today rehanging pictures, etc. When I finally got home, I decided to install the security door on the front. It got deferred but I had a few moments today and it went up easily. Then time to finish the dreaded gutter cleaning.

Brother Ernie arrives tomorrow evening. For dinner we went out to Chili's Restaurant.

Tuesday: (11/25) We were all up early today. Lou and Dawn enjoyed breakfast, I was fasting. We dropped Dawn off in Mountain View to catch the trolley. Lou and I passed a little time browsing a Rite Aide store. We arrived at the Kaiser hospital for my 930 appointment a bit early but they took me right in.

Finger Don's Finger After Surgery
The surgery on my ring finger was schedule for 1030 and started about 1025. They sliced my ring finger open and removed a cyst (a bone spur under a tenon) from my finger just behind the nail. It took about 25 minutes. Fortunately, there was no pain involved. I'm such a sissy.

Lou and I then went to breakfast at the Country Inn in Cupertino, my first, here second. We shared a really nice omlette.

I took a nice nap when we got home. Now, I get to sit or lay around with my hand held high for a few days. Oh gee, I can't do dishes! Brother Ernie is a great cook/chef but he is a real dirty dish generator. I usually spend most of my time trying to keep up. Not this year, poor Lou.

Speaking of Ernie, he just left Bakersfield, 5pm, on his way here from Las Vegas. Not only am I using the tiny keyboard on my little eeePC laptop but I'm also using just onr hand.Ernie arrived about 9:30.

Wednesday: (11/26) Ernie did his laundry all morning. He and I then went grocery shopping for his tenure as chef.

For dinner Ernie fixed some very nice chicken fried steak with smashed potatoes and sour cream green beans.

Chef Ernie.JPG Chef Ernie.JPG
Thursday: (11/27) Thanksgiving day or Turkey Day or whatever, it''s what those who work call a holiday. We, on the other hand call it "today."

Ernie has been very busy baking pies this morning. Lou's been busy trying to keep up with his dirty dish and messy kitchen efforts. They're both doing good work.

Wolfie Walter and Ernie.JPG Walter at the fountain.JPG
The doggies always like the holidays.

Today, the sun actually came out. Yesterday, the rain allowed the fellosw to collect mud and decorate the house with some of it. Much better today.

Wonder of wonders. Dawn actually made a post to the blog I setup for her over two yeears ago, http:\

Dinner was topical. Roast turkey breast, smashed potatoes, creamed peas with pearl onions, non stuffed stuffing, and fruit salad. Everything of the usual Ernie quality. This is the first time we did a turkey breast. It was cooked on the rotisserie.

And then there was desert. Ernie baked three pies; mince, cranberry pear, and apple. Thee cranberry pear pie is very good and holiday appropriate.

We didn't have a stuffed bird but everyone ended up stuffed after dinner.

Friday: (11/28) Omletes ala Ernie for breakfast. He and I went off to Wally World where he did a little shopping for items such as doggie food and I visited Trader Joe's for more eggs and some green peppers. Lou and Dawn headed over to the OSH hardware store and collected a sales tax rebate on the washer we bought a while back. This weekend OSH pays the sales tax.

Lou and Dawn continued thrift shopping. Ernie and i remained home with the dogs and computers

Saturday: (11/29) Lou and I sudoku-ed lot today. Ernie fixed biscuits and gravy for breakfast. He wanted to go over to Sunset gardens but they were closed today. For dinner Ernie fixed potato cheese soup.

Don's Finger Repair
We got our first look at my finger without a bandage today. Doesn't look bad, if a dark ugly finger isn't bad.

The weather was nice again today.

Sunday: (11/30) Ernie was up early preparing to leave. he did a some final laundry and prepared breakfast for us all. He is very handy to have around! We distracted his doggies in the back yard while he packed up. He was off sometime around 11 am. We then all cleaned up and headed out to do a little shopping and generally waste the rest of the day.

