Showing posts from 2017

A farewell to 2017 and a look ahead to 2018

I just noticed that they still have Christmas decorations on the set of CBS Sunday Morning. We took all of ours down yesterday. The inside of the house has shifted from the totes filled with Christmas decor to the one tote marked winter. I am not sure why we celebrate winter. It's not great fun lately. We have several single-digit temperature nights coming and I find myself occupied with worry over the pipes although I am sure most folks just go on with life as normal and nothing freezes up for any of them. I just know, based on my history, that I don't typically have that kind of good luck.

At the breakfast table a few minutes ago, I was talking to my wife about how futuristic 2018 seems. I am not sure if this is because 2018 is just a futuristic looking number in my mind or because it marks forty years since 1978, my favorite year in music. I'm not sure if I ever, at any time, had any expectation to live until 2018 although I am still fairly young. It's just that 2018 always seemed so far off that I never really considered it. I can remember when the year 2000 seemed like some weird, far off time that was years away and now it's years behind, so far behind I barely remember it.

I don't have any big declarations for 2018, no grand resolutions. I had deemed 2017 the year of stress-free thinking in blog posts that didn't survive the transition to this blog. I mentioned a bit ago on the podcast that I might make 2018 the year of not looking back but that seems vague and haughty - we all need to look back - we all need to remember where we came from and build on that. Our memories don't have to be ignored for that to happen.

What I keep coming back to is something I put in my Todoist a few weeks ago. Yes, I keep a list of just random thoughts, some to share here, some to share on the podcast and some to just think about. The item simply says 'saying less' and I know that's an odd goal for a person that regularly speaks their thoughts into a recorder and unleashes them unto the internet for whoever might listen. I guess I've just realized that most of what I randomly ramble on about is pointless jabber and maybe this is the year to listen more and speak less because I will hopefully be more thoughtful in what I say if what I say has baked in the brain oven a bit longer.

Oddly enough, that idea came back to me yesterday via a Facebook post from Rob Lee. He shared a list that I have seen before but at just the right time to get me thinking again about saying less and listening more in 2018. Note the seventh item:

I hope that, whoever you are that might have stumbled upon this post, you have a wonderful 2018. I am hopeful that we will all see a world that grows beyond the wasteful outrage that seems to fill the internet and bleeds over into real life far too often these days and instead becomes a world of positive action, where we stop complaining and start working on the things we are truly passionate about. 

I have a lot of work to do in 2018 but the work truly never stops no matter what year happens to be printed on the calendar, whether the numbers look futuristic or not.

Finally, a shout-out to my faithful reader and fellow podcaster Steve who is going through a personal trial right now. I hope all things work out there and I apologize to Steve for the sloppy grammar and crimes against punctuation that are an ongoing feature in most of my posts here!

Pipe Watch 2017 and other mish-mash

Pipe Watch 2017 begins tonight! If you've ever read the blog or listened to the podcast, you're probably familiar with pipe watches from years gone by. Whenever the temperature drops below 22, pipe watch is in effect here at the home office. Homes in the south are not as well insulated as what we had when we lived in Ohio and both of my neighbors have suffered broken pipe incidents over the last few years. So far, we have been fortunate not to have a mishap but it takes some work.

First, I drip the faucets the whole time the temperature is under 22. That's a no-brainer. Second, I run a small radiator heater in the garage near the water heater on low and I do my best to keep the garage above 39 degrees. Third, I get up and down and check the heater and the power cord that runs it every two hours to make sure everything is running cool. I even have a wireless night-vision camera in there pointed at it. Finally, if the temperature gets too low, I open the door to the garage and let the house heating system help out.

My pipe watch nights are highlighted in yellow:

It's no fun getting up and down all night but at least I am on vacation and we have only the one cold night tonight with a nice two night break before the real fun begins. It looks like pipe watch will extend at least through next Thursday night before things start warming up.

Fingers crossed for our streak of no pipe disasters to continue!

