Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Day Week

Tuesday: (12/29) Lou fixed a nice breakfast of home fries, eggs and bacon. Helen was off back towards Bakersfield this morning. Lou headed down to San Jose for more doll molds and Dawn and Courtney were off to a friends house. I enjoyed some time inside. Every thing is muddy again due to a good rain yesterday evening. Lunch was a grilled cheese English muffin. Dinner was English muffins with chili, cheese and Italian sausage.

Courtney wasn't feeling well so stayed at our place. It's nice to have someone to watch over you.

Wednesday: (12/30) Lou fixed a variation on my muffin breakfast. She used croissants, eggs, cheese and bacon. Show off! She picked up some more doll stuff in San Jose and worked on trying to fit it sll into her storage area. She's also been busy entering oll the new stuff into her inventory program. It doesn't work if you can't find it.

Courtney spent the night and by noon was much better. It's nice to see a 24hour bug rather than those long lasting bugs.

I accomplished nothing just tinkering at the computer. I'm getting better at nothing.

Lunch was leftover breakfast potatoes with leftover chili, cheese and Italian sausage on it. For dinner Lou fixed split pea soup.

Thursday: (12/31) Lou fixed French toast for breakfast using home made bread and Italian sausage. Another day of relaxation. I worked hard, on a couple of Soduko puzzles, read the papers, browsed the Internet and generally wasted the day. I did check the neighbors sump pump, which should count as work, about 10 minutes worth.Leftover pea soup for lunch. We all went out for a little shopping trip about 1pm. Dawn went to sell some books and Lou and I visited Walmart. We're practicing for when we get back on the road. We had no particular needs but left with a couple of bags full.

Lou and Dawn went down to San Jose in the later afternoon. Lou made a final pickup of doll molds from the store that is closing and they also checked out Christmas in the Park, a sort of Santa's village in downtown San Jose. They then examined all the thrift stores on the way home. Busy Busy.

There was another 2 for 1 coupon in the paper for Chicago Pizz'a Chicago which prompted pizza for dinner.

I often stay up into the wee hours of the night sometimes actually getting to bed about dawn. For some reason, on New Year's Eve it is usually more difficult to stay awake. Why is that? We'll see if this year is any different.

It's been an interesting year. It started out much as usual with a visit to Las Vegas for New Years Eve, Quartzsite for the big get together, our first visit to Yuma and Imperial Dam LTVA, some time at Joshua Tree NP, some knee surgery for Lou, a lot of work at home in the yard, a couple of trips to Utah for family, and then more work in the yard building new sheds and then the year was over. In a couple of weeks Lou and I hope to be out on the road again to start all over though a little late this year.

Friday: (01/01) New Years Day. Breakfast was different. It was some Chinese angle hair noodles with tofu provided by our neighbor.

I unloaded a used shelf unit Lou picked up at the closed doll store. First order of business was to clear the area where the shelf is to go. Unfortunately it was my leftover concrete bags and the like in the area so a little work was in order. I then had to adjust the shelf's leg lengths since I have a low roof 6'4" in the shop. I got the frame all assembled and then tried to install the wood shelves. The wood was 18" as intended but the shelf support was only 16" deep. Easy to correct by ripping the boards to the correct width but it's raining today and I need to roll the table saw outside to rip them so it will have to wait a day or two.

Lunch was leftover tri-tip roast with broccoli and pasta. A nice walk with Dawn around the neighborhood followed lunch. Much of the rest of the afternoon was doing as I prefer, playing at the computer. I did finally roll the saw out, cut the shelf boards and also make a new insert for Lou's sewing machine cabinet that's been on the list for a while.

Ernie fixed dinner. Homemade Swedish meatballs with asparagus and noodles.

Saturday: (01/02) A nice day outside even though the sun never appeared. Dawn fixed Irish oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch was leftover pizza.

I worked in the shop putting things away and organizing, an endless usually avoided job.

Dinner was an unusual treat, more leftovers.

Sunday: (01/03) Lou fixed baby croissants with egg, bacon and horseradish cheese for breakfast. Lou and I started with a little shopping run to find some plastic storage boxes for my new shelf. That took a while but there was a lot to look at  in the search.

Lunch was leftover more tri-tip roast with broccoli and pasta. I spent the afternoon making two vertical screens out of the old deck fence. It's always nice to successfully re-purpose something.

Dawn made a nice vegetable soup which we had with olive bread. I then packed my bag. Ernie and I are headed to Las Vegas to pickup some stuff from his storage tomorrow. Just a quick trip.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Japanese Tea Garden And Presidio In San Francisco

We drove up to San Francisco so Aunt Helen could see things. We stopped in Millbrea for breakfast at Neels Cafe.

Alcatraz Island Looking Over The Palace Of Fine Arts View Of San Francisco Skyline
Nice views of San Francisco today. Alcatraz viewed over The Palace Of Fine Arts from the Presidio.A view of the San Francisco skyline from Lands End by the Legion Of Honor.

Golden Gate Bridge Viewed From Crissy Field On The Presidio Golden Gaate Bridge Viewed From Lands End
Two views of the Golden Gate Bridge one from the Presidio's Crissy Field and the other from Land's End.

Japanese Tea Garden Brass Birds In Japanese Tea Garden
We visited the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The sun wasn't out but the overcast skies made for interesting photos. Though it was cold, the birds above are stiff because they're brass.

Scarecrows In The Tea Garden Pagoda Travelers
Proof we were there. Ernie sand I on the bridge. Ernie, Helen and Dawn by the Pagoda.

Winter Flower Angel trumpet Still Flowered In Arboretum
Flowers in bloom in in winter. Seems like there are always flowers.

Lou baby sat the dogs and fixed a nice tri-tip roast dinner with baked potatoes and raw vegetable medley.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week

Monday: (12/21) Wow! it doesn't seem like it's been another year already.  Normally we would have departed for our winter trip a week ago but this year departure is delayed. Possibly mid January now. Weather was nice this morning but drippy all afternoon. I tinkered in the shop finishing most of the electrical in the morning. When it got drippy I went in and played at the computer.Lou and Dawn went down to San Jose, Lou to pick up some  doll molds and Dawn to see her friend Andrea.

Breakfast was PBJ English muffins. Lunch was a chili size. Dinner was at New Tung Kee in Mountain View. Cheapest dinner around and very good.

Tuesday: (12/22) The day started with a visit to the hardware store for a couple of things. I returned and finished the shop wiring then hit the trench. Ernie and I finished connecting the drain pipe under the new shop to the storm drain system. Next will be to connect the downspout to the system.

Last night I worked trying to get my email server to work. I have two virtual servers residing who knows where. One is Linux the other Windows. Working with them is like working with black boxes. The Linux system handles most of my websites and email. It just works and doesn't cause problems. The Windows server is much more difficult but I needed a Windows server to host my own software development projects. It also hosts several websites to be. The problem is that in order to be allowed to install my own software on the server I had to get a do-it-yourself server which requires I manage the server, including the email server. Some of the settings do not become effective immediately so sometimes I try something and then have to wait a day to see how it works. Patience has never been one of my virtues. Eventually it will work but this do-it-yourself stuff is getting tiring, educational but tiring. I hate Windows and wouldn't use it if I could avoid it but some things just have to be.

Lou's been busy getting more doll molds from a shop that is closing in San Jose and organizing her storage. Dawn and Courtney walked to the library. The weather was nice all day except occasionally windy.

I fixed English muffins with bacon and eggs for breakfast. A healthy lunch of guacamole and chips. Dinner was Dawn's potatoes a gratin with Italian sausage and raw vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli).

Wednesday: (12/23) Sunny but cold today. No wind so a really nice day.

I had to try to help a neighbor's kid who picked up a computer virus, no anti virus software installed. I couldn't help. She has a young friend who probably knows more about fixing computers. Don't they all. More than likely the drive will have to be restored in the end. Another reason to dislike computers. Of course the developer and distributor of the virus should be subject to the death penalty, in my opinion.

Ernie and I started going through junk in the remaining tent in the yard. Some to be saved and some to finally get a chance to take a trip to the dump. We managed to move my considerable lumber pile from it's storage rack. I need to make some improvements to the rack so it had to be emptied. It will end up in the new shop.

Lou worked on organizing her molds and did most of the Christmas grocery shopping.

Dawn, Courtney and Ashley caught the light rail trolley to the Great Mall late in the afternoon. Getting such a late start isn't too bad around Christmas when the stores are all open very late. The returned about 10 pm.

When I took a morning walk I picked up a newspaper and found a coupon for 2 for 1 pizza at our favorite Pizz'a Chicago. Of course, that was lunch. Lou and I went to the New Tung Kee Chinese restaurant, again, for dinner.

Wood rack in shop
Thursday: (12/24)I spent the morning welding the wood rack making some needed modifications. When I built it in a hurry  last year when I moved out of the old shop shed        I did just enough. Today I finished it making the upper racks stronger. I was finished by noon when Perry mason came on. I like the show and it provides a break for lunch.

