Stillness while never staying still…..

Daily Prompt: Sparkling or Still
What’s your idea of a perfect day off: one during which you can quietly relax, doing nothing, or one with one fun activity lined up after the other? Tell us how you’d spend your time.
Ahh….the thought of a day off. Working 10-11 hour days takes a tole on me. But that is the price I have to pay for spending every spare minute of paid time off on a vacation last summer. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Having a large chunk of time with no responsibilities was good for me. Even started a novel which starts as:

“Julie was devastated when her beloved cat, Sophia, disappeared. Presumed dead and eaten by coyotes, Julie declared the disappearance as the worst event of her life. She was wrong. The worst day was three weeks later when the cat came home. It took months for Julie to realize this.”

So I am a still person who never stays still. Given the gift of a day off, I want to play with my art supplies, start another project, cook a fancy dinner, perhaps go for a walk on the beach with Bob and the dog.

But not today. Today, I’ll pick up the 10 boxes of persimmons from my garage and take them to work. Have lots of fun giving them away while solving the worlds woes. If not the worlds woes, at least get one or two tasks done. Work way too many hours earning some time off next week. Come home late and have a good dinner (at least a hot homemade dinner) prepared with love by Bob. Go to bed. And then repeat without the fun of persimmons tomorrow. At least I have a good job.

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Kate and her car

Kate has an old passat sedan as a car. This 1999 old lady, named Olga the Ugly, has had rough life. We think it was in an accident. We know that it has been the car for multiple new teenage drivers. And it has the problem of planned obsolescence–all the plastic pieces are designed to break. After all, this is the car where a year ago, Bob and I proposed using umbrella’s to replace the sun roof……

At this point, the problems with the car include

  • broken sunroof (held in place with wooden blocks)
  • no heater (broken fan piece fixed with zipties)
  • no alarm or lock (don’t ever lock the car as the alarm system goes off at random moments)
  • badly decomposed seats (one is filled with a towel under the seat cover)
  • Windows dropping into the doors (latest problem)
  • Anyway, a week ago Kate came home very upset, the driver side window had dropped into the door. Bob checked and found it that it was OK, all we needed was a silly little plastic part costing about 50 dollars. Same problem as several years ago. Last time that happened, Bob was able to fix the window on the passenger side. It turns out there is a cable for the door lock that can easily get mixed up with the window controls. If they do get mixed up, then when you lower the window, the door pops open and the cable gets cut. This time we knew enough to avoid that specific problem.

    But yet another stupid problem– now the window switches are broken. Less than a millimeter of plastic is used to anchor the switches in a high stress area. Designed to break and it did. Actually the picture is quite shocking, you can see how it happened. We thought about using popsicle sticks to fix the switch. But it turns out you can buy a universal part for about 10 bucks. Much easier than spending hours making the sticks work. But it would have been funny to see Kate’s face at that level of repair.


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    Made with love

    What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.
    Over the years, I have made and received many wonderful handmade gifts. It’s hard to say what is the best. We have had great parties creating candles, jewelry, cookies, jam, fruitcake and ornaments. In fact, my present closet is steadily getting filled with all kinds of homemade treats. As a family we spent afternoons painting stars and nuts as ornaments. I will never forget the chocolate dipped gummy worms, they were disgusting both in appearance and taste. At the same time they were funny and Zoe, our neighbor kid, was about 3 or 4 at the time. She so carefully walked around the kitchen table putting one worm in every treat plate. She helped us deliver them to our neighbors. And then she took an extra big plate with extra servings of worms home to her parents.

    Some of the gifts were made by Bob. Remember the Stilts….I could not watch you girls on them.   It scared me, all I could think about was you falling off them.  And of course, that made it all the better as you walked around on them.   They were much cooler than the tin can stilts I made, you girls were four feet off the ground. Bob also made me a wooden soma cube. I love that toy and play with it all the time. Recently he had made me a couple new doors. And we have been gifted some incredible meals made by the three girls. Especially our anniversary dinners outside in the backyard complete with french onion soup and lamb chops served with fake french accents. One year, you girls gave me a pouch where I could store hairbands without anyone touching them. Guaranteed to work until the first real crisis arrived.

    But I think the best gifts are the cards. We still get them from you three girls. Everyone eagerly looks for their card — some whimsical creation filled with words of love. Just a few days ago, Kate got one from Maggie for her birthday. Someday you three girls will have to clean out our house and then you will find how many of these cards are stored away in drawers and all kinds of improbable places. I hope they make you smile then just as they me smile when I find them again now. Thank you for the love.2014-01-12 10.34.46

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    A trip to the park

    DAILY PROMPT:Trio no. 4
    Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must include a speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning. (Wildcard: you can swap any of the above for a good joke.)
    It was a beautiful October morning in San Diego. One of those wonderful Santa Ana days we now describe as “Cool and Crisp in the morning followed by fire watches in the afternoon”. Bob decided to take Elly for a walk at the dog park–the one where they cage the kids and let the dogs run free. As always, Elly had a wonderful time, racing in circles with all the other dogs. At the end of the hour, it was time to leave. Oh No, the keys for the car were gone. But luckily he had a cell phone and was able to call his mom. Of course, she sped down there right away to rescue her son, take him home, let him retrieve spare keys, and take him back to the dog park. And it gave his dad lots of time to tease Bob. Even years later, Bob still hears about loosing the keys at the dog park.

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    Cleaning my IPAD — Random Photos

    Ran out of space on the IPAD — way too many photos. So it is time to clean out more. Even though I have backed everything up, I hate deleting photos. In a very real sense, they capture my life, many great times and interesting events.

    Ports O Call — one of many interesting riding toys there



    Three girls — one of the very sleepy.



    The pond at my mom’s farm.  I owe her a painting of this.20141111-074645.jpg


    Another picture of Port’s O Call



    Kate with Cashew in France.









    Fixing a camera




    Kate and Mary at lunch







    Bob and Elly after breakfast.  Elly always gets a treat.



    David and Bob, Easter Day.






    Dad and nutcracker.  It has been put out every christmas for many many years.












    Sunset at La Jolla





    Charlie climbing








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    Del Mar Dog Beach

    DAILY PROMPT:No Time to Waste.

    Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion. (Thanks for suggesting this prompt, theempathyqueen!)


    Life is too short to forget simple pleasures like taking the dog to the beach. For the last year and a half, I’ve been a cripple.  It started with a knee injury  followed by a twisted ankle.  Back and forth,  unable to walk normally, I limped through Europe and have spent many an hour pretending to not hurt while walking.   About 2 months ago, I got tired of not being able to walk where the final straw was limping around Sandia National Labs during take your parents to work day.  Came home and then felt fine.  Ankle and knee both working great for a few days until I twisted the ankle again and went to the doctor..  First urgent care, where an xray established nothing was broken.  So then off to physical therapy where I’ve been relearning how to walk.

    What does this have to do with Del Mar Dog beach, you might ask?  Well the answer is everything.  Since this last Sunday was first time in 1.5 years where Bob and I have gone outside doing nature type things where I could walk without pain.  It’s a big deal and makes me happy.  Even though  I was tired and sore at the end, it was great fun and I got some great photos.   Best of all, we had a great afternoon outside walking around.















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    Hello from the netherworld

    DAILY PROMPT:Bad Signal
    Someone’s left you a voicemail message, but all you can make out are the last words: “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Bye.” Who is it from, and what is this about?
    “Hello, this is your friendly water pressure regulator speaking up after way too many years of neglect. What, You didn’t know I existed. Well I am one of the more important pieces of equipment in your life. And since your ignoring me, I’ll let that rubber washer fall apart and drop your sink water pressure to less than one gallon per minute.”

    Yes, we have had a few plumbing problems. First the water pressure dropped to a dribble from most of the faucets within the house. I called VID — the vista irrigation district; our local water supplier — and asked about it. Good customer service, they sent someone out to check our water pressure. It was high, very high outside, so they called back and said they wanted to come back and do some more measurements.

    So Bob arranged to have them come back. Three guys, two trucks, and lots of measuring devices came. In the meantime, Bob cleaned out rubber pieces from sink faucet, leading to an immediate improvement in water flow. The guys from VID spent several hours checking pressure. They couldn’t make any recommendations, but they did talk about the common causes of water problems and Bob figured out we should be replacing our water pressure regulator. Smart man, he started putting oil or something on the joints several days before we started the work.

    Here’s the original water pressure regulator. Most houses in our area need one, it controls the amount of water pressure coming into the house. Without the regulator, the high pressure can cause problems like constantly running toilets or blown pipes that are very expensive to replace. I think this is probably the original regulator, over 36 years old. Those of you who have been at our house may not recognize that corner. Until last week, there had been an ugly box covering it below the kitchen window. Box is gone and the cats have lost their morning post for sunbathing.


    Note all the scale and rust on this piece.


    And how empty the corner looks without the pressure regulator. Notice how there is an empty spot in this photo. This is where the replacement water regulator will go. Also note just above the blue knob / handle, there is a big nut hanging at an angle. This is the original part. A rubber washer goes between the top of that post and the water regulator. The nut screws upward holding everything in place. These pieces are important because they cause a lot of pain and suffering. Mental anguish, no humans or animals were physically hurt in the process.


