Watch Out For The Electrons!

“Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?” – Author unknown

I loved Valentine’s Day and tried to make every day a little like Valentine’s Day.  The picture below was from 2008 when we went to Old Ranch with the family to celebrate.  Peter and Lisa joined us along with Mitch and Luisa.  Colleen was on the East Coast, so we missed her.

Sue always was dressed for the occasion with perfect outfits.  Later that evening, we went to the Elks Lodge and danced the night away with friends.  Holidays are going to be tough for a long time, but I have my pictures and memories.  She was beautiful in more ways than one.  I love you, Sue.

Valentine’s Day Red!

Not too much to report today except it was all day in the bathroom doing the wiring.

Before starting work, I went gathering in the backyard and got my blackberries for breakfast. I again filled the bowl springing a few cereal flakes on the top, so the berries were disguised!  Anti-accidents, here I come.  Oops, oxidants I meant.

So good, bush to tummy in less than five minutes.

Did You Know? Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures. They are sometimes called “free-radical scavengers.” The jury is still out about whether or not antioxidants in foods are effective.

During this remodel, we cleaned out the old electrical issues, and we put in GFI protected plugs in several places.  New ceiling light cans were added, and we put in a light/exhaust fan combo in the shower and tied the exhaust fan to a humidity sensor!  When the room is moist, the fan automatically goes on!

I was shocked when I began to remove the flooring because the second layer was the flooring we had in the house thirty-five years ago!  Colleen remembered that flooring as it was in the kitchen and the master bathroom (before both were remodeled).

It was a beautiful soft tan/yellow, but after 30+ years, it was showing its age!

The wiring took a little longer than expected because we cleared out the rats-nest in the walls and returned the wiring into junction boxes in the attic and labeled them accordingly.

We ran a spare wire toward the new vanity in the even we need to add lighting adjacent to that vanity.  By 3:30 PM, it was done and done correctly!

Everything was cleaned up and made “per code”.

Bob headed out about 3:30 PM, and I continued to work until about 5:00 PM, at which time the old body said, “Enough already!” I did the post-work cleanup, putting tools away, sweeping up, and getting ready for tomorrow.

In the “olden days,” Sue and I would go dancing, and I could loosen up a bit.  Today it is horizontal time.

I hit the shower about 6:30 PM and took my Advil/Aleve cocktail per Colleen and Robins directions.  I watched TV, NOT the news, and was knocked out by 10:00 PM just after my nightly hot chocolate.

 

 

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The Week Started With A Bang, Buzz, Whirrrr, And A Crash!

“Life is not the way it is supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” – Virginia Satir

We went through the Panama Canal four times in our travel about the globe, and Sue was always amazed at the canal and its operation.  That a new ship could sail through a one-hundred-year-old man-made marvel of science and technology was hard to believe.  She stayed glued to the railing during the passage through the locks, and we talked about how amazing the canal was for ships around the world.

She loved the cruises because every night we could get dressed up and dance to an orchestra playing ballroom dance music just for us.  We would drink champagne, exit the dance floor to cool off and watch the world go by beneath our feet!  Always a smile and a kind word.  I miss her more all the time.

Amazed by the Panama Canal

Today it was work around the house day.  The Contractor came in at 11:00 AM and was amazed at the world I had done over there weekend.  In trade, he is going to help me do the electrical as he is young and able to move up in the attic much better than me.

I first thing this morning, and all is well at Disneyland East.

I am checking in with Colleen first thing in the morning.

The bathroom was beaconing me, and I estimated I had completed 90% of the tear-out of the wall. I spent close to an hour tracing all the wiring and trying to determine which circuit breaker which plug came from and which one I’m going to use when I do the rewire.

The tub will soon be gone.

The room has been remodeled at least three times because I found two other doorways from when the house was a four-bedroom configuration. I am now down to the sink level and will stop and wait for my Contractor since he has done this many many times.

Now we can see the “wiring.”

While taking a well-deserved rest, someone sent me the picture below. I remember Apollo for very well, and I was inside the cockpit many times while I was in Downey, California. Each of the panels was separate and independent and was connected via miles of wiring and hundreds of connectors. Are used to know how many toggle switches there were on all of the display and control panels, I know it was well over 100.

When I moved on to the shuttle program, many of the design features on the early shuttle took their heritage directly from Apollo. The digital screens were an afterthought as many people were worried about their ability to function in space.

When I studied the pictures of the Dragon display and control panels on Dragon, I had to laugh a little bit. It almost looks like a sophisticated Xbox! We have come a long way, baby!

How amazing to see the changes in my lifetime.

After a short rest, I needed to go to the market, so it about 4:00 PM, I departed for Ralph’s. I love my Alexa, as it keeps track of my shopping list for me. The only thing I could not find was the whole cumin seed, but I will look again next week. I needed those for a homemade bread recipe I wanted to try.

My shopping list!

I was back home by 5:30 PM, and I did the cleanup duty, sweeping the floor, running the vacuum, putting up the tools, and just getting everything ready for tomorrow morning.

The “can” is now gone but not forgotten!

Bye-bye vanity

While I was outside in the garage, I noticed the beautiful sunset looking directly west from my workbench. I quickly put the tools back in their proper places and went out to the driveway to take a better look.

I was going to walk, but I waited too long!

No, it was not the fires from the looting in Long Beach, it was good old mother nature putting on a show.

I watched the sunset as I set up the new saw!

The show only lasted about 8 to 10 minutes, so I stood there and just admired her beautiful creations.

Magnificent!

I drug myself into the shower and stood under the hot water for probably 15 minutes, thank goodness for the tankless water heater. After getting out, I put Aspercreme on my hands as they were sore from working all day.

My evening call to Colleen just to check-in, and then I called Lee to see how she was doing down in Lake Elsinore. I was going to sit in the living room and watch TV, but I was so sore I decided being horizontal would be better.   I made myself a cup of coffee and watched “Haven” and “S[ace Force” before crashing at 10:00 PM.  Tomorrow is going to be an electrically charged day!

