Saturday, October 29, 2022

Fall, Selling Assets and Malfeasance

We walked today, up the big hill.  It was 49F when we left at high noon.  There was bright sunshine, very little wind blowing.  It actually would have been biking weather, but neither one of us wants to drag the mountain bikes up the stairs out of the basement, which is where they have been all summer.

I wore: Light green jacket, capilene shirt with stand up collar, black fleeced tights, ear bra, hiking hat, Marmot gloves.  I ended up being too warm, and took off the ear bra and the gloves.

Jim wore:  Undershirt, capilene shirt with stand up collar, brown shelled rain jacket, black fleeced tights, Carhart glove liners, blue Turtle fur hat.  Jim ended up too warm and took off the hat and the gloves. 

Here is Jim at the big rock.  That's a great hat, it used to be mine, but it's too small for me. 

We recently bought a new fire proof box.  We failed to adequately appreciate the interior volume, mostly focusing on if if would fit where the current card board box has been living.  It wouldn't fit, and it weighs a ton.  So, it will live on the floor.  Some items had to come out of the box, due to lack of space.  Here are two of them.  These are gold sovereigns that Jim's parents bought in London in 1977.  They had them for years, then we had them for years.  What does one do with stuff like this?  We decided to sell.  The first photo is a young Queen Victoria.

This is old Queen Victoria.

They are actually gold.  Gold is currently $1644 an ounce.  So, that was worth the drive to the coin place.  GPS sent us on the most stupid route imaginable.  We took it just to see what we would see.  First off was a giant, partially abandoned factory area.  There's no signage, I don't know who was there before.

Then there was a narrow road for awhile.

Then we drove through the Bigelow Gulch.  It has become a major arterial carrying a lot of truck traffic between North Spokane and Spokane Valley.  Apparently the plans to widen it have not been popular with the locals.

We finally reached the Coin Corner and showed them what we had.  They bought the two gold coins, four .25 carat diamonds that Jim's parents bought years ago, and that we had been carrying around for years, and a very unattractive ring that my Dad bought in Hong Kong decades ago.  The guy running the store was an amazing font of knowledge and he had a 9mm Glock on his right hip.  That always weirds me out some. Given that he's in a store full of coins, cash and other guns, I can understand his desire for personal protection.  Jim and I were both masked, which did not set off any alarm bells for him, which was interesting.

From twitter, pre-Musk, here is a picture of a Space-X launch.

The turkeys have been in the neighborhood.  They're also on the walking trails, there is a lot of turkey poop up there.

Yesterday the husband of the Speaker of the House, who is second in the line of succession to the presidency, was attacked by a hammer wielding Q-Anon, right wing wacko, MAGAT, conspiracy theorist.  Mr. Pelosi was able to successfully struggle with the intruder until the police arrived.  The intruder was yelling "Where's Nancy."  Mr. Pelosi's skull was fractured, requiring surgery, but it is expected that he will recover.  This was an assassination attempt.  What has been the republican response?  Two of them, Senator Romney and I can't remember the other one's name, expressed shock and dismay.  The rest of the party is either silent or giggling about it.  The right wing media is calling for investigations into Mr. Pelosi and calling it staged.  No one in the right wing media has expressed any concern or thoughts and prayers for him.  These people are animals, they have forfeited their right to live among civilized people.

I have voted, my vote has been accepted.  So, I've done what I can.  If you haven't, please take the time to vote.  If these people take over the government, it's going to be bad.  

Here are some random quotes from Democrats.

For every extra $1 you’re paying due to inflation, 54¢ is going right into the pockets of big corporations. Wall Street is price gouging families to earn sky-high profits, jeopardizing our entire economy in the process.  Representative Katie Porter

Just for emphasis, look at what the oil giant Shell posted yesterday: double the profits this quarter over last year at this time. Folks, it ain’t the permit shortages, supply chains, or labor shortages, it’s sheer greed.  Christine Riter

Exxon released its earnings today. You know how much they made in the third quarter? $18.7 billion in 90 days. That’s nearly triple what Exxon made last year, and the most it’s made in its 152-year history, while the rest of America is struggling. President Biden

The republicans have voted against every piece of legislation that would have helped some of these problems.  Even with a divided Senate, Biden has passed a lot of good stuff, but there is more to do, and I hope he runs again and continues the streak.