    So early last Friday morning, all started well with an easy dismantling of the water pressure regulator. Got the part off, went down to Home Depot, and found a replacement part. Same brand, it looked the same although not identical. The hardware had been improved over the years and our original version is not made anymore. Came home, put the pieces together and found there was no grease as promised in the package. Called the water pressure regulator company, talked to customer service, they checked with the engineers, and eventually told us any lubed grease would work. Grease up the rubber gasket and insert. Tighten the old nut and turn back on the water. Immediate shower coming from that bottom nut. Turn off the water, reposition, and try again. Another major leaker. Turn off the water and repeat. Use some power words, repeat. Make a trip to the hardware store to buy another tool for turning on and off the water at the main. Repeat process. Go down to Hanna plumbing, the most expensive but convenient store for more rubber washers. Come home repeat the process a few times. Use some more power words, have a temper tantrum or two, and enjoy a few more showers. Eventually return to Hanna Plumbing and enduring some ribbing from the guys there–they don’t get to many requests for buying this specific rubber washer.

    Finally we give up and call a plumber. This happened when the lip on the bottom pipe broke, requiring a professional welding job. Luckily we called before closing. So although it took quite a while for the Pacific Drain and Plumbing guy to arrive, he charged us the daytime rate. Turns out that his headlights gave out and he had to replace them. We had the night service guy and I think he expects to see a lot of cranky customers. He commented several times on the fact we had been without water all day. Bob left me to deal with him and I was not cranky. I was delighted to see him arrive and do the work. But his patter seems to indicate that he is used to dealing with difficult customers. He did notice that we had gone through an entire roll of plumbers tape since we had forgotten to pick up that case.

    Bob had done a good job cleaning up the area. And we had good lighting. So the gentleman was able to accomplish the job fairly easy. It turned out that the bottom nut was probably bad. And that was why nothing worked. While there, he replace the old not very good blue knob with an easy to use shut off switch. Look how beautiful the copper gleams from the new pipe and water pressure regulator. All it cost was a bit more than 400 dollars.


    Now a couple following tidbits of information. Kate fled on Friday, wise girl. When she came home on Saturday, Bob told her that the water was fixed but there were no showers for a week because the pipes had to settle. It took a while before she realized that he was teasing. When she asked for like the 4th time “What, no showers for a week?” and her dad burst out laughing that she knew the truth.

    And I realized there is a very good present for Bob and I. We need a bright halogen shop light like the one below.


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    Laughter in the morning

    This picture made me laugh. Evidently the kid, age 3, got out of his apartment, walked to the bowling alley, and climbed into the claw toy machine. What a devilish genius.


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    Happy Birthday Kate

    9:51 PM update
    Well Kate just discovered her last birthday surprise. Her dad shortsheeted her and she found out the hard way. Much shouting, screaming, recriminations, and laughter ensued. It is still unclear who will remake the bed.

    Dear Kate,
    A Happy 17th birthday. Welcome to the world of almost adulthood. It’s been an amazing journey watching you grow that seems to happened in way too short of a time. Next year, no silly low key family birthday party, we all expect you to be at college. So this year, we went all out and got you the special candles. Only 16 of them, I was too cheap to buy two packs. But hey, these were the long ones and we did have an extra special short one at home with a star on top. So you had 17 candles on the cake.

    Interesting party. This was the first time where I did nothing. Your dad did it all. Bought the presents, wrapped them, made the cake, made the dinner, set the table. It felt strange and different than the parties I used to throw for your birthday. Remember all those little kid parties where you got the choice — carrots and pickles or vegtables? Or the extra hot cheetos, disgusting things I could never eat?

    You were born at the sharp memorial women’s hospital via c-section. I had hoped to avoid one but from day -270 you had your own ideas about what was right. A sleepless wonder, we visited the doctor 40 times in the first month. No one will forget the space tube baby with the green light helping you recover from being born a bit early. Everyone was entranced by this little girl who slept in the living room on a green light.

    When you were two, you cured your grandfather of swearing for a couple years. He used to curse a lot. And as you got fluent in language, you could imitate him. One day something went against your two year old will and you started cursing “Fuck, fuck, fuck” in exactly the same tones as grandfather. He listened and stopped swearing that day.

    And then there was the visit to hometown buffet. Big family treat, you did something that caused trouble. And we decided that your punishment was going to hometown buffet and not having any dessert. You did great, had a big dinner. And then you pushed away from the table and said “I’m done, shall we go?”

    Here’s an old photo of you and your sisters. I love it.

    And here’s you with today’s birthday cake. Happy Birthday Kate




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    The almost perfect really good soup

    Daily Prompt: The Spice of Success
    If “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor” (Truman Capote), how spicy do you like your success stories?
    Last saturday I got a hankering for potato leak soup. Had gone out for breakfast and there it was the daily soup, potato cheese. Ordered a cup to go, ate it as an early lunch and wanted more. Well cheese soup won’t be acceptable in my house; there is a general prejudice against any and all cheese. So potato leek soup was my compromise, a decision made while at the grocery store.

    So I guessed about the ingredients and missed a couple essential ingredients. Then started cleaning out the refrigerator only to find a dozen red peppers. A pound of Brussels sprouts, 5 pounds of carrots, an old rutabaga, a few more old potatoes and some sweet potato. And thus two new dishes were born.

    The red pepper potato leek soup started out with a good smell as I slowly braised leeks, peppers, and celery in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper. Added the potatoes and water, letting it cook for an hour until the potatoes were soft. But then the red flakes of bell pepper looked terrible in the soup. So I blended everything, making the soup a lovely orange color; adding a cup of Creme Fraiche (which is like sour cream). But it didn’t have a good flavor, so started adding other tastes. 3 cups of cheese to add richness. Cardamon which gives a musky rich flavor. Dark New Mexico Chili powder to add a bit of kick. A teaspoon of marmit hoping to add some rich saltiness to the soup. It wasn’t enough so more salt and pepper. A biggish dash of worchestor sauce and a quarter cup of red wine sherry to add tang. All helped, but the final element was an inch of molasses. Suddenly the soup tasted fantastic. Incredible blend of sweet, tangy, rich, spicy soup.

    Success, wonderful delicious soup. I love the flavor. The catch, I have over 30 cups of soup and no one will eat it. Kate hates cheese and orange soup. Bob hates blended soups. Mary won’t eat things that are spicy. So there is a lot of soup for just me.

    But it gets even better. Still working on cleaning out the fridge and using up what we have, I created another dish. 1 pound of brussels sprouts, quartered, 1 rutabega cubed, 1.5 pounds of carrots chunked and 1 pound of sausage cut into small pieces. Put it all in a pan, add a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite seasoning–Voila a one pan dinner ready for roasting. But again, my entire family rejected this meal. Kate won’t touch sausage, Bob didn’t like the look of the dish, and Mary doesn’t like brussel sprouts. It was great and now I have a lot of lunches. Probably will substitute marinated tofu for the sausage next time and add pineapple. Add a lot more spice, I like it spicy. Since my family won’t even touch it, might as well customize it for me.

    The almost great red pepper potato leek soup

    6 cups red bell peppers sliced
    6 large leaks, sliced
    Half to whole head of celery, cut into pieces
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste

    8-10 medium yellow gold potatoes, chunked
    10-12 cups of water

    1 cup creme fraiche
    1 Tablespoon corriander powder
    2 Tablespoons chili powder or to taste
    1/4 cup red wine sherry vinegar
    1 teaspoon marmit (vegamite or salt can be substituted)
    several good sloshes of worchester sauce
    more salt and pepper to taste
    3 cups grated cheese (various kinds depending on taste, the stronger the flavor the better)
    1 inch from bottle of unsulfured molasses

    Gently sauté the leeks, peppers, celery with olive oil, salt and pepper until soft and smelling delicious. Add potatoes and water to cover. Cook for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft and falling apart. Turn off and let cool down for a while. Add creme fraiche and stir well. Blend the entire soup. Add cheese and put back on the heat. Stir constantly until cheese is melted. Begin adding seasonings a little bit at a time; checking the taste as you do. Stop when the soup tastes great. Your proportions of spices may be different than my taste.

    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with other things

    1 pound or more of Brussels sprouts, quartered
    1.5 pounds of carrots, cut into circles.
    1 or 2 rutabegas cut into pieces
    1 sweet potato cut into cubes
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    Salt, pepper, and seasonings to flavor.

    1 pound sausage, cut into small pieces (optional)

    Mix the vegetables, olive oil, and spices together. Put into roasting pan. Add meat. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, remove foil and check. If not done, put back in over for 15 minutes uncovered. Casserole is done when the vegetables are soft.

    For amusement factor, use the colored carrots. They are guaranteed to cause a commotion in the most conservative of families. Feel free to change the mixture of root vegetables, anything fairly firm that cooks about the same speed will work. You can substitute anything you want for the sausage–other meats, marinated tofu or nothing. Also, a can of pineapple would add a lovely different flavor to the stew

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    Farewell to Sadie

    A little over a week ago, my parent’s beloved dog, Sadie, died. She was a great companion and will be missed. In honor of Sadie, todays post is dedicated to stories about her.


    For many years, Bob lived with my parents during the week while working. Sadie always loved greeting people. And as a young dog, she got very excited and would pee all over the floor. Bob says he learned to walk in the house, march right past the dog through the kitchen and into the backyard. There he would call her. Sadie came running and as expected peed on the ground. This became a ritual for years. Eventually she did grow out of that habit.

    Sadie was supposed to be a truffle hunting dog. While pigs are traditionally used in Italy and France for truffle hunting, the modern way is using dogs. They have good noses and can be more easily trained. That is most dogs. Truffle training starts with truffle oil put on a ball. The dog has to identify the correct ball and then gets a treat. Repeat the process, now hiding the ball. Eventually pieces of truffle are buried in the ground and the dog is supposed to go find it. Well Sadie got enrolled in formal truffle training school and was the only dog in the history of the school to get the most playful award. It turns out she got bored with the training, ate the truffle and then started playing with the puppies. Now she was about 5 years old at the time, old enough to know better.