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Working Hard And Not Accomplishing Very Much!

“Life is not the way it is supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” – Virginia Satir

Sue loved libraries, botanical gardens, and museums and went all over the Southland to visit.  Today we were ay the Regan Library, and Sue just had to see the 707 and Marine One up close!  She would have made a terrific pilot as she was smart and could memorize anything given to her.  We spend a couple of hours just examining all the pictures of President Regan and his many adventures around the world on these fantastic aircraft.

Sue was fun to be with because she was interested in everything and read all the displays committing them to memory!  It is very sad not being around her every day to marvel at her appetite for life and love of family and friends.  I love you, Sue.

Please, can I drive the helicopter, PLEASE!

Back to work.  I was so sore from yesterday that today I was moving a little slower.  I made my way to the attic twice, and that did me in.  I did reposition the light/exhaust fan to be in the center of the room and placed the electrical boxes where they are going to go.  I had to locate the circuit breakers for the bathroom and tub so I can kill the power tomorrow when I begin the rewiring of the room.

It is not easy to find the breaker when you are by yourself.  At the end of the day, I had close to 8,000 steps and over two miles from just walking around the house!

Time for lunch, so I pulled out the Talapia from Hello Fresh.  Tilapia isn’t the sexiest filet in the case, but it’s the most versatile. This farm-raised fish has mild-tasting, flaky, and firm flesh — and it’s loaded with nutrition, too.  Tilapia’s nearly 23 grams of protein per serving fills you up and helps you feel full longer.

I used my string beans from the garden!

The pesto was outstanding. In a medium bowl, combine scallions, sesame oil, half the sesame seeds, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp sugar, the juice from lime half, and sriracha to taste.  Season with salt and pepper; add more ginger or lime juice to taste.

Before!

Below is “after.”

The fish was flakey and mild-tasting; the pesto set it off nicely.

I had a glass of Grandma’s wine with lunch and sat back, thinking about what to do this afternoon!

The pesto was so good I am going to make it from scratch next time!

BAck into my “El Destructo” costume!

I do NOT fear the guest bathroom, well, maybe a little!

Up into the attic, I went, and this time I took pictures of the situation so I could remember what it looked like when I was downstairs. It was 95 degrees up there, so I could only stay for a few minutes.

There is a lot of wiring in the attic, especially after being here thirty-plus years!

I decided to move the fan box and separate the controls so I can have the light on, fan on, or both.  It was more work than it looks as this bathroom has been remodeled at least three times now.

The biggest job today was moving the fan box over toward the center of the room.

At 5:00 PM, I cleaned everything up, used my shop vacuum, and got every speck of dust out of the room.  It is ready for the contractor to go to work tomorrow morning.  Sue wondered why I both a fifty-foot vacuum hose extension years ago.  I finally got to use it today!

I must finish the electrical by Wednesday so it is likely that I will start at sun-up on Wednesday so the attic will not be too hot.  It was in the high nineties today when I was up there.

I talked to Diane (Sue’s sister) and got the low-down on all the activities in San Jose.  I then spoke to Lee and got caught up on Lake Elsinore’s events.   MY iPhone squawked as Long Beach put out a curfew at 6:00 PM because of the thugs and crazies plans to make a mess in Long Beach.  While I am not worried, I did close the door tonight, and I do have my 45 and 12 gauge at the ready.

I was so tired, I took a hot shower and laid down in bed and watched TV.  I think the expression is “too pooped to pop!”

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My New Name; “El Destructo”!

“What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.” – Jewish proverb

Sue was strong, and I mean super strong.  She went through cancer, the severe back surgery, then heart bypass surgery, and then the internal organs began to fail.   Sue never complained and was always positive.  Below she is walking after the back surgery with her physical therapist.  I was always nearby watching and learning how best to care for her.  She always had that smile, which just warmed my heart.  If the doctor said walk for thirty minutes, she would do an hour.  She was religious about the therapy, and that’s probably why she always recovered and was ready to continue celebrating life.  I miss her so very much!

Well, it started today!  I have wanted to remodel the guest bathroom for years, and finally, I found a contractor who I like and was highly recommended by Joe.  I told him I might help if that was OK.  He didn’t seem to mind, so I started with the destruction Friday and continued on Saturday.

I made an early morning call to the East Coast to if my E-Tickets have been sent!

I started the day with my Bat Phone call to Colleen and Mark!

The wall comes down, and I cleaned everything up with the shop vac as I went.  I am doing the electrical, so that may be a challenge.  I am NOT as young as I thought I was!

The south wall is gone!

Now I turned my attention to the west wall, which was adjacent to the old tub/shower. Taking out the glass doors was a challenge as they are heavy, and the last thing I wanted was a shattered door.  The step came out, but I must say, it was put in to stay!  It was glued two a 2×12, which was well nailed into the supports!

Tube awaits removal, a tow person job!

The phone rang. It was Joe.  I thought to myself, “He is coming over to rescue me!”.  Alas, he reminded me the Dragon was about to take off in five minutes, so I headed to the living room and snapped on the big-screen.  Wow!  I was an engineer on the Apollo Engineer, and seeing the new vehicle brought a lot of memories home. The mechanical design was the same, but inside, OMG, the pictures and displays and controls, amazing! NOTE:  Joe and Zack both offered to help me, but I decided I would call them when I got to the point it was too much for me, haven’t got there yet!

Break time, watching the manned launch to the Space Station on Dragon!

Now the north wall and vanity plus the east wall.  Now I can begin to think about the wiring I need to do!  This is the fun stuff.

North wall nearing completion.

By 4:00 PM my hands hurt so bad from pulling on the drywall, I laid down and watched TV before getting into the shower! The shower felt wonderful, and I sprayed my hands for ten minutes with hot water, hoping the pain would go away!

