Winter 2015 January 27, Tuesday (Weather, Time Passing)

Winter 2015 January 27, Tuesday (Weather, Time Passing)

40 degrees this morning,45:45 minutes minutes walking

75 degrees yesterday, that is the right kind of winter weather for me! Actually most of the week is supposed to be warm, with cooler weather Thursday.

Thank goodness we aren’t getting the weather they are having elsewhere right now.

Starting the last week of January, 2015! Somehow it feels like 2015 hasn’t even started yet and it is already 1/12 gone!

I really don’t like the “timeless” quality of all of this, I like to look back and be able to see the change!

Actually, I am coming up on only 7 months where we live now, and 5 months on my job, so I guess not that much time has passed, although it feels like a lot has happened and it has has been a long time. Somehow when I look back….

However, concerning my job, I feel like I have really learned a lot since I started and when I analyze what I have learned, it is amazing wheat I didn’t know when I started!

Of course, one area I really notice time passing is our Toyota Camry hybrid. We are rapidly approaching the 5,000 mile mark, where we have the first maintenance appointment.

Contrast that with the recommendation years ago to have oil changed every 2 or 3,000 miles.

Actually, the first 5,000 mile maintenance is just to rotate the tires, the oil isn’t changed until 10,000 miles.

I always wonder at what point a new car becomes the “old car” or at least “no longer new”. It happens gradually, but then suddenly the moment is there, just like age etc. You even look back and can’t really see it happen.

Ron and Vicki (Aliene’s son and his wife) are here for a visit this week. We are having an enjoyable visit. We had a nice supper last night with Ron, Vicki, Peter and Sara. Ron, Peter and Sara all have birthday’s this week.

Some really vivid dreams the past several days. Yesterday morning I woke up and dreamed I had won $25,000 in “rental car fees” from American Express. I was running around getting in different lines, and being told I was in the wrong line when I woke up.

Really a strange dream with some other vivid dreams I have recently had. Don’t know if it is something I am eating, or just that I wake up at a time when I am dreaming.

All of the dreams are extremely vivid and are the type that I am awake for a few seconds before I realize it is a dream, or at least before I am totally aware it wasn’t a dream.

I am already hitting the “two state” problem on my taxes and I am just getting started! Turbo Tax is refusing to recognize one of my tax documents that is separated depending on which state I was living in at the time.

Hopefully there “help” section is good. I have never had to use it before!

“In the field yesterday. As usual, the day was much different than I envisioned it when I left in the morning! That is what I love about this job, it is always something different, and I never know what is going to happen.

I also learn more each day, both about the job and about people!

That’s it for now, Tuesday, January 27, 2015.

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Winter 2015 January 25, Monday (History)

31 Degrees this morning, 45:12 minutes minutes walking

Supposed to be in the high 50’s to day, and the 70’s for the next several days (for a high). Marching towards Spring!

Watched the premier of “Downton Abbey” last night. (We tape it until we have time to watch it and concentrate on it.)

It was especially interesting since I am listening to a book which has scenes in it from the same period in England and “change” was the feature in it also.

I especially like the quote where one character (on Downton Abbey) says “things are always in a flux” and the other character says it “sounds slightly dirty” or words to that effect.

When you think about it, change isn’t always pretty or even good, but change will happen, I think it is our response that is important.

After it was over, they had a session on “British manners” and how by following the rules everyone knew the situation. It may have been convenient, but frankly I’m glad that isn’t true anymore!

The manners and rules were basically a means of dealing with change or, perhaps, ignoring change.

Reading a little bit of history, I can learn a a lot. For example, I am reading a book about China in 1945, and I hadn’t realized that China was basically destroyed by war with Japan prior to World War II, when China and the US became allies.

I recently noted that China was blocking some VPN access, which means I couldn’t get the normal internet access. I’m not sure if I would have cared for that when I was there for 18 days! On the other hand….

