Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kicken back in Arizona

The big travel days always have their following down days!  Since we had two big travel days back to back, we owe ourselves two really good down days.  So true to form, we had the first of our down days today.

Well we really didn't just hang around the motorhome today, but went about our normal day shopping and restocking the rig.  We had let supplies dwindle to only things that could be frozen before we left after Thanksgiving, so the cupboards were bare.  Wal Mart run!

We did sleep in until about 8 AM since we were really suffering from road fatigue, but after that it was game on.  I had to write the recap blog in the morning, but then we headed out.  Loyce did the shopping, and I headed over to the car wash to scrub off the snow storm from East of Albuquerque.

Of course that brought on the rain.  It was sunny for most of the morning, and we had reached about 60 by mid afternoon, and the weatherman promised on TV that the snow storm would stay up in the mountains in the Northeast portion of the state.  Wrong.

It clouded over and by about 5 in the afternoon, we had a breif rain squall.  Just enough to rain dusty mud drops all over the clean car. 

Tonight has been man versus food on the TV, where we have watched the shows star take on the food challenges all over the country and for the most part win them.  I gained about ten pounds watching!

So sunny and overcast with a little rain sprinkled in, and that finished us out.  All I have needed all day is a light spring jacket.  Bring on more Arizona!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The quick trip back to the desert

We were up at 6 AM on Monday, packing the car and finishing all the chores necessary to close up the house.  We had all this stuff and such a small car!

After a bit of breakfast and a very packed car, we left by about 9AM.  Not too bad, but I still had to go by the bank for some spending cash.  I typically rely on the credit cards for most things, but when traveling across several states, it is usually nice to have more than $15 in your billfold.

It was still snowy and in the 20's but the sun was to be out all day.  The forecasters had predicted snow for most of Kansas on Tuesday, so we felt the window of opportunity was right then. The roads were clean, and I could see the snow ran out if we went West rather than South.  Eastern Kansas and most of Oklahoma had snow on the ground.  Even Texas had been hit by the Christmas weather.

We went West to Hutchinson, Kansas and drove right out of the snow.  It was immediately warmer.  Kansas is mostly brown and dull in the winter, but with the sun out and temps of 50 degrees, we felt warm as we traveled.

We passed into Texas North of Dalhart about sundown and stopped at a Subway for a sandwich about 6 PM.  From there it is 90 miles to Tucumcari, Nm.  That's about all we could do, as it was another hour and a half.  We grabbed a Motel and passed out.

Tuesday morning, we had gained an hour since we were now in mountain time zone.  We had the continental breakfast and were on the road by 8:30.  The next storm system from the West had arrived and the wind and cold were apparent.

East of Albuquerque, you pass thru the mountains at about 7,000 feet.  Once we went over 6,000, it began to snow.  The snow became worse as we climbed, and at the summit the visibility and road conditions were nasty.  There were no plows yet, but the trucks seemed to keep the interstate clear.

Over the top, you drop rapidly into Albuquerque, and the storm was gone at about 5,000 feet.  The city was completely clear and had no snow at all.  We gassed and headed on.

We stopped in Gallup, Nm to get more gas and have a Wendy's.  This was around 2 in the afternoon.  As we headed West, you could see the unsettled clouds and snow in the air, and at the Arizona boarder, it was snowing fairly steadily.

We usually head off across the mountains at Holbrook, but we could see the snow showers pouring out of the clouds to our South.  We headed West to Winslow.  The clouds still looked nasty.

Stopping at the Flying J truckstop, we watched the storm, which seemed to be not as bad to the Southwest where that highway headed up over the pass to Payson, 80 miles away.  We decided to take the chance and headed that way.

I watched the cars coming at us to see if they were covered in snow and mud, but they seemed to be clean.  Usually that is a good indicator of the road ahead.  Again you climb up to about 7,400 feet thru some of the most beautiful forest we have ever been in.  Tall lodge pole pine trees line the mountain sides for miles.   It looks much like Colorado!

The snow showers began at about 6,500 feet, but were flurries that barely wet the windshield.  We hurried on, as it looked like it would be worse at any minute.  Once over the top, we descended into Payson.

Loyce wanted to stop in the quilt shop, there since they had a book waiting for her.  It was after 4 PM,  and they would close at 5.

It is still another hour and a half to Mesa, down the mountain all the way.  The storms were behind us and we had made it!  It was above 60 as we entered the Phoenix area, but darkness cooled that rather quickly once we were home.

Retired Rod

We Arrive!

I am sitting in the motorhome on the couch in Mesa, Arizona.  We didn't arrive here until after dark, so it was never really warm for us today.  I did see 59 on the dash temp in the car as we came down from the mountains to the North, but as darkness arrived, the temps receeded.

We spent the night emptying the car and setting up the rig for use again. We had put in the slides and rolled up all the hoses when we left, so that had to be re deployed.  We found everything just as we had left it.  So far everything seems to be working.

We headed over to the What a burger for a take home sandwich, since neither one of us could even think about cooking.

Tonight, I spent some time getting the direct tv satellite going and now its time to sleep!

After 1300 miles in 2 days, I am betting sleep will be easy to find!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tucumcari dreamin

Just a quick post to say we are in the motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico.  The lights are all on in the room, and we are now in the mountain time zone, soits not even ten PM, but Loyce is zonked on the bed next to me, so I must keep this short.

The keyboard will make the clicking noise as I type.  We drove 589 miles today, wich is almost exactly half way.  With all the stops for gas and food, oh and potty, we drove for 11 hours.  This is all two lane highway except for about the first 80 miles on I 35.  We went thru Hutchinson, Ks and not Wicita today and I think it was faster and definitely shorter.

Still we are killed tonight.  I will end this right here before I disturb the boss!