On my wat to the movies, Joe called and said he was going to order sushi!  OMG, the man went wild.  I ate sushi until I had a strong desire to cling on to a rock.  Note to self: Hide the bathroom scale until Monday morning!

The visit was terrific, and the movie began at about 8:00 PM.

Amy’s family was over with Diane, plus Carri joined us.  It was a load of fun.  We even watched a cartoon from the 1950s on YouTube.  All we needed was a newsreel!

Joe sets up the movie for tonight with help from Alex!

The Sun is gone, we are full, the wine is poured, time to watch a family movie.  Summary: Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon in the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail-delivery dog sled team, Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime as he ultimately finds his true place in the world.

Miss Amy found a nice warm blanket.

The story was pretty good, and the dogs were fantastic.

I headed home and crawled into bed, but the pain was gone, so that is good!

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I’M Tearing It Up!

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Trains! Choo Choos! She loved them all.  Every year we would go on at least one train ride somewhere.  Santa Barbara to visit the wineries, San Diego to attend the horse races or the USS Midway or Little Italy for dinner, we would take a train.  The picture below is from our 2007 adventure to the race track with a group of twenty people.  It was challenging to keep Sue from wanting to visit the Engineer and drive the train, or at least toot the horn!

In the first few years, Sue was “shy” in that she would not go out of her way to meet people, but over the years, we became more alike, and she met new friends everywhere and talked to anyone.  We learned so much and just thoroughly enjoyed life.  Pictures like this make me cry as I miss her sincere warmth and love of life so very much!

I loved her smile!

So today, I met with the contractor and signed up for the remodel.  I mentioned to him I would like to help, and he said he had clients ranging from very helpful to sitting back and watching everything. I have decided to help!

I went to Lowe’s and picked up the necessary electrical goodies needed to provide lights and electricity in the bathroom.  When I returned home, I had a light lunch (translation: I dug around in the freezer and nuked a previously prepared meal).

Then I hit the wall, literally! Ka-Boom!  In two weeks, we will have a brand new bathroom complete with modern vanity, new tile floor, new shower, and all new state-of-the-art electrical complete with a humidity sensor to control the exhaust fan.  We might even add a window in the show to get a little more light. It’s a miracle!

Crash, Smash, Ka-Boom… El Destructor is on the warpath!!!

I decided I needed a new tool to aid in the destruction,   a drywall saw from Makita.  So I went on-line to Home Depot, and they had one in stock, yeah!  I bought it!  So on my way to Becca and Zack’s house, I stopped in to get my new tool!

It cuts drywall and does NOT cut what is hidden behind the drywall!

Phooey!  The desk told me they did NOT have to tool and would not have it for three weeks.  Double phooey.  So I turned to my trusty sidekick Tonto (the name of my iPhone, today) and went to Amazon.  I will have my tool Sunday!  Yeah!

So, slight disappointment, but I will more than make up for it at Becca and Zack’s home.  I was invited to Lilly’s 6th Birthday Party.

Six years old, hard to believe, especially since she is my GREAT granddaughter!

We sat out on the patio and had a pizza and “birthday” cake!  Remy is running around now at one speed, FULL!  Becca and Zack just got new outdoor patio furniture, and it looks great and is comfortable!

Just sitting around talking.

Dad, being all-wise, stands back from the candle ceremony wishing not to be set on fire!

Happy Sixth Birthday, Lilly!

I was told, many times, “Papa, I am SIX years old.”

Big brother is here to “help.”

A charming family! Hard to believe they are my grandkids and great-grandkids… I am older than dirt!

I returned home after a great party and visit with the family.  I had two glasses of wine, more than I have had in months, so I created at 10:00 PM.

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Summer Is Just Three Weeks Away!

“We do not have to rely on memories to recapture the spirit of those we have loved and lost – they live within our souls in some perfect sanctuary which even death cannot destroy.” – Nan Witcomb

For many years, we would travel to see lights at Christmas, and often with the Duda’s, we would see The Mission Inn.  Sometime during our visit, we would ride in a horse-drawn carriage.  Sue and Robin always enjoyed the heart decorated wrought-iron pumpkin. We would watch all the people going in and out of the many shops, and we would attempt to count the 4,000,000 lights that adorned the Mission Inn.

Cold brisk nights with hot chocolate and, of course, a nice glass of wine made it a special event.  What made it special for me is seeing Sue’s eyes sparkle and seeing her ear-to-ear smile when she saw the beautiful decorations.  She made Christmas very special for a lot of people and especially me.

Sue loved Christmas time!

Dang, it was a busy day!   I slept in a little late as I could not sleep and at 3:00 AM I was watching TV.  Finally, I awoke at 8:00 AM and awaited the arrival of a contractor for the redesign of the hallway/guest bathroom.

Meanwhile, the Bat Phone began to have conniptions making noises that could shake the leaves off the trees. I answered, thinking it was probably a bill collector,  but it was my granddaughter Jackie. She wanted to thank me for the baby shower gift. We talked for quite a while, and I got to visit her cat. She is two months from giving me my fifth great-grandchild, yea!

Jackie called on the Bat Phone.

The contractor arrived at 10:45 AM, and we talked for quite a while.  He is coming over tomorrow to finalize the deal, and he will be starting soon!  I am having the bathtub/hyrdo-message unit taken out and a larger shower put in that same area.  He will tear down everything to the studs, and I will do the electrical. I’ve wanted to do this for years, and now I will get it done.

After he departed, I went to the swimming pool store and arranged to have someone come over next week as I plan to replace the pool pump with a variable speed unit.  The hourly usage of electricity is shown below, and as you can see, the power usage jumps at noon through 5:00 PM.  The culprit is the pool pump!

The bad-actor just sits there and uses my power, but I will show him!  Will the new pump/motor fit into the box of spaghetti?

