Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Car Rescue

Tuesday: (06/26) Morning tea and then breakfast out under the arbor. More leftover sauerkrauted potatoes with sausage and eggs for breakfast. I spent the morning intercepting the French drain. I got it mostly done but needed to go to Home Depot for a piece of pipe. Before leaving I had cottage cheese and apricots from our tree for lunch. My shopping went well but I had driven the old Volvo, since the car does run when it wants to and has been cooperative. It didn't start when it was time to leave. After an hour or so I called home for a ride. Lou met me and we went to dinner across the street at IKEA. Meatball dinners. We left the car and will return tomorrow to try it again or have it towed home.

Wednesday: (06/27) We started with another trip to Walmart before the crowds arrive. Seems like we go there every day? We then went to breakfast at Joanie's Cafe on California Street. They relocated last year while we were away and we still haven't stopped in for breakfast. They make wonderful muffins. I still stray from the gluten free diet but don't complain too much when it's applied for dinner choices. I had a huevos rancheros Santa Fe breakfast. Lou had the special omelet with feta cheese and Ernie joined us for eggs Benedict. After breakfast we stopped by Home Depot and tried to start the car. No luck. I wiggled things and waited and tried again many time. It's a good thing the battery is good. I cranked many times for over an hour last night and more than 30 minutes today. Eventually it started. It may be a loose wire or bad connector at the computer way on the opposite side from the ignition wiring. Odd? Anyway, it ran fine when started. An apple with peanut butter for lunch. I spent the afternoon working in the yard. I put oil and gas in the tamper and tested it. It started easily and works well. I also finished the hookup to the French drain and did some final digging. I started doing the layout for grade. Lou made super nacho chips for dinner.

Thursday: (06/28) Leftovers for breakfast. Brownies with ice cream for lunch. Not much accomplished today. I did try to determine the drainage slopes for the greenhouse area. It's rather tight to get the slope needed. Meatloaf with baked potatoes and coleslaw for dinner. I baked a couple of apricot pies.

I only picked a few but overestimated how many I needed so I may be baking a couple of more soon. The whole crop is ready so we may need to freeze some soon.

Friday: (06/29) Off to Kaiser early for eye checkups. It was just time for a check. We stopped for breakfast at A Good Morning Restaurant in Los Altos. I had CFS and eggs while Lou had sausage and eggs. We then stopped at Home Depot then Lowes in Sunnyvale looking for sprinkler valve parts. Lowe's had the stock of orbit valves and manafold parts for adding another valve and fixing the leaking valve. When we got home it was time for some apricot pie for lunch. I hung around the front of the house in the afternoon. UPS attempted to deliver Dawn's new laptop yesterday .but didn't because they said they needed a signature. We were likely in the back yard at the time. Today it arrived about 2:30 and was left without a signature once he "saw" me coming to the door. I'm confused? I spent the afternoon and evening stetting it up for Dawn. Lou mad Shepard's pie for dinner.I didn't get outside to work at all today, maybe tomorrow will be more productive?

Saturday: (06/30) Sauerkrauted potatoes with sausage and eggs for breakfast. Another trip to Lowes in the morning. Apricot pie for brunch. Bacon and spinach salad for lunch. I worked on rebooting Dawn's phone in the afternoon. It looks like it may b a goner. Same problems after rebooting. Leftover Shepperd's pie and coleslaw for dinner.

Sunday: (07/01) Fresh made peanut banaa ice cream for breakfast. Leftover soup from the freezer for lunch. I tinkered with the sprinklers trying to fix my elusive valve leak and other miner tasks. Dawn had advertised her twin bed matress on Freecycle and a couple of girls came by to get in this afternoon. Hamburgers with fried squash and zuchini for dinner. 

Monday: (07/02) Sauerkrated potatoes wit hsasage and eggs for breakfast.  When I visited the backyard in the morning my personal grand canyon had filled with some water, again. More leaks from the sprinkler vales some time during the night. Why can't they leak when I'm watching. So, I'm considering relocation the vales now. Not part of my original plan but I don't want the water continually flowing into the area below the sheds. While I pondered that, we took the new car in for it's first service at the dealer. They had sent a nice coupon that made their service competivie, even more so since they wasked and vacuumed the car as well.

Dawn's phone has been acting up for a long time and now is pretty much unusable due to continual restarts. We dropped it off at Best Buy. We bought their waranty which covers everything. It isn't as easy as it should be to get them to do something but they now have the phone and it should be back in a week or so. So Dawn gets my phone for a while and I will be phoneless. Of course that means I also don't have a watch, a GPS, or any of the other uses of my trusty phone.