My finger has been very nice. The minor pain both during and since the surgery has been much less than the occasional feeling it had been hit by a hammer that has been common for these past many months.
I've got a couple of doctors appointments over the next two weeks and Lou and Dawn plan another visit to Lou's sister in Fresno. I'll also take a few hikes if all goes well. Then, hopefully, we'll be on the road again in mid December.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lazy Days Of Fall

Monday: (11/17) Lou and Dawn were up before me, I didn't wake until after 9:30. After breakfast I hit the green house.

Salvaged Shelves In Green House.JPG Finished Green House With Plants.JPG
I finished the non permanent floor, the portion that will be used for the garden in summer. I threw down a bunch of leftover bricks and pavers. I then installed some wire shelves, then started moving in the plants.

Dawn headed off to San Jose about 1pm. Lou was busy working on finishing the wall.

Tuesday: (11/18) Lou worked on finishing the wall. I cleaned up around the yard and the mess made building the green house. Dawn returned from San Jose and we all went to Carrow's for dinner. Lou and Dawn shared a big prime rib dinner. I had a mile high roast beef sandwich. All very good.

Wednesday: (11/19) Lou finished textured the wall. Now it just needs sealing, painting and some cleanup and the living room will be back in full service. I lazed around working on the computer and other business.

Thursday: (11/20) Lou and I started the day with breakfast at Brian's in Los Altos. We shared a chicken fried steak and eggs breakfast. We then headed over to Kaiser for an appointment. It only took a couple of minutes to setup the surgery for my poor little finger next week. They're going to remove a cyst on my ring finger. It's been fun working with it because any bump or touch feels like I hit it with a hammer but I wanted to get some work done that required the use of my hands so I differed the fix for a couple on months. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to get done but there is always next spring. The house is fixed up much better than before, the green house is finished and some work was done on rebuilding the shop. That's the big project for next spring.

While we were out we did some shopping on the way home as well as stopping for lunch at the Crazy Buffet in Sunnyvale.

I've been enjoying the recent more relaxed days, messing with the computer and such.

Our current tentative schedule for the rest of this year is Thanksgiving at home with brother Ernie whenever that actually occurs somewhere near the real thanksgiving day. Hopefully medical and dental appointments will be completed by mid December and we then can hit the road for a while including Christmas in Las Vegas.

Friday: (11/21) I made a list of things to be completed before I end up with a big bandage on my finger next Tuesday. It's not a long list but I needed to go off to the hardware store to get a few things for it. I got and fitted a new baseboard for Lou's wall repair. I also worked on the sprinklers for the plants in the green house and repaired a light fixture. Those are the kind of little projects that I hope to get done quickly.

I've been hearing the squeal of a hawk the past couple of days but hadn't seen it. It scared off the squirrels and birds quite often though. Today, I heard it again. This time I saw it, being chased by a flock of crows. It's twice as big as the crows but they kept it busy bumping it and chasing it. Interesting.

Lou did all the final prime painting of her wall and she and Dawn visited a rummage sale. Lou made tortellini soup for lunch.

To top off our day, we did some grocery shopping. I'd say we enjoyed dinner at Costco but we didn't, enjoy it, that is. The crowd was terrific. Note to self, never go to Costco, or anywhere else on Friday evening.

Saturday: (11/22) Busy day today. After trying to relax and then realizing there was much to do before I'm forced to really take it easier. I started by cutting a bezel for Lou's new sewing cabinet to fit her old sewing machine. Next, I installed a pipe through the wall in the sun room to accept a drain hose from the dehumidifier. It's been going out the doggie door for a while. it's now going direct to the storm drain system. I then finished off the sprinklers in the green house by cutting a hose to just fit to the sprinkler pipe on the shelf. I then tested the sprinklers and they work great. the list is getting shorter.

