Pam and I have enjoyed our move to Washington state. We really like the house we found, and the area is quite pretty.

Yesterday, we went to the local Port Ludlow Festival, a small collection of booths and food and music. Also a pony ride, which I didn’t get to go on. But there was some good BBQ Ribs there, and it was a nice sunny day. It is really a scenic area, with the bay, boats, and lots of trees on the mountains.

Today is Saturday, so I did a bit of yard work, trimming some of the bushes around the house. The yard is nicely landscaped with a wide variety of native plants and trees. The back yard is not very deep, about 20 feet, then a drop off of about 50 feet to a small flat area below, then trees and berry bushes farther in. The area below the house is a common area for the local subdivision. The HOA folks do the maintenance of most of the common areas, some areas (like the area below my house) are less-maintained. The previous owner took care of keeping the weeds down and the berry bushes intruding, so I get to continue that tradition. So that is one of the tasks I did today; some weed killer spray for errant berry plants. Then some trimming of the bushes around the house.

A trip ‘to town’ (Polsboro), which is about 30 minutes away, for some groceries, a visit to Taco Bell, plus bringing back some pizza for dinner. So, just a usual day.

As part of the move, my work has allowed me to telecommute until they get my replacement. So the inevitable notice has arrived, my employment will be done at the end of the month. That’s the transition part. I enjoyed my job and the people there, but moving to a lower elevation has been a great help to Pam’s health.

So here we are, in a new place, enjoying things here. And there will be lots more time to fill up, with the end of telecommuting.

Moved to a Nice View

Here’s the view from the back deck of our new house in Port Ludlow, WA.

View from back deck

View from the Back Deck

Although not anticipated, the move from Utah was required due to Pam’s health. At the 4100 foot elevation in Utah, Pam required oxygen 24/7 due to her recent pulmonary hypertension diagnosis. And that was putting a long-term strain on her body. The PH doctor said move, so, reluctantly leaving the kids and grandkids, we found this really nice house.

Although moving is not fun, and there are still many boxes in the garage, the almost sea-level altitude means that Pam doesn’t need oxygen (except at night while sleeping), and has a bit more energy. She has been able to resume some household chores that I took over since the diagnosis.

The climate here is typical northwest; but our area of the Olympic Peninsula is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, which result in less rain here than in Seattle. We have been here for about three weeks, getting here during ‘summer’, so have had mostly sunny weather. The natives have complained about the heat, with temps reaching into the 80′s (F). Today is cloudy, and a few showers, but the rain doesn’t last all day long. The area is nice, the view is great, and the neighborhood is quite quiet. This is a retirement area, and I think that we might be among the youngest in the neighborhood.

So, changes happen. And you adjust.

Remembering D-Day and My Family’s Service

A reminder from my brother Skip Hellewell:

70 years ago tonight, our Uncle Don Bosworth, along with a lot of other  brave guys, flew over the English Channel with the 82nd Airborne and  parachuted into occupied France the night before D-Day. Years later Don remembered the clouds clearing as they passed over the channel  revealing an immense armada headed for a landing the next morning. The  U.S. Navy Armada was a beautiful sight and reassurance they weren’t alone, that help was on the way.

Their mission was to intersect and delay German reinforcements headed for the landing beaches. His sons could tell the story better, but I recall that Don, a Staff Sargent, broke his ankle on landing but was in continuous combat for several weeks earning a medal for courage in defense of a critical road junction. Don continued in action and also fought in the Battle of the Bulge the following winter.

Uncle Gil Beardslee landed following D-Day with the 90th Division and participated in the invasions of France, Belgium, and Germany. He also supported the Battle of the Bulge.

Uncle Jim Scott also fought in France with the Army Air Corp as a flight engineer-top turret gunner on a B-26, completing 41 missions.

Our Uncle Glen Hellewell  [my father  -- Rick] was in the Marine Corp and participated in the Invasion of Okinawa a year later.

Actually, if you look at our family alive at that time, all did what they could, all they were asked to do, in this great war.

Such deeds of courage in defense of our country should live on in Hellewell family lore

So it should be remembered. I put it here for the three people that visit, but the googles will help remember also.

By the Sea

Pam and I are spending the time in our favorite ocean-side place, Oceanside CA. We are here for the month of April to give Pam a break from needing supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day back home in Utah. Pam only needs oxygen at night while sleeping, which is quite the break for her.

