Sunday, December 29, 2013

Year End

Saturday: (12/28) A very busy day of doing nothing. Leftover Mexican food from Chevy’s for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch and dinner. I had chili beans on baked potato for lunch and Lou had a chicken salad.

Sunday: (12/29) This morning we did our weekly grocery shopping. Otherwise it was another day of doing nothing. I tinkered at the computer reviewing ultralite camping gear and pacific Crest Trail journals and gear lists. Such a lot to learn. McDonald’s McGriddle sandwich for breakfast. Ham and cheese English Muffin for Lunch. Macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Monday: (12/30) Breakfast burrito at La Victoria Restaurant in San Jose. I dropped Dawn off in Willow Glen on my way down. She was visiting her friend Andrea.

Side Vent Before Side Vent After
I stopped by the house and brought out the saws to rebuild a couple of crawl space vents. I had to figure a slightly different way to do the side vents because the only points for the siding are the floor joists so I can’t cut back the siding an add a trim board so I just embedded the vent cover without a trim board. Should work. Above left is before and on the right the after view.

I had a super burrito for lunch from Super Taqueria. I headed home a little before 6 PM and picked up Dawn who had made her way back up to Mountain View on the trolley. Lou mad ham, steamed vegetables and leftover potatoes and macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Tuesday: (12/31) I was up till 4am computing. I slept in until 0930. Not enough but I had to be a chauffeur. Cottage cheese and fruit for breakfast. Lou had a PT appointment so we all went out with her. Dawn to the nearby book store, me to the nearby Harbor Freight. I needed some saw blades. Lunch at a Chinese Buffet.  A special trip to Sprout’s Market for some party supplies for tonight. Lou made chili beans for dinner. Ernie added corn bread. Meili and Courtney joined us for dinner. I tinkered on the computer and downloaded Guthook’s PCT Guide apps to my phone. I tried them out and they seem to be excellent guides for my future PCT hike. We watched a couple of movies through the evening and survived until 1200 AM to pop the cork. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 Wednesday: (01/01) We walked over to Courtney’s to visit her cat spunky. Otherwise another do nothing day. In the evening we had a “Justified” marathon. Ernie cooked ham onion and cheese omelets with potatoes for breakfast. Dinner was ham, crackers, cheese spinach and kale chips and more things we intended for the new years evening wait but nobody was hungry after Lou’s chili.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Castle Rock Hike

Castle Rock SP Castle Rock SP
Friday: (12/27) Lou made sausage gravy over toast for breakfast. I met my hiking group for a hike at Castle Rock State Park. It was only about a six mile hike but the weather was perfect and we had an outstanding view of Monterrey Bay from the ridge. I also like to climb up on the rocks as evidenced in the picture on the right. Unfortunately due to our dry spell, the waterfall was a water drip. Dinner at Chevy’s Mexican Restaurant.

Castle Rock, Post-Christmas Hike

EveryTrail – Find the best Hiking in Castle Rock State Park

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Holidaze

Saturday: (12/21) We started our day as usual for a Saturday morning with our weekly grocery shopping run. I spent a little time outside pruning the front flower bed geraniums. They suffered from the recent freezes as they do every year.  I also burned some of the junk wood from the fence job in San Jose. Nice to have a burn day after having one of the longest series of no burn days in the area. As I watched the campfire I tinkered with the computer in the backyard. Dawn had her Tai Chi class in the morning and was busy doing laundry. Leftover chorizo soup for breakfast. Corned beef hash and eggs for dinner.

Sunday: (12/22) Today was a today relaxation day with nothing done. Dawn prepared quinoa flake in apple cider as hot cereal for breakfast. I added an English muffin with peanut butter to mine. Cheese, ham and bread for lunch. Lou made spaghetti with clam sauce and broccoli for dinner.

Monday: (12/23) A light breakfast of granola. Our task today was to do some Christmas shopping and to meet Ernie for lunch at the Black Bear Diner in Milpitas, where we were shopping. Courtney joined us for lunch. I couldn’t resist the Chicken fried steak breakfast, as Ernie couldn’t as well. Lou and Dawn managed to share a steak. After lunch we managed to find what we were looking for at the Great Mall. The rest of the day was just relaxing at home, recovering for the shopping crowds. Baked potatoes for dinner.

Tuesday: (12/24) A do nothing day at home except for a short run out to lunch and to pick up a few things at Sprout’s Market. Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Lunch at LUU Noodle House, the usual meal. Pot Roast and the fixings for dinner.

Wednesday: (12/25) Christmas Day. A real day of relaxing today. Courtney came over and she and Dawn prepared chocolate fondue and fruit for breakfast. BBQ ribs, regular and sweet potato fries, green salad, guacamole, chips, and deviled eggs for dinner.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pescadero County Park Exploration

Butano Bridge Viewed From Brook Trail Loop Lookout Brook Creek Loop Trail Overlook
Friday: (12/20) I met my San Jose Hiking Group for a hike at Pescadero County Park. We had tree cars bringing our 12 hikers to the Herritage Grove Trailhead. Unfortunately, the trailhead parking area wasn’t signed. When I arranged the hike I didn’t drive up to check our meeting place. I just listed the distance on Alpine Road from Skyline Road. We arrived a later than the others who were not at the trailhead. After a little waiting we drove on down Alpine Road and found them by a sign for the grove which was not the trail head nor did it have real parking spaces. We all returned to the trailhead and started our hike 25 minutes late at 0955. Heritage Grove is reportedly the best redwood grove in the bay area and may well be so. We hiked up to join the Brook Trail Loop.