    Below are a couple of pictures of Sadie from last Christmas. In the first photo she’s below the porch watching Elly get a tomato juice bath. Yes, Elly had tangled with a skunk and lost. No one, including Sadie wanted anything to do with her. It seems Sadie was lording it over Elly because she could be inside and Elly was not allowed. During the bath, Sadie watched intently from a distance.

    In this photo, Sadie and Elly are romping around with the girls in the snow. They had a wonderful time.

    Here’s Sadie helping with a toy helicopter. Launched using a rubber band, Sadie watched everyone make a fool of themselves.


    Here’s a photo from a solar eclipse party at the farm a couple years ago. Sadie wasn’t sure about wearing glasses, but she was always a party animal. And if everyone else is wearing glasses, she will try them.


    A few other short stories. When Sadiie was young, she traveled between the farm and the family house in Los Angeles many times. My mom always claimed that Sadie would spend a couple of days sulking on the trip down. But when going up the five, there was a McDonalds (or was it Jack in the Box) that Sadie recognized. Every time they stopped there on the way up, Sadie would celebrate.

    Sadie loved living at the farm. She had distinct routines, such as always going into the stream while on a walk. She loved the snow and romped happily in the mud. She had hundreds of balls stashed all over the farm. So when she went for a walk, often she would come home with a different ball.

    When my parents were building their house, Sadie was there watching the construction workers. She always had a ball that got dropped at their feet. This was not always welcome, so the workers would throw the ball deep into brush or put it up high on the rafters. Sadie got very good at finding the thrown balls. But I think there might be a ball or two under the concrete or embedded in the walls.

    Rest in peace Sadie. You will be remembered.

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    Sick Neighbor and nothing I can do….

    Daily Post: Second-Hand Stories
    What’s the best story someone else has recently told you (in person, preferably)? Share it with us, and feel free to embellish — that’s how good stories become great, after all.
    Although there were several other blog posts planned, this was too good a topic to skip. After all the best stories are people stories although this story does not have a good ending or even a satisfying ending at the moment.

    The first story is about my neighbors. They moved in 15 years ago and the first thing they did was put in an ugly fence with even uglier plants designed to grow tall and create an ultimate privacy fence. Bad neighbors, they spent years not acknowledging us. Wouldn’t even say hello. And they never once mowed their patch of lawn on the front yard. They never water either so there are lots of dead plants; but there is a thriving weed patch. Called the police once to report us for child abuse because Kate was shrieking about not having to clean up the dead gopher. The woman has had some serious back problems and she totters around, a hunched figure the occasions when she comes outside. I think she is addicted to narcotic painkillers since she often appears loopy. The man is not much better, he spent several years working overseas while she lived there alone. She survived with the help of a taxi cab driver called Joe.

    Recently the situation has become worse. The couple separated. She called the police and reported that he abused her. There was one night where she was shrieking that he was beating her, but it didn’t sound like it. I thought the shouts sounded like the people in the nursing home when David was there who had sundowners. Something about the end of the day turns people with dementia into shrieking irrational beings. Anyway the police came and the man moved out. And she lives there by herself.

    During the hot spell last August, she shrieked for us to come put the fire out in her house. I took the fire extinguisher over and looked for a fire. There was nothing, but lots of dust in the air. The house was unbelievable. It puts home hoarders to shame. You can barely walk down the hallway because there are so many piles of things all over. No cooking because the kitchen stove, kitchen table, and all the counters are piled two feet high with junk. She said there had to be a fire because it was 87 degrees in the house. It was 87 degrees outside at 8:30 pm. It was hot. There was no fire. After that incident, I called health human services. She should not be living alone. The police have visited a few time. Health and human care, elder protective services has come. But no one can do anything.

    It gets worse and worse. She called the police because a neighbor had a childrens birthday party and was playing music at 6 pm at night. Her claim was that the noise was illegal. She’s called the police because our cars are parked in our yard. She is no longer speaking to us since we won’t call the police over various minor issues. The taxi driver she used for years no longer comes because she threw a coke can at him. But the story that Bob told me this week about her was even worse. And it is true.

    Evidently she inherited some money from her dad or somebody. And she has a check for 250,000 dollars. So she approached yet another neighbor to help her cash this check. This neighbor had never met her before and didn’t believe our stories. They spent six hours visiting different banks, all of which rejected the check. Then the second neighbor visited the house and was appalled by the overwhelming trash and piles of junk. She did get the phone number for the woman’s son. After leaving this woman in her home hoarders masterpiece firetrap, she stopped by and talked with Bob. Another long time neighbor came over with her daughter and the four of them were talking. Then as a group, they called the sick woman’s son. He said that he didn’t have anything to do with his mother. Evidently she has been mentally ill for years. He lived with his dad and called it protective custody. When he sees her now, she threatens to kill him.

    But he did promise to call social services. And we saw this woman’s husband and told him she should not live alone. He agrees and would like to get her into an assisted living facility. I hope happens soon. I don’t trust her not to do something crazy. And I
    am worried she might try to poison the pets. So we work really hard to keep the cats all inside and the dog inside. It is a pity that we don’t have services to help with cases like this. And unless she does something illegal, there is no way to force her into assisted living or a medical facility. The lady at social services said we had to decide how much we wanted to do for her. I don’t want to do anything and feel bad because I don’t like her. And I hate being scared about what she might do. Does she have guns in the house? Will she call the police again on us? I hope she moves out soon and I no longer have to deal with the issues. Selfish yes, but it is also a matter of our lives. There is only so much time, energy, and love that I can give.

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    The Scream, fun with friends

    Last weekend, some friends and I did a night on the town. Now a wild night in my life means going to down to the local art store and taking a painting class. Wild times mean we even get a free glass of wine included with our painting supplies. Subject: The Scream by Munche. Great fun although I am not happy with my painting. They use really cheap paints and I find that very limiting. It doesn’t take long for the colors to mix into a muddy brown mess. And once that happens there is no way to recover. But I did have fun putting the dog into the painting. Enjoy the photos.







    <a href=””><img src=”; alt=”NaBloPoMo November 2014″ height=”255″ width=”298″></a>

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    Voter Lookup

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    Grey Fur

    Daily Post Trio No. 3
    Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must mention a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call). Feel free to switch one ingredient if you have to (or revisit one from previous trio prompts).
    It was a dark and stormy night, ok, not stormy but dark and cold when some little grey furred animal came into our house. Unfortunately, this creature did not survive. Only a few remnants on the counter near the fridge existed–grey fur and few guts. True story, it happened a couple nights ago. We don’t know all the details so I’m guessing about what really happened. I’m guessing either a rat or mouse climbed in the house through the kitchen door, lured by the smell of food or trash. Probably trash since most food gets put away. Charlie loves to open every plastic bag and push every box from the counter onto the floor. Charlie is our newest cat; a fierce wannabe warrior confined to the house. He tracks every inch of the house and knows if anything is displaced. Great hearing, if a mouse or rat was rustling in the trash; Charlie would check out that noise.

    That little creature has its last “Oh Shit” moment when Charlie discovered the intruder in the trash. Tears of joy on Charlie’s part. Eventually he won, killed the little brown furred creature and had a late night snack. But the story gets grosser. We only found a small portion of this animal on the counter. There is concern that some remnants might still be lurking in the house, leading to a big stink later. But maybe not since Elle’s stools seem to indicate she too had some brown furred midnight snack.

    Charlie drinking my coffee milk hidden in the cupboard.

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    Horoscopes: Two Daily Prompts

    Thanks Bob for all the helpful suggestions with this daily prompt.  I had fun with it.  For those of you confused by daily prompts; these are small daily writing exercises provided by the wordpress people.   It’s a good way for me to practice writing different topics.


    Oct 28 Daily Prompt:Custom Zodiac

    You’re tasked with creating a brand new astrological sign for the people born around your birthday — based solely on yourself. What would your new sign be, and how would you describe those who share it?


    New Sign Details:

    • Name: Menagery
    • Dates: June 3 – June 23
    • Constantly changing, constantly proposing new ideas to the point of annoying everyone.  Always has a proposal for something.  Able to tackle way too many projects at the same time. Willing to take risks.


    Oct 29 Daily Prompt:In Retrospect

    Yesterday you invented a new astrological sign. Today, write your own horoscope — for the past month (in other words, as if you’d written it October 1st).


    Unexpected opportunities will come this month, but only if you are willing to speak up and take a risk.  Don’t get involved in too many projects, the NAPOxxxxx challenges are not a good idea.  But you probably will do that anyway.  Keep working on your projects and some will get done.

    No, your husband or mother in law will NOT want to go to an art class.  They are not wild about going to the all souls festival celebrating the day of the dead; but they might go because they love you.  But only if you dress normally, no face paint and no costumes.

    You will experience a wide range of emotions this month as always.  Laughter, joy, sadness, boredom, anger, irrationality, exhaustion, and exhilaration.  Life is not boring for you; even if it feels that way at work.  Others depend on you.  Accept this as a gift.

