November Cold

This morning, overnight low was 32F. A bit of moisture in the air is causing some very light snow flurries. Not enough to stick around here, at least by the time I got up. High today so far is only 38F as the storm moves south; areas south of here (Olympia area) are expected to get a bit of snow, along with the mountain ranges. Slight possibility of snow (probably only flurries around here) with the next storm Sat/Sun.

Took some empty moving boxes from my new neighbor (moving in) to a ward friend (moving out) this morning. A trip to get a haircut, but he was busy. A one-chair shop, and three in line before his lunchtime. I’ll wait until next week.

Some work on a couple of WordPress plugins today, I think. And maybe that web site for the local Bay Club, although I can’t do too much until they finalize the site map.

Just staying inside with my great view of the Puget Sound, and the weather outside.

November Rain

Today started out partly cloudy and cool; overnight low was 42F. Some sprinkles turned up late morning, a bit heavier in the mid-afternoon, and now just mostly cloudy. Temp got up to 53F, but back down to low 40’s this evening. Colder storm, may have put some snow on the lower elevations of the Olympics, but none here at home.

Main project today was a meeting and modifications to a web site for some locals. Most of the changes are content related, although some CSS customization to remove some unwanted elements in the WordPress theme I picked. Most of the site structure (site map) is almost finalized; no major content yet. Once the site structure is finalized, I’ll be able to add some content. The site is being driven by a committee with monthly meetings, so I don’t expect the site to go live until at least January.

November Starts

This morning started out partly cloudy, but then transitioned to some light showers. Cool at the lower 50’s F; cooler weather this week, with some more showery stuff.

I worked on the Blink book yesterday. Did another editing pass through it, and added chapter headings. Still not finished; I’m working out how to finish it. But there are 100K words to it now. It might take another 20K words to finish. That makes for a long book.

Today, I worked on the book’s web site. I made an ‘excerpt’ page, and added a Facebook and Twitter button to the pages. The excerpt page required a slightly different version of the cover image.

Then I created a Facebook page for the book. I created some cover image variations for the FB page.

The book is still in ‘quiet’ mode. I need to get closer to finishing it up before I start promoting it.

I am using the ‘Atlantis’ word processing program. It works a lot like Word, but is free, and is also able to create a fully functional ebook. That’s an advantage. Prior ebooks I have created have started out in Word, then exported into an HTML file, cleaned up the weird Word HTML, add some CSS, then use Calibre to do all the ebook stuff. I’m hoping that the Atlantis program makes that process a bit easier.

Going to see if I can keep this blog more up to date. We shall see.

The Longest Day

Today is the longest day – but not that hot around here. Temps today only up to about 68F under partly cloudy skies. Looking out my window to the east, I see a Puget Sound Convergence Zone of some clouds, with some blue skies to the north.

This has happened since the last post:

  • Got back from the long trip: drive to SLC, fly to Houston (via Seattle, go figure), drive to SLC in a car destined for the Jensens, drive home.
  • Our local ward got combined with the Port Townsend ward (our ward was getting too small, so this is a good thing). Got fired as the Ward Clerk, but hired on as Executive Secretary. Lots of cleanup required with the ward dissolve (like organizing all of the keys).
  • Took a drive down to Stacy’s house to visit their cute family and spoil grandkids. Stayed about a week, left town just as the heat wave (100F+) started.
  • On the trip home, a semi rollover in Oregon about 9 miles north of the CA border. Blocked all lanes; traffic was at a standstill. Luckily for us, we got stuck just before the old highway 99 exit, so snuck around the accident and took that very windy road. Otherwise, an uneventful trip home.
  • Got a lawsuit settlement check for a class action against a prior health care organization. Modest amount, but helpful.
  • Decided to use part of the check to purchase the generator bypass switch for our generator. Will require a bit of electrical work in the panel, but fairly easy (been inside a panel before, with no shocking results).

The Reading program is on hold until the copyright owner gets around to signing an exclusive sales agreement for the software. Hopefully, that will happen soon.