Retired Rod

Monday, December 28, 2009


It quit snowing!!!!  We saw the sun today, and I only had about an inch to scoop away.  Actually it was about 25 or maybe more this afternoon, and the sun began to melt the roads where they had been salted.

Of course that makes for some sloppy cars , but the streets began to be bare on the main roads.  The neighborhoods are still a snowy mess, but that will melt sooner or later.

We are beginning to get packed up and trying to decide when to leave!  That will depend on the weather.

Tonight was the big french frier party at Ben and Danielle's house, where we had all kinds of fried foods.  That along with baked french dip and au ju.  Mmmm good.  Might be hard on the old arteries though.

The kids were crazy running and screaming, but they spent some of the time in their basement playing with their new Wii game.  That seemed to keep them out of trouble for a little while.

Family time is always fun!

Retired Rod

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More shoveling

Today started with another 5 inches of new snow on top of what we already had.  I'm not so sure it was new snow, but wind driven re arranged snow.  But in any event, we had to shovel all of it again.  Wet and heavy, it made me pant like a dog.

I kept at it, until my back was almost gone, but still I couldn't get the car to go up our angled driveway.  I had backed it down to clean in front of it and now it was in the way to get the truck out of the drive.

We had a wimpy snow plow go once down the middle of the street and back, which made a path about a car width to get thru.  Then the garbage truck showed up and got stuck in the cul de sac.  I kept on shoveling.

Finally I started the truck and blasted backwards over the yard.  Ya gota love four wheel drive!  But now there was not much of a place to park.  I headed out to the local auto zone for new wiper blades as the snow ripped mine to pieces.

At the zone, almost all the blades were sold out.  Seems that everyone had the same problem.  The nice salesman came out and installed them on my truck, telling me he had already completed about 50 such installs.  Of course he was really quick at it.

When I got back to the house, Chris, my oldest son had arrived and completed much of the shoveling, where I gave up.  Boy was that a relief!

The rest if the day was spent transferring picture files onto the new computer.  I used a thumb drive selecting very carefully the exact directories and files that would move.  I ended up with about 5,000 pictures on the new machine.  I do have a portable hard drive, and could have done it faster, but the edit wouldn't have been as good, so slower seemed better.

 Oh Drat!

As it began to get dark, mother nature began to pull a dirty trick on us.  She started her snow machine again.  I gota get out a here!!!!!!

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Snow

Christmas Eve storm of 2009, was a hum dinger here in KC!  After talking to the neighbors and my older son, everyone agrees that this is the worst storm for the area in several years.  At least no one remembers one that was worse.

After the kids left last night, we shut the light off and never looked out again.  You could hear the wind, during the night, but since we couldn't do anything about it why worry.

This morning the wind continued, and the snow kept on coming.  Now let me set something straight, by Iowa standards, the storm was about normal.  They routinely receive more snow and faster winds and more often too.  But we moved down here to improve on the Iowa weather, and now we are getting Iowa style snows.  What gives?

Mid day I went out and began to shovel the wet sticky stuff, and the drift was up to the door handle on the Camry.  It goes all the way across our front yard and under the pickup truck.  I managed to clear a one car width path to the sidewalk.  But the streets have not been plowed.  We have one track down the street, where my neighbor with the long box F350 Ford pickup had left and come back .

I suppose I could have put the pickup in four wheel drive and blasted out into the street.  And most likely I could have made it into the tracks in the street and got out of here.  But we had no place to go, since we had decided that travel to Des Moines was fool hardy.

So when the wind began to drift the snow back across the drive that I had just shoveled, I put the shovel back in the garage and came back inside to the fireplace.

We spent the afternoon putting away the Christmas decorations and tonight, I took the tree back to the basement.  There stored for yet another year.

We are discussing the day for our departure to Arizona, but since they had snow all the way down to Texas, we need to cool it while they get the roads cleaned off.  The forecast for Western Kansas and the pan handle of Texas calls for snow on Tuesday of next week, and I hope to be beyond it by then.

Retired Rod

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa is Flying in a Storm!

Boy that was a good piece of cheese cake!  My DIL made a sugar free cheese cake, and it was good too.  With raspberry topping too and whip cream.  I usually don't get to partake of these kind of things.  Usually, it is go sit in the corner, while they all have some of the high sugar stuff.

You learn not to worry, because the sugar does so much damage to you that it really is not worth it for a moments sweet taste.

It is snowing here late tonight, and the wind is blowing from the North West.  It is to be about 16 F tonight, but the wind will gust over 40 before morning.  This will wind launch the 7 inches of new fallen snow into a frenzy.  They are to get this same amount of snow and wind up in Iowa too, so we will more than likely stay put in the morning.

They are calling for another inch here during Christmas Day and then possibly more in the night again.  Our big excitement is now over, as we had our presents and meal tonight with both of the boys and their respective families.

So again, as you celebrate Christmas with your families,  have a good and prosperous day!  Travel safely!

Retired Rod

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours, please have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

We have the family tonight, as they all have to go to the other side on Christmas Day.  We had hoped to go to Des Moines to be with Loyce's dad, but with the big Midwest storm, that may be a tad doubtful.  Perhaps if we take the 4 X 4 pickup!

Retired Rod

Union Station KC

Union Station in central Kansas City is an old train station from years ago.  It was built in 1914 and had 900 rooms.  It was a active train station until it was closed in the 1980’s.  It has been remodeled as a tourist attraction and is currently quite a draw to the KC area.


One of the big attractions at Christmas time is the model railroad display.  There seem to be trains going all over the place.  Many kids are running around the large display keeping up with a favorite train as it makes it way along the giant track.


There are other attractions as well, including a kiddy train and a Science exhibit.  They cost money to enter.  Out back you can still view the tracks as they go by the station.