Other mish-mash:

  • I got the new hard drive and my main laptop is back up and running perfectly so far. I am still a bit wary since I thought I had this fixed several times before but even the Windows Update that would not install before installed with the new hard drive so maybe, just maybe, we are good to go.
  • I took daughter #1 to the doctor this morning for this ongoing sinus infection she can't seem to shake. More meds were prescribed and they are hopeful that everything will be on the up and up now. They did test for flu and, just like me, it was negative. Per our conversations there, it appears that both her and my illnesses can be traced back to cleaning out my father's attic right before Thanksgiving. Too much dust and too many allergies. At least it's good to know I have passed on the fun of terrible allergies to the next generation!
  • I de-Christmased the front yard yesterday because I knew it would be pretty cold today. I'm happy to report everything from out front is now packed up in the attic and the house looks boring again but that's ok because inflatables are a gigantic pain!
  • I'm getting ready to tweak the blog template from a Christmas theme to a winter theme. It could happen at any moment. Exciting!

Christmas 2017

Although it's not completely over yet and there is still time for some horrible craziness, I am cautiously ready to declare Christmas 2017 as being one of the least-stressful holidays in recent memory and that's especially rare for a Christmas as most Christmases seem to run on the edge between crazy and frustrating each year. I'm not sure why it feels that way. It just does.

Maybe the day trended in the right direction because we started out with the perfect unwrapping music courtesy of my grandmother's record collection:

OK. Although this fine choice of music helped start the day off right, the real reason was our attempt to get household chores and preparations for today out of the way yesterday so we could rest as much as possible today. That meant no plans to leave the house and no typical household chores being done. I am sure the washer and dryer appreciated the holiday as much as we did.

We opened gifts. Cleaned up. Had a good lunch. Watched some TV and movies. Mostly just chilled out. A real holiday. The real gift was just going with the flow and doing as little as possible.

And, although there were some great, memorable gifts, I think the ones that please me the most (aside from my new extremely comfortable slippers) are the disco toilet lights I ordered last week. They arrived just in time and turn going potty into a par-tay!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas also!

Christmas Eve 2017!

Today was typical for December around these parts - cloudy, windy, cold. In the evening, we got our first little bit of sleet and snow of winter and I don't want to think about what will be coming in the next weeks and months. Tonight's came in fast and furious but the ground is still too warm to give us a rare White Christmas.

We spent most of our evening driving around looking at Christmas lights, first at The Dancing Lights of Christmas which moved from Nashville to the fairgrounds by my house this year. Very convenient! I didn't get many good pictures. In fact, this is the best one:

Then we went out to a house which is known for having a crazy, computerized show and they did not disappoint. I would rather have all of this than the inflatables I have.

My poor inflatables are spending another night deflated due to the wind and now they are covered in mud after the 3 inches of rain we had Friday and Friday night. Now I am considering my plan for getting them off the lawn and dried out so I can pack them back up.

Finally, we visited Chad's Winter Wonderland but it started sleeting and then snowing so hard that I could barely see to drive so I took no pictures there.

We safely returned home (the roads are still too warm for any of this to stick) and now I'm ready for Christmas to be here so I can finally relax for a few days. There is a lot of prep involved in family Christmas get-togethers and what not. It's all just about over and that means a couple of days of doing a whole lot of nothing before the great Christmas dismantling of 2017 begins!

Live from the spare laptop!

Yes, I finally had to give up on my main laptop for now and move completely to my spare. After all of the work over the last few days and my confidence increasing daily that the problem was fixed, it froze up again last night. I was able to get it back up and running in just a few minutes but I decided to run a much more in-depth diagnostic (since everything had passed so far) and, guess what, we have a winner - hard drive failure!