We stopped at Sweet Tomatoes salad restaurant for lunch. KFC chicken and corn specials for dinner.

Tuesday: (07/03) Lou mad green smoothies with bananas, kale, zuchiuni, oranges, carrots and who knows what else for breakfast. I'm afraid I cheated. I wanted to make sure the breakfast lasted so I added a sausage to my breakfast. I had a dentist appointment to replace a crown this morning.

Lou paid a visit to Safeway, our usual staples market. We recently joined their Just For You online site. It is supposed to give memenrs access to specials without the need for coupons. It doesn't work. We've tried several times to use it and it hasn't worked yet. We have to believe it is "our" problem. It appears to be a scheme. It's kind of odd to have three tier pricing, regular, club and members prices. My personal preference is to not utilize any of these scemes and just shop at stores that charge oen price, the lowest price. So Safeway may not be seeing much of us in the future.
I returned home and drove Lou to a doctor's appointment. On the way home about 3pm, my mouth was almost ready to return to normal and I stopped drooling so we stopped at Chevy's Fresh Mexican retaurant for "lunch." We shared a Chevy's Cinco. I was ready for a nap when we got home so another day of not doing any real work can be logged. 
Dinner was a slice of apricot pie.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

RV Dish Repair

Sunday: (06/24) We started the day with a quick visit to Walmart for a couple of things.

Fried sauerkraut potatoes with pork and eggs for breakfast. I finally got to work on the satellite dish on the RV. I've been having problems with it for the past couple of years and have attempted to find the problems myself and hired help on several occasions. No lasting or permanent fixes have occurred. After having it repaired by the Motosat factory folks in Quartzsite in January it was acting up again a month later in Yuma. I finally determined that the then remaining problem was a heat sensitive LNB. I suffered with it the remainder of the trip because I had another at home from the spare dish I got a couple of years ago. As an aid, I installed a silver bubble insulation cover for the LNB that gave me a few more hours use per day. We've now been home for almost four months and it was time to fix it. I swapped out the complete arm including the transmitter and LNB. I also installed a missing base cover on the dish from my spare. The cover had evidently blown off on our way home from Pismo Beach last month. There were some fierce winds and evidently two screws had worked their way out and the third screw remained to hold the remaining half inch sized cover piece. So now the dish appears to be working properly and fully. I installed a monitor on it that should tell me if it is intermittent.

Lunch was olallieberry shortcake with whipped cream.

A few days ago I noticed that the Fantastic fan in the RV was not working. I also looked at it today. I suspected that the motor had burned out. Maybe not. Several years ago the rain sensor that closes the vent if it detects rain failed and intermittently closed the vent with no rain. Since we needed a good vent to make our traveling cat happy I disabled the sensor and the fan worked well otherwise. Sometime later the manual/automatic crank failed and the vent couldn't be opened or closed automatically or manually without appropriately wiggling it. The automatic portion needed to be disabled and the manual crank was used. Now, the motor failed. Well maybe not. The variable seed electronics failed. The motor ran when I bypassed the speed control.  So I remove the electronics and wired the motor directly. The fan seemed to be working properly. I left the fan running. When i came back later it had slowed down and barely turning. It should have still been going full speed so I guess the motor is kaput. So I guess it has come to the end of it's life after all.

Later, I washed the three cars. For dinner we toasted wieners on a campfire in the backyard. It was served with corn on the cob, potato salad, grilled squash and zucchini, chili beans and sauerkraut with bacon and apples. For desert there was key lime pie. Yum!

(06/25) I took Dawn to an appointment this morning. The plan was that we'd meet Lou after the appointment for breakfast in San Jose. Lou was waiting at home for a call from Home Depot about the new carpet installation at Dawn's place. As it turned out Home Depot had the wrong phone number so they never arranged the morning appointment to measure for the carpet but scheduled at afternoon appointment today. So I returned home. Breakfast was some of Lou's chili beans.  A ham sandwich for lunch. Lou went down to meet the carpet installer to measure for the new carpet. I dropped by Harbor Freight and bought a plate tamper. It's a bit odd that it's cheaper to buy one than rent one. I also stopped by Walmart and bought a new desktop computer that was calling to me. It's a mini desktop (3.3ghz, 3GB Ram, 1TB HD) with a monitor for $300. No reason to suffer through my 9 year old slow and dying laptop that has been serving as my home desktop.  More chili beans and artichokes for dinner.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another Day Off As The Water Recedes