Finally, here is how Ukranian soldiers do personal hygiene.  Make sure you look under the tub.

That's it - that's all I've got!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Cold Walking

It may be that any sort of bicycling may be over for the year.  It hasn't reached 52F (our low temperature cut off) since the high pressure ridge collapsed on Thursday.  The previous day it made it to 70F, the next day was 25 degrees cooler with rain.  Today is a beautiful sunny day, but it's cold.  I know, cold for me is not cold for many of you because I am a wimp. 

Yesterday we walked up the big hill. 
12:05 departure, 48F.  We were both wearing Columbia pants, 3/4 zip stand up collar capilene shirts, and fishing shirts on top.  Glove liners were worn as were ear bras under the hats.  It was chilly, I think our kit was a little light.  Here is part of the trail.  Note the abundance of pine needles.  There is also a lot of critter poop, one must watch where one steps.

So we're back on the spin bikes in the basement.  When we left the basement in the spring to ride outside we did not suffer too much.  The spin bike work outs had left us with a pretty good fitness base for the outside riding.  Much to my surprise, the reverse is not true.  I'm doing a 20 minute class to ease back into it, and it is just kicking my butt.  My theory is that on the spin bike you never get to rest.  Your feet are being driven by the fly wheel, so there is always work - no coasting.  I am happy to report that the silicone quieted the flywheel down completely.  I played the noise for you in this post.  There is zero noise.  So there you go.

The succulent continues its weird growth pattern.  One wonders how tall it will get.  That's a four inch pot it's in.

Things are still depressing out in the world, and I am once again leaving them out there.  I have a spin class to take.

How to Fold a Deep Pocketed Queen Sized Fitted Sheet

Awhile ago, I achieved fitted sheet folding nirvana.  Then I forgot how I did it.  Today I took pictures of unfolding the sheet that I recently relearned how to fold.  I realize this is a totally ridiculous post, but if I don't write it down, I don't remember.

Fold the sheet in half horizontally.  Don't fold it long ways, fold it 90 degrees to long ways, what ever that word is. Jim's hand is on the right, showing us the arrow that points toward the bottom of the sheet because these sheets have no pattern.

Fold the outside edges together.  This picture looks like a blancmange because the camera couldn't focus on anything due to lack of contrast and the terrible lighting.  The corners of the sheet are now on the left.

Fold the top third of the sheet down.

Fold the bottom third up.

Fold one third of the above configuration towards the middle.

Now we are done, with a fitted sheet that is not a humiliating mess in the closet.

This is best done on a large flat surface, like the bed.  I think Martha Stewart would approve.

For those of you who made it this far, here is an ancient quilt someone on Jim's side of the family made.  It's hand pieced and hand quilted.  Some of the fabric is thread bare, and some of the quilting is coming out.  However, it's a quilt, it was made to be used, so here it is.

This concludes today's aide de memoir.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The End of Autumn

Yesterday there was, wait for it, a ride to the lake.  Actually, it was the last road riding of the year.  I'm feeling somewhat desolate.  The new bikes were one of the best things we've bought.  We can't ride the road bikes anymore because the dropped handle bars kill our hands and shoulders.  The mountain bikes have a comfortable riding position, but between their significant weight and the very knobby tires, it took forever to get anywhere.  The hybrid bikes are not light weights by any stretch of the imagination, but they're faster than the mountain bikes, very stable and they corner surprisingly well.  They're also comfortable.  So that was a bunch of words to say that biking was fun again, and now I miss it.

Some work has been done at the recreation area. They put a row of these red flags in the ground.

The geese are still hanging out.  They continue to have animosity at each other.  There's a fair amount of charging and making that weird goose sound that they do.  Attempts to get a video so you could see and hear all failed.

There has been a little fall color.  It was better last year.  Last year was hotter than this past summer, so I'm not sure what the deal is with the foliage.  The birds are cormorants sitting in the sun.

