31 December 2018

Another Year Ends With RAIN

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It's pretty amazing to look back through the blog to previous years, the exact date, to see how things change within that 12 month period. I can also search certain dates in my large Photos Library on my computer and see the changes all on one screen. It wasn't until I looked back in the older blog to see that last year it was -1° with a windchill of -9°. Consequently the hound walks were canceled for the day.

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Then the foggy brain cells of mine remembered last year. The coldest winter in history here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana. For over a month from December 15th to January 15th it never was warmer than 32° and many of those 30 days had high temps of single digits ... some below zero.

I started this post this morning with on the first two photos of Stella. It has been raining all night. Add all of that water to the saturated field, it was not walkable. Stella knew it before she stepped off the carport. She stood listening to the rain drops that were falling from the tips of the tree limbs, but it wasn't raining. She knew we were not walking at 8am. It was too dark, much darker than those two photos show. She stood in the yard a little confused.

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Heidi didn't think it was that bad by lunch time, as she snuck around the corner of the house. It was warm enough to be above her threshold but she didn't stay outside long.

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After raining all morning it didn't look bad for standing water. Reinstalling a new drainage system is the first thing on the list for a March/April time. It's old and obviously not working as good as it use to.

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Early afternoon the winds picked up as predicted and rain was blowing from the west.

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About the time I thought it was over, I had a "Weather Advisory" hit my inbox, telling me high winds are scheduled for later this afternoon or early evening. Will those 40mph - 60mph winds disturb my tv satellite signal while I try to watch two good football games?

A little after 2pm the lights flickered, the internet lost service as well as my tv signal, with it raining so hard I couldn't see outside. When you see the amount of standing water you will not believe that short burst of rain was less than 20 minutes long.

Stella doesn't like to walk through water. Just to the left of those posts is her way outside. She snuck around the car thinking she could bypass the large puddle.

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She stood and thought of a plan. She had gone outside this morning to dump her tanks but likes to always go out after lunch. Walks were cancelled today so she knew she would not be able to get to the field. She doesn't like getting her feet wet.

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Not until I cleared all of the overgrown brush in this area a few years ago, did I have that water path down the center of the yard. In fact with all the heavy brush, I never saw standing water of any kind in that area.

30 December 2018

The Apple Watch War

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The mental battle continues about the Apple Watch Series 4. I realize it probably falls more into a want than a need but who cares, really? I will buy one eventually so 911 will be notified as soon as something happens, with the hounds not needing to lift a finger. Friends will be notified automatically once that 911 call is made ... IF it is ever needed. Is it the cost that is bothering me or knowing that I might be a little bored today while I wait for the Colts football game tonight 8pm local time? I know if I get in my car, it's going to be purchased.  :)

Thoughts From The Darkness

It's been a few days or weeks since I rambled a little bit. I can tell this blog is gradually moving back to the same direction it was going before I announced to the world that the subject matter would change. Plans of more transparency. No stone left unturned as those thoughts slowly crawled out from beneath the rocks. So what happen? What's the plan?

When you saw that title you probably came running to see how far my brain had dropped over the cliff ... wrong kind of darkness. Not quite true. The darkness is what is outside on a Sunday morning at 7:15am. Still the mind is active, maybe too active at this time of day.

In the past few days you have probably notice the blog has changed colors for less than five minutes, font changes but no format changes. I like the format and I've heard from a few readers that they like it to. It's easy to find stuff, and easy to navigate through. So the format will stay but you know how I like 'tweaking' the look when I get an overactive brain.

It was just a few years ago when I had this type of brain activity, I'd start looking through websites that had cars for sale. In most cases I'd end up trading cars or trucks or both within 72 hours after I started looking. The disaster in all of that impulsive buying was my bank account took a hit and the satisfaction didn't last long. I think the all-time record for owning a car before I traded it was 47 days, in December 2016.

Now I just look through website design (themes or templates) choices and fill the same urge to make changes. Yet there has been a battle for the past few months, thinking I would take advantage of those 'holiday deal' with drastically reduced prices, that have since passed by me.