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    Cats in perspective, a critique of photos

    Over the last few days, those three cats of mine have presented themselves for some interesting perspective shots. First is Sally, our old lady who likes to spend the day sleeping. About dinner time or whenever she thinks there may be a chance at treats, she will come and sit on an internal window ledge in the kitchen. Now this is an interesting architectural feature in our house, simply a hole in an internal wall. But it allows light to stream into the hall and leads to some interesting views of the living room. For this photo, I tried many different angles and was unable to get any where the lines don’t all go akimbo. At best, I could make one line look correct. Perhaps I’ll have to play with some image processing software and see if I can get a really wild photo out this.

    The second photo is Sophia. Another older lady, she wants to spend her days in the garage. Either in the rafters or in an older cat post. I’ve learned not to throw out old cat furniture. Instead put it outside and it gains a second life. Cats love cat furniture in safe sunny outside spots. Some of our best photos have come from this repurposed cat furniture. And again, you can see that perspective turns circles into ovals and leads to some interesting lines drawing the eye all over the photo.

    The final photo shows our young man Charlie. The angles all come from him. He’s sleepy, content, and beautifully light. But at the same time his position is triangular with the lines formed by his legs. Charlie has periods of business all day and all night long. As an indoor cat (he’s a carrier for feline respiratory diseases) he cannot be allowed to wander outside. He wants to but at the same time is scared about being outside. And he certainly considers our house his territory. There is no place he can’t go. Several times every night, he checks out his outside room–the cat shanty on the porch. And a couple nights ago, we found him sitting on the top of an open door. Not sure how he got there, probably with a single leap. Anyway, enjoy the photo.


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    Weekend Stories and random links

    Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done Our ten-minute free-write is back! Have no mercy on your keyboard as you give us your most unfiltered self (feel free to edit later, or just publish as-is).
    Today we go for laughs. Lots of them. First was a short story about Kate. She was housesitting for the next door neighbors who have two dogs and a cat. No problem except one of the dogs is 110 pound or more black lab named Hulk. The name is appropriate, I have never seen a bigger lab. It turns out he likes showers and so on at least one occasion, he joined her in the shower. Kate described him as a big slippery otter in a small shower stall. She was not amused, but her dad and I were.

    It warmed my heart to see Kate and her friend working on their physics project. Assignment make a tennis ball launcher that can accurately place the ball at a TBD location between 2 and 7 meters. Kate went for the sling shot approach. She’s learned to use my new saw table cutting lumber, a drill press to create accurate holes, and many other tools. It warms my heart to see her so productive.

    Bob took Elle to the dog beach in Del Mar. She has a wonderful time swimming and racing around with other dogs. Evidently she likes to play submarine, walking with her nose and eyes sticking out of the water, the rest of the dog underneath. Problem with the game is that she drinks too much saltwater and thus always gets sick afterwards. Bob hasn’t learned that you never take Elle anywhere after a trip to the beach. This time it was the Home Depot parking lot where she had a problem. One bag or even 10 bags would not have been sufficient to clean up that mess.

    At work, everyone has been tasking with writing their own evaluation for the year. And to help, we have a set of prompts. Reading the first one has everyone in despair. How do you respond to “Leadership qualities–Company Values. Demonstrates integrity.” The obvious answer is “Yes, I do that” but they want examples. How do you demonstrate “integrity” in a single bulleted short sentence?

    More absurdity at work. Modern process requires a web based entry for all facilities issues including plumbing problems. And to make sure no one is tempted to create non-essential service tickets, the website is hidden under the name “Maximo”. So when problems like a broken water fountain pouring water onto the floor, an overflowing toilet, or a dripping pipe in the bathroom occur; we employees are empowered by this web site IF WE CAN FIND IT. And IF WE HAVE THE CORRECT PERMISSIONS to create a ticket. If we don’t, then we have to find someone with enough authority to report it for us. Then someone somewhere sometime will look at said ticket and assign someone else to check the problem. Very efficient process for these plumbing emergencies.

    Now some entertainment from the web. First is an incredible video created from time lapse photos of the wave. Titled
    YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ – Navajo for Milky Way or “That Which Awaits the Dawn” this movie is by Gavin Heffernan ( and Harun Mehmedinović ( WOW, what a gorgeous view of the night sky. Take a look.

    Next is a startling photo of slumbering lions — photos from the wildlife photograph of the year contest. I would be proud to have taken a photo this good.

    Now some more laughter. Political humor. First link John Oliver in his show “Last Week Tonight” where he did a hysterically funny piece on women’s wages. At one point in Maggie’s career as a young girl, she wanted to issue something called Lola Bucks as money. No one in our house was willing to trade dollars for lola bucks. So if anyone could actually find a “Lola Buck” it would be a collectors item and now might be worth real money. Well John Oliver suggested using “Lady Bucks” which come in pink and purple colored denominations. Watch this segment only if your prepared to laugh.

    And then I am inspired by Rick Scotts Wedding Dress Political Ad. He makes it simple, choose him because he’s handsome and sleek. Perhaps the repuglians really do know what is best for me.

    And no, I was unable to write this post in 10 minutes. It took closer to 30.

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    Friends, imaginary or real

    Daily Prompt: Imaginary Friend

    Many of us had imaginary friends as young children. If your imaginary friend grew up alongside you, what would his/her/its life be like today? (Didn’t have one? write about a non-imaginary friend you haven’t seen since childhood.)


    As a kid, I had many imaginary friends who were always willing to try new things, who always listened to me, and who were positive wonderful companions. As an adult, imaginary friends still exist. But I don’t know who they are yet. They are the people who pretend to be friends and then back stab you. The ones who take advantage of your trust and then to abuse i. The ones who spread vicious gossip and try to push you down for personal gain. These types of people make me sad. I wonder why these people act so cruelly. Did someone break their trust and teach them the only way to get ahead is stomping on others? Do they feel ashamed or guilty about their actions? I can’t be like that. So I trust and reach out to new friends and acquaintances on a regular basis. And you know what, in almost every case the joy they bring is far more than worrying about an occasional problem person.

    Real friends bring true joy into my life.  I’ve been blessed.  With them, I laugh; work; and share all the small things that make a life rich.  Who are my friends.  My husband, Bob, a life long companion who does things like give me his car this morning so I don’t have to stop for gas on the way to work.  My mother-in-law who has been supporting me with love for years, even when I do things that seem strange to her.  My mom who taught me that having too much food and drink means guests are always welcome in a house.  Suzie, Marianne, Carolyn, and other women friends who share my hobbies, interests, and love of good food / wine.  With friends like this, I don’t need any imaginary friends.  Thank you to everyone.

    Anyway, it’s a beautiful day here in San Diego. As one of my friends at work said “Beautiful cool crisp morning in October followed by Fire in the afternoon.”

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    Favorite Movie, bad question

    Daily Post:
    Fourth Wall
    You get to spend a day inside your favorite movie. Tell us which one it is — and what happens to you while you’re there.
    How can I choose only one favorite movie? It depends; am I happy? tired? stressed? or relaxed? Choice of the favorite depends so much on my mood that this becomes a stupid question. Unfortunately it seems to be a favorite one, especially for those passcode security systems. What is your favorite movie, favorite food, favorite novel, month, or whatever. Mostly I have favorite scenes. When I am really tired, something lighthearted like the princess diaries is my favorite. I can laugh at some of those great scenes, like the one where the princess falls off the chair or in the second movie where tells Lily that she’s getting married. And then there are the surreal scenes: My Dinner with Andre where the whole movie is two people talking a table, or Across the Universe with the blue men. And of course who could forget The Princess Bride with the RUS. It must be I am abnormal to not have favorites. Or is it a measure of my complexity? Or just a really bad question? You decide.

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    Circuitous Paths and the Unexpected

    Circuitous Paths
    A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.
    What a great concept, circuitous fun paths. We did it, not the stranger from the daily prompt. Went wood shopping today. Started in a shop that had beautiful incredible hardwood pieces. I wanted to buy lots of them and have Bob make me tons of tables. But he feels not yet worthy of this wood nirvana, the pieces are too nice to for practice and learning. Then we followed the train tracks until south until just before the freeway. There is a store that gets regular shipments of wood via train. I saw carloads of wood being delivered while riding the sprinter to work. Evidently when Santa Fe Railway sold the train tracks to North Country District, there was a lawsuit by this shop to keep their access to railcar wood deliveries. And I heard complaints from Jan whose husband helped design and build the sprinter that this lawsuit added a couple of years onto the Sprinter line construction. There’s a good story there.

    Elly, our dog, had a wonderful time at this shop. There was a man who loved dogs and cannot have one where he lives. So he played with Elly, got her some water, and for a grand finale, fed her HIS lunch. Fried spam. He dangled the spam slice from his mouth and let Elly take it from him. Elly loved it. Bob swears those calories are coming out of her dinner.

    After visiting yet another wood store and running a few errands came home to yet another adventure. Totally unexpected. After using the bathroom, I discovered the door knob had frozen in a closed position. Had to call Bob to bring tools. After 45 minutes, was finally able to dismantle the door knob and escape. Charlie found this event fascinating. He tried to help, pulling himself up to a standing position and looking through the door hole. Putting arms underneath the door and seeing what he could hook with his claws. Dodging orange cat paws while trying to pop hinge pins adds a real sense of adventure to the process. Here’s the proof.


    As for circuitous paths, they are fun. One never knows what one will learn. Me, I didn’t expect to become familiar with the inner workings of a door knob.

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    Photos from December 2013 at Brindejon

    Cleaning up my photo stash and came across these great pictures. There were a couple of good days at my parents farm. First was a silly little toy that shot a helicopter up into the sky. Everyone had fun trying it out.