Thank goodness SCE has the graphs online so that the usage can be seen easily. The lower RPM of the variable speed pump significantly alters the power consumption, as high as 50-75%.

The new pump will reduce the rectangle by almost 75%, which equates to $60-70/month!

Returning home from the pool supply store, it was time for lunch, and I prepared Black Bean and Poblano Flautas plus some Mexican/Spanish Rice.  With a small glass of wine, I was set for the rest of the day!

So very good! I made enough for two meals!

Did You Know? A taquito, tacos dorados, rolled taco, or flauta is a Mexican food dish that typically consists of a small rolled-up tortilla that contains filling, including beef, cheese, or chicken (today I used a vegetarian mixture). The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried or deep-fried. The dish is often topped with condiments such as sour cream and guacamole.

Flautas being fried. 3-4 minutes on a side until golden brown.

Pico de gallo, also called salsa Fresca or salsa cruda is a type of salsa commonly used in Mexican cuisine. It is traditionally made from chopped tomato, onion, Serrano peppers, with salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro.  It is a magnificent addition to the dish.

So good with sour cream and Pico Degiao.

My housekeeper brought me some Spanish Rice, which I added into the meal, and it was also delicious!

Lunch is served!

By the time I ate, and everything was cleaned up, I barely had time to freshen up and head to the golf course. Miss Charlotte and I had a golf-date (OK, it was NOT a “date,” just a figure of speech).  We enjoy each other’s company plus I get the added benefit of a super instructor!

As I was going out the door, I decided to call Colleen, and I got her latest pictures of Disneyland East.  It is coming along nicely.

Disneyland East is nearing completion.

Charlotte and I had a 4:00 PM tee-time, which was perfect.  The course was not busy, and the animals were out for the pre-bedtime strolls.  Sharlotte, like Sue, just loved the baby duckies, and they seemed to be everywhere.

The ducks visit us on the 9th hole.

Miss Charlotte, a responsible person, brought premium duck food for the babies.  We DO NOT feed them bread as that causes their death due to angel-wing.

Did You Know? Angel Wing is a condition that affects mostly waterfowl, caused by a nutritional deficiency in vitamins and minerals combined with a high level of carbohydrates and sugars. … It causes the carpal joint (or wrist) on the wing to grow awkwardly, leaving the wing unable to sit flush at the bird’s side.

Eating bread, crackers or other similar foods can cause ducks and geese to develop a condition called “angel wing,” The lack of adequate nutrition during growth causes a bird’s wings to unnaturally twist outward instead of lying flat. … Human foods other than bread, crackers, and similar grains do not cause angel wing.

 

Miss Charlotte feeds the babies the “good stuff.”

Speaking of babies, the rascally-wabbits were also out in full force today. Where is Elmer Fudd when we need him?

Elmer would solve the problem quickly!

The rabbits are cute, but their sure destroy the plants quickly with their voracious appetites.

The rabbits are out in full force today.

I departed Old Ranch and headed to Patty’s Place as I got an invite from Chuck the Bartender.  The place was jumping, so I just stayed for my Empress 1908 gin martini.

At first glance, you might think it’s a blue-tinted bottle that gives this Canadian gin an indigo hue. In reality, the addition of butterfly pea blossoms late in the distilling process lends Empress 1908 Gin its intriguing violet tone.

I love the taste and color!

The pea blossoms are also used for making tea, but the color is the most fantastic part of the plant.

Now we are talking blue. You can but the tea online at Amazon!

I could just pour it and look at it because of its beauty but, I don’t!

One drink and it was time to skedaddle home.  As I drove towards home, the ocean was preparing to cool us down with the afternoon clouds of ocean air.  We could see the layer forming as we played the last several holes at Old Ranch.

The marine layer has formed and is slowly coming inland.

As I turned onto Seal Beach Boulevard, I estimated we would get the layer in about ninety minutes, and I was pretty close.  Sure enough, the marine laid was inland and the next morning it did not clean out until almost 1:00 PM.

Did You Know?  A marine layer is an air mass that develops over the surface of a large body of water such as the ocean or large lake in the presence of a temperature inversion. The inversion itself is usually initiated by the cooling effect of the water on the surface layer of an otherwise warm air mass.

As it cools, the surface air becomes denser than the warmer air above it and thus becomes trapped below it. The layer may thicken through turbulence generated within the developing marine layer itself. It may also thicken if the warmer air above it is lifted by an approaching area of low pressure.

The layer will also gradually increase its humidity by evaporation of the ocean or lake surface, as well as by the effect of cooling itself. Fog will form within a marine layer where the humidity is high enough and cooling sufficient to produce condensation. Stratus and stratocumulus will also form at the top of a marine layer in the presence of the same conditions there.

In the case of coastal California, the offshore marine layer is typically propelled inland by a pressure gradient which develops as a result of intense heating inland, blanketing coastal communities in cooler air which, if saturated, also contains fog.

The evening marine layer is coming in right on schedule.

Returning home again, I slipped into my jammies, which I only wear behind closed curtains, made a cup of coffee, and watched TV for a while.

I called Lee and we chatted for a while and I then I talked to my insurance man as I want to increase my umbrella policy.

The phone rang, and it was Zachary inviting me to his home tomorrow evening.  Dang, that was so nice because a) I get a great dinner and b) I get to visit the grand-varmints!

My granddaughter and my great-grandchildren.  Cuter than a bug’s ear!

Speaking about kids, I am getting excited about Saturday night and visiting Joe, Amy, and the kids at movie night.  I have decided to go to Costco and get a big bag or bags of popcorn to bring! We are going to see “Call Of The Wild.”  If it works about, I will attempt to bring an old cartoon from the 1950s, the kind we would watch before the movie begins!

Joe and Amy are hosting another yard movie, and I am so ready to go!  We went to Panda Inn quite often as it was half-way between La Mirana and Seal Beach.

