Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making Concrete Progress

Sunday: (07/25) Leftovers for breakfast. Corned beef hash, whole wheat fettuccine with Mithra cheese, and broccoli salad. Ernie and I poured the fence post bases. Lunch was a ham and horseradish cheese English muffin sandwich. Lou fixed savory chicken blintzes with a green salad from our garden. After dinner Lou and I went shopping at Home Depot and OSH hardware for fence materials and garden supplies. When we returned Dawn, Courtney and Ernie were enjoying a campfire. We returned with some marshmallows and wieners which were burnt as required, marshmallows for immediate consumption, wieners for later use.

Monday: (07/26) We all went out to breakfast at Ann's restaurant in Menlo Park. We took two cars and Ernie and I went over to Newark to the Harbor Freight Tool Store so I could buy a jackhammer. With all the work I have still to do and the fact I'm doing it in small pieces it's cheaper to buy a cheap jackhammer than it would be to rent one four times. I wish I'd done this years ago. I can now retire my breaker bar. After I got it home I welded up a card to transport it and hold the bits. I also stripped the forms from the fence post bases and did some digging for the fence base. I had a chili size for lunch. Lou and I went out ot dinner at LUU Noodle House. We shared our usual #21 Chow Fun Combination with a couple of egg rolls.

Tuesday: (07/27) Homemade sourdough bread with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. I spent much of the morning in the office. Leftover cabbage with onions and a wiener for lunch. Ernie and I assembled the forms for the base of the fence, basically a 6" concrete wall.  I also collected the concrete for pouring the wall tomorrow from the hardware store. Lou had an appointment at Kaiser then went ot San Jose to meet Dawn. She found people in our yard trimming the neighbors huge tree. They weren't being too carefully so she set them straight and remained to watch them. Open faced oven baked ham, onion tomato and cheese sandwich on more of the spourdough bread.

Temporary Fence Forms For Fence Base
Wednesday: (07/28) Ham and cheese on toast for breakfast. Ernie and I poured the fence base, the concrete between the post anchors. Bologna, cheese and pepper soup for lunch. I made a trip to Home Depot for more material and a bunch of 5 gallon buckets to haul dirt in. I've always used compactor bags before due to size and strength before but the buckets should bold up better. The bags rip out their bottoms quite often. When using the Volvo to haul dirt and concrete its easier and cleaner to contain it. Lou went down to San Jose to watch the tree trimmers work on our neighbors tree. Tomorrow we haul a lot of dirt to the dump. Dawn's vegetable soup for dinner.

Thursday: (07/29) Cereal with yogurt for breakfast. Ernie and I loaded and hauled a bunch of dirt to the dump. The new buckets made it really easy. I still have 3/4 of a load to go but will wait until I have a full load since the dump fees are getting quite high. The stationwagon hauls a pretty good load. 21 five gallon buckets and 3 three gallon buckets add up to about a third the load our long bed Toyota pickup used to haul (it was about a cubic yard) but about the same as our neighbors 1/2 ton Toyota pick hauls. The buckets make loading and unloading really easy. I stripped the forms off the fence base. After it dries a bit more I can rebuild the fence. The post anchors will be dry enough for the posts tomorrow. Lou fixed s chorizo and brown rice salad for lunch. The gardener fertilized the lawn today so I spent the afternoon doing the quite pleasant task of watering the lawn really well.

New Fence Base
Friday: (07/30) Oatmeal for breakfast again. I rebuilt the fence onto the new base. I then was able to remove the temporary fencing that kept the dogs in. I relocated temp fencing to the next area to be rebuilt. Ernie and I had lunch form our local taquiera. I had a burrito and Ernie had enchiladas. I started digging out the gardens bad clay soil and baserock and hauled a load to the dump. Lou fixed white bean and sausage soup for dinner. Ernie and I went shopping at Walmart and Target. I found some DVD's at Target to be viewed when we're on the road later. Two seasons of the detective show Hunter and a buch of old western shows. Since we don't have satellite TV and often can't get over the air TV, we watch a lot of DVD's when we're out in the middle of nowhere. Have to stock up. We also enjoyed hot fudge sundaes at McDonald's.

New Sidewalk
Saturday: (07/31) It's the weekend but that doesn't mean much to someone who isn't employed. I tend to take my days off when convenient rather than by the calendar. We started the day with a nice breakfast that Ernie fixed, waffels and sausage. Ernie and I poured a section of sidewalk by the garden. Lou and Dawn were out looking at rummage sales and selling books back to used book stores. Lunch was leftover bean soup. Lou fixed gyros for dinner.

Plants On Back of House Our Greenhouse
Sunday: (08/01) Another month gone. Summer's passing quickly. Lou fixed biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. i thought I'd capture the yard with it's summer glow.

Our Arbor Elevated Garden
The arbor is looking green. the garden is in pots everywhere including on the swing.

