March 14, 2013
Wouldn’t it be nice if one could travel from the Motor Home to the house and get on my “resident” computer and have it work the way it did when I left it? No such luck, of course. After two days of struggle, I still cannot get my photos to load the way they normally do, so I’ve figured out a way around it. I can sympathize with the demented guy in a cartoon who takes a hammer to his television or computer. Frustrating.
I like driving my Prius and just had a new battery pack installed. But after reading Steve Westley’s report, I’m thinking I should have bought a Tesla. Steve is a dot-com millionaire with a community service bent. He volunteers his service on the state’s Energy Advisory Board. I met him twice and I’m very impressed with his intelligence, and ideas. Anyway, you might want to read his take on the new Tesla being manufactured right here in nearby Fremont, CA. at the old G.M Plant.
I have never been a big “car guy” and have been driving the same car for 12 years. However, I just got my new Tesla Model S last weekend, and it feels like driving something from the future. The all-electric Model S is built in Fremont, CA at the old NUMMI auto factory that Tesla reopened after it was closed by Toyota and General Motors. The car is faster than almost any other production car (0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds) and gets the EPA equivalent of 95 miles per gallon. It also costs 75% less to operate than a gas-powered car. That’s why Motor Trend chose Tesla as Car of The Year. The Model S is a great example of Silicon Valley innovation and American manufacturing ingenuity. If you also have solar panels on the roof of your home, you may never pay a cent for electricity or gas again.
Who knows, I may buy one yet. And then, there is building design. I’ve designed two houses and live in one still. I never thought I’d be designing another one, but since my mobile flooded in Oregon, that is a very real possibility and occupies a good bit of my thought these days. Look at the Energy Board’s report on digitizing homes. Steve chaired the Subcommittee on Building Energy Efficiency. The Committee’s report follows:
Buildings use 40% of the nation’s energy – more than the transportation or industrial sectors. The National Academy of Sciences points out that “full deployment of cost-effective energy efficiency technologies in buildings alone could eliminate the need to construct any new electricity-generating plants in the United States” until 2030. In November, our subcommittee released a report analyzing the tremendous potential for cost savings, available technologies, and Department of Energy programs and initiatives related to building energy efficiency. The report outlines what the U.S. needs to do is to lead this revolution. We have digitized music and cameras; it is time to digitize buildings.
The challenge is before me and I’m hoping the eventual economy of the building might mitigate the extra cost of using these features. When I find out what they are, I’ll let you know. I just hope they have a self-cleaning garage and a self repairing computer. (The report was put out Nov. 2012.) Should be perfected by now, doncha think?
January 15, 2013
The USS Lexington is fondly called Lady Lex around Corpus Christi, Texas. She served valiantly in WWII and served a total of 48 years. The Japanese kept broadcasting her sinking, never true. She became known as the ghost ship that came back to life.
Here she sits in the harbor.
She was attacked by two kamikazes. One was shot down, the other hit her island, did huge damage, killed 47 and wounded 123 men. The kamikazes were a desperate measure by the Japanese. They recruited young men do die for their country and offered the great honor of wearing a head band (hackamachi) used by respected feudal samurai. Kamikaze means Divine Wind, a wind god said to have repelled a Mongol fleet heading toward Japan in 1281.
The Japanese distributed these flyers to demoralize the men. You can barely read at the top, The bearer is entitled to honorable treatment as prescribed by the Geneva Convention.
This is a very personal museum. Many letters described the attack and the subsequent sadness of burying their friends at sea.
One survivor sent in his dog tags and a piece of shrapnel from the “Zeke” they shot down.
The four self guided tours take you all over the ship and while I walked I had this sense of deja vu as though I’d seen this ship before. I could see men running through the hatch doors;
I see the men running, as the horrible piercing sirens go off and some sailor struggles to turn off these valves. I was running all of those WWII movies through my brain only to learn later that indeed, the Lex had been used in several movies.
Sailors slept in hammocks like this, only 18 inches from each other.
A later refurbishment gave much improved sleeping arrangements, but the men who used them referred to them as coffins.
An old swabbie looked like this.
And a modern swabbie we recognize.
If you like models, there were rooms full of them, every size, every ship and plane.
I preferred pictures and paintings of ships.
As you walk into a room, a sensor starts a recording and in this spot I heard Roosevelt sadly delineate the number of ships wounded and sunk at Pearl Harbor. The casualties in men. It was about 300 men and 316 ships, if memory serves me.
