Friday, February 22, 2008

Christmas Trip Pichers

Back in January, I promised that I would post some of the pichers I took during my trip to visit my sister in Oregon.
Herewith are some of them.

A note of explanation - Oregon receives most of its weather from the north Pacific ocean.
For this reason, it is often cool/cold wet/rainy/snowy in the winter.
Most days are cloudy.
Sunshine is the exception.
It rains almost every day.
Sometimes for five minutes, sometime all day (or night).
The Oregon coast area is similarly afflicted.
Sooooo, most of the pictures have a boring (to my taste) gray look.



This was the sunrise over Huntsville the morning I left.
Nice!



Three thousand miles away, this is a close-up (sort of) of Mount St. Helens as we descended through the clouds to land in Portland.



Every year I put my camera on auto and snap a picture of all of us just before we open our presents on Christmas Eve.
This is the latest iteration.



This does not show it as well as the video I made but here I am standing in the falling snow.
It was about 35 degrees and thus, too warm for the snow to stick.



Another tradition of our Christmas visit is my sister makes a giant apple pie.
The pie dish is about twelve inches across and the apples are piled about five inches deep.
Believe me, this is a wonderful pie. ;9

More pichers to come soon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Running and Business

I took Friday off work so that I could install a new set of glass doors on my new tub.
I have been wanting to do this since soon after I moved into my house.
(Not take off work - install the doors)
But my church is getting ready to install new carpet.
Before the new carpet can be put in, we need/want to remodel the stage to give a little more room on it.
The pastor and a couple of the brothers in the congregation began the stage remodeling project on Thursday.
I had considered helping but assumed that the stage fix would not take very much time and thus did not plan to help until Thursday evening.

Well..... the remodeling job was more complicated than first assumed (imagine that!)
Pastor John called me Thursday evening and said that he was quitting for the evening so I need not come that evening.
That got me to thinking.
I have been waiting for over three years to remodel my bathroom.
It is mostly done, and I can wait a couple more days to install the new doors on my tub.

Soooo.....
I decided to spend my day off Friday helping work on the church stage project.
And that is what I did.
But there was a scheduled meeting that we had to attend on Friday evening so we stopped work about 2 PM to get ready for the meeting.
On the way home from church, I stopped by Lowe's and purchased my new tub doors.
Two hunnerd bucks worth. (and not the most expensive I could have gotten.)
I spent a few minutes that afternoon, reading over the installation instructions for the doors.
I have never done this before so I needed all the information I could get.

Friday evening I attended the meeting at church as planned.
After the meeting, I looked over the tub door instructions again.
I started playing with the frame pieces to see what exactly was involved.

The next thing I realize is that I am not just playing with the parts, I am actually performing the installation.
I started at about 8:30 PM.
I finished at 11:10 PM.
I go to bed conflicted.

This is Friday night.
Saturday morning is my running time.
I usually try to go to bed early on Friday evening so that I am “rested” on Saturday morning for my run.
Knowing that I did not “take care of myself” for my running effort, I had a major mental battle Saturday morning.

Part of me was saying “you are not going to do very well today because you are tired”.
Another part of me was answering, “shut up, just do the best you can.”
The temperature was “only” 43 – at the airport, according to the Weather Channel.
Not bad.
I started out feeling a bit tired (duh).
But past experience has shown me that sometimes (note: sometimes) I have performed better than expected even though I have had less rest than desired.
Today was not one of those times.
Coming up hill two, I started my accelerated breathing.
I have not done that in months.
At that point I knew that I was in for a tough time.

At the end of mile two (near where the policeman stopped me) my left hammy began to complain.
This was prolly the result of my efforts building the stage or the tub doors, or both.
The complaint was duly noted by Running Central, but the race continued.
Then, about a half mile from the finish, I started accelerated breathing again.
Again, this had not happened for many months.
I felt tired, but it was too close to the end.
I was not quitting.

As I crossed the road into the parking lot of the office center where I park, I forced myself to take the “long way” instead of a couple of small shortcuts (cutting corners, going around planters, etc.) that my tired body/mind suggested.
Such suggestions are almost always ignored.
But a strange thing happened during the last 100 yards or so.
I started daydreaming about some details of my tub door project (now finished) and the next thing I knew, I was at my finish line.
Forty-two minutes.
Amazing.

As tired as I was, my time was not degraded.
And I was done with the hard stuff for the day.
Since the stage project was STILL not complete, I planned to go back to the church and help finish the project.
Since my tub doors were installed, Saturday was basically a free day.

And, yes, I know that last week I proclaimed that I was done with the bathroom project, but that was a qualified announcement.
All of the major stuff was in.
And I did an accounting of the entire project and the total cost came to $1060.70, not counting tax.
That includes BOTH bathtubs I had to buy because of the first one went airborne at 40 miles per hour on Sparkman Drive.

Pictures coming soon....

Saturday, February 09, 2008

TA DA!

Let the Royal Chronicles show that at 1:20 PM on this day the Royal Bathroom project was completed. (well, mostly)
There are still a few details to be dealt with.
The trim around the door is not yet installed or painted and there are a few places that need a paint touch-up (a Q-tip will do the job).
But the hardest and most complex issues are done (tub, pottee, vanitee/sink).
Call it 95 percent done.
I am veree hapee with my new facilities.

THE RUN

The morning jog was pleasant if not fun.
I felt a bit more tired than I would have liked.
I am looking forward to extending this jaunt to four miles sometime soon.
Today, I did not feel up to the extra distance/time.