Brook Trail Redwood Tree With Merged Branches Brook Trail Redwood Tree With Merged Branches
This tree was quite interesting. The branches joined to make a huge hole in the trunk.

Hikers On Bridge On Brook Trail Brook Trail Loop Hikers 9138757901
At the far end of the loop we got onto the wrong trail and wandered into the YMCA Camp. They had some nice trails too, just not where I intended to led the group. The diversion added another 1.2 miles to our hike making it 9.3 miles with an overall climb of 3684 feet.  All hikers were returned to the start in reasonably good condition. Nice hike. Great scenery.

Here are a couple of GPS tracks for the hike:

Brook Trail At Pescadero County Park

EveryTrail – Find the best Hiking in California

If you have Google Earth installed you can fly over our hike route using this link.

Lou had a doctors appointment in the morning which Ernie took her to. They stopped at Andy’s BBQ for lunch.Dawn’s friend Andrea was visiting today.

Egg and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. My trail lunch was tuna salad, crackers, peaches and a cookie. When I got home Lou hav=d saved me some of her leftover BBQ ribs lunch which I had for a late second lunch. For dinner Lou made chorizo soup with fresh cornbread.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Moving From Cold To Nice

Saturday: (12/14) A typical Saturday. Off to do the shopping early. Got home a little after 0900 and fixed grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast. I also started sauerkraut , potatoes and pork chops in the slow cooker. In the afternoon we took another shopping trip to the hardware store for a few things. Busy day, of doing little. Nice to relax. We then enjoyed the slow cooked dinner.

Sunday: (12/15) For breakfast I fried up the leftover pork chop, sauerkraut and potatoes served with eggs. I mounted a little bike flag on Lou’s scooter. It’s removable so it still folds up.  For lunch we went to LUU Noodle House for Lou’s favorite meal, combination Chow Fun, Pad Thai and some egg rolls. After lunch we visited Cost Plus’s World Market and Party America. Lou is looking for novelty gifts. In the evening I drove down to San Jose. For dinner I had cottage cheese and fruit.

SJ Porch Stripping SJ Porch Stripping
Monday: (12/16) I finished stripping the left side of the front of the house as well as around the door. Granola for breakfast. Pork chop with leftover fried sauerkrauted potatoes and carrots for lunch. For dinner a visit to Muchos Restaurant for a chili relleno plate.

SJ Porch Paint Stripping
Tuesday: (12/17) I got out about 0840. I almost finished stripping the right side of the house under the porch. Just a few square feet and the window frames left to do. I got a complaint from the tenant that the smell was making her sick. It hasn’t bothered her before so I was surprised. I also heard a neighbor across the street say something like it smelled like someone was burning plastic and I though she was smelling my air contributions too.  Neither was enough for me to stop though. When I was watching the evening news I found out that it probably wasn’t me. Due to a fire at a recycle center in Redwood City, a forest fire in Big Sur and an already stagnate air situation in the Valley, San Jose air looked like Beijing air today. I never noticed anything. Granola for breakfast. Sausage, dirty rice and carrots for lunch. Lentil soup for dinner.

 Wednesday: (12/18) Another nice day, a cool morning turning into a nice warm early afternoon, a cooler late afternoon then a warm eventing. Interesting day. I finished the paint stripping on the front of the house under the porch. Still have the ceiling of the porch and the front and eves of the porch to do later. First, a little siding repair and vent remodeling, then sanding and painting when the weather allows.

Downspout To Sewer Disconnection
My stripping didn’t take too long so I did another project. I dug up the sewer pipe near the cleanout at the front of the front yard and capped off the line that went to the old main drain under the house.  When I removed the last of the drain lines from the gutters that fed to the sewer I broke off or cut the lines under the house to get the pipes out to repair the siding. If the City’s main sewer line backed up, some nasty stuff could end up under the house so I capped off the line. Later I’ll finish removing the old main drain line and two capped off laterals that went to the atrium under the house. The only reason the lines remained was because of the gutters feeding into them. Years ago I actually bypassed the downspouts so they didn’t go into the sewer  and just drained outside. Now, another project on the list, for action soon, is to complete the drain line from the gutters to a sump pump that gets rid of the water. Sausage, potatoes and eggs for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Pot Roast soup for dinner.

SJ Study Vent SJ Porch After Stripping
Thursday: (12/19) Today I was a carpenter repairing and replacing siding and trim as need on the front and North front side of the house.

SJ Study Vent SJ Living Room Siding Repair

I got away about 1500 and returned to Palo Alto. I probably wont return until next year. Sausage eggs and potatoes for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Cheesy chicken with rice for dinner.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Winter Has Arrived

Saturday: (12/07) Corned beef hash leftovers with eggs for breakfast. We did our weekly shopping trip for groceries and such. Much of the rest of the day was just relaxing but I did take a trip to the REI store to look at backpacking gear while Dawn was at  a Christmas cookie party with her High School teachers. Chili sizes for dinner. Guess who was cooking.