Lots Of Tomato Plants New Sidewalk By Garden Spot
Lots of tomato plants perched here and there. I stripped the forms and temporary fence from the sidewalk I poured yesterday.

Wilton Arbor Pond With New Frogs Wilton Arbor Pond With New Frogs
I also relocated the water fountain by the arbor. We pulled it out when we got home two months ago and Ernie stripped the paint off planning to repaint it. Half the old paint was gone. But, pool paint is too expensive for the value of the pool so it will just remain raw. The pond now features some new frogs as well.

I had leftover chicken fried steak and some chorizo rice for lunch. After lunch . Lou and Dawn had been out selling books and shopping. When they returned, I headed to Lowes and bought a new water softener for the San Jose house and I looked at sprinkler valves and such. For my next section of fence replacement I need to first move some sprinkler valves. This time I want them put in such that they never need replacement again. Lou fixed a nice tri-tip roast and baked potatoes with slice cucumbers for dinner. The weather has been really nice for the past week or so rarely getting above 75 degrees with usually cook overcast mornings.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Big Basin Redwoods Park, Story Telling

Saturday: (07/24) Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. After a little yard and garden tinkering, we headed off to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Dawn helped with the Junior Rangers program,

Big Basin Trail Sign
I took a hike up to the ridge on the Skyline To The Sea Trail then back on the Sunset Trail. Lou relaxed her knee in camp.

Storytellers potluck Dinner At Big Basin Redwoods SP Storytellers potluck Dinner At Big Basin Redwoods SP
We joined the storytellers and rangers for a potluck dinner.

Storyteller At Evening Progam At Big Basin Storyteller At Evening Progam At Big Basin
Then attended the campfire which was a special story telling event. A nice day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mid-Summer Already

It's already the middle of the three months of summer. Wow!

Sunday: (07/18) Apricot blintzes for breakfast. Our apricot tree was productive this year. I worked at the computer much of the morning and then did a few little projects off my todo list. Lou was busy working on the doll pieces she cast earlier. White fish with Armenian cucumbers and rice for dinner.

(07/19) The weather was cooler all day,maybe a high of 72 degrees. Rather nice after our sort of hot spell. Of course, our hot isn't like most of the country's hot.

Leftover apricot blintzes for breakfast. Lou was off to a doctos appointment this morning. I tinkered on the RV fixing a couple of broken drawer runners. Fixed a carpet edge strip. And organized the RV office. I then got the bike out and rode down to the San Antonio Shopping Center to meet Lou. Unfortunately, Lou was running late so we didn't have time to do the grocery shopping. We had to get home to pickup our neighbor and go to Costco for the Costco shopping list items. Paper towels, paper plates, Italian sausage etc. Most of the stuff there comes in large quantities than we like so we limit what we get there to the before mentioned type of things. We started with lunch at their hot dog stand. With that mission accomplished, we returned home to unload. Then we returned to the shopping center to do our grocery and hardware shopping without the neighbor. I picked up a few odds and ends to complete a few small projects on my todo list. We had roast chicken with peas and white beans for dinner. After dinner I baked the sausage. I also fried up a bunch of pork chops, all for the freezer and quick use later.

Tuesday: (07/20) Dawn fixed Swedish pancakes for breakfast. I tinkered at the computer most of the morning. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich. In the afternoon i finally got to work in the backyard on rebuilding the garden fence. I had to start by removing power and water lines that were attached to the fence. Hamburgers for dinner.

(07/21) I fixed ham Don McMuffin's this morning for breakfast. We enjoyed them at our front yard table watching our neighbors house be tented for fumigation. I spent the morning removing the fence by our garden I'll be replacing the whole fence in short 2-3 post sections over the summer installing steel anchors in a concrete base. With the dogs in the yard, only short sections can be done at any time. Lou, Dawn and Courtney were out on a shopping dental appointment (Courtney) trip this morning. Lou fixed chili rellenos for lunch. I had an interesting evening. I went to mt TSA (Traffic Signal Association meeting. i haven't been to one for a while. It was interesting for two reasons. The meeting started at the offices of one of the Signal System vendors in Fremont. We learned all about a new radar vehicle detector that doe a whole bunch more that its predecessors. It allows zone detection for up to eight areas. More importantly though is the fact it can discriminate bicycles. Now, using this device one of my long time dreams comes to reality. A bicycle can approach in any lane now and get timing that is specific for a bicycle. Since they are slower, they take more time to clear the intersection and now they can get it without having to give too much to the fast moving cars. And the second interesting thing was that the second half of the meeting was held at the LeMans racing Center where we raced for an hour and my team was the winner, for last place, but it was fun. Pizza for dinner, of course.

