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Back to normal just in time for the summer

Weight: this morning at 163 pounds! Definitely a downward trend continues, with a five pound reduction courtesy of my little bout with pneumonia, yet the reduction through diet reduces slowly from there. This gives me a body mass index of 23.4, which is normal, not overweight anymore! I still wish to maintain this diet to reduce sugars and do want to increase proteins and decrease carbohydrates.

Blood Pressure: I am taking the pills as a routine before going to work. Last time measured while taking pills it has been 120/82. Systolic (120) is almost normal. Diastolic is above normal, pre-hypertension. Definitely the weight loss has helped. Is it too soon to say I feel younger?

Bills: paid through the end of the month once I get some stamps and deposit rent. Definitely looking forward to the stock sale proceeds early next month to restore the legal fund (which was tapped to deal with unexpected federal income taxes) and the slush fund. I doubt I will be able to use the slush fund until January as I need to see how I will be able to double my House 70 payments.

Budget: still tight, yet I keep finding Theda Bara slides or photographs of people whom I can write histories around. So I am not backing off on credit use as much as I need to do. We somehow manage to find a way to keep doubling my House 70 payments and am now 2 years into a 30 year mortgage with double payments. I figured if I keep doing that we will be able to pay the house off in eight years from now, that is as long as I am able to work for another eight years. That is my plan, anyway.

Vacation: need one but seems there is one crisis after another at work. I have yet to feel stability or security, so wary of being gone for too long. I am looking for a cooler day I can be off to take care of things outside the house. Rather than look for a Friday I think a Monday would be a better choice these days, possibly a Monday and a Tuesday.

Back Room: The back room is relatively clean again after last Sunday's push to get it cleared out. The basement is packed full of, well, stuff that is not that important. Need to spend time to sort it out.

Slides: Most of my glass slides are now stored properly--am at box number 008 with about $8000 invested in about 700 slides. There are now a growing number of art-glass only slides or art-glass/cover-glass combinations which need new tape. So I need to look at spending time to fix these.

Weeds: The Queen Anne's Lace or wild carrot is all over, which is actually sort of nice. However, I need to run the weed wacker to get rid of it on the park strip (maybe keep one QAL). To-day, however, I spent about 3 1/2 hours filling the compost bin with quick grass (the kind that has a single root but trailers that go everywhere), poke (Delbert's garden was full of seedlings from the planting last year, and also two larger Poke plants that came up from roots established last year, also all poke plants on the north side were pulled and a couple of poke plants on the northwest corner were dug out) and those sorghum-like plants.

Transplants: Around one poke plant I found the flower plants that earlier this year were quite attractive, so I zipped off their seeds and planted their roots and stems in the front triangle. Also, the flourishing daisy was cupped and moved in front. We'll see how that goes. A sword fern found growing in a window well was transplanted to an area next to a hosta (on the south fence, near the southeast corner).

I also cleaned out the area next to the evergreen tree and rose bush and gave water to the Purple Catalpa (8 gallons or so) and the evergreen (2 gallons) and the rose bush (1 gallon).

Once I get the yard back to a reasonable shape, I want to:
* move soil to fill in Byron Hill.
* dig out and plant posts in back.
* dig out and establish a true walking path around the deck.
* cut up branches and put in compost bin.
* dig out area under tree to establish rock garden.
* move all rocks to rock garden.
* dig out enough to then dig out and plant gate posts by garbage area.
* dig out area between rain barrel and next window well.
* dig out more of Marvin's Garden.
* dig out post holes for front fence segment and plant posts.
* flatten area for shack.
* dig out the north side from the east to the first window well with a 1 inch per foot slope to just short of the property line.

What a day!

What a crazy day it was! Woke at 5, was able to get everything done and to work in time for an 8:30 a.m. meeting. Then, at 9, craziness ensued until around 3 p.m.

First my goal was to get two code streams to generate the same results (xor), so I ran tests on the cells I had. When our contract team member from Florida finished--everything matched.

Meanwhile I was trying to verify results of another team mate's xor runs...and my jobs just hung.

So, while waiting I tried to finish another small but important project. I verified it on one tool but when I went to the other--no licenses. I filed a ticket on that with no immediate response.

Meanwhile the xor still wouldn't finish.

So I decided to just go ahead and merge all our changes for release. I began the process by merging what we call "the trunk" or the main body of code into our branch. This makes it easier to merge back later. Then I got the surprise when I looked at the timeline (which shows all the branch interactions). Another developer added the tag "trunk" to a separate branch. It was a mistake, but what it meant was that I had mixed in a bunch of unrelated code into our branch. I had no idea how to unmix it! So I filed a request on that. No immediate response.

At this point I could have cried...it was a perfect storm of failures and I couldn't find anyone to talk to about it. I felt isolated and hurt...as if people were conspiring against me. I also realized it would work itself out, I just had to hang in there.

And it did. First I got a response on the licenses...and there were finally licenses available. So I did the final test and fix...and got my little project done!

Then, the next response--a way to undo the trunk mess. Did that, it worked, and I successfully merged the branch into trunk. I killed the xor run which had never finished, then ran xor on the trunk with my smaller test cases. They all were clean! Then I ran another check. Not clean but I expected as much. But failures where not the ones I was worried about.

So I prepared to make the release. It was not the thorough examination I wanted, but I felt it was enough. After all, once out we had dedicated testers to do a good job of review. A4 4:30 announced I would do a build.

Half way through the build I find out that the other team which shares the repo had moved to a release branch earlier this week. I never saw a formal announcement about that. Neither had another team mate. So I stopped the build and spent time merging cherrypick style everything needed into the release branch. Only three nodes. Whew!

I completed the local build, prepared it for release then checked--one component had not been integrated into the kit, so it had not been used in the local build. I had to do a new local build with a special pointer to that component to get the right results. Build two...then finally everything was ready for a kit build.

Wrote an email explaining what happened...but did not change several ticket statuses which will lose use a day of testing on those. I realized I had a presentation to do first thing Monday morning and decided to complete it then and there rather than work on it over the weekend.

Got home after 9 p.m. I am not worn out. Adrenalin I guess. It was just not an ideal day. Didn't help any that I started the day alone (woke up first) and am now ending it alone (Marisa is already in bed sleeping).

She is worried about the world.

As am I, but I am looking closer to home and worried about directions at work, how I feel some people are somehow ignoring me or acting like I don't exist. I feel as if everyone but me knows something and has been asked not to tell me about it...because it is something I would not be happy about.

All I can do is keep on doing what I think is best.


Chehalem Ridge Nature Park

Chehalem Ridge Nature Park in Washington County Oregon is still closed to the public after six years of ownership by Metro, the regional government agency in the Portland Oregon area. However, the 1240 acre site restoration project is coming to the end of its first phase. The next phase is to determine how to incorporate human visitors to an area designed mostly to reflect natural processes. Metro has been giving limited tours of the Ridge, located just east of Gaston and south of Forest Grove, to encourage participation in this next phase.

Most of the land in the park came from the Stimson Lumber Company which had been threatening to sell for a real estate development. When the real estate market was soft and the development partners did not come forth, it sold it to a public land trust which, in 2010, sold it to Metro. The $7.9 million dollars spent for all the land in the park came from a bond measure allowing the regional government to acquire land for the purpose of developing wildlife cooridors through the area.

Year after year Metro has been busy working to halt soil erosion caused by bad timber harvest practices of Stimson, then thinning the approximately 500 acres that Stimson turned into a Douglas Fir plantation. According to tour guide Alberto Rodriguez, who is the Information and Referral Specialist for Centro Cultural de Washington County, Stimson planted 400 trees per square mile which was 5-10 times the density normally found in nature.

Metro Parks and Nature Senior Community Engagement Coordinator, Ellen Wyoming DeLoy, said that Metro has contracted to thin a good part of that area to approach 80 trees per square mile, using many of the trees to turn into soil near where they were felled...or to become barriers to water as way to stop soil erosion. The rest of the trees are sold to mills. DeLoy says to-day Metro breaks even on the deal. However, when the thinning program ends, most of the trees will go to the mills and Metro may actually make a little money which it can then apply to development of Chahalem Ridge.

Some areas of Douglas Fir as not simply thinned but clear-cut. These are areas that naturalists have determined could be restored to habitat for a variety of different kinds of trees. One such area has been dedicated to become an oak savannah using some of the existing oaks as anchors and filling in with appropriate flora, including new oak.

When not creating a large area for oak, thinning of Douglas Fir may also be used to provide room for other trees to grow. DeLoy says this especially applies to special oak trees the naturalists have discovered, referring to the thinning here as "Oak Release." One especially nice oak tree was found at the highest point of Chahalem Ridge called Iowa Hill.

Other trees found on the edge of the plantation and on the Western slopes, such as Madrona and Cascara, will be encouraged to grow by the thinning and return of native species. Wildlife, such as woodpeckers and deer, will enjoy the benefits of the plant diversity. The tour demonstrated that deer have enjoyed the bark of some trees and the woodpeckers enjoyed the insects which were attracted to the sap of the trees...sap that the woodpeckers created by drilling holes in the trees!

Besides thinning, Metro restoration activities include adding plants such as a native Dogwood species and various native berries such as Elderberry. These new plants often replace invasive plants that Metro naturalists identify and remove. One plant they don't remove is Poison Oak. That is because, as Metro naturalist Alice Froelich explained, Poison Oak is a native species! Once Metro decides where trails go, any Poison Oak on those trails will be removed. Still, she says, Poison Oak next to the trails can serve as a deterrant for adventuresome off-trail visitors.

Already the restoration activities have shown that nature has returned to open areas and stream patterns have encouraged wildlife activities rather than to create soil erosion from low-vegetation canopies of dense Douglas Fir.

Marabell, a guide for Centro, shows off a native purple wildflower commonly referred to as Self Heal. She said the green stem can be broken and then crushed, then rubbed in a wound to reduce the pain, protect against infection and speed up blood coagulation.

Wildflowers include daisies and, according to Froelich, a variety commonly called "Bachelor Button", a blueish flower.

Once part of a stream during the late Winter and Spring, the soggy ground becomes ideal for water loving plants and, in early Summer, for Queen Anne's Lace also known as Wild Carrot

Froelich says that when the water was flowing through the area that beavers built a dam and then carved out channels so they could swim. She says beavers find it easier to swim than walk. When the water stops flowing, the beavers move on to where the water still exists.

Rodrigquez says that because of the bond measure that allowed Metro to buy Chehalem Ridge when real estate development was soft, the land will be protected for centuries as a naturescape for everyone to enjoy. Metro will return the park to a natural balance, he said, serving wildlife and native plants but also people who want to re-connect with nature.

One vantage point from Chehalem Ridge Nature Park looking to the west and the coastal mountains and Wapato Lake.

For a video prepared by Metro about Chahalem Ridge, go here.

Pretty much well

I can't say that I am 100% well, but I feel much better.

Right now I have a bit of sinus congestion and woke up with a terrible headache. After three full cups of coffee the ache is still there but I can deal with it.

Yesterday while watching More Pay, Less Work, a 1926 film showing at The Hollywood Theater, I coughed up a mouthful of gunk. So my system is still reacting to inflammation, according to Dr. C. (I saw him for a follow-up appointment on Friday).