Sunday: (12/08) I made more corned beef and hash for breakfast. It’s probably my favorite meal as demonstrated by having it for breakfast the past three days and another to come. It was back to being cold again today. We all went out for a little shopping today. Lou was looking for something at Micheal’s Crafts. We enjoyed some expensive ice cream cones at Rite Aide. The cashier made a mistake and charged me for one triple while we had three doubles. I got back in line and told the cashier. She obviously had a problem understanding English or? she charged me for two more triples. Thanks. When I checked the receipt I noticed the error but wasn’t about to go through the process again and loose more. This is why I go for spells of never saying a word when I’m under charged and then feeling a little guilty and being honest. The honesty always is short lived because I’m almost always taken by being overcharged and not catching it. Lunch, other than the ice cream was some chips and guacamole. It had dried out outside so I dumped my dirt buckets in my even larger dirt pile. Now I have my buckets back so I can generate more? For dinner Lou prepared fish with French Fries and squash.  About 1730 I headed off toward San Jose stopping to pickup a piece of sheet metal duct to repair a shower vent. When the house was re-roofed a few years ago the roofers completely covered over the vent. I had them install a vent jack but didn’t notice at the time that they had shortened the vent stack. First stop was at Orchard Hardware. I’ve noticed that they aren’t anywhere near as well stocked as they used to be before they expanded so much. I hadn’t noticed that they no longer stocked ANY sheet metal ducting. They are where I bought all the ducting when I installed the forced air heater 20+ years ago. I found the duct at Home Depot a little further down the road. I understand Orchard Hardware was recently bought by Lowe’s. If true, I hope they straighten it out.

Monday: (12/09) Granola for breakfast. A rather unproductive day. It was freezing again today. Surprise, so is the rest of the hemisphere, but is is unusual for us. The frost on the lawn didn’t depart until after 1100. I dumped some water out of a bucket in the afternoon and there was a quarter inch of ice in it. Our palm trees in California aren’t working! I had leftover corned beef hash for breakfast with peanut butter and honey on toasted English muffins. I stayed inside until afternoon then had to go out and do something. I tightened the bolts and leveled two fence posts that were leaning and also replaced some fence boards broken by the neighbors cars running in to the fence. I have to say that since the female students moved in after the male students left, it hasn’t gotten worst. I couldn’t keep the posts level with the boys and gave up trying to. The girls have been resident for several years and I noticed it didn’t get worse so I decided to fix the fence. Other than that, I tinkered in the apartment trying to stay warm. About 1700 I went out shopping. I stopped at REI to look at backpacking gear, mostly at ultralight fast drying clothes. I also found a good back packing cookbook. It’s actually a two step cookbook. You cook stuff then dehydrate it. On the trail you warm it up and rehydrate it. The recipes look tasty. When REI closed, I went to Chevy’s for dinner, a Chevy’s cinco. Plenty of leftovers for another dinner. On the way home I stopped at Big Lots and picked up some things as well.

Tuesday: (12/10) Leftover Chevy Cinco (tamale and enchilada) for breakfast. Another cold day so I tinkered inside all morning. In the afternoon I made it outside for more paint stripping. The afternoons are pretty nice after our cold mornings. I returned to Palo Alto for the night. Dawn’s baked potato soup for dinner.

Wednesday: (12/11) Lou and I went to her PT appointment. early. Leftover corned beef hash for breakfast. I attended an Alpha Anywhere webinar at 10 00. I returned to  San Jose and did some more paint stripping. Pork chop and rice for dinner. After dinner I went to REI and bought a good hiking jacket, a pair of gloves, and some hiking shorts to try. The jacket is convertible to a vest, the gloves allow use of a cell phone while being worn, and the shorts are underwear that dries quickly so that a couple of pair can last weeks.

Thursday: (12/12) A chorizo breakfast burrito started the cold morning. I stopped and watched the construction of a building on the San Jose State campus as I at my breakfast. About 1100 I got to work stripping paint on the porch. I finished most of the left side today. Lunch was a chicken pot pie at 1300. I finally got back to work at 1400 and worked until 1700 as it was getting dark. I cleaned up and packed to head home. Dinner was some of Dawn’s baked potato soup.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Razerback Ridge Hike and Ken Burns Talk

Razerback Ridge / Hamm\’s Gulch Loop

EveryTrail – Find the best Hiking in California

Friday: (12/06) I made corned beef hash for breakfast. I met my hiking group for a hike at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. We hiked up Razerback Ridge Trail to the Lost Trail then back on the Hamm’s Gulch Trail. It was still freezing for most of our hike. This cold spell caused us to think we might not be in California anymore. I had 14 hiker join me for the hike. Usually a few don’t show up that have signed up but, for this freezing day hike everyone showed up? My lunch was on the trail with my fellow hikers, one of those tuna lunchables.. Even so, I needed a little something after the hike. I had a cheese sandwich.  Dinner was leftover pot roast with baked potatoes.
Rattlesnake Ridge Hike Rattlesnake Ridge Hike
The group before the hike and along the trail.

Rattlesnake Ridge Hike _20131206_12
I like to try to get a group photo of the hikers like above.

