We Dood It! The Puzzle Is Complete!

“When life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.”

Happy indeed!

Mount Vernon Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle be done! It almost did us in! The very top and very bottom were blood-pressure raisers! I declared several times that we had missing parts but alas, I was proven wrong again…everything fit…after almost two weeks of trying!

Did You Know? Jigsaw puzzles were originally created by painting a picture on a flat, rectangular piece of wood, and then cutting that picture into small pieces with a jigsaw, hence the name. John Spilsbury, a London cartographer and engraver, is credited with commercializing jigsaw puzzles around 1760.

Puzzle pieces can have “loops” and “sockets”, “knobs” and “holes”, “tabs” and “slots”, “keys” and “locks”, or any of several other alternative designations. Speaking as a fully-qualified jigsaw puzzle solver, I can say that the standard word is an outie.

The Snowmen were very difficult and the sky was a real pain!

After finishing it off, I headed for the market to get a few odds and ends…the necessities of life…berries, ice cream, tookie dough, etc. We fixed lunch at home…while Sue had left-overs from the Yucatan Grille, I whooped up a batch of bacon, eggs, and ham which gave me an excellent excuse to use the new grill cleaning kit! The grill is now in great condition.

We cleaned up and headed to see “money-bags”, our financial advisor. Marshall has been watching our money for almost twenty years and he steered us through the downturns with little problems! Good news, we are up 11% this year already…thank you Mr. Trump! We are doing OK so we do not have to practice eating baloney sandwiches yet! Marshall is the owner of Sagent Wealth Management and we are really happy within everything he is doing for us!

We drove along the beach from our home to Laguna Beach but took the freeway home. The sky was so clear we could see snow on the mountains 50 miles away!

Tonight is another full moon so I got the old camera out and set up the tripod and got a shot…not great but little wiggle.

The atmospherics were pretty good this evening with the 500 MM lens

Random Memories: For some reason, while taking the picture I thought of my Mom and Dad and I laying on our backs in the back yard in Culver City in late 1957 listening to the AM radio announcing when Sputnik was going to pass overhead.  We watched for the new fangled “satellite” for almost a month just amazing that this thing was up in the sky and we could see it and it was man made.  I heard it on my ham radio system…very exciting!

The satellite had a one-watt, 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) radio transmitting unit inside, developed by Vyacheslav I. Lappo from NII-885, the Moscow Electronics Research Institute, that worked on two frequencies, 20.005 and 40.002 MHz. Signals on the first frequency were transmitted in 0.3 sec pulses (under normal temperature and pressure conditions on-board), with pauses of the same duration filled by pulses on the second frequency.

We lived in exciting times…looking back I cannot imaging what Mom and Dad must have thought as then whey were my age, they didn’t even have electric in their homes.  I remember watching Buster Crabb doing Flash Gordon so I knew satellite were possible.

We were behind but not for long!

Did You Know? Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite.[5] The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, orbiting for three weeks before its batteries died, then silently for two more months before falling back into the atmosphere. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. Its radio signal was easily detectable even by radio amateurs, and the 65° inclination and duration of its orbit made its flight path cover virtually the entire inhabited Earth. This surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race, a part of the Cold War. The launch was the beginning of a new era of political, military, technological, and scientific developments.

We stopped by Old Ranch and talked to the special events director to see if we could get a deal on hosting the Topper’s Dance Club…looks like it is doable! We plan to talk to Craig, the president, tomorrow and get him to come and make arrangements should he deem it appropriate! Thank you Old Ranch for assisting us!

Arriving home, we called our grandson in New Hampshire and when he appeared on the video screen of the Echo Show, he was in shorts! Say what? New Hampshire and shorts! Well, it turned out he and Sarah are celebrating their anniversary and are in Barbados. When we called at 6:00 PM it was 83 degrees there…. far from the 22 degrees it was at his home. They will be there for a week!

We watched TV and crashed about 11:15 AM. Tomorrow we are off to a funeral in Whittier. Sad but we do want to pay our respects!

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Tis’ A Beautiful Day In The Hood

I base most of my fashion sense on whether or not it itches.

Happy Presidents Day Mr. President! Keep fighting the good fight!

No rain…can it be? The outside temperature was 39 when we got up so needless to say, we stayed inside as long as possible…until 10:30 AM. Sue hit the shower and I went outside to get the mail, forgetting the US Postal Service has the day off!