In the afternoon I moved all the wood, again, onto the upgraded rack in the new shop shed. That was enough work for the day.

I was just thinking today that I haven't been taking any pictures. Both my cameras are failing so I tend to not take as many right now. Maybe I'll make an extra effort tomorrow.

Lou's been busy cleaning up for guests tomorrow and cooking. Ernie was busy cooking as well.

Today is a special day that all too often wasn't special enough. Today is my mother's 99th birthday, or would have been. She passed away in 1989. Having Christmas Eve as your birth date has to be rather unfortunate because you probably never get a birthday present nor have a birthday party but, this is when it does pay off. It's easier for others, like me, to remember it due to the holiday relationship. So happy birthday mom!

And this makes me think of my Dad as well. His birthday wasn't so date gifted being October 26th. I missed remembering his 116th birth date, or what would have been, this past October. So happy birthday dad, belatedly.

I fixed eggs bologna and English muffin;s for breakfast. Lunch was refrigerator treats du jour. I had leftover seafood salad and cottage cheese. Dinner was pizza #2, the free one from yesterday.

Friday: (12/25) Speaking of remembering birth dates, this date seems important for some reason? Merry Christmas.

Breakfast was a healthful bunch of tarts, a wonderful by product of pie making. Ernie used a crust recipe that included vinegar which makes it light and it also has an interesting added flavor. Ernie and Lou were busy starting the ham and other kitchen duties. Dawn and I were busy not doing that.

Dinner was the usual feast. Ham, chicken, smashed potatoes, yams, green beans, macaroni and cheese, savory bread pudding, Fruit salad, Fresh cranberry sauce, green salad and probably something I forgot. I'm glad we convinced Ernie to minimize dinner for years past. Desert was choice of apple pear or apple pie. Our guests were Melei, Ping and An An (our neighbors), Courtney (Dawn's friend) and Ashley (Courtney's roommate).

Doggie Christmas Dinner
Ernie fixed dishs for the doggie's special dinner.

I accomplished a great deal, ate too much and did nothing. Now if I can remember how I did it for future reference.

Saturday: (12/26) Breakfast was my egg, bologna and cheese English muffins. Absolutely nothing accomplished today. How nice.

The rain returned in force in the afternon and evening.

My aunt Helen drove up from Bakersfield. She had an interesting tour of the South bay due to a missed turn but arrived in time for dinner. Dinner was leftover Christmas dinner.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Color Of Palo Alto And The Loss Of Our Bowling Alley

Monday: (12/14) I fixed the leftover  sauerkrauted potatoes as fried potatoes with bacon and eggs for breakfast. VERY good! Today was the nice day between two rain storms. It actually got warm and was quite nice outside. I started a pot of white beans with ham in the crock pot. We managed to take a nice walk and did some work in the yard. We also made a run to Costco for some things.

Lunch was ham sandwiches from a ham Lou baked. Dinner was the withe beans with ham.

About 6pm we hurried downtown to city hall to attend the council meeting. A developer wants to  tear down the only bowling alley in Palo Alto and Northern Santa Clara County, The Palo Alto Bowl, and a Motel six and replace them with a larger hotel, an office building and a bunch of condos. Dawn wants to protest the change so we attended the meeting. There was some confusion as to when it would start so we looked around downtown until the meeting at 8pm. Then all the preceeding agenda items were heard including an unusual presentation on "The Color Of Palo Alto". I didn't know that for the past 7 years a young man with far too much time on his hands has taken multiple pictures of every parcel in our fair city during the various seasons, a total of over 250,000 pictures, He then processed each photo to derive an average color. Then he's been analyzing the data and can report of the average color of each parcel, each street, each neighborhood the city, all parcels with a numeric address of 2358, each season, or any way you want to present the average color data. There was some useful data provided that the police and fire departments can use as well. Only in Palo Alto! Oh, of course the average color of the city of trees is green. Unfortunately, the pictures were prior to our house getting it's new siding so there are errors in the average color.

About 10:30pm, Dawn's item was heard and she along with a number of other concerned citizens spoke to the council. The city council members  listened politely and then approved the development. Money is more important than a livable city. It was actually interesting. It's been nearly 30 years since my last council meeting and it related to a protest of rezoning at our home in San Jose. Lou and I organized that revolt and the result was the same. Some things never change. We didn't get home until nearly midnight.

Tuesday: (12/15) Due to the late retirement last night this morning didn't start early. Breakfast was cereal. We chased a few leaves into the compost barrel and I unstuck the neighbors garbage disposer. That was it for work. I've been getting in to this doing nothing, if playing at the computer is nothing.

Lunch was leftover sauerkraut potatoes. Lou fixed fish with steamed vegetables and millet for dinner.

While we were supposed to have rain it turned out to be a nice day all day. The storm ran out of gas and stalled up North  a ways.

Wednesday: (12/16) Another nice morning, pretty clear and mild. It did rain well last night some time. Google still reports we're in for a little more rain today before we clear up for a while. Unfortunately, the wind and rain evidently don't have a good Internet connection.

I started the day with a visit to the the Kaiser Lab to give them some blood for an annual test. It's in downtown Mountain View so of course a visit to the Hong Kong Bakery was in order. A baked pork bun and an egg tart corrected the delay in breakfast caused buy having fasted unnecessarily for the test. Since it wasn't raining I did a little work in the backyard. I started to put some lights in the new shop.

Dinner was baked potatoes, broccoli slaw, and ham.

Thursday: (12/1 7) I had to get up early and head to my old workplace, the traffic operations center, to a pancake breakfast they put on each year. The food was good and it was nice to see everyone again. Not much has changed but they did have a big Christmas tree on the roof made from old LED signal heads. It was sure bright. Time does pass. It's now been over 10 years since we converted all the signals to LED.

I then headed over to the Great Mall, the old Ford Motor Plant, in Milpitas to look around. I found a dog collar that blasts a high frequency tone when dogs bark. We'll see if it works to quiet down Ernie's dogs. I stopped for lunch at the House Of Eggrolls in Santa Clara. They make the best egg rolls around.

And then I stopped at Costco to get new tires on the Toad. It was 1pm by the time I got there so the wait was considerable so I looked around there and at the nearby stores until after 4:30 when they finished. A bit longer that I had hoped.

Lou had a doctor's appointment this afternoon. She and Dawn also went shopping.

Lou had dinner ready by the time I arrived meatloaf, rice and soybeans in the pod.

Friday: (12/18) We couldn't get the batteries into the dog collar. The little door wouldn't open so we decided to head back and get another. Kind of a special effort since the mall is more thsn 20 miles away in Milpitas but quieting the dogs is important. We stopped for breakfast on the way at the Country Gourmet in Mountain View. Good place to eat but a little pricy when we each get an item rather than sharing and we evidently were all rather hungry. It was lucky we chose this spot because Lou got to see a bunch of her former students who stopped for breakfast on their way to work. It's great that some stores really have good work programs for developmentally challenged adults.

We made it to the mall and had no problem getting the collar replaced, just a dud on the first try. We looked around the mall some but were worn out early and returned home. It's a big mall and is difficult to get through it all in one visit.

Lou did pick up next years big calendar. Hard to believe the old calendar is already worn out.

Leftovers for lunch. Rice, soybeans and meatloaf mixed up.

I did do a little work. I exposed the drain pipe for the new shop and the yard drain pipe. I just stubbed it out before I poured the floor. It's only about 5 feet of shallow trench but the drain line that it needs to connect to is in a drain fabric lined rock filled trench and will be fun getting in to. I may not get it finished before the rain comes again Monday. Nice to get some rain but I'd love to see the sun for a moment or two. With clay soil, working in saturated ground is no fun.

For dinner Lou had prepared split pea soup and oven toast.

I spent some time in the evening working on website setup. I setup six sites with Wordpress as the publishing tool. Wordpress works great but for some reason i had some difficulty getting some of these to work. Once it's installed and works it's great.

Saturday: (12/19) Just a lot of wheel spinning by me today. I spent most of my time solving a little problem with those pesky websites I set up yesterday. They started not working and it took most of the day to figure out why and get the server setup correctly.  I still  need to get the email server working but every problem solved is a good learning experience. Now if my memory were only good enough to utilize the knowledge in the future.

Lou worked threading a loom and Dawn was busy baking scones and fruit cake

Interesting breakfast. It started with a piece of cheese cake followed by one of Lou's baked omelets. Lunch and dinner were leftovers. I discovered white beans for lunch and split pea soup for dinner.

Sunday: (12/20) I don't get busy too early as a rule but I enjoy Sunday mornings even more because of the political shows at 9am. So the day usually starts an hour later, at least. Lou an Dawn dislike them. I sort of think of them as like an oil change or some high speed driving for the heart. The blood pressure increase cleans up the cogs  in the brain a little.