Did a little bit of hiking on a Metro our of Chehalem Ridge in Washington County on Saturday morning. Was able to photograph everything except the Madrona trees which are on the western slope. Metro is busy thinning the previous Lumber Company acreage which planted very dense Douglas Fir areas on the East slope. Metro wants to return the ecology to something more diverse with Oak Savanas, native shrubs and definitely more room for all types of plants and animals to thrive. The large area south of Forest Grove and east of Gaston will serve as a major wildlife connector through the region: an island within an area that is becoming more and more developed for human residents.

Doing ok

Only the remnants of the cold remain: crust inside my nose, worn out voice, occasional dry cough, a fading background headache. However, the day's events really have wiped me out and, at 7:52 p.m., want to take a nap.

One event was to go to the Portland Clinic on the way to work, my first driving for more than a week.

I was there for another skin check-up. Dr. M. tells me the red blemishes on the right cheek will fade away and that they are no rosacia: nothing to worry about and definitely not cancer. Cancer is what he is interested in and he is not finding it. Yet I have to return in October for another $100 review.

Parked on 13th, just a block up, so it was easy in, easy out. $3 parking.

Work was more relaxed but solved an important ticket so feel good about the day. I am waiting for a code stream to be finished so I can open a new branch and do some new development. If I can get it done it will be good. If not, by operating on the branch, I can prevent messing up the already good code stream.

Will have to be in Santa Clara on Friday, August 19: My boss's boss wants a big face to face meeting there.

Star Trek Beyond is to-morrow night! We see it at the Lloyd Center. I will leave work early.

Feeling much better!

I feel much better to-day. Just the occasional nose blowing, but ate breakfast and lunch at fairly reasonable times and the taste was good.

I have had a little bit of a headache all day but early pseudoephedrine and ibuprofen kept the symptoms in check.

Finished putting out recycling and helped put away groceries...including getting new ibuprofen and new Kleenex (I went to my truck to use the last available box).

At work I resolved the code issue I had been working for two weeks. I feel so relieved.

Better days ahead, definitely. The days between July 6 and July 17 seemed like a hazy memory to me, where I could not think straight.

Now, everything seems sharp and well-defined.

The schedule for the coming week--

Tuesday: work from home if still under pseudoephedrine, but will see if we can work on campus.

Wednesday: drive 7:45 a.m. to Portland Clinic for a regular skin exam. Then can probably drive on to RA1.

Thursday: work in RA1 but start early so I can leave around 4. The intent is to leave no later than 6:20 p.m. so Marisa, Vajra and I can get our tickets and get in line for Star Trek Beyond (which starts at 7:30 p.m.)

Friday: work from home so I can see the doctor that evening. I may get a bonus payment on that day! MST3K burlesque performance that evening

Saturday morning: drive to Gaston, Oregon for a Metro hike.

Saturday afternoon: weed pulling around the house and weed wacking on the park strip.

Sunday: Paint the back corner?? That is a real gater to some other activities and the weather should be ideal for that.
Last Thursday I had been down with a cold/flu for a week and it was not getting better. I was frustrated that I couldn't do a good job at work. It was not that I could use my sick time for anything else: I was not hungry, not interested in food, not interested in going on-line, did not pursue watching much television except what happened to be on.

Most likely, when the end comes, all the things we want to tie up in a neat bow and make one great last impression--none of that will happen. That is because the drive, the interest, would be gone.

I knew this was not the end, but it did let me know that you can't wait until the end for anything. There is nothing at the end except the end.

However, I read enough to realize that my body was not properly dealing with the cold as it has before. Had to see a doctor. Called, got an appointment, then informed Marisa, sobbing, "I'm tired of this, tired of this!" She took me over and we found a parking spot right at the entrance, which is good because I really did not want to have to walk very far.

I got chest xrays before Dr. C. said I had pneumonia and put me on anti-biotics.

Since then I have stopped working and tried to relax, taking pseudophedrine, Advil. I finally slept last night without the aid of Robitussin (Codeine). Still have some stuff in my lungs and sinuses.

We are almost out of Kleenex.

I at least got dressed to-day and put out the compost. The house is full of spent Kleenex and Kleenex boxes for the recycling bin.


Getting prepared for Star Trek Beyond which debuts Thursday, July 21. The official debut is July 22, but apparently there are early showings the previous day...and Marisa, Vajra and I have tickets!

My collection of videos, audio, posters and stills is as complete as I can get it for now. There may be more clips and character spots coming. I can probably get more stills.

There is one complete cut from the soundtrack so I may try to string together the stills for that, then assemble a DVD.

It looks good.


This is the rear of Zolacmanor earlier to-day after I finished doing what I could do.

What's right with this picture:
* grass is mowed and trimmed
* bare parts are seeded with grass
* walkway bricks back in place
* weeds removed from the back corner
* deck box replaces junked rotting rattan shelves
* bricks removed from deck (now closer to their ultimate location near the side tree)
* both rain barrels level and hooked up properly
* back roof is metal and working well
* back gutter working well
* rain barrel at right appears to not leak

What's wrong with this picture:
* asbestos cement tile missing at second story left.
* insulators should be removed.
* little wire thing above the insulators should be removed.
* paint needs to go up on much of the trim.
* junk in back room needs to be sorted and not stacked against the window in plain view.
* deck needs new stairs and hand rails...and new rail across mid section.
* walkway needs to be properly placed (leveled, landscape fabric, gravel, sand)
* door needs to be painted.
* deck needs to be pressure-washed and then stained.
* Adirondack chair needs to be stained.
* lattice added under deck.
* Falcon needs to be washed.

A few things wrong which can't be seen easily if at all:
* threshold for door needs to be replaced.
* rain barrel at left leaks, causing moss and weed issues (but Cirrus likes it!).
* some window panes need to be replaced.
* most window panes need new window putty.
* paint mistakes need to be removed.
* asbestos cement tiles missing near dryer vent.
* base wood for skirt of back building needs to be added and secured to existing skirt.
* Falcon seat belts need to be replaced (rusted bolts removed).
* block of wood supporting stack needs to be painted or possibly replaced.

All in all I am happy. More to do, but it seems manageable now as long as I can maintain the picture (or make it better).


In three weeks I see my dermatologist. However, I think I may need to see him earlier.

This is because, on the right side of my face, there has been a red blotch for about a week. And, to-day I see another red blotch behind it.

Don't know what this is, but it does not seem to go away. It is not itchy. It is just red.

The closest diagnosis seems to be rosacea. The online advice says the earlier it is caught, the better.


Landscaping progress

Spent several hours this long 4th of July weekend working on our yard and deck. While not perfect, it is better. It was good enough that Marisa and I could play croquet on the back lawn.

The deck is cleared of junk and there is protected storage with the purchase of a plastic deck box.

I carved out a dirt path to the roses and connected it with the evergreen tree I planted. The roses have done well, so I now have it set up to add additional roses or climbing plants along that fence line.

An area was set up with all the named bricks which I pulled from the deck and where I keep my garden tools. It is not the final setting for these but it will do for now.

Also I cut back the branches of the volunteer tree so you could walk through the area between the cars and the north fence. The trunk of the tree is now about 4 inches in diameter. In 2013 it was just a stick of a tree. I had pulled its fellow volunteer in 2014 I believe: its remnants still laying on the ground with a bunch of other weeds and cut branches and vines.

The back and front lawns are in better control thanks to mowing, hand trimming and use of a newly acquired Black and Decker electric string trimmer. Most of the work, however, was done close to the ground with weed pulling and snipping.

To-day, on the last day of a 5-day holiday/vacation, I am going to tackle the corner--weed removal, dirt removal. I wouldn't mind getting a start on the permanent walkway I started last year, but need landscape fabric for that.

Among the things I would like to do over time:
[ ] wash the Falcon.
[ ] remove more weeds growing in cracks.
[ ] cut weeds growing in the alley.
[ ] cut branches and put into compost bin.
[ ] set up compost bins.
[ ] seed lawn.
[ ] remove mounds of dirt to back or front.
[ ] finish rock garden.
[ ] remove weeds on south side.
[ ] remove more dirt between north side rain barrel and fake wall.
[ ] dig deeper hole in front.
[ ] dig out more of Marvin's Garden.
[ ] edge park strip completely.
[ ] remove moss on sidewalk.
[ ] transplant daisy to front area.
[ ] finish back fence.
[ ] add gates.
[ ] finish pickets to garbage area.
[ ] dig out area to add gate and add gate.
[ ] repair concrete steps.
[ ] remove paint from drips on deck and siding.
[ ] paint trim on back of house.
[ ] create corner patio.
[ ] add solar clothes drier.
[ ] add gutter, downspout and rain barrel for garbage area.
[ ] add fence section to front area by sidewalk.

My First Experience with Marijuana

Now that adults can legally buy edible marijuana products in Oregon, Marisa and I have been trying them out. Marisa and I bought a peanut-butter chocolate product with TCH, the psycho-active cannibus component. That was a week ago.

Marisa tried hers out at that time, but it was late in the day. The product relaxed her enough that she wanted to sleep, but she didn't get much of an effect from the TCH.

I did not try out mine until last night. I was tired already when I ate mine.

About two hours later, as predicted, the psycho-active component did kick in. I was relaxed and then my entire body shook for a second. From that moment I was dizzy and my heartbeat picked up. Yet, I was also tired from the work outdoors that day. It was around midnight by this time, so had to get some sleep. Yet, colors were move vivid. I seemed to see more details in more mundane things, like the bubbles introduced to the toilet bowl water as part of doing a biobreak. As I laid down in bed, all the colors were somehow expanded and I felt I was in a rotoscoped color film rather than simple reality.

In the dark it seems my night vision was enhanced and the couple of times I had to get up there was no problem with seeing anything without artificial lights.

Sounds Marisa would make while asleep were accentuated, sort of like a reverb was added.

My hands shook a little half-way through the night, similar to the effect of Cialus.

When I woke I was still a bit dizzy and the color enhancements were still there. Alas, so too were hearing related changes. My tinnitus was actually increased by the THC. As I drank coffee I felt more mellow than usual and felt the effects were wearing off. However, I was left with a feeling then of euphoria. There is also a little bit of deydration from this.

I may try this again some relaxed Saturday night into Sunday, but at no other time. I also would want to do it with an early dinner, followed by a movie with a lot of color.

The tinnitus enhancement is not, however, desired. So I am not driven to do this again.

It might be good as an occasional diversion and to do a bit of life re-set after weeks of stress at work, for instance.


Temporary Rock Garden

While cleaning the back deck yesterday, I decided to establish a temporary rock garden with all our named bricks. It was a way of getting control over part of the area that will eventually become the garden while at the same time allowing me to move the bricks from the deck.

After hauling the garbage from the deck to the waste transfer station, Marisa and I went to Ace Hardware and Home Depot. The garbage once on the deck included the rotting rattan shelves and the broken mermaid ceramic.

At Ace Hardware I was thinking of getting landscape fabric, but was more concerned with getting items Marisa needed for gardening and for spray-painting a box. I did get two packages of grass seeds for shady and sunny areas (as I have had good luck with grass seeds so far and wish to fix the back lawn).