We spent most of the afternoon in the building looking thru all the displays.

Below is a U Tube of the trains as they went around their tracks.  Beware big download about 90 meg.  If on an aircard you should probably pass it up.

This post was done with the old computer, as I know how all this stuff works on XP, LOL.
I did spend a bunch of time today configuring the new laptop, and the day was over just like that!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I did it!

I am sitting here with a brand new Hp Windows 7 laptop.  Just like all of you, my faithful readers had predicted.  I simply decided that I was overanalyzing the situation, and went and bought it.

True to my instincts, I went for most of what I wanted, but still relatively cheap.  Yah I am …well… tight you might say.

Best Buy had most of the stuff I wanted, on a off the shelf model.  Off the shelf is always more inexpensive, as they can build a train load of the exact same thing.  You know without needing any brains to configure only one.  Then copy, copy, copy.

So as I sit here typing a blog in Live Writer, that was already loaded on the hard drive from the factory, I’m sure you all want to know the specs so you can be assured that your machine is faster and better than my inexpensive jobby.  So here goes.

It is a Hp dv6 1355dx, available only at BB.
15.6 inch widescreen Pavilion
Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor 2.2 Ghz, 2Mb L2 cache, 800Mhz Front side bus.  (wish FSB was faster)
4 Gbyte ddr3 memory.
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit OS
500GByte SATA 5400rpm HD. ( nice size but 7200 rpm would have been nice)
8x Dvd +- RW Double Layer with Lightscribe
Web cam, microphone, 100baseT ethernet, 5 way data card reader, 3 usb ports. 56k modem
802.11 b/g/n wifi adapter
The list goes on, but you get the idea.  What’s not to like, perhaps would be nice for a bluRay dvd, but at the price, this is good enough.

What was the price you ask, $649 USD.  How do you go wrong?

Now Loyce didn’t exactly have our day planned on me getting this new computer and spending the day holed up downloading the world.

I was allowed to go get it but we had a day out with the Gkids, where we went to the old Union Station train depot in downtown KC.  It is something of an attraction on its own right, and that took all day.  We even went to Red Robin for supper tonight, so the new laptop was locked away in the trunk crying.  Run me!  Or was that me crying?

I did take a bunch of pictures, and they are downloaded onto the old laptop, but I will write a blog about that separately.

I am amazed that there is not a lot of bloat ware on this machine.  It is probably on the hard drive, but the screen was relatively clean when I started it up. 

So now I need to download all of the programs that I normally use, while I am still here at the endless gigabyte cable system internet pipe.  Once back on the aircard, I will have to be a good boy, if I want to play all month.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Daycare at Grandpa's

Grandpa daycare.  Loyce needed to go out and do more crowd time at the shopping malls, but she had agreed to take our four year old for the night last night and today.  That's where I became volunteered.  Not that I wasn't willing, but I wasn't informed as to the extent I would be pressed into service.

So today didn't exist for me.  I was free after the late afternoon, but I had watched three full length kiddie movies by that time.    We were headed into the fourth (Snow White) but I was rescued by her mommy.  We did have a good time, but I usually have trouble sitting thru one adult show.  (Frazzled?)

By 4:30, I was over looking at computers at the local Best Buy store.  Again they had a bunch of nice machines for reasonable prices.  Decisions, don't ya just hate having to commit to something, knowing it will turn out to be non compatible with your next project six months down the road?

A good example of that is the Camry Toyota that we bought in Arizona last winter.  Now with the motorhome, it can not be towed four wheels down, no matter what.  No oil pump or other optional device to get you by.  Just can't do it period.  So it was absolutely a wrong decision.

At least we are progressing orderly toward Christmas, and then returning to the desert.  My neighbor called from the RV park today to tell me that I had a package in the mail box, and in the process I learned that all was well in Mesa. Isn't it interesting that in the RV world we trust a neighbor that we only met several weeks back, with our rig and all the stuff in it?

It is supposed to be really cold by Christmas and snow here and North up toward Des Moines, which is exactly where we had hoped to go.  That seems about normal.

Tonight is the shortest day of daylight for the year.  The beginning of winter.  Funny it seems like that started a few weeks back.  But from here on, the days become longer,  Yea!!!

Retired Rod

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day after the party.

Today was a day of rest after the big party yesterday.  I headed out to Wal Mart to get a few prints of the Cookie Party Collage I posted yesterday.  Loyce hadn't seen the picture, and spotted it on the laptop mid morning.  She enjoyed the shots.

Wal Mart was a complete zoo.  Parking was filled clear out to the extremities of the lot.  I hiked into the store with my little thumb drive on the key chain.  Oddly enough the photo machine was empty.  But I found out why, as I couldn't get it to read my usb drive.

Finally after plugging the drive in several times when the kiosk had reset itself back to home, it read the drive's presence.  I think the machine is set to look for photocards, and it scans all slots first before resorting to the thumb drive.  Or perhaps it has so many miles of use on it that it has become temperamental.  Kind of like me!!!

I realize this could be done on line, but I never seem to have much luck with the clerks finding one hour orders that were entered on line.  Perhaps I am not running the software right.  But the best part is the paper ticket that is issued for your order.  When returning to pick the prints up, just hand over the ticket.

Once back at the house, I zoned out for much of the afternoon.  I hate to admit, but I was looking at new laptops on the internet.  I want one, but haven't decided what I want.  The Hp's haven't changed all that much in the last three years, so would I really have something new?  Sure it would have a faster processor and four times the memory, but would it feel fresh and different?   Perhaps with Windows 7 it would.  I read that the time to buy a new computer is when your old one is still working normally.  That way the transition is orderly.  There is some sense to that thought.

