Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thursday: (11/27) Other than unloading all my dirt buckets from the Jeep, I relaxed all day, other than the difficult job of over eating. Popcorn for breakfast. The holiday dinner was at 1400. We managed to keep it rather simple. Lou and Ernie did the bulk of the work while Dawn and Courtney contributed. Since we were just six (Lou, Dawn, Ernie, Courtney, Cecilia, and myself) we didn't need the addition of the 4' x 8' sheet of plywood to make a big table. That made the morning even more relaxing.

Friday: (11/28) Even though it was Black Friday and we don't like crowds at all, we went out shopping today. Our plan was to visit the small shops in the small towns nearby North of us on the peninsula. As we passed through San Mateo I noticed a new restaurant called Jack's with a full parking lot. In one of it's previous lives, it used to be a Lyon's Restaurant and when I was going to school nearby I used to spend Friday nights in it's parking lot before returning to the school TV station, KCSM to work on the studio equipment. It was my home away from home. The new place was really fancy but had the two things we like, low prices and excellent food. My corned beef hash was great.  We continued North to San Bruno visiting all the thrift stores along the way. Lou was happy finding a Tandy Leather Store in San Bruno as well. Lunch was deserts at Neal's in Burlingame. We managed to spend the whole day out and bought nothing. Excellent. Leftovers for dinner.

Saturday: (11/29) Had a little rain overnight. I relaxed much of the morning planning hikes and our winter trip itinerary. Then I Tinkered on a few projects. The front door wouldn't lock any more so I had to adjust the receivers due to misalignment from house settling. Lou made biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. Dawn made Pastrami and jam panini sandwiches for dinner.

Sunday: (11/30) A nice rainy morning. I wanted to see our sump pump run since i haven;t checked it this season. I waited and watched but nothing during a prolonged heavy rain. So i went out in the rain to check the sump and found it full. I had unplugged the pump earlier in our drought to assure it didn't dump perfectly good water into the street. Now that we have some rain it needs to be on again. Otherwise, i genrally just tinkered around inside. Lou and I did some closet thinning today. On our way to lunch we dropped the spoils of our efforts off at Goodwill. Lou made latkes and bacon for breakfast. We visited LUU Noodle House for lunch. Dawn made turkey and rice soup for dinner.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Warm Spot In Winter

Friday: (11/21) To try something new, we visited the Grocery Outlet Market this evening to get what they had that was on our shopping list. Usually they have been our last stop because they open later and often they have things we've already purchased for less. We thought we'd try a new way to eliminate that awful feeling overpaying gives us.

Saturday: (11/22) A nibble and coffee at Walmart's McDonald's before doing our regular Saturday morning shopping run. Our second stop at Sprout's Market completed most of our Thanksgiving shopping. After a catchup nap I spent some time working on the greenhouse doors. I converted them to provide a rodent seal with wire earlier this year. Usually the doors were just removed in warm weather. Now that it's getting cooler, I needed to make the doors solid to keep it warm inside. Lou made breakfast sandwiches for our real breakfast. Mizrahi cheese noodles and broccoli for lunch. Pork ribs, rice and baked beans for dinner. After dinner we went to the Telabration where Dawn was one of the story tellers.

Sunday: (11/23) Lou's birthday. Breakfast at A Good Morning restaurant followed by some shopping.

Monday: (11/24) I drove down to San Jose after breakfast. Today's task was to start connecting the drain line on the north side of the house. I placed a line in there several years ago when I installed a walkway and fence. It has been dry because it went nowhere. Now to make it go somewhere. I had to trim the apricot tree above my trench path. I also tunneled under the planter strip concrete edging. Even though it was only a half day of work there was some progress. I made egg, pastrami and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. Tuna and cheese sandwich for lunch. Corn, pastrami and rice for dinner.

Tuesday: (11/25) More trenching today. I installed the line around to the middle of the entrance walkway. Granola for breakfast. Pastrami and cheese sandwich for lunch. Lou and Dawn stopped by for dinner. For dinner, a super burrito from Super Taqueria for me and quesadillas for Lou and Dawn.

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Above left I forgot to put a clean-out where I started the extension so I ended up with two right next to each other, one for each direction. They wont come to the surface but will be buried a couple of inches deep. Should eliminate too much digging to clear a line. Above right the drain line passes in front of the front porch steps.

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The line passes through the flower bed and starts across the front walkway. That small white pipe made it to the middle of the walkway but when I returned the next day to continue from there I forgot to connect to it to extend. It was buried in the fill rock while the drain line continued further.  I had to find it later. When i left for the weekend and Thanksgiving holiday I just placed estra base rock to level the patch.