At Home Depot, I got a deck box for $60 and a Black and Decker electric plug-in weed wacker: their smallest model. Also interested in an electric $250 water pressure washer.

So when we got home I realized I had forgotten to purchase landscape fabric.

Under the bricks in the location next to the side tree I put the large pieces of cardboard which housed the pieces that made up our new Craftsman style entertainment center. Those boxes were occupying the front room since we assembled the center earlier this year. All the other stuff in the front room went to the waste transfer station. I was going to recycle the broken down boxes, but decided instead that they would make good barriers against weeds growing in the ground under the bricks, so I placed the cardboard in 2-4 layers (depending on the overlap) after doing what I could do to flatten and de-weed the area. Then I moved the named bricks from the deck and also from the tool bay next to the heat exchanger.

I wasn't able to completely cover the area with named bricks, so I moved in some of the larger rocks I have found. A real rock garden would fill a much larger area and include river rock and additional larger rocks.

To-day: no shopping. I will de-weed areas by the roses and the back corner, mow the back lawn, clip grass in the front yard by the sports car parked in my space.

Glass Slides for Movie Theaters

I note that I have now spent a total of more than $7500 to accumulate hundreds of glass slides which were used in movie theaters mostly in the mid 1910's through 1929 (there are a few in the bunch which were soundies from the 1930s or 1940s).

Even with a small number costing me more than $100 each, the average price per slide stands at less than $11. Even though I generally bid around that, I include postage and handling in the cost so you would think the average would be more. However, I often find a large number of slides and those bulk purchases can put the price per slide at much less than $11 total per slide. Also I do try to buy multiple auctions from a single seller to lower postage and handling costs per slide.

Right now I have 7 boxes for the slides...may need to go to 8 soon.

There are few doubles and when I have time I will scout those out and do a comparison, then sell the doubles with a low starting price.

Many of the slides need renovation (new cover glass, new cardboard frame if older slides which did not have cover glass and which had glass which was actually smaller than the lantern slide size, new tape, cleaning, new paper frame), so am also acquiring (when cheap enough) lantern slide cover glass. Some day I will work on restoration. I am still trying to find a decent tape that looks similar to the black tape but is archival. Cardboard frames and paper frames are also things I need to figure out.

What I would like to do is use the slides as a center piece for research on silent movies. I have enough that I have some good ideas for themes.

I hope I live long enough to do all the things I want to do. Hey, live long enough to finish one thing would be good!

Holey Moley

This is at least one hopeful study which says that international cooperation can reverse planetary disaster. Whether it is unchallenge-able science or not (NASA, not some crazy organization, is skeptical), it is certainly an indicator that if world-wide agreements are reached, some good may come of it. Next: the impact of agreements on carbon emissions to-day. We probably won't know for another half-century which means I am not likely to see reversal of global warming impacts in my life. However, I would like my life to be one that says: he did what he could to heal planet Earth in the 21st Century.


Bumble, honey bees and weeds

We have a wide variety of weeds now as the perennial flowers we get from bulb plants and other varieties fade away. I am busy pulling many of them but I do like this one that has purple flowers and large clover leaves (which I believe is Trifolium pratense, also known as Red Clover). The Yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnessenskii) can be seen exploring its flowers as can honey bees. I saw both kinds of bees yesterday around these plants.

Also, now the Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta) is growing around the window well in the front yard. I like to try to maintain it there. Its reddish leaves and yellow flowers are attractive and the plant is not seen elsewhere on the lot. It can be a prolific weed but seems to stick to that one area so I am happy with it. I try to remove any other weeds in the vicinity.

I think I see some English Daisy growing in one area beyond the Red Clover. I like it and may try to cultivate it.

The back lawn has large patches of White Clover. It is starting to become a nuisance.


As we get closer to the debut of Star Trek Beyond, the movie from Paramount, and the new CBS Star Trek television series next year, we learn that CBS is clamping down on all fan productions.

The fan film guidelines released by CBS pretty much destroys what James Cawley, Vic Mignogna and the folks behind Star Trek Renegades (chiefly Tim Russ) have been doing for the past decade. With each production release they have become more and more sophisticated.

Renegades says it is going on, but will remove all Star Trek references. We will just watch what they come up with knowing that it is rooted in Star Trek.

Pretty much anything that attempted to extend Star Trek to the point of duplicating sets and uniforms and using the same characters: those will disappear.

Cawley himself has pulled the plug and now all his great sets will just be his own personal playground rather than the backdrop for fan films.

Frankly, it was these efforts that sustained Star Trek fans for the years between the Enterprise television series and to-day. The digital technology made it possible to produce very acceptable programs for limited amounts of money. So the dearth of Star Trek was occasionally filled by something worthy of attention.

I am bothered by how draconian the guidelines appear to be. I would not have stopped watching the Star Trek theatrical features nor tuning into the new Star Trek series to get the occasional Star Trek Continues episode.

However, we are far better off to-day having those fan productions available to us.

To Vic and James and all the others--please go into stealth mode. Eventually the big corporations will lose interest again as we have seen between 1969 and 1979 and then again from 2005 to 2015 (except for the 2 Star Trek movies). When another non-Star Trek decade hits, please break out the sets and the fan scripts and get busy again. We need to believe in a future that, while not utopian is not mainly dystopian.

I would say, hey, keep on producing to-day but don't put it out there on the internet. Then when it's time, put it out there. However, it would be too tempting to want to show it off. Who wouldn't? Conventions, internet, streaming. Once that happens you draw the attention of corporate lawyers. So put it all in mothballs for now and let us try to enjoy the corporate offerings and support them.

Meanwhile there will be a mini-dearth between August and December in 2016. I will track down all the fan productions online which I didn't get, work on packaging them for myself, and then watch them along with the other sanctioned productions.



I am considering spending $50 to get an electric string trimmer. Black and Decker sells one which is readilly available and there are probably other brands. These would be plug in devices: cordless would use batteries which never get a strong enough charge to operate after a while.

The only manual options are to use tools I already have to deal with grasses that are simply too high and tough to cut with a push power.

There is one which you fling back and forth which cuts the reeds but it can be tedious to cover a large area. I have used one in the past to get caught up with tall grass. It works but not very satisfying: you can never get things completely trimmed.

There is a hand trimmer but when the blades get dull the action doesn't always work...and after a while the hand closing required to make it work becomes difficult.


Today was a fairly low key day with few expectations. I was thinking about going to an 11 a.m. event where an eagle that the Audobon Society had rehabilitated had been released into the wild from the St. Johns Bridge. However, if didn't want to feel the pressure of a deadline so just skipped that.

We have needed groceries for a while, but when I ran out of canned cat food, that was the signal to go to the store.

I tried to get some things out of the way first, such as clearing away all Ebay auctions besides those I won or those I was bidding on. I worked out long range budgets and determined I could only charge $300 a month and I was already $700 over that this month. Alas I won to-day's auction. I have hopes both remaining auctions, which close to-morrow, will go to some other bidder.

Went to Freddies armed with coupons and got everything but the bananas. Why not bananas? It was not for lack of trying. I picked a good bunch, weighed it so I could know how much it would cost, then must have forgot to put the bananas back in the cart. D'oh! I came in $13 under what I thought and I tried to include the coupon value, too.

Filled up the truck with regular gasoline. It was just shy of $30. As I budgeted $30 for gas every week, that was great.

At the post office drive-through I dropped off all the checks I wrote for the end of June bills. Across the street are the new four stories of apartments built where previously there was a vacant lot surrounding by a chain link fence. This is an improvement and residential density improvement while also eliminating an eyesore.

Went home, put away the groceries and ate some lunch. Unlike the last two days I did not have diarrhea. So it wasn't the bread, the lettuce, the mustard or the carrots. It was that oily fake meat from Torfurkey. I will not eat that anymore!

Then on to Hayden Meadows, first to turn in the selzer bottles and a few others. 45 cents!
Then Lowes. I searched highs and Lowes for Shur-tape double-stick tape, the only kind for Marisa's needs as a burlesque performer, and could not find it. It is in the carpet section but in the shelves, low to the ground and not very obvious. Took two guys to help me find it after strolling the aisles in hopes of finding it or a person to help me.

When I checked out I could not figure out where the dollar bills in change go. Right under the scanner the automated voice said. Scanner? The credit card scanner? No cash there. An assistant dropped by to see if I needed help. "You are finished," she said. "But where is the..." I was about to ask but then saw the money under the UPC product scanner.

Before I left I checked out all the sheds that Lowes sells. None of them quite fit the size I need, but I definitely get ideas when I look at them.

When I got home I just wanted to take a nap but had to replace those turn signal lamps in the Ford Focus so Marisa could signal her intentions safely to other drivers.

Removing the lamp lense enclosure was a little scary but thanks to the internet I could (barely) cope with that. The two screws are no big deal, but pulling the thing off is worrisome: I was concerned with breaking a piece of plastic.

I did actually break some plastic, one by accident which did not harm anything and another on purpose.

The sockets for both turn signal lamps were locked in too tightly. Conversely the sockets for the brake lights were easy to remove and lock. I had to pry the turn signal sockets out with a flat screw driver and then knock them back in with a hammer! It worked but it was not fun.

My pants have my grimy finger prints all over them, so in the wash they go as I put on my pajamas and get ready to fix dinner.

To-morrow I will be at work in the morning, then in the afternoon go home and to the rail station to pick up Marisa at 3:30. She has been in California for the weekend and is in-transit as I type this.
* breakfast at 1:30 p.m. That says something right there.
* shower at 3 p.m.
* lunch at 4:30 p.m.
* I am thinking about dinner right now (9:30 p.m.)
* Wrote all checks and budgeted for next month
* stopped watching some 75 or so items on Ebay. Need to stop buying anything but groceries.
* if I only had a $300 credit bill next month, that would be ideal. That won't happen so I will need to transfer money from my slush fund...the money I like to save toward house projects. Nevertheless, if I can reduce what credit I do use from now until the end of the month, I reduce how much of the slush fund I have to tap.
* I had hoped to put in some fence posts to-day. I could have between rainfalls, but frankly needed to just take care of little things that I couldn't do during the course of the last couple of weeks.
* I have now accounted for all of the ebay items except one which is late I guess. Either that or it is buried amongst other things.
* So July 4 won't be as I had hoped. Again. However, I will try to make the best of it: mow the back lawn, make it look as nice as possible sans fence...then come July 4 play drunk croquet.
* The rest of July I will continue working on the fence when cool enough.
* I am hoping next week at work will be more manage-able. I might even take an extra day off on Friday if the weather is good.


Come Not Between The Dragons

A new Star Trek Continues episode is now available: Come Not Between the Dragons. It is a 45 minute episode. I downloaded it and will work on making it into a DVD tonight.

There is a teaser now for the CBS Star Trek series. I also downloaded it to-day. The series supposedly takes place in the original Star Trek timeline between events of the movie The Undiscovered Country and the beginning of Jean Luc Picard's captaincy of The Enterprise. It will not feature The Enterprise or any of the same alien species which have traditionally been a part of the Star Trek stories (Klingons, Romulans, The Borg...not a major part).

