Spring 2015 April 26 Sunday (Coffee Cups)

63 degrees this morning, 45:06 minutes walk

Wonderful day yesterday. Wearing shorts, t-shirt and scandals as the day went on. Probably some storms coming in today.

2015 is now almost 4 months gone, 1/3 of the year already! Next Saturday, we will have been here ten months and I will have been working 8 months. Strange how time seems so short and yet so long! It seems a lot longer than 10 and 8 months, and yet it doesn’t.

I’m not saying it’s good or bad, sometimes you just have to roll with the waves.

Aliene is progressing well, supposed to see the surgeon this week for the first follow-up visit since her neck surgery.

We also have the “final walk-through”” of our house this week, assuming the loan is approved the house is appraised at the right amount.

We haven’t really packed yet, of course waiting for final approval. We have 45 days after closing to move, but it will go fast.

I have started seriously tossing and arranging stuff for donations etc. I’m trying to apply the “Toothbrush” test to each item.

Something I haven’t worn, read or looked at for 25 years, or even 13 years I probably don’t nee to cart around anymore1

I love to drink coffee etc. while I drive, but I have not found a coffee mug that works-i.e., one that doesn’t spill on my shirt.

The only cup I have found that I trust not to spill is McDonalds. Fortunately I like McDonalds coffee and they usually will say “I’ll make a fresh pot” when I ask if they have fresh coffee.

Starbucks has excellent coffee, but there coffee cup is not good. I spill it just getting in the car.

I can’t really say that Starbucks coffee is better than McDonalds. (I only drink black coffee, I don’t drink any of the other drinks with sugar/cream/milk etc.). It is different, but not necessarily better or worse.

I don’t care for Dunkin Donuts coffee and much other coffee is so uneven that it is hard to get coffee and be sure you will get a decent cup of coffee.

The worst coffee at a regular restaurant is TGIFridays. It is horrible coffee.

However, the most consistently excellent coffee is—Taco Bell!!. I think it is some kind of insant coffee, but it is always fresh and always good. However, to prevent substantial weight gain, I need to avoid Taco Bell except on special and rare occasions!

Anyway, the purpose of all of this is that in the Wall Street Journal, I saw where a person mentioned the cup he used and it is supposed to “seal” and not leak and also is very good at keeping hot hot, and cold, cold. It is the Contigo Autodial Randolph Stainless Steel Travel Mug.
A unsolicited and unpaid recommended by Scott McCoud, whoever he is. I mention it here for my benefit, so I don’t need to save the paper or download the story from the internet. It is supposedly available at Target etc.

I’m going to try one more coffee mug and see if it works! Especially with my liking of both coffee and diet Gold Peak tea, I could use one of maybe even two (one for coffee and one for tea) in my “field days”s.

That’s it for now, Sunday, April 26, 2015

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Spring 2015 April 15 Saturday

63 degrees this morning,44:19 minutes walking.

Saturday morning! We were on the tip of some weird weather yesterday, although all we got was some hard rain.

Office day yesterday. Basically completing paperwork from my “field day” and making phone calls.

Started reading a novel tonight and actually got into it. First time for a while since I have sat down and really gotten involved in a novel. I am always thinking of something else I should be doing. It has been a long time, but it has been several months since I have really gotten involved in a novel.

So many seem to be the “same old same old” now. I used to enjoy the same format, now I want a different format.

I was surprised I enjoyed listening to novels (as opposed to non-fiction) but I enjoy both. Right now I am listening to non-fiction “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China”, a really wonderful book. (I also read it, and, as I mentioned before, am surprised at how much I missed when I read it.)

It is a different view of China. I read the “Shanghai Daily” on the internet and it is rather entertaining and informative.

Looking forward to the weekend. The week seemed to go fast.

The “Code Enforcement 101” last night was interesting for what I learned, but it was also interesting to see the variety of residents present. All sorts of neighborhoods were represented. (It was coordinated by the Neighborhood Alliance.)

It is good the city is trying, or tries to get neighborhoods involved, but the efforts seem to stop when it comes to developers, builders and businesses. Then it is give them what they want and ask if there is anything else they can do to help them at the expense of the residents. I am serious about that. The lack of planning here is truly horrible and almost negligence.

I didn’t have any major dreams, but did’ remember some parts of several dreams yesterday:

Dream 4-24-15

Dream that included scenes on a farm and on a ship. I was with a group of four people I can’t remember enough of it by now to put down the details.  I started  writing hoping more details would come back as I wrote.

We were trying to get something done, I’m not sue what.In the last scene I was was looking a a relative and wondering if I could see a resemblance to me or anyone of my family.  

(later, same day)

Dream I was in a shopping center.  I was on the second floor, kind of  a loft.  I was trying to call someone on an old-style coin pay phone.  Don’t know whom I was trying to call

Aliene was somewhere, but I was waiting for her in the loft.