 Loyce announced that she was going over to Wal Mart in the afternoon, so I presented her with the print ticket.  She must have liked the results, as she hasn't turned loose of the envelope since she returned home.

We were up in the mid 40's again today with sunshine most of the afternoon.  It was cheery and bright, and I had a much improved attitude about being here.  Or is it that we have about a week left before we head back to the Southwest.

I was actually thinking about the stuff I need to get packed back up to leave tonight.  Since we brought it all home in the Camry, it isn't much of a load to reverse the packout.

Goody Goody!!!!

Retired Rod

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Annual Cookie Party

Today was the annual cookie party for making of Christmas Cookies at our house.  This is not a serious cook off, since the chefs are a tad young to make any real quantity of cookies, and they tend to eat the fruits of their labors as fast as they come out of the oven.

But we partied well into the afternoon, beyond most nap times.  I think the six month old went down sometime after lunch, but she was hanging in there as well as any of the others.

Once the cookies were made, we cleaned up and made pizza for everyone.  I say we, but it was actually the daughters in law making the pizza.  I was in charge of the eating part.


In the late afternoon, Loyce and I headed out to do some more of the Christmas shopping at a mall about 10 miles away from here.  It is an old fashioned interior corridor mall from years ago, and it struggles to attract customers.  One of the anchor stores had the product we were looking for, so we parked and went in.

Tonight we went to a Chinese buffet here in the Olathe area.  It is small and not the newest, but we like the food spread of the tables.  I always eat way too much in these places, and today was no exception.

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Picasa and computer lookin!

Ok, I spent some more time messing with Picasa again today and I think it makes more sense to me now.  I am used to seeing my files in the format that XP displays them on Explorer.  I have used these explorer programs since I originally put a hard drive on a Tandy Radio Shack computer back in the 1980's.

So naturally, that has become the way it should be in my mind.  Windows picked up on the tree format, only after a number of aftermarket companies wrote programs that were successful sellers.  I used Xtree for years on the MS Dos OS's prior to windows.

The changes to the setup of Picasa are not complicated to get it back to something more normal, or usual.  I think they are attempting to do the flat display to eliminate the sub directories as they feel that is confusing to the multitudes.  To me, that makes me loose all the structure that I have worked hard to create.

The first thing I did was   View---Folder View---Tree   This gets rid of Flat View, or change it back if you like the way it was.  I really wanted rid of Flat View!

Then I did    View---Folder View---Sort by Name  This gets rid of sorting by creation date and alphabetizes it like explorer did.  Again you can experiment with the four selections to see what works for you.

And just like that, the Picasa program looks and feels like Explorer.  And now you know where your pictures are really going when you import (download) from your card.  You will never have to go back to the Pictures tab on Vista, or My pictures directory in XP again.  You  can do it all from Picasa.

Another thing that Mrs Geek suggested was to do View---Thumbnail Caption---Filename  Changing from None, places the files name under each picture in the library view.  Of course you can mess with all the others and see if Filename is right for you, but I would bet right now you won't change it back to none.

Boy I am flying high changing stuff and editing pictures with I'm feeling lucky as a minimum. But it says I have 6000 photos on my hard drive. Man that means I got a lot of work ahead of me.

That's enough of Picasa, so this afternoon I did some serious shopping for man type toys.  I went to a Computer Store.  We used to have CompUSA here in KC, but they went broke and were purchased by TigerDirect.  Our store closed completely.  That's where I bought the laptop I am typing on. A hp.

We now have a Micro Center, which is like a Fry's out in the Western states. They have almost more than can be comprehended.  I looked and looked.  My wallet never came out to purchase anything, as I always use the two visit rule on big ticket items.  Think about stuff overnight, and then if it is still a burr under your saddle..........

They had some really spiffy computers in there..........    hp's too......  All had windows 7 on them.  That's a $300 go by itself when you come from XP.  And I need more memory, and a faster processor to run 7.

Why did I go in there?

Retired Rod 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Studying the Geeks

I spent the day with the Geeks on Tour today!   You are familiar with the Geeks aren't you?  I have joined their web page by paying the membership for the last couple of years, but seem to put off the study I have paid for.

We are so predictable as humans!  We have these good intentions, but never seem to get around to the stuff we should do.  But anyway, I watched the beginner group of Picasa videos here today.

I have to do this here at home since they are band width intensive.  We have cable TV for our telephone, and internet as well as the TV channels.  This is quite high priced, but it is mostly for the TV.  The unlimited internet is something like $35.  We also have nationwide phone calls that are comparably priced with Vonage.

So with "use all you want band width"  bring on the Picasa lessons.  In most cases, I knew what the program would do, but not the keystrokes to get there.  I have been using it as my photo editor, but struggling to make the options work.  Now I understand how to change the views, to conventional tree format, and save the photos back again.

What they call the flat directory, (default) had me completely baffled. Since I understand the directory structure on the disk, the idea of no sub directories and albums that do not follow file structure is all wrong.  The geeks used a books in the library example, relating the flat directory to the card catalogue.  There can be several cards in the catalogue referring to the one book on the shelf.  Me, I want to learn the shelves and can't relate to the index system.

I didn't mean to get into explaining what I learned today, but just wanted to relate that their explanations are clear and precise.  Very understandable.

But then it was Mrs. Geek, Chris Gould, that explained blogger with her videos, that got me started blogging in the first place.

I used to use Yahoo and Flickr, but it was more than difficult with shabby results.  I copied some of the old blogs over to blogger, but then never went back.  I can't even remember the passwords now.

We reached 49 degrees today and that means the weather man was wrong again.  It was sunny and nice all day, except it is a tad cold to work outside.  Most of my projects are on hold until spring anyway, so the weather is wonderful!  Tomorrow is to be 36, which will be cool again.

Lets hope they are wrong again!  LOL.

