I’ve started walking.

Before this chart, it was sporadic. But after a friend mentioned RunKeeper, it became much more regular. I’m really surprised at how very helpful it is to your state of mind when you know how far you’ve been, and how fast you are walking.

I’m told you shouldn’t do it every day, but I really don’t see why not. Of course there are still days when I don’t feel like it. When I go anyway, the average pace peaks.

It’s been unusually cool this summer (so far), but on days when I start late and the sun is out, AP really climbs.

RunKeeper June 2015

Picture Mining

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I came across this photo the other day. I wasn’t sure of the exact date, but I knew it must have been from the early- to mid- nineties. I wanted to narrow down the date; to do this I used clues from the photo.

Where was it taken? Our old apartment, our move-in date was September of 1993.

What am I wearing? A sweater, which really narrows down the dates here in Texas. Call it Nov – Feb.

The shelf: That piece on the counter is from our trip to New Mexico/Arizona. Not much help, as I am not certain when that was, but I can find out more if needed.

The wall: The biggest clue is the calendar, of course. But it sure isn’t legible. But a close up inspection leads me to believe the first is on a Sunday, and it has 31 days.  Some calendars show the previous and next month days, but I don’t believe this to be the case here. You can almost tell when single digits turn to double digits. And with the last day on a Tuesday, and the first day on a Monday, the squares add up to 31.

I found a site where you can make your own calendar, even from 20 years ago. After September 1993, the first time a 31-day month starting on Sunday appears is January of 1995. That might be right, but October of 1995 has the same parameters. Looking further, these months fit:

  • Jan 1995
  • Oct 1995
  • Sep 1996
  • Dec 1996
  • Mar 1998

I have to rule out March of 1998 as we moved out during that month. That couch we had only for a short time, maybe a day or two and it was well before we moved out. September of 1996 would have been too warm for the sweater.

That was as far as I could get with just the photo. Turns out her first visit to the vet was in Dec of 1996, with a birth-date in October of that year.

Conclusion: This was taken in December of 1996.

Dirty Window

Sometimes I can feel the world that I want to build with words. I see glimpses of it now and again, and it excites me. But these glimpses, they are flashes only, without substance. It’s like looking through a dirty storefront window, hands cupped around your eyes, so close you can smell the grime on the window. It’s in there, and it’s awesome, but I just can’t see it…

Bathroom Lights

Added more recessed lights to the house. Went up in the attic to add two cans for the closet and run the wires for those and the light over the tub. The tub had a retro-fit, no way I could squeeze over there for a new construction can like I used in the closet. Installed a new switch box, again retrofit.

Also, got a new washer after fixing the old one, only to have something else go wrong with it. Cut my loses and got a new one. A few days later and it no longer plays its pretty song when I turn it on. Not cool LG.



Solar panel lease from Nrg.

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So excited, just got a call from Reliant, then transferred to someone at Nrg. They are offering a lease for solar panels on our house.  We pay nothing down, but have to pay a monthly lease amount. But the lease, combined with the energy provided by panels, will still be less than our current monthly bills. In theory anyway, I have to talk to someone else who has all the details.  But apparently, they provide all the upkeep and maintenance, repairs, etc.

So I asked what was in it for them – a 30% tax credit from the government! Sounds like win-win. The downside? It’s a friggin’ 20-year lease. I don’t want to commit to anything that long, but damn. The rep told me the solar panels were long lasting, 10% degradation after 20 years. Not sure I completely believe her…

Overcome when they realize…

I love these videos. Imagine, someone singing your music back to you for the first time.

Singer flustered after crowd sings the band’s lyrics during their debut.

That moment when the lead singer of a band realizes they’ve “made it”.

It’s a bit hard to sing when your audience does this…
I think I saw somewhere they when Lara Fabian sings “I love you”, the audience is singing “we love you.” And I love how the piano player just rolls with it.

A Sign

The other day while browsing at a large hobby store, I came across a poster, basically a picture of a sign. Whether it was a real photo or one dreamed up in PhotoShop I didn’t know, and didn’t care. I knew it would be better as a real sign. So I pulled out my phone and snapped a photo. I knew I had similar colors from previous work and decided I would only use things that I already had on hand.

The first step was assessing the board to use for the sign. I had an eight-foot 2×6 along with some 1×1 just begging to be used.

After a few hours work, I had a start to my sign.

The cuts weren’t perfect, but perfect for what I wanted. I sanded with 120 grit paper, then again with 50 grit paper. I brushed on my left-over paint, then repeated the sanding process.

Here’s where I broke the “only-what-I-had-on-hand” rule. I needed stencils. Or rather, I wanted stencils. Hand-lettering was not something on which I was willing to spend time. Found some at Wal-Mart (Lowes? Really? One set of stencils?)

I settled in to add my words of hope to the wood. I got out white paint and stenciled away.

But the color didn’t look right. I found an old can of paint that had hardly been used; a coral-pinkish color. I proceeded fill in the inner portion of the letters with this darker color. So much for no hand-lettering, but at least now I had a guide.

Then I sanded yet again, to give it that weathered look.

Screwed these boards to the 1x1s and bam, there’s a sign!

I debated whether or not to add polyurethane. I tested on one of my pieces on which I experimented with green, decided I didn’t like it, then tried to add the coral on top of that. Nyet. But it works for testing! Poly doesn’t look too bad. (But now my sign has no hope.)

I decided the polyurethane wasn’t bad, so slapped a couple of coats on the front.

Next I’ll sand it with some 220 grit to remove imperfections, then hang it on my daughter’s wall.



What an incredibly productive weekend I had!

Saturday I started out by spraying all my plants with an organic fertilizer. That’s something that I started this spring, and I only did it because I found three sprayers when we cleaned out a house we’re selling. Now, I love it! I try to spray every Saturday morning before the sun hits the plants. And then I took more photos. I must really try to restrain myself with the camera. However, I did capture this nasty little bugger eating the hell out of my canna.

I spent the rest of the day crawling around in the attic. I installed 3 LED recessed can lights in the upstairs hallway. It’s tough to get a good photo of lit lights, but trust me, they look awesome! It does point out how much I need to replace the carpet and paint the walls though. According to the box, the lights put out about 575 lumens, the equivalent of a 65 watt incandescent bulb, while using only 9.5 watts. I think they underestimate the amount of light they put out. Our hallway is now brightly lit, and all three combined use less electricity then the CFLs they replaced.

Sunday was spent “encouraging” the kids to clean their rooms. The rooms look much better now!

Monday I fixed the downspout on the rain gutter that had come loose and mowed/edged the lawn. I also got a great start on my patio expansion. What we have is just a small concrete area. I’m going to expand the small walkway on either side. It never grows grass, I might as well convert it to a nice pavestone where I can store the grill.