    And then we had fun searching for snow. That took some work, most of it had already melted. But my girls are always resourceful and managed to find a 4 foot hill for sledding. As you can see in the photos, the dogs had a wonderful time.






    And then there was the group lamp painting session




    that was a good trip. everyone had fun.

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    What has Robine been doing?

    Yes, I am alive and doing well despite rumors to the contrary. Evidently various family members have been checking with Bob to see what’s happening since both the quantity and quality of blog posts has diminished. The last month has been an incredibly creative and productive time, just not with the writing.
    Decided to start finishing some projects, beginning with the lady in the moon. It was one of my first forays into both sculpture (with paper mache) and lighting (using a set of christmas lights). Made a ton of mistakes and then put it away for a year. As the creator, I can see every small error and the large ones also. Not finished yet, at least I know how to get past the problem spots. Plaster, spray paint, gesso, and a willingness to accept paint spots on light bulbs as artistic elements helped with this transformation. Last weekend I finished the back. And I now have the patience to slowly paint small sections at a time. 20 hours of painting and it probably will be done. Below is a picture of it partially finished. Look for a series of photos showing the progress in a couple of weeks. Every weekend, I put on a few mor

    But thats not all. I’ve been working on my painting. At lunch a couple weeks ago, a friend at work taught a short class on using water color pencils. We did apples. I don’t have my watercolor apple from the class, another friend borrowed it as an example and then lost it. Dang…won’t lend her my pictures without at least getting a photo first. So I tried to redo the apple using INKIST, software on the IPAD. Here’s the first apple.

    And then I went on to multiple water color pencil drawings. First picture of Elly had a bad perspective. That lead to an exercise of doing 20 complete drawing of her in an attempt to get a good one. You will see those later when I finish the series. Right now I am on number 7. Each drawing takes hours, so it will take a few more weeks to complete. And I have tried several other drawings with watercolor pencils to learn techniques — how to draw, how to blend, how to add the wash. Actually have a few good photos of the work. But I must confess that the photos look better than the reality. More vibrant and better contrast. I still don’t think I am a water color person–it is too hard to correct mistakes. But the medium is intriguing.



    But we still are not done with the artwork. You see, I also took a beading class and have gotten back into making jewelry. This started when visiting Liz in Albuquerque. We went to a beading shop and bought way too many beads. Gorgeous hematite, lovely tiger eyes, copper beads, and more. The photo below shows a small portion of the recent output. There are a few more necklaces downstairs waiting for clasps and earrings waiting for fasteners. Plus another dozen necklaces in the planning. Guess what everyone will be getting as presents over the next few months.

    But wait, have done still more work this last weekend. I am not teaching electronics although I now have two art studios that want me to do so. Art beat on Main Street offered me a teaching gig last saturday night while we visited their wine bar and listened to piano jazz. And of course I can teach at the California Sculpture Academy. The question is can I figure out how to make money from this process. And of course, first I have to learn all the electronics before I can teach the classes. To do this, I am making a lighted tree sculpture. And working through a series of electronic lessons. Spent hours wondering how to do the complicated wiring of 24 LED’s until I realized that 8 groups of LED’s was really easy. No real impact to the artistic element, having 8 groups also leaves me with a lot of input ports on the computer. That means I can play with fancy knobs to change the color, the brightness, the blinking rate and even allow the user to set a timer on the lamp. Might even pull together a light organ which would allow the tree to light up based on music. Below are photos of the electronics class, tree being checked out by Elly, and some of my notes on electronics.



    And still more has been going on. Decided to reuse an old embroidered pillow (the frog on a rock) as a seat cover. Maggie has been gone for years and probably has forgotten the pillow. If she complains to loudly then I will put making a replacement on the to-do list although when it gets done is negotiable. Here’s the chair.

    As you can see, I have been busy. Unfortunately it seems I can’t do both the art and lots of writing at the same time. But hang in there, this phase will pass and then there will be more stories.

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    Thoroughly Catted

    Want to write this morning, but work calls. So a short post showing what thoroughly catted means in our house. Bob was the unwitting victim.


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    Delayed Birthday Presents

    Lets talk about extravagant spending, since we did it yesterday. Now, we had skipped several big holidays this year — birthdays, anniversary, just because presents and the like because too much was going on in life. So yesterday we made up for that and added in a few more holiday celebrations to buy a new table saw. I’ve always wanted a new table saw. Bob’s cheap old saw died last week; so we decided to buy a new one. It was cute, Bob spent a lot of time researching table saws, checking craig’s list, and even visiting a used tool store in downtown San Diego. Yesterday was payday, so the first thing in the morning, we went to Lowes and bought it. Bob was so excited, he didn’t even give me time to have breakfast.

    Here’s our new baby. Bob spent all day putting it together.


    And best of all, Bob has promised to teach me how to use the saw.

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    Bad while being Good

    That’s me, being bad and good a the same time. Bad for not swimming and good for writing. But the moon and night sky was so spectacular: the full lunar eclipse which meant a blood red moon and a meteor shower at the same time. Inspiring. But the cats didn’t think so as evidenced by their constant motion and nervous energy. Elle barked and growled at shadows. Guess it makes sense, these animals are very aware of their environments and the moon light was not normal.
    Last week I started physical therapy for both a knee and an ankle. Everything went akimbo in my body — sprain the right knee, start limping, and then sprain the left ankle. Start limping a different way and repeat the process. Its been bad for the last month. Even went onto crutches for a few days which helped the ankle but hurt the knee. Learned to be bold when explaining what happened. Use only two words “Bar Fight”. Much better story than the truth and everyone laughs.
    Last saturday, met friends at a beading class and got inspiration. Not only are some wonderful necklaces and earring being made, but I got inspiration for a tree lamp statue using singletons. This combines my love of pretty things, my interest in electronics, and my passion for making big messy projects. The lamps will need several hundred wire coat hangers, at least a dozen milk jugs, hundreds of LED’s, and a lot of abandoned single earrings. Lots of fun, I’ll be able to create a mess that lasts for months with this project. As a follow up from the class, one of my friends from the beading class had a present for me on Monday. She made me a really nice necklace for holding my badge. It has silver beads, garnets, and lots of pretty sparklies. I was touched, it has been a long time since I’ve gotten a surprise just because present.
    For the last month, actually since returning from vacation; I’ve been in a funk about work. I am tired of doing the same thing for years. Its a good job, full of challenges, pays well, and yet I am bored. Add in a sense of being unworthy and underqualified, after all I don’t have the degrees that are listed on the job reqs, so by definition I am not qualified for anything even my own job. And yet I know that is not true; I am very good at my job. Turns out that talking with other senior engineers, many people feel that way. After all, the best engineers are people who solve problems. And by definition if your doing the same job for years, then your not solving problems. So the problem is how to change my job, something I can solve. And with some creativity, for example, my company may be hiring a couple thousand engineers next spring in Melbourne, Florida… there are even good daydreaming opportunities. Just what I need as I leave for work…..

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    Tissue Paper Cats

    On Saturday night, the cats ruined a half dozen sheets of tissue paper. Beautiful, red sparkly paper got destroyed as they romped through the crinkly stuff. Of course it was my fault. First I got the paper out to wrap a present which made it a valuable commodity. If I like something that is new, clean, and crinkly; then of course the cats must give it attention. And then I made the mistake of trying to pull the sheets away from them. Well they got ruined in a good cause as we had much laughter watching them play. Charlie started it and Sophie joined in the fun.





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    Got hungry for popcorn the other day. It’s all those movies we’ve been seeing recently; my way of getting cool during the endless heat wave. And when it popped, I got the greatest picture of popcorn. All the corn perfectly popped and amazingly it all stayed in the pan.


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    Bad Kate

    Kate was bad at dinner tonight. She decided to feed leftovers to Sally at the dinner table. We’ll punish someone later after we figure out who gets what punishment and for what offense.


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    Getting in trouble

    Over the last few days, captured a couple great pictures of the cat and dog. Heres charlie helping himself to dinner.

    Here’s Elle sleeping in the hall

    Here’s sophie sprawling on the bed. I like the perspective of this shot

    and here is Sally with her famous glare

    All three cats love sleeping on our bed. Notice how they are all as far apart as possible while staying on the same surface.

    and here are two friends sprawling on the floor during a hot afternoon.


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    Tribute to David

    Maggie wrote that she restored to pinning bugs as a way of avoiding homework. Of course, what she was really doing involved traveling to New Hampshire and helping her grandmother bury her grandfather’s ashes. Long hard trip for both of them, but in the end they were successful. Coming home was a problem, Mary got caught in the travel chaos caused by the chicago airport fire and vandalism. On Friday they started canceling planes, so Mary ended up traveling to LAX and then taking a shuttle to San Diego.

    Funny story. Mary, my mom-in-law, lost her phone in a shuttle bus coming home from the airport. She called the guy who drove the shuttle. He said he couldn’t find it. Then she called her own phone and it rang in his van. He answered it and thus got tricked into sending the phone home.

    Bob wrote a lovely obituary which got posted in the Union Leader in New Hampshire. One of the women with whom Mary attended high school read the obit and contacted her. It was a nice result from a sad event. Below is the OBIT for those in the family who missed it earlier.
    Vista, Calif. – David Lewis, father and husband, died peacefully in Vista at Rancho Vista nursing facility on June 12, 2014.