Several other characters were involved, not id’d, except for one person.  At times, it seemed like the loft was a hotel registration desk.

Reminded me of a place in Denver, but it wasn’t a hotel, it was a HRC.

(later, same day)

Aliene and I were in a car.  We were watching a lady digging in her garden (or whatever).  As we watched, she suddenly threw dirt on our car windshield (drivers side),  It was a lot of dirt, not just a handful.

My first thought was how I was going to clean my windshield and drive.

woke up

That’s it for now, Saturday, April 25, 2015

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Spring 2015 April 24 Friday

Spring 2015 April 24 Friday

62 degrees this morning, 45:55 minutes walking

Light fog this morning, almost like a light rain.

The bird is still coming back to where it’s nest used to be and just sits there. I feel rather hard-hearted, but that is the one place I can’t let the bird stay! (Creates too much of a mess).

It is weird, only one of them is there, it is the female bird one night and the male bird the next night. (Both of them sit on the gutter, but only one of them sits on the door frame where their next used to be.

Aliene is still progressing well. She has her ups and downs, but I can see the progress. Today is three weeks for her neck brace. She sees the surgeon next week for her followup visit so she will know a lot more then. She expects to wear the neck brace six weeks, so it that holds true, she is past the half-way point!

I went to a “Code Enforcement 101” last night, put on by the city for residents. It wasn’t quite what I thought it was, but but it was good.

If nothing else, it showed the staff are very dedicated about their jobs.

I had my chance to complain about the lack of recycling, compliment them on the bulk pickup and ask about mud on the streets, parking on sidewalks etc.

I found out I should report mud and grass on the street since it pollutes the groundwater (I know that, but I was glad to hear them confirm this and they were actively engaged in preventing it.)

They did say to call on cars blocking the sidewalk and they would explain to them that it was illegal. Based on my walks, they are going to have to talk to a bunch of people! It seems like there will be blocks were no one blocks the sidewalk and other blocks where half the cars park on the sidewalk.

One person even set up a basketball goal on the sidewalk. The city did advise them to move the goal.

Field day yesterday, one of the complete days where I was in my new territory. I enjoyed it.

We soon should know if we will be moving or not, as the “closing” date gets closer. I read where they say people our age should have our house paid off, so we are really swimming against the stream to get a loan! With interest rates where they are, it just makes sense.

We seriously thought about renting, and there are a lot of good reasons to rent, especially when we had such a good property management firm. If we had to have something done, they got it done.

Also, if the house was damaged by a storm we didn’t have to worry about it.

Another (and perhaps the best) reason is illustrated here. Due to a horrible builder, the front driveway is sinking and will probably cost thousands of dollars to fix and is a huge liability for the owner.

Seeing that happen almost makes you decide never trust a house not to be defective! Also, I was on a ladder and saw there the kitchen cabinets were mis-measured and the builder simply left them rather than correct it since I assume he thought no one would ever see it.

Major r reasons we decided to buy a house included the tax benefits and, perhaps most important, control. We don’t have to worry about the house selling and having to move, the owner drastically raising the rent and just having the ability to make changes we see fit!

That’s it for now, Friday, April 24, 2015.

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Spring 2015 April 23 Thursday

57 degrees this morning, 45:05 minute walk.

This is the time of year which is almost worse than winter (but not). There is that chill in the air (especially in the morning and evening) until almost mid-May, although there are wonderful days also.

The dispute with the birds continues. Both the male and female are no2 present most of the time either together or separately. Normally they hang out on the gutter in front of the house and glare at us, at night I find them over the front door where the nest used to be.

Of course I have to chase them out, or they will create a mess on the front porch.

So far, they haven’t started building the nest yet, which is what I’m really trying to prevent.

I am surprised the birds are so persistent. At times, they start dive bombing the owl, other times they just sit on the gutter and glare at us. (Obviously I am assuming their stares are meant to be glares.)

Our neighborhood is gathering (actually all the neighborhoods in this area) to try to stop, or at least get information on, a development that would be 178 “attached” houses on 28 acres, or about 6 house per acre not counting streets, open space (if any, who knows around here) and absolutely no improvements to the street systems to handle probably 300 more cars per day!

I wouldn’t doubt it a bit if the developer was allowed to build all the houses without any recreational areas (or public space) and no improvements to the streets!

That is what this city is like. The number of apartments is simply amazing. Nothing wrong with attached houses or apartments in the right place, with provision for recreation, traffic etc. but somehow this city seems to forgot about the infrastructure and traffic part.

They are looking at “rooftops” to get more commercial businesses since cities in this state depend on the local option sales tax.

I think it is a matter of “balance”. All of this is fine, but they need to balance development with infrastructure, provision for increased traffic etc. and not kissing the hand of the developers, builders and businesses and giving them everything they want and more and ignoring the current residents.