You can see the fear and dread in these young faces as they prepare for battle.
And, the wonderful moments of relief and joy at liberty.
Other duties than war.
I climbed into this wheel well and Jim took my picture.
The navigation room, again gave me that deja vu. The compass on the right, with the huge compensating ball-magnets keep the compass functioning. So, I got to massage the navigator’s balls, as they are called.
The life rafts are now reversible, so no matter what side they fall on you can get in. But, it isn’t water proof. Brr, that’s cold.
There was so much to see here. We spent four and one-half hours on the ship. Pricey, we thought, at $11.95 each, senior price, plus $3.50 for parking. We also ate a delicious cafeteria style lunch on board. But, they also show two major movies wearing 3-D glasses that were absolutely stupendous and worth the price of the ticket on their own. So, go see the Lex if it is the only thing you have time for.
January 4, 2013
To fly from Murphys to Texas takes two days. I first drive to my daughter’s house near Sacramento, spend the night, and get a ride to the Sacramento Airport for my 6:10 a.m.flight to meet Jim in Harlingen, Texas. I flew from Sac to Los Angeles to San Antonio, to Harlingen. The flight was delayed 20 minutes because of ice and sleet on the runways in San Antonio. A bit bumpy from San Antonio on through.
I know Jim missed me. He had champagne waiting and HE, THE GRINCH HIMSELF, cooked me dinner. But, alas, the pictures are still in the camera. I brought two cameras and two cables with me but, not the correct cable to unload pictures from the Sony.
I shared two legs of the trip with a delightful lady named Rosa. I took her picture and several others. I told her to look for her picture on the blog. My apologies Rosa, if you see this.
And, after allowing my computer to sit for 6 months, it was not happy about my return. It wants everything updated, and cleaned up. My security had expired and I downloaded and installed another program before I did anything else.. Well, you know how it goes.
It is colder here than in Murphys. Remember, this is weather- wimp territory. But, Jim assures me it will be back in the 80′s by Monday. I’m looking forward to getting my rambling life back after the accident. I’ll be doing therapy for quite a some time yet while on the road. We’ll be moving a bit slower than normal, for awhile. But I’m happy in Texas.
November 11, 2012
I guess a day is never really lost if you learn a lot, and I did. On my way to pre-register at the hospital, my 2001 Prius’s check engine light went on. I managed to round-up alternative transportation to the hospital. When I returned, I had it towed to the Toyota Dealership in Modesto.
The next day, at Toyota, the head mechanic turned me loose after resetting the engine light computer. “We can’t find a thing wrong with this engine and we checked everything.” I took off and 30 minutes down the road, the check engine light went on again. I returned to Toyota. They were really terrific and fast-tracked me through since I came from so far away. This time he concluded that my main battery pack is beginning to fail and will need replacement sometime soon. The battery was guaranteed for eight years and 100,000 miles. I’ve far exceeded that. But, since it is still running…hmmm! Should I wait until it just quits?
Jim, in the meantime, did research on-line about battery life and the great engines Toyota is famous for. He sent me reams of information and we came to the conclusion that $2200 to replace the pack with a battery recycle credit, gives me another run at 150,000 miles. Much cheaper than a new car. Plus, the new battery technology is better than the old. Yes, I learned a lot about a car I love. Especially since I get 44.5 per gallon in winter, 47.5 in the summer, and 52.7 when I’m out of the mountains. That mileage has never diminished in the 11 years I’ve owned my Prius.
It was after 2:00 and I stopped for lunch and a brew in Oakdale.
And near home, I caught this beautiful rainbow. I guess that is a good omen! I think my Prius is a champ and will get a new battery pack.
October 9, 2012
I helped work on the paint job yesterday. I painted five window frames and two doorways, which required having the doors open to the wonderful, cool weather we had yesterday. My son was having problems with his back and I decided I could do it myself. I enjoyed it, but there are eleven doors in this house and many windows still unpainted. So, we will be at it for two more days, at least.
With open doorways, I decided to get all the projects stowed in boxes under desks and in corners up off the floor and consider which one to start with. DON’T PUT OFF ‘TIL TOMORROW… you know what I mean.
A book on brew-tasting I wrote when the craft beer movement first got started. Unsold. I thought I should put it together. Scrapbooks of trips left unfinished. To many to name.
