6 March 2016

Not much to report – it’s not Spring yet, though it’ll be trending that way in the week to come, with temps in the mid-70’s.  We had a couple of inches of snow on Friday, though. Soon it’ll be time for the garden. So the days are getting longer, and the Sun is working its way north again, which means more sunning spots for Lexi, like this one in the front foyer:

Lexi sunning in the foyer

Lexi sunning in the foyer

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DoD announced no new casualties in the most recent week, for which I am grateful. Ciao!

11 Feb 2016

Lexi under a shawl

Lexi under a shawl

Yeah, Lexi is a spoiled dog and she knows it, but all on her own, she’ll go find something a bit like a blanket, on whatever piece of furniture is convenient. She’ll burrow in, then turn a couple of times and end up with her face poking out so that she can see what’s going on. Just in case we’re doing anything interesting, don’t you know? This time, it was Marcia’s red shawl, draped (for a while) on the back of the sofa. Lexi hauled that down, and draped herself. Cute as beans.

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It was roasting day today.

Roasting a Columbian coffee

Roasting a Columbian coffee

I generally roast about once a week, a pound at a time. This morning I put the last half pound of beans into the burr grinder hopper, so tonight is a good time to roast. That gives the freshly roasted beans a few days to rest before they’re up to bat, which is a good thing. Roasted beans should always rest first.

It was 6 years ago this week that I got my Behmor 1600 Roaster from Sweet Maria’s. I’ve upgraded the panel to the 1600 Plus version, last year, for $50. Including original shipping, I’m all in on this roaster for $375, and at 52 roasts a year, yielding 7 pots of coffee each … why that’s a cost of under 20 cents a pot against the roaster. Given my travel mug and Marcia’s soup tureens (yeah, she uses very large coffee beakers), it’s under a nickel a pop amortized. Good value for money, and still going strong! Behmor coffee roasters: Highly Recommended!

I will say, I take good care of it, including cleaning it well, on schedule. I’ve also taken the whole thing apart a couple of times to clear all the chaff and cruft out of the gears and the electronics and whatnot. Handy to have a shop, and an air compressor with a good nozzle on the end of the hose.

Central Time

Me, I’d set every clock to UTC, and just work with it. Marcia would, however, balk at the idea. Yep. DST is over for the “year” but they A) paid back the hour without interest, as usual, and B) are going to steal it back again in just a few months. Sigh.

Fun: We went over to see the Annapolis Shakespeare Company production of As You Like It on Friday evening. It was a blast. I’ve seen two or three productions of As You Like It over the decades, but they’ve generally been fairly traditional stagings. Not that I’m knocking that. Compared to some interpretations, traditional is most excellent. However, Director (and ASC founder) Sally Boyett put together a lively production set in 1930’s Appalachia, with period specific (and play appropriate) musical interludes between many of the scenes. It made for a rollicking good show, while not sacrificing any (well, not much) of the Bard’s original language. We both enjoyed the show immensely, and plan to be regulars at future ASC performances. Highly Recommended!

Hallowe’en has come and gone. We kept the lights off, which keeps the dog much, much calmer and happier. Pleasantly, we found while walking the dog today that not much in the way of candy or discarded wrappers were strewn about. A departure from prior years, but one that is welcome.

Speaking of Lexi, here she is in a recent photo, paying attention to the world and not to me:

Lexi on "Relaxed Guard" duty

Lexi on “Relaxed Guard” duty

Now if we can only keep the kids on dirt bikes from abusing our trails and roads (and keep those kids from getting themselves killed by inattentive drivers). I got a picture of some of them yesterday, and posted it to our neighborhood website, in hopes that the parents in question would observe and take action. We’ll see what happens. Next for me, a rocker for the front porch, so that I can shout at people walking near our lawn.

And yeah, I’m still waiting for my car. If I’m lucky, it’ll be before the end of this week.

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DoD posted no new casualty announcements over the last week. Ciao!

Lexi at work

My work and week was relatively uneventful: just computers, patching, rebooting, yardwork, and shopping, so I’ll share Lexi’s work week with you instead.

Lexi helping me exercise

Lexi helping me exercise

Before I get onto the elliptical, I’ll generally do a repeating series of stretches, alternating with exercises like squats, sit ups, and push ups. Above, you can see how helpful and encouraging Lexi is during this phase of my workout. Her prone position, her near-perfect lack of motion is extraordinarily motivational. Frankly, I couldn’t do it all without her.

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Lexi on guard

Lexi on guard

When she’s not “helping” me exercise, or outright sleeping, Lexi likes to guard the house. Anything that she sees may be a threat, and she can warn us appropriately. Coming into Fall, she becomes a more effective guard beast. As the leaves drop from the trees, her detection range increases, and her blind spots drop to nearly nil. Soon, she’ll be able to warn us of automobiles driving on a nearby street, over a quarter of a mile away, on the other side of the community pool. She might also be able to spot a cat or dog or that most dangerously evil of animals – the hideous squirrel – as far off as the community playground, just this side of the afore-mentioned pool. We also sometimes refer to this as “Lexi TV.”

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Kyle E. Gilbert, 24, of Buford, Georgia, who died on Sept. 21, in Bagram, Afghanistan, in a non-combat related incident.