Ken Burns Steinbeck Award
In the evening Dawn and I went down to San Jose State where Michael Krasney had a conversation with Ken Burns, the documentary film maker. He received an award from the Steinbeck Center there at SJSU probably related to his “Dust Bowl” documentary. The event was co sponsored by KQED, the local public TV station, SJSU, and the Steinbeck Center. Quite interesting.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Last Month To Do Something This Year

Fence Lumber
Sunday: (12/01) We did our weekly grocery run first thing in the morning. Then I fixed a nice chorizo, eggs, peppers and onions scramble for breakfast. Turkey sandwiches for a late  lunch. I returned to San Jose about 1700 and unloaded all the crushing load of lumber from the top of the jeep. For dinner I had baked beans and sausage.

Monday: (12/02) Breakfast at Jack In the Box, a Loaded Breakfast Sandwich. I did a little shopping to start the day. I picked up some 2×12 boards for the base of the fence. Unfortunately, the first Home Depot only had scraps so I had to go to another. I then got ready to start assembly of the fence and found I needed a drill bit of appropriate size. Lunch was a super burrito from Super Taqueria. I didn’t return to work too fast because I was “busy” watching the last episode of The Mentalist TV show. I then had to put a bevel on one of the posts to match the angle of the fence. I got the posts up and the rail brackets installed. I had some rice and sausage for dinner. Not a really productive day. Tomorrow should be better.

Tuesday: (12/03) Leftover chorizo potato and onion scramble for breakfast. I tacked up all the fence boards including two special boards which had to be beveled and ripped in width for the begin and end of the angled section of the fence. I only tacked the boards because the screws I bought so many of were too long so I used some appropriate sized but incorrect screws to tack the boards up. They are not intended for treated lumber and would rust. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich. Then I removed the temporary fence. I quit early to go shopping to get more screws. Once out, I goofed off stopping at Mel Cottons Sporting Goods to look at hiking gear. I picked up a pair of hiking socks to try out. I stopped for dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, the salad buffet, on the way home.

San Jose Fence
This is our side. The tenants still need to move things back and I do hope the bougainvillaea plant survives to cover the fence.

San Jose Fence San Jose Fence
The view from the neighbors side of the fence.

San Jose Fence San Jose Fence
A couple more views from the neighbors side

Wednesday: (12/04) I finished adding the rest of the screws to the fence including replacing the screws I used to tack it up. They are all now stainless steel screws. I then cleaned up the dirt pile putting the last of it into buckets and into the Jeep. Now the yard looks better than original. I still need to tighten and level some of the older fence posts which have dried out and shrunk making them loose. Unfortunately when I installed some of the fence, I covered the post anchor bolts with the 2×12 base boards. I sawed out holes to expose the bolts so I can tighten the posts without removing the base boards. Unfortunately, I need to get a large deep socket to reach the bolt head. Something for tomorrow or? I picked up Dawn and we returned to Palo Alto. Lou and I have an appointment tomorrow morning. Granola for breakfast. Pork chop and potatoes for brunch. Cottage cheese and fruit for lunch. Turkey and cheese panini sandwich for dinner.

Thursday: (12/05) Lou and I went to her PT appointment then stopped for lunch at a Chinese buffet. We also visited the Grocery Outlet, which is across the street from Kaiser,  for a few things. Obviously I wasn’t thinking because later in the evening I had to go out to get something for a lunch for tomorrows hike. Granola for breakfast.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Quick Trip To Napa

Saturday: (11/30) I started my day with a shopping run to Orchard Hardware to get my post and rails and Home Depot to get my fence boards. Yes, I’m picky. It was quite a load hauling 3 4×4′s, 9 2×4′s and 44 fence boards. Too much for my yuppy Jeep. I broke the rack. I just barely made it home. No problem with the load, just that Dawn and I had to depart toward Napa at 1000. I parked the Jeep. I’ll look in to what I’ll do to the load tomorrow. I need to get it down to San Jose. I don’t want to loose it on the road.

We jumped in the Hyundai. It did start and didn’t give us any problems on the trip. I still need to find out why the battery died yesterday. We cruised up through San Francisco, across the new, terribly expensive, Bay Bridge on Highway 80 to Vallejo then up Highway 28 to Napa. We arrived there at 1230, plenty of time before our 1300 appointment. While we waited for the appointment, we discovered an outstanding market, Vallergas Market. It is possibly the best market I’ve ever been in. Not a big market but they have everything. The produce section is definitely the best ever.

At 1300 we stopped by for our appointment. Dawn had found a braille printer for $49 on Craig’s list. They are worth several thousand dollars new. It’s a very heavy little suitcase with the printer in it. If it works, and it looks in like new condition, great! If not it will easily hold a door open in a hurricane.  With printer in hand, stopped at the market for lunch. I had a ham and guyere cheese panini, Dawn had some olive loaf and cheese with dried cabbage chips. After lunch we drove to downtown Napa walked around the old town area, found out the Christmas Parade was this evening, and visited a nice bookstore.

We enjoyed the parade then left town at 1830 stopping in Vallejo t the Buttercup Grill for dinner. We shared a chicken with garlic and artichoke dinner followed with a peanut butter cup pie. All very good. The traffic was a little heavy on the drive home.