Yesterday was a 12:45 pm start with 62F.  There was some smoke obscuring the sun.  We wore tee shirts under the jersey, black light weight arm warmers, and vests.  All clothing stayed on for the entire ride.  It was surprisingly chilly with the cold air mass we had.

There was excitement in the neighborhood yesterday, the neighbors took out two giant trees.  They were supposed to be dwarf trees, but they were not.  Due to their size, they kept the drive way in the shade the better part of the day, so the ice and snow did not melt.  There were falls due to the ice, so the trees had to go.  The first tree is being taken to the chipper shredder, the second tree is about to be felled.

Starting tomorrow, it's raining everyday until November 3.  There is a large storm bearing down on us from the Gulf of Alaska.  The ridge of high pressure is breaking down, so it will become cold, windy and wet.  Sigh......

I made stoup today. Instead of the usual cumin, curry, and pumpkin pie spice mixture, I used these.  There was also a can of drained diced tomatoes, and house made stock made from mushroom stems, celery leaves, and some beet leaves.  I kept the liquid to 14 ounces, but it's still too much.  The stoup is good.  It's different enough that it doesn't taste like something we've eaten a million times before.

If I don't write it down, I don't remember.

There is a lot of depressing stuff in the world right now, but I think I will just leave it there.


Saturday, October 15, 2022

Clothing, Carpentry and Plants

Well, long time, no write.  I'm forgetting things that I'm supposed to be recording here.  First off are the ride temperatures and what we wore.  

October 9:  11:50 am start, 61F.  We wore the bandanas under our jersey, and the light weight black arm warmers. Starting out was chilly on the down hill section in the shade.  The bandanas stayed on the entire ride, arm warmers came off at the lake.

October 13:  12:47 pm start, 64F.  It felt colder, so we had on undershirts, the vests, and the light weight black arm warmers.  The vests were really good on the downhill in the shade.  Vests and arm warmers came off at the lake.

October 15:  12:40 pm start, 69F.  Undershirts and the light weight black arm warmers.  We had on way too many clothes.  The undershirts and arm warmers came off at the lake.

Wednesday, October 12 - flu shots for all.  I did not feel nearly so bad as I did after the Covid booster.  Science is predicting a terrible flu season; you know what to do. 

Other than riding and flu shots, there has been a bit of carpentry.  The people who put up the sheet rock in the garage did not frame out the windows.  They looked pretty awful, it's been bothering Jim since we got here.

We used PVC boards and deck screws.  The manufactured wood like MDF will swell in a damp climate, like winter here, so we went with PVC.  It's easy to work with and since it's white, did not require painting.

It's amazing to me how much better they look.  No one would ever mistake us for finish carpenters, but they do look better.

We bought white vinyl blinds and will be putting them up tomorrow. 

Halloween is popular here.  Many people have those inflatable decorations set up in the front yard.  These people are winning, so far.  See the vulture in the back, with the pink head?  It moves side to side.  I don't really understand the popularity of Halloween, it feels like a Hallmark holiday to me.

There have been sunsets.

The milfoil is really turning green.  Interestingly enough, none of the water fowl will eat it.  They prefer the grass.  Note that the work still has yet to start.

Scenic beauty in the PNW.

This article appeared in my news feed on my phone.  It's about Japanese Knotweed, it's a lot of words, but it's an interesting story about how the plant originated on the slopes of a Japanese volcano, was collected by an English man, and is now running amok in the UK.  Apparently its presence in the garden will decrease the value of your home by 5 to 15 percent.  This was the most impressive factoid.

Removing the weed completely is extremely difficult, and essentially involves extracting the land itself – digging at least 5m (16.4ft) deep and disposing of the whole lot almost as if it were radioactive. If anything is left behind, it can return again and again – regenerating from the tiniest of fragments, and ambushing gardeners up to 20 years after it has seemingly vanished. One study found that Japanese knotweed could regrow from a root fragment that's just 0.3g (0.01oz) – around the weight of a pinch of salt.