By 10:30 PM, I was done. After all, golf took almost two hours and nearly three miles of walking.  Besides, tomorrow is another busy day!

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The Week Is Half Gone!

“Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone; his own burden in his own way.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

We knew every restaurant from here to Timbuctu that had tasty vegetarian meals.  We often went to Fashion Island and dined at Cucina Enoteca.  They had several veggie specialties, and the wait staff would always look for something for their favorite vegetarian!  Sometimes we would spend two hours there going an hour before or after rush hour and just enjoy the atmosphere and their great wine selections.

I do miss our “quality time” where we would eat, talk, laugh, giggle, and share our thoughts.  Those periods were special, and sometimes we would just look at each other, knowing what each other was thinking, never having to say a word!

I love you, and always will!

Always a smile and a happy thought!

Well, Robin stayed overnight, and she beat me up this morning already having her coffee before I made it to the verticle position.  I joined her at the table and had my first cup, and she was ready to type. Type what you ask?

Well, my cousin Kathryn, who passed at the ripe old age of ninety-three about six years ago, was an inspiring writer.  Her parents never encouraged her, but I found several of her works when gong through her home.  I gave them to Robin, who was kind enough to read and transcribe them.  I plan to put the writings on its blog over the next few weeks.

We walked the garden to see the tomatoes and corn and Robin like the big sunflowers.  I decided to make sunflower seeds to eat. I plucked the seeds out using my thumbnail and they fell into the pot which will soon be filled with boiling water.

Robin admired my sunflowers, so it was time to teach how sunflower seeds are made!

I boil them for a good hour with plenty of salt.  Sunflower seeds are high in oil, so I do not eat very many, and I keep them in an airtight container before they go rancid.

Boil them puppies for an hour in plenty of saltwater.

We decided to go out and eat and then to Costco, but on the way out, we ran into the parade.  The neighboring streets were filled with cars, likely 200 plus.  Horn honking, signs, graduates waving to everybody, and the police and fire engines made a lot of noise!

We had a parade all over Rossmoor celebrating the graduates.

After going to Gourmet Pies and diving into a green chili omelet, we headed to Costo.  Robin got some paper goods while I looked at electronics, patio furniture, and some food items.

Our housekeepers were busy when we return, so we sat on the patio and talked.  I decided I was going to fix my darned shoelaces on my tennis shoes.  They were about a foot too long, so I sacked them and decided to use heat-shrink tubing to keep them from unraveling.   Do not laugh; it worked!!

Robin stayed for a while as we wanted to watch the launch, but alas, it was called off.  Robin departed after the scrub.

Then it was time to walk as I must get the HDL up and the weight down.  I chose North today as I wanted to drop a package of plant-snaps at Ila’s place.  What are plant-snaps, you ask?

I bought 200pcs of white plastic garden clips, 1-inch diameter in the middle. Made of premium plastic, weather-resistant, well against aging, high temperature, rot. Not easy to crack. They are hollow-carved design ensures air circulation, enhance plants growth.  They have a narrow gap for strings to pass through, the clips are made so they cannot move on their own.  They protect delicate flowers and vine plants against the hit from wind and rain. They straighten plants, prevent fruits from bending branches or vines, and enhance plant growth. They are perfect for lots of plants whose stems or vines are small enough, like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, melons, beans, and other vine crops, flowers, like rose, orchid, etc.

I took about twenty over to Ila (my vegetable growing friend) for her to try in her garden!

On the way over, I passed by many houses with their American flags flying.  It was a beautiful sight!

I love our patriotic town.

This is one plant I refuse to get to close to as he tends to reach out and bite at a moment’s notice.

Sticky wicket, say what ol’ chap!

Speaking of a sticky wicket, the Finch’s called while we were driving to the breakfast destination, and we chatted for about fifteen minutes.  All is well in London, but it is closed down pretty tight. They are getting real tired of staying home.

Another hour and another point on the ol’ HDL

The social hour has arrived, and I am off to Rush Park to visit the Old Rancher’s.  We sat and drank wine/champagne and had dinner between 4:30 PM and almost 7:30 PM.  I sat with Charlotte (if we have anything, we both have it because we play golf together).  Three other couples where they and we just had a good old time!

After getting home, I called Colleen, got a call from Lisa, and them a call from Robin.  Time to rest!  I watched World War Z, a Robin recommendation.  Interesting premise and loads of action.

After the movie (which was complete with a cup of coffee and a cup of hot chocolate), I crashed, going out like a light!

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It Be Tuesday And All Is Well!

“Those we love don’t go away; they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near; still loved, still missed, and very dear.” – Anonymous

Zack, Nick, and Theo celebrated their birthdays together at Old Ranch in September 2014.  Lisa and Sue watch all the action taking place.

Sue and I had something special, very, very special.  We never spoke an angry word to each other in thirty-five years, we ALWAYS departed with a hug, a kiss, and an “I Love You”.  When separated, and those times you can found on one hand, we called each other all the time.  It was special.  We had an eclectic family, but we loved them with all our hearts.  Sue was a fantastic person who loved life, loved people, and loved me!  I miss her every single day, and I just want a little hug.

She was my everything!

The rooster must have gone to bed early because that sucker was awake this morning, getting me up at 6:00 AM.   It was refreshing outside, so I walked in the garden and determined that it will be corn-time this weekend.  It will also be time to plant another mess of corn, and I have a perfect spot for it! Now I will have fresh corn all summer long.

To the berry plants I went making a quick pass over the blackberries and absconding with a half-cup of them healthy critters! From bush to mouth in precisely 3.5 seconds!

I called Colleen and got an update on Disneyland East, a term I now use for her back yard.  She and Mark are putting in a 30×30 area with swings, merry-go-rounds, etc. for her grandkids (my great-grandkids).

Super grandparents!