Retired Rod

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas is coming!

Since it is Christmas and Neil up in Alberta thinks I might tend to be a tad sarcastic, I found the following picture to describe how the festive season is viewed by the merchants here in town!

Not that I am questioning their motives now mind you!  But they want to live off of the fat of the land so to speak.

We had a very nice day today for being this far North in December.  The sun came out and it was in the mid 40's by late in the afternoon.  I had my jacket unzipped and my ball hat in the seat beside me as I drove the pickup over to the carwash.  Man was it dirty, remember I had driven it to the lake and back in the snow storm.  It was covered in sand and road salt.

But only $8 later, it is fairly clean on the outside anyway.  It isn't warm enough to get the vacuum out and do any serious cleaning, but at least it looks shiny from a distance anyway.

From there I headed over to Lowes to get some florescent flood lights for the recessed cans over our kitchen island.  There are six of them on two different switches, and half of them were burned out.  Changing them to compact florescent  reduced the amount of power they draw, and made them brighter to boot.  I had been putting this off for several days, but with the big cookie party coming this Saturday, we have to have light!

Speaking of Cookie Party, Loyce has been hard at work sewing up new aprons and hot pads for the upcoming event.  She brought down a sample of the finished product, and I snapped the picture for the blog.

 She is ready with the commercial cookie cutter kit in the upper right, for each of her participants.   Now we wait for the upcoming mess, as those participants are ages 7 and younger.  Oh, and their mommies too.

I accused her of buying the aprons, but she insists that she made them up from scratch.  What do I know?
I spent the rest of the day buzzing around town in one of the cars that I normally don't drive during the winter.  It had been 8 weeks since it had been started, but I had put a battery charger on it yesterday so it fired right off.  I keep Stabil in the gas for these parked vehicles.  Its the only way to keep cars that you don't drive too often.

Tomorrow is slated to be in the high thirties, but maybe the forecaster will error and be to conservative,  I can hope!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

FireFox 3.7 Alpha Minefield

On my windows laptop machine, I have been trying a beta version of Firefox.  I have ran this program for several weeks now and it seems stable, but even if it errors out I don't care because it is really fast compared to the 3.5 version of the program.

Firefox is allowing us to use their beta version as testers, so they can monitor how much trouble we get into.  The second that you find an error, the program locks and sends the problem to Mozilla.  As testers we don't have a problem with that, because we get to use the new beta version before it is released.  Right?  Did I mention it is fast?

They are so sure of the program that they have provocatively named it "Minefield."  So when it blows up you can't say you weren't warned.  They say there is a minefield 4.0, but I haven't been able to download that yet.  Perhaps with good reason.

This program does not write over your old firefox version but rather loads as a separate instance of the program.  Since it is called minefield, your computer is not aware that they are much the same software.  The way I understand it, the basic engine of the browser is a much newer version, with the skin of the program remaining all but the same.

So if you feel like you want to play this game, you can down load the software   link  and install it.

Because this is a constantly changing working copy of the project, you will be updated almost every day from Mozilla.  When you start the program, it will check for its updates and install the very latest as you begin.  Nothing like knowing you are right out there on the cutting edge!

Have fun!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cold again and late night Wal Mart

I was just over at Wal Mart, and some guy got out of the car in his gym shorts and a T shirt.  He had rubber shower thongs on for shoes.  He casually strolled into the store from his car.  Wow, we had frontal passage this afternoon, and it is now 12 F.  That's -11 C.

I was incredulous, pointing him out to the door greeter.  She said that there is a fitness place across the street to the East, and folks workout heavily, and are all hot so they come over to the store and walk around cooling off.  Well,,,,,OoooKay then.  He was wandering around shopping like it was 90 outside.  Sure took me back to watch him.

Now me, on the other hand, had my winter coat and gloves and a ball hat on.  I was still shivering because the Wal Mart is only about a mile away and the car didn't warm up in that short of a run.

I often do some shopping in the middle of the night, since the only folks in the store are the night stockers. 

Today was spent on the telephone getting a return authorization number for an expensive Christmas present that I ordered on the internet.  I opened the package, and it was broke!   So now it has to go back, and they will send another after the holidays.  But we won't be here, so we will have to do the change address to the RV park thing and that will be trouble. 

But it had to be re wrapped and the letter written to explain what was wrong, and then over to the shipping store, and insured.  Pain in the .............

You would think I would learn not to order stuff from the internet,,,,,,,but nooooooo.

So now I will be missing that gift, and will have to think of something else.  I love Christmas.  Ho Ho Ho..

Retired Rod

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sleepin In

I was a bad boy this morning, as I closed the bedroom door and put the pillow over my head skipping the grandkid breakfast entirely.  They sounded like a hurricane in the lower floor of the house, but I managed to doze thru all but the loudest shrieks.

That is a product of staying up way too late messing with the computers.  I had spent last evening in the RV-Dreams chat room, staying to the very end.  Then the blog needed to be written, and the evening became morning.

I did hang out with our oldest grandson thru the lunch hour, as we had chili mac and hot dogs.  This gave grandma the opportunity to slip away for her shower.

As usual, Sunday turned into a watch sports on the TV day as I am slowly making the transition to the basketball games from football.

Therefore I know absolutely nothing about what happened in the real world for the entire afternoon and evening.  So with that admission I'll just end this off for the day.

Retired Rod

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More ham wires and Grandkids.

As hams, we don't sit down and build a radio any more like our forefathers did.  Well in the last several years I got hooked on building Elecraft kits, so I guess I was building radios but that's another story.

What we do is wire up the house, and the cars and anything else that moves.  So today was the house's turn to get a little more wire.

The ham shack, (term for room with the radios) is in the basement of our house, but I seem to never go use them there.  Its more of an office for doing accounting work and tax returns.