29 December 2018

Hounds Brace For Cold Weather


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Friday afternoon the temperature started its steep decline to the high 30's. The hounds  enjoyed what little time they had left of the spring type weather. Heidi got no further than just around those steps and came back the same way she went, as fast as she could. You could feel the freezing air rushing in a little past noon .

28 December 2018

Cold Weather? When .. Where?

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With the day of rain yesterday that moved into the early evening and some overnight, both walks were canceled. Stella's trips were only to relieve herself and since she doesn't like rain, she did that as fast as she could ... then trotted back to the house. Today ... hot!!!!

27 December 2018

Rain Rain And More Rain

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Evidently Stella knew something that I didn't at 5:03am. Her loud whine woke me up. I tapped my Garmin face to see the time with a bright white background. It was way too early to get up but I had a hard time convincing Stella of that. All three of us were up and starting our day 24 minutes later. I heard rain in the darkness as I opened the door to let the hounds out. It has not stopped five hours later ... Consequently it's a day of "rambling" and some long lost photos.

26 December 2018

Today's Water Heater Fun

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I did what any novice in the HVAC field would do, I started by reading my owners manual that came with the water heater for the 5th time this morning. I wanted to make sure of every step. I didn't want to end up like fried chicken, if you know what I mean. I followed that up by getting on the manufacturer's website to find additional troubleshooting tips, a part number, and maybe the cost of a heating element. I found a lot more information than I was looking for.

What Day Is It ???

2018 Dec 26

Stella walked in the computer room to start her hydration process that takes place every morning at 8am sharp. It is a sign that her daily morning walk is on as scheduled with with a "feels like" temperature of 19° today. At least it wasn't overcast skies this morning and actually, I was just as anxious as she was to take our morning walk. I gave her a surprise at the last part of her walk.

25 December 2018

Christmas In 'The Tropics'

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I started years ago ending each blog post with "......... 'the tropics' ....." kinda as a joke. On this blog you will not see that before December 9th because the main blog was here, from October 2011 until December 9th. Yes, it is Christmas Day but if you were following Stella around the house you would never be able to tell it. We still had a great day, I do think about what day it is and remember past years. Early this morning I decided that the hounds would take a drive with me just to see what the area looked like on Christmas Day 2018.

24 December 2018

Stella Braves The Cold

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It was a few minutes past 8am Christmas Eve morning when Stella and I headed out. It was one of the coldest mornings yet this winter. The ground was hard as a rock, cold breeze from the NE and too many deer scents for Stella to check out.

23 December 2018

Christmas Eve At 4:30am

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I did not plan this. I did not go to bed that early, causing me to be wide awake at 4:07am. At 4:23am I hear a loud Bloodhound whine, not quite to the level of a howl. Now I know the moon was full last night and with no clouds the field was lit up like an airport parking lot. Had Stella heard something in the darkness of "oh dark thirty" ?? Or did my wrist move enough in my sleep to light up my Garmin VivoSport, (free) waking Stella up.

Whatever the reason, I was wide awake and knew a return to sleep in the land of the most bizarre dreams was not going to happen. Shit! I turn the lights on as the hounds walk through the kitchen to the door to be let outside. Heidi has to do her morning pee, Stella just knows she is that much closer to her morning kibble. They go out, I pour dog food, they eat, I make coffee, they finish and go BACK TO BED, I sit at the computer ... daily routine.

Will the blog design change AGAIN before you even open your eyes??

The Changes Continue With Me

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It was a day of changes Saturday as I made a couple of mistakes that I mentioned in my previous post. A lot of them were blog changes but some of the small changes with me still continued into this morning. I guess it's one of those moments where my brain might be in the overdrive mode, where I cannot make up my mind what I want in the blog design. Plus I can't make up my mind on what to do on anything. No big deal, this is a common occurrence with me.

22 December 2018

A Day Of Mistakes

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I basically wasted my afternoon today. It took only five hours for me to mess things up with the blog as much as possible, then fix them. I am usually pretty careful when I am working behind the scenes of my blog. Today I made a couple of errors that cost me some additional time. Of course the hounds didn't change their routine. It was a cool 41° but they both spent some time outside this afternoon. Stella took me out for two walks and with a camera in the afternoon walk.