My bathroom scale was BAD this morning telling me that I gained a couple of pounds, but then I thought to myself, yesterday, I was naughty having biscuits and gravy followed by a chili-size and sprinkling three drinks in as the day progressed.  I did much better today.

Checking my social calendar revealed I was going to be busy today.  First thing, at 10:00 AM, was stitch-removal from the minor surgery on the back of my neck.  The surgeon popped in and said, “The biopsy revealed nothing to worry about, just a cyst.”

As I departed the building, I ran into my cardiologist, and I asked him how my lab work came out.  He looked at me funny and said, “Hell, Paul, I don’t remember.  Follow me up to my office, and we will find out!”

We went to the doctor’s entrance, and I followed him.  He headed for the stairs and asked if I needed an elevator.  I laughed and told him I never use an elevator unless it is eight flights or more.  Well, by the time we got to his office on the 4th floor, he was “winded” and I was doing just fine.  I “out-age” him by twenty years; he was impressed.

While I was there, he gave me an EKG and also informed me I had lost eight pounds since I saw him in April.  The lab results were terrific.  Everything indicated I should be fifty and not seventy-five.  I need to work on my “good HDL” as it was five-points low.  No problem.

His EKG machine seemed to be a little dated!

HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. HDL picks up excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver, where it’s broken down and removed from your body.  In 2016 my HDL was at 70 (because I was exercising a lot, walking a lot), but the last two years have been difficult.  I will see the doctor again in September, so I expect it to be returning to the 60’s by then.

From there, it was off to Roger Dunn Golf Shop to get my clubs which were getting regripped.  While I was there, I stocked up on balls, tees, and I got a new rangefinder from GolfBuddy.  This one is voice-activated, so I do not have to look. I can ask it, “How far to the pin?”

I just talk to it and voila, like magic, it gives me the distance!

Back home again, I decided to walk before Robin arrives, and off I went like a speeding bullet whispering “Come on HDL; Come on HDL.”

Perfect timing, one hour, and 2.6 miles, so I upped my average speed. Good for HDL

Robin came over at about 3:00 PM after having a flat on the 91 freeway. Poof!  She missed walking with me, but that’s OK, we can do it tomorrow.

We sat around and visited for a while before deciding to Zoom with Cousin Dave and Colleen.  The four of us chattered for almost 90 minutes, checking up on everything.  Great fun!

Then it was time for dinner as I was starved since I was attempting to get the weight back down after my splurge from yesterday.  We ordered half-salads from CPK and went to the park and dined in the great out-of-doors.

Salads in the park!

I got a call from Joe, and I have been invited to Movie night Saturday at his house.  I will get to revisit the grand-kids and see everybody.  Exciting!  I plan to bring some kind of a movie snack, but I have yet to figure it out?

Tonight is movie night, so, in my attempt to satisfy Robin’s lust for “eye-candy”, we selected “The Son’s Of Katie Elder” because Dean Martin was in the movie. I asked Robin if I could be “eye candy,” and she replied, “Well, probably not as you are certainly sugar-free, and you are kind of a fudgy-duddy!”

I put my head down and went back to watching the movie. Robin felt bad and added, “OK, if you were eye-candy, you would be…”

If you can’t stand the answer, don’t ask the question!

Another great movie, thank you, Joe, for the recommendation (although we did check the rating). Summary: Four ne’er-do-well sons reunite in their Texas hometown to attend their mother’s funeral. Led by older brothers John (John Wayne), a gunfighter, and Tom (Dean Martin), a gambler, the four soon learn that their father gambled away the family ranch, which was the cause of his murder. The brothers decide to avenge their father’s death and win back the ranch, a situation that quickly leads to trouble with the local sheriff and violent conflict with the rival Hastings clan.

During the movie, I got a little hungry, and I remembered that Robin brought a box of Roma tomatoes over, so I decided we needed a snack.  Roasted Romas a’ la Paul meaning onto the baking sheet, a little olive oil, and whatever spices were handy in the spice rack.  Twenty-five minutes at 400 degrees, and we have a super snack with very few calories but great flavor.

Dang! A perfect snack for the movies!!!

After the movie, I introduced Robin to “Haven”, my latest find on NetFlix, and explained what was going on.  Robin, like me, likes the supernatural series.  She loved it, so she is going to binge tomorrow and catch up with me!

We crashed at about 11:00 PM, but I stayed up to finish the Daily Diary.

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Memorial Day, A Time To Remember!

“Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near; still loved, still missed and very dear.” – Anonymous

We traveled and saw the world, this picture below is from our twenty-two-day cruise from LA to Hawaii and on to Midway (which is one of the Hawaiian islands!) and back.  We walked the entire island and thought about how it must have felt to be so isolated with the Japanese Navy capable of attacking anytime.  They were very brave men who fought for us so many years ago and kept the island in American hands thus enabling the Battle Of Midway to be the turning point in the war.

Wall-to-wall birds, Laysan Albatross, and they were untouchable!

Sue was eager to explore the island so off we went, as fast as her little feet would carry her.  We had a wonderful experience on that voyage and still talk to people we met there over a decade ago.  I miss her little smile and “let’s go get ’em” attitude.  I love you Sue!

We did a lot of remembering on that visit!

Did you Know? Midway is roughly equidistant between North America and Asia. Midway Atoll is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Midway continues to be the only island in the Hawaiian archipelago that is not part of the state of Hawaii.

The Japanese used many unique identifiers throughout the war, but in early 1942 they had no idea that the Americans had broken their top secret code. The only problem the Americans had was that they had no idea what AF meant. They knew it was a location, but where? In order to find out, the commander on Midway Island was told to send a message that their Water Purification plant was not working. Within days, Japaneses coded messages started to state the AF was getting thirsty. By May the Americans knew AF was Midway Island.