My hard drive is running out of specifications, blah, blah, so I ordered a new one which will arrive (maybe) Wednesday and that should be the permanent fix. Until then, I am on the eight-year old Inspiron 15 that I am glad I never got rid of. Earlier this week, I wiped it to get all the extra Dell junk off of it (including Dell Dock which was horrible) and now it runs about as good as my main laptop aside from the internal wireless card being somewhat slow.

Oh, well. I guess all of the podcast processing did in my hard drive in just over two years. I'll update the saga of the laptop when the new hard drive gets installed.

In other news, the rain here has been relentless but it is finally pushing out. We have a couple of quick errands to run this morning but I am happy to report that we will avoid Walmart or any other busy retail areas.

I finally found a new book to read over vacation after much struggle to do so. I was looking for a short, simple read and I don't think either word describes The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. I do enjoy the weirdness and attention to detail in Murakami's books so I am hoping it will be a perfect Christmas/New Years read.

My computer is still working! Christmas is coming!

Oh, glorious day!

My personal laptop is still fine as of right now. If it keeps working (fingers crossed), it's surprising to me that one Windows Update can cause so many problems. I wonder what non-technical people do? Take their computer to some big box store and overpay for support? Buy a new hard drive? Throw their laptop off the roof in anger?

In other news, I wrote up my notes for the final episode of the Podcasting Days of Christmas 2017 and I got all of my files in bossjock studio for the final two episodes. It's all downhill from here and I'm not saying that just because the quality of the podcast of kind of crap. No! It's because our podcasting time together for 2017 is dwindling down quickly! After Friday, I take the rest of the year off so both you and I can have a break after twelve episodes almost daily in a row.

I hesitate to say I am taking a break from anything because you never know. I try to take a break from Twitter and end up tweeting or from blogging and end up blogging. So let's just say I will be online a bit less between this Friday and Friday, January 9th.

Around here, now that the laptop mess appears to be over, things are slowing down. I'm getting in the vacation mood. Presents are wrapped. Activities are planned. We're as ready for Christmas as we're going to get.

Is my laptop nightmare finally over?

Last week, my Dell Inspiron 5558 laptop, just over two years old, started going nuts. Weird things led to repeated crashes which led to repeated hard drive scans, hard drive fixes, a master boot record corruption and then fix, resets, reinstalls, etc., etc. It's been quite frustrating.

Just as I was about to give up and buy a new hard drive, I discovered that my laptop was actually getting stuck on a Windows Update that would download but never completely install. This was causing the disk to run at 99% usage almost all the time and the laptop was even turning on in the middle of the night trying to update in an endless loop.

The update is KB4054517 and you can read about other people's misery with this update here, here and here and in multiple other places if you Google it so I am not alone in this although this update has installed fine on other machines I have. It just doesn't "like" this model for some reason. I have to assume it has something to do with the processor or something else somewhat unique about this machine.

The solution seems to be to simply stop the update from downloading and that is done by hiding it via a fix called wushowhide which you use to "hide" the update on your machine and this prevents it from trying to install over and over. You can also go back and "unhide" it once you know the update is fixed.

So, after hours of working on this machine uninstalling and reinstalling and setting up my old backup laptop so I could do personal stuff over the past few days like pay bills and post terrible podcasts, my laptop is finally happy again and it appears (fingers crossed) that I have finally solved this nutty problem!

My year in books!

Way, way, WAY back in January of this very year, on January the 1st (I think), I decided to give Goodreads another go. Goodreads was one of the services I kept signing up for and then deleting and then signing up again. So dumb. What was I thinking?


Well, by goodness, I do know now!

I decided, as part of a New Year's resolution (even though I don't believe in New Year's resolutions), that I wanted to read more in 2017 and Goodreads would be a great way to track that.

My decision was correct. I have been reading all year and plan to do the same in 2018. Goodreads just sent me an email about My Year in Books and wow! I read 11,218 pages across 43 books. My goal was to read 20 books and I read 43 and it's going to go up because I am knocking out #44 this weekend. I have never read as many books in a year before.