We can't have much in the way of antennas outside here in the neighborhood, (I cheat a little) so I have a dual band UHF/VHF antenna in the attic.  That wire ends up down in the ham shack.  But it would sure be nicer in the winter if it was up here in the hearth room.  That's a lot warmer.

I have been reluctant to drill the nasty hole in the hardwood floor.  Suffer the wrath of the boss lady, devalue the house and goodness knows what else.  So today I fed the wire down along the heater vent registers.  I don't know why I hadn't thought of this earlier, but it came to mind in the beginning of the week.  The wire ends up down in the shack and connects upstairs to downstairs.

I don't know how that could have taken up most of the afternoon, but it did.  Well, I did bring up that Christmas tree, that I was asked for last week.  Perhaps that counts as a positive.

So tonight I am arm chair connected to the distant world with only the addition of a single wire behind some of the furniture.  Yea!

On the grandkid front, we had two of them here overnight last night, and have all three of the other family here tonight.  So in the last two days we have had all five.  Man that keeps the house noisy and hopping all day long. 

Its quiet now, but they will be awake before dawn!!!!!!!!!!!

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A lot warmer

Ok, I gota quit bellyachin about the weather.  We reached 39F today, and the sun was out all day.  A lot of our snow melted, or evaporated from the streets, and our yard started to peak thru around the edges.

But my bit about the freezer door performed just like it was supposed to.  I managed to get a few comments out of my Canadian friends that I hadn't heard from for a few days, and some of the regulars too.

I really do wonder how folks in our neighboring country to the North manage to stay positive during these long winter months.  And no I don't blame Albertians even though they do send us those darned "Clippers" in the winter.

The difference in living this far South, (Kansas) is that we do warm back up every now and then which nicely melts the snow, and we get to start over.

When I was an auditor in my previous life, I had the opportunity to travel to North Dakota where they introduced me to the idea of "snirt."   Yes snow and dirt mixed together, and it didn't melt or go away until spring!

So today melted off our snirt and we get to start over.

Tonight we went to the annual ham club Christmas party.  And as usual, I sat at the RVers table!  Ya its kind of sad, but even in the ham club, we sat around and talked about where we had been and are going in our RVs.  Other folks get tired of us and float to different tables.

I made the same bacon spinich cheese dip from last year, and when it was time to go home, I went to get the crock pot and it had been scraped clean inside.  One of the men had taken crackers from other folks cheese trays and litterally scraped the inside of the pot.

A second lady came up to me and wanted to know if I had made the dip or my wife.  When she found out that I made it she had to have the recipe.  I was flattered.  As copied from last years blog:

In the 4 quart crock pot I put the following.

1 1/2 Lbs Velveeta cubed
8 Oz Cream Cheese cubed
12 strips of bacon crumbled
1 can of Rotel Original Tomatoes
8 Oz chopped Frozen Spinach

Just because I am a guy, I doubled up the bacon.  But beware it makes it way more salty.  Maybe there is low salt bacon?  Chop up the spinach more than it is in the package.  Think really fine.  Cook for 45 minutes on high and then 15 more on low after things are melted.  This will burn because of the cream cheese, so go to the warm setting if you want it to keep for very long.

I've never had that problem once I've set it out on the table.

Retired Rod

Friday, December 11, 2009

Grandkid heaven

Well I was right, the weather man was wrong!  I got up to 28 F this afternoon.  Still not above freezing, so the snow didn't melt a bit.  Darn!

It didn't matter, since we had the three year old here for the day.  She was a gem, and played nicely all by herself, except she had gramma and grampa to play with.  What could be better?

So the heaters ran and we ignored them.  Just watching kids shows on the TV and taking naps.  Loyce ducked out to the dentist for a while in the afternoon, but we played while she was gone.

Tomorrow it may get above freezing for a little while, and we may have more grand kids from the other son's family, so life is good.

I have the ham club Christmas party tomorrow night, and I will probably make the same cheese dip from last year.  I put the recpie in the blog, so I will look back and get it.

Let me clarify on that open freezer door, I think it is somewhere up in Alberta!!!!   Anybody still alive up there????

Retired Rod

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Back to KC

I'm back in KC.  I left the lake at about noon, with overcast skies and wind in the thirties.  It had snowed the inch or more that was forecast.

I was really glad I had left the truck up in the street the night before, as the rain had frozen into a bunch of big blotches of black ice.  The drive is inclined at least 45 degrees, so with snow on top of the ice, even 4x4 would have been useless.

It is such a pain to carry all your stuff up the steep rock landscaping, since the drive is beyond standing on in any slick condition.  But I managed to get loaded after several trips.

The trip home was uneventful and I did begin to see the sun once I was most of the way here.  The high temperature registered on the truck was 14 F.  Not good for December.  As I write this the weather station says 7 degrees.  The furnace is running non stop.  The forecast is for 3 tonight.  -16 C!

We had more snow here in KC than at the lake, so I needed to shovel once I arrived.

I hauled my stuff in and have been sitting next to the electric heater all night.  Lets hope tomorrow warms up some.  Forecast is for 23, but they could be wrong couldn't they?

Retired Rod

P.S.  Will someone shut the freezer door up there in Canada!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nothing doing here!

What do you write about when you have spent the day looking out the sliding door at complete overcast and visibility under a mile?  I could barely see the opposite side of the cove, let alone see the dam three miles away.

Rain and more cold rain.  All day long.  And when it was raining that hard, the TV signal faded to pixelations that resembled storm radar.  Then the infamous no signal information box.  I gave up on it anyway since it was daytime soaps.  I buried my head in the computer screen and browsed and browsed.  Come on, someone post something!  For once my blog reading is completely up to date.