I started the day with a call from our neighbor to assist with re-installation of a DVD player in his car. That was followed with a call to bring my jumper cables over. I did eventually do a little work in the shop but that was interrupted regularly to just enjoy the sunny day.

Breakfast was Lou's leftover omelet.Lunch was whatever one found. I had a PBJ English muffin. Dinner was at the Mi Pueblo Market. Lou, Dan and I shared a super carnitas burrito and a milanesa torta.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stormy Weather

Monday: (12/07) It's freezing out there! We moved out  of the RV. Lou was busy helping the neighbor. I worked at the computer much of the day.

Cereal for breakfast. Lou and I shared a lunch from our local Chinese restaurant. Dinner was leftover pork roast with vegetables and potatoes.

Tuesday: (12/08) Another cold day. I started the day with a dentist's appointment. When I got home I worked on the car. While we were at Pismo the drivers door handle of the toad broke. It was worn out. I swapped it for the rear door handle and fixed up the old one so it worked but probably not too long. All's well now.

Breakfast of Irish Oats. Lunch at the Sunny Chinese Buffet in Sunnyvale. Dinner at Chipolte's Burrito House which just opened up near us.

Wednesday: (12/09) A much better day. Oatmeal and honey with sour cream for breakfast. I left in the car a little before 9am and the windows were already clear, naturally. I attended my Traffic Signal Association meeting in Fremont, CA at the public Works department building. We learned about a new single camera video detection (tracking) system for traffic signal control. Interesting and promising. I like to attend these meetings when I can to try to keep up on what's developing with my old trade.

I had lunch at a nearby Chinese Buffet, one of my many weaknesses. I then stopped by a big Fry's store in Sunnyvale. Our local Palo Alto Fry's, their second store and former headquarters, is a small store. I found two tings I was looking for some small diameter wire organizer tubing and an 8-gang UHF TV antenna. All the TV stations in our area, except for one are now UHF, even all the low number stations that were formerly VHF and still have their old channel assignments but are translated from UHF stations by the lousy new digital tuners. Channel 2, 5, 9, and 11 are all UHF now. Channel 7 is the only VHF left. I'm not sure why. Our old massive VHF/UHF antenna is no longer needed nor as effective as the new antenna is supposed to be. We'll see. If it fits, I'll also add one to the RV. The blade antenna on the RV, even with the UHF reflective elements that Camping World sells, is non functional.

My final endeavor was a visit to the Post Office for some stamps. For some reason, they no longer have stamp machines at the Post Office, just a nice long line. Of course the season has some effect on the length of the line but the appalling slowness of the clerks and patrons is a little stressful. It took 30 minutes to get through the line of about 15 patrons with three clerks working. I was patient and made it through to get the exact number of 5 cent  stamps I need to make my 39 cent stamps usable. I will no longer by any quantity of stamps, just tiny bunches in the future. They raised the rate twice before I used even a 1/3 of the last roll.

Lou was busy with the neighbor most of the day making funeral arrangements. She and Dawn also attended their braille class in the evening.

Dinner was some Chinese spaghetti and a tofu salad.

Thursday: (12/10) Lou was busy all day with errands with our neighbor. Dawn worked in San Jose. I didn't do much. I did install some door sweeps on the shed doors to help keep leaves and varmints out.

When the weather is stormy like it has been, I tend to enjoy doing nothing and doing it inside.

Breakfast was Irish oatmeal. Lunch was popcorn. Lou Dawn and I went to dinner at Chevy's sharing a couple of Chevy Cinco's.

Friday: (12/11) Breakfast was Irish oatmeal. Another nice day to be inside, it raned all day.  I stayed in and played at the keyboard.

Spaghetti for lunch. Chevy's leftovers for dinner.

Saturday: (12/12) Breakfast at Joanie's Cafe on California Street nearby. Lou and I shared a combination omelet and Dawn had salmon omelet. We had more leftovers for lunch.

Lou worked in the garage on her mold inventory organization while Dawn and i worked the keyboards. It was rainy all day.

I made pork, sauerkraut and potatoes in the crock pot for dinner.

Sunday: (12/13) Lou fixed French toast with sausage for breakfast. A little rain and occasional peak of the sun.

Dawn and I went shopping in San Bruno at Tanforan shopping center, a former horse race track.

When I was out the other day I found my favorite Sketcher shoes on sale at Penny's in Cupertino.I wear size 12 and ask the clerk to get a pair to try on. She came back and said they had size 10.5 or 13 as if I should decide on which one she should bring out. No thanks, not even close. So, I wanted to stop at another Penny's to see if they had a pair. The store in Tanforan didn't have any Sketchers like I wanted. When I checked Sears, they had a pair in my size and it was on sale the same as Penny's. The other day when I was at Penny's I also checked the Sears and they didn't have any Sketchers there? Why is the product at stores so variable? No one stocks anymore they just get random deliveries and never restock.

We had lunch at Fresh Choice.

Lou enjoyed her time at home alone reorganizing her mold inventory.

Left over pork, sauerkraut and potatoes for dinner.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Finally A Little Trip

Wednesday: (12/02) I took Dawn to the train after a stop for breakfast at the Hong Kong Bakery. I then returned home and got ready to hit the road. It's been four months so things have wandered some. I finally got away just before 11am. It was rather overcast all the way down to Pismo Beach. Traffic was nice. I arrived about 3pm. Lou had driven over from Bakersfield and had already signed us in at the campground.

It does get dark early.

Breakfast was a pork bun. Lunch was a slice of Costco Pizza in Salinas. We went to Francisco's in Arroyo Grande for dinner only because our first choice, the Pismo Fish And Chips Restaurant was closed until the end of December. Lou had a steak and I had a chili relleno and enchilada.

Our campsite at Pismo Beach Pismo Beach trail
Thursday: (12/03) We started the day with a walk on the beach. Though it's cold, actually cool, the sun was out and it was a great morning. We ventured up the beach to Pismo Pier and watched the surfers. Even though it was cold to us, there were about 30 surfers out. The three that seemed to do best catching wave after wave and riding them all the way in while others missed the ride were an older guy near 50, a girl, and a one legged guy. It looks like skill does count.

We returned to camp and cleaned up the RV. I left without the usual cleanup before departure. It's been sitting for over 4 months and is a bit dirty.

I couldn't get the satellite Internet system to connect so I repositioned the RV and eventually it connected. I guess it forgot how.

We drove up to the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Arboretum. it's one of our favorite gardens though in winter it's not too impressive. A visit to a thrift store and then a walk around the SLO Farmers Market. We then had dinner. We got back to camp about 8:30pm.

Breakfast was cheese cake from Trader Joe's. Lunch was a tri-tip wrap and red pepper soup, also from TJ's. Dinner was Home Town Buffet in San Luis. Lou had a half off coupon we had to use.

Friday: (12/04) Started the day with pancakes and bacon at home. We visited the butterflies at the eucalyptus grove next to our campsite. Not too many this year but it was warm enough so we got to see some of them flying about.

We changed campsites to improve our solar generation We'll get a couple hours more sun at our new spot which is further from the trees.  Lou fixed some chicken and vegetable stir fry for lunch.

Dinner at the Splash Cafe by the pier in Pismo Beach. Since both our first choice of Pismo Fish and Chips and our second choice of Brad;s were closed for the holiday season we tried the Splash. Though much better than your average fiash and chips place we;ll still leave them as our third choice.

There was a little event happening nearby. They created some snow piles for the kids to use.

Saturday: (12/05) We started the day with breakfast at the Lion's Club nearby. Pancakes, sausage, and scrambled eggs for $5. Pretty good. There wasn't a crowd but we did enjoy visiting with a couple from Modesto during breakfast.

We then stopped at a small craft fair in the community room of the mobile home park across the street from our camp. When we returned to camp we lounged iaround for a while having a late lunch of a shared Marie Calendar's frozen chicken pot pie and a green salad.

About 2pm we headed off to San Luis Obispo to another craft fair at the mission there. There were a coupe of thrift stores calling to lou as well.

Our next stop was to look around Avila Beach and San Luis Harbor. Kind of out of the way and not much at either.

We then found a CD player belt case for Lou's new player and stopped for dinner at Francisco's Country Kitchen for breakfast for dinner. We evidently were hungry because we finished both a corned beef hash and a chicken fried steak breakfast. We made it back to camp just before 8pm.

Sunday: (12/06) We had a really cold night last night, down to 33 degrees at 6:30am. It took a while to warm up some. It's overcast like yesterday. We never saw the sun yesterday. Lou took advantage of the weather to bake a pork roast. We had some of it for breakfast with fried eggs and potatoes. We had just finished breakfast and were planning our day, which included renewing our campsite for another day. We tend to sample our site by only paying for a day or two at a time. Luckily, that's what we did. We got a call after breakfast from Dawn advising us that our neighbor Eric passed away. He was only 49.  We packed up quickly and were on the road home within the 1/2 hour.