I am very, very happy I gave Goodreads another try. It's helped keep me on track all year. The only downside is that it's not as much of a community as I wanted. I don't know many people that are that active on it and I haven't found any recommendations there. That's ok, I guess. I always find books I want to read via articles online or just seeing them in the library.

And, speaking of the library, I've used the library more this year than ever before. The library has saved me a ton of money and allowed me to find just about everything I want to find even via the online library which sends books directly to my Kindle Paperwhite.

If you want to connect on Goodreads, please add me. I'm right here at this link!

There's only so much me to go around

After a bit of reflection on what I wrote yesterday, I had the epiphany. No wonder I have so little to write about here anymore - I am saying it all on a five days a week podcast this week and next! There is only so much I have to share and I'm covering it all on there so there is nothing left when I get over here in the afternoons.

Over at the podcast, the struggle is real. I feel like the episodes get more surreal and rambly (not a real word but listen to today's episode and you'll understand) and just plain weird with each passing day. I'm glad I have two days this weekend to recharge.

Pulling a boom mic over to your face and pressing record with no notes each day is sort of like jumping into a pool in the dark. I have no idea what's going to happen from the moment I hear the intro playing in my ears to the moment the final song fades out and I tap the outro cart in bossjock.

This bothered me when I started this thing almost five years ago. Now I see notes and even just thinking about topics as a burden and I feel like I get hung up or slowed down if I go in with talking points in my head. I just let it all go and whatever happens, happens. It's not like I'm worried about major awards or advertisers. It is what it is and that attitude keeps it mostly fun, most of the time, at least for me! For the listener, who knows what they think. Who knows who they are. They have to be just as nuts as I am to be listening to it so I guess that's comforting, right?

Writing out of habit can lead to rambling pointlessness

There is a dilemma I have each day when I think about coming here and writing up a post. That dilemma involves the fact that not a whole lot happens around here most of the time and it's tough to come here each day and try to write something with nothing on my mind to write about.

Sure, I could write about politics and the news but outrage Twitter has all of that covered. I did notice last night that people on Twitter are just plain sore. You have a combination of sore losers and sore winners. People will find something to complain about no matter what happens. The big trend in the middle of the day involving horse Twitter made me think, "What a dumb diversion away from the real issues this is!" but it happens on Twitter and Facebook all the time. We waste a lot of time laughing about how a saddle is placed on a horse or what exactly covfefe means while the world keeps on turning and burning while we are looking the other way.

But, enough of that! I certainly won't fix our gullible culture with one blog post!

The point is to write daily, to make it a habit, to come to the keyboard even if I don't think I have something to share and just start typing and hope that the ideas start flowing. Maybe it's a tad pointless and maybe I feel bad that people click on the links to these posts and end up reading ninety-five percent rambling pointlessness but I guess this site is more for me than for anyone else. I don't mind people peeking into this window I am leaving wide open but I'm opening the window to get the stale air out of my mind and not necessarily so someone can climb in and take a good look around.

I'll close with the weather - it's slightly warmer today but the wind is howling so it still feels cold and the cold is coming back in a few hours anyway so our warm up is going to be short-lived.

Back tomorrow with more rambling pointlessness.

Tuesday potpourri

It's another cold, cloudy day here at the home office and I can report that I am still coughing although not as frequently. I assume this stops eventually but who knows. It's a drag staying in most of the time because getting out in the cold seems to trigger more drainage/coughing/hacking and none of those things are fun.

The Christmas podcasts keep going over at Up In This Brain. I have them nicely planned out in a spreadsheet and I prep for them a day ahead so all I have to do is open bossjock and record when I'm ready and then I move in the files, which are already conveniently out in my Dropbox, for the next day. Wash, rinse, repeat. It sure does keep me focused on how quickly Christmas is getting here. The days seem to be ticking by quickly now. School will be out starting Monday and then I am on vacation again starting that Friday through January 4th. It will be my longest vacation ever and I'm sure it will spoil me into a state of laziness I have never experienced before.