I read blogs that were listed as favorites on all the other folks sidebars.  I usually don't do that because I follow too many blogs the way it is, and there are soo many good RV blogs, I could read forever.

In the afternoon, I went into Wal Mart for some interaction with other people.  It is really quiet and desolate here in the winter.  I didn't buy anything important, but at least I got to talk to some folks.  It was Wendy's for a late sandwich, and then back home!

Tonight the TV came back on for a while, so I watched the News and Entertainment tonight, before becoming bored with all the Tiger Woods coverage.  Who cares?

It has been above freezing here all day with a high of about 43 degrees late in the afternoon.  So we got rain instead of the many feet of snow that folks were getting to our North.  We are lucky in that respect, but tonight it is to get a lot colder, and snow 1 to 3 inches.  By morning they are talking strong winds with gusts in the 37 mile per hour range.

I parked the truck up on top of the hill, just in case it should get worse than predicted.  I hope to leave in the morning.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lake Ozark and a TV Converter Box

Greetings from warm and balmy Lake Ozark!  I wish!  Loyce had Doctors appointments this week and needed to stay back in KC so I am a bachelor for the duration of my stay here at the lake.

This morning, I looked outside, and it was gray and cloudy.  The temperature was about 26 F and the wind was clam.  Checking the computer maps showed no rain or snow between KC and the lake, so the trip was on!

Loyce had left for one of her appointments, so I packed up alone.  I took a few groceries, but decided to stop at a Wal Mart for the rest of what I needed, and left about 11 AM.

I drove the truck East, and the indicated temperature began to become warmer, but only ever so slightly.  There was no rain and no snow. At about the halfway point, the temperature was above freezing, I knew that I would make it without the freezing stuff on the road.  Relief.

As I approached the lake from the West, I stopped at the Wal Mart in Versaillles, Mo.  I loaded up on some groceries, but failed to get a digital to analog converter for the TV.  They didn't stock it!  What?

I arrived at the lake, and the temperature in the cabin was 45, just where the thermostat was set.  It was exactly 32 outside and a steamy fog was over the lake.  The heat was running, and all was well.

I don't like leaving the house for such long periods in the winter, but we have no reliable friends or neighbors that live here in the winter, so it is, as it is.

The water was turned off at the entrance to the house, so plumbing and leaks were not a problem.  When I turned it back on everything worked correctly.  So we have heat and we have water.  On to the Wal Mart in Osage Beach.  A much bigger one!

They too didn't have a TV converter, but the salesman explained that we are too far from the stations for them to work reliably, so they were all sent back.  People buy them and then return them when they can't get a signal.  They think the converter is bad!  Really, we are just too far away.  Then he told me under his breath that Target had them!

A quick trip to Target sourced one made by RCA, and I installed it here rapidly.  I have an outside TV antenna, on the top of a pole mounted on the back deck.  The short version is, that I only got one channel, and then I had to adjust the antenna for the best signal, which was only 10 percent.  It sort of works.  As long as you like CBS.  Normally I use the Direct TV satellite dish, but the receiver is in the motorhome back in Arizona.  We were too stuffed with craft items to bring it back with us.

With the new converter, I got to listen to the local Weather, and we are to get the South edge of the storm and 1 to 3 inches of snow.  That will come as the day progresses tomorrow.  We don't even have a snow shovel here, so wish me luck.  The back driveway is about a 45 degree incline!  That's why I drove the 4x4 pickup truck.

Retired Rod

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ahead of a Storm

We have had nasty weather here again today, as it began to rain in the middle of the afternoon.  It had warmed up enough in the night, that it almost felt like you could go outside for a while, but then the clouds came and the cold rain started.

We have had that storm system pass us on by now, but it is going back down in the freezer tonight.  Tomorrow the second storm is set to arrive, which has much more snow in it.  We are at the line of freezing rain, sleet and snow.  They are not sure which we will get.  Perhaps some of each.

I am, or was planning to go to the cabin at Lake Ozark tomorrow morning.  It has been five or six weeks since I have been there, and I feel the heat needs to be checked to make sure it is working.

We spent the day with the TV on football, and Loyce working on her crafts.  She left for a mid afternoon shopping trip, but since I was glued to the games, I only know she returned after a period of time, with a bunch of purchases.

We had a nice dinner of pork chops and acorn squash, and then I settled back to the games.  Ah.. Sunday's in football season!!!

If the storm holds off long enough for me to scoot out of here in the morning, I will go. Perhaps I will take the pickup truck, as it has four wheel drive.  I will make these calls in the morning.

Retired Rod

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Visiting and football

This afternoon we got to do some of what we came home to do.   Go see the grandkids, and their parents too.  Tonight we had "order in Chinese", and I killed off a big order of General Tao's Chicken and fried rice.

So with my insides filled to the overflow, we settled down to watch the football games tonight.  Florida looses, and Texas almost lost, except for the one second they put back on the clock.  which allowed them to kick a field goal and win.

This somehow helps my Iowa Hawkeyes in their bowl standings, but I will not attempt to explain how that works.  I am sure I wouldn't get it right.

Tonight I am keeping up on the blogs, and turning it a bunch earlier.  None of this losing track of time all night.  Not too exciting, but that's how we like it.

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What time is it?

I've been sitting here reading the latest issue of the FMCA magazine, and lost all sense of time.  Its now well after midnight, and all sensible people are fast asleep.  But then I have never been sensible!

Again today has been cold here in KC, As I left the house in mid afternoon, it was barely 32 or freezing outside.  I am still cold even with ample jackets on.  It seems that as fall slowly arrives, our bodies adjust to the increasing cold, but we went to warmer Arizona.

But now in the course of two days we came back to the cold.  The weather station says 19 degrees as I type here.