However, Rod Roddenberry is one of the producers and the series may have access to ideas from Gene Roddenberry which were recovered recently from really old-style floppy disks. Nicholas Meyer is involved--the director of two of the better Star Trek films.

Filming begins in Toronto, Canada this Fall.

There is also trailer #2 for Star Trek Beyond. This one is much more interesting than #1 and makes me want to see the movie even more. Less than two months away!


Rooty hole

Dug the hole for the 2nd post of our back fence. It is rooty without enough clearance for our Nu Boston Digger to operate, so used a garden spade to pull out a cup of dirt at a time. It is 3 feet at the highest ground but only 2 feet on the other side. It will have to do.

I will get the 160 pounds of concrete to-morrow morning. Soon after I will fix the post...and will be very careful about alignment.

Then on to one, possibly two more post holes (depending on the root situation).

The weather was very good, possibly just a tad too warm.

Also got paid 2 cents for doing garbage patrol for a quarter of the block. I found 2 pennies amongst the plastic straws, cigarette butts and other trash found in the gutters. The cadillac parked by the alleyway got a tow notice on May 23rd with a 72 hour warning. So, when ever the city is ready it will be towed away!

Now if only the street light will be fixed which I also reported that same evening.

Marisa mopped the kitchen floor and did other work to clean up the kitchen.

I did a little weeding.

We excavated something (I won't say what) from the back yard under one of the trees. It was buried too long and was crumbling apart (the idea was to let it decompose only enough to be clean).

After I take a shower I will fix spaghetti and watch a movie from the hundreds of DVDs I have purchased but never seen!

first post

I put in my first post for the back fence to-day. After I put in 200 pounds of concrete I realized it was a bit out of alignment with the other posts in the north fence. Oops. But it is true.

As long as no one disturbs it for a day it should work out okay.

Also spent a good part of the day at Lowes and Home Depot buying and carrying large pieces of lumber and three 80 pound bags of concrete.

My vacation day. The weather was perfect. No rain, partly sunny, not too hot.

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. I will do a post a day, leaving only the gate posts to do...if the weather cooperates. After I get a post in and set, any time left that day I will devote to adding rails on the other posts...and mowing lawns, weeding, watering, transplanting plants, but probably not any additional digging (having my fill of it from the post hole that day).

I did not buy all the 2x4s I will need, only enough to do one rail to every post.

I don't have pickets yet. Home Depot has 5 1/2 inch cedar pickets that are 6 feet tall. I guess those will have to do. I would like to duplicate the pickets already on the north side...Parr Lumber maybe? Pickets are near the end, although the gates are the end.

CBS Sunday Morning had a interview with a woman who has an old garden gate found in the vicinity of Waco, Texas. I took a picture of the television image. So I might spend a little extra creative time on the pedestrian gate.

Moving slowly ahead

* Monday received my Nu Boston Digger for my post hole digging. Used it finally to-day just as it started raining. When it got muddy it was holus interruptus for me. Starting on the post hole on the north corner.
* Our neighbor the the south was kind enough to move her trailer so I had enough room for the post hole on the south. It will be important to do both corners first so I can make sure all the distances between posts are 8 feet or less. I have a little room to play with for the gate posts which should be 8x8s (actually 2 4x8's stuck together).
* She also gave me a 2x4 pressure treated piece left over from her step re-work for her front porch. It will be long enough for one of the rails between the corner post and the existing fence post.
* Our Alabama chair re-upholstery job was finished and I picked it up today. Looks wonderful, feels great! We will wait until the fall or late summer to begin on the Bilt-well chair and davenport. Unlike the Alabama chair where we did a duo-tone in red and orange, we will do the Bilt-well in a rose fabric similar to what we already have in green: try to match the color used in the same set we have seen sold by a local antique store.

I am far behind the timetable for getting up the fence and completing our landscaping, but as long as I make progress I am okay.

Lowes is supposed to deliver my order of fence lumber and concrete but I have not heard from them. I will have to call them.

Soggy preparation time

It is raining all day to-day, so catching up on things such as dirty dishes, garbage, voting, opening mail and that sort of thing.

Also planning on the fence projects.

Here is what I need:

6 6 inch+ lag bolts and washers (two for the extension post, two each for the 8x8. $20
4 4x8's (two will be bolted together to be an 8x8 gate post) -- Lowes $45 each = $180
26+ 5 3/8 inch x 1/2 inch x 6 feet pickets (with dog ears) --Lowes @$3=$80 --home depot 10/$20 = $60
26+ 2 1/4 inch x 1/2 inch x 6 feet square pickets --?? buy 5 inch and slice in half at the shop? ??
20+ 5 inch x 1/2 inch x 6 feet pickets (with dog ears) --Lowes $6 each = $120
6 galvanized steel hinges and 36 1 1/2 inch screws -- Lowes $5 each = $30 + screws
14 2x4x8 feet --Lowes, $5 each= $70
4 4x4x10 feet --Lowes, $16 each =$64
6 bags of quickcrete -- $60

I do have some 2x4 brackets for the rails, but will need:
4 for the area for the front gate
6 for the corner by the people gate
20 for the remainder of the back fence $40
probably another box of hex top screws (I have one box) $10

For the gates will need:
gate to gate latch $5
people gate patch $5
2 gate drop rods/gate cane bolt $14-$22 each $28- $44
more 2x4s for gates

golden wood stain, especially for the fence going up. $30
If it works well, will also want to sand and/or pressure wash the rest of the fence...then apply the same stain there and on the deck rails.

Estimated budget $700

Star Trek Calendar

earlier 2016 -- Star Trek Symphonic presentation at Schnitzer Auditorium, Portland.
May 20 (opening) -- Experience Music Project Exhibit (probably at least through Aug 20)
May 28 -- Come Not Between Us Dragons--New episode of Star Trek Continues
July 22 -- Star Trek Beyond (supposedly the last with Quinto as Spock)
January -- New Star Trek Television series on CBS.


Weeding and Prep Before the Rain

Spent a bit of the morning after a late start, then part of the afternoon, weeding and then raking in the back area in preparation for the fence.

We had some drizzly rain to-day so it sort of curtailed my activities. My allergic reaction to the pollen and grass seed was also restrictive.

This is the line about a half foot away from the actual fence line with stakes centered on each 4x4 (the gate posts will be 8x8, so centered on the 4x4 corner of the 8x8 nearest the gate).

The birds liked the rain and were busy looking for insects.

Have no idea what kind of birds these are but there they were in the alley way, the one by the southeast fence corner and the other sitting on the chainlink fence of the lot across the alley.

To-day was the day of the St. Johns Parade and Bizarre so did not want to leave and have people take my parking spot on the avenue in front of our house.


Health, Finances and Community

* I had a check-up with my doctor to-day. He was pleased. My weight was down (176 pounds at the office, but last time I checked my naked body it was 170 pounds). There is a definite trend down with my current diet. My blood pressure is not the 120/60 I used to get reliably, but 132/85 to-day was pretty good. We will see what blood chemistry looks like, but as I have been using stevia in my coffee it should show a reduction in carbohydrates and triglicerides: otherwise I don't know what to do next! I do have a nutritionist visit scheduled for next week on Friday, so I will have data to present to get professional advice.
* My right forearm has a little spot near the elbow which I am concerned about. It occasionally scabs up. At this moment it looks to be healing but sure enough some later time it will be irritated and I will scratch it and I get another scab.
* Deposited a check and wrote some checks to-day. It will be tight the rest of the month but I have stayed away from everything but supplies for my outdoor projects, so credit use should dip further next month which means I should stay on top of the budget for a while.
* I am all caught up on extra payments to House 70. In fact, come next February I will be one-quarter through the total number of payments I need to buy the house completely! Half of that one-quarter is also pure principal. So you can definitely say that by 2017 I will own more than 10% of the house and probably more like 17%. By end of 2019 I will be half-way through payments, 2022 3-quarters paid and 2024 or so paid off!
* Of course, my goal is to retire in the Spring of 2025 when I am 66. That goal may change, possibly beyond my control, but that is what I want to do to-day. When I retire we should have social security as the core income but investment proceeds from my 10% contributions at work will also be gradually paid down as needed for supplemental income.
* If we achieve our goals of changes to our house early I can work to build up a security fund in addition to this.
* When I went to the bank I saw that St. Johns is preparing for the annual parade to-morrow with "no parking--parade" signs everywhere along Central and Lombard between Ida and downtown St. Johns.
* Also heard the story of a 2:30pm accident yesterday right in front of the bank (Albina Community). A car plows into the bike rack and tree. The man runs away leaving the vehicle there. Apparently he was a drug abuser with hypodermic needles in the vehicle. I don't know if the tree can be saved. I hope they replace the bike rack with a new one--don't think that is salvageable.
* The Couture store is getting a facelift. Alot of businesses are improving or changing along N. Lombard as the street becomes a more attractive place for retail to pedestrians. I see a lot of people walking on N. Lombard that I don't remember happening in years past.
* The "Station" is getting ready to open. It used to be a car repair place. The windows in the main part of the building are still slanted inward from top to bottom. I was concerned they would make them boring like every other place when they were boarded up during construction.
* The little building stuck in by the typewriter store is now completely ready. It fits in rather well, actually...even though it sits right at the edge of the sidewalk. However, so does the typewriter store, and thus it fits in! Fitting in with existing buildings is what good community design is all about!
* Work was exhausting this week, so much so that I just fell asleep to-day as some layout I prepared was loading up. Two hours later I checked and it had not finished loading. I am extremely annoyed by this and will have to start over my work to figure out how to help people migrate their layout (the way I did it apparently corrupted the layout, I don't know). Next time I am saving the entire library at each stopping point.
* Weather to-day was very nice. Got even a bit too hot by 5 p.m. To-morrow it is supposed to rain at times. When it isn't raining I will work on the fence post holes. When it is raining (and after the parade has gone...and people parking on our street have left), I will get posts and other fence supplies. Sunday may also rain, but I will watch for opportunities to work outside.
* My neighbor was power washing her front stoop to-day. I need to get one of those (but not the one she had, made by Karcher--it would occasionally overload itself and blow its own circuit breaker) to prepare the fences and railing for stain (someday).

Toward a back fence

To-day I:
* mowed the front lawn.
* raked and graded area for fence.
* re-planned the fence.
* agreed with neighbor on how southeast fence corner will be formed.
* staked out points 1 foot 8 inches from property corners
* purchased a digging bar: it easily dislodged two nice rocks (the size of ostrich eggs) and a chunk of buried concrete.
* purchased on-line a Boston post hole digger. $150 but it will do the job.
* obtained, for free, three old windows for the shack which someone had put outside with the sign that said "free."
* filled the two preliminary post holes which were not where the fence line will be.
* transplanted forget-me-nots which were growing in the center of the drive way between the Falcon and the Focus.
* pulled and minimized grass and weeds growing in gaps between paving bricks in driveway.
* swept the driveway.

General comments:
The parking strip grass is thick but the type of grass is reedy and I did not catch it before it shot up stalks my mower can't deal with. So the park strip is mowed but those tall reeds need to be attacked by a hand-snipper or I need to sharpen the mower (probably both).

While the drive way clean-up was not perfect (many cracks between bricks still had some remnant of a plant growing there), there is a noticeable improvement in apperance. I haven't done this really since we got the driveway installed. It was looking like an abandoned urban landscape!