Today is Election Day in some states. It's not here until the 19th but I already took care of that via early voting and there is only one race on the ballot and it's not much of a race but my voting streak continues nonetheless. Once again, I was the only one in the polling place when I voted and that's probably a good thing because it minimizes the number of folks I may accidentally cough on.

I guess that's it for this one. I'm not too inspired today. I'm still dragging. I'm about to fix an afternoon cup of coffee to perk me up a bit. I probably should have done that before I started writing this, eh?

Christmas music I've been obsessing over lately

Here are a few songs that I keep playing over and over as Christmas draws nearer and nearer!

Chilly Saturday

Ah, the weekend.

We started off with an excellent band and choir Christmas concert at the high school last night in which my youngest daughter had a solo in one of the choir pieces. The auditorium was packed and it was the final school function of the year that I have to attend. Just one full week of school is left before the break!

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday (big weekend for her) so we went out to lunch and then hit the stores to do something something. I made it through two stores before retreating to the car to rest. The fatigue of this illness is about all that's left of it and I'm thinking the strong antibiotics have something to do with that.

It's still chilly but we missed out on all of the snow. There are folks to our southeast that got a foot and we have barely seen flurries. I'm glad someone else is getting it for once as I know that it's just a matter of time before our luck runs out.

Well, back to the couch with my book now.

Counting it down until Christmas

Yes, on the last possible day at the last possible moment, I decided to update the old spreadsheet and resurrect the Up In This Brain Christmas countdown. Do not confuse this with the original and my inspiration for this, the Robert Dyer Channel Christmas Countdown. That one is daily and far more humorous, interesting and entertaining.

My little show is nothing more than an excuse to share some Christmas songs that I like and drone on about my daily off. Of course, the best feature is the requests from the folks unlucky enough to listen. It's the least I can do for them, poor saps.

Doing the countdown does add to my Christmas cheer especially on cloudy, ugly, cold, barren days like today when we live under the constant threat of nuclear war and I am still dealing with this lingering cough/drainage/illness. I am so over being sick. Blergh!

My little two day vacation came at just the right time and I'm getting recharged for next week which is my last full work week of 2017! Wooo!! Come on, vacation!

Firing the radios back up

Many, many, many, many (this could go on and on) radios have passed through my hands over the years. From early AM transistors to modern digital receivers, I've had way too many.

Although I know I still have more than I need, I got rid of a bunch of stuff earlier this year and sold multiple radios as part of that. I narrowed things down to 1 scanner and four general coverage radios.

My scanner is a Radio Shack Pro 97. I've had it for a long time. I didn't consider selling it because I pull it out in winter weather and listen to the local road crews so I can get an accurate idea of how bad the roads are. I pulled it out last night and reprogrammed it to just a few local frequencies I care about the most including the fire station right down the street from me, EMS, schools and even the local airport for those times when I've in the mood to listen to planes come in and go out.

For AM and shortwave, I kept four radios although only one, the last one I bought, is used often and is the one I travel with if the need arises. That is my C. Crane Skywave radio. I also kept my Eton E5 (it works great although it looks awful) and my Tecsun PL-398BT. For middle of the night insomnia, I keep an old Sony SRF-39 in a drawer by the bed and I can tune around AM and see what my fellow insomniacs and third shifters are listening to.

I just recently pulled all of these radios out again and got fresh batteries in everything. I've been listening to them some in the evenings during time I used to waste goofing on my iPad. It's a nice change to stop staring at a screen and tune up and down the dial in search of other places and voices instead.

Ello again! Now, what to do with it?

As I mentioned Monday, I reactivated my old Ello account and goofed around with it a little.

As part of an experiment of sorts, I posted three links - one to my Monday blog post here and one each to two recent podcasts I have been on, Smooth Sailing and Garbagecast Conversations. First thing yesterday morning, I checked those posts and each had around sixty views (not bad for being an unestablished account following hardly anyone) but there were no interactions or clickthroughs. The sixty views were all for naught.