I still remember the Chinese city officials and how anxious they were to discuss how to deal with their desire for sustainability, how to deal with the influx of urban residents and urbanization and the rapid changes.

These were elected and appointed officials who were dealing directly with the residents and the persons impacted by the change. I was impressed by their dedication and desire to discuss solutions.

One thing I am really enjoying is having the opportunity to read (or at least review) my “tu it” book list I have developed over the years. Even if I don’t read them, I at least had the opportunity to read them and look at them.

I will probably actually read about 50% of them, and probably will not even check out some when I have the chance to review them some more. (I just made a list as I went along, figuring the important thing was to note the book.)

I have a list of maybe 100 books, so it will take me awhile to get though the list! Plus I am adding books I pick up on, so probably I will never complete my list! While I have more time than I used to, it still takes a lot of time to read a book and comprehend it.

I have also started transferring my “books read” list to my computer, hopefully I will have completed it by the end of 2015.

That’s it for now, Monday, January 25, 2015.

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Winter 2015 Saturday January 25 (Cutting the Cord, Taxes)

53 degrees this morning, 44:27 minutes walking

Hard to decide how to dress for the “warmer” weather on my walk this morning! I ended up dressing about right, it was a little cool at first, but I quickly heated up.

Finished “Winter of the World” this morning. The 3rd and last book, “Edge of Eternity” is about another 36 hours, so I will probably finish it around Spring, which may be appropriate.

“Cutting the Cord” is an interesting concept, but my recent experience makes me wonder how it will be implemented. (By this, I mean cutting off cable tv and using “streaming”of movies and shows etc.)

While I am in my office, I “stream” CNBC, normally about 6-8 hours. I don’t necessarily watch it, but I have it on. I “stream” it since there is no cable connection in the office.

What is strange is that the report from my cable company indicates that I use up to 30 GB of an 300 GB monthly limit of data in just one day. Otherwise, when I don’t “stream” it, we use a nominal amount of our data allotment..

I wonder when somebody “cuts the cord”, how are they going to have enough data capacity allocated from the internet provider/ May be something I don’t know, but even if you watch a nominal amount of movies, shows etc., it seems you would rapidly exceed the amount of assigned data usage available for the month.

My understanding is the cable company doesn’t necessary cut you off or even take any action if you “exceed” the limit, but it seems this would be a major factor in “cutting the cord”.

I tried Netflix for a short time, but since they never seemed to have the movie we wanted to watch (and we don’t watch that many movies anywayI), and I don’t care for “series” shows, I canceled it. Now, I really wonder how anyone could use it much without exceeding the available “data usage”.

A mobile phone/ipad etc. is especially vulnerable in this case since many plans limit usage to 2 GB etc., hardly enough for a month of “streaming”, assuming you don’t use wi fi.

Actually my set up in my office is an “Apple tv”, and I also have an antenna that I can pick up about 50 over the air channels (most of which I wouldn’t care to watch, but that is true with cable tv also!)

Started my taxes today. I don’t necessarily “enjoy” it, but in a way I look forward to it, at least getting taxes done. Actually, I do enjoy it! I enjoy it a lot more when I don’t have to pay of course!

I use “on-line” Turbo Tax, which isn’t bad. It has a lot of advertising and tricks to try to trick you into buying additional items, but it actually works pretty good.

I dreaded taxes this year because we will have income from two states and all kinds of weird income and expenses. I’ll have two different employers, retirement income, IRA distributions, job hunting expenses, moving expenses. I”m not quite sure how I decide which income was in which state, but I expect they have some kind of formula.

It will be a weird tax return. Normally I really enjoy doing it, and I probably will this year, after i figure out how to handle the two state deal.

In a way it reminds me of my job, in that there is a lot of records and work, but I always feel a sense of satisfaction when I finish.

There is another China tour by the International City Managers Association (ICMA) this year in April. It is aimed at persons who want to do consulting work with China. Of course I won’t be going, since I don’ that have enough time, but hopefully I can go again in the future.