Friday, November 29, 2013

More Power Needed

Friday: (11/29) Breakfast was cinnamon tarts and deviled eggs. I did a few tasks in the morning. I raised another yard chair for Lou to use outside. I just attached 4×4 boards to the legs. I also repaired my post-hole shovel. It lost a nut that was its pivot. It evidently was an odd size and I couldn’t find a proper sized nut so I got a bolt and lock-nut of the appropriate size to repair it. My next task was to install the new battery for the Jeep that I bought on my way home Wednesday. The Jeep had the battery go dead last Friday when I left the headlights on for a short period and ran an air compressor. A good battery should have been able to do that task for two hours and still start the engine. It wouldn’t turn the motor after just twenty minutes. Then, at least twice this week, it barely started the engine. It was a 3-year free replacement Walmart battery and was only two years old.

Jeep Battery
It was easy to swap out the old and in the new. Getting the credit for the bad battery was a bit more difficult. First, it was Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Fortunately, most everyone was buying, not returning. It still took about an hour. There was a bit of trouble convincing them to credit me for the replacement battery but they came through in the end. I also spent some time emptying my buckets of concrete debris into a pile to free the buckets. Lunch was some leftover dinner rolls with summer sausage and cheese. Tomorrow Dawn and I will be diving up to Napa. Lou wanted her scooter out of the car so she can take a “walk” if she wants while we are gone. When I went out to open the car to get it the doors wouldn’t unlock with the clicker. Not a good sign. I checked it and the battery was dead, totally dead. This is our nice new Hyundai. I jump started it with the Jeep which now, fortunately, has a good battery. When I attached the cable I noticed the negative battery cable was loose. As tight as it will go, but loose. This isn’t related to the dead battery but is something to be fixed by the dealer next visit. I took the car for a drive to charge it up. Hopefully it will be OK in the morning and cause no problems on the trip. For a long trip like to Napa I prefer the mileage of the Hyundai over the Jeep, 40 compared to 14. Dinner was baked beans, BBQ ribs and baked potatoes.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Thursday: (11/28) A nice day of relaxation for me. Ernie though, was busy preparing the feast. I had some of his cinnamon tarts for breakfast. We usually have an early dinner about 2pm. I spent the morning adding pictures to the blog. I’ve only been adding them about every month. It does liven up the blog though. Menu was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, scalloped potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, and fresh cranberry sauce. Dinner knocked me out for the rest of the afternoon. Ernie had made several pies as well for desert.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Oh Pour Me

First part finished, now to dodge the tree

First part finished

Monday: (11/25) Nice weather. Clear skies and no wind. But, it is fall and those pesky leaves continue to fall. I prepared to pour some concrete today. When I tried the mixer it threw it’s chain . I bent the motor shell when I was bring it down to San Jose when I dropped it. I thought I had it straightened out but no so. I took it apart and took the hammer to it again to pound it into shape. Last night I stopped on the way down at Orchard Hardware for some concrete mix. I also brought my big black dump wagon to save my back when hauling the bags to the back yard. I poured about half of the base I had formed and used more than half of my bags so I blocked it off short and returned to the nearby store for more concrete. I got there in about 10 minutes then discovered I didn’t have my wallet so returned home and got the wallet and then back to the store for the concrete. With all that, I still was back pouring concrete in 35 minutes. The concrete was all shaded so it took a long time to dry enough to complete the finish. While it was drying, I had lunch. Then I started digging out the remainder of the fence base near a big redwood tree. I will be angling the fence there to protect the tree. I had to get my jackhammer out to remove about three feet of 8″x8″ concrete fence base where the old fence connected to the garage. It made really quick work of the removal. I really should have gotten the jackhammer years ago. The concrete eventually finished up nicely.

Granola for breakfast, a turkey and cheese English muffin sandwich for lunch. For dinner I walked to La Victoria Restaurant for the chili relleno plate dinner.

Ready to pour final part

Anchor for corner post

Tuesday: (11/26) I started by stripping the forms off the fence base I poured yesterday. I also back-filled the edges. Then I constructed the form for the last section of fence base. It was a little tricky because it angles toward the end post to avoid a big redwood tree. I completed the form and installed the rebar by 1230. I then dashed off to pickup to more bags of concrete mix. I tried to calculate more exactly today so I don’t have any leftover bags left to become bricks over time. I finished pouring the concrete by 1400. I then cleaned up and waited for it to dry enough to finish. I poured it a little wet and it’s a late pour so I may be out after dark doing the final troweling. I picked up a clip light earlier just for such an occasion. I needed to cutoff the form boards so I finally opened up my new cutoff miter saw. It made quick work doing needed 15 degree miter cuts. Don’t know why I hadn’t brought it out before I got it to use for the siding repairs. I did the final troweling after dark about 1800. Should be ready to put the fence up next week. Now to find the best price of the fence  materials.

Pancakes with peanut butter and jam with sausage for breakfast. Turkey and cheese on English muffin for lunch. A confusion pizza from House of Pizza for diner.

Drying, ready for the Posts, rails and boards

Wednesday: (11/27) I stripped the form off the section I poured yesterday then cleaned up the area and back-filled around the fence base. I then loaded up about 15 five gallon buckets of concrete debris and excess dirt. The dirt I add to my growing dirt pill probably ending up with another raised flower bed until I collect enough for another dumpster. The concrete ends up in the garbage a little at a time. I started home early visiting Lowe’s, Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware looking for lumber for the fence. It looks like the pressure treated wood is best from OSH while the fence boards might be better from Home Depot. Sunday or Monday I’ll do a shopping run for the lumber. Might be a fence by Tuesday.