I then started to change the lock on the sun room door. It's always been sloppy and was never keyed to the house lock. I have to get a deepset latch for the lockset. So, on to the next project. i had to cut off the kitchen to garage door. It's been sticky so a little more clearance will help. Next, a trip to the dump to get rid of the old washer then a vist to a hardware store for the deep set latch. Another project complete.

Lou put a final coat of paint on the wall then removed the plastic wall that's divided the house these past few days. In the evening she and Dawn went to a story telling meeting in Los Altos.

Sunday: (11/23) Lou's birthday! She's taking a raincheck on it. She's busy cleaning up after the wall project and getting ready for holiday guests. I had installed the baseboard and she then primed and painted it.

I needed to finish my list which included cleaning the rain gutters on Dawn's house and ours. While at Dawn's, the other tenant caught me and had me fix their toilet actuator lever and a door knob. Always something with an old house. On our house, I only needed to clean the gutter on our sun room but that's no simple job It's not a standard, easy to clean gutter. I got the bulk out but it got dark so I finished it Monday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Great Wall

Monday: (11/10) Dawn headed down to San Jose for work. We all headed out early so she could catch the trolley. I stopped at the Kaiser clinic for some lab work. Lou and I then spent the day shopping.We started with some grocery shopping.

The washer failed so we looked for a new washer. The existing one is over 20 years old. We found a model we liked and ten found the cheapest place to get it. It turned out to be at Orchard Supply Hardware which is actually owned by Sears but it was cheaper at OSH than at sears?We'll pick it up and save the delivery/installation. They don't know how to install stuff and why pay $65 for bad work? Plus, I'm cheap. We supposedly will be able to return to the store during the thanksgiving sale and get our sales tax back? Might work.

We also stopped by Home depot for some plywood and sheet rock for Lou's living room wall job and some stuff for relocating some pipes in the green house that were in the flower bed that went to the sprinklers.

Tuesday: (11/11) I tinkered a little this morning. I installed the plywood to stiffen the house. I also cut a bunch of wood strips to shim up the wallboard. Our walls are one inch thick, half inch drywall lath and 1/2 plaster. To simplify replacement we shim the wall and use 1/2 inch wallboard. Lou's been busy working on the wall and working pouring doll parts.

I had a dentist appointment after noon. I bought gas on the way home. Wow! Only $2.39 what a difference a few weeks makes. We really need to get out on the road and enjoy these low prices.

For dinner, Lou made a tomato blue cheese and onion salad that was based on something we saw on the Rachael Ray show this morning. That went along with some BBQ ribs from Safeway.

Wednesday: (11/12) I ripped some strips of wood and shimmed up the wall studs to make the 1/2" wall board become 1" thick. I tacked them up so Lou can hang her drywall.

Hidden Villa Trail.JPG Looking Back Over Hidden Villa.JPG
I went out to Hidden Villa and hiked up toward Black Mountain and Duveneck Windmill area, then back down the mountain.

At the Top.JPG View Of Palo Alto From The Top.JPG
It's a pretty hike and also gives some nice views of the town below. You can see our house in the right picture above, top right of picture (if you have really good eyes).
On the way home, I stopped at OSH and picked up the new washer.

Dawn returned home this evening.

Thursday: (11/13) I started the day by installing the new washer. I then worked a little on the green house rerouting the sprinkler pipes. Lou and Dawn assembled a new worm composter that Dawn got through Palo Alto Freecycle. It was never used. Lou also cut the drywall for the living room wall and tacked it up. I'll screw it down later.

We all went downtown to Dawn's birthday dinner. Her birthday was Monday but the celebration was delayed until she came back home. We went the the Palo Alto Creamery for dinner and then she went to the Bell's Books for an author talk, "War Is Beautiful". Actually, the author died many years ago the manuscript was misplaced for years, found in a library and then published. It's not about President Bush as the title might imply but about the experiences of a soldier during the Spanish American War. Actually this is what I got from Dawn, Lou and I did a little shopping while Dawn attended the talk.