Sue made me biscuits and gravy, vegetarian style, several times and they were excellent but today I made them using Jimmy Dean Hot Spicy Sausage.  As I was frying up the pork sausage, it looked a tad dry so I decided to add in a teaspoon of bacon grease before adding the flour.  It was a good call as the flour was all used up and there was still a little moisture remaining.  I added two cups of regular milk and a lot of pepper.  Now it was time to stir and get all the goodies off the bottom of the frying pan!

It’s almost like I can cook, next time I am going to sift the flour.

I had the biscuits baking in the oven below and I timed it just right, biscuits out and in the plate when the gravy was ready! There was some gravy remaining so it in the refrigerator awaiting another morning where it will join some freshly baked biscuits!

The biscuits were perfect and made more perfect with the addition of the gravy.

I sat down, took my time, and enjoyed the meal!  I love cooking! This morning was not exactly a healthy Mel but what the hay?  Once in awhile I must do what I must do!

Cranberry juice and B&G, a wonderful way to start the day!

After breakfast, I did a stint in the garden watering everything and picking some blackberries as dessert.  While I was out there I used my sprayer and gave the plants a little boost with Miracle Grow.  It looks like the tomatoes are getting ready to start turning which means I will be outside every morning picking and grinning.

So good and an excellent side for almost any meal!

My son, Joe, and grandson, Charlie, dropped by and delivered a TV for my office.  Now, I can watch TV and use the computer at the same time!.  We talked for a while and I showed them my bathroom remodel project as it was just getting underway.  Charlie likes the blackberries I have in the backyard.  He went picking and I only heard one “Ouch!”, now he knows about berry stickers.

I decided to park the carcass in the front patio and have a glass of wine before Bob and Robin arrive.  When they showed up, I was konked-out, perhaps getting my beauty-sleep?  I needed the rest I guess!

Enjoying the patio before the kids arrive. 73 degrees, just right!

When Robin and Bob arrived, they announced the Gourmet Pie Company is open for business, across from Costco on Katella.  We went before anyone else found out.  Success, we walked right in, which was amazing, because normally, the line to get in is a mile long!

What is this? A menu? What do you do with it? I am so confused!

I could not understand our waitress as she was wearing a mask so I ordered a glass of water with one, and only one, ice-cube in it, guess what I got?  One glass of water with one ice-cube.  She was wonderful! I did not recognize her but I was sure I knew her, she had worked there for ten years.

Ordering was easy, I did “The Chili Size” which is “Uncle Joe’s Famous Chili” smothering an open-faced burger and covered with cheese and onions. I ordered extra onions and onion rings ta boot!  I got it with a garden burger to attempt to control the calories.

Did You Know?  What is known for sure is that the chili size was developed in Los Angeles at a place named Ptomaine Tommy’s. In business from 1913 until 1958 at 2420 N. Broadway, Ptomaine Tommy’s was the largest and best-known chili parlor in town. Reportedly, movie stars such as Mae West and Mary Pickford were regulars, devoted to Tommy de Forest’s chili. Other newcomers like Chili John’s in Burbank (established in 1946 and still in business) have sprung up since then with their own version of the chili size, but Ptomaine Tommy’s was the original.

Tommy de Forest, a local restauranteur, claimed the invention of the chili size in the 1920s. His specialty was hamburgers, so he looked for a way to make a different burger for his diners. As the legend has it, he had a few ladles that he used to spoon the chili into bowls. When a customer wanted straight chili, he used the large ladle and the order was served. On the hamburger, however, he used the small ladle, calling that “hamburger size”. And finally, he came up with a variation, serving the larger amount of chili over an open-faced burger and then covered it with cheddar cheese and chopped onions. This open-faced sandwich was henceforth referred to as “chili size”, and sold for 20 cents as opposed to the chili burger for 15 cents. Soon, people all over Los Angeles were asking for a chili size, or sometimes ordering just the straight chili in a bowl as a “bowl of size”. By the time Tommy de Forest closed up his restaurant in 1958 due to financial difficulties, the chili size was a popular item all over the West Coast.

Yummy! The onions were perfect!

When I was served, I forgot what I asked for and Bob gently reminded me with quick use of his index finger. As usual, I got exactly what I asked for!

I wondered what it was and Bob reminded my of what I ordered. Serves me right!

Bob took most of the rings as I am watching my girlish figure.  They make great ring toss devices.  The people at the bar, sitting six feet apart, did not appreciate the occasional landing of the ring-toss devices on their straws.  They are lucky that I am good at this game!

Neat, we got ringtoss toys while we waited for our food.

After harassing the waitress, she asked me to put on the mask so she could avoid talking to me (good idea).  I forgot my mask, so she assisted me with a PPE outfit. She didn’t even offer to cut air holes in the bag?  I wonder why?

She said I should wear a mask but I forgot mine so….

Robin and Bob made my day by joining me for dinner!  We had a good time and shared our many adventures here with Sue.  Right after Sue passed, Robin and I came here as we had been up all night in the ICU.

Fun with family

We all returned home and dived into a mixer full of Strawberry margarita’s while sitting in the patio talking.  A lovely afternoon it was.  We called Colleen but had to call her back as she was out and about, this time at the ER with Mark who apparently had a bad reaction to something in the yard?

The kids departed and I checked the house making sure all was cleaned up. I checked on the new TV and while it is working, the FireStick seems to be malfunctioning?  It just continues to cycle over and over.  I have another one on order as I am planning a TV in the shop so I will use it before I call Zack for help!

Time for a shower and climb into bed and watched a little TV.  Tonight I watched three episodes of Haven.  Summary: FBI Agent Audrey Parker arrives in Haven, Maine, on what she believes is a routine assignment. But the longer she stays, the more curious she becomes — about the townspeople, who seem to be beset by a range of supernatural afflictions; about the town itself, which contains many secrets; and about her own surprising connection to this strange place.

After watching this, I pulled the covers over my head, left the lights on, and kept my flashlight nearby!

Posted in Adventures, Dining Out, Family, Holidays, Working Around House | 2 Comments

Sunday Has Arrived Right On Schedule!

Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened. – Dr. Seuss

Thirty-plus years ago, Sue brought me an advertisement from the local paper about a “Christmas Play” at a dinner theater in Montclaire.  It looked interesting, so we went.  The next year, we added our mothers; we had a ball.  The following year we added my aunts and cousin, we continued to have fun.  The following year, we added some friends from work; it got to be a happy experience.

At the peak, we brought over one-hundred people as our guests.  Sue had a plan.  We gave “memories” for Christmas and not “stuff.”  Memories can’t be taken away, and they can be easily shared across the miles!  She always thought of others and loved her family and friends.  Not a minute goes by where I am not thinking about Sue and the fabulous life Sue provided me.  I love you!

Christmas was Sue’s favorite because it brought family and friends together.

Well, today was the loneliest day I have had yet.  I got up at 7:00 AM and called New Hampshire immediately since I was out-of-touch yesterday.  We chatted for a while.  Then I spent some more time looking at bathroom remodels because this week, I am going to start demolition of the hallway bathroom.  After the demolition gets completed, I am going to determine if I can do the job myself or hire someone to install the shower and do the tile jobs needed.  It looks like I will also replace the floor.  It will take 60 days, at least.

Breakfast was needed after my second cup of coffee, so I went to the garden and got the necessary berries.  I have cereal with my berries, not the other way around!

So very good when they are fresh, from bush to bowl in three minutes flat!

I worked in the office for two hours, going through old cookbooks and throwing stuff out.  It is easy to get behind in paperwork, but I am all caught up now!

Last night with Amy and Joe (and everyone) was a load of fun, so I sent a note to Amy thanking her for her gracious hospitality.  I feel lucky to have her as a daughter-in-law.

Amy has a birthday 1/13/2015

Speaking of last night, I decided I needed to wash my tennis shoes since I am playing golf again.  Well, I washed them, no problem.  But when they went into the dryer, every three minutes, one of the shoes would hit the dryer door just right, and the dryer door would open, and the dryer would stop.  I think they got 20 minutes in the dryer before I threw up my hands (which were held tightly on my ears) and turned off the dryer.

This morning, bright and early, all three pairs landed by the pool where the morning sun would dry them, and in the afternoon, I moved them to the front patio.  By 6:00 PM, they were dry! After a not-so-careful examination, I ordered three more pair from Amazon!

Note to self, ask one of the ladies how they wash/dry tennis shoes!

Speaking of daughters-in-law, Lisa called today as she somehow sensed I was lonely.  We talked about cooking, and the fact San Diego restaurants are beginning to open up, so during the two weeks starting June 2nd, I plan to pop down there and have lunch or dinner with them.

Lunch was about 2:00 PM, and I decided it would be chicken over garlic parmesan spaghetti, slightly modified.

It was quite yummy!

 

Modified, you ask? Well, when they say garlic, I usually triple the amount as I love garlic! The dinner for two so I plated, and vacuum-sealed the other half. That will feed me tomorrow and then I have Black Bean & Poblano Flautas for tomorrow night’s dinner!

The chicken was getting cooked with a healthy supply of Tuscan spices appropriately applied. I remembered this time to turn the heat way down because of the power of my stove-top.

I always set the table just like Sue and I would do, complete with candles and nice wine.  Setting the table was one of my duties so I know where all the silverware goes and proper order of forks, etc.

Plated and served complete with REAL wine and candles at lunchtime!

The Roma tomatoes, sliced into six sections, were roasted at 425 degrees on a baking sheet for 25 minutes.  The parmesan cheese was the last thing added, and it was in process of melting as I snapped the picture.

The closeup shot shows the roasted tomatoes, which with the salt/pepper/Tuscan spices and parmesan cheese were delicious.

Did You Know? Roma is a classification of tomatoes that is also commonly known as a paste, plum, pear, processing, saladette or sauce type tomato. Varieties in this category are characteristically meatier and less juicy than other types of tomato, which makes them ideal for canning, sauces, salsa, and dehydrating.
A Roma tomato is a paste tomato and generally has a thicker fruit wall, fewer seeds, and a denser but grainier flesh. Roma tomatoes tend to be oblong in shape and heavy for their size. They also tend to be more firm than a non-Roma. While they can be eaten raw, they are at their best when they are cooked.

Roaster romas are just chucked with flavor!

The La Crema was vintage 2017, so it was perfect and tasted good with the chicken.  I liked the smell of the lemon sugar cookie candles. I no longer gobble down my meals, I take time like I used to do with Sue.  We would sit at the table for an hour and talk every night.

Yes, I went for the good stuff today. I was lonely to La Crema put a smile on my face.

After clean up from lunch, me and the Silver Ghost did a “Lowe’s” run as I was after another nine-foot umbrella.  Summer must be here, Lowe’s was entirely out of umbrellas.  They had a big selection last week; I was too late!

Returning home, I decided to forego walking today as I am 193 pounds, and I can give up a day of walking.  I cleaned out my golf bag and found six cans of sunscreen in it.  Sue ALWAYS took good care of me and made sure I was covered top to bottom with sunscreen before I went out to play. I had no ideas she had that many cans in my golf bag!  I had to laugh!

Roger Dunn may have my clubs ready tomorrow, and if they do, I am taking the bag and clubs for a four-mile walk late in the day!

Connor and I talked for a while and we plan to get together this week as I feel pretty safe now.  Zack called to check up on me, and we talked for a while.  I got a tour of the freshly painted kitchen cabinets and the new master bedroom closet.  I was able to suggest something to Zack about sealing a casing crack; I love it when I can share my accumulation of knowledge with the younger set!

Tomorrow I may see Robin and Bob as they have nothing planned since Disneyland is closed! Now it is 10:30 PM, and that means I am going to count sheep, or watch TV, whichever puts me to sleep the fastest!

Good night all!

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