Saturday: (06/23) The flood water in my hole is drying nicely but not enough for me to not take advantage of another day off. Dawn made some buckwheat sweet potato bread which was toasted in the panini maker and served with sausage for breakfast. I took Dawn by a bunch of garage sales in the morning. Again, I found some things while escorting Dawn. I found a bathroom scale at one sale with a large LCD display. It worked well at the sale so I bought it. When I got it home it didn't work. Odd? Then I noticed it was a solar powered scale. In dim room light it didn't work In bright room light it worked. And, of course, It worked well outside in the sunlight. i usually weigh in the buff so the neighbors might enjoy the scale more than I do? I'm still not sure if it was a bargain at $3. A nice walnut apple raisin corned beef green salad for lunch. In the afternoon Dawn visited the crafters swap meet while I visited Fry's Electronics. Dinner at Carrow's Restaurant. Lou  and Dawn shared a prime rib dinner and I had the usual pot roast sandwich. It was sunny and breezy all day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Castle Rock State Park

Friday: (06/22) Leftover French Toast with peanut butter and jam and a sausage for breakfast.

Castle Rock SP Ridge Trail Hikers Larry Sharon Bob and Christine Castle Rock SP View From Ridge Trail
I went over to Saratoga and met a carpool going up to Castle Rock State park for a hike. Some of the group tried this hike two weeks ago and had to cut it short due to heavy rain. Today there was a slight chance of rain as well but we had perfect weather for our hike. We started our hike about 0930. This park is mostly used by rock climbers but has some interesting trails as well. I was joined on this hike by Larry, Sharon, the organizer, Bob, and Christine.

I stopped for lunch at LUU Noodle House and had some egg rolls and an avocado smoothie, my reward for the hike, totally defeating any benefit most likely.

We had pork chops with sauerkraut and potatoes from the slow cooker for dinner.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Really Big Leak

Thursday: (06/21) Continuing our "Really" theme today our "Big Leak" joins the previous days "Big Dirt Pile", and "Long Day." Really?

Leftover corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Morning tea under the arbor in the backyard. Ernie pointed out a little problem with my project. There was a water leak the filled much of the excavation. A sprinkler valve was leaking. It's a little problem that turned into a bigger problem. It will take a while to dry out. There has been a wet spot near the valves that turned into a puddle and now a big leak. I wasn't able to find the source until now. Lunch was hot fudg sundaes at McDonald's in Walmart. We needed a couple of things like sauerkraut for dinner. There is usually too much in our pantry but we've done a pretty good job of thinning it out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Really Long Day

Wednesday: (06/20) This afternoon at approximately 16:30 Summer began. Today was the longest day of the year though it didn't really seem too long.

I took Lou to an appointment after which we had breakfast at the Country Inn in Cupertino. Lou had steak and eggs and i had Chicken fried steak and eggs. Of course there were Swiss pancakes as well. We did some shopping on the way home. I got a new wheel for my wheelbarrow. Had to replace the blow out. We also stopped at Sprout's Market for a few things. More leftovers for lunch. Enchiladas for all. i spent the afternoon doing some digging, hopefully the last for a while. I exposed the end of my French drain line which needs to be shortened and reconfigured a little for the new walkway. Dinner was part of the big zucchini with some meatloaf on top and mashed potatoes on top of that. Sort of like a Shepard's pie but the zucchini was in one piece not little pieces. It was served with an interesting side, carrots and avocado with oranges, lemons and sunflower seeds.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Really Big Pile

Monday: (06/18) A really big pile of dirt. Ernie delivered a bunch of his special deviled eggs yesterday. I enjoyed four of them for my breakfast this morning.

Wilton Walkway Project Wilton Walkway Dirt Pile
I removed the rest of the dirt from the green house area this morning. The pile of dirt is almost 6 feet tall and 12' by 8' at the base. I debated just leaving it in the center of the yard and planting my succulents and cacti on it. I could then name my own mountain. It's a good thing I am now finished with this phase of the dirt generation. The next batch will go direct into the dumpster. More leftovers for lunch. Vegetable beef with rice soup. Now all the major digging is done and the fine work begins. It's a good thing too because I was running out of room for more dirt.

Blueberries Giant Zuchini
The blue berries in the front yard planter, though few in number are tasty treats for Lou and Dawn. On the right are a couple of zucchinis from our garden. We normally pick them when they are the size of the smaller 7-8" long one on the bottom. Today Lou found the huge one above. How it was hiding on that small plant when we had all been picking them and checking for them every couple of days I don't know. It is very good at hide and seek. It will probably be dinner with sausage in a day or so.