We are going to watching a great-granddaughter this morning. It is always fun. The cycle continues.

That’s it for now, Sunday, January 25, 2015

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Winter 2015 Saturday January 24 (Looking for a Starbucks!)

35 degrees this morning 56:45 minutes walking

After a question from my cousin about using my Starbucks app to find a Starbucks in the area where my “work territory” is, I I checked a map of the City and found there are 12 Starbucks in the Northwest quadrant of the metropolitan area (fortunately where I live) ! That is really amazing. There is only one Starbucks in the SW Quadrant and one Starbucks in the entire east 1/2 of the metropolitan area!

There are roughly 24 Starbucks in the total Metropolitan area, five are in the far suburb south area, one is in the east metropolitan area, one in the southwest quadrant and the rest are all in the Northwest quadrant, including the far north Suburb.

Looking at the map, the Starbucks in the Northwest quadrant are almost on top of each other.

I guess it is marketing and being where the customers are, but that is really strange. I really don’t understand that, I’ll have to check some more and see if I”m missing something!

I figured roughly within a ten mile radius of where I live, there are e 14 Starbucks, and a16 are within a 12 mile radius!

Where I work, there is one Starbucks in a 12 mile radius! There is really only one which is remotely possible for me to justify going during the work day and none that are really convenient.

I could be missing something, perhaps my search didn’t give some results

This is all rough figures, but if nothing else, it is a good approximation. I was right, there are no Starbucks in my field area. Plenty of McDonalds, Braums’, 7-11’s and Taco Bells etc., so I won’t want for coffee, but…. (Actually, I never get coffee at Braums’, almost everything else is wonderful there, but their coffee….. Taco Bell and McDonalds have excellent coffee.

In any event,l when I am “in the field”, it is normally so intense, I rarely stop even to eat. When I go in the field I bring along a Trail Bar and a small container of peanuts and Cashews (and two bottles of my diet Gold Peak tea! and about 3 bottles of water) and I just keep going and eat between my visits in the car. I don’t even drink coffee very often while I am in the field.

it is hard to explain how you feel in the field (I think almost everyone is this way), but I just want to keep on going until I finish, I just don’t feel like stopping.

I think that is one reason I really like it, there are days in the field of intense activity, and then days in the office when I research and complete paperwork from the days in the field.

Aliene and I went to Starbucks tonight. She had her “Carmel macchiato” (I think I have that right), while I stick with either a dark roast or an iced coffee. Somehow there is a timeless quality at Starbucks you don’t get elsewhere.

There are actually at least two “coffee shops” within a short distance of our house (about two miles or so, in addition to the Starbucks (and at least 4 Braums) but we have never tried the coffee shops.

I did used to stop at our neighborhood McDonalds before we got the internet hooked up and then while I was commuting to the office. I’ll get a cup of coffee (as I mentioned McDonalds has excellent coffee) and a parfait.

I am a very sloppy coffee drinker when I am driving, so I normally don’t try to drink coffee and drive. My one exception is McDonalds. Somehow their coffee cups are relatively easy to drink while I am driving. (It is impossible to drink out of a Starbucks cup while I am driving! I have a hard enough time just getting one home without spilling it).

I have tried numerous “commuter” coffee cups that just don’t work.

I’m not quite sure how this entire post was about coffee, but….coffee is important to me!

That’s it for now, Saturday, January 24, 2015.

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Winter 2015 Friday, January 23 (Tea and Coffee)

28 degrees this morning 45:18 minutes walking (Looking for another “earthquake app”)

Friday already, definitely noticed the “short week”.

Reading “Contagious”. It is a really interesting book about how fads take off, why some seemingly useless videos are watched literally millions of time etc.

I’m thinking about basing aToastmasters speech on the concept, primarily because I will learn it myself if I try to tell someone what I learned!