We had a little rain as we passed through Salinas and Gilroy, just an annoyance. We lunched on a couple of apple fritters in Greenfield. We were home by 2pm.

Our little trip was made a day shorter than planned so we could be home and assist our neighbor. It reminds us that we need to be better prepared with wills and organized paperwork and that there are no guarantees of tomorrow.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Enough Work Already

Monday: (11/30) I delivered the old car to Midas for a free oil change. Not too much is free anymore and this ended up costing use nothing. Nice.

Ernie and I finished the shed base, built the front walls and raised the rest of the walls. The front wall is not part of the manufactured shed but 2x2 and plywood construction so we can have a higher entrance and better door.

Breakfast was my egg, cheese and bologna English muffins. Dawn and I walked down to San Antonio Mall to Fresh Choice for dinner.

Tuesday: (12/01) Up early and took Dawn to the light rail station. I then "had" to stop by the Hong Kong bakery for breakfast. I then visited the  hardware store for a couple of things.

Ernie and I worked on his storage shed putting the roof on and a door. I really think building from scratch is much easier than building a pre-manufactured shed because you have to put things together their way for the manufactured shed. A scratch built shed can be adapted as it goes up. Ernie had to take his dogs to a vet appointment. I had to meet Dawn in San Jose for a while as well. We still managed to get the shed finished.

Enough work already. Time for a break!

Dawn and I had lunch at a newly discovered Mexican fast food place Gallo Giro in East San Jose. Our Cubana torta was very good. We went to Chili's for dinner then walked home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Turkey Week

Monday: (11/23) I'm not sure I'm ready for winter, especially since we'll be hanging around close to or at home until at least after Christmas. Our last extended trip ended in April and Lou and I haven't gotten out since then. We've been busy here at home. Even though I'm a sissy Californian and don't  really know what a winter is, I still prefer the more summer like days in the desert during winter

I completed setting up Ernie's trailer with a macerater so he can dump more easily. We have found ours to be very handy. I also spent, the all to often deferred time, to put things away in the shop. Stuff piles up from previous tasks. I also returned leftover stuff to the hardware store. It's much better to store it there so I can find it for the next project. Lou was busy stuffing stuff back in the closet. It was sort of like Dagwoods closet. It's much better organized now. She also cleaned up in preparation for holiday guests.

Today was leftover day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We need some room in the refrigerator for Thanksgiving's coming leftovers.

Tuesday: (11/24) A short work day. Ernie and I located and cut the boards for the base of his storage building. That was it for me. Lou went down to San Jose to pick up some shelf units she bought used from a business that is closing. Ernie helped her set them up in her shed and studio.

I caught the train up to San San Francisco to a meeting of the BAADAuG computer user group. I like to attend these meetings when I'm in town. I arrived early and enjoyed a nice walk around town along the Embarcardero by the piers and up to Coit Tower for a nice view as the sun set. I then came down to my meeting. Our group leader, Mark Altenbernd, presented a project he developed that presented a bunch of gauges and charts developed in Flash. Interesting.

An interesting lesson in San Francisco's waste management practices. They require all garbage be divided into compostables, recyclablles, and landfill bins with serious fines for failure to do it correctly. The plan is to reduce landfill to less than 25% of total waste. Our host site, Learn-It had nice signs on the three bins in their lunch room. After a short reminder and instruction by our group commander, we all started to get the hang of it. It actually seems better than our system in Palo Alto and most everywhere else. While San Francisco wants soiled compostable food containers and food scraps in the compost bin, our compost bins only get yard trimmings. Our recycleable bins accept most of what they can put in theirs. This is all getting rather complex but it is necessary. Too bad we can't have a more consistent method though.

Ham and eggs for breakfast. Leftover fish soup for lunch, Subs for dinner at my meeting.

Wednesday: (11/25) I had planned to do a little assembly of Ernie's storage shed but "the best laid plans...." I secured Lou's shelves so they should survive an earthquake. Helped Ernie with a few tasks. I managed to wear myself out and ended up napping in the afternoon.

Ernie, Lou, and Dawn were busy most of the evening advance cooking dishes for the big meal tomorrow. Ernie also baked an apple and a mince meat pie. Dawn fixed some sweet potatoes and baked fresh sour dough bread. Lou fixed the dressing as a casserole and fresh cranberry sauce.

We've done a good job getting rid of leftovers to leave room in the refrigerator. Breakfast was cereal. Cold cuts for lunch. Pizza from Pizz'a Chicago for dinner.

Thursday: (11/26) Turkey Day. Ernie got the bird on and prepared the rest of dinner. My only contribution was providing a sheet of plywood for the table top. A 4x8' sheet makes a great table for eight (even up to 10).

Thanksgiving Get-together Our Holiday table
Dinner was about 3pm. There were Ernie, Lou, Dawn, myself, our neighbors Eric and Melei, Courtney and her roommate Ashley, a foreign exchange student from Hong Kong. Eric and Melei lived in Hong Kong for several years leaving about the time Ashley was born so they had something to chat about. It was Ashley's first Thanksgiving.

Cereal for breakfast. Turkey for dinner. How odd. Actually Turkey, smashed potatoes, creamed peas with baby onions, dressing, sweet potatoes, sour dough bread, fruit salad, and Eric brought a cucumber jicama salad and baked quince apple grape compote. All this was topped off with Ernie's apple, mince meat, and/or Courtney's pumpkin pies.

Friday: (11/27) Lou was off early to Bakersfield to see Aunt Helen. It's raining today, at least enough to keep me inside, so no work today. I did get my desk cleaned up and worked at computer projects as well.

Breakfast was PBJ English muffins. Lunch and dinner were Thanksgiving leftovers.

Saturday: (11/28) The rain is gone but today has strong winds. I bought a new entry lock set and installed it on the storm door. The original had round knobs that were hard to open. The new set has lever handles and is much better.

Dawn and I took the train up to San Francisco. She had a class reunion event there and I'll escort here there. It was held at the Minna Galery. My original thought was why San Francisco and why Thanksgiving. I learned that they reasoned that they had a good chance of more attendees because the out of towners came home for Thanksgiving anyway and were available. San Francisco seemed kind of far away from home but the turnout was good so evidently it helped as well. Dawn had a good time.

I went to see the SF Auto Show nearby. It was a bit smaller but still a lot  to see. Nothing new though. Mostly the same product, no original ideas. Kind of sad. They still haven't learned. You can't tell one car makers product from another without  a label. They all look exactly the same. No style. No deviation from average. Last time I attended there was a lot more emphasis on hybrids and electric vehicles. Not much this time. My favorite car right now is the Volkswagon Jetta diesel. I've owned two VW's before and liked both. I had to give up on the bus because it wasn't safe to drive though. The Jetta is made with the VW's high quality and a little originality. The diesel has the best mileage of any car available, including any hybrid, assuming you do mostly highway driving where it has gotten 67mpg average in a 9000 mile drive around the country. It's city mileage is slightly less than the best hybrids at 30 mpg but equivalent to the Ford Escape hybrid. A problem for us is that only the manual transmission is towable. I'm too lazy to use a clutch again. So, I'm still looking for our next car.

Breakfast was an apple fritter. Lunch was more Thansgiving day leftovers, almost gone now! Dinner was a subway sandwich and slice of pizza at Goldie's in San Francisco.

Sunday: (11/29) Another sunny day. Time to get back to work. Ernie and I installed and leveled the shed base and anchored it. That effort seemed to use up the day.

Our backyard becomes very interesting on occasion in the fall. The seed pods on our wisteria vine start popping. It's sort of like someone shooting in the back yard. They fly to all extremes in the rear yard. One seed tweaked my ear and I was 40 feet away. Ernie said he noticed them popping when he went outside about 10pm. We arrived home at 1am ourselves. They started popping again later in the morning. I've always thought they worked something like popcorn and when they were ready and as they warmed up, they popped. Oddly, it's not really hot and has been in the past and no popping. Also popping late in the evening is contrary to that theory. It does seem that all the leaves fell off the plant at the same time? Can the wisteria fire at will? That's a bit scary! About half of the pods have fired now so tomorrow will be interesting as well.

Breakfast was PBJ English muffins. Chili beams for lunch. Chinese food for dinner.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We're Expecting

Monday: (11/16) A day off.Lou and I went out looking at our local shopping center. We had a successful shopping trip by buying very little.

Breakfast was leftover enchiladas. Lou and I had lunch at our favorite noodle house Luu Noodles in Mountain View. Ernie fixed hamburger stroganoff with fresh broccoli and cauliflower  for dinner.

Tuesday: (11/17) Russ from Roger's Camping Trailers delivered Ernie's trailer this morning. Our experience with Roger's was a pleasure. Russ and Denise, the owners, were very helpful and knowledgeable, definitely not like your average RV salesman. I wish they also sold motorhomes. We may need one someday and would love to work with similar folks.