Los Altos Nursury Pond
We went over to the Los Altos Nursury to ask about some problem with our peas and enjoyed a look around the place. The dragon flies were buzzing their pond.

For dinner we took advantage of KFC's Monday special for chicken and corn.

Tuesday: (06/19) Berry pie for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. I had enchiladas, Lou had Pad Thai. Zucchini with sausage for dinner. I dropped the 92 olvo off to get a smog test. Unfortunately the tester at the Gold Shield (the test and repair) garage I took it to was inop until about noon so I left the car and walked home. I also called to arrange an appointment to get my teeth cleaned and they said come in this afternoon so i did. Unfortunately I have to get another crown replaced. In my spare time I worked in the office.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Off

Sunday: (06/17) Father's Day.

Spider Web
We enjoyed morning tea out at the arbor, as usual. This spider web on one of the chairs in the arbor looked interesting with the sun shining through it. Not your typical spider. More of a sketch artist. Maybe a doodle bug bread with a spider?

Lou made my favorite breakfast, corned beef hash. She doesn't goof around either. She cooked a real corned beef brisket unlike my canned meat method. For lunch we went to LUU noodle house and had Pad Thai. Leftover enchiladas for breakfast with rice and beans.

After breakfast I tested my back by doing some more dirt moving digging out the green house floor for the new walkway paving. It worked well. It was hot though so I stopped about 11am. The rest of the day was spent tinkering with the computer.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Berry Pie

This pie is gluten free. Of course you can use regular flour if that isn't important to you.

Prepare pastry for a 9" double crust pie. 
1 cup rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 rounded teaspoon of xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup shortening. (We use lard)
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 tablespoons water

Mix the dry ingredients in the food processor. Add the shortening and mix again.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat an egg and add the vinegar and water. add the mixture to the food processor as it's running. run until it clumps into a dough ball. Form two balls, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap that are lightly dusted with rice flour. Remove one sheet and place crust into pan. Shape in pan then remove second sheet of wrap.

Glutin Free Berry Pie
Berry Pie:

4 cups of berries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 cup sugar. (top crust)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine berries with sugar and flour stir until mixed. Place into unbaked pie shell. Add top crust. Cut vents in top crust. Brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 for an additional 25 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

We're Wheat Free Now

Saturday: (06/16) Dawn and Lou suspect they are reacting to wheat so they have been moving toward getting rid of gluten from our diet. To make things simpler, I have joined them. So today all the existing stock of wheat based pasta and regular flour are gone. We have found good rice based pasta and some good recipes for bread and pastry so we wont be suffering.

I had the leftover fried potatoes an a sausage for breakfast. Lou and Dawn had berries and yogurt. I picked some pore berries to restore the quantity I needed for two pies. We went downtown to visit a couple of garage sales, one at Courtney's place of employment.

Glutin Free Berry Pie
When we returned home, Dawn provided a recipe for rice based pastry dough which I used to bake two berry pies. They turned out really well. Lou made shrimp salads for lunch.

For dinner I made beef chorizo enchiladas with Spanish rice and Refried beans.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunny In Palo Alto

Tuesday: (06/12) We were up fairly early for breakfast tea and berry cobbler in the back yard.

Yard Plants On Vacation From Greenhouse Wilton Walkway Project
After breakfast I started cleaning out the green house and removing the existing bricks from the floor. I finally decided to do the green house the proper way and redo it's floor as well as the walkway. It seems like I'm always doing something to it so maybe now I won't have to. The greenhouse was put up quickly several years ago when it had to be removed from the side of the house where it originally was located. At the time we had a raised flower bed by the fence and I just built the greenhouse over the flowerbed. Later I removed the raised bed so it had a flat floor. Then, just a couple of years ago the fence was replaced behind it requiring work on it's floor again.  Now, I want to put base rock under the green house floor as well. The current floor is on native (clay) soil and a little sand.

Wilton Walkway Project Bricks From Greenhouse Floor Wilton Walkway Project Bricks From Greenhouse Floor
I stacked the bricks I removed from the green house in front of the back raised flower bed. They probably wont return there but will become a walkway elsewhere behind the sunroom.

Lunch was leftover chili Colorado on baked potatoes. After lunch I showered, a necessary effort in this heat. The green house is unshaded so quite warm. I then took Dawn to an appointment. When I returned home I completed the relocation of the greenhouse plants. For dinner Dawn mad BBQ ribs with rice, sweet potato fries and artichokes.