    David John Lewis was born March 16, 1930, in Denver, Colo., to John and Carol Lewis. During his early years, David lived in Buffalo, N.Y., and then later in Long Island, N.Y., with his parents and his brother, Richard Lewis, and his sister, Barbara Lewis. The family moved to Franklin, N.H., in 1948, where they bought and successfully ran The Journal Transcript, Franklin’s local newspaper. David met his future wife, Miss Mary Ayotte in Franklin. David and Mary married at St. Paul Church in Franklin, on Nov. 28, 1953. David and Mary have two children, Robert Lewis, born June 18, 1955, and Garrett Lewis, born July 18, 1960.

    David was a technologist and had a lifelong interest in science and engineering. He graduated from the Tilton School in 1951 with honors in physics. He next attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Following MIT, David attended the University of Pennsylvania on a full-tuition scholarship and worked as a research assistant in a microwave laboratory at the school. David also enlisted in the ROTC and was promoted to the grade of second lieutenant. David graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. In 1961, David joined the Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles and worked in developing antenna systems for airborne radar applications. In the course of his 25 years at Hughes, David has received patents for technical innovation and authored numerous technical articles.

    David had an active lifestyle and broad interests. He enjoyed flying and earned his private pilot’s license and owned his own airplane. David also was a certified SCUBA diver and enjoyed diving in the Malibu area. After retiring from Hughes, David and Mary moved to Oceanside. David had a good retirement; he’d begin each day with a long morning bike ride, and spend the afternoon with Mary and his grandchildren. He and Mary loved being with their grandchildren. They spent many happy days taking them to the Wild Animal Park, the zoo, Disneyland, and other parks in southern California.

    David leaves his wife, Mary (Oceanside), his son ,Robert Lewis (Vista), and his son, Garrett Lewis (Olympia, Wash.). He also has five living grandchildren, Michael Lewis (Olympia, Wash.), Maggie Lewis (State College, Pa.), Elizabeth Lewis (Albuquerque, N.M.), Jennifer Lewis (Davis) and Katherine Lewis (Vista). Other surviving relatives include his aunt, Marylyn Lewis (Sacramento), his nephew, David Lewis (Franklin, N.H.), and nieces Janet Lewis (Bristol, Conn.), Sally Tobias (Pennsylvania), and Sue-Ellen Farrell (New Jersey).

    .SERVICES: Services were held. A private interment will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery, Franklin, N.H.
    Published in Union Leader on Sept. 17, 2014

    From the Guestbook
    September 17, 2014
    Dear Mary, My deepest Sympathy to you on the loss of your husband. I remember singing at your beautiful wedding. I also remember our school days at Mt. St. Mary. God bless you and your family.
    Henriette Raymond Girard,
    Allenstown, New Hampshire

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    Adventures in the enchanted land

    Not all enchantments are good and adventures generally mean the gods will test you before any rewards are given. That was certainly true this last weekend with our adventure to New Mexico. There were moments of great joy; but also moments of despair were nothing seemed to be quite right. The first clue to our tests began when Bob called to confirm hotel reservations as we were leaving for the airport. And the hotel told us “We were bumped from our hotel room; but not to worry. When we arrived, they would take us to another hotel.”

    Arriving in Albuquerque at midnight was eerie; an empty airport has a disturbing feel. We tried to take a taxi instead of calling the hotel shuttle and waiting. The taxi driver refused to take us. Called the hotel and their first response was “the shuttle stopped at 10 pm”. Bob persevered on the phone. After learning our names, they did send out the hotel shuttle who took us to the promised second hotel. There the gods demanded payment causing a large bag with about 10 dollars worth of quarters to break and roll all over the ground. Eventually we pass the hurdles and made it to the front desk. More confusion when they could not find a reservation and claimed they were full. But eventually all got sorted out and the first hotel paid Thursday night’s bill.

    On Friday, trials continued. Bob was feeling a bit sick. At breakfast on Friday, I spilled coffee, burned toast, and poured waffle batter all over the self-service counter. Then we changed hotel rooms. The hotel was trying to be nice; they gave us a poolside room. Well, an indoor pool side room on the third floor is an interesting experience. All the heat and humidity rises up from the pool. Add in no direct window to the outside and you have a very surreal hotel room. At least it was clean and neat. I like the low end hotels – you get empty refrigerators, microwaves, coffee pots, laundry facilities, and free breakfasts. Much better than those fancy ones where the fridges have motion sensors on the overpriced contents and charge you 15 dollars to empty the fridge. But then we got to spend a great afternoon with Liz—Lunch and Old Town.

    The next day was Take your parents to work day. Really great visiting Sandia National Labs. Lots of cool stuff.  Besides seeing all the labs where Liz works; we got to see a Z-Machine.  What is a Z-Machine, well I had to look up the definition.   From webpage

    “Sandia’s Z machine is the world’s most powerful and efficient laboratory radiation source. It uses high magnetic fields associated with high electrical currents to produce high temperatures, high pressures, and powerful X-rays for research in high energy density science. The Z machine creates conditions found nowhere else on Earth. Z is part of Sandia’s Pulsed Power program, which began in the 1960s.”

    And there are lots of really interesting photos / descriptions on the sandia websites.  Take a look.  For example, a robot that can literally turn on a dime because it is smaller than a dime.

    One bad part of the tour was spraining my ankle.  So afterwards we went to Liz’s apartment where she had an ace bandage.  Got some great photos of her room; it’s the nicest dorm I’ve ever seen.  Second bad part was getting a call from the hotel asking if we were staying Saturday night.  We called, they said OK.  Both of us were glad to see our suitcases were still in the bedroom.

    The next day adventures continued.  We got to the airport several hours early only to find that our plane was an hour late arriving (Fog in San Francisco).  That meant we missed our connection in LAX.  We did get booked on the 7:30 pm plane (the next one after the 4 pm plane).  But that plane broke down in San Luis Obispo.  So the airline called in a third plane from Yuma, Arizona.  We did finally make it home at a semi-reasonable time on Sunday evening.  Long hard trip, but I enjoyed it.

    Below are a series of pictures in random order from the trip. Enjoy.  First is a Store window in Old Town.


    Tree in old towntree

    Greetings from a rescue turtle in old town


    waiting for bagswaiting


    window in church in old town.  it’s a moon map; but I don’t know how to read the green portions.


    view over the wing






    airport1 airport1_blog vblog_climbers1



    this could be a great painting someday

    bob_rest_paint2 bob_rest_paitn1 burts insideairport_blog license lizbed lizbobcar lizcloset lizdesk lizdoor lizdormbuilding lizkitchen lizlivingroom poochparkcing selfies stairs

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    Happy Autumn Equinox — it’s the official beginning of Fall.  Tonight we celebrate.  A fire, perhaps marshmallows, and a nice warm evening outside.  Plus I’ll write a long blog post about the last weekend spent in the land of enchantment.  Tried to write one this morning; but made the mistake of opening too many pictures at once.  Hung the computer, which took an hour to recover.

    For a good description of the equinox, see the washington post article.


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    Writing Assignemnt

    Hi all, the first class assignment for one of my two classes that started yesterday was writing 20 minutes stream of consciousness. And the post it. Here’s the class homework.

    Damm, I am already behind. Can I drop this class? It is only tuesday, the second day of the class and I am three writing assignments behind. Plus another class. I knew it was insanity to take two classes while working full time. What I didn’t plan on was having an extreme heat storm and lots of extra work duties. So many work duties that next week I will probably volunteer for the extra overtime before it becomes mandatory. Earn a thousand dollars and get brownie points at work versus an extra couple of weekends. Tough choice, the time is hard to replace. And how am I going to get time to do the blogging.

    Speaking of heat, a co-worker heard me talking with Bob about rain. I was incredulous, it was hot and sunny in 4S ranch. Someone else had just measured the temperature from their car at 105 degrees. But Bob told me it was raining and the co-worker verified as I found out later. He stopped by to tell me that there was a rain cloud positioned over San Marcos and Vista. I think he wanted it to rain locally as a possible way of lowering the outside temperature. But it didn’t and he was happy to concur that humidity when the rain stopped and sun resumed would be awful. It was. I came home to a hot wet driveway later in the evening.

    Speaking of coming home. Elly was waiting for me. In fact she walked in front of the car as I was coming down the steep driveway. Stopped and asked for help. Bob came and let her into the front seat. For the last month or so, Elly has been coming outside to meet me. What she loves to do is hope in the car for a ride during the last 20 to 100 feet of driveway. So tonight she got about 5 feet of driveway, but it was air-conditioned. And she got a few pets from me. Tradition was satisfied. So after hoping out of the car, she went into the backyard under the illusion that it was cooler outside. Maybe a degree or two, but not much more than that. You have to understand that is not normal behavior. She generally wants to come into the kitchen and ensure that I don’t give the cats too much attentions.

    The guidelines for this exercise say 20 minutes of stream of conciousness, but it’s only been 10 minutes. Should I cheat on the exercise or keep writing> Anyone who knows me knows that I will keep writing. I am too honest for my own good. But tonight I’m tempted to cheat… what next?

    Time for a bit more whiskey. As some of you may know, we recently visited scotland. One of the must do things I wanted to try was whiskey tasting. But it didn’t quite work out that way. We did one whiskey tasting in Edinburgh at a pub. But it wasn’t the same as visiting a brewery, no a distillery, and tasting whiskey after a tour. We didn’t get the chance to do that. Bought my dad some wonderful expensive whiskey; but didn’t get myself anything.