We got a lot done on the blamed puzzle that my “once favorite” Lisa daughter-in-law gave to us…one more day and we will have it together. Hardest one ever. The origins of jigsaw puzzles go back to the 1760s when European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and cut them into small pieces. John Spilsbury, an engraver and mapmaker, is credited with inventing the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. The dissected map has been a successful educational toy ever since.

We went to Yucatan Grille again and had lunch with Miss Robin! Great lunch… I had the Caribbean Fish Pot… spicy and NOT a lot of calories!

Simply gret grub!!!

Mexican and Yucatecan foods are very different. Yucatecan cuisine has been strongly influenced by European foods as well as the native Mayan culture. The peninsula was very difficult to reach from the rest of Mexico but it had several ports where the Europeans brought in commercial goods. The Global influences on the food of the Yucatan includes: New Orleans, France, and Cuba. From Yucatecan refrescos and bebidas to the markets that spring up in every little village the Yucatan is an interesting amalgam of traditional Mexican foods merged with Mayan specialties, even the tamales in the Yucatan are different from the rest of the country.

Hot and spicy! Burn those pesky calories away!

Random Memories: Growing up, I never went hungry but we never had a large variety of food.  Dad was a “meat and potatoes” kinda guy and we generally had fried chicken once a week, a roast, some kind of steak.  I can only recall having fish after dad would go on one of his deep sea fishing adventures (actually a one or two day boat off the coast). 

I do remember dad liking crumbled crackers with butter milk.  Over the years I had tried to like that concoction but alas, I can’t get it by my nose!  Dad also loved spinach with vinegar splashed on it…something I have grown to love.  We always had potatoes and beans…guess it was my folks upbringing since they did not have a lot of money!

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why my pallet enjoys so many different foods.  I recently saw on Facebook a survey listing 50 items…you get a point for any of the items you would NOT eat…  I scored zero!

After returning home, we watched a movie and then headed to Malarkey’s for a meeting with Irene…we have not seen her in a week because of her operation. We must get back to saving the world…one cocktail at a time!

The movie was “Ghost Town”. Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni is in the movie and I think she is just great!

Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni

When we departed our home, it began to sprinkle and then it became a full fledged rain storm but, within 20 minutes, the black cloud passed us by and the sun was out! As we walked into Malarkey’s the flag’s were standing up and making all sorts of noises!

A view to the east… Corona is probably getting pounded!

I ordered lentil soup which was really good and had a drink. Irene and Sue had their regulars…we solved the problems of the world (again) and watched the sun do its nightly dive into the ocean!

The storm had just passed and it was a beautiful sunset

We returned home and watched TV until about 11:30 PM at which time we crashed but not before “tookie time”.

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Out And About

If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive.

I pulled the local weather as recorded at the Joint Forces Station just a mile from our home. No wonder we feel cold!

We stayed home today but we had a target…Cerritos Performing Arts Center at 2:00 PM for “A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder”. We had great seats, row L which is on the main isle so we had all sorts of foot room and easy access in and out!

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is a musical comedy much akin to Sweeney Todd. The show opened up originally on Broadway back in 2013 and quickly won multiple awards including the Tony for “Best Musical”. The critically acclaimed Broadway play is about Monty Navarro, an heir to the family fortune. Monty is a bad guy who tries to jump the line of succession by murder. This fun musical follows him on his adventures to change the course of his future.

We went to Old Ranch afterwords and had a drink with Angie and Bunnaford. Upon returning home, Sue hit the sack (7:30 PM) and I started fixing a pot of beans meaning I must stay up until about 10:30 PM to take them off the heat! I am a little worried about her early time of hitting the sack so I am going to check on her every few hours…

Just good eating!

I worked on the computer until 10:30 PM when I took the beans off the stove and then I crashed! I did get the Topper’s Dance Club pictures on line and did some work on learning Adobe’s new quick video editor. Gotta keep the grey matter in motion.

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The Weather Has Changed… Cold But Nice

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.

We are getting lazy! We stayed around the house all day and decided not even to go to the Elks in the evening. The toxic chemicals takes about a week to wear off so we are just playing it by ear.

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Rain Rain Go Away… Oh, It Did!

Q: What do you call it when it rains chickens and ducks? A: Foul (fowl) weather

No rain today and there is a strange right light in the sky which seems to be warm! I looked in the recent history books and they apparently call it the Sun!