Sometimes, when I really want to remember something, I can set down and write down what I learned as if I was telling someone, I actually will remember it of a lot longer.

I am amazed at the scarcity of Diet Gold Peak” tea. They are almost impossible to find. I have a feeling it is an ‘artificial way to raise demand for it, but I don’t know if they could really plan something like that. There is plenty of Gold Peak “Sweet Tea”, but little “Diet sweet tea”.

No big deal, I can actually get it, it just is puzzling why there isn’t more available. I looked on the internet and found other people with the same problem.

Either a massive failure to predict demand, or a brilliant marketing campaign! I used to be able to buy a “six pack” of it at Target, but now I can only find individual bottles, if I can find it. Of course, it is much more than I normally pay for anything like that, but I limit myself to one or two per day, and then normally just when I am “in the field”.

I have learned the possible danger of artificial sweetener and limit my use of that anyway. I am considering maybe going ahead with the regular “sweet tea”, since I limit my intake anyway.

Speaking of tea of course makes me think of coffee, and Starbucks. For some reason, in the area where my field work is, there is no Starbucks. I have a huge area and I have yet to see a Starbucks.

I’m sure there is a Starbucks someplace, but…. My work “in the field” frequently requires me to find a place where I can update the computer records. I can do it in my car, but that isn’t really convenient and, I feel, is hard on the car. (Either that, or I wait until I get home.) A Starbucks would be perfect as my “second place” to update my records.

McDonalds works well, Taco Bell and Braums are also good, and there is a mall where I can work, but there is something about a Starbucks! Panara Bread is also good and has good coffee.

I kind of feel like a traitor when I say this, but both McDonalds and Taco Bell have outstanding coffee, as long as it is fresh.

McDonalds will almost always brew a fresh pot if I ask if it is fresh (if they don’t I don’t buy it) and Taco Bell makes each cup fresh. Panara Bread marks the time the coffee is made, although for some reason I rarely go to Panara Bread, probably because I don’t each much bread!

Some restaurants brew separate coffee cups also (TGIFridays is one), but it is horrible coffee. Some restaurants keep it in a “coffee warmer”, which, quite frankly does not work. Even a coffee shop (The Red Cup) did this, which amazed me, although the coffee was very good, no coffee is good lukewarm (unless it is ice coffee).

Another week of winter is gone!

That’s it for now, Friday, January 23, 2015.

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Winter 2016, Thursday, January 22 (Time, Hypertime and Cold)

Winter 2016, Thursday, January 22

37 degrees this morning, no walk, rain.

Always feel a little disappointment when I can’t walk, but that I didn’t walk but also I don’t feel I use my “extra” time effectively. Also, I like my daily dose of whatever book I am listening to as I walk.

My current book (which is “historical fiction”) is up to 1945, on it’s way to (I assume) 1999. That means I have about 40 hours of listening left!

Watching reports from the “1%” conference on CNBC. I am amazed at how some of those people can really have those opinions. I am amazed they try to justify some of their actions.

In a way it would be nice if “time” was elastic. I would compress it and speed it up in the Winter and slow it way down in the Summer!

Kind of like the morning is “hyper time”, although I can’t think of any part of the day where time drags.

Unless, like yesterday, I get stopped by TWO loooooonnnng freight trains! Both going very slooooowwwww!

I am always surprised at my naps during the day. I always wake up thinking I have slept for a long time, and it is normally about ten minutes. (Except in the morning after my walk where I normally nap for about 27 minutes.

I actually set my phone to have an alarm come on at around 32 minutes for my morning nap and 15 minutes fro other naps. I almost never actually hear the alarm since I wake up before the alarm. Actually of course I hear it, but I don’t hear it to wake up to.

For some reason, my naps lately have involved some very strong dreams. Very vivid, and the type that it takes you a while to transition from sleep to being awake because of the conjunction of sleep and awaking. I assume that is good, since it means I am getting a deep sleep in a small dose..