Butterflies Fly Away & Come Back

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While tying to edit the post with all the butterfly photos from a few days ago, I inadvertently deleted that page. So all of those butterflies in that photo have flown back to the blog. Enjoy ....

Living Without Granulated Sugar

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It's been less than a week since I decided to tighten up my eating habits and after 25 years of drinking coffee (late starter), I hid the granulated sugar container out of sight and started having my daily two cups of coffee ... black. I don't have any historic revelations to speak of but I have noticed some differences. One is my loss of appetite. Tuesday - Friday I ate less than a 1,000 calories per day without intentionally starving myself.

A shock to me was that I enjoyed the taste of coffee without sugar. Now before you email me or list in the comments section all the substitutes I could use to replace granulated sugar ... save yourself the time and trouble. I am not interested in any of that crap. I don't care what it looks like or what it does. Years ago I tried all of it and had coffee come back out through my nose. The taste of coffee with those "fake" sugars simply sucked.

21 December 2018

Some Clean Friday Morning Thoughts

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No cussing today. Yes Heidi really is sound to sleep in that photo. It was in 2011 soon after I picked her up from the basset hound rescue. With rain all night and very dark skies this morning for the 8am walk with Stella, the camera was traded for the 25' retractable leash. Consequently I have dipped into my photos archive to put something together for this post. It was fun to look back and each photo will have a paragraph of small commentary. Some interesting photos, I think.

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Heidi, whom at the time was named Lucy, came with a reputation as "a runner". The foster mom and adoption agency told me under NO circumstances that she should ever be off a leash, no matter what. So we took walks that first week with her on the same 25' retractable leash I used this morning.

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She was thrilled with all the space she could explore and run. Sorry for the blurry picture but I had a leash in one hand with a hound running on the end of it and my camera in the other hand.

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After five days of following those instructions of 'leashed at all times' I could tell she was going to be great without one and gave her total freedom anytime she was outside. After seven years and six months, she has never ran away, has never gone near the highway and is let out on her own so she can explore solo. She likes that.

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You have heard me talking about the "land of burs" just right of our path from the dead ragweed. After I pull those burs from Stella's coat before we continue our walk they all end up on my gloves or jeans. I have found the easiest way to shed them ... wipe my gloves on the tall field grass laying next to the ground.

4K vs HD

Sometimes bigger is not better when it comes to large 4K HD televisions. This past summer I decided I needed a larger tv to give me more real estate to take advantage of Dish Network's 4-screen split, for watching ballgames. It is not the reason I switched from DirecTv after 19 years but it is a nice feature I found after Dish Network was installed.

During my research to see which tv was the best for sports viewing, reading through many lab reports, I found this diagram that shows the "honest" answer on what size of screen to buy. I pulled out my Stanley tape measure and decided the 55" screen would serve me better than the 65" or larger screens that had some great prices.

Sorting DVDs

Since in the past I have bought duplicate movies on DVD and music on CD's, forgetting I already had a copy ... a year or two ago, I alphabetized my movie collection just like my music collection that I did years before. This might be a little OCD but I can find movies easier now when I am looking for something to watch and I never buy duplicates.  :)

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Last summer during my week of reorganizing, sorting, recycling, throwing away stuff from electronics to 30 years of paper files ... I still have all of these electronic cords that are no longer used, outdated or more than I need. My local recycling no longer accepts electronic gear from stuff like this to tvs, computers or stereos. All of this sits hidden in my 'stereo' closet inside a new trash bag just waiting for me to find a place to accept it as recycling.

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During Stella's destruction period when I first got her in 2015, she let me know real quick she loved the taste of a dried sweat baseball cap ... even if it was one of my favorites.

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After you retire you have all the time in the world for yard work or other projects outside, that you never had time to do on weekends or during the week after work. Yes, that is the 'north' part of the yard where you see Stella ending her walks and hiding behind that first tree while facing the camera.

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Here is the corner of the bank that I go back and forth with, whether to let it grow back under more control by me or keep cutting it as grass. The reason would be for soil erosion.