This puts kudzu to shame.  At the end of the article, they briefly touch on the horrors of Giant Hogweed.  It's an interesting read about how planting things where they don't belong can be very bad.

The organization Mothers Against Abbott has a killer commercial out.  Abbott would be the governor of Texas, one of the many states who have banned abortion.  It's really worth watching.  CLICK HERE to play the video.  Make sure you stay until the end.

So, I will leave you with this photo of a hummingbird eating a bug on the wing.

That's it, that's all I've got.

Update to post:  Jim Rae mowed 10/13 and that was the last time for the year.  They quit after the second week in October.  Please make a note of this.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Rocks and Birds

Greetings People of Earth.  It was another glorious day.  One hopes this weather pattern will continue, since we do not get our sprinkler system blown out until next Friday.  I'm actually not that concerned with the possibility of freezing temperatures between now and then.  We moved it out from the original date because it's still warm enough and dry enough that there needs to be some watering done.

We walked up the big hill today, and then bush whacked down the steep side of the hill to see how many trees have been marked for the fire reduction plan.  It did not seem like all that many.  

Here is the big rock at the top of the hill.

Here is debris that will burn nicely in the event of a fire.

This house is built on a very big rock.  It's amazing how large the rock protrusions are in this neighborhood.

We had quail visiting today.  I took these through the sliding glass door, and through the fence on the deck, so I'm surprised the camera focused on anything.  This is the male, who is sitting on the big rock in the back yard.  His job is to scan for danger, alert the troops, and herd them all to safety.  He is very attentive.

This is his mate, and I think two of their off spring.  They're teenagers now.  Look behind her and you can see the two young birds behind her.  She spent some time digging out a little wallow so she'd be comfortable while resting.

This is my spin bike, those are my feet.  This is the most annoying noise I have ever heard.  It actually gets worse the longer the spin class goes on.  We called Nautilus, who owns Schwin, today and they told us to put treadmill silicone on the flywheel.  I've ordered the silicone, here's hoping it works, otherwise it will be a long indoor riding season.  The video is only 9 seconds.

Are these not beautiful birds?  The photo is off twitter and I can't remember what they're called.

Someone else made this.

So other than my festering anxiety about the mid-terms, I have nothing else to tell you today.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Autumn and Bombing Bridges

Happy Saturday Earthlings!  Although, if you are like me, all days are the same.  Some days are not the day I thought it was.  Sometimes, I'm off by a week, but have the day right.  It's all good, the cell phone is always useful for orienting a person in their space time continuum.

It's a glorious fall season here.  This time last year, days were in the mid-50s and riding was cold.  We're still in the 70's and the 30 day forecast shows this trend persisting.  I'll take it, it's really wonderful.  Here are different pictures of the ride to the lake. This is from Deep Creek.  The water was still, and it was a beautiful day.

The always dangerous Canadian Geese.  We don't walk on the grass anymore, there are too many geese bombs.

Look at the left side of the milfoil.  It's turning greenish, I think the blooming season is coming to an end.  I was looking at photos of this part of the water last year, and it didn't bloom, that's kind of odd.  The vegetation was there, just no yellow.

Is this not one of the cutest vehicles you've ever seen?  It's a Honda Street.  They've quit making them due to more stringent safety rules in Japan, but there are a few in the US.  The guy who owns it just loves it, the motor is about the size of a motorcycle engine, and it gets about 40 mpg. The rear seat folds down flat, and it will hold two dogs comfortably.

Remember in 2014 when Putin invaded Crimea and annexed it to Russia, and then built a bridge so people could get back and forth easily, since they were now all Russians?  Well that bridge is toast.  The upper part is a rail bridge.  The lower part is for vehicle traffic.  This puts a large dent in Russia's supply lines to Ukraine.  If the general public has learned nothing else from this war, it's the importance of supply lines and logistics.

Unfortunately, part of the vehicle bridge survives, for now.

Here is the bridge now. That's a train burning on the rail line, as well as the concrete.

If you would like to view video from just before the bridge blew up, CLICK HERE.  It's pretty impressive.

Other than this, I have nothing important to report.