I don't know what constitutes a view on Ello. Maybe my posts appear on a big page of posts and scrolling by them counts as a view. That is how I see other people's posts.

Of course, I doubt there were sixty clicks on any of the posts. Also, my posts required an external link be clicked to see the actual content, whether that's a blog post or a podcast. Most people on Ello publish direct to Ello so it's its own publishing platform.

I think that going all in on Ello would generate results but I am lazy and I really don't seek any further interaction or traffic to anything I create. I see posts on Ello with thousands of views but you have to expand the entries on pages filled with posts in order to really drill down into them unless you post a graphic of some type and I don't really want to publish direct content somewhere other than Blogger or my Posthaven sites. There are no tools to automate this. IFTTT's Ello applets only pull from Ello and don't post to it. For me, it's more trouble than it would be worth to maintain two platforms. For people using only Ello as a platform, it's probably fairly lucrative if there would be a way to build on whatever you are trying to do there.

For now, my Ello sits unused and those three test posts were deleted. I have as much commenting and interaction and thumbs ups as I can handle where I am already established and the number of all of that averages a nice big zero and I'm currently fine with that.

Saying bah humbug to Christmas cards this year

If I sent you a Christmas card last year, Merry Christmas to you! I didn't forget you this year. It's not on the way. It didn't get lost.

It's weird - the guy who listens to Christmas music almost year-round declaring that he's not sending out Christmas cards this year but that's exactly what's happening.

I like the idea of Christmas cards. I don't like the idea of people receiving them feeling obligated to send one back because I know that not all people like the idea of Christmas cards. I assume a far majority of folks consider Christmas cards a "to do" and send them out begrudgingly year after year.

I know people who count them and compare year to year numbers. I don't do that. To be honest, I barely look at them when I get them. They end up in this little card rack thing where they stay until the day we take down the Christmas stuff. Then, most people toss them. I, probably out of some weird guilt, have put them in ziploc bags with the year written on them and now have a tote with Christmas cards in them in the attic. That tradition ends this year also as that tote is being cleaned out as soon as I pull it downstairs to take everything down.

Christmas cards are a nice and slightly expensive way to say hi. We say hi all the time online. I don't think we need a card to cap off the year of interactions. Also, if we don't interact online at all (which is super easy and free) all year or see each other in person at any point, why do we need to send a card at all? If that's the absolutely least thing we are willing to do to stay in touch, maybe that's a sign!

Finally, I'm lazy. I'm getting lazier as I get older. Or maybe my priorities are just getting more in tune to what matters and fooling with taking a picture, choosing a design, printing cards, addressing envelopes, and waiting at the post office is just starting to feel like a bit of a waste when there is so much other stuff to do as the old clock ticks down.

So, this year, let's forego the cards. Post a note on Facebook. Tweet someone. Leave a message on Instagram. Shout them out on a podcast. Shock them and just pick up the phone. Don't mail them something they will look at for five seconds and then throw in a pile awaiting a trip to the trash. Be kind to your mail carrier and don't send out eighty cards. They already have enough to do with all of those Amazon Prime packages.

Feelin' Puny Monday Update

At the start, the side effects of the medicine is just as bad as being sick. I think I'm caught in the middle of a four-way fight of side effects thanks to the four different medicines I am taking. You would think that maybe they would cancel each other out but no, you can feel thirsty, hot, cold, full, hungry, wired, tired, and dizzy all at once and I do not recommend it.

It's a combination of all of this that I blame for reactivating my Ello account today. I've also seen a couple of people tweet about Ello over the last week and that got all in my dizzy mind so why not. I doubt I will do anything with it ever but there it is and I plan on just leaving it sitting there for good now like everyone else has. I do admit that the quiet and calm of what I see when I peruse Ello is a nice alternative to the angst and complaining that saturates Facebook and Twitter these days.