Friday: (11/14) We're in for a warm day today. 80 degrees in mid November? The ants know this means nothing and we're in for a really cold winter soon. That or they are wasting a lot of effort.

I screwed down the drywall for Lou and installed a plastic wall for dust containment. Lou and Dawn went grocery shopping and came back with a case of bananas Dawn will dry them, hopefully.

Saturday: (11/15) I started the day sanding Lou's wall. She had filled the large gaps and screw holes. Unfortunately, she used some joint compound that was left over from previous jobs. What she used was waterproof compound. It's more like caulk and was difficult to sand. Lou then taped and textured the wall.
I finished the sprinkler piping and started the floor in the green house.

Dawn dried bananas and other cooking all day.

Sunday: (11/16) I laid bricks to complete the permanent portion of the floor in the green house. I also installed some wood on the exposed edges and grouted the big gaps.

Dawn dried bananas.

Wall Ready To Finish.JPG Lou Finishing The Wall.JPG
Lou worked on the wall.

Our New Green House

Monday: (11/03) the rain returned. It started sprinkling enough for me to stop about 2pm and then picked up from then on. I decided it must be time to do other things. Yesterday, I picked up what i thought was twqo pair of hinges to weld on the doors of the green house. Turns out they were not pairs so i need two more. It's not worth the drive to Lowes in Sunnyvale so I looked at our local OSH hardware. They didn't have any removable pin hinges. Not much of a store anymore but it is nearby. I then thought I'd try Home Depot but couldn't get to their store in East Palo Alto due to traffic being at a total standstill? So I turned around and went by a local rather expensive hardware store and found the hinges at a bit more cost though not as much as the cost of the gas I had already used. i also picked up a switch for a lamp that needs repair.

Since the rain wasn't letting up, it seemed a very good time to go by the garage and have the car smog check done. This older  car has had problems passing the past two times, both times requiring the replacement of the catalytic converter. kind of odd. Today, it passed, barely though it was excellent after the last repairs. 785 for NOX when it would have failed at 786. Next time I can assume it won't pass and will require the converter again. I really wonder what the results of the test would be if the tester were not connected directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles and or if they didn't reference the age of the vehicle as part of the test? I really believe they want me to get rid of this car since it's 22 years old. At least it passed for now!

I had a nice conversation with the office technician at the shop. He is from Hungary and this will be the first election in which he can vote. He bacame a citizen this past summer.

Green House Framing Started.JPG Green House Ready For Skin.JPG
Tuesday: (11/04) A nice clear sky today though it did get chilly in the afternoon. I finished hanging the doors on the green house and did a little prep to hang the plastic. I also nibbled away at the tree branches that I pruned putting them in the compost bin. Tomorrow is garbage day and I didn't want the pile to remain with room in the bins. Since the time changed, it gets dark so much earlier. Seems like more than one hour earlier?

I then settled in to watch the election results. Since we usually are traveling at election time we're permanent absentee voters so the voting part was done days ago. Congratulation to our new President Elect Barak Obama. Hopefully he steers the country back on the right course.

Wednesday: (11/05) Another nice day. More of the same working on the green house. The skin on the roof was installed. Lou and Dawn left Fresno at Lou's sister's place and went down to Bakersfield to visit Aunt Helen. They've been making a haul at the thrift stores on the way.I would have liked to go but wanted to get the green house ready before it's needed. The temperatures have been getting down into the 30's at night. it won't be long before a freeze warning and the mad rush to protect the plants.

Green House Finished.JPG Wilton Tree Pruning.JPG
Thursday: (11/06) Left, Green house all finished. It doesn't look like much. It's kind of invisible with the clear Lexan skin but it should protect the plants. I'll probably use it for the garden space during the summer with the doors removed. There was some light left so I continued with more pruning of the trees next to the green house. The tree is in the neighbors yard but all the growth is in our yard. The limbs are large and low and my head is always locating them so I'm raising the roof some.