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This idea to clear the brush all started when my neighbor a few houses away bought the field through an estate sale and had the land surveyed. To my advantage his survey was much different than mine in 2000, by THE SAME COMPANY!!!!  :) Once they planted that property pole on the corner, this was all mine ... so I cleared and burned the brush, pulled up roots with a rake, raked out some soil and planted grass seed.

I might have made a huge mistake. Now in heavy rain storms the water flows toward the camera down the center of that cleared area, makes a 90° turn right at the edge of that bank on the left and flows down the small hill towards my house. The old underground drainage system will be replaced by me this spring.

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In June of 2008, 'Straight Line Winds' decided to show me what a 120' sycamore tree would do to my DirecTv satellite dish. At the time, it was mounted on a post in the middle of the front yard to clear the bank of trees facing south. After those winds cleared 80 feet of bank by pulling large trees out of the ground like weeds, I had a clear view of the southern sky. The new satellite dish installer was able to mount the dish near the house, like right on the house not the roof. It was my choice to mount it there to prevent high winds, which we always get, from destroying my tv signal .... I can't miss watching a ballgame just because of severe stormy weather. :)

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I needed some landscaping bricks a few summers ago Another one of those projects you have time to complete when retired. The Home Depot cashier told me to pull around to their garden center. When I got to the gate of the garden center, he said pull your "Mini" right up next to the pallets by driving down the aisle. How's that for some service.

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The just proves how versatile the Mini Cooper S 2-door can be. The owners manual for my 2009 Mini Cooper S told me I could put 700# over the axle. 22 bricks were only 400# and did not prevent me from going 75mph all the way home.

2004 Jan 01e 1961 VW Single Cab Pick-up w/Treasure's Chest

The Germans were way ahead of the design curve in pickup trucks. The edges around the truck bed fold down to make it a flat-bed truck. The "Treasure Chest' goes the width of the bed, right behind the cab, below the truck bed and can be opened on either side. It was great in snow and back in 2003 it was my main daily driver to work in all kinds of weather. Oh, the payload was 2,000 pounds and a pallet would fit with the edges folded up. Who needs that $64,999.99 Chevy Silverado when you can have one of these?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1967 Two-Tone Standard VW Bus - 1963 VW Cargo Van
The '67 use to be mine. It was my very first eBay purchase back in 2002(?). Driving back from Tucson, it blew it's engine 9 miles north of Truth or Consequences NM on I-25, an extremely hot Sunday morning. A year later I bought the '63 Cargo van in Salt Lake City, UT and met Dennis in Colorado right off Hwy 50 for some camping. He drove up from Alamogordo, NM and had installed a new engine, then converted it into a camper.

The '63 Cargo van had dual Weber carbs, a 'freeway flyer' for a transmission and I cruised back to Indiana on I-70 and I-64 passing cars on the outside lane with room to spare under my accelerator pedal. The 80mph speedometer was maxed out most of the way. Ran like a champ.

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Living proof just how tall the Tulip Trestle might be. Read about the trestle here, still used to this day by trains traveling east and west in the country through "the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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A lake and great campgrounds a short distances from the house. You have to have a government ID card to get on the base where the lake and campgrounds are located. That results in very few people around, an open lake to sail, canoe or kayak. Plus very quiet campgrounds.

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In the summer of 2002, since Cincinnati was building their new Great American Ballpark so close to Riverfront Stadium they cut a section out of the circular Riverfront Stadium left field, tore out the Astroturf and planted grass. The Reds still needed a place to play that season until the new stadium opened in March 2003.

Many Reds fans agreed with me ... with the modification, a great old stadium, why not keep it instead of building new. We all know the reasons ... they need new stadiums and all those corporate boxes sold to make payroll so they can pay those overpriced athletes.

It was found out later the new stadium was close to the same design presented to those in power back in the late 1960's. Instead they built Riverfront Stadium. The design was popular then because it was a circular multi-purpose stadium where baseball and football could be played. Duplicate round, multi-purpose stadiums were built in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis about the same time.

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I wonder if I could use this 5 Schilling bill at my local mini-mart for that 20oz coke and a small bag of chips I pictured the other day on my blog post about my eating style?