Leftover pizza for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Leftover spaghetti for dinner.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Looking At Hiking Gear

Sunday: (11/24) Leftover chorizo scrambled eggs for breakfast. We headed out about 11am and stopped at Ann’s Restaurant in Menlo Park for lunch. I had a Chicken bacon sandwich and Lou and Dawn shared some lamp chops. After lunch we dropped Dawn off in Redwood City to look around while Lou and I stopped by Redwood Trading Company, a hiking shop in Redwood City then Stopped by REI in San Carlos. I was just looking at what is available for light hiking. Not much at either of these store. It looks like to get light backpacking equipment you heed to look online. Lou did find a pair of shoes at Redwood Supply. For dinner we stopped at Chavez market in Redwood City for a couple of Super Nachos to go.

I’ve now got a list of four things to do to prepare for a Pacific Crest Trail Through Hike:

  • See if I can, in fact, sleep on a sleeping pad.

  • See if I can walk 15 miles a day for several consecutive days.

  • Take a backpacking class.

  • Loose 30 pounds. This means I won’t notice the weight of the backpack.

I may try the hike this coming April. If I only do a section or more and don’t complete the entire through hike in one year, at least I’ll have started the hike with a section or two checked off and I’ll be ready to backpack other hikes, possibly not as ambitious.

Seems like all the hikers have a trail name. I think I’ll be “Moob” unless I think of a better one soon.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tellebration Palo Alto 2013

Boomerang Barbershop Quartet

 Tom and Sandy Farley

Saturday: (11/23) Lou’s birthday today. We dashed off to do our weekly grocery shopping today. It was a little different because it was also Thanksgiving dinner shopping. With that done, I prepared  some chorizo, onions, peppers and potatoes in scrambled eggs for breakfast which we enjoyed in the back yard. Lou prepared some spaghetti squash with orange carrots and chicken for dinner.
After dinner I took Dawn to the Telabration presented by the South Bay Storytellers in Palo Alto. Dawn was one of the storytellers for the event. Nice show along with Dawn there was a cowboy storyteller and the Boomerang Barbershop Quartet.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Portola Redwoods SP, Tip-Toe Falls and Tarwater Loop Trails

Tip Toe Falls At Portola SP

Coming up Tarwater Loop Trail in Pescadero County Park

Friday: (11/22) The usual hikers breakfast of a loaded breakfast sandwich from Jack In The Box.

If you don’t have Google Earth try this link for a look at the hike route.

Nice hike with my San Jose Mid-Week Hikers Group at the Portola State Park. I had planned a nice hike to see Tip-Toe Falls and do the Tarwater Loop Trail. The park is about 27 miles from home so we had two carpools for the nine hikers to get there. That also reduces the fees since the entrance fee is per vehicle. My annual State Park Pass paid off again. The heavy rains we had a couple of days ago did dampen the park but there really wasn’t much mud and the creeks are down now. unfortunately the bridge across Pescadero Creek, really a river, had been pulled for the season so we got to dip our feet in the stream to get across. Lots of banana slugs were out on the trails as well because of the rain. Our hike was only 9.6 miles with my estimate of 8 miles but no one complained because the park was so nice.

After the hike I returned my carpool folks to the Park and Ride we started rom. One of the hikers had just bought new tires but arrived this morning with a flat. When we returned I used my compressor from the Jeep to air up her tire. That turned out to be a bad idea. When i left the park i turned on my head lights and left them on when i stopped at the park and ride. The combination of the compressor and the headlights killed the battery. Walmart batteries must not hold too much charge. My onld volks wagon could burn the headlights 4 hours and still start the car. This was only 15 minutes and a good battery seems like it should have been OK to start the Jeep later. Roadservice arrived in 15 minutes and put me back on the road.

This put my return home at after 3pm. I had not had lunch, just a granola bar so I was a bit hungry. I called Lou and she agreed to go with me to lunch. As it turned out, Dawn was on her way home on the trolley so we waited and picked her up and had dinner at LUU Noodle House with our usual chow fun noodles, pad thai, and egg rolls.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Be Happy

Sunday: (11/17) We did our weekly grocery trip this morning before breakfast. Dawn has been looking for a “HappyLite” and found one on FreeCycle. A person at Stanford university was getting rid of it. We stopped by their lab to pick it up.  Always nice to find what you want for free. A HappyLite provides a bright light that is supposed to mimic a bright sunny day making a person happier. They are used a lot in Alaska. Our donor was from Chicago. Must be dreary in the winter there too? I finished moving a couple of more plants into the greenhouse, the last of them.

Lou's Elevated Chair


In the evening I drove down to San Jose for more work on the house tomorrow. I hate the traffic in the morning. Leftover Don’s home fried potatoes with sausage and eggs for breakfast. Leftovers du jour for lunch. I made a green pepper, hamburger, rice and tomato meal in one. It’s really my stuffed pepper recipe but I use the last of our green peppers from the garden and many were small so I just cut all the peppers into large chunks.