The temperature was a balmy 43.
I opted for two layers on top and two on the bottom (plus running shorts) (TMI?)
This plus ear cover and my new white polyester knit gloves proved to be just right for the journey.
The white gloves make me look like an usher in a Black church. (ha!)

This being some 59 days past the Winter Solstice, there is now enough light across the sky to allow easier observation of one's path both at the beginning and the end.
This makes for more relaxed running.

OTHER MATTERS

I was disappointed to see Mitt Romney end his run for the Republican nomination for President.
As imperfect a conservative as he was, he was our last best representative of conservative values in this race. (Ron Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in, but they stand virtually no chance of getting the nomination.)
I could have tolerated Mr. Romney as President. (or Mr. Paul, for that matter)
I am suspicious of Mr. Huckabee.

Senator McCain is now the likely Republican nominee.
I will not vote for this man.
He is a RINO (Republican In Name Only)
The news networks are reporting that he is now going around trying to say the “right” things to woo conservatives to support him.
But this will not work for me.

He has already spoken to me.
And he has said all the wrong things.

He said the wrong things to me when he and Ted (Chappaquiddick) Kennedy tried to sneak an amnesty bill for illegal aliens through the Senate last year.

He said the wrong things to me when he and Linsey Graham tried to limit the methods our people could use when interrogating terrorists.

He said the wrong things to me when he joined with Democrat Russ Finegold to limit our first amendment freedom of speech in the name of “campaign finance reform”.

He said the wrong things to me when he opposed the Bush tax cuts seven years ago and again five years ago.

He said the wrong things to me when he supported the liberal fiction of man-induced global warming.

He said the wrong things to me when he joined all the congressional liberals and opposed oil production in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

Therefore.... (takes a breath) I will not vote for this man.

Some might say, but what if Hillary gets in?
And I say, what's the difference between them?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

JUST RIGHT

It was about 26 degrees when I began my three mile journey this morning.
I had two mesh layers on top, two layers on legs, two layers of socks inside shoes, one fleece layer over my ears and mesh gloves inside wool mittens on hands.
It was just right.

Early into mile one I was feeling a bit cold on my chest/torso because I was not yet generating a sufficient amount of heat.
The thermal balance tossed back and forth for the next few minutes until the heat generator won.
I know this because I forgot about being cold on my torso.

This was a left leg dominated session.
There were several times that something in my left leg/hip whined.

Near the end of mile one there was a signal from a point just to the inside of my left knee that it was not happy there.
Running Central took note of the distress but no further action seemed necessary.
And, indeed, the complaint disappeared.
Toward the end of mile two, my left hamstring began to bark.
Again, Running Central took note of the complaint, and again did nothing.
And, again, the “problem” went away.

Near the end of the party, my left hip began yelping rather insistently.
This seemed to be a nerve problem because on one stride, my left leg went numb to the extent that it almost collapsed.
This would have caused a fall had it persisted.
But just as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.
Running Central takes this problem more seriously and my steps were monitored closely for a minute or so after the incident.
Fortunately, this problem also went away.

The hip/pain/knee collapse event has happened before, mostly near the end of a run.
Falling down is something I am fearful of because it can break things.
One cannot run when things are broken. (and I love to run)

I have only fallen once.
That was caused by a dog silently hitting me in the leg with his shoulder one dark morning when I was running in my neighborhood.
I never saw him coming or going.
Just a split-second flash of brown fur by my bare leg as I went down.
No bark, no growl, just a good dog version of a football block.
The move sent me rolling on the pavement.

Amazingly, I suffered no injuries then.
No pains; no scrapes.
Just two tiny scratches on my hand (I forget which one).

Today, I spent most of my time daydreaming.
At one point in mile two I closed my eyes and started to go to sleep.
I was so relaxed and comfortable.
This may seem strange to you non-runners, but I have done this many times.
(Not go to sleep while running, but close my eyes and almost go to sleep.)
I am not sure of the cause but it must be the result of mental relaxation even during sustained physical effort.
Had I not experienced this phenomenon myself, I would join you in thinking it impossible.

Jesus was having his own good time while watching me today.
As I turned right off of Discovery onto Voyager (many of the streets there are named after U.S. satellites) He lit up the layer of stratus clouds in the eastern sky in brilliant red.
This against the pale blue of the morning sky looked spectacular.
I had a wonderful time admiring His painting skills.

By the time I got to my finish line/crack in the parking lot I did not want to stop.
My time was almost exactly fifty minutes.
I was slow, but I was stronger.
The slowness may have been a result of my daydreaming.
However, if my strength stays up to this level, I may jack this exercise up to four miles.
That would be interesting/fun.

THE PROJECT

The bathroom is slowly coming along.
Now that the tub and toilet are in and working nicely, my motivation has diminished.

I applied oil to the vanity base to waterproof it.
I will prolly install it this week.
Yesterday I installed all of the baseboard trim and scraped paint drips off of the tile floor.
I had drop clothes down some of the time I was painting, but not all the time.
I tried to be careful.
The bad news – I dripped paint in a few places.
The good news – it is pretty easy to clean up.
I scraped excess caulk from around the toilet base.



The living room wall with the hole patched.



The living room wall with "joint compound" applied to the hole.



The living room wall with primer applied.



The east bathroom wall awaiting fixtures.



The new atomic toilet.
Notice the nice new color - "Roasted Cashew".

IN OTHER NEWS

I was disappointed to see Fred Thompson withdraw from the Presidential race.
He basically said everything that I agree with.

I was pleased to see the midget/clown Dennis Kucinich give up in the Democrat primary derby.
He is the white