A Princess and her Pea

Lexi, protected from peas

Lexi, protected from peas

There’s better be a pea under there…

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Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Last night, when all was quiet, I finally got a around to putting together the Metal Earth Dragonfly model that I picked up from Amazon weeks ago on a whim, inspired by Jenny’s 1000 Ferris Wheels post. It’s good to have a focused distraction from time to time. The work took me away from myself for a double handful of minutes, and reminded me that I can focus when I make the effort. There’s been so much going on that I’m spending more time putting out fires than planning and tending what is needed, long term. But all will come right again.

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Yesterday: more plumbing – I replaced the last of the original faucets in the house. The master bathroom was the sole holdout with a builder-grade piece of crap. But now I’ve got a shiny new two-handle Kohler in its place, and I replaced the drain as well, since that was past due, too. Today: shopping, harvesting tomatoes, making salsa, and attending a birthday barbequeue for a friend was the fullness of the day.

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DoD announced no new casualties in the last week. Ciao!

Cold Holiday

It was colder than 6° F when I got up shortly after dawn this morning, with about two inches of snow that was drifted and icy. No real fun driving out for the groceries today, as a result. The temperature had warmed all the way up to 15 by mid-afternoon. According to the NOAA, we’re not supposed to see the fun side of the freezing line until next Sunday or later, and we have some snow coming again in the mid-week. So, an utterly normal President’s Day weekend, then.

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Being cute:

Lexi being cute

Lexi being cute

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I managed two coats of glossy white enamel on my fabricated shoe mould trim yesterday. Today I applied some of that trim to the basement foyer area, and got another coat of mud on the areas of drywall needing repair. Tomorrow, a bit of sanding and some primer, I think…

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Wow! We’ve made two months without an announced casualty (since 12/14/14) from DoD. Cool.

Late Summer

With three weeks to go in Summer (proper), summer in terms of weather and humidity finally arrived this week. A few days up into the low 90’s brought us some unpleasant heat and occasionally lots of rain. Last night we had 1.3″ here alone. I didn’t look at the weather  radar at the time so I don’t know how broad that front was. But we had lightning and rain for the best part of three hours.

Leading up to that, I spent about 5 hours working out in the yard. Some of that was regular stuff like mowing and cleaning out some dying plants in front.  But I also gave a couple of hours to fence-mending…

A few days ago, Lexi was out hunting bunnies in the back yard, then … she wasn’t. Lexi followed a rabbit, not down a hole, but out a hole. Yep, a hole in the fence which Lexi was able to rapidly enlarge enough to chase through and after. Sigh. The good news is, once discovered, we went out calling her name, and she came running up to me from out of the small wood in the common area behind our property. The bad news was that the fence needed mending.

I ended up replacing about 20 boards, and blocking off a few more bits with patching. I’ve still got to mix up a slightly matching stain combo and get those boards coated. But between the fence and other yard work yesterday, I dropped about 6# sweating. So, I rehydrated for much of the afternoon.

Today: Shopping and patching systems at work consumed the bulk of the day.

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Recent Reading: The Big Aha by Rudy Rucker.

Last year, I backed Rudy’s Kickstarter ™ for his new book, The Big Aha. I’d been a fan of Rudy’s since reading Software in the early 1980’s. The Big Aha is a big departure from the style of fiction, and of writing, from that earlier era. The author credits Bill Craddock’s Be Not Content as his primary stylistic influence. Using quantum mechanics instead of Lysergic acid diethylamide as his tool for making an entire world behave like a bunch of loons is … interesting. However, I found it difficult to follow the story. I found it difficult to care about the characters – they remind me of everything that’s bad about soap operas. And, sadly, though I persevered to the very end of the book (and it’s taken me a good long while), I just didn’t like it.

That doesn’t mean that you might not like it. You will want to be happy in a place where there are lots of new, made-up words. You’ll want to like characters that make even less sense (when straight, aka not in “cosmic mode”) than people on this screwed-up planet. If you like soap operas, and fantasy, and science fiction, you might like this story. My clear personal failing is that I don’t like soap operas.

The better news, from my perspective, is that with The Big Aha done, I now have my permission to start reading pTerry’s Raising Steam.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Spc. Brian K. Arsenault, 28, of Northborough, Massachusetts, who died on Sept. 4, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his unit was engaged by enemy small-arms fire.

Labor Day

Labor Day. It means “do chores at home instead of working at the office”, I think. I certainly did. Marcia asked last night if I’d put up my usual Sunday post. I figured that since it was a three day weekend, I’d put up my post on the last day of the weekend. Yes, that’s reasoned procrastination.

So, chores much of the weekend, working in the basement on the floor, etc. We have new neighbors across the street, which is nice (and they’re nice, too). Tonight, I grilled some chickens, and now I’m here. But I’m not going to drone on and on and on about the chores, so on to the penultimate bit …

Lexi often likes relaxing in the sofa back cushion behind my neck when I take a break and watch some television. Here she is again

Lexi behind my back

Lexi behind my back

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. Christopher W. Mulalley, 26, of Eureka, Calif., who died on Aug. 22, in Gardez, Afghanistan, as the result of a non-combat related incident.