Monday: (11/18) The neighbors tree has buried the yard in leaves so I spent the morning removing the leaves to a pile in the street for the City to remove. Dawn provided some materials for me to deliver to the Library which I did at noon and picked up my lunch on the way. During lunch I planned and posted a hike for my hiking group for this Friday. My lunch wore me out so I took a little nap then got to work digging my two post holes for the fence. In the evening I stopped by Home Depot and got some lumber, stakes, rebar and concrete dobies for the fence base. Since I was next to a Best Buy store, I stopped in to peek at what’s new. For breakfast leftover Don’s home fried potatoes with peppers and onions served with sausage and eggs. Lunch was a La Victoria carnitas super burrito. My lunch lasted so I just had a slice of cherry pie with a glass of milk for dinner.

Tuesday: (11/19) This morning I was busy digging more dirt for the fence base. After lunch with the crew, I stopped in to Home Depot for some more lumber. I decided I would raise the fence base two inches from the level of the adjacent fence so that the high ground by the old garage slab next door isn’t higher then the base. This required 2×6′s instead of the 2×4′s I bought before because I had already dug out the trench. When I got home I installed 3/4ths of the forming before it got too dark to continue. In the evening it started to rain heavily and about 0030 the power went out for a couple of hours. I know because I had to get up to turn off the light I had left on. More leftover Don’s potatoes with sausage and eggs for breakfast. I met Lou, Dawn and Ernie for lunch at the Harry’s Hofbrau on Saratoga Avenue after her PT appointment. Dinner was leftover green peppers and rice.

Wednesday: (11/20) We had a really heavy rain last night, first in a very long while. Today is cloudy with a threat of rain. I finished installing the forms for the first two sections of the fence and added the rebar. It was ready to pour by 11am but with the 70% threat of rain today and a 20% chance tomorrow, I won’t be pouring the concrete until this weekend or next week. I’ll have to shift back to some protected paint stripping under the porch or take some time off now.Well, that didn’t happen. We had a really heavy long soaking in the afternoon. I never got back to work.

Fence base form


I did enjoy some web browsing, especially reading a blog by an Aussie who just completed the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) this year. She had never done backpacking prior to starting the 2663 mile journey from Mexico to Canada. It is quite interesting following her trials and tribulations along the trail. Her success provides even more inspiration for me to attempt it. I’ve been considering doing it piece-meal but may attempt the whole enchilada instead. Of course, I’d find out if I really can carry a backpack and do 20-25 miles a day continuously with a few trial hikes first. It would take five months to complete.

Granola for breakfast. Cheese sandwich an yogurt for lunch. Italian sausage, potato and cheese sandwich for dinner.

Thursday: (11/21) Today was quite windy and cold in the morning with lots of dark clouds but the afternoon was pretty nice. I tinkered in the morning moving the cement mixer in place for the pour next week. I also moved the scaffolds into place for more paint prep and then spent some time with the heat gun stripping some siding until my heat gun died. Number two dead. Based on the life expectancy of these two heat guns I suspect I’ll need about 5 more to complete the paint job. It isn’t too bad since they only cost $15 each. I picked up a new one on the way home. Chorizo and eggs with cheese for breakfast. A chicken pot pie for lunch. For dinner I took Lou to a new restaurant in the neighborhood, The Corner Bakery. I had a Parmesan chicken with mac and cheese wile Lou had a chopped salad.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A New Hiking Group

Green house stocked up for the winter cold

Saturday: (11/16) I fixed a nice breakfast of home fried potatoes, sausage and eggs.  After breakfast I tinkered in the yard moving many of the potted plants into the greenhouse.

For lunch Iranian potato salad and cheese cake. Lou and I watched the movie A Few Good Men and then about 1400 Dawn and I drove over to Santa Cruz. I had a meeting and Dawn loves the book stores. About 1730 We had dinner at the 99 Bottles Of Beer Restaurant. We shared a Nachos Grande with steak and a cup of Gouda soup. My meeting was with a new Meetup Group called Bay Area Thru-Hiking / Long Distance Backpacking group. The purpose of the group is to support hikers interested in hiking through trails like the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the John Muir Trail (JMT) and the like. Nice group and I’m even more interested in doing some hikes on the PCT now. After the meeting I met Dawn at the Santa Cruz Bookstore and did some browsing myself before we departed about 2215. We were home in Palo Alto a little after 2300.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Painting Season About To End

Thursday: (11/07) I drove down to San Jose early. I made a couple of stops along the way. Smart And Final for some detergent, best location to get the unusual gentle and free version. Also stopped at Orchard Hardware for some screws, washers, and a piece of sheet metal to use for flashing. I didn’t like the way the roofers flashed the front porch gutters. And then I stopped for breakfast at Burger King, a sausage croissant sandwich. And with all that, I still pulled up at the house in San Jose by 0800. I sanded my spackling, vacuumed and brushed everything and finally caulked all the gaps and cracks. I finished caulking right about 1700 as it was getting dark. Possibly some primer paint tomorrow. Hopefully the clouds don’t turn in to rain yet, even though we desperately need rain. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich with some carrots. For dinner, leftover spaghetti and wieners with some rice pudding.