Friday: (11/07) Today was a day of rest, mostly. I installed a peep hole in the front door and worked on a leaky toilet. How exciting!

Saturday: (11/08) More rest for me. This is kind of nice!

Lou and Dawn returned from Bakersfield via highway 101 with a long stop in Salinas. Dawn wanted to check some books that were at the local library.

Sunday: (11/09) I fixed breakfast home fried potatoes, fried bologna (European style, more like ham), and fried eggs. We enjoyed it in the back yard. The weather was nice. I then started digging out the floor of the green house. I built it over a raised flower bed and removed the retaining wall Thursday. Those concrete blocks weigh 200-300 pounds each and I think that may be why my back was bothering me recently? Anyway, today i dug out the dirt and leveled the floor.

Lou worked on moving her treasures into her shop. She found a load of doll molds at one of the thrift stores and received a lot of doll making tools and materials from a friend of Aunt Helen's in Bakersfield.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Is Here

Monday: (10/27) Lou fixed biscuits and gravy for breakfast, one of her favorite breakfasts. She then made lots of progress cleaning and repairing kitchen appliances, moved into her new sewing cabinet, folded laundry, preparing here smoker to get to work and much more.

I took it easy and read all the election material and prepared my sample ballot. Since we're often on the road we're absentee voters.

In the afternoon we all took a trip. We tried to drop off Dawn's recycle cans and bottles but the dropoff is closed Mondays. Now we know. Lou is also looking for a sweater she lost and her favorite Luu's Noodle Restaurant is next to the recycle stop so she checked it, it wasn't there. We then went to lunch at one of my favorite Chinese buffets, the Sunny Buffet in Sunnyvale. We also stopped at Smart and Final looking for 55 gallon heavy gauge bags. Their bags are only 1.3 mil. Dawn wanted to browse at the used bookstore in Mountain view so Lou and I did a little grocery shopping picking up our favorite yogurt from an Middle Eastern market there and then stopped by Minton Lumber where I picked up a door sweep for the hotwater heater cabinet. I don't want any critters finding a warm home. From there we went by Costco and this time they had our family pack Italian sausage. Lou's in the smoking mood.

And another day is wasted.

Tuesday: (10/28) Lou and Dawn went South, to San Jose as usual.

I installed the door sweep for the water heater. Wow, a completed project!  I also went to the bank and laundromat.  The  pad we use in Lou's car got oil on it when I rented the jackhammer. Lou sprayed it with simple green and I washed it in someone else's machine. It came out fully clean to our surprise. Of course, this is the problem with using laundromats for the regular clothes.

Wednesday: (10/29) I cleaned up the shop in the tent so I can use it. It's collected a lot of junk recently so everything was putaway or whatever as appropriate.

I moved the wood piles in the backyard. One ws under the oak tree where I stacked it when I pruned it last year. The other was our longtime location for the pile which is where the new green house will go. I moved it further back in the yard. It wont be too long before we wont be able to ever have a real fire here due to air quality concerns but we still can so far.

Thursday: (10/30) It was overcast this morning with light showers and started raining in the afternoon. I tinkered inside much of the day. Later in the afternoon the rain letup to minor sprinkles so I went out and did a little work on the new green house. Most of the old green house framing will be used on the new one.

Lou and Dawn returned home from San Jose. Dinner was leftovers. Spaghetti goes a long way.

Friday: (10/31) More rain. Should last through the weekend. I worked some more on the green house.

Saturday: (11/01) Lou and Dawn are off to Fresno to visit Lou's sister Kathy. I went out in the drizzle and worked on the greenhouse framing. The roof is from the old green house and since the old one was really a roof from the house eves to the fence top, there were only two end walls and no side walls. the new location will use the fence for one wall but now needs a front wall. Also the doors will be on that front wall rather than on the ends so the end walls will be modified some. It will actually be as much work as a completely new building but will get most of the old one recycled. I got a couple of hours in before the rain picked up so I'm doing a little web surfing while I wait for it to let up.It didn't let up. How nice!