Heavy rains yesterday morning, with some lightning. Somehow I got my walk in yesterday morning without any rain.

I occasionally listen to a book I have read, or read a book I listened to, or both listen to and read a book at the same time.

I am always amazed at how much I miss in one media that I catch in the other. I have to wonder how much I actually miss in daily reading and conversation.

I remember reading how much we actually remember of what we read, listen to or see, and it is an extremely small part. I don’t recall exactly, but it is less than 50% even in the short term and much less in the long term.

I believe it was a session on how “stories” (I believe they were called “parables” in the past) help us remember key points.

I usually find if I “use” something as soon as I learn it, I tend to remember it much longer.

In fact, generally I find I learn something much better if I have a use for it before I start to learn it. For example, I learned Excel when I had to do a budget, I learn parts of Evernote I can use immediately etc.

That’s it for now, Thursday, April 23, 2015.

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Spring 2015 April 22 Wednesday (The Bird, Earth Day, Tamales, and Denver “Back Then”)

Spring 2015 April 22 Wednesday (The Bird, Earth Day, Tamales and Denver “back then”)

57 degrees this morning. 46:13 minute walk

Earth Day today. Reminds me I want to get an “Urban Forestry” tag for our car. The regular state tag is so ugly, I thought I would get one as soon as we got our car tag, but I liked the number!

Walked out this morning, noticed the “the bird” shivering by itself where the nest used to be. (The bird and it’s mate were hanging around all day yesterday and dive bombing me). Feeling a little hard-hearted, I rousted it out with my walking stick.

Wednesday already, and the work week is going to be on the down side tonight. I never even used to really think of the days of the week. I rarely went into the office on weekends, but I probably worked at least 8 hours over the weekend. Now, at 4:00 p.m. Friday, I’m definitely off until Monday morning. I’m still not real used to that.

Speaking of how small things can change your life, I don’t know for sure why I went to Denver to work over the summer when I was a Freshman in college, but I’m sure it changed my life.

I worked at Samsonite luggage in the factory. The first summer I made the small over-night cases, I worked the start of the factory line. It was a definitely new experience for me, as was living in a city the size of Denver.

Strange coincidences, I moved to an apartment next door to my high school principal! I tool the bus and walked every place i went since I didn’t have a car.

A completely different experience for someone who grew up on a farm and lived in very small towns all his life!

I like to say my grades substantially after a summer of working in a factory (they did). Nothing wrong with the work, but I didn’t want to spend my life doing that. Actually, there were some extremely nice people there.

The second summer at Samsonite wasn’t quite as much fun. I went out with some other guys and it just wasn’t the same. Also, my job in the factory was punching a button and watching rubber grow cold, which was boriiiing!

Anyway, my horizon was greatly expanded by my experiences, including spending a night in the bus station and one time in the downtown Denver park when I missed the bus.

It also gave me a lifelong liking for Tamales. The first summer they had these wonderful steamed tamales on street corners for, I believe a quarter. The second summer, they were gone, but I always try tamales, hoping to find some of those wonderful street corner tamales. I have had some good tamales, but not like the ones that first summer in Denver!

I go back to Denver now, everything has changed and I don’t recognize anything, except maybe the mountains and the state capital.

But any city is that way. Even the farm I grew up on is different, with most of the buildings gone, and it always looks smaller than I remember it.

The roads are still muddy, not even graveled yet! Of course the “new” Highway 75 I remember is now the “old” 75, although it hasn’t been replaced yet.

when I lived there in the summers of college there was no smog. When I returned about 5 years later (I was stationed there for school in the Air Force), there was a haze of smog in the air. At least, that is the way I remember it.

Aliene is doing find and progressing well. Tomorrow (Thursday) she will have three weeks left in the neck brace, assuming everything goes well.

We will probably soon know if our loan has been approved, although we don’t for see any real problems other than our ages, and of course that can be quite a barrier, I have found.

That’s it for now, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

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Spring 2015 April 21 Tuesday (Small Decisions, Planning)

57 degrees this morning, 46:10 minute walk

Almost didn’t walk this morning, 40% chance of rain during my normal walk.

Thinking about how small decisions can affect our lives. The chance meeting that leads to a job, family, disaster etc. The missed flight that crashes etc.

Last night, on a TV baseball game, a fan got hit by a batted ball as she made her way to her seat. What are the chances of that!

In the end, a bunch of small decisions frequently become a major decision, or at least a major change in your life.

Looking back, while I can see how times when I knew I had a major decision to make, probably 90% of the time, my alternatives were restricted by previous decisions made without any thought!

Currently going through the process of purchasing a house. Or sometimes it seems like they set up a number of sadistic barriers to prove you aren’t a (put in whatever is the threat of the moment), etc., when something simpler would be much easier and more effective.