Wednesday: (06/13) Pork buns at the Hing Kong Bakery in Mountain View for breakfast. Lou and I did some grocery shopping after breakfast. Olive loaf and horseradish cheese sandwiches for lunch. I moved some more dirt for the walkway in the afternoon. Hamburgers with vegetable soup for dinner.

Wheelbarrow Wheel Blowout
My wheelbarrows blow out. It remained round for quite a while before the tube finally blew overnight.

Thursday: (06/14) I had the last of the berry cobbler while Lou had fresh picked berries and yogurt for breakfast. I spent the morning moving dirt. By the time I finished for the day about 1030, my back was bugging me. After I showered, we headed off to meet Dawn for my Father's day meal out at the Cheesecake Factory. We hate crowds so today seemed lile a good alternate. We, of course, started with some cheesecake then followed that with a shared Shepard's pie. All very good. We stopped off at Sprout's Market on the way home. Lou had started some beef chorizo vegetable rice soup in the slow cooker this morning which was ready for dinner. I relaxed my back the rest of the time.

Friday: (06/15) I made fried potatoes with peppers and onions, hot Italian sausage and eggs for breakfast. I picked another 1/2 gallon of berries which will soon be more pies. We made another shopping run today. Fisrst , a visit to the Stanford Rummage Sale. Then visits to Costco, Grocery Outlet and Big Lots. Lunch was at US Chinese Restaurant in Redwood City. Otherwise I continued relaxing my back today. Leftover beef chorizo vegetable rice soup for dinner.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve

Monday: (06/11) I picked a 1/2 gallon of berries after morning tea time. I had French toast from the freezer with peanut butter and jam for breakfast. Lou had a bowl of berries with yogurt. I wanted a substantial breakfast in preparation for my morning hike.

Windy Hill OSP Windy Hill OSP
After breakfast I went up in the nearby hills for a hike with my Mid-Week Hiking Group. We met at Windy Hill OSP in Portola Valley. We hiked the Hamms Gulch Trail to the summit then back the same trail. We coupld have returned via a different trail but it had no shade so we returned the way we came due to the high temperatures today. There were seven of us on the hike, most better hikers than myself. Unfortunately Windy hill wasn't very windy so the mid 90's temperature was more noticeable. We had some great views. The hike was about 8.2 miles.

Windy Hill OSP Windy Hill OSP
We enjoyed a nice rest at the top then returned the way we came.

Windy Hill OSP Rattle Snake
Not far down the trail on the return trip I was behind all the other hikers because I had been busy taking pictures and after passing by noticed a rustling behind me on the trail. I suspected a snake so walked back to look for it. We had seen a garter snake on the way up and another not much before this location. I found a snake alright but not a garter snake. it was a large rattle snake right beside the trail. All of us had passed by without noticing it. I was the only one that got to see it.

I returned home for a shower and lunch. Enchiladas from the freezer for lunch. Then took Lou to the doctor to get her foot looked at. On our way home we stopped at target to pick up a few things then stopped by LUU Noodle House to get avocado smoothies. It was hot and they are so cool.

Dinner was Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm Officially Retired, Again

Saturday: (06/09) Berry pie for breakfast. Lunch at LUU noodel house. Lou and I shared a chow fun combination while Dawn had fried rice. We also had some egg rolls. Leftovers for dinner. I had pizza, Lou had ham salad. And Dawn had prime rib. In the afternoon Lou had an appointment that I took her to.

This evening, when I finally read today's mail, I found a letter from Social Security. It was confirmation that my application was successful. A little less than a month ago I applied online and that seemed simple. It was Saturday evening. We were out most of the day that following Monday and sometime around 1130 there had been a call asking where I was and that I missed my 11 am appointment at the local office. What appointment. There was evidently some confusion at SS. I called back and never could connect with the person that called and they never called back. I assumed that they got their act together and didn't need to talk to me after all but a call back would have been nice. Evidently I assumed correctly. Based on the letter received today I was to get my first check this coming Monday. Another minor problem. I checked my bank online and found that they had already deposited the first payment last Monday. Early is nice, only three weeks after I applied. Actually pretty efficient. This second retirement is only eight years after my real retirement. Not as exciting as the first one but still quite enjoyable.

Sunday: (06/10) Berry pie for breakfast out in the backyard under the arbor. Leftovers for lunch. I had fried rice and meat balls. Lou had spaghetti squash and meat balls. For dinner I prepared loaded baked potatoes. Chili Colorado over baked potatoes, onions, black beans and cheese. Dawn and I went out to a few Garage sales. Dawn didn't find anything she needed but I did. A nice quart pyrex measuring cup ($1) and a network connected power control module ($10). Everyone needs at least one of each of those.