Ernie was busy moving into it all day. The dogs called it home immediately, especially Walter who never left it all day. Lou and I dropped the old dishwasher off at the dump.

Lou fixed corned beef hash and eggs fr breakfast. Grilled cheese sandwiches with artichoke bread for lunch. Stir-fry dinner.

Wednesday: (11/18) Busy day. Ernie worked well into last evening moving in to his new home. Today, he continued.

Lou and I worked on installing a pipe under the house. As long as I had to crawl, we also pulled in two new TV antenna cables, one for a TV in the kitchen and another for Ernie. While the crawl space was nice, for this time of year, I did have to dig some to fit under some beams I used to squeeze under before. My waist dimensions are at least partially at fault but our clay soil is also a culprit. It moves around. To get under one beam I had to chisel it out because it was as hard as cement. To get under the other beam I had to remove some mud as the clay was wet there. Neither was pleasant work. The project did take much longer than planned but did result in success. I'm glad I haven't been down there for more than six years and hope I never have to again!

Lou and I enjoyed a nice breakfast out at Joanie's Cafe on California Avenue. Skipped lunch. Dinner at the new Mi Pueblo Market in East Palo Alto. Lou Dawn and I shared a torta Cubana and a super quesadilla.

Thursday: (11/19) Lou and I started the morning with a short bike ride over to Fry's. i picked up a piece of wire molding for the kitchen TV cable.

I tinkered around the house adding a new TV antenna amplifier and activated an antenna for the kitchen TV. The TV's been around a year or two and finally has an antenna. I also tried to fix the RV macerater. It didn't work well the past couple of times blowing fuses. I took it apart, cleaned out a few fibers around the cutter but couldn't get it to work.

Cereal and bananas for breakfast. A hot dog for lunch. Brussels sprouts, leftover fettuccine Alfredo and one of Lou's famous oven baked asparagus omelets for dinner.

Friday: (11/20) Almost the whole day off.

Yesterday, Lou emptied the entry closet to allow access to the crawl spac entrance. I realized that it took special effort  to get the door closed when getting a jacket but seeing all the stuff filling the entire living room made the amount of stuff more obvious. Something has to go. lots of jackets not worn since put in the closet.

When I was through under the house yesterday and taking my shower Lou came in and told me Dawn had asked why she didn't get a cable to the TV in her bedroom. She just watches videos on it, it doesn't have a new ATSC tuner so no broadcast TV on it anyway but it was a good question. We forgot. Since I haven't crawled under the house in more than eight years I decided to get that wire in while I knew I could. But I did wait until today with clean coveralls again. The task was quickly accomplished and hopefully that takes care of crawling for a while. The clay soil under there is in one of two conditions. hard as a rock with sharp edges or soft and muddy. So I either crawl on sharp rocks or in sticky mud. Neither one is pleasant but the sticky mud is worse bad. I worry about becoming glued to the ground with the mud.

Mission accomplished and a shower and we were off for the day.

Dawn, Lou and I drove down to Gilroy, the city of garlic, for a shopping excursion. The smell of garlic seems almost everpresent in Gilroy and we love visiting. Our nearest Camping World is there and we needed a new macerater pump. They also have a nice discount shopping center for Dawn. We started with a visit to the Longhorn Restaurant for breakfast. We managed to wear ourselves out before stopping at the Black Bear Diner for dinner. We finally got home a little before 8pm. Nice to take a day off!

Today was a good day to be out. It rained all day. Can;t do much in the yard anyway.

Breakfast Lou and Dawn shared Buckwheat pancakes, eggs and bacon. I had the chicken fried steak and eggs with pancakes. An early dinner at the Black Bear. Lou and Dawn shared spaghetti and meatballs while I topped of the day with more chicken fried steak potatoes and green beans.

Saturday: (11/21) A sunny day. Not much undertaken today. I did make a parts run to try and find some parts needed to hook up the macerater. Otherwise, I worked at the computer all day.

Cereal for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. Lou baked a big ham for dinner with baked potatoes sweet potatoes, and a nice green salad.

Sunday: (11/22) A partially sunny day. Rain was forecast but only threatened. It is cool though. I spent the morning working at the computer and took a parts run to Pep Boys Auto Store for some parts for the macerater connections. No real work today.

Ham and eggs for breakfast. Leftover corned beef hash for lunch. Mexican vegetable soup for dinner.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Actual Progress

Monday: (11/09) Ernie and I finished the front of Lou's new shed. It still needs a door but it is a building now. Lou and Dawn were in San Jose for a meeting in the morning.

Well, it happened again. We finally lit the pilot light on our heater at home. It's been getting cooler and is almost cold at times now. I guess when I had to abandon my short pants a couple of days ago that it was near the end of summer. Hopefully we'll get out of here for warmer climate soon.

Breakfast was leftover omelet with English muffin. lunch was a visit to Carl's jr and a bacon avocado burger. Lou fixed enchiladas for dinner with re-fried beans.

Tuesday: (11/10) Ernie and I put away the collected tools and stuff piled on the shop table. We also installed the ridge cap on the new shed roof. Until the front was in place, I wasn't sure it would remain standing if I leaned onit and getting to the middle of the roof ridge requires leaning on the roof. Our final accomplishment was building and installing the shed door. All done. It's now Lou's turn to arrange shelves and move in.

Ernie fixed eggs, home fried spuds and sausage for breakfast. Cottage cheese and fruit cocktail for lunch. Lou fixed fried fish, brown rice, and asparagus for dinner.

Wednesday: (11/11) Lou was very busy moving her molds into the new shed. Dawn, Courtney and Ernie assisted. It should take 2 or three more days to complete the move. Lou needs to update her inventory sheets to show the current locations as she moves them. I worked at cleaning out her old building and moving it to the rear of the yard temporarily. We now have a path to get the trailer into the yard.

It was cool enough that Dawn and Courtney started a campfire in the afternoon and we enjoyed in the evening too.

PBJ English muffins for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Ernie fixed corned beef with corn on the cob and his baked potato slices for dinner.

Thursday: (11/12)First thing was to adjust the shelf levels on one of Lou's shelves in her mold shed. Today, the Chinese pine tree by the driveway got a serious trim.

After an early dinner I went down to Adobe headquarters in downtown San Jose for a meeting of the Silvafug, another Adobe user group. It was my first visit with this group. Chet Haase a Flex SDK desine engineer spoke about the rules of animation for applications as compared to Disney's 12 rules of animation. It was very interesting to get a set of rules for use in developing web applications.

PBJ English muffins for breakfast. Left over treasures from the refrigerator for lunch. Courtney fixed chicken, pomegranate waffles for dinner.

Friday: (11/13) Friday the 13th!

Everyone took a day off today.  Ernie and I went over to Roger's Camping trailers for the walk through on Ernie's trailer.His trailer will be delivered Tuesday. Lou, Dawn and I took a walk around the recently remodeled Stanford Town And Country Shopping Center in the evening.

We all went to Anne's Coffee Shop in Menlo Park for breakfast. I had something from the lunch menu, baked hash. Dawn had Alaskan Benedict, Lou corned beef hash, Ernie Sausage and eggs. Since we had a late breakfast we had an early dinner of steak, brown rice, and fresh spinach.

Saturday: (11/14) Lou was busy moving molds. She made great progress getting most of the stuff moved into the shed. We started by moving another shelf into the shed and I cut a few boards to optimize the shelves. My major effort was watching Lou work providing an occasional assist. I did move a few last items out of the way and cut the boards needed to level the trailer. I'm ready.

Popcorn for breakfast. Ernie fixed potato soup and home made saltine crackers for dinner.

Sunday: (11/15) Lou finished getting here stuff into the shed except for some odds and ends that she will go through later when she gets another shelf for the shed. It's on order but wasn't available in time. We filled two carts with all the remaining molds and cleaned up the deck and are ready to receive Ernie's trailer.

Ernie prepared pancakes for breakfast. Courtney took us out to Buca de Beppo for lunch. We had a Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo and garlic cheese toast. Dinner was left over enchiladas.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ernie's New Home To Be

Ernie's Nomad Trailer Looking Toward Rear At Kitchen and Bed in Rear

Ernie has a new home, almost.  We Started looking in earnest for Ernest's home recently. We had been looking for either a class A or B motorhome or a travel trailer. We don't have anything that could move a fifth wheel so that was ruled out. We also decided that a travel trailer was better since it won't need a motor because it won't be moving. Finding a good trailer is difficult both because good used RV's are hard to find and because there aren't too many good trailer floor plans.