Thursday: (07/22) PBJ English Muffins for breakfast. I worked at removing the existing concrete fence base and post bases. The old base is too low and in the wrong place. I managed to hit myself between the eyes with the breaker bar. Stupid mistake. Not serious though. Lou fixed wieners, cabbage and onions for lunch. Lou was busy preparing a bunch of doll parts to fire and then fired them. For dinner we had some of Lou's sausage and vegetable soup and Dawn's fresh bread.

Friday: (07/23) Lou fixed corned beef hash for breakfast. I worked on installing the forms for the fence post bases. Lunch was apricot cobbler. It was a short day today. Courtney took us all out to dinner at Nob Hill Market. She had a coupon for a free chicken dinner.

The weather has been really nice the past few days.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Big Basin Redwoods Park

Saturday: (07/17) French toast for breakfast. I tinkered in the shop most of the morning cleaning up all the stuff that builds up from projects. It's all back in it's place now so I can start on some new piles. Lunch was the last of the pizza for me and leftover chicken for Lou and Dawn.

Lou And Dawn At Big Basin Redwoods State Park Dawn And Lou At Big Basin Redwoods State Park
After lunch we drove up and over the hill to Big Basin Redwood s State Park. Dawn wanted to go to a storytelling campfire there but alas, it's not until next weekend. We enjoyed a walk in the redwoods and returned via Boulder Creek where we stopped for dinner at the Boulder Creek Brewing Company. Dawn had a ham, apple and cheese sandwich, Lou had St Louis ribs and I had a pork chop. Everything was excellent and my corn chowder soup was outstanding. Dawn enjoyed some of their oatmeal stout beer which was good too. During dinner we enjoyed two Irish/Bluegrass music groups playing. A third group was starting as we left. For some reason Dawn knows all the words and titles of the tunes they played. I enjoyed the drive to and from the park on all the windy roads but I don't think Lou and Dawn find them so thrilling. It looks like we'll be returning next weekend.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Strybing Arborteum, San Francisco

Flowers At Strybing Arboretum Flowers At Strybing Arboretum
Friday: (07/16) I was off for a city hike today to San Francisco. I caught an early train up to the city and made my way out by Golden Gate Park where I stopped for breakfast at the Crepevine. I had a Huevos Rancheros, excellent. This was a good start to the "hike".

Flowers At Strybing Arboretum White Flower Ball At Strybing Arboretum
I walked over to the park and enjoyed a walk through the arboretum which was in full bloom.

Lady Bug Flower At Strybing Arboretum Flowers At Strybing Arboretum
Some of the interesting plants in the arboretum. i call the one above left a lady bug flower. The one on the right looks like a bunch of bananas but is much smaller.

Flowers At Strybing Arboretum Flowers At Strybing Arboretum
Quite a variety of different chapped flowers.

Geese At Strybing Arboretum
And the geese like the arboretum too.

I hiked some of the other trails in the park then through the Haight Ashbury neighborhood toward downtown then out Van Ness and back Polk Street. It wasn't long before it was getting late and I headed back to the train station and to home. Lou fixed baked chicken for dinner. Lou and Dawn have been busy organizing our huge collection of cook books.

Monday, July 12, 2010

We're On The Air, Again

Monday: (07/12) This web site was down since last Thursday due to a lack of communications. My hosting fee was due after two years of good service. They said they sent emails about renewing but I didn't receive them. The reason is the email address they had was no longer good. Most of my email accounts are on my server so I didn't use them since if there was a problem with the server, I'd have no email. I used my netZero account. The problem is that account was closed when they stopped doing Internet phone service so the emails to me bounced. The bounced email was my fault but their failure to contact me when they had my street address and could look up the contact information for any of the hosted domains seems like a failure of customer service to me. The problem was agrvated by their office hours. I noticed the outage of the website in two ways thursday. First, very little email, most goes through their server. Second, all hosted websites were gone. So I immediately sent a service request saying the websites were down and requesting they check them. They responded back by email, on one I still received, and pointed out the lack of payment. I didn't check my email again until late Friday afternoon. Too late. I sent in payment but their accounting office was closed for the weekend so the site was down all weekend. A minor problem aggravated by poor customer service. French toast for breakfast. If I weren't happy with their hosting I could get even more upset. This is the new way of doing business, I guess. So, for what it's worth, this website is back online. A couple of egg tarts for lunch. I spent most of the day handling an old procrastinated item, our taxes. Our extension runs out in a couple of days so it was time to get to work. Dinner was leftover pizza.

Tuesday: (07/13) Don McMuffin's for breakfast. I finished the taxes today. Someday, maybe, I'll get them ready before April 15th. Lunch was the last of the leftover pizza. It's Ernie's birthday today so we all went out to dinner at Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City.

Wednesday: (07/14) Cereal for breakfast. My morning project was to mail the tax return and pickup the new dishwasher for the rental. I'll install it tomorrow. Lunch was pepper soup. Lou and i dropped Dawn off at the train and headed to my doctors appointment. All's well. We had an early dinner at the Hometown Buffet.