Wednesday: (11/26) Dug more trench and installed the line to the South edge of the porch. When I install a section of pipe, I back fill as much as possible before continuing to dig more trench. All is nice and secure for the holiday and for the forecast rain this weekend. It should continue into Monday so no work then. It's OK because we have an appointment then. Granola for breakfast. Pastrami and cheese sandwich for lunch. Lou's enchiladas and chili rellenos for dinner

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Lots of obstacles. The water main, the sewer line and sprinkler pipes had to be dodged (sewer and water line), or temporarily removed (sprinkler lines). I try to manage my materials making as little mess as possible and leaving the place quite nice for the weekends. Still I get nothing but complaints from the tenant.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rancho Canada Del Oro Hike and Pizza

Friday: (11/21) Breakfast from Jack In The Box then Jessica, a neighbor hiker and I carpooled down to Morgan Hill to meet the San Jose Mid-Week Hiking group at Rancho Canada Del Oro Open Space Preserve.

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We hiked about 6.8 miles over hill and dale returning to our starting point as we like to do. For some reason the group was fairly fast today. After the hike we all went over to one of our fellow hiker's house in San Martin. They have a nice house in a vineyard on top of a hill.

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Her garden sure puts ours to shame.

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This was a pizza party with lots of pizzas cooked in a wood fired pizza oven under a giant oak tree in Susans yard. four of her children were busy preparing and cooking the pizzas.

With the rain of the past two days and forecast for tomorrow we were fortunate to have a wonderful day for the hike and party.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rounding The Corner

Monday: (11/17) I drove down to San Jose after traffic died down a little. A breakfast burrito at La Victoria in downtown San Jose was a first stop. I was back in the trenches digging today. There should be two non rain days this week so I should get something done. Lunch was a sausage and cheese sandwich. The trench is rounding the corner of the front of the house. Tomorrow I should get the pipe in and trench back filled. I finished the day by loading the jeep with my dirt buckets and returned to Palo Alto for dinner and to dump the dirt. After dinner I returned to San Jose so I can get an earlier start tomorrow. The two no rain days this week were today and tomorrow.

San Jose Drain Line 0201 San Jose Drain Line 0205
Tuesday: (11/18) I started with a breakfast burrito from La Victoria. Then, I started my bucket list. I loaded, moved, and dumped 78 five gallon buckets of dirt or base rock while finishing the installation of the drain line to the front of the house. In the process, I made three trips to the rockery, and a trip up to Palo Alto to dump excess dirt. I finished digging the trench to the proper depth, installed the drain line and then backfilled the trench.

San Jose Drain Line 0207 San Jose Drain Line 0217
Now I would normally quickly pour the concrete but can't do it this week because of the threat of rain. I hope it's more than a threat. I now have just a three foot deep one foot diameter trench opening where I stopped. Another sausage and cheese sandwich for lunch. Egg rolls and shrimp for dinner. I didn't finish up until about 2155 when I loaded the Jeep with another load of dirt destined for Palo Alto. I thought it would be easier to load dry dirt than mud if the forecast midnight rains come. If it's raining tomorrow morning, I'm off to Palo Alto. Lou seems to have caught a cold. Maybe I should stay here?

Wednesday: (11/19) Up at 0700. No rain yet? Darn, I may have to work. Off to breakfast first. I decided to try the Flames Restaurant on the other side of the University by the library. It's been there for years and I've never tried it before. Not many good restaurants in downtown San Jose. It was well above average. I had a nice Tex-Mex omelet. Still no rain but in reviewing my emails I was reminded of an appointment at noon so I didn't bother getting dirty in the morning. I tinkered at the computer in the morning. My appointment was at the Valley Transit Agency. They were celebrating World GIS Day by explaining what they are doing with GIS. Nice to learn some more about the data they have. After that I headed up to Palo Alto to dump my dirt that i loaded late last night. We had leftover bell peppers for dinner then I returned to San Jose. I did a little weeding and pruning where I need to start my front drain line trench tomorrow. If it's still dry i may get some work done. Lou's done her best to see that it rains. She washed the car today.