All week long, I’ve washed and sorted through a barrel of wool for rug-making. Braided, hooked and rag rugs are beautiful and long-lasting.
This is an unfinished hooked rug I started too many years ago.
I’ve braided eight area rugs. This one is in my living room. The biggest one I made was four-foot diameter circle rug that I’ve given to a friend.
Two small ones designed to be place in front of chairs so the carpet doesn’t wear down in one noticeable place.
A washable rag rug for the bathroom. It is made of cotton, not wool. I enjoy making rugs and the end result.
I’ll store the wool until cold weather sets in. I didn’t photograph the number of quilts I’ve cut and haven’t sewn. Or art projects unfinished. I’m never bored, as intended. But, I think I have YEARS of projects on hold. Oh, well. It’s like fun in the bank.
October 8, 2012
Street faires vary from place to place. The one connected to Grape Stomp is well organized and just the right size. Easily accessible. You can stroll along, have lunch (several times) and see everything you want to, including stomping grapes, in about 3 hours. In fact, there is enough to keep you occupied for the full day, if you choose.
It is as much about meet and greet as anything. Finding old friends you haven’t seen in a long time. Having a visit and moving on. This nice man built a wagon for his aged dog. 102 in dog years. Blind and deaf, he can’t get out and move around much. His owner spends part of each day “walking” him in a cart so he gets some attention. He compared the dog’s vulnerability to that of an aged person with disabilities. Something to think about.
We learned from the owner of this booth that succulents are all the rage again. They are very appealing and I wanted to buy two or three types. Of course the appeal is as much about the containers you put them in as the plant itself. I have containers at home that need filling.
As charmed as I was, I bought none since most succulents cannot survive our yearly freezes in the mother lode. But, a purse? A colander? Old cans? Little vases and boxes and boots? They are easy to care for and require little water. I see a new project budding.
I like metal art and this lizard looked appealing to me, with its bit of color. I imagined it on the side wall of my garage. Hmmm!
My friend, Patty and I watched this guy making candy apples. But, we opted for a Thai salad for lunch. We stopped and had a beer at the bar in the Murphys Hotel and reluctantly passed up a bratwurst sandwich and home-made apple pie and tacos and chicken on a stick and…too many choices. Street food is so tasty.
Fancy birdhouses that no self-respecting bird would call home are clever patio and yard decorations. Mine become homes for paper wasps or mud daubers, but, I like them just the same.
Something for all ages. These two girls with painted faces were walking their raccoon and puppy on a string. So cute you wanted to reach down and chuck them under the chin.
It was a fun day. We met interesting people. We saw goofy costumes. Ate great food. Admired other people’s creativity and got inspiring ideas. But what I liked most about the street faire is going with someone who likes to take the time to meander and visit and not feel rushed. I think it’s a girl thing.
July 13, 2012
Columbia State Park is a great place to visit with kids. A basic description is that it was a surviving old gold town that had burned down when it was wooden buildings. Rebuilt using brick, it survived. The gold petered out, the town was abandoned. An enterprising real estate person advertised the whole town for sale, without success. As the town continued to deteriorate, locals tried to get the state to step in and turn it into a historical park, which they did in 1946. In the 1980′s, as a journalist I interviewed the last remaining resident of Columbia, Geraldine McConnell. True living history.
The kids liked peeking into the open doors and windows of shops with “weird” stuff in it from the old days. But the Ten Pin Alley is a favorite. Alyssa takes her turn to bowl…
Dad helps her reset the pins. The ball is returned by setting it on the slot and gravity brings it back for the next bowler.
Amanda really got into it, while Angelo watched.
At the black smith shop, Dad showed his skill untangling those metal pieces that defy you to pull them apart.
Hand dipping candles and learning about how they are made and understanding the dependence on candle light, is always a fun place to stop. The park during various seasons has festivals, music, a Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn fence painting contest, watermelon seed spitting contest, pie eating contest and so on. The old jail, outdoor toilet, chicken pen and other necessities of the old days amaze children. The artifacts of the Chinese are exotic. And the hardscrabble life of the Native People who lived here are on display, along with the activities of temperance groups and Fraternal Organizations; banks and hotels.
When the stage rolled into town, the kids got to pet the horses. A daring first for them.
And, a ride on the stage that got robbed when they approached a sharp turn near a huge boulder. “Can you imagine how scary Aunt Mary?”