It is that time of year when I am tired of cold, or even a chill. I am ready for Spring and Summer to come, green grass, colorful flowers and green trees. Warm winds, birds flying (just not nesting at my house!) and nice warm or even hot weather!

I have always thought (well, the last couple of years), I’d like to go to Panama in the dead of winter, or someplace where it is hot, hot , hot to make up for the cold winter. Maybe a cruise in a warm ocean with hot breezes. Aliene and I have never been on a cruise and we’ll have to try it sometimes.

When I first started exercising when I was in Chanute, Kansas, I can remember going to the sauna and just sitting there until I felt the heat burn into me and kind of burn the cold out of my body. Some the cold just seem to seep into your body and stay there.

Somehow I got my car radio connected to my iPod so I can play my Spanish lessons, or music or whatever over bluetooth. It is amazing. I shut the car off and when i start it again, it starts in the place where it stopped!

I especially like it in my “sunroof and heater up” mode, when I can listen to fiddle music (or any kind of music I’m in the mood for) and get away for a short time.

Strange, I have probably never met a woman named “Chastity” in my life. Not that I remember anyway. Yesterday I met or talked to three!

That’s it for now, Thursday, January 22, 2015.

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Winter 2015 January 21 Wednesday (1984?)

32 degrees this morning 57:47 minutes walking

I read yesterday about a new “detector” where the Police/law enforcement can actually determine where someone is in a house or office, how many etc., and in some cases even determine the design of the structure.

I’m not so concerned about law enforcement having this as I am about criminals having it.

I assume the next thing will be to have to install “anti-radar” shielding on your home and office so criminals can’t determine if you are or are not at home.

Scary the invasion of privacy that is developing. Cameras everywhere, radar to see if you are at home and Facebook tracking you everywhere, a device built into the car tracking where you have have been etc.

1984 is here 30 years late.

In the blink of an eye, January 2015 will be past! Weather today and over the weekend was wonderful.

January went so fast, I was just thinking that soon we will have to decide what we are going to do about a place to live. Of course, a large part of our decision will be if, and if so, how much, the lease is raised no our house.

We have found renting has a lot of advantages (as does owning/buying a house), but at least your mortgage payments (as a general rule) doesn’t change. Of course, there are a lot of other surprise costs.

It also means that our income tax returns will be due etc. With two states, moving expenses, job related expenses etc, I’m not really looking forward to doing our taxes.

Actually, I enjoy doing our taxes, I just need to find the time to do it. I enjoy working through the process and seeing it all come together.

Spent the day in the office today (unfortunately rather than in the field on a wonderful day!), but I had a lot of administrative work, phone calls, updating records etc. after being in the field Thursday and Friday last week!

We were able to donate some more items today. I heard someplace (I wish I could find it) that items that we have tend to be imputed with a lot more value than they actually have.

As an example, we have several printers we donated yesterday along with some other items. Even though the printers were ten years old and we hadn’t used them for several years, I had that moment of hesitation where I started thinking what I could do with them!

When I start thinking that, I just think “why haven’t I already done it” and also that we can buy a brand new printer that isn’t obsolete for less than $100!

The same thing can be said about old clothes, furniture, books, computers etc. Unless there are some sentimental meaning to an item, we always seem to attach more value to an item then it is really worth.

I soon am going to set up a scanner, and Aliene will start scanning her pictures, and I am going to scan a lot of records that I can then toss the physical items.

Hopefully, they have a strong “advice line”. As I mentioned about the wifi extender, it is amazing how easy it is once you know how to do it!

My foot has been doing a lot better since I got another pair of walking shoes. The difference is amazing. It didn’t cure the problem, but it made it a lot more easier to live with.

Aliene is starting physical therapy on her neck today. We are both hoping that the therapy will resolve the problems without surgery, but the Doctor also said if nothing else the therapy will make her neck stronger and she will recover form surgery faster and easier.

That’s it for now, Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

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