    So I’ve been trying whiskeys since returning home. Have bought three different bottles, two good ones including a bottle from Oban, and one cheap one from trader joes. Now by cheap whiskey, I mean the trader joes single malt high quality whiskey where we don’t know the origin. That is different from the rot-gut cheap blended whiskeys. Oban was great because we got to visit the town and I had a lot of fun that day. But I think I like the cheap whiskey best. I like the burn as it goes down the throat. Smooth whiskeys, ones that don’t have that burn, are too easy to drink.That’s good for Bob, I am a cheap date.

    ONly have a couple minutes before this writing assignment is done. So I am going to talk about heat measurements based on cat length. For the last few days, it has been three cats at plus four feet in length. That means really really hot. Sophia is the hold out, she likes hot weather. And normal cat stretching is about 3 feet in length. A cat who measures 3.5 feet sleeping indicates the weather is hotter than normal, good for cat stretching. When the cats are sleeping in curled up balls, that means the temperature is ok, probably somewhere in the 70′s or 60′s if it seems cold. Below 60 degrees and you start seeing cats sleeping next to other animals — cats, dogs, or humans. And if the cats are sleeping under blankets, then it is COLD. Of course Sophia is the exception, she always wants to sleep with me. If it is cold, I am her heater. And if it is hot, I am her cooling device. UGHH!!!!! I HATE HOT CATS WHEN IT IS 95 DEGREES WITH 90 PERCENT HUMIDITY.

    YES! THE 20 minute writing assignment is over. Onto the next homework assignment.

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    Hot Days, 4 foot cats

    It’s been hot, really hot, here in Vista. And the cats show it….they stretch and sleep and stretch some more. I swear three feet of normal cat has stretched out to at least four feet. Are they happy, I don’t know. Sophia is as cuddly as usual, wanting nothing more than sitting on me; the more skin contact the better. UGGHHH!!!!! It’s hot and I am miserable. I do not want or need extra cat heat. And I am surprised if I feel cool to her. But the hot weather does make it possible to get stretch cat photos. Enjoy.








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    quick amusing notes

    Was just at Lowe’s where they had no cashiers working.  A long line of people with two self service machines.  Watched one man hassle with scanning large pieces of lumber because there were no hand held devices either.  When it came my turn, they wanted me to scan a special bar for the paint.  Since I had no idea what this special bar was at the time, I declined to scan it.  Later when putting the paint in the car, realized the special bar must have been the strip on the top of the can.

    Does Lowe’s really want me to turn a can of paint upside down at their scanning station?  Imagine the mess created if the top came off the can of paint.   There is not much time before the paint covers a large surface area.  Bob suggested that the best way might be grabbing a dustpan or a hose to cordon off that paint.  And I don’t even want to think about cleaning it out of the cracks. At that point, I would be like “There is a spill here, can you get someone over to clean it up?”  Wonder if I would get a new set of clothes out of them to replace the paint covered ones?

    There is an art festival in downtown Vista today.  Someone had a lot of fun putting up signs like “tearable puns”, “trolls looking for a home” and “Found Cat”.  The found cat poster showed a black and white skunk with text detailing how to pick up Stinky.  I’ll see it later today when I meet friends for dinner and an art class.

    Bob thought he would conserve water by sharing a shower last night.  Boy was he surprised to learn I was taking a literal cold shower.

    Went out for breakfast this morning with Bob, Mary, and Elly.  Curbside was busy; lots of dogs outside.  So Elly got excited.  She was a real stinker; kept wanting to bark.  Like having ill-mannered little kids, Bob and I spent breakfast time taking turns with eating and walking the dog.

    Charlie is really hard on the hair bands.  He’s managed to steal most of a new package from me.  It’s hot, too hot for down hair.  So this morning, I was reduced to using a hair stick instead of a hairband.

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    Dog Park; Kids constrained

    Hot, sticky, and a wonderful day. I slept in and DID NOT go visit Allan’s Alley for breakfast. What a horrible person, I broke 20 years of Friday morning tradition to sleep an extra 30 minutes. A good way to start the day. Then before coffee; Bob, Elly, and myself; went to the dog park. I love this park, they fence the kids and let the dogs run free. Elly had a wonderful time, racing around and enjoying a dog party. The only thing that bothered her was my pace. Instead of keeping up with the pack (Bob, Elly, Myself, and any other dogs she considers friendly); I walked slowly taking lots of photos. Elly would run up with Bob and then go back and find me. Back and forth, multiple laps. She was tired; but content at the end of the visit.plant

    The light was wonderful. As always, I took lots of scenery pictures. Not so many good dog photos; they were moving too fast. But you can get a sense of the dog party from this shot in the parking lot.

    dogsThe park caters to dogs. At the water fountain, there is a bowl full of water. It’s chained to the fountain and they put bricks to keep the ground under the bowl from getting too muddy.waterAnd they have lots of signs talking about doggy type things – bags, poop, and rattlesnakes.signOf course the kids need to be kept safe; but they get some very interesting looking play equipment.plgroundBut the best part for me are the plants and photo opportunities. I love taking pictures of trees. tree2   tree1

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    Random Tidbits

    Last night we had a possible near miss. There were loud rustlings in the brush outside our garage, some big animal. At that moment we realized Sophia was outside. Called her and she came in with a fluffy tail, scared. Then we realized that Charlie also had busted out. Did the dinner call and he came. But we think it might have been a coyote or a big possum. And if it was a coyote, then we got lucky.

    There is a lawmaker from Missouri who is my new hero — NOT! He’s suing the government who provides his health insurance because it includes contraception. And he claims it violates his religious beliefs to have contraception available to his ADULT daughters who are still on his health plan. Come on, would you want your dad controlling your medical needs as an adult? I would not. And I don’t even want the responsibility over my daughters choices once they become adults. If they can’t make good decisions then I failed in my job as a parent. What ever happened the christian belief I was taught of turning the other cheek and doing to others as you would have done to you. If you don’t want a service, don’t use it. But don’t try to tell me I cannot because you don’t.

    Apple killed the IPOD. Now there are no big storage, portable, easy to use music devices. I can only hope that someone else comes along and makes a great replacement with two improvements. First, it used drag and drop for managing music, no more itunes. Second, you can sort on the music device, by date, size, track number, or other criteria. Third, it has a better connector than the flimsy 30 pin connectors. Four, lots and lots of storage for my music. I like carrying a large library with me. Finally, hours and hours of play time. Ok, that is more than two improvements, but with those changes I would be the first to buy one; even if it cost a lot of money.

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    A good day followed by insanity

    Today was great day, despite having to work. Got some really good tips on finding the next better job internally at work. Have been training a new person who is doing great at her job. Got more work which is good for job security. Of course, it seems like I have too much work, but thats much better than too little work. Learned that a good friend has job suggestions for Liz. Talked with Maggie who is coming out for XMAS at winter break. Since I am paying for Liz and Kate’s plane tickets at thanksgiving, it seems only fair to pay for her ticket at year end. And that made Maggie really happy. Heard from the guys in scotland that they received their unexpected but much appreciated tee shirts. And had a good art class at lunch. And of course, I did get some work done in the short periods between everything else. Essentially nine hours worth of work since that’s what I am getting paid for. Although I am really glad we don’t track time by the minute.

    At lunch time there was a demo / tutorial on water color pencils. At work, we have created a new club “creative collections” where crafty type people (all women at the moment but men are welcome) get together to share our love of art and hand crafts. Monthly meetings vary between tutorials done by members or show and tell type sessions. Best of all, we did the formal paperwork and now my workplace pays for supplies on the tutorials. Past lessons had been sewing, beading, show and tell, and general gossip. The club started because a woman at work wanted some friends who enjoyed doing cross stitch at lunch time at work. Well those of us willing to do the work are running the club and hosting the tutorials. Which means that this month, another woman named Carolyn and myself, got to take a road trip down to Blick Art Supplies and buy some water color pencils on company money. Yeah. I get to try the different brands of these expensive pencils. And today Carolyn hosted a lesson on how to draw an apple using the colored pencils. The lesson was very successful although I don’t have anything to show for it. After the lesson, all three sets of club pencils were checked out. And my artwork along with Carolyn’s were taken as examples for those who missed the lunch lesson. I will get it back and now I am inspired to do more artwork.

    So here is where the insanity arrives. I signed up for two new writing / blogging classes starting next week. 30 days worth of prompts, no home work on weekends. So weekends can be used for catching up on assignments. I’ll use robinesworld.wordpress.blogspot for storytelling and to do an art journal. Its going to be a very busy month. But all in a good cause. Hopefully I will learn more about writing and more about art during that month. And hopefully I have lots of fun doing it. Even if there are days where I curse at my insanity–signing up for two classes while working full time. And lets not even talk about the art electronics classes I am supposed to be planning and teaching. Wish me luck.

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    Clouds, a moon, and friends

    Its been hot recently. Really, really hot which means I melt and very few blog posts get written. It is so hot that even Elly and Charlie don’t get into too much trouble. Here they are sleeping on the hot kitchen floor. You can see they are good friends.

    But last night had a couple of extraordinary events. First was a beautiful cloud, glowing a bright yellow in the evening. So bright and beautiful that I came home, ignored all the animals, and took a photo. Then a few minutes later, it was even better with more colors. And then it disappeared.


    The clouds were followed by the Harvest Moon. Nice full moon, but nothing spectacular.


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    Random Notes about cats and dogs

    The cats have been thirsty recently. So we have had a rash of cats on the fish tanks….


    But charlie has to be different


    More cat adventures….
    We went out for pizza the other night and brought home leftovers. The next day, Charlie got into the box and helped himself to the hawaiian pizza. When Bob found him, he was sitting on one piece carefully picking canadian bacon of the other.