Before doing anything else, I gazed at the iPhone and read the late night messages. Excellent news…The MRI on Kathy… “No sign of new tumor growth and swelling is decreasing.” Fantastic news…we were all praying this would be the case!

Taking my life in my own hands, I peered into the weather report and the prediction is dry all day but rain is returning for a few hours this evening…probably in the middle of the Topper’s Dance in Long Beach…but that’s OK, it’s being held inside!

OR is in overflow…No golf for a couple of days!

In the afternoon, we did chores. Sue read her book and I messed here and there…picking twenty blood oranges for juice tomorrow morning! I took out the trash cans as the trash man was coming this afternoon and I managed to fill them up with new contributions…it is amazing how much fruit falls form the trees during a bad storm!

Around 4:00 PM we got cleaned up and put on our finer bib n’ tucker, heading to the Petroleum Club one more time. As we got off the freeway it began to mist and bu the time we drove the three blocks, it was pouring! I dropped Sue off under the portal and I brought in the wine, camera, clipboard, etc. After reaching into my pocket to lock the car…I determined the keys were in the car…naturally, one more trip into the rain! I was sopped!

We got the bad news, although we have known about it for several months. The Petroleum Club us to be no more. We have danced there for twenty-five years and are really going to miss it. We had such a deal. Usually about $78/couple for the dinner dance…our dues paid the bands. It was not beatable as our other clubs range from $125-$150/couple. We have one more dance there and then it is history!

Gone But Not Forgotten: The Long Beach Petroleum Club, once an elite gathering spot for local oilmen when nearby Signal Hill was still bristling with oil derricks, is in its first week of escrow, according to Peter Allen, president of the club’s board of directors.

Allen, who owns AllenCo, an oil company based in Long Beach, would not disclose the potential buyers, noting that the escrow could go as long as 200 days, nor would he say what future plans for the 57,114 square-foot lot might be.

Although the 60-year-old club facility at 3636 Linden Ave. in Bixby Knolls, was not listed for sale, it has fallen into hard times, its membership dwindling along with the oil business in town, giving rise to rumors of its impending sale along with social-media pleadings for the club’s survival.

“We had several offers, about five altogether,” Allen said. “We didn’t solicit any offers, they just showed up.”

Background conversations with people close to the sale indicate that the buyers might have an eye toward razing the club for development.

Dancing at the Petroleum Club with Topper’s February 15th 2019

By the time we departed, the sky was blue dotted with white puffy clouds and the moon was visible…it was an easy drive home!

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Heart Day Yeah!!!

Do skunks celebrate Valentine’s Day? Sure, they’re very scent-imental!

Holy moley… the sky has opened up and H2O is coming down in buckets. My divining rod goes into retirement this very day…all I have to do it point in any direction and there is water! No more walking around the yard with the Y-shaped twig humming to myself…gonna miss those days…so will the neighbors.

I sit here, peering into the back yard and everything is sopping wet with rain dropping like someone is using a fire hose! This reminds me of how is was in the 1950’s when we had several weeks of rain every year. Maybe the Good Lord has decided to show us what the 1950’s was like? Back to “normal”.

More importantly however is that it is VALENTINES DAY. Cards, chocolate, dinner, celebration of love…that’s what I am talking about!

Random Memories:  Here’s the truth… I met and fell in love with Sue in 1974 while working in the Avionics Development Laboratory onn the Space Shuttle Program for Rockwell International but alas, both of us were married so nothing happened…we didn’t even talk! 

Ratchet forward to 1984… ten years later and we met again while at Rockwell…we were both searching for a life and it was again love at first sight…again!  It was obviously meant to be!  We joined hands in 1988 and love has never stopped, only increased in amazing ways!

Through the years…Love grows every day!

So…today we stay in as it is coming down cats and dogs! The cement pond is almost to an overflow condition. Mid-morning I did a walk-about to see if anything needed to be fixed as we are going to have two days of rain. All was OK although the lime tree seemed to be dropping some of its fruit.

The remainder of the morning I sat in the office doing paperwork and watching the cats and dogs doing their thing! The rain was hard at times but not for a long duration. We did not plan to go anywhere so we didn’t care.

Enjoying life

Daughter Michele came over and dropped off some home made cookies and we talked for an hour. We all have the gift-of-gab! I gave her a demo of Alexa but she was worried about it “listening in” to conversations. I think I may have convinced her…Greg “called in” while she was here and we talked for a while.