San Jose Drain Line 0212 San Jose Drain Line 0216
Thursday: (11/20) The usual breakfast burrito and a visit to Home Depot for a few more drain pipe fittings started the day. About 1030 I finally got to work by pruning the apricot tree in the front yard so i could more easily dig my trench under it. I finished the four feet of 24 inch deep trench under the tree by about 1300 when it started to rain heavily. I secured my trench and put things away and called it a day. I thought I had a Webinar at 1600. I headed home with a stop for some dim sum on the way fora late lunch. I settled in at home and when i tried to connect to the webinar I found it had ended. i had a brain fart. The webinar is scheduled for Eastern time. I've "attended" many and haven't had a problem adjusting the time until now. The webinar was at 1000 Pacific time. for some reason I added three hours instead of subtracting. I actually had scheduled five more webinars all with the wrong times on my calendar. I fixed all those entries and hopefully am now straight. Lou made enchiladas for dinner.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fantastic Feral Feline Freeway Foray

Saturday: (11/15) While I relaxed most of the day, Lou and Dawn were out at a story telling event at the Los Altos Library. Dawn was one of the story tellers in the afternoon and i arrived in time to hear her story. One of our long time friends just moved back to San Jose from Amherst, Massachusetts. One of her relatives helped her out. They drove back with a car full of cats. Their adventures in doing so make for interesting reading. Lou made pot roast for dinner.

Sunday: (11/16) Grocery shopping in the morning. Sausage hash and eggs for breakfast. I made more stuffed bell peppers for dinner.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Razorback Ridge / Hamms Gulch Loop Hike

Friday: (11/14) I started my Friday Hike day with the usual Loaded Breakfast Sandwich from Jack In The Box. I find the sandwich provides enough fuel to get up to the top of mountains without loading me down to start. Oatmeal just doesn't do it. I met two fellow hikers here at the house to carpool to the trail head.

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We met the other hikers at the trailhead, 23 hikers total. It was a nice day for the hike though our recent rains made parts of the trail rather muddy.

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The hike was 10.1 miles. We started at 0930 and finished at 1330.

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The falls colors were wonderful.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall Is Here

Tuesday: (11/11) Leftover bacon and sausage from Norieaga's  with eggs for breakfast. I unloaded the RV and worked in the yard a little. Otherwise I tinkered at the computer today.  I cooked my microwave stuffed bell peppers for dinner.

Wednesday: (11/12) I was off early stopping for a breakfast burrito at La Victoria on the way. I loaded my buckets and took a load of dirt back to Palo Alto then returned after brunch of leftover stuffed peppers. I stripped the forms and backfilled from the last section I poured before leaving on our trip. I got out my jackhammer and broke out the concrete on the next section of ditch. I loaded that debris and returned to Palo Alto. I spent some time in the afternoon talking with the VTA Outreach MIS person about their scheduling software. Zucchini and sausage for dinner.

Thursday: (11/13) A rainy night. Lou made chorizo scrambled eggs for breakfast. I decided to take the day off. The the 50% chance forecast for rain today didn't appear.  I tinkered on the computer most of the day. Leftover zucchini and sausage for lunch. I also installed two replacement defroster fans in the RV. The bearings went out in both so they were way too noisy. Really nice now. Lou and I also visited REI and Orchard Hardware for a few things. French fries, fried Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, and BBQ ribs for dinner. In the evening we took a walk through IKEA.


Monday, November 10, 2014

San Luis Obispo, El Churro park

Monday: (11/10) Dawn's birthday. After breakfast we took a walk around the arboretum then started our drive home. A short stop in Paso Robles for a walk and thrift store visits. Dinner at the San Miguel Ranch Market in Greenfield. We arrived home about 1730.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Bakersfield Smog

Friday: (11/07) We started the morning with desert at Jerry's Nugget Casino in North Las Vegas after an early departure from our camp at Lake Mead. After breakfast, I headed over to Napa Pottery shop to get some planters we had seen earlier. Lo an Dawn were off to get a book Dawn had seen at a thrift shop. We met at the Wild Wild West casino parking lot and hooked up the Jeep to travel. On the road to Bakersfield by 1130. Coming down from Tehachapi we could see the dirty air below over Bakersfield, pur destination. We were at Aunt Helen's by 1830. While set  the Rv, Lou was off to Subway for some dinner sandwiches.

Saturday: (11/08) We did some tasks around Helen's place and some shopping (looking).  Lou made breakfast. Lunch at the the Ranch Mexican Market. Lou's French onion soup and toast for dinner.