    All three cats got flea medication. Sophie and Sally both run at the snick sound made by opening a tube. Charlie wasn’t suspicious about the sound, but he did run when he realized something was getting dabbed on his back.

    Sophia won the bed battle. If she’s on the bed, Elly thinks twice before getting on the bed.

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    Porch Revived

    Owning a home is an expensive hobby; the only thing more expensive in my mind are children. And like children, homes come with large ugly bills such as the one coming due on our front porch. It needs to be replaced. I would love to build a big new different porch, but thats way beyond our budget. So Bob has been doing the best at patching. And thanks to him, this bill can be postponed a few more years.






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    Wicked Wine Run

    Finally someone came up with a running raced perfect for me–The Wicked Wine Run. Two options, a 5K or 1K race. As you run the course, various wine tasting stations appear. Everyone is supposed to wear outrageous costumes and they throw in free food. Sounds like fun, unfortunately it happened last month. But perhaps next year I can do it.

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    Movies, Food, and Art…enjoying life

    Rotten tomatoes and all those critics are wrong, both Bob and I enjoyed the movie “The Giver”. Although the book is excellent and better than the movie, some elements became stronger with visualization. For example, I had never imagined a society as oppressive and overseeing as that one despite reading the book multiple times. I had never thought about the pressures put on The Giver, the one teaching the Receiver. The level of surveillance in that society is disturbing. But more disturbing is how soon we might arrive at that level of control. We have cameras everywhere. We have monitoring devices in the cars with talk that soon the insurance companies will penalize us for not sharing that data. We freely give away information about our shopping habits at every store. Now in the movie the information was gathered, but not used. But the same applies to the NSA records leaked by Edward Snowden.

    The movie “The One-Hundred Foot Journey” was a lot more fun to see. Had a good time seeing a low key, nice gentle story about families, cooking, and relationships with Mary. I liked the story about a family moving to southern france and opening a restaurant. That is something I would like to do–move to France and sell cookies. Bob says no way, he doesn’t want to move.

    Have been going out for some great meals. Perhaps too many. On Thursday, breakfast at curbside. Thursday night, dinner from Yellow Deli and beer at Mother Earth. We had planned on eating there, it turns out the restaurant is dog friendly. But Elly wasn’t well enough behaved. Friday morning, breakfast at Allan’s Alley. After eating there for 20+ years, it’s expected….”if it’s Friday, then we eat allans. On Saturday it is curbside.” And yes we did eat at curbside on Saturday morning. And we had lunch on Friday at Yellow Deli — second time Elly went home in disgrace. Bob came back and we then had a good lunch. Pictures below. But that’s not all. On Saturday, we also went out to Stone Ale Brewery for beer. On Sunday, it was breakfast at home followed by wine at 50 barrels. I had 2 free glasses, we couldn’t let them go to waste. On monday, it was a relief to eat at home. But overall, many great meals with family. Lots of laugh. Life doesn’t get much better.

    Speaking of cooking. I made a soup with existing ingredients (i.e. refrigerator review) that Bob described as hot and spicy, sweet and sour, sort of oriental chicken soup with icky greens. I liked it even if he didn’t and it was healthy. But the cookies later on made up for it. First attempt at the breton galletes. It’s a thin crisp butter cookie that is not too sweet and a bit salty. Add on some salted carmel and the results are good. Tomorrow night, I’ll try again with some chocolate to make a carmel, chocolate cookie. And then as a finale, we had great whiskey from Oban in Scotland. We actually went there; but didn’t tour the distillery.

    Sometimes its better to enjoy life as it happens. And I’ve been doing just that, spending time laughing with family and friends. Unfortunately Poor Elly missed some of those good times and spent hours in the kitchen in disgrace. Perhaps we should enroll her in doggy manners classes.





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    Newspapers and other things

    The concept of paying up front for something once seems to have disappeared from our society. Instead, the new purchasing model is automatic subscription. If you read the fine print of these contracts, it states the price doubles in the second year and they will not notify you about renewing the subscription. Everyone wants you to sign up for these contracts — a gym membership, the wine club at 50 barrels, netflix, tracfone, and many other services. If you don’t then you cannot enjoy these services. Of course the vendors love it. But I hate it. It is easy to end up with several hundred dollars in bills every month just because you wanted something somewhere along the line.

    So today, I added to my annual bills by doing something I never like doing — signed up for an online subscription. I love the washington post and have no problems with paying for one year. But now I am committed to endless renewals without notification unless I do something. It is written in the fine print of the contract you have to accept. The choice is stark–read the newspaper or not. But I have now put an automated notice in my calendar to about the automatic renewal for next year so I can have the decision to spend money or not. And I will enjoy the newspaper.

    As a bonus today, I have some pictures from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis to share from my IPAD. Enjoy. The first is Bob and Kate in a restaurant. Great food, but the fact we were hungry may have helped. Second is the dining room in the house we rented. Third is some pastries my mom bought in Stornoway. Yumm.




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    Damm Dog and Damm Cats

    Who would think that the dog sleeping so happily in the picture below could be a problem. Well that’s Elly storing up energy for some nighttime adventures. She’s decided that barking at shadows in the middle of the night is a great game. Not only is there fun to be had with the barking, but then I get up make her go back to bed. ATTENTION, YEAH!!!!!

    And then the cats get into the act. They all want attention. And with Kate spending many nights at her grandmothers house, I get all of them. So they come over, one at a time, and demand attention too. No wonder I’m a tired wretch on this monday morning. And they look so peaceful sitting on the table where cats are not supposed to be.


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    Take Your Parents to Work Day

    In an ironic twist of fate, Bob and I signed up for the “Take your parents to work day” AKA Family Day at Sandia National Labs. The invitation came from Liz who is pleased to show off her work place. Plus she knows I’ve always thought the national engineering research labs would be a great place to work. The irony comes from the fact that Liz has visited three different engineering firms ( BAE Systems, Northrop, and Raytheon) as a child attending “Take your child to work” events.
    In other news, everyone survived their first week back at work. Kate started her last year of school on Monday. She’s a senior now; only 8 more months of mandatory school for her. She’s not happy; but it’s a hard schedule with all honors classes. For a kid that says she HATES science, the class selection is puzzling—calculus, physics, environmental science, economics, English, and being a teaching assistant for a chemistry teacher. My mother in law, Mary, has gotten a job working at the local elementary school as a kindergarten noon duty. Two hours a day and she loves it. And Bob had his first teaching gig in the classroom with robotics. That
    is going to be a hard assignment, the kids all have attitudes.
    I’ve been home for a week and immediately returned to work. Very depressing; the same problems I had left still were there waiting for me. Plus a few extras. Good for job security; not so great for the soul. But I will also be teaching at the sculpture academy and that should be fun. This weekend I’ll start working on my classes for the fall semester. As I may have mentioned, I am teaching artists how to add electronics, lights, robots, and motion into their artwork. It’s an interesting to teach these people how to build, use, and program computers without using any of the scary technical words. We build things and I show them how to modify a basic design. So far; lots of enthusiasm from the artists. Big challenge for me since I’m redesigning the education process. This weekend, I’m going to pull together a project teaching them how to set up a simple lighting circuit for the September class. In future classes; we will add a computer that lets the artist control the lights. Another class will focus on using sensors to make things happen like turning on electronic sounds or lights. Final class in December will be building an interactive light display. I THINK. We will see what reality is after getting those lesson plans finished.

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    Its Raining in San Diego

    Last night we had a lightening storm. Couldn’t hear any thunder and didn’t see any rain. I kept waking up and wondering what the bright flashes were. This morning, all was answered. We have a glorious mix of lightening, thunder, rain, clouds, and blue skies. Hope it rains lots. Only bummer was for Kate who had to change her outfit for the weather.


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    Brittany Flowers for Painting

    Last night I was dreaming about Brittany, France.  In particular of brick walls and beautiful pink hydrangeas.  These came from a picture I put on my work computer desktop.  It’s a picture I want to paint.  But before I can start; need to have a free weekend for cleaning the art studio downstairs.  So instead, I use software for playing with the picture.

    Here’s the original picture


    One of the things I want to do is change the picture — take out some of the plant on the left and make it taller.  Clean up the house a bit, simplify the background and add more ocean.  I can do some cropping, but the adding will have to be done using imagination and oil paints.  I can use the software to blur the data and add more color variations in a filter called oil painting.



    and then I can play with just the flowers, looking at how the picture might appear without the house and beach behind.  Here’s the cropped original


    and here are a couple variations of the oil painting algorithm and cropping.


    and even closer details


    So in a month or two, I’ll have some actual paintings to show off.  Can’t wait to get started.


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    early morning hot dog

    Its hot here. Ugly sticky hot weather. Wunderunderground says the current temperature is 67 degrees with 94 percent humidity at 6 am. And predicting temperatures in the high seventies. I don’t believe the temperature readings since it feels a lot hotter inside our house. Here is Elly’s assessment of the weather.


    Yesterday, it was in the high 90′s and still humid. Of course, Bob and I decided to have a barbecue, cooking outside would be better than inside. Bought some baby back ribs, came home and actually read the recipes. The ribs had to be oven cooked for at least 2.5 hours, the peach pie needed an hour cooking, the sauce needed 1.5 hours cooking. But the left over pie crust cookies only took 15 minutes. Result — the oven was on and the house really hot all afternoon. But dinner was great. And having hot sticky weather almost makes me want to go back to work. First day of a 5 day work week. And first day of school for Kate. And first week for Bob’s robot classes. Wish us all luck.

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