Did You Know? Alexa’s attention span, the buffer for how long Alexa stores what has been said, is only a few seconds, just long enough for the wake words (Alexa, Computer, Echo, or Amazon) that users can set. Nothing is saved on the device itself. It’s like recording on a tiny loop of analog tape: Every few seconds, the tape is rewritten.

Every Echo is loaded with four separate algorithms, each trained to listen for one of the four wake words. Once you set a wake word, that specific algorithm is activated, meaning your Echo can truly only understand one word. Only when the ring of lights around the top of an Alexa device is illuminated is the device recording and sending the audio to Amazon’s servers.


If you’re still paranoid, you can also check to see what Alexa has heard by opening the Alexa app, which contains a complete history of every utterance the associated device has ever stored.

We were planning to go to the Phoenix Club Valentine’s Day dinner-dance but alas, Sue was not up to it so we cancelled at the last minute. We will miss the gang but we must do what we must do! I was bummed out but on the bright side…we are staying warm inside.

We gave it a go…It was a No-Go this evening!

It has rained and been cold all day and I saw this picture posted on Facebook…we were there two weeks ago! The Grapevine dressed in white…amazing. I am glad we are not driving it today!

Just starting the grade!

So, we stayed home tonight and watching TV… Oh well…we tried! We did “tookies” and crashed… tomorrow looks like more rain but not the entire day. If it rains more I am going to make apple strudel again!

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Rain Rain Keep On Coming!

Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

The rain bringith the flowers and fruits

Looking out the back yard window answered my question, “Wonder if it is raining?”. Mornings like this make me very happy we do not live in a quonset hut or any other tin roofed abode. This morning it would have sounded like a ear-splitting roar. The swimming pool was pummeled with rain drops racing to see who cold make the biggest splash!

We stayed indoors and worked on little projects.

Watching the world go by from my office

About 11:00 AM we got ready to meet the mailman as we were expecting our tax returns…Johnny-on-the-spot, he arrived.

Did You Know? Johnny-on-the-spot describes a person who is close at hand and readily available at all times. Interestingly, the term Johnny-on-the-spot can be traced to a newspaper article published by the New York Sun in 1896, extolling the phrase as a new idiom. This article maintains that the term Johnny-on-the-spot is derived from the phrase “Johnny is always on the spot when wanted.”

In this case, Johnny is a generic term for a person. Note that the Oxford English Dictionary prefers the hyphenated form, Johnny-on-the-spot, while other dictionaries render the phrase without hyphens as in Johnny on the spot. Further note that in all cases the noun Johnny is capitalized as it is a proper name.

We shook uncontrollably as we opened the envelope, which by the way cost $2.96 to mail from Long Beach! The news was good… we get money back! OMG! Money back! Yeah for the good side! We still owe a pile of estimated taxes but we do not have to worry about that until June!

Do you hear the words “Let’s celebrate!” reverberating from Los Alamitos? Indeed you do! It is time to  paint the town red, whoop it up, make whoopee, live it up, have a ball.

Decisions made… we are going to have lunch at the Yucatan Grille in Seal Beach… great grub and really nice staff.

We donned our rain gear lest we get a drop of healthy H2O on ourselves and braved the traffic for a four mile transit to dining heaven!

We sat down at a tabel as the place was full and waited for about ten minutes until a booth became available…much easier on Sue’s back. First things first, wine and a margarita!

Now that we are getting money back, I became frugal. While I normally order the shrimp diablo, I noticed it was $23! So I said to myself “Self, why not go business class?”. I did and went for the $12 burrito and a $3 taco. I am $8 ahead. All was well until the food arrived and I realized that I did myself in! Take a gander!

Sometimes I want to yell at Mom and Dad as I began my meal, their words came to me…”You must eat everything on your plate, think of the poor people in China!”. I never had the courage to say “Let’s mail the leftover to them!”. I ate all of the above plus the margarita and an iced tea! To make matters worse, Sue asked if I wanted dessert…I almost barfed!

My bride, on the other hand, simply ordered a vegetarian tamale and she ended up taking some of it home. She is so very smart!

She is smiling because she knows what I did to myself!
Yes… It is a “selfie”… Sue was too busy digging into the Tamale!

We really enjoyed the meal and watched for a break in the rain so we could head home without use of a row boat!