After doing my taxes and now trying to purchase a house (or more precisely, get a loan to purchase a house), I am beginning to think someone in the government thinks all I have is time to waste on bogus, duplicate paperwork. Probably mostly paperwork that no one ever reads.

Speaking of government, this city is unbelievable in their poor planning. While my neighborhood isn’t directly affected, nearby there is a large development going in. No planning for the increased traffic etc.

The neighbors received a notice to find out it is a “done deal” and all they want to do is increase the number of houses and reduce the public space! Meanwhile, there is no provision for traffic into the addition, parks etc.

This is definitely a city for developers, businesses and builders, not for residents. Residents appear to be the last to be considered.

My latest dream-I think they are getting weirder as I remember them more.

ream 5-20-15

Dreamed I was talking a walk  The walk was kind of routine until the last part where I walked past a police car who had stopped a motorcycle.

I”m not sure of the location but it seemed familiar with brick streets
 and a lot of trees.

I had seen a motorcycle stopped before this..

When I walked past it was like there were two or three officers standing by a motorcycle.  The motorcycle driver looked relieved.

As I walked past I suddenly felt someone grabbing my back almost to the shoulders, not a grab but more of a hard rub.

I turned around and a strangely dressed Police Officer (or law enforcement officer) with yellow sun glasses started speaking to me in a strange language, something about how I hadn’t walked in a straight line on my walk.

I kept trying to understand him but the language was impossible to understand and got more difficult, where I couldn’t understand anything he was saying.

I woke up. What’s it mean? I really have no idea, but it is interesting to see some of the similar themes in my dreams.

That’s it for now, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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Spring 2015 April 20 Monday

Spring 2015 April 20 Monday

44 degrees this morning. 44:56 minute walk

I’m glad I didn’t put away my “cold weather” wear for walking! I would have really missed it this morning.

Monday, it’s nice to have a weekend, but it is also nice to work and have the the routine of the work week also!

I was reading over the weekend about people who immunize themselves from various poisons, including snakebites.

There are even some people who gradually build up them immunity to snake bites and let a variety of snakes bite them so they become immune to all snake bites. (One such persons is the only person who has ever survived the bite of a especially poisonous snake, I believe the coral snake.)

Supposedly, Kings and other rulers etc. used to build up immunity to avoid assassination by poison.

In fact, one such person was toppled and couldn’t kill himself since he was immune to poison!

I found these nuggets in a book I”d never heard of before, Kent Russell “I am sorry to think I have Raised a Timid Son”.

There are a lot of other stories in similar vein that make it an entertaining (and to some degree) educational book.

It kind of reminds me of an American “The Kite Runner”, at least as regards some of his characters. I think the book itself is much different.

It is one of those books I picked up at the library on impulse, I would never have bought it or bought it as a regular book, an e-book or an audio book.

One of the benefits of having an wonderful Library.

Busy “office day” today for my job. I have a lot of catching up to do from my “field day” Friday.

Got a scanner set up yesterday. I’m a little disappointed in the lack of speed etc. it will incur, but since it is for photos, I guess that is one reason it is slow is, it is a high resolution. (At least that makes a good excuse.) It is primarily for us to scan our “hard copy” pictures etc. I’m afraid it won’t be much of a document scanner, but then the scanner apps do a pretty good job of that.
Sunday 4-19 Dream

Dreamed I was going somewhere, on a trip.  We (my mother and most of my family) were on the trip).

We walked to the hotel, agreeing to meet later for some type of meeting.

I was in the hotel by myself, things keep happening to prevent me from getting out.

Finally I walked out and elated I had forgotten my gun and cell phone.

On the way back to the hotel room, I reflected (in the dream) about  how horrible it is to live a a country or time when i have to carry a gun. (Note:  for reference, in real life I don’t  carry a gun)                                                                                 

I tried to walk back into the hotel room, but a bunch go children on some kind of trip blocked me from going in.

Finally I went in and a young boy followed me in.  We didn’t talk, but I noticed the   carpet in the middle was dirty like someone ha swept the carpet forwards the middle and left the debris there

I woke up.

Second dream 4-19:

Dreamed I was in a hotel, or perhaps a doom room.

Later):  Dreamed rented a bike and went for a bike ride.  I rode around an area I can’t identify although there seemed to be tents like at a festival.

Seemed to be fast.  There also was a wharf or beach area.

Couldn’t always figure out how  how to stop the bike and I frequently had to use my feet to stop it.  Sometimes I was surprised at how fast it accelerated.

Took it back to the hotel, went up to my room and then realized I had forgotten to take the bike back.  Saw Eric Bridges, whom I used to work with.

Went down and found it was still there along with some baby buggies, wheel chairs etc.

Woke up, no idea what all of this means!

That’s it for now, Monday, April 20, 2015

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