Thursday: (07/15) We're off to San Jose today. Pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A simple day. The dishwasher swap in San Jose went well. Lou worked on pouring some dolls this evening.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Having A Blast

Monday: (07/05) Last day of our three day holiday. Of course, retired people don't really notice a holiday very much since every day is like one. We tinkered in the yard until it was time for breakfast. It gets a bit warm later in the morning so we tend to do most of our work early on these warm days. Lou fixed pancakes with strawberries and blue berries for breakfast. I installed a new sprinkler in the backyard to cover an area that doesn't get enough water. Dinner was BBQ ribs with leftover macaroni salad and artichokes.

Tuesday: (07/06) I fixed Don mcMuffins for breakfast. Dawn and I were off early to San Jose, Dawn to go to work, me because of a call from the tenant that the dishwasher was not working, again. It sounded like and was the door latch switch bad again on the dishwasher. I ordered a new switch. I also worked on Dawn's computer trying to speed it up. I had to replace a bad router to speed up the internet and with the system tuneup it's now purring. We had lunch at a Chinese buffet in Santa Clara. Lou fixed peach and apricot blintzes with sausage for dinner.

Wednesday: (07/07) Lou and Dawn are off this morning to Reno for a couple of  days. Dawn's earned a break. I enjoyed the break tinkering at home. Oatmeal for breakfast. Parmesan popcorn for lunch. Chili size for dinner.

Lou's Thrift Store Find, A New Old Looking Sewing Machine
Lou found this interesting replica of an old sewing machine in a thrift store for $10.

Thursday: (07/08) The project of the day was too pickup a new door switch for the dishwasher and try to get it working. No luck. Time to replace instead though that must wait a week. I shopped my way home looking at dishwashers. Best Buy had the best prices. Not too much to select from since the counter height necessitates an unusually short dishwasher which seems to mean Fridgidaire only. I was working on my home wireless network replacing the router to improve reliability and speed. The old one required rebooting too often. I also noticed the web server that hosts this site and others of mine was not working. Leftover Parmesan popcorn for breakfast. Eggrolls from House of Eggrolls for lunch. Hamburgers for dinner.

Friday: (07/09) I ordered the dishwasher then looked around at other toys at Best Buy and Recreational Equipment Inc (REI) next door. Since Dawn's desktop in SJ is working so much better after the tuneup I started tuning up her desktop here as well. It is an identical Sony model but was less cooperative but eventually, I was successful. Leftover peach crepes for breakfast. Fish and chips for lunch. A hamburger patty and an artichoke for dinner. Lou and Dawn added another day in Reno. They have successfully visited all 2o thrift shops in Reno.

Saturday: (07/10) Don McMuffin for breakfast. I managed to take the day off, for the most part. I tinkered in the back yard some and cleaned up my study some and relaxed. Chili size for lunch. A ham and cheese sandwich for dinner. Lou and Dawn returned after dinner.

Sunday: (07/11) We drove over to Stanford University and the Mall for a walk today. Dawn made an exotic pancake like thing called a Dutch baby for breakfast. Dinner was pizza.

Netbooks, Thinking Small

About 2 1/2 years ago I bought a netbook computer. Netbooks are small, comparatively low powered laptop computers. They usually have a screen from 7-10" in size and a small keyboard. Even with the size and computing power limitations they are more than most people need in a computer. The computing power limitations are relative to today's high powered computers. They are equivalent to computing power of about five years ago running about 1.6mhz. If you're a gamer or rather impatient they may not be for you but if you want a computer that is easy to have available, has long battery life and does everything you NEED, then a netbook may be for you.

I've been working with computers and have had laptops for too many years but they were all provided by my employer. I didn't buy my first laptop until just before I retired. I thought I wanted a Cadillac so I bought a 17" Toshiba multimedia laptop. It's a nice laptop and I still use it when needed but I find the need less often.

On our last RV excursion I took both the big laptop and my netbook and I never fired up the big laptop. One big reason is that the netbook uses almost no power. We were on the road for six months and always boondocking with no hookups. I could compute all day with our solar charging the batteries and keeping things going. With the power guzzling  big laptop I would have been limited to a few hours.

The small screen and keyboard size hasn't been a problem. Fortunately I don't have fat fingers, just normal sized. I just think small and the keyboard works fine. For heavy key pounding I use a USB keyboard. The screen is no problem as well. My eyes aren't perfect but I normally use the little computer with no problem. When I need a bigger screen I use our TV/monitor in the RV.

I use the computer a lot for word processing, programming and web development. My little netbook handles all these needs with ease. The small size has an added benefit of availability. I can carry my netbook in my fanny pack to use anywhere, anytime.

If you're thinking of buying a new computer  perhaps thinking small is a big idea.