The Jensen’s will be visiting next month. The kids have all visited the last two summers, but this will be a first for Jared and Christine. Some work involved in getting ready for their clan (1 girl, 4 boys).. So, my project list has increased a bit:

  • Have to assemble a metal bunk bed frame. It has to go upstairs, and the shipping box is 125 pounds. Will have to take the pieces upstairs in smaller loads.
  • Then have to get new mattresses for the bed. One twin, one double. And figure out how to get them upstairs. Hoping to buy it from a mattress store that will deliver.
  • Installation of the generator bypass switch before the fall storms. I’ve changed all ‘can lights’ to LED bulbs, and need to identify the (up to) 6 circuits to hook up to the bypass switch. That will include the chest freezer in the garage (so all garage circuits), the refrigerator, TV room (for the LED TV and DirecTV so I can watch TV during power outages), and the master bedroom (mainly for the CPAP machine). That will be enough for the short power outages we get here.

And the McEwan’s will be visiting in August. That will also be fun.

Working on an update to a little program I wrote to block comment spam. Got the Google ReCAPTCHA working in it now, so it’s pretty effective, I think.

All of that should be enough to keep me from being bored.

Monday – 10 April 2017 continue the trip report … (I got a lot of catching up to do..)

We had a great visit at Pam’s sister’s house. Pam was able to visit with her mother several times, who was quite surprised to see her. Her mother is dealing with Alzheimer issues, but is in a nice care home that she enjoys with her little dog.

We went to a local BBQ place, took a drive through the area, and generally relaxed and had a good time. We stayed for about a week, getting Pam’s mother’s old Camry ready for a drive to Utah. It is still in good shape, minus a few dings, but mechnically sound. I got an oil change at the local Jiffy Lube, got the tire air rotated at America’s Tires.

On the day of departure, there was a good series of storms just to the northwest, in the path of our travel. We went through a good and heavy thunderstorm (that later caused some tornado warnings), but the storm was heading east and we were heading west. So we eventually got into good clear weather, and wandered northwesterly.

Because it was on the way, and Pam is a big fan of “Fixer Upper”, we stopped in Waco TX and went to the “Magnolia Compound”. Big tourist attraction, due to the success of that show. Local churches around the compound were taking advantage of the tourists, charging $10 for parking. But we used the free parking provided by the compound.

We wandered through the the area (me pushing Pam in the wheelchair), and the store (lots of overpriced furnishing knick-knacky stuff, IMHO). Didn’t get to the bakery – there was a big long line. Nice place for a visit – a big open play area for the kids, and a dozen food trucks. We only spent about an hour there, then back on the road.

Stayed overnight in Santa Rosa NM (right on the famous Route 66), and left the next morning for Utah. The roads were generally good, the weather was sunny with a bit of clouds, and I managed to miss the turkey buzzard that flew right in front of me. Mostly two and four-lane roads, but little traffic. Nice-looking farm country to high desert.

Travelled past Shiprock NM, around Albequerque, then into Utah, where the country changed into the pretty red-rock country. I really like that area of the country; too bad it is hot in the summer and too high an altitude for Pam.

Stopped at one of my favorite places – Hole In the Rock, just north of Moab. Saw that place one time before; my favorite is the full-size Jeep made out of rusty tools and license plates. Here’s a picture.


There’s a house built into the cliff. This is an old stage stop from the 1850’s. Quirky little place, but fun for the family.

The only Texas Longhorn we saw on the trip .. and it was in Utah!

Full Size Jeep made out of rusty metal and License Plates

Full Size Jeep made out of rusty metal and License Plates

It’s a funky place, but it amuses me.

Then back on the road, through the pretty red-rock and canyonlands of Southeastern Utah, up highway 89 into SLC and eventually to the hotel in Layton. (We didn’t take the scary Highway 12 route of the Hogback, but that’s a great road to travel on if you are in the area. It’s the back way out of Bryce Canyon into Escalante and Beaver. Great scenery.)

We spent a day in Utah, visiting with daughter Christine and her family, and dropping off the Camry for their use, getting back into our comfortable Highlander.

We were able to take Liam (grandson) with us back to Washington. He’s heavily into sports (as is the rest of his family), but it was Spring Break, and he had the week off, sports-wise and school-wise. He wasn’t able to visit last summer (his three brothers and sister did), so he was really looking forward to the trip.

An uneventful trip from Utah to home, taking the usual route through Idaho, eastern Oregon, and down the Columbia River, turning right at Portland/Vancouver to head home. Got home about 9pm, and that was the big trip. A great adventure.

Friday–7 April 2017

Catching up…

Pam and I took a long trip starting on March 15th. We first drove to Utah to see the Utah gang. The trip there was uneventful; just a long drive. My glasses (used for reading and computer) broke the day before, so stopped by the local dollar store in Utah to grab some cheap readers.