Lots Of Closet Space Looking Toward Front At Dinette
We seemed to have found both a good floorplan and a good unit at an equally important good price. It's a 1991 Nomad 24' trailer. We found it at Roger's Camping Trailers in Fremont, Ca. We thought we couldn't find a good used RV at the best price at a dealer but Rogers really surprised us. They only had a couple of used units but one was what we wanted. Even though it is short, it has lots of closet and storage space and includes two doors. We'll probably be putting a dog door in the bedroom door.

Ernie's Shower Ernie's Bathroom
Unlike most of the units we looked at, it seems well built even having a one piece shower.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Falling Back

Monday: (11/02) The time change is always a challenge. Our cell phones, fortunately, automatically follow the correct time. The VCR's now set themselves to the correct time as broadcast by PBS. I did remember to reset our main clock back as required. But, that was it. Dawn needed to get up early so asked me to set the alarm. Since our old alarm clock failed, we're using the battery travel clock from the RV in the house. I set it and it woke us up at 6:30 as requested by Dawn. Unfortunately, the time on it had not been changed so the alarm had actually gotten Dawn and Lou up at 5:30. Sorry about that. I then followed through and reset the alarm clock, the car, and the microwave.

Since we had plenty of time. I got up and went with Lou to drop Dawn off at the light rail train. We had breakfast on the way at the Hong Kong Bakery, baked pork buns. After we dropped Dawn off we headed over to Home Depot for a few things and also returned some surplus items.

When we returned, the contractor was busy back-filling the holes on our street. Evidently, the new pipe passed the pressure tests.

Ernie and I worked on digging a trench to bury some pipes and wires for the sprinklers that were attached to the old wooden deck.

Breakfast was baked pork buns from Hong Kong Bakery. Lunch was popcorn with Parmesan cheese. Dinner was fish with quinoa and green beans.

Tuesday: (11/03) Ernie and I finished burying the sprinkler pipes that had been attached to the deck.

Egg, cheese and sausage English muffins' for breakfast. McDonald's snack wrap for lunch. Lou make spaghetti with a green salad and fresh pineapple for dinner.

Wednesday: (11/04) Ernie and I removed some stumps and roots and the dirt in the raised flower bed behind where the deck was. Everything is back down to sidewalk level now.

The gas line contractor patched most of the holes on our street. Previously there were a lot of speed bumps where they left traffic plates over the big holes they used to replace the pipes. We should get some parking back on the street now.

PBJ English muffin's for breakfast. Bologna and Swiss cheese sandwiches for lunch. Ernie fixed macaroni and cheese with corn for dinner.

Lou's Molds Waiting For New Home Raised Base For Lou's Mold Storage Shed
Thursday: (11/05) Lou's moved all her molds out of her existing dilapidated shed and prepared them for moving into the new shed. There are quite a few molds. Ernie and I started assembling one of the metal sheds. Not wanting to let anything be easy, we started by building a pedestal so the roof can be higher (above right). The pedestal also levels the side walls since the old concrete slab that was under the wood deck is not level.

The Deck Fence Was Too Good To Go To The Dump So Placed At Rear Of Yard A Mess Made To Cleanup
Waffles and sausage for breakfast. Spaghetti for lunch. Leftover spaghetti, with stuffed mushrooms and grapes for diner.

Friday: (11/06) Ernie, Lou and I left about 10am. We had three RV's to see. First appointment wasn't until 1pm in Concord. We had a list of RV dealers in the East bay as well. After crossing the Dumbarton Bridge We stopped at the closest RV dealer, Roger's Camping Trailers in Fremont just across the bay. It's a small dealer we've never visited before. They didn't have many trailers but did have two used trailer s. One was a tent trailer the other a 1991 24' Nomad trailer. The Nomad was in really good shape and priced equal to the lesser quality FBO trailers we've seen. we liked it.

We continued on to look at a used Tioga Class C RV in Concord which was in good shape but priced higher than most similar we've seen. We then went to Oakley to see a really cheap travel trailer but it had seen better days. We continued our tour by heading back West to Novato to see a nice 3 year old travel trailer. It was in good shape but had many repairs including many bad patches to the rubber roof reportedly caused by a malicious awning. it also looked like it had a rear wend collision. No thanks.

We returned toward home across the Golden Gate Bridge through San Francisco during rush hour stopping for dinner in Millbrae.

Breakfast at Jack in the box. Lunch at a shopping mall in Concord. Ernie had Parmesan chicken, I had a slice of stuffed pizza. Lou had some rach and bacon fries. Dinner at Neal's Coffee Shop in Millbrae. Lou and I had shrimp fettuccine. Ernie had the corned beef hash breakfast.

Saturday: (11/07) Our Friday night dinner out with Dawn and Courtney became breakfast this morning at Dina's Poolside Cafe just down the street.

Ernie and I then drove across the Dumbarton Bridge again to Roger's Camping Trailers to buy the Nomad trailer. It's the best we've seen and was at the right price. It's a two door short 24' trailer, has lots of storage, a corner bed, a nice dinette with a drop down bunk above. Should be nice for Ernie and the dogs.

I spent a little time working on the base for the new metal shed for Lou's molds.

At Dina's Poolside Cafe Lou, Dawn, Courtney and I shared a couple of Nunley omelets. Ernie had a bacon and Swiss omelet. We haven't been there in at least a couple of years. The gardens adjacent to the pool are really nice. Cottage cheese and fruit cocktail for lunch. Lou got a new used wave cooker today and prepared dinner in it. Broccoli, cauliflower, steak and leftover quinoa.

Sunday: (11/08) Ernie, Lou and I erected the first metal shed. It wasn't all that easy since were not going to use the front and doors and that's what the instructions started with. So, we winged it and erected it without following directions requiring the removal and reassembly of a few items but all went well. Tomorrow we'll build the front.

Breakfast was one of Lou's baked egg omelets. Grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Penne pasta with white sauce, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus with roast beef for dinner.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Aching Back

Monday: (10/26) Little work on my part. Ernie worked at sand filtering. Lou and Dawn moved some planters. A neighbor down the street accepted my old table saw so we rolled it down the street before he backed out.

Donuts for breakfast. Cold cuts for lunch. Hamburgers and macaroni salad for dinner.

A View Of the New Shop Sheds and The Green House and Our Worn Out lawn
Tuesday: (10/27) Little work on my part. I inspected the contractors work on the street nearby. I installed some door handles on the shop and sealed the gutter. Ernie finished filtering the sand pile. Lou and I picked up our new dishwasher.

Waffles for breakfast. Grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Chicken, baked potato disks, sweet potatoes, peas and broccoli for dinner.

Wood Decking Removed Just the Rotten Supports Remains Wood Deck All Gone Exposing the old Garage Foundation
Wednesday: (10/28) Ernie, Lou and I worked on removing the wooden deck. We removed about 3/4 of it. Ernie and I also installed the new dishwasher. It's so quiet, I wasn't sure it was running. Quite a difference. It's a good thing the old dishwasher stopped working because it had a leak that could have turned in to a real problem. They don't last forever.

Breakfast was some of Courtney's homemade pumpkin pie. Lunch was from our local Chinese fast food place China Mei. Lou made a nice pot roast for dinner.

Thursday: (10/29) Lou, Dawn and I went up to San Francisco. We stopped for breakfast in Milbrea at Neal's Coffee Shop. We dropped Dawn off at the EPA office for a job fair. Lou and I looked around nearby in downtown San Francisco. After Dawn was finished we all went to Chinatown for a late lunch and a look around the shops. We returned home about 7:30.

While Lou and I were having tea waiting to pick up Dawn, I noticed Lou had some spinach in her teeth (see breakfast below). Spinach's reputation proved true. Hopefully Dawn didn't have a similar piece of residue on display during her interviews. Note to Dawn, no spinach before any future interviews.

We arrived back in time for Dawn to go over to Courtney's for a pumpkin carving party.

Ernie worked alone today removing the rest of the wood decking. Getting old nails and screws out isn't easy.

Breakfast was corned beef hash, eggs, hash browns and pancakes. Lou and Dawn had a spinach Italian sausage omlette with home fries and toast. Always good. Lunch was white rice, Kung pow chicken, sweet and sour pork, minced meat dim sum (aka pork stickers), egg rolls, and won ton soup.

Friday: (10/30) Ernie and I finished removing the deck and salvaging the decking boards. They make a nice fence now. They will either be used later for a smaller deck or given away for someone else to use. There is a lot of good redwood there. The only thing that has to be dealt with still is the fence that was attached to the deck on one side.

We also unloaded a couple of new metal garden sheds Lou picked up yesterday. We're replacing Lou's worn out shed used to store some of her ceramic molds and adding another for Ernie's storage needs. Unloading was enough for today. We'll assemble them another day.

The evening was ruined by a kitchen sink drain stoppage. I took most of the night trying everything to get it open. I finally succeeded in poking a small hole in it and Lou then opened up with a good dose of tide detergent. It popped open after about 30 minutes of tide. Fun! Fun!

It's a good thing my back has been cooperating and I was able to get something done today.