Glad to have found the right approach on the fence with our neighbor. She wanted an actual boundary fence for the six or so feet to the corner. Too bad. It would have looked nicer to have the fence continue on as it had. Oh well.

I am really eager to build the shack. I did a quick measurement and believe a 6x6 square shack with a roof 10 feet down to 7 feet would work well. It would sit diagonally between the two trees. While I am working on the fence I will prepare the foundation. The 3 windows I just got will be part of the design. The work creating the gates will be good exprience with 2x4s I can apply to the shack.

However there is also--
* Marvin's Garden with new drainage and drywell.
* The gate and fence between house and north fence.
* removal of the land between the rain barrel and the fake wall.
* new steps and finishing of railing for the deck.
* corner walk way.
* painting the trim in the corner area.
* adding the solar clothes drier.

Next week:
* preliminary string between stakes then mark with a stake all post centers 5 inches away from edge of hole (9 inches from center). then string between each stake.
* dig each post hole.
* purchase 10 feet posts: 2 6x6 (or 8x8 if available), 4 4x4.
* buy 8 foot 2x4s for rails (12)
* purchase bolts and washers for extension post
* prepare one 4x4 otherwise not in perfect condition as the extension post.
* bolt extension post.
* put in 10 foot 4x4 at northeast property corner.
* add brackets and cut rails.
* put in two 6x6 gate posts.
* put in 4x4 after gate post.
* add brackets and cut rails.
* put in 4x4 #2.
* add brackets, cut rails.
* put in corner 4x4.
* add brackets, cut rails.
* create gate frame for pedestrian gate.
* buy first pair of hinges ($20) plus long screws.
* buy latch
* install pedestrian gate frame
* create gate frames for car
* buy two pairs of hinges ($40) plus long screws.
* buy latch
* install car gates
* buy pickets for gates and side fence sections
* install gate and side fence sections
* buy pickets for three additional sections
* install pickets
* buy pickets for garbage area
* install those pickets
* do some more edging
* scrape off moss from front walk way
* finish mound transfer.
* excavate scull and move concrete slab
* dig out all weeds from area under trees.
* snip grass/etc. on edges of grass.
* sweep sidewalk, walkway.
* remove blackberries, wood, other weeds from area between north fence and driveway.
* remove weeds from flower beds and near house walkway
* tape up pots and use to transplant evergreen seedlings
* transplant bluebell in near house walkway to Delbert's Garden.
* transplant bluebells on North side to Delbert's Garden.

Yard Work and the Back Fence

Began working on the back fence to-day. I measured the placement of the first two posts last night and marked with a hoe. This morning I re-measured and it was correct.

Then I read up on gates in The Fence Bible and wrote down what I would need.

The fence posts I lost yesterday were not long enough anyway: they are for the front posts only.

These posts I need to be 10 feet long so I can put them 3 feet down and be 7 feet tall. I believe I can make the fence 7 feet tall and meet code. If it is only 6 feet I can cut back.

Also, the posts for the gates need to be thicker to support the weight and change in force upon the posts...so at least 6x6, possibly 8x8. Then I need two 4x4s.

Also need a lot of 2x4s, brackets to hold the rails and six hinges, pickets and a variety of screws. Without the pickets this will probably total $300. I didn't figure pickets: that will probably be another $100.

Posts, rails, gates first, then pickets.

I ran into a large stone in the hole for one of my posts. That will be the difficulty in getting down 3 feet. The other hole looks okay so far, just need to keep at it.

Between efforts at digging the first two holes I have also worked on various aspects of landscaping:
* edged additional amount on park strip.
* mowed the back lawn.
* scraped off weeds growing in cracks in drive way between bricks using a shovel.
* transplanted the dirt from the mound between the two trees to a dirt mound against the south fence.
* raked crab grass and other weeds from the area around the two back trees toward a central area.
* dug out (with the shovel) and pulled various offensive weeds.
* pulled river rocks from dirt and into a 30 gallon trash container.

After lunch I:
* weeded area by deck steps.
* trimmed grass by deck steps.
* removed blackberry and grapes clogging area by Northeast corner.
* discovered actual property corner...reconsidering how this will affect the fence.
* told neighbor about what I was doing...so she closed the trailer and opened up the area where I might be able to add a post, but when I get there might need more room to dig the hole.
* raked and stuffed in more crab grass from between the two trees.

To-morrow I will:
* mow the front lawn.
* do some more edging
* scrape off moss from front walk way
* dig more on post holes.
* finish mound transfer.
* excavate scull and move concrete slab
* dig out all weeds from area under trees.
* rake/grade area for fence.
* locate two other post hole areas and mark.
* snip grass/etc. on edges of grass.
* sweep sidewalk, walkway and drive way.
* remove weeds from flower beds and near house walkway
* tape up pots and use to transplant evergreen seedlings
* transplant bluebell in near house walkway to Delbert's Garden.
* transplant bluebells on North side to Delbert's Garden.

Bits of Anger

* Just what I get for preparing ahead for my work on the back fence to-morrow. I put the two immediately available 4x4s in the back yard yester-day. They were there this morning. They were not there when I got back from work to-day. I would prefer someone come to my door and ask for $15 than to take something that obviously did not belong to them. However, I guess if you don't have it locked up or nailed down some people think they can take it away.

* The irony is that I was preparing to do the most important thing one can do to prevent theft, trespass and encroachment: put up a fence. Now nothing can stop me from doing that. Light a fire under me and watch out. I still have two good wood posts, so I will dig their holes and plant them to-morrow. I need to plant at least two more to fence the back area, but the corner post will have to wait until my neighbor moves her trailer reaching over my lot. Until that time, however, I have two metal posts I will use along with some wire to block off that corner. I need good 2x4s and may need more hardware to mount rails. Later I will make a people-sized gate. The final step is the car gate. That will take a lot of engineering because it will be a slider with a remote control/motor.

* We lost Spalding due to coyotes last year...and that probably would not have happened if we had a back fence. Our neighbor sends people to work on various things at her house and invariably they waltz onto our lot without asking. That same neighbor had some relative, son, nephew, not sure, who would cross onto front yard. Once I put my front fence up that stopped. A fence sets boundaries better than anything. Most people, even the unthinking and uncaring, will respect a fence.

* I am fed up with people abusing me and my neighborhood. I read up on trespass laws and encroachment, so I am going to deal with those problems.

Also I reported the car by the alleyway leading to the back of our property. It has been parked there for months. Garbage has accumulated by its wheels. The license plate was due for renewal in 2015. I called the number on the for sale sign but no answer. Thought I would ask the owner to move it before I reported it, but no answering device so I go to the city.

The street light near our house has been out for some time. One of our neighbors, the same one who is encroaching our property, didn't want it fixed. Well, I am sorry: our street is too dark. I reported that outage.

I went around the area and picked up a bunch of garbage...remnants of convenience foods generally. Also someone borrowed a Fred Meyer hand basket and just left it on the sidewalk. I will return it to Freddies.

* I was shocked to hear that the state of Oregon owns rainwater (when I read about water rights last year when I was exploring the purchase of a property on Griffin Creek near Medford Oregon). Next we'll hear that the state owns the sunlight or the atmosphere. However, we are the government...so we can elect representatives who enact laws that encourage local use of rain water in ways that benefit the greater good and the individual property owner. Government in a democracy should not mean we have to live with draconian laws.

One man owning property in Eagle Point Oregon, near Medford Oregon, was charged with violating water laws. The man claims the water is all from rainfall that landed on his property.


It is true that a government with local juristiction owns all water. One of the teaser headlines for the article says the U.S. Government, but that is over-reaching.

Generally the state has ownership of all water but smaller government units: counties or cities can have limited juristiction as given by state government. Most cities and counties actually encourage residents to store water on their property as a method of conserving it for times of drought as long as the water came from rain. Oftentimes run-off complicates water management for cities, so any water used locally (near or on the property where it fell) is water which doesn't enter the sewer system.

In this rural property near Eagle Point and Medford, apparently, there is more concern that water actually become part of the creeks and rivers rather than accumulate for use by a property owner. The guy could probably have been ok if the rain harvesting was limited, but sounds like that was not the case.

I would have liked to see his actual system of collection and storage. The pictures were not from his property.

* I am sure Tina Kotek can do a better job for all of us. However, voting for Phoney Baloney Nasset, her opponent for Oregon House District 44, makes little sense. Jim Robison, who lost the election against Kotek, was a much more responsible and responsive candidate (and serves us to-day in other capacities). If he ran against Kotek again, I would vote for him again. However, I will not vote for any candidate who lets campaign materials appear on her behalf which demean and distort. Even if Phoney had nothing to do with these pieces of paper (which I doubt), she has not publicly spoken out against them either. Who would want to associate with a piece of paper that would lead you to believe that our statehouse is in Olympia Washington? Above all I want a state representative to be honest. Phoney does not give me any reason to believe she is that.

* First it was this fake Oregon Voter's Guide that this guy was handing out to homeowners in the neighborhood. It was reported by the Oregonian/Oregon Live. It fluffed up the record of Sharon "Phoney Baloney" Nasset and made Kotek appear downright criminal. Then to-day this scribbled bit of nonsense. Nasset is a not the kind of person I want representing me. She was, after all, the one who thought it would be great to funnel an interstate highway right through our neighborhood

We've Got the Power

Around 10:30 a.m. to-day our power went off. The whole neighborhood did not have electricity. I was told around 400 homes were without power.

The power pole on the North side of North Lombard at Ida had split off 20 feet from the ground.

Crews were working on it around noon.

At 3:39 p.m. the power was back on.

That is the longest I remember that we have not had electricity.

What I did with the power off:

* took a shower (the water heater water was still hot)
* ate breakfast (hot coffee from the carafe which was still hot but no sausage)
* weeded around the house, filling up the compost bin--mostly blackberries.
* started edge sod removal at the sidewalk and park strip at the south side.
* raked machine cut grass and leaves up to the mature grass stand and gathered as mulch for the Purple Catalpa.
* prepared ground and added annual ryegrass seeds to an area just south of the mature grass stand
* took pictures of the Nootka Rose, one flower completely out.
* took video/audio from our front step including sirens, the woman who walks down the middle of our street and a multitude of cars which don't like to stop.

I came in to have lunch and relieve my allergy-attacked runny nose.

Quick as a Fox

* fixed base of rain barrel 3.*
* Brie is laying down looking at Cirrus and Cirrus is laying down looking at Brie on the cat deck.
* Marisa and I picked up 2 ebay items to-day: a Byron Hotel room notice and 40+ Portland area 8mm films from 1949-1969.
* We had coffee at a shop in Sellwood. Something Mug.
* Went to the Sellwood Antique Mall and the As-Is.
* Earlier this week at work was interrupted by what is known as hot fixes.
* Subdued atmosphere as people are scared about being let go or have been let go.
* Mostly rainy but nicer to-day and should be to-morrow.
* To-morrow hope to do more weeding in the back and around the house, plus mowing, digging, etc.
* The flower Marisa planted for our cats is back next to their gravestones.
* Marvin's stone was completely overwhelmed by Peruvian Lillies, so I pulled a bunch of them.