Sunday: (11/02) The weather was very nice today. No rain. I completed the green house framing. The framing is welded tubing. I still need to hang the doors then all the welding is complete. About 3pm I headed off to a late lunch and stopped by Lowe's to get some material including the new plastic panels for the green house.

On the way, I stopped to fill the gas tank. I couldn't resist the low price, $2.85. Our local station is $3.19. I have really enjoyed this time approaching the election when the price of gas dropped quite a bit as it always does. While the collapse of the economy caused an equal drop for which I'm not as happy about. The price has dropped a total of more than $2.00 from just a few months ago. When we do get back on the road after Thanksgiving, it would be nice if the price were still down.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Chill In The Air

Mornings are becoming nippy but daytime temps are summer like. Its nice fall weather.

Monday: (10/20) Lou and I went to Ann’s Restaurant in Menlo Park for breakfast. We shared pancakes and a Denver omlette. After a walk around town we stopped in at Trader Joe’s for a couple of items, then home. When we got home there was a big FedEx package at the door. What had we ordered? Lou commented how whatever it was it was delivered to the correct address. They evidently hired people who can read, unlike the Post Office. Turns out, not so. The package was for our street number but for a street 4 blocks away. Unlike the consistent errors the postperson makes, this was at least to the correct street number. We walked the package over to the correct address.

I worked more on the shed project. Not too much accomplished. Lou worked on her crafts. Lou fixed steaks served with an avocado half, sliced red peppers and carrot and Raisin salad. Exciting, isn’t it.

Tuesday: (10/21) One of the problems with staying home is that there isn't always anything memorable to post. This blog is actually a diary and so reflects at least some of what happened to us but since I make the posts, mostly to me. Perhaps someday Lou will add something.

So, today I had my usual easy morning. While Lou gets up with or before the sun, I wakeup about 8-9 am. Of course, I'm the night person staying awake until 1 or 2 am while Lou's through for the day by 10pm. I usually watch Rachael Ray or Regis and Kelly then the View while enjoying tea and breakfast. Then, some times, I get to work. By the way, this is the typical day when we're home. When we're on the road everything is different.

Today we started with a trip to downtown Mountain View to the Tap Plastic store. Tap Plastic sells sheet plastic, fiberglas materials and foams. I was interested in foams. I want to add some foam under the bathtub while the wall is open to help eliminate squeaks and creaks when taking a shower. Turns out that the latex foams at the hardware store may work as well and be much cheaper. We then went by Minton Lumber nearby. Lou was looking for a good mildew sealer.

We continued on to Lowe's in Sunnyvale and Lou found her sealer for half the price. I was just looking around. We stopped by the Sunny Chinese Buffet again for lunch.

All Cleaned Up Ready to Break Out Concrete.JPG Crack In Concrete
When we finally returned home, I started sawing the concrete slab so I can remove the old driveway that is cracked and tilted about 3 inches. The crack was actually 2 inches wide before I filled it many years ago. Once the concrete is out, I get to pour a new floor for the storage sheds to be. I sawed about half way today. The saw only saws about 2.5 inches through the 6 inch slab but it usually breaks with a clean edge. I'm leaving about a six foot wide section as a sidewalk. In between while the saw blade cooled off, I tinkered with other projects.

Wall Repair Bare Studs Wall Repair After Sealing
Lou sealed (painted) the framing in the wall that she is replacing in the living room.

Wednesday: (10/22) Typical morning, see above. I made corned beef hash for breakfast. I continued sawing the slab. Lou went down to San Jose for her doll class. I made a hardware store run to get another blade. They don't last too long. Some of the rock in the concrete seems to be harder than steel. I finished the cut as it was starting to get dark. I also trimmed up the blackberries by the fence where the sheds will go. They will be removed and relocated to pots for the winter hopefully surviving to be relocated in the spring. Lou stayed in San Jose with Dawn.