I had seriously thought of writing a clean version, no cussing, about the tv news I've been tuned into this week instead of what I have posted here. I can say I have turned into a calm unbiased news viewer/reader away from an angry, cussing tv viewer/reader since my last post. It is hard to sort out all the stuff presented. I've gone back to CNN most of the time for my news after years of boycotting them.

They seem more "newsy" than their competitors. I can sort out the fake stuff and the real stuff on my own, I'm not that stupid. Still, they do have certain commentators I have to turn off because it is very obvious they are not as unbiased as I am. The latest news affecting the world ... they say ... is the James Mattis letter telling the world that he was quitting and why.

Personally for me this has always been a tough question to answer. I can see both sides of having American troops in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. My nephew has been able to survive three different tours to Iraq. I've been on deployments 20-30 years ago on aircraft carriers outside and inside the Persian Gulf. I have also worked in government, closely with those that did those ground deployments after 9/11.

Conflicted might be the better word than confused.

Those countries have their own way of life. They are 1,000s of years old not just a couple of hundred. The majority do not want American anything on their land but they love our money paid to them by the billions. The small minority beg the USA for help in troop support and funding. Otherwise they will be overrun and killed. So there is that.

The longest war in history yet no chance of winning even with small victories if you call them that. Veterans that have served in heavy battle say it's never a good thing to leave those countries. After spending over a TRILLION dollars and no light at the end of the tunnel 'our' checkbook says pack up and get out.

Parents of those killed, say get out while some say if you do that then my son or daughter died for nothing. Past experience shows if the USA troops leave, that hole is sucked up by those they are fighting, making things worse there and increasing the chances for another attack on the USA ... if you believe the military experts.

Of course any good Congressman/woman is going to say stay. Especially if there are business, factories, etc in their congressional area that makes a profit, large or small, from selling their products for war. They want to be re-elected next time. Believe me, war is big big business and many times they last more for financial reasons than just spreading democracy.

So it's hard to decide what to do ... keep spending money and leave the troops there, helping the very small minority or pull the plug, pack them up and fly them home.

Another way that lingers on how to look at it from both sides. Would you as an American citizen want a foreign government to send their troops here in your towns/cities to  force their beliefs down our throats or else? Or does the USA still need to keep their troops fighting to prevent that situation from ever happening?

With a financial background I find it hard not to view the situation from a financial point of view instead of an open mind.

Well as I glance out the window, it's not sunny, but it's not raining. It's just dark and cloudy. With that in mind and the low energy hounds I have sleeping near my desk, it is doubtful that I will post anything tonight. That is unless I am slapped up the side of my head with a rant, an idea, an opinion or some great photographs to share.

Dark, overcast and rainy is still a good day in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

20 December 2018

A Loud Explosion This Morning

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It was a little past 6:30am when I sat down at my computer, with a cup of coffee in my hand. The room only lit by the light from my large monitor. I was on a mission this morning. I HAD to find a new blog design, which I will explain in full detail at the end of the post. ...... then BANG !!!!! It sounded so close to the house that Stella went from a curled position sleeping on the floor to standing and howling ... instantly.

19 December 2018

What A Difference A Day Makes

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Let's see ... 6 days before Christmas in the Midwest, no coat, no hat, no gloves during our afternoon walk. Even Heidi was so excited she stayed outside, barked to show her excitement and even got airborne a little. When all that happens, the mood changes ... all at 52°. It has happened before so don't start lecturing me on Global Warming ... this is 'weather' not 'climate' ... there's a difference. Yes, the globe is warming. By the number of photos and few words you will see just how nice was today.

The Mind Is Interesting

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It looks like I missed the bus early this morning and did not have a blog published in the early morning hours for those that are early risers. There are reasons for that which I am going to discuss in this post. Let's just say the mind can play some strange games at times. I am really glad it doesn't do it all the time, just occasionally where the brain cells are scrambled and if you didn't know better you would think you are being "defragged" like a computer hard drive.

As you see, Stella and I took off on the morning walk earlier than the normal departure. We both couldn't wait any longer and it was barely daylight, darker than that photo.