Probably the best fun was panning for gold. While even small flakes are scarce, each filled their tube with tiny gem stones in the sand and water. They got garnets, amethyst, turquoise, peridots, crystal, quartz and a few other stones that gave them “color”. And the fun lasted for hours. They quit for awhile to climb the boulders or just walk around, then came back to it and kept cool until we were all surprised how late the day.
And since it was late, we ate dinner at the saloon where the waitresses and waiters wear a holstered pistol. “Is that a real gun, Aunt Mary?” Yep! Their packin’ ” I told them in my best western drawl.
For information about Columbia, click on the following link:
June 19, 2012
We meet a lot of veterans on the road as we travel like this Air Force Veteran. He and a Navy buddy ride together and are proud to have ridden all the way to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. I visited the Memorial; I don’t remember what year it was. We, like many others, traced the name of a friend. It was an emotional experience. Especially the notes, and flowers, and meaningful (to them) trinkets that people lay next to the wall where their loved ones names are etched in stone forever.
We’ve seen several of these Veteran Biker Groups on various missions. Just seeing them reminds us of All Gave Some, Some Gave All.
Wherever I see a vet just minding his own business, I feel shy about walking up to him and thanking them, but we do smile in a friendly way and say hello. If they have cameras we offer to take their pictures for them. It is one thing I can do, as small as that may be. This duo let me take their picture for my blog, and we took their pictures in front of the ruins we were all admiring, with their cameras.
Both of these guys made the trip All The Way in 2011 and in 2012. The theme is We Ride For Those Who Can’t. I didn’t ask their names, but I’m going to make a point of doing so the next time we meet a veteran biker and post their pictures on the blog.
I fly to Vegas this afternoon for a visit with my son and daughter and their families for two days. Then, home to Murphys for my family reunion. Besides everyday business to catch up on, each time I return home, I make it a point to finish one major project I started. I’ll be in touch via this blog and give you a look into what goes on in my very active community.
We’re parked in the City of Farmington, in a huge parking lot behind the shuttle service that will deliver me to Alburquerque Airport later this morning. Then Jim will head for high ground, cooler temperatures, hopefully, and more rest for his injury which still plagues him.
June 18, 2012
In the park, father’s were celebrating their special day by fishing.
A young daughter not quite sure she could see the point in it, stuck it out with her dad. It only takes one catch to make her a believer.
This dad told me he fishes with worms. He likes trout and trout like worms. He called worms the “old-fashioned” bait.
Comparing this morning’s walk, with the one we took two days ago, was pretty amazing. Both sides of the river was lined with fishermen. Across from us, every 20 feet or so sat a fisherman on a rock.
Catching a rock is a problem. He seemed unsure about how to get his hook unsnagged. He needed the help of a dad or permission to get his shoes and pants wet.
How nice for a young boy to be assisted by his “honorary grandfather.” The boy was excited and thrilled about learning to fish.
These two anglers propped their poles in a V crotch so they didn’t have to hold them. They looked a bit half-hearted about it. But, who am I to judge?
Now this guy is an entertainer. I think he entertained the fish right onto his line. He said, “Oh, if I’m gonna get my picture taken, I better take off my sunglasses.” Which he did.
Within seconds he had his fish, and as I took more photos, he said: “Okay, do I get royalties for my picture? How about 60% for me and 40% for you since I did all the work?” I told him absolutely a deal, because 60% of nothing is zero, just like 40% of nothing is zero.
He laughed and offered to give me his fish. And, I would have taken it, too, but I had “clean out the refrigerator” soup and salad on the menu in preparation for my returning home. Jim has many talents but cooking isn’t one of them.
Enjoying the day was what it was all about, even if you are fishing with your sister who went back to camp for something. Dad was sleeping in.
“I’m waiting for my wife. She is finishing a book she is reading. I come here every year.”
We enjoyed the stroll. I had a fishing pole in the motor home and hadn’t used it in two years. Jim talked me into donating it to the VFW yard sale back in Ajo. It has been hot but we are plugged in and have air conditioning. My time has been spent organizing stuff to go home. My Navajo horse blanket and Shaman Stick will have to wait for the motor home to make a stop in Murphys next year. And, I read two wonderful books over this week. Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy Turner, which has been compared to Lonesome Dove. And A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini who also wrote Kite Runner. This book is better. I hope father’s everywhere enjoyed their special day.