French toast for breakfast. Lunch was smoked chicken and avocados. Dawn made a nice vegetable soup and baked some beer bread for dinner.

Saturday: (10/31) Halloween.  Everyone was busy in the yard. Ernie and I made a dump run with the debris from the deck removal. We also removed the grape and scarlet trumpet vines.

Lou was busy moving molds from her shed. Just a little more work before we assemble her new storage shed for the molds.

Breakfast was whatever you found. I had a PBJ English muffin. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Meatloaf baked potatoes and corn on the cobb for dinner.

Sunday: (11/01) Lou Ernie and I went down to San Jose to look at a used RV for Ernie. It was a 1988 Tioga 27' class C/ It was in pretty good shape but the delaminating exterior walls worried us. No evidence of any leaks though. We want a short RV, in good shape with a low price. The search continues.

Other that our morning trip we relaxed most of the day at home.

We stopped at Jack In The Box for breakfast, Lou and i had steak and egg breakfast burritos. Ernie had an ultimate breakfast sandwich. Lunch was leftover soup and meatloaf.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still Not On The Road

Monday: (10/19) I was awoken just before 9am by Ernie saying brunch was ready. I got the hint it was late by his choice of words. Today was predicted as a rain day so I wasn't in a hurry to get up and successfully delayed it.

In the afternoon the sprinkles stopped long enough to get some boards cut for the other shop door before starting again. The bay area had some very sever rain storms passing through. About 5pm we called the dogs inside when one rain cell was reported to be dropping 6.7 inches per hour in Menlo Park, our neighbor to the North and was passing into our town. Fortunately it was just light sprinkles as it passed us.

About 2:30, I moved the RV out of the driveway in anticipation that the contractor would be pulling in our new gas line before they quit for the day but  evidently the guided boring guys were too stressed out and quite before doing ours. They've had a bad time hitting three gas lines, a few water lines and a fiberoptic cable on this project already. We watched as they did one push very close to an existing gas line on top of a sewer line. They could have gotten natural gas either of two ways but all went well.

Lou and Dawn arrived in Reno safely and were busy checking all the thrift stores and visiting a few casinos.

I finally posted the pictures for the past month.

Ernie prepared sauerkrauted fried potatoes with Italian sausage and eggs for breakfast. No need for lunch. Dinner was pork chops, Spanish rice and fresh green beans with bacon.

Tuesday: (10/20) In order to avoid the embarrassment of a brunch awakening two days in a row, I set an alarm. I got up at 7:30 and, after a shower, moved the RV from the driveway. I'd prefer to give them all the room they need to put in the new gas line and, to get the RV out, they can't have removed the traffic plates covering the trench in the middle of the street in front of our driveway. Our cars can squeeze by, the RV can't. Since they didn't get our new lateral gas line in yesterday, stopping only two houses away, I mistakenly thought they would be back today. They weren't. They moved on to other tasks today.

I managed to assemble the second shed door and install a deadbolt lock on it. Ernie and I also trimmed the neighbors tree that wraps around the RV when it's parked. Since the RV was gone, I took advantage of an otherwise wasted move, and trimmed the tree.

Lou and Dawn made it home about 1030 pm. Yhey stoped for dinner at Cabella's Sporting Goods at Boom Town on their way out of Reno.

Breakfast was apple fritters. Lunch was a brunch of a breakfast sandwich ala Ernie. Looked and tasted much like the ones I fix. Dinner was mostly leftovers but Ernie added baked potato disks. Something like very thick potato chips. We managed to polish off left over sauerkrauted pork chops, green beans and bacon,  and Spanish rice.

Wednesday: (10/21) I did only a little tinkering rekeying the lock I installed on the shop yesterday.

Boring In Our New Gas Line It Takes A Big Crew? Ernie Had To Supervise
Other than that it was show time. We all watched the crew pull in our new gas line to the house. I had moved the RV out of the driveway for the past two days but they didn't do the job. Today after lunch they finally showed up and did it but I didn't move the RV. They managed with no spatter and no other damage. It takes a lot of people to do it, evidently. They couldn't have done it without Ernie's supervision (right front of right picture).

I had intended to leave just after noon to go to San Francisco for a computer geek meeting. I was delayed when the boring contractor showed up to do our gas line. I HAD to watch. I ended up catching the 4:11pm train which got me up to SF in time for my meeting. I just usually like some time to look around when I go up.

The AfterMAX meeting at San Francisco State University's downtown campus for a presentation about what happened and was announced at the Adobe MAX Conference recently. This was a combined user group meeting of SilvaFUG North (SF),  SanFlashCisco. and  BAADAUG (which I belong to). There were about 100 of us geeks finding out all about what's coming from Adobe. it was fun!

Lou fixed French toast for breakfast. Lunch was bologna and cheese cold cuts. I was away and had pizza for dinner. At home everyone else had BBQ ribs, macaroni salad and spinach.

Thursday: (10/22) Busy day watching the contractor and cutting and installing trim on the new shop building.

Breakfast was Hong Kong Bakery pork stickers and egg tarts. Dinner was steak, asparagas and Ernie's potato disks again.

Friday: (10/23) Ernie and I cleaned up where the fountain and succulent garden was. We removed all the concrete blocks that supported the barrels and moved most of the sand.

Started the day with breakfast sandwiches. Leftover ribs, macaroni salad, and baked pumpkin for lunch. Dinner at Sweet Tomatoes was even sweeter than we expected. The people ahead of us had printed out several 2 for 1 coupons which we were able to use to reduce our cheap meal to really cheap. Excellent as usual too.

Saturday: (10/24) Lou changed our plans for the day, early. She was cleaning up the kitchen and couldn't get the dishwasher to go. It was dead like it had no power but did. It's in pretty bad condition since it is almost twenty years old. The service panel screws were rusted necessitating a destructive removal of the panel. I determined Lou needed  new dishwasher. We headed out looking for the perfect replacement. Good design and price are hard to find. We can find something to dislike about most units and most of the ones we can live with are too pricy. We eventually narrowed it down a best choice but didn't order it since we couldn't get it until Tuesday and can just let them know on Monday and still get it Tuesday. We'll look around some more tomorrow and Monday to be sure our choice is "perfect."

Breakfast was cereal and diced apples. Lou and I enjoyed lunch at Neal's Coffee Shop in Millbrea. Ernie fixed hamburgers for dinner.

Our Recycled Sand Pile / Dog Bed Plants Waiting For Their New Home
Sunday: (10/25) Ernie worked at processing the sand from the succulent garden filtering out roots and other junk so the sand can be reused as needed later. I moved and staked bricks and concrete blocks that had been removed from the succulent garden and Lou had washed yesterday. Bricks were no problem but the concrete blocks weigh up t0 300 pounds or more and I got carried away and one of them got my back. So, I relaxed the back most of the rest of the day. Good thing most of the work is done.

Brunch was donuts. Dinner was smoked chicken, broccoli. and sweet potatoes (Lou and Dawn) or Ramen noodles (Don and Ernie).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sheds Finished

Monday: (10/12)  Finally, the new shop and storage shed are mostly finished. It took a while. I started it in April. There was time thinking, plan changes, a couple of trips, some unexpected additional work but it's finally done. We're expecting a really heavy storm tonight so it was just in time. Today we installed the siding and rain gutter.

Breakfast was left over quiche. A bologna and longhorn cheese sandwich for lunch. Ernie fixed corned beef hash and a carrot apple and raisin salad for dinner.

Tuesday: (10/13) A busy wet day. Ernie and I assembled some industrial shelf units and moved much of the shop contents from the temporary tent into the new sheds. Our severe storm had started heave rain by 5am and hasn't slowed by 6pm.

Breakfast was oatmeal. Lunch was Jack In The Box burgers. Lou fixed artichoke chicken with rice and steamed vegetables for dinner.

Wednesday: (10/14) I finished move the rest of the stuff into the shop from the tent. It takes forever to move a pile of junk.

Ernie and Lou erected a temporary fence on the patio area so the dogs can be outside during the day. Dawn is allergic to them and having them in the house all day is to much. The back yard turned to mud with all the rain so they have been inside and walked on leash in the front yard since the rain came. Poor dogs, but the house doesn't need more mud.

Today, fortunately, was not raining. The weather predictions said two days of heavy rain but we only had the one day storm giving  us at least 2 inches of rain. While it was overcast, it didn't leak all day.

The contractor doing the gas line on our street hasn't worked all week. Monday was a holiday, Tuesday it rained and Wednesday it was supposed to rain and they relieved the weatherman.

Breakfast was eggs, bacon and some of Dawn's homemade sourdough toast. Lunch was leftover chicken with artichoke and rice with steamed vegetables. Dinner tri-tip roast, rice, and a green salad.

Thursday: (10/15) Another overcast but nice day.The contractor was out working on the gas line, first time since last Friday.