Back to square one

It all came together yesterday, on Saturday. Our mower was back and there were times when it was not raining, so I mowed the back lawn and the front park strip. Getting control of these basic landscape features is essential but does not mean real landscape progress. We are back to square one.

As part of the work on the park strip notice that these annual ferns found a way to get on the park strip. I pulled them as well as I could. I have yet to see a root system for these ferns so fear I will never be able to get rid of them. I do like them, but the fact that they disappear during the winter makes them undesireable.

Our sword fern and deer fern are doing well under the tree, as are all the plants in Delbert's garden. In fact, after a couple of years now the Nootka Rose is finally forming roses! The other flowers from earlier are fading, but it is good to see succession.

At the same time, the Heuchera have shot up their stems and are also starting to bloom

On the north side of the house the tiny blue and yellow flowering plant has returned. I saw it there previously, so it must be a perennial. In fact it is. I identified it as Myosotis sylvatica commonly known as Forget-Me-Not. Not very good at propagation, though, as I have not seen it elsewhere. I eliminated weed competition for sun, water and soil nutrients and hope it does well. When it starts fading and after it seeds I will attempt to transplant it to Delbert's Garden.

Nearby another bluebell which is probably the most prolific of all the bluebells growing around Zolacmanor.

Also removed weeds around the Purple Catalpa which is leafing out fairly well now.

The planted grass (annual ryegrass) is filling in well, but the back lawn is still overly weedy.

To-day the weather looks better, so I will put on my grubbies and get down to more weed control, digging and maybe fix the third rain barrel.

Tried out the new New Seasons grocery store on North Lombard yesterday. They stock the same stuff as the one on North Interstate and Rosa Parks and have the excessive prices. No taquitos, no Amy's low sodium rice bowl. However, bucatelli (Perciatelli), low sodium Amy's burritos. We also tried some no-meat pizzas.

I do like the lights on the cashiers stands: they look like the towers from the St. Johns Bridge!

Meanwhile Fred Meyer has changed everything enough that I can't find anything easily. The produce department has wood podiums for their fruits and vegetables to make it look nicer...to compete with New Seasons. Doesn't do anything for me and I resent the probable increase in food prices that come with all the work to make FM more competitive while doing nothing to increase food product diversity.

Bend and Back

Marisa, "Ophelia Bush" and I went to Bend yesterday around noon and came back to Portland a little over 24 hours later. Marisa and "Ophelia" performed 3 acts each along with "Romeo Bedwell" and "Pepper" and "Wanda Bones" at Volcanic Theater and Pub at Century Center.

The trip to Bend was the Columbia Gorge through Maupin route. It stressed the Ford too much and we had to stop three times when the engine lost power. We took the I-84/US-197/US-97 route because the I-84/US-26-US-97 route showed snow on the road at Government Camp. But that was just from a freakish snow storm on Wednesday or Thursday...the warm temperatures pretty much put an end to that. We might have been fine on Saturday at noon.

The way back, U.S. 26, was less stressful on the car and me.

Our stay was at the Mill Inn, a nice place but we both needed time in the bathroom and we had no bathroom! Excellent breakfast, too. Dinner was at Kayo's, also excellent if slightly pricey. Really difficult to find a place that served fruit juice. Everything was beer and wine in Bend! So I became deydrated.

When I got back, even though earlier than expected, I was exhausted. This whole week has been exhausting for me, starting with a trip to Santa Clara for a one-on-one, then, just as I begin recovering from that, an evening perforance Friday at Crush, then this trip.

So, I did very little to-day. I took a nap, watched an episode of The Blacklist where Elizabeth Keene supposedly is killed (the doctor, paid by Raymond Reddington, says she is dead...but Raymond asks his assistant to make sure she doesn't go to the county Morgue but handled in the "normal way." ). Followed that up with an episode of Murdoch Mysteries (uses another title when on Encore) where Mimi Kuzych guest stars as a manipulative mother of a dead son and a constable falls in love with an aspiring Canadian novelist who goes on to write "Anne of the Green Gables." It was actually pretty good.

I would have said that I did nothing to-day, but I did go outside to collect trash from the park strip, including the discovery of a heavy black rubber box about the size of my fist. I just threw it away along with the various wrappers and drink cup tops I found. Also put out recycling and trash.

However, mowing and weeding the lawns: nope, I was just not motivated. Besides, Sterling had borrowed my mower. I will see if I can do it to-morrow after work.

Fewer weeds and Mowed Lawn

After working in the yard these past three days, I feel good.

I weeded a great deal of our lot and the park strip and I seeded some bare spots on the back lawn. We will see if the seeding takes in a week or so. Watered the back lawn after adding the seeds and preparing the soil (including harvesting another 4-gallon bucket of weeds). Checked the fence repair arranged by my neighbor. Nail spikes push out onto the rails from the other side.

Also did a little (very little) work in the basement and pulled up the other Sputnik lamp. It is taking up space and the guy who got the Credenza a few weeks ago is interested in it. I really have a lot to do in the basement. I stopped to imagine if it was all empty again. What a great idea!

Took stock of Delbert's Garden and fence: It is looking real good with the blue bells in bloom and the Oregon Grape and Pink Flowering Currant still flowering. The purple deadnettle survived the transplant and I think a transplanted bleeding heart also survived. A bunch of bleeding heart plants I transplanted last year are leafy but are not flowering because they were put too far back under shade. The Heuchera is leafing out. The fence looks good.

--2013%20House%20Work/DSC02009-Delberts_Garden_in_bloom_zpscu3tfvqu.jpg" width="800"--
Looking south from the future Marvin's Garden to see the walkway leading to the house in the foreground, the southwest corner of the house with the brick facade which will eventually be removed, the dirt path between the retaining wall and the house which eventually be a 3-foot wide paved path, the retaining wall, Delbert's Garden, the lower front corner and, in the background, the white picket fence.

All I need to do now is develop more of the path level corner and add pathway paving to the south.

Meanwhile I started excavating the new dry-well site. First step is to dig the four foot diameter circle with a cross at its center. I have to get it down at least four feet.

--2013%20House%20Work/DSC02008-The_beginning_of_the_new_drywell_and_Marvins_Garden_zpsngh61jps.jpg" width="800"--
Picture shot from the second story looking at front entrance. At the center of the cross will be the grate leading to the dry well underneath. The drywell plus a foot of rocks surrounding it will take a circle four feet around. Note the ditch on the right. This is something I started a few years ago now. It is the north edge of Marvin's Garden which lines up with where the straight run of the pipe from the downspout will go.

When finished it will be four feet below the sidewalk level with the land gently sloping toward its center. The current level of Marvin's Garden will drop down at least a foot to match a few inches below the window well top brim and the place I want to be ground level at the foundation.

I will put a fence section at the sidewalk to one side of the main walkway. It will only be one section as I need to have room for the eventual driveway and pathways.

--2013%20House%20Work/Zolacmanor_Projects-0003_zps72d319b0.jpg" width="600"--
Here is a sketch I made a few years ago about where I thought we should be headed. Please try to imagine the house actually level and not tilted as it shows! The fence section depicted in front of Marvin's Garden is still in the plan. In fact, the sketch still reflects what I want to happen.

Really want to work to get this done this year while still maintaining the plants in the yard. All I can hope for is weather like it was to-day: 70 degrees under mostly sunny skies with little wind.

If I don't get good weather next weekend I will focus on the basement, kitchen, floors and living room instead. Also I have a bunch of garbage in the front room I need to bring to the dump!

Weeds and the store

Picked more weeds to-day. It is good enough now to mow, I think.

Dug around the "oil well." Turns out it was just a rectangular rock, like the dark ones I plan to use on the backyard path at the corner. I dug it out.

That makes the dry-well possible without oil tank removal, so will continue to work toward that end without spending $3000!

I drove to Lowes, then to Home Depot. At Lowes was a rubber carpet transition of 12 feet for $12. It was rolled up into a 16 inch square box. I will eventually cut it to size as the transition from the entry room into the dining room. After I complete the carpet removal in the living room to the complete entry threshold I will cut the remainder to fit as the transition from the entry room to the living room.

At Home Depot I bought 20 feet of 4 inch white pipe, some connectors and a Flo-well for our new dry-well. Also added some zinc compound to kill the moss on the sidewalk in the f


Oil Tank and weeds

My plans for a front dry well have been stymied by my discovery of the buried oil tank in the yard.

I suspected as much but when it fell within the radius required by the dry well then realized we would have to remove it.

It was decommissioned when I bought the house. This means they did soil testing around the tank and cut it open and filled it with sand and rock.

The tank is an albatross for our house anyway. It probably crosses the area where we eventually want to put a parking place. So it has to be done.

I could probably put in my drywell and pipe to it, but if I can get rid of the tank they can probably excavate the entire area as needed anywy. Then I will be free to set up my drywell and do other things. The piping and drywell will probably get in the way of the oil tank removal, so best to get it done now.

The weed removal process from our lawns is taking a long time anyway. It is satisfying work, but slow. That will probably take me the entire weekend, so not too much time for excavation of Marvin's Garden.

My southern-side neighbor today had the rotted post replaced but the two guys who did it, Thor and the other guy whose name I forget, just waltzed into our backyard without so much as a howdy-do. I went out and told them "I would appreciate if you would check with me first before going onto my property."

Instead of an apology I got "we were behind your house and didn't know how to get to the front", " the back was open and we just started working" and an explanation of what they were doing.

One more reason to complete the back fence.

I didn't press them for an apology but shook hands and let them go about their work. The result of the work brings concrete to the surface, even on the post I did. I'll eventually fix that.

In Arizona looking toward the big push

Flew on a corporate jet yesterday morning from Hillsboro, Oregon to Phoenix, Arizona then took a shuttle bus to the Chandler, Arizona campus of my company.

The flight down really hurt my left ear: the change in air pressure was difficult. Could be that I was dehydrated, but when I got on the flight adding liquids was the reverse of what I felt needed to be done!

Anyway, on the flight back Thursday morning hope to not be in that situation...we'll see if it helps, although it is difficult to know if the reverse flight will have the same effect.

The early morning flight made it difficult to work after 3 p.m., so after 4 p.m. went to the motel room I had reserved. I got room 221 at Quality Inn in Chandler, Arizona.

I took a nap until about 6:30 p.m. on a window seat, listening to the birds and traffic with the windows open. The sun was setting. It was the peaceful rest I needed.

Then ventured out to find something to eat. The one place I was thinking about was closed, but nearby was this place called Fresh Millions. I ordered a tofu hot bowl with mushrooms, garbanzo beans, tomatoes with Thai peanut sauce over brown rice. Actually there was another vegetable but I can't remember it.

Worked out well. Fairly simple. Nothing to drink, though as their choices were soft drinks. After eating out of the plastic bowl with plastic utensils, I left to cross the street to get some juice at, arg, Walmart Marketplace. Apple-cherry 100 percent juice for two and a half dollars.

In my room, had a drink of that and put the bottle in the little refrigerator.

Then watched television until I started to nod off. A little of The Monuments Men, which looked interesting, a little of Bob's Burgers, a little of the Simpsons and then a little of the Fantastic Four with the Silver Surfer. I switch to the next when a commercial comes up!