Today was Friday, and I can't help but wonder what the soup was at the Mesa Spirit Country Store.  Such thoughts only amplify the empty feelings of sitting in KC without outside activities.  So I shall not not allow these thoughts.

So I headed over to the men's barber shop on the Missouri side of town.  Determined, I vowed to stay no matter how long the wait.  With four barbers, the waiting folks were served in about a half an hour, as I was number five in line.  Some of the guys have a specific barber they are waiting for, which extends their stay, but that allowed me to jump ahead in line!  I have had haircuts from all four of the fellows, and have never been disappointed.

By late afternoon, I was back home getting caught up with blogs, and Loyce suggested a burger at Fuddruckers, so I was in on that one.  I try not to go there soooo much, but about once a week seems to be the norm.

So try not to read the FMCA magazine late at night as it will cause loss of sleep for sure!

Retired Rod

FMCA= Family Motor Coach Assn, but then you knew that!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Comfort Food in the Cold.

Another cold and boring day here at the stix and brix.  I went outside for a brief moment, and decided that it was too cold at about 26 degrees to do anything productive outside. 

Returning to the easy chair and the laptop computer, I have spent the day web browsing.  Tough life but someone has to keep up on all this stuff. 

By mid afternoon, I went over to Wal Mart, which is only about a mile away, and besides it was almost up to freezing by that time, and bought enough stuff to make Linda Payne's Baked Spaghetti Amour.  I don't follow her recipe verbatim but it is mostly the same.  I add extra tomato sauce and two kinds of cheese.

I used fresh garlic and onions.  That has way more flavor than the powder stuff.  So we ate well tonight.

I also made a sugar free pumpkin pie with sugar free cool whip as the desert.  Using bagged splenda, you are hard pressed to tell the difference from real sugar.  At least I thought it was darned good.

Tonight we used the D Star radio system to connect back up to the Des Moines area and three of us hams spent a good while talking technical stuff and adjusting the repeater out in Western Iowa.

Just like that its after midnight, so time to pack it in!

Retired Rod

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A change of decor!

Decorations?  What decorations, oh you mean that pumpkin stuff?  I hadn't noticed.  Put it away, what's wrong with it?

It's Christmas now!  Oh ya, that's right, it's cold outside.  So that's how the conversation went this morning.

Loyce was hard at packing up all the Halloween stuff and we are bare of decor tonight.  That won't last long as we will be in full dress with Santa and the tree and so forth.

I will get pushed to bring up the tree tomorrow, before the day is out.  I'll try to ignore it for part of the day, but it won't do any good. LOL.

Our neighbors have their outdoor lights put up by commercial companies that custom make the light strings to exact lengths.  This is costly, in the multiple hundreds of dollars.  A waste of diesel fuel budget, so I refuse to participate.

The housing sub division requires that all lights be down by the first week of January, but by then I hope to be back in Arizona.  We'll have to enjoy the neighbors lights.

I had a down day which is normal after large travel days.  I started the pickup truck and drove it over into Missouri.  Drove past my barber's shop but the place was swamped.  I deciced not to stop, perhaps tomorrow.

Otherwise I went thru a months mail and paid a few bills.  Normal stuff for returning home.

The temperature on the weather station here at our house is reporting 30 right now!  A loss of 9 degrees since last night.  I have on a knit long sleeve shirt and a sweat shirt.

My blood is still thin from being in the warm climate of the West!  Perhaps I will get more used to it by the weekend.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Back at the shack

Sitting in my easy chair in Kansas City, reflecting on the 1170 mile trip over the last two days.

I never plugged in the GPS for any directions or information.  We were never lost or headed in the wrong direction.  The weather was never a problem, although I was concerned when we went over the mountain in Arizona.

The breakfast in Tucumcari at the EconoLodge left something to be desired this morning.  When we had the doggie pal we had to stay at the Motel 6.  They didn't have any breakfast.  The lodge was about $12 more, and not so spartan.  But the cold cereal and toast seemed bleak.  I guess we had coffee and juice too.  Not much different than at home. LOL.

We drove hard all day, stopping in Liberal, KS for a subway sandwich.  Then all afternoon across Kansas to Wichita.  Arrived exactly at 5 PM for their rush hour.  Nice!

Loyce drove to Emporia, as I had a power nap.  $4 toll on the turnpike, but she had the needle burried while I slept. 

After a Hardee burger at an Emporia interchange, I drove on to KC.  Arriving about 8:30 tonight. 

Just a stroll in the park!  I think I am beyond tired, but too wound up to go to bed.

The heat was set at 50, when we arrived, but I switched on the emergency side which is natural gas.  It is after midnight, and the unit has never shut off.  If I had left it on the heat pump, we would have never made the mid 60's before morning.  The outside temp is 39.  That won't improve much in the weeks to come!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Half Way!

Hello from Tucumcari, New Mexico.  It is quite a drive to get here from Mesa, Arizona.  We left after 9 A M and headed right out of town on the highway to Payson.  We had just made this trip last week, so we knew the way.

In Payson, Loyce announced that we had to stop at the quilt store.  Surprise surprise.  She had ordered something, and needed to pick it up.  I dropped her off and headed to Wal Mart.  I just needed some toiletries, but that was better than sitting in the car.

We headed out over the mountains to the North, and promptly ran into fog and snow flurries.  The stuff was melting on the road, so it never got slick, but the windshield was collecting the mess.  I was glad to see the top, as once over the mountain, the snow stopped.

We drove thru several places that had snow on Sunday, with the most accumulation East of Albuquerque.  Glad we didn't head out in that.

Tonight we are in a motel, which is quite a shock to our system.  We never like motels.  The last motel was back in Wisconsin when we went to our niece's wedding.  Spoiled aren't we?

Only 600 miles to KC!  We should be home by tomorrow night.

Retired Rod