Random Memories:  Until the age of eight or ten, early 1950’s, we had no idea what a “take-ko” was!  Then all of a sudden, it took Culver City by storm.  Right across the street form the old Culver Roller Rink was a Tastee-Freeze and a taco stand.  On Sunday afternoons we would go by there and order a dozen taco’s for a buck… They were nice sized taco’s as I remember but remember, a hamburger in those days was $0.20 cents! Dad and I could polish off a dozen taco’s in a few minutes!  The good old days.

We got some bad news earlier in the week and that was a newspaper article reporting the Petroleum Club was sold…our topper’s Dance Club venue will soon be gone! We had a great deal there dancing nine months a year, second Friday of the month with the summer off for $85/couple.

Sue and I took it upon ourselves to go to the GM at Old Ranch and explain what had happened hoping they could perhaps get us a deal. We might have to use the “sky room” but it is used very little now. The GM is going to see what he can do and get back to us…we are hoping that between the good PR, the change to get some social members to join us for dances that we can have a “permanent” venue at Old Ranch for the next twenty years!

We returned home, the house keepers are gone and we watched TV and make the tookies! I must leave you with a thought for the evening…

How true it is!

It is past midnight now and I am heading for the sack…Sue already crashed. It is Valentines Day and we plan to celebrate with the Roberts, Kuhn’s, and Brander’s. We will miss the Zaitz but they are sailing on a week long cruise celebrating 40 years of marriage.

Good night all and BTW, it is raining quite hard at this time (12:41 AM)

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It’s Already Tuesday And We Are Almost Back To Normal

“The problem with kleptomaniacs is that they always take things literally.” 

We stayed home again today to recover. I worked in the office going through all the 2018 medical bills and moving them to another storage folder…making room for this years adventures in the world of medicine.

I listened to Dr. Laura for about two hours…she has the patience of Job! She is always “right on”!

Lunch was a Breakfast Mac, home grown! It came out very well…especially because we have some egg rings that I have learned to use.

In the afternoon I made apple strudle and it turned out quite well!

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Monday Was A Day For Rest!

Doc says to the patient, “You have the body of a twenty-year-old, but you should return it. You’re stretching it completely out of shape.”

Monday and the weather is wonderful although a bit on the cool side…48 degrees when we got up! We decided it was going to be a day for the hospital chemicals to dissipate so we did not even go to Malarkeys plus Irene was not able to go either…the hand operation.

We talked to Lisa C on the “bat phone”…Alexa Show is a wonderful device!

Now we have Robin, Joe & Amy, Zachary, Lisa, Colleen, and Greg covered!

Most of the day I worked in the office, going through all the medical information from last year. I also checked all of the OnePass system to assure all was up to date. It take time but needed to be done!

I also took time to catalog all the offsite backup we have running; we have Amazon, OneDrive, Goole Drive, ICloud, Carbonite and Dropbox…So, everthing is definitely backed up and ready to go in case of an emergency!

Do I hear a big Amen?

We listened to President Trump at the border… Loved the speech and the reaction to it by the locals.

We watched TV from 8:00 PM until about midnight giving 45 minutes to each of our serials which are are Netflix. We had out tookies about 9:30 PM so Sue could take her antibiotics.

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She Is Home! Yeah!!

Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club; you’re not out of it until the computer says you’re out of it. – Erma Bombeck

Sue returned home today after a severe UTI resulting in bacterial sepsis and toxic-metabolic encephalopathy. Toxic-metabolic encephalopathy is a result of infections, toxins, or organ failure. When the electrolytes, hormones, or other chemicals in the body are off their normal balance, they can impact the brain’s function. This can also include the presence of an infection in the body or presence of toxic chemicals. The encephalopathy usually resolves when the underlying chemical imbalance is restored or offending infection/toxin removed.

We were supposed to go to Old Ranch for the monthly dinner dance but we stayed home, getting Sue back into the swing of things! The gang had a great time…we got the report!

Our security camera alerted us that at 9:30 PM we had a visitor to our mailbox…we know who you are.. and Sue got a GET WELL card signed by everyone at the dance… great to grate friends.

Quick apple strudel: here is how to prepare one in just a few minutes

The perfect dessert that can be prepared in no time at all! :)RECIPE: http://cooki.st/GXitA

Posted by Cookist on Tuesday, January 8, 2019


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