Slept well from 930 pm to around 3 am, then the alarm went off at 4 am and I listened to KJZZ for 15 minutes. Made coffee and at 6:15 a.m. finally feeling myself.

Will be all day at the company campus followed by some dinner with another company hosting. I will probably be tired again around 3-4 p.m. We'll see.

I am really looking forward to getting back so I can get started on our landscaping. Friday will be sunny and 70 degrees, so I am taking the day off. I will finish my basic yard maintenance by removing all the weeds from the back lawn and park strip, mow, and seed with grass.

Then, will start excavating Marvin's garden to create the bowl where water can flow away from the house. At the center of the bowl I will put about four feet down a dry well and then trench it to the rainbarrel and downspout.

I want to complete this by Saturday but will stretch to Sunday if needed. Sunday weather is not quite as good, so want to avoid that if possible. I need to keep that in mind while I push on Friday and Saturday. In other words, if I want to relax on those days or get a late start on Friday, I should not. Rather I should really pull out all the stops and reserve Sunday for rest.
Spent several hours to-day with a hand spade to remove dandelions on the park strip, side yard and the back lawn. Pulled other weeds along the way including flick weed.

There is one weed I like. It gives the appearance of mint and shoots up a purple flower. I learned this is purple deadnettle, an annual. I transplanted some I found from the park strip to Delbert's Garden. We'll see what happens. As it won't return next year it may not be there...but it could seed and show up again. Like flick weed, though, maybe I don't want it!

It has rained off and on all afternoon. Just a little sprinkle, then nothing. Good in one way: kept the pollen down. After three hours, though, the pollen did eventually get to me and I had to come in.

Next thing: mow the lawns.

The back lawn needs a lot more weeding... and I should also try to plant more grass. There is this one ground cover plant that can easily overwhelm the grass. It seems to have gained a greater foothold.

Health stats

I calculated my Body Mass Index to-day and it was 24.6. Then this online service said:

BMI values between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered healthy and present minimal risk for cardiovascular disease.

...which is good, because I do feel better, enjoy being active and feel I am eating well. While there is always room for improvement, I feel my current course is generally right for me.


Plants for Delbert's Garden

The Friends of Baltimore Woods sold native plants to-day from the St. Johns Plaza in downtown St. Johns and we got ours. In less then 20 minutes I blew my $100 budget on Starry Solomon's Seal, Piggyback Plant, Sword Fern, Deer Fern, Pacific Bleeding Heart (which I shouldn't have purchased), Wild Ginger and Evergreen Huckleberry. They had probably all that I picked from my Native plants for Willamette Valley yards book by Metro (which I obtained at the last Fix-It Fair on February 20 at George Middle School, sponsored by the City of Portland), but I could only get up to my budget. The Huckleberry was the only one I had not earlier picked from the book because it was listed as sunny to shady and I was only looking for partly shady to full shade plants.

I planted most of them this morning, then the remainder-- the ferns and the huckleberry in the afternoon (after a trip to Holy Rosary Church so Marisa and I could be interviewed for approval of a religious marriage then followed by a lunch at Dennys with Vajra, Joanna and, of course, Marisa).

Discovered earlier to-day that the late winter volunteer on my back lawn and weedy areas is Hairy bittercress, also known as flick weed. It starts as a sort of clover leaf ground cover, then stalks come out, sometimes a foot high, with a white flower at top. They then produce needle like seeds that just hang there until the stalk is touched when the seeds just spring from the plant, thus the name "flick weed."

Here is one laid out on a rock showing its root system, the clover leaves at the base and the stalks

I have seen these before and sort of like them, except when they take over everything else! Their stalks are a bit woody and might not be cut well by a mower once mature, so don't want them on the lawn. And, as their seeds broadcast everywhere, don't want them on the sidelines fear of seeing them on the lawn again!

So I have been trying to pull them before they go to seed.

The online resources talk about using chemicals to control them. Nope, not for me.

There are other varieties of weeds which, because of the different weather, have become prominent this year while in years past they were sort of in the background.

So I will be doing what I can to pull them out in cultivated areas and do some digging in the other areas.

Meanwhile my bluebells are starting to come out and appear as a carpet in one section of Delbert's Garden. I have been busy the last two years finding their bulbs and transplanting them in a group and finally I am starting to see them as a group!

Close-up of the emerging bluebells with the morning dew. I took this on the morning of Monday, March 21. I was working from home that day and just finished attending a meeting. Nothing better than a little nature to rejuvenate me!

The Oregon Grape is actually flowering this year and the Pink Flowering Current is flowering well. In fact, I saw a pink and emerald hummingbird taking in some of its nectar to-day. That is a gardening moment of victory for me!

This is Delbert's Garden after I finished planting the new Oregon natives. On the left is the carpet of bluebells just emerging. Then, in an open area I found enough room for the huckleberry. Above and in the background under the tree you can see the new sword fern. The deer fern is next to it but barely visible. Starry Solomon's Seal and Wild Ginger are planted in the mix near the Oregon Grape which starts at the center and branches out to the right where you see the yellow flowers. Then comes the red (or pink) flowering currrant as it branches off to the right (where it is sunnier). There is just one flowering Daffodil so far this year. There are 10 or so in Delbert's Garden but this is the only one to show.

A close-up of Delbert's Garden from a different perspective, along the retaining wall. Below the wall is the "Cuban Fire" Huchera. That is not a native, but is nice year round. From left to right are leaves of the Nootka Rose, then the $5 Pacific Bleeding Heart I already have growing toward the center of Delbert's Garden (I transplanted them last year and they promptly died...but their roots took. Now to see if they flower from the shady area I planted them. I think the $5 PBH will actually do better because it will get more sun), then the new Piggyback Plant, above a branch of the red (or pink) currant, then the lemon balm (transplanted last year) and finally another bluebell.

I am a bit bothered by the Nootka Rose which must not like where it is--it has yet to flower.

Oh, by the way, all of the native plants I bought to-day came from Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn. So I don't need to wait for a native plant sale to finish Delbert's Garden! This place looks like THE place to get more plants (and possibly for less).
The people who did our back roof in 2014, Tom Leach Roofing (https://www.facebook.com/PDXroofer/?fref=ts) are the people I intend to hire when we finish doing a complete metal roof on our house.

Yet, another company, Wrong Turn Construction, oops they refer to themselves as Right Turn Construction (https://www.facebook.com/RightTurnConstruction/?fref=ts), keeps trying to get our business. Too bad, they failed again.

Two years ago they tried and said they couldn't even do our back roof.

They call us out of the blue this week, say they will send a guy over at 6 p.m. to-day. He arrives at 5:30 and then argues against the roof we want.

Phone harassment, pushy, doesn't arrive as promised, doesn't listen and its people don't communicate.

The guy that arrived here says he was not told by the people we talked with on the phone that the appointment was for 6 p.m.

Do yourself a favor and go with the good guys, Tom Leach Roofing.

The guy from Wrong Turn left a business card. I tore it up and threw it away.

Tie-backs arrive to-day

After Marisa and I did some reshuffling--me with furniture, Marisa with various supplies and objects, our house interior is looking better and better.

To-day the tie-back hardware (matches the drapery rod I got last week) should arrive. I hope to have enough energy after work to-day to install the rod and tie-backs for the other window in the living room.

To do eventually:
* pull another 3 foot roll of carpet from the living room. This requires pulling carpet from around a vent. I am unsure of how that will work. I want to wait on this until after April 2 (or so) when I get a rubber carpet transition strip. I will use this temporary transition from the foyer into the living room and the dining room (no nails to apply). Once I have that I can cut out the carpet from the living room and pull the rug into the center of the living room (right now the rug itself is serving as a transition).
* cut and finalize the data/audio/video port in the living room. Right now it is just hanging there: very ugly.
* pull another section of carpet from the dining room. Again, this pulls carpet from around a vent, but after the living room experience I should have this down. This should get the carpet out to a line with the tall book cabinet.

Eventually I want to pull all the carpet out.

The foyer and dining room need new floors.

I am reticent to do the foyer because of the longer-range plans to build a new set of stairs that meets code and goes to basement. That will change the floor plan for the foyer somewhat. I would like the foyer to be the crowning part of the renovation with a parquet hardwood floor specially cut and designed.

The dining room, however, I think I can proceed upon at any time once I have all the carpet off.

For there I would like to a standard hardwood floor install (not laminate floor). The number of types of wood for this is incredible--maple, oak, cork, bamboo. I lean toward bamboo right now.

The upstairs bedrooms all have fir flooring. I need to pull the carpet from the other two bedrooms. The closet space has plywood topped with carpet. There is obviously something wrong there but not rushing in to do anything about it: it is a closet to-day!

The bathroom vinyl is peeling off and it looks like mold underneath. Yarg. Yet, I really want our bathroom to change so don't want to rush in to do that without careful consideration about how we are going to deal with our 2nd floor.

The kitchen vinyl is similar...burn holes in one place, warped vinyl in several places, gouges elsewhere. The half-bathroom has old vinyl flooring with similar issues...and is ugly. However, like the upstairs bathroom area, we want to do something different with the kitchen and half-bath.

Once we get the stairs to the basement we can remove the hatch in the back room. That might allow us to re-locate the half-bathroom. Then we can restore the kitchen to a full room with a pantry and put in a good, long-lasting floor.

The one side of the hallway with closet, bathroom and bedroom...we can turn into a bedroom suite with walk-in closet and bathroom.

That is my dream anyway.

New cabinet and curtain rod

The new cabinet for the dining room arrived this morning. I should have it assembled in no time! :)

I pulled the carpet from that section. There is a lot of moisture damage from the main traffic area evident on the underside of the carpet.

Underneath in the dining room: tile. Not ceramic, vinyl and probably not linoleum: whatever they made in the late 1960s. Many of the tiles have "eruptions" and most were damaged by the padding staples. All of this would be fairly acceptable except one tile was partly missing...again in the main traffic area.

For now these tiles and the flaws that come with them are better than the ugly carpet. I am pulling everything under where the cabinet is going and up to the air-conditioning/heating vent under the window. I am leaving the carpet under the china hutch.

Eventually will pull more carpet. The next phase of removal would involve the carpet under the vent up to the first tall bookcase. As I am not sure how this will effect the vent, I am reticent. Coincidentally the next phase of removal in the living room also involves a vent. Strategic carpet and carpet separation strips will have to do in the meantime.

Over time I hope to pull carpet from the entire house and also to convert old two prong outlets to three prong outlets. Alas the three-prong outlets are not actually grounded, but they work better than those ground converter plugs.

Once we have a better starting point (no ugly carpet, no out-moded outlets) we can look into:
* new floors
> dining room (bamboo?)
> foyer (splurge--parquet hardwood?)
> upstairs closet (?)

* recondition fir floors in rooms throughout the house with proper base moulding.
> fix holes and eruptions from nails and staples.
> replace split wood caused by nailing in tack strips.
> patch air return hole on 2nd floor.