Temp Shop Tent Gone From Deck Temp Shop Tent Gone From Deck
Ernie and I removed the tent that was my shop for this past year. The walls were garbage, the top blew apart a couple of weeks ago. That tent didn't last as well as the other tent that we've had for several years. I spent the rest of the day tidying my junk and cleaning up the deck and yard. Lou's been busy potting some of the plants from around our big fountain that we're removing. We'll also be removing our detached wooden deck soon.

Breakfast was maple bars thanks to Ernie's morning walk by the donut shop. I fixed grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Dawn and Courtney fixed dinner.

Friday: (10/16) The morning was wasted watching the contractors pull in our new gas main. I loaded the car with all the concrete debris, used forms and other junk from the yard and delivered it to the dump. Lou and Dawn went to a craft fair in Los Altos. Ernie and Walter, his dog, went to the vet. Walter hasn't been eating in his usual ravenous style.

Sourdough egg, cheese and bologna breakfast sandwiches. PBJ sandwich for lunch. We went up to Menlo Park to the British Bankers Club for dinner. They had a prime rib special which Lou and Dawn enjoyed. Ernie and I had shepherds pie while Courtney had fish and chips. All very good.

Shovel Headed Garden Worm
Saturday: (10/17) While enjoying breakfast Dawn spotted a rather long worm. It turns out it's a shovel headed garden worm. Dawn and Lou set up a terrarium for it. Poor thing got caught.

Windy Hill Preserve Fallen Tree Windy Hill Preserve, Hamms Gulch Trail
I hiked the Windy Hill Preserve from Portola Valley up to Skyline Road (the top of the mountain). I looks like they lost a lot of trees in our last storm. The tree above split and fell both directions.

Interesting Trees Along Corte Madera Creek At Windy Hill Preserve Palo Alto Viewed From Near Skyline Ridge In Windy Hill Preserve
The 3 plus miles up on the Hamms Gulch Trail were mostly tree covered, still moist from the recent rain. The smell of eucalyptus and bay leaves was quite aromatic. The group of trees by the Corte Madera Creek were interesting. The view at the top looking out over the Southern bay and Palo Alto was good since the air was nice and clear. The hike down was via the Spring Ridge Trail (mostly a sunny fire road) and Meadow Trail. Coming down was much quicker than the struggle going up.

My camera failed just before I got all the way to the top so I didn't get all the pictures I wanted. I have to get a new camera!

Breakfast of Ernie's apple pie. Pie didn't last so brunch of toasted English muffins. Lunch was a peanut energy bar (for Don). Dinner is refrigerator findings.

Sunday: (10/18) Ernie moved a lot of Lou's molds from her storage shed. Her shed is going to be relocated and has to be emptied first.

I tinkered with my new table saw using it for the first time since I bought it a couple of months ago. My dinosaur huge table saw will be disposed of by sale of give-away soon. I ripped some 2x2's and built one of the shed doors. The return of some rain cut that effort short. Our weather report calls for a good rain tomorrow but if it happens to be clear, I'll get the second door built.

Lou and Dawn started the day with a visit to a rummage sale. They then packed up and headed over to Reno for a girls weekend off.

Breakfast was my usual breakfast sandwich. Lunch was chicken soup and Parmesan French toast. Ernie fixed pork chops, sauerkraut and potatoes in the crock pot for dinner.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Raising The Roof

Starting The Shed Framing
Monday: (10/05)I stripped the form from the new shop floor and did the final cleanup. Today was a material gathering day. A couple of trips to Home Depot for lumber, plywood, and siding. I had been thinking of making the frame square metal tubing but we're expecting a big rain storm in a few days and it would probably take a two or three weeks to finish the shop if I used the metal rather that using wood. I hope to finish the building in 2-3 days now.

Lou Cleaning The Fountain
Lou was busy cleaning the fountain. She also finished installing her living patio in the front yard. There was an unplanted flowerbed by our front door and front patio and she filled it in with little brick tiles that have space for grass of in this case a plant like baby tears. She also cleaned the fountains.

The contractor for the city began breaking out the concrete by our gas meter in preparation for replacing the pipe to it. Tomorrow they'll be bring a very big noisy vacuum truck and a high pressure washer to dig it out and start sawing the road  to start making the street rather interesting to navigate. They are using guided boring to install all the new piping.

Ernie returned late tonight from a visit to Las Vegas to work on cleaning out his storage there.

Breakfast was left over Green Chili and cheese omlette, Lunch was the same with cottage cheese and chunky apple sauce. Dinner was baked macaroni and cheese and a broccoli, peanut and bacon salad.

Tuesday: (10/06) Not too productive today. I did get the baseplate for the walls installed and did repair the other adjacent fence. Ernie assisted as needed. Since I removed and reconstructed two sections of the rear fence the dogs assisted as well by being chained up during the repair.

Lou, Dan and Courtney went off to San Jose. Lou had a doll making class, Dawn worked at her internship at the City of San Jose and Courtney collected stuff to finish furnishing her condo.

There was a little added excitement in the afternoon when the gas line contractor ruptured the gas main on the adjacent street causing about five fire trucks, the chief, and ambulance and about a dozen city trucks and cars and a pile of contractor wite shirted big wigs to hang around for a while. I walked over not because I heard the sirens but because there suddenly were no construction workers working on our street. No fire, just preventative actions. It is more exciting than when they break water lines.

Breakfast was the usual egg, cheese dn bologna sandwich. Lunch was Chinese, Dinner was leftover pizza from House of pizza in San Jose which Lou, Dawn and Courtney had for lunch.

I do have some pictures to post but haven't taken the time to process them. Maybe next week if it rains.

Wednesday: (10/07) Ernie and I worked on the building. It required a lot of staring and thinking. We got the wall framing up.

I got a call in the evening that our tenant in San Jose was without hot water due to PGE working on new service lines and the technician wouldn't re-light the water heater because or a rusty vent pipe. My task for tomorrow.

Toast with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. Lunch was an Angus bacon cheese burger from Mcdonald's.  Steak , spuds, and a green salad for dinner.

Thursday: (10/08) Dawn and I were off to San Jose early. I had to get the hot water heater working. Dawn had a meeting and SJSU. I checked the job for what I needed and went off to the hardware store. I replaced the water heater vent pipe and checked the range burners. All worked well except one very dirty one that takes a long time to start. No problem with the igniter just a very dirty burner. PGE, the utility company, is putting in new gas lines there in San Jose, just like at home. We never knew? They relocated the gas regulator and in doing so, left some of the wood siding damaged, possible mouse access points. I sealed the holes temporarily.   As I finished, Lou called to say that they needed to RV moved at home so I dashed home.

I pulled the RV out and the city utility contractor blasted out the gas service entrance pipe with high pressure water and a 6 inch hose from a huge vacuum truck.

I worked on the shed installing much of the roof.

Dawn and I had breakfast burritos at La Victoria in downtown San Jose. Lunch was cottage cheese and apple sauce. Dinner was Dawn's French onion soup and cheese toast.

Pulling Gas Main Under Street Shed Project Framing
Friday: (10/09) We wasted the morning watching the construction crew bore from in front of our house 450 feet to the corner of El Camino Real. After a laborious morning watching, we had lunch. After lunch, I finished the rafters and sheathing on the shed roof. Lou and Ernie assisted. I finished the afternoon with a trip to Home Depot for roll roofing materials, gutters and flashing for the roof.

Lou fixed Swedish pancakes for breakfast. Lunch was bologna and cheese sandwiches. Ernie took us out to the Boston Market for dinner. Lou Dawn, Courtney and I  had chicken pot pies and some Cesar salad. Ernie had the beef brisket.

Removal Of Big Fountain
Saturday: (10/10) Lou Dawn and Courtney worked on removing the plants from around our big fountain in preparation of removing it and the wooden deck around it. It's all in pretty bad condition.

Ernie and I finished the end wall framing. Lou and I worked on the shop roof getting the felt down and half of the asphalt roll roofing. It's barely warm enough in the afternoon to do the roofing.

Lunch was treats from the Hong Kong Bakery. Pork stickers and egg tart, my favorite. Dinner was BBQ beef ribs, a Waldorf salad, and spaghetti with misthra cheese.

Sunday: (10/11) Lou and I left early and went to the Home Depot in San Carlos. I needed another roll of roofing, some more plywood and some lumber. I also found some leafguard rain gutter covers, something never found in stock before. We stopped for breakfast at Chavez Market in Redwood City on the way home.

Ernie and I got to work on the walls. After it had warmed up some, i got to the roof finishing the roofing except for the trim metal. Now it can rain. Still have to finish the siding installation possibly tomorrow before the rain.

Breakfast at Chavez Market. Lou and I shared a huevos rancheros with chili verde. Lunch was a cheese quesadillo from our nearby Tacos El Grulense. Courtney prepared a nice broccoli bacon quiche and a green salad for dinner.