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.