I am fortunate that my employer is letting me work remotely this month. I’ve got a two-monitor set up on the kitchen table (laptop and a 19″ LCD). A good interwebs connection and VPN access to the office workstation is working well. We were able to do this last October. It has been good for  Pam to not have to wear the oxygen tube all the time.

And the view from my office here is much nicer than my normal workplace in the basement of the County office building. Here’s the view this month (click the picture to embiggen): 20140402_081907

Even with that view, I have been productive at ‘the office’ since we got here. And the commute is much shorter.

We’re in a condo that we have been in before. A nice one-bedroom, a small deck overlooking the ocean, and a short walk to the beach. We went to Ruby’s (a restaurant at the end of the Oceanside Pier) and had some fish and chips that were quite good.

So, a change in workplace this month. And a break for Pam. All around, a good deal.

No Form Spammers Here

I’ve developed an anti-form spam technique, which I’ve discussed before here and on my Security Dawg site. It works with PHP-based sites (so can work with just about any blogging platform with a bit of customization), and also works with WordPress sites. It’s quite easy to implement, and very effecting in stopping form and comment spammers.

I hadn’t gotten around to installing it here, but today brought a form spammer who was using the Contact form to send me spam. It wasn’t really bothersome, since the spam just goes to my spam folder automatically. And it’s not very effective for the form spammer, since one of their objectives is to make their form spam visible.

But since the form spammer found my site (which is difficult, based on my readership count which could be counted on the thumb of both hands), I decided to implement my anti-form spammer technique here.

That didn’t take long. One file to change (to insert the appropriate email values), three files to upload into the theme folder here, and then editing the Contact page to use the anti-form spammer template. That’s all.

And then a “Huzzah!”

I got things done at 8pm tonight. Before then, there were about 10-15 spams per hour. After that, none. Zero. Zip. Nada. Not one form or comment spam message since then.

As I have mentioned before, it is easy to implement. And very effective. Whenever I put the technique on a site, form spam stops. Absolutely stops.

So, for all of you readers (yes, even you in the back), check out the links above. Or go to my site, where you will see what the form spammer sees. Then check out the info page there for details on how to get the code for your site.

And it is all free. No obligation. Open source.

As I say on the FormSpammerTrap site — it just works.

Defeating Form Spam

I create a lot of web sites, many for my own amusement, but sometimes the form spammers find the contact form or comment form and start emailing their spam. Now I have a solution to stopping form spam in it’s tracks.

The details are over on my new FormSpammerTrap web site. That’s where the automated form spammers end up when they try to spam my contact forms. The concept is quite easy to implement, and even works on WordPress sites without needing another plugin.

I also put the details about stopping form spam on my SecurityDawg web site. (That is another example of a web site that amuses me. I liked the domain name.)

If you have problems with form or comment spam, check out the FormSpammerTrap site.  The process works quite well. If one of my sites starts getting form spam, it will stop as soon as I implement my process.  And the whole process is absolutely free, open source.

It just works. And I am quite proud of myself for figuring it out. (I am, apparently, also easily impressed.)

Changes Changed

Since the last post, there have been more changes, including changes to the change. The Net Change is that we decided not to move, for several reasons.

Housing in CA is expensive, and with potential limits on income, there might have been difficulties in house affordability. Pam also decided that she didn’t want to be that far away from the kids and grandkids, and that she would deal with the 24/7 supplemental oxygen and stay here. And although I have good employable skills, being older would effectively limit my employment prospects. Even though age discrimination is not allowed, it is there in practice. So the move to CA was cancelled.

We did decide that we would take one-month trips to CA to give Pam a break with things. My employers are willing to let me telecommute from there (apparently, my claim about good employable skills are valid) during the trip. I will use up some vacation and comp time. But my job functions just require electronic access to the various systems I maintain; physical access is not required. My supervisor is supportive of this decision, as are his bosses.

So, next week off to Oceanside for a month. The alarm system in the house is working well, we’ve got some responsible neighborhood teenage boys to mow the lawn (if it doesn’t start snowing here) and watch out for errant newspapers and door flyers.

We’ll take a few days to visit Disneyland (we’ve invited our youngest daughter and her little family to be with us there), and probably a few other touristy attractions in between work. Pam is bringing some of her scrapbook stuff. Should be a good trip, and the break from 24/7 oxygen for Pam will be helpful to her health.