Sunday: (11/09) Dawn's birthday is tomorrow. She wanted breakfast at Noriega's Basque Restaurant. We'd never done that before. Excellent! After breakfast we were off toward Pismo Beach. We thought we'd spend the night before heading home. No smog at the beach. No campsites either, a three day weekend. We arrived about 1330 disconnected the Jeep and Lou and Dawn were off thrifting. I visited an RV Parts store and got a replacement lens for our outside light which had a hole and a new clearance light fixture. All installed. Then we were off to our late lunch at Pismo Fish and Chips. We headed off to El Churro County Park for the night and were settled in a little after 1700.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Las Vegas

Monday: (11/03) Sausage eggs and hash browns for breakfast. We went to the scooter repair shop and the mechanic confirmed my opinion that the scooter would be difficult to repair and my fix will probably work for a while so no repairs made. We then shifted into thrift store mode visiting several around town. We also visited the Bass Pro Store and the Pet Kingdom store. The pet store has lots of exotic pets so we try to visit when we are in town. Lunch at Jetty's Casino Cafe in North Las Vegas. Chili sizes for dinner at camp.

Tuesday: (11/04) Getting up early just after first light gives us a chance for a walk while the wind isn't blowing.

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We started the day with a walk around camp then I took a short walk down the hill to the river. When back at camp it was nice just enjoying the view from our chairs until the wind arrived.

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Then it was time for breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Ernie called to say he arrived here in Las Vegas as well. We agreed to meet for lunch. We did some thrift shopping and I visited Dick's Sporting goods for a look before meeting Ernie at the Sunset Casino for lunch at their buffet. After lunch we returned the camp to relax and enjoy a campfire with our neighbor. No dinner needed due to the late lunch.

Wednesday: (11/05) Lou made eggs, potatoes and bacon for breakfast. I got to work on the water leak at the drivers window. i located my black caulk and recaulked the top of the window and along a portion of the rubber roof above that. Hopefully good enough for a while. After a green salad lunch, Lou and Dawn were off to the thrift and book stores. I relaxed at camp and tinkered at the computer. They returned about 1930 and we had a ham sandwich for dinner.

Thursday: (11/06) Another eggs, potatoes and bacon breakfast. We were all off to the thrift, book and pet stores again today. A Chinese buffet for lunch and dinner at the Palace Station buffet. I stumbled onto a wonderful nursery called Plant World. All sorts of plants but the real wonderful thing is that there are a dozen or more parrots scattered around the place and a bunch of house cats. My kind of place.


Saturday, November 1, 2014


Saturday: (11/01) We got up early a little after 0400 and hit the road. The rain had mostly stopped. We beat the sun low in our eyes both because we were so early and because it was cloudy. We arrived at Aunt Helen's about 0630. We all went to Milt's restaurant for breakfast. While the girls were all out thrift shopping, I  was busy napping. We had a very late lunch at Bill Lee's Chinese restaurant. Late enough that dinner wasn't needed.

Sunday: (11/02) We got up an hour early because we hadn't reset the clocks for DLST. Leftovers for breakfast. All hooked up and ready to leave at 0900. The RV had a new sound when i started up so I checked the power steering fluid and it was low. We got gas and they didn't have the fluid so a stop at an AutoZone Store provided the power steering fluid and quieted the noise. The rain was mostly gone just clouds and the occasional sprinkles. Cold cuts on the road for lunch. We arrived at Lake Mead's Las Vegas Wash Campground by 1530 and settled in. Dinner was open face pepper steak sandwiches followed with fresh strawberries. It was dark by 1730 but we should enjoy a nice early morning now.

Tarwater Loop Trail In The Rain

Friday: (10/31) My usual Loaded Breakfast Sandwich from jack In The Box fortified me for my hike today. I wasn't sure if I'd have any company for my hike. The number of hikers signed up dropped from 24 to 12 in the past day. We had a serious rain storm predicted. I met the eleven hikers that did show up. Turns out the 12th just over slept. Ahh! dedicated hikers. We had some light rain and sprinkles on out 5.5 mile hike with the last half mile turning into a downpour. So all in all, a nice hike. Nice to have a group of dedicated hikers to hike rain or shine. We finished early at noon. I dashed toward home down the hill. I showered and did the final prep to leave. I pulled away about 1330. I was to met Lou in San jose to hookup the Jeep. Traffic was terrible due to two accidents on the freeway. We didn't leave San Jose until after 1600. I didn't want to get back on the freeway so we took Monterey Highway, the old highway South. That was a good idea until we got to Morgan Hill where they had a detour, not well thought out, for a street fair. An hour later we had passed through the eight block detour and were on our way again. We stopped for gas in Salinas and dinner in Greenfield at Rancho San Miguel market. We stopped at a rest area in Bradley North of Paso Robles at 2200.