Finally, big time cold is on the way here starting tomorrow. At least it seems big time because it's been warm here for so long. It's probably not that far below what we should normally be at for this time of year. It will be a big shock to the system going from highs around 70 to highs around 40.

I could write more but I'm going to go lay down at 7PM instead. This is highly unusual for me and I'm hoping that tomorrow I feel a bit more, well, usual?

Lazy, puny weekend

Well, I'm not too lazy. After being up most of the night coughing and hacking, I drove over to the 24 hour clinic at 3:30AM to get it checked out. Luckily, I was negative for the flu and just have a really bad sinus infection so I got some shots and then headed over to the 24 hour pharmacy to pick my four prescriptions up. After that, Hardee's is open super early so I went there and got breakfast at the drive-thru. I should have thought to record some of that but I didn't think about pulling the phone out until I was on the way back home with the food. I just posted that ten minutes of rambling as episode 340 of the podcast that made Armpit famous.

Aside from getting derailed by this bug, things are going OK. I am winding things down at work for year end and I have two days off at the end of next week before my big vacation starts on December 22nd. I'll be spoiled rotten after that one. I'm off until January 4th and I've never taken any time at Christmas before. It's crazy!

Speaking of being spoiled rotten, I got this picture of the world's chubbiest corgi the other day. This is what he does when one of his tennis balls goes under the furniture. He just lays there until one of us gets it for him. He is quite the nut.

In other news, I'm currently reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and it's very interesting and mysterious. I just finished Sourdough by the same author and I am super glad that the library had both books. The library has been the key reason that I have been able to read 41 books this year.

Have a good weekend! I'll be sitting here goofed up on meds.

The inside is Christmas Overload!

Our two day tour of Christmas here at the home office concludes with this look around the overload of Christmas that has taken over our domicile.

The dogs look annoyed and notice how the angry French one still has a fall blanket out in protest!

My mother bought us the reindeer years ago and every house needs a fiber optic snowman.

Christmas barfed all over the couch and even the mirror has been turned into a salute to snowflakes.

Our tree which we have used annually since 2011. The pre-lit lights died a couple of years ago and I cut them all out, which took forever. This is the first year we've used cool, energy-efficient LED lights. Al Gore should be proud!

Our first year in this house this shelf came out of the wall due to the weight of the stockings. After that, I bolted it in and it is never coming out again. We'll have to leave it here if we ever move!

Even the walls can't escape the yule!

That big Santa days until Christmas thing has been around for years and we never move the candy cane anymore.

My Christmas village is new this year and has been out since before Halloween!

More yule.

These are on my personal laptop desk. Both were found in my mother's Christmas stuff. The Snowbird used to be the mascot of our local television station until he was laid off this year due to budget cuts. Yep, they laid off their own mascot! 

Not even the kitchen can escape the wrath of Santa.

Even the toaster gets a decoration!

No one enters or leaves this house without knowing it is almost Christmas!

Yes, the Rodney Reindeer (and a few guests) collection is displayed at the end of the hall every year.

Finally, two items on my home office desk. Garfield was in my mother's Christmas stuff.

The Leg Lamp was a gift from my family and always reminds me to handle fragile things carefully because someone probably used up all the glue ON PURPOSE!

The yard is Christmas Complete!

I can now declare the yard Christmas Complete for 2017!

Before you scroll down, if you think this is a bit over the top, check out my post from 2010 when I went all out. I have retired from putting lights on the house. It's just too much of a pain!

During lunch today, I added two more inflatables (per family request) and down we're the weird family with five inflatables and two penguins in the yard.
The two additional inflatables. The fox is new (bought last year on after-Christmas clearance) and the owl is in year two.

A penguin guards each side of the landscaping. These are super old now - at least ten years old. I am not sure how they have held us as well as they have especially with spending summers in the attic.

Our other penguin guardian!