Friday: (11/08) I was up at 0700 for a visit to Home Depot for more primer. It was quite foggy out. I returned some things before picking up my primer and more caulk. On the way home I stopped for a breakfast burrito at La Victoria Restaurant. By 0800 the fog was gone and the sun shining though the roof was still a bit wet. I started my painting by putting a little around the vent opening I modified. I wanted to get two coats on that today. Then I was up on the roof. By noon I had finished one side of the top. I had a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Then back on the roof to finish up there then down to the scaffolds for the lower side sections. All now has it’s first coat. It all needs at least one more coat and some of the redwood will need three. Our forecast now calls for rain next Wednesday and probably more fog until then. Might make for interesting painting. After working quite a while to get all the paint off of me, I was off to Palo Alto via a dinner at the Hometown Buffet.

Car Fire near our car In Santa Cruz

Saturday: (11/09) Dawn wanted to go to Santa Cruz to the bookstores downtown there so I drove her over. The Santa Cruz Book  store is outstanding and there is also Logo’s bookstore. We also visited a thrift store. We had lunch at the 99 Bottles Of Beer bar sharing a blackened chicken super nacho and a glass of hard cider. In the evening we took a walk at the Beach and Boardwalk Amusement Park and a walk on the pier where we had bowls of clam chowder for dinner. Granola for breakfast.

Methuselah Tree on Skyline Road

Sunday: (11/10) Dawn’s birthday today. Grocery shopping was delayed from Friday due to my working Friday and our trip yesterday. She bought herself a Google Chromecast dongle as her birthday present. We all went downtown for lunch. Lou and I took a drive up in the hills so I could look over some potential trails for future hikes, It was just a drive-by to see available parking and trail connections from different parks. It’s no fun to help everyone get lost when I lead a hike. Dawn made apple Dutch babies for breakfast. Lunch at the Crepevine in downtown Palo Alto. I had a great club sandwich, Lou and Dawn shared a salmon crepe, Ernie had spaghetti and Courtney had chicken soup. Lunch lasted, I had yogurt for dinner.

Monday: (11/11) I put on a second coat of primer paint today. The weather was good all day, even though a storm was supposed to be coming in for rain tomorrow? Eggs, sausage, and toast for breakfast. Chicken and cheese sandwich for lunch with lemon Greek yogurt. Chicken pot pie for dinner.

Left side view of house with primer coat

Right side view of house with primer coat

Tuesday: (11/12) I put the third coat of primer on today. I think it finally sealed the redwood. There is one troublesome spot that may need more attention, it has five coats now. And this is the best primer for sealing redwood. You would think the 100 year old redwood would get tired of leaching it’s color through paint. I think I’ll be able to put some color on tomorrow. The weather was cloudy but the rain never made it to town.  Eggs, sausage, and toast for breakfast. Chicken with asparagus and a baked potato followed by some grapes for lunch. Spaghetti with asparagus for dinner with more grapes for desert.

View of house with the color coat on.

My new pants

Wednesday: (11/13) I put the first coat of color paint on today. I finished on the roof and it was only 1200, earlier than normal so I just had a snack and returned to paint the lower areas on either side of the porch. I finished at 1340, put everything away, showered and had lunch. It looks pretty good. This is my last work day this week. I’ll be busy with Lou tomorrow and Friday. Dawn was in San Jose for a meeting so I picked her up and returned to Palo Alto. Granola for breakfast. Yogurt for lunch at 1200. Baked beans and wieners for lunch at 1345. Dinner at Chili’s Restaurant. I had CFS while Lou and Dawn had garlic chipolte steaks.

Thursday: (11/14) I took Lou to the Hospital for an appointment. While she was there I was off to breakfast at the Country Inn for a wild mushroom omelet with Swedish pancakes. I then dashed off to a dentist appointment to get my teeth cleaned. All’s well. I then visited Harbor Freight, looked around and bought some things I needed and some things I wanted. That’s often the case when visiting a toy store like Harbor Freight. For lunch I had a chicken sandwich at Jack In The Box. It wasn’t what I ordered but it was good. Then I waited for Lou and returned her home. Dawn was out for a walk about Palo Alto but had started Jerusalem Artichoke soup in the slow cooker before he left. She harvested the Jerusalem Artichoke from the yard this morning. When she came home we had the soup for dinner.

Friday: (11/15) We dropped Dawn off at Barnes and Nobles bookstore nearby and I took Lou to an appointment. We  then stopped by Hometown Buffet for lunch before returning home. We raided the fridge for leftover dinners. I had some cheese bread for my dinner.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Watching San Francisco

China Town Subway Construction

Wednesday: (11/06) I took today off from work for a walk-about in San Francisco. I caught the 0730 train to the city and walked downtown. I usually don’t have a destination for these walk-abouts. Each corner becomes a decision point for the trip.

MOMA Crane Erection, just the winch house

MOMA Crane Erection, first part of boom going on

I didn’t do far before I saw a truck with a tower crane section on it parked on the street. That made me think they might be erection a crank somewhere near. They were. The San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art building is being remodeled and they were raising the tower crane for the project. I love to watch other people work especially doing something I’d like to do or need to learn.

MOMA Crane Erection, off loading part of crane boom

MOMA Crane Erection, second part of boom
A job like this doesn’t go fast so I spent quite a bit of time just hanging around the site and returning to it. A little walk through China Town and the Marina District and a bus ride through other unexplored sections of town filled what little of the day wasn’t occupied watching the crane. I arrived back in Palo Alto at 2030 on the train. A maple bar for breakfast. A chicken pot pie from the Cravery pie shop for lunch. A chili relleno plat with a slice of rhubarb pie at the Creamery for dinner.