Thursday: (10/23)  Typical morning. The project of today is to breakup the concrete. Lou wants me to rent a jackhammer rather than break it out with my trusty 75 lb breaker bar as I usually do. Sounds like  a good idea.

Concrete Debris
The jackhammer did the job quickly but it started out weighing 60 lbs and seemed to weigh 200 lbs before I finished? I'll be busy hauling the debris away for the next few days. I think the garbage man would notice if I threw it in the garbage can. It's about 3.5 cu yds or 5-6 tons of debris.

For my late lunch (about 4:30) I had Chinese from our local fast food Chinese restaurant. It's only a block away and quite good.

Lou and Dawn were riding the rails around San Jose and Campbell this afternoon and evening. Dawn will be able to get to many places very easily on the light rail system so they are practicing travel.

San Francisco Zoo African Safari.JPG San Francisco Zoo Keeping Its Ducks In A Row.JPG
Friday: (10/24) A day at the Zoo. We headed up to the San Francisco Zoo this morning. On the way we stopped in San Bruno at Neil's Restaurant for breakfast.

It must have been a while since we were last there. i drove to where I thought the main gate was on Sloat and it was now closed. They've spent a lot of money on a new entrance. We liked the old one. The African Safari near the main gate was quite nice, and natural looking not just a pen. Above right, we found they are keeping their ducks in a row, and a turtle.

San Francisco Zoo Kangaroos.JPG San Francisco Zoo Merkats.JPG
The kangaroos looked happy. Don't they always? The picture on the right looks like one of our family pictures. We're all sitting at the beach. Actually a colony of merkats.

San Francisco Zoo Grissley Bears.JPG
There was a nice looking pair of grisly bears sisters.

In all we found many of the displays closed for construction. No elephants, no tigers, lions nor any big cats. It seemed smaller than on previous visits. Still a good zoo though.

Saturday: (10/25) I spent the day taking five loads of concrete rubble to the dump. Each load was estimated at from 1200-1500 pounds. That's a pretty good load for a little volvo station wagon. It's actually more than the neighbors little Toyota pickup can carry. Several years ago we moved a bunch of 300 pound concrete blocks using both our Toyota longbed pickup and the neighbors shortbed Toyota pickup. We could carry 9 blocks in pours and 3 in theirs. Looks like our wagon cound have carried the three as easily. Our pickup could carry a full load od dirt filled to the top of the sidewalls and mounded up, over a yard of material. Moving debris with the car is a little different. The concrete rubble was in two forms. block pieces of various sizes fron 30 to 100 pounds and rubble. Today was spent moving most of the blocks.

Lou and Dawn also started the day as usual with a garage and rummage sale run. Lou found a really nice new sewing cabinet for her sewing machine. She was busy rearranging her room to accept the cabinet and get ride of her older cabinet as well as a love seat.

Sunday: (10/26) Lou and Dawn went to the Bridge Concert at mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheater today. It was about a 10 hour concert. They go with a bunch of friends and had a good time. The weather was even pretty good.

Wilton Yard Concrete Removed.JPG
I spent the morning taking a couple of loads to the dump. That eliminated the concrete rubble pile and some other junk. The last load was about half concrete blocks and half concrete rubble in bags and a third half was the love seat that Lou is getting rid of. It isn't worh anything to the thrift shops. That gives you an idea of our furniture quality.

When I was starting to get rid of the concrete debris i really considered calling a hauling service or getting a dumpster. Either would have cost a lot more and I do have lots of time and labor available and not that much cash. Then there was the fact it was Saturday and I didn't think i would be too successful finding either someone to haul the debris over the weekend nor in getting a debris box delivered. Even though I originally estimated 10 trips would be needed with the car it only took 7 trips, total cost $70. Not too bad. I also thought it would take longer but it only took about one hour for each load and dump trip. It's now all cleared and ready for whatever is next.

I spent the evening relaxing!