We stopped in Baker City OR – about halfway there, as we got a late start. Stayed at the usual place, then got on the road the next day around 7:00am. The trip continued to be uneventful until we met the Utah gang at the Cracker Barrel – one of their favorites, and had dinner.

After dinner, we went down to Midvale UT to stay at my sister’s house. Free hotel, and all that. She wasn’t there; she had planned a trip with two daughters to see Nina (mother). Nina is 96, still going strong, and enjoyed their visit.

Saturday was a nice day, sunny and a little bit of a breeze. So we met both daughters and their families (Utah contingent, plus the CA group who where there for a week; thus the trip to see the whole gang) at Liberty Park in SLC. Nice big park, and a nice place for a picnic lunch.

Sunday was the baby blessing (newest granddaughter / CA gang), then a nice afternoon lunch at Stacy’s mother-in-law’s house.

Complications started at Linda’s house Sunday night. We came back from dinner, and went downstairs to get to the basement bedroom. Pam misjudged the last step, and fell on her knee. She thought she was OK, but an hour later couldn’t put pressure on her knee.

So, off to the local Urgent Care place, where they found a small fracture on the plateau of her leg bone, just under the knee. They gave her a knee brace and crutches, and an appointment with a local orthopedist the next day. So, crutches in hand (and under arm) she hobbled back to the car and Linda’s house.

Monday was spent seeing the orthopedist, who said that a cast was not needed, but to stay off her feet and continue to use the knee brace thing. That required a trip to the local medical supply place, where we rented a wheelchair for the month. (We have a wheelchair at home, plus two powered wheelchairs. But we didn’t bring any of them – plus the working one is in the shop. And the other power chair needs new batteries..)

We decided that it would be easier for Pam not to have to negotiate stairs, so checked into a hotel in Layton Monday night. Tuesday, we had a nice dinner with all (local Kneader’s, one of Pam’s favorite places in Utah).

Wednesday was travel day, this time via air to Katy TX, to visit Pam’s sister and mother. The usual travel hassles (but not too bad, since you get an escort and priority TSA screening because of the wheelchair).

Alaska Air (where we had some ‘miles’) routed us from SLC to Seattle then Texas. Deplaning in Seattle was difficult; they are doing some remodel work on the terminals there, and the arriving and departing plan required the old-fashioned stairways to the tarmac then more stairs to the gates. Not a good thing with a wheelchair and crutches. So we had to wait for a portable elevator from the plane to the tarmac, a journey into the depths of the terminal (we saw all of the conveyor belts for luggage), then a repeat trip to the departing plane – which also required stairs; although we had a ramp, and a ‘pusher’ to push the chair up to the plane entrance.

We were unable to get seats together, so Pam was in the back of the plane (aisle seat) and I was in row 14. She had a window-seat person that had a low-capacity bladder, which caused problems since Pam had to get up (with a broken leg) each time that person had to head for the head.

But, we survived, got the luggage, and met up with Pam’s sister, who took us to their very nice house in Katy TX.


Wednesday–15 March 2017

Let’s see:

  • Friday the 13th fell on Monday this month
  • Yesterday was “Pi Day”, so I had a piece of pie
  • Today is “Beware the Ides of March” day

That should take care of that.

Still working on the Reading program. Fixed another problem that had been bugging me, and got the registration and login process mostly done. The registration process required a rewrite of the encryption code I was using; some functions were deprecated in the PHP 7 version I m using. But got that working.

Yesterday, I got a new sleep apnea machine, after going through a sleep study last week. Surprise, still have sleep apnea. The new machine ‘phones home’ so that they can keep track of my use of it. The new one is a lot quieter than the one I’ve had for about 6 years.

Then I had to work with the hosting place to upgrade my hosting plan. The MissionaryLetters site is a WordPress multi-site install, and every new missionary site creates another 10 tables in the database.

The basic low-cost hosting plan doesn’t allow lots of database tables, so I had to get a more expensive plan. The hosting place takes care of moving the content and databases to the new server. But for some reason, the database users were not moved. That required a one-hour ‘chat’ with the support people while that got fixed. Most of the WP sites I run were down because of that, but the sites are not that high-volume, so managed to survive that without customer complaints.

Today I am tweaking the code in the Reading program that keeps track of lessons done by the user. Along with getting ready for the road trip that starts tomorrow. It will be fun to see all the grandkids (and Christine and Stacy, etc) again. Last visit was Christmas. Looks like there will be good travel weather for the ‘here-to-Utah’ section.