* new grounded electrical service to first floor with better distribution. Currently the living room, basement and two overloaded outlets in the kitchen are all on the same circuit. We probably need two new circuits (minimum) so that each room is served separately.
> The living room was not designed to have tons of electronics in it: just a few lamps.
> All it takes to overload the circuit is running the dishwasher and the microwave at the same time. It could be argued the kitchen needs two circuits by itself (not counting the 220 line for the oven).
> The basement to-day is not a big contributor, but it is difficult to deal with outages on the first floor by going to the circuit panel in the basement...because the lighting is out! I hope to use the basement for other things in the future.

After lunch will pull the rest of the staples (I have done half of the area), then pull the tack strips and scrub the floor.

This weekend I will buy and install carpet transition strips and will also position the rugs for greatest effectiveness. Besides that and the living room drapes that will be the end of my inside work on the changing our first floor, at least as we progress into warmer and drier weather where I need to be outside as much as possible.

The back lawn was invaded by this plant with a nice clover type base from which bursts a foot tall set of stems with tiny white flowers. The stems are rather woody and crowd out the grasses I want on the lawn. While I would like them in their own area, they don't help the lawn. Rather than mow these I am trying to pull all of them along with the dandelions, then will mow.
I did not sleep but three hours this morning.

I spent my normal sleep time re-assembling the A/V equipment in the new "entertainment credenza."

Here is the result of two days of work

Sunday I replaced the old 2-prong outlet with a new 3-prong GFI outlet. As our electrical system is not grounded I wanted at least GFI protection for any 3-prong outlets I add so that I don't do workarounds with those 3-prong adapters.

I waited to do that until the laundary was finished as I needed to get access to the basement to shut down the power.

Amazingly, the replacement of the outlet went without a hitch once I discovered that I no longer needed to do the wrap wire around the screw method required in the old 2-prong outlet--just push the wire in the hole and tighten the screw!

Then, pulled all the tack strips off the periphery which once had carpet. Some of those nails were really difficult to pull, but between the crow bar and my nail puller I made the floor nail free!

I brought up a rug we had stored in the basement.

It will be useful eventually in the living room, but for now will cover part of the carpet. I will have to figure out how to transition from the carpeted and padded entry area to the fir floor (which is like an inch lower without the carpet or padding). The rug will help provide a bit of that transition but the goal is to have the rug in a central position so you step from the carpeted area outside the living room onto the fir floor, then onto the rug.

So, now with the newly revealed floor, on to the main reason for the changes--the cabinet.

I was already tired and there was little daylight, but I needed to finish this. It was not going well after the first step when the whole back side of the cabinet was assembled from six or so separate pieces which fit into each other. I discovered the pieces did not stay together easily.

Marisa helped me. In the end left it slightly off thinking that when I finally brought it together with other pieces it would work. I was partly right.

Part of the problem was that the hardware used cams which did not lock very well. In one case the cam I was using shattered! Good that the maker provided extra cams.

Eventually I was able to get enough cams to lock that I was able to assemble the whole thing. Then I discovered 4 bolts which should have been used. Turns out the picture showed them being used but the text did not explain! With Marisa's help, however, we tilted the cabinet so I could tighten the newly added bolts from under the cabinet. Crisis averted, no thanks to bad directions.

So--bad design, bad cams, bad directions. However, in the end the cabinet looks nice. As long as I don't move it we should be fine. I added carpeted caster bases under the legs so we could sort of slide the unit on the fir floor without worrying about damage.

It was 11 p.m. and I had still not put the A/V stuff inside. We had already missed our Sunday television programming. I was super tired but wanted to not leave it like this.

So I methodically put in the amp and connected everything. But, whoops, the amp and the laser player did not both fit in the top section. The laser had to go there because it was too deep and would not fit in an enclosed part of the cabinet. So I disconnected everything and moved the amp to a lower section behind the glass doors.

As I was very fatigued by now I made a mistake by propping the heavy amp on the edge of the cabinet, then pulled a wire which tugged at the amp and boom...the amp fell off the cabinet. A little chunk off the cabinet fell off...the second ding (the first came during assembly).

Eventually I was able to get all the equipment added and powered. I finished the cabinet with handles for the doors. I did not screw in the back as the cabinet appeared stable enough. I might do it in the future but have found that this is often unnecessary.

I wanted to return furniture to where it came from, but the bookcase was occupied by dvds and vhs tapes from the old credenza. I had to put all of those in the new credenza first. It was like 3 a.m.

By 4 a.m. I did that. I re-positioned the cabinet, added the television and put in the shelves (dvd shelves and the bookshelves). I cleaned up as much as I could without running the vacuum cleaner.

By 4:30 a.m. I was finished...and everything powered up correctly! I sat down to 2 pieces of pizza and three glasses of juice (I was very thirsty)...and watched Murdoch Mysteries off the DVR.

At 5:30 a.m. I went to bed to sleep for three hours before waking up to go to work.

* books need to go in the bookcase.
* glassed cabinet needs to go above the bookcase and filled with DVDs.
* other dvds need to go in the dvd shelves.

* move the vhs drawers.
* remove more carpet and carpet tacks from the living room (the 2nd third).
* transition the foyer carpet to living room.
* reposition the rug.

Even later:
* remove the rest of the carpet and replace the 2nd living room outlet, reposition book shelves, add a skinny bookshelf with access to the power plug.
* install new drape rods and tie-backs for the living room.
* cut out and fix cable entry.

You really won't find it at Fred Meyer

Fred Meyer grocery store in my neighborhood is rushing to change its shelving and item location to coincide with the opening of a rival store, New Seasons Market, mere blocks away. I would guess they would not have done this but for the competition. FM expands its floral department, the produce department, the meat department and every aisle gets new signage.

I was perfectly happy with these departments before this. Many items are now in different locations and many items discontinued or no longer offered to make room for these improvements. The food items I mostly go to have been split into endcaps of aisles instead of continguous refrigerated shelves. The items they have discontinued I still want to get. About the only good thing is the discovery of a vegetarian tamales product!

I hope New Seasons carries what we need or is at least open to product requests as Freddies continues to shows its misunderstanding of what its customers need. Their new slogan more accurately should be: "You really won't find it at Fred Meyer."

Fir floor in Living Room!

Well, there is a fir floor in our living room! Just like our 2nd story, there is nice wood underneath the poor quality carpet.

I pulled off the first third of the carpet and padding, and yanked the staples holding down the padding leaving only the tack strips along the walls. There were a few gouges and I revealed a little hole going into the basement. Also the fir slat where the tack strips were added were split by the nails anchoring the tack strips. Otherwise the floor underneath looks great.

To-morrow I will go into our basement and find a suitable rug for the living room (from those I have been storing for just this occasion) and will get a file for one of Marisa's projects and crow bars to help pull off the tack strips.

I would go into the basement now, but it is already past 11 if you consider the spring forward Daylight Savings Time change which occurs officially early to-morrow morning. I have to move a bunch of stuff to one side so I can get down there.

Purchased curtain rods to match those already in the living room...except they don't match and Freddies no longer carries the rods I want. So I ordered them on Amazon and to-morrow must go back to Freddies and return the ones I purchased.

I also got a new GFI triple prong outlet and metal plate. With the basement open I will turn off the power and replace the outlet on the one side of the living room...and then turn the power back on.

There is another outlet on the other side. When I get to pulling the carpet from that side (and repositioning the shelves), I will also replace that outlet and remove the thermostat. Then I will open up a single space between all the shelves where that outlet is...and work on creating a narrow set of shelves with an opening at the bottom for access to the outlet.

To-morrow, after making these adjustments:
* clean the floor and walls.
* assemble the new A/V cabinet.
* move back in the equipment, books, discs and tapes.
* remove the video tape drawers and other items in the 2nd third of the carpet.
* pull that carpet, tacks, etc.
* clean.
* put back items removed and do one final cleaning with the new rug.

The remaining things to do in the living room then are:
* put up the rod and tie-back hardware I get from Amazon...and the curtains.
* move Davenport and stuff behind it, then stack books from each book shelf unit, remove each unit, and remove the carpet from that area, then return the unit and books and move on to the next unit. Continue until entire area has no carpet. New outlet and revise phone connection.
* cut a better hole for the cable outlet so the outlet is flush with the wall.
* reupholster all the chairs.
* put in new rollers or mini-blinds for both windows.
* fix the standing lamp switch.
* picture molding.
* ceiling molding.
* central fixture with dimmer.

Furniture and carpet

* Furniture delivered yesterday morning--a craftsman style AV Cabinet made in Thailand and purchased through Overstock.com for around $500.
* We are supposed to get the large wall sized cabinetry made in India, $1000, red with all glassed doors. This will go in the dining room to replace the large painting of a market scene in Haiti...and my disabled futon loveseat which I got back in 1997 (the fold out part broke apart when it was used as a chair).
* So to-day I want to move all the furniture, books, dvds, electronic equipment out of the living room, pull the carpet, replace outlets with modern 3-prong outlets, clean, then assemble the new furniture and return most of the stuff I moved out. Just thinking about it makes me weary. The other half of the room will stay as-is for a while.
* To-morrow will do the same in the dining room, although that should be easier.
* The big hassle will be just finding temporary places for things.
* I also am interested in keeping the futon, even if just a seat now. I am thinking about a major re-organization of items in the front room...but that itself would take time.
* Overcast to-day...expect rain most of the time.
* Work yesterday was not very fun. One thing, which took a couple of hours, did not work or was invalidated in some way. I was able to check off a couple of things, but the main items I could not do. Also I was supposed to be in early enough for a 1:1 with my boss but didn't make it.
* I didn't make it because Thursday night I went with Marisa to a Tiki burlesque show with go-go dancing during the intermission...at the Star Theatre...followed by a late dinner at Denny's. Also I didn't feel the rush to get there early because, as I remember it, the 1:1 wasn't until 1 p.m. Either my memory was faulty or the meeting was moved last night. Most likely my memory was faulty. Certainly I thought I could make it by 10 a.m., but did not.
* At least I got a good parking place...being that it was a Friday. This one was right by a corner of RA-1...just a stroll to the main entrance and upstairs...and I was at my desk!
* Before I went home I did a little office cleaning...threw away several empties of Starbucks Mocha Frappaccino (some with mold growing inside) and wiped the round table surface and the surface of my desk. It wasn't a major clean-up, but definitely made it better.
* Upsetting dreams with terrorist attacks, my truck ripped apart and divorce. I woke early, then went back to sleep again.

No more stitches

* got my stitches removed today.
* worked from home.
* got two things done.
> special build.
> regular build but with special file added.
> wrote and tested, the integrated into build a special file creator script.

The scar under my left eye looks terrible! There is a silicon dioxide gel which they recommended may soften it and allow for the skin to end up with a more natural way.

Still some healing to do...maybe another week. However, it is less painful to flex my facial muscles now without the stitches. I will use the antiseptic gel to keep it clean and prevent blood crusting, then next week turn to this other gel.

In April I have another appointment where I get the story about how to get my face fixed.

It will be a busy month...Star Trek Concert, this appointment, a long day at work flying to Santa Clara and back, a trip to Bend...and, of course, lots of work outdoors.

Sooner than that, though, new furniture. On Saturday...a behemoth of a cabinet which will require re-locating the futon loveseat and ripping out of the carpet in the dining room (at least part of it). Then Monday, more of the same with a new television cabinet in the living room (although will wait until the following weekend to do that).

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