This was added today also - light up garland around the door. We did this last year also but a nasty storm took it down and I never put it back up. Maybe the weather will be better this year?

This trio went up Saturday. Santa is the oldest of this bunch with the hot tub and weenie dog only on Christmas #2.

Next I'll try to remember to take pictures of the inside where it looks like Christmas barfed on everything.

Typical Tuesday (so far)

It's Tuesday and there are no chores to do on Tuesday. No clothes to wash. Nothing to clean. Just the normal stuff in the home office and so far it's quite quiet. Fingers crossed that this keeps up.
My 6:15AM-ish view: Raisin Bran, Orange Juice, Coffee, Christmas Tree, Asus Transformer and the TV off!
The sun is out and it's going to be crazy warm today (almost 70!) and I'm sure there will be appropriate payback at a later today. I'm hoping to get outside on the deck at lunch and get some reading done. I am currently in book 41 for 2017, Sourdough by Robin Sloan. I had been on the wait list at the library for a bit and it finally showed up.

I'm not far into it yet but I am enjoying it and I discovered last night that the cover glows in the dark! Pretty cool, eh!

Dusting off the archives

I kept finding all sorts of memories as I was cleaning out my dad's attic last week and for some odd reason this process got me thinking of this here site and all of the history of the site that had been here in the past but was left behind when the old site went away earlier this year.

Unfortunately, my archives are incomplete. The first day of the blog in 2007 through the start of July in 2012 was complete. For 2012 to 2016, I only have an Adobe Acrobat document that I had made at Blogbooker. Somehow, even with all of my backups, I misplaced the backup file for those years and only had a few of the entries backed up.

What you will see in the archives is a lot of stuff from when blogging was in its heyday. For example, there are entries about how I used to live stream our family Christmas Eve get-together here at the house. People all over the world dropped in for those! It was not as easy to live stream back then so it was fairly unique although I stole the idea from my blogging friend in Canada, Randall. He was the true blogging pioneer!

It's nice to have the archives back up even though about 1,000 posts will remain unposted either due to not having a backup or being judged unnecessary (I went through what I had and deleted political posts, dumb posts and some blank posts that made it through the import process.) I'm committed to leaving this site up and going long-term. I might not update regularly at times but I don't plan to make any radical changes moving forward and the archives will stay in place for as long as Google decides that Blogger is going to keep going. Fingers crossed. I'm amazed they have let it keep going as long as they have!


Another Thanksgiving and vacation complete

What a week it was. I am looking forward to getting a little rest sitting in my home office chair tomorrow. The only day I did pretty much nothing was on Thanksgiving. It was a day of mostly rest and food.

Most of my vacation week involved going up and down attic ladders. We spent Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday cleaning out most of the rest of my father's attic. My daughter took a short video of this on Wednesday and this was how it looked after I had already cleaned about 75% of it out since I started this back last November and had been doing a little at a time.

I am happy to report that it's almost completely empty now and I was reunited with a lot of things that brought back memories including pictures, school programs, toys and more. I brought two totes back to my attic to go through more thoroughly after the holidays plus we found my old Star Wars action figures, my old Lionel electric train set (still in the box) and a ton of old board games that we now have to figure out what to do with.

We spent most of the other days moving stuff back and forth in our own as we got things ready for Christmas and then put up all the Christmas stuff starting Friday and finishing up today. The house is completely festive and I'm glad it's all done.

One thing we did for the first time this year was a Day After Thanksgiving hike that was organized by our local state park, Cedars of Lebanon. I signed up for it several weeks ago not knowing what the weather would be and it turned out to be pretty nice and fairly warm. We got lucky!

The fireplace in Cedar Forest Lodge, a popular place for weddings.

Into the woods!

Out of the woods and into a clearing at the end.

I thought a hike would be a nice alternative to shopping although we did do a little shopping before and after and there were hardly any crowds where we went. I did get a couple of cool Black Friday items at Walmart that I'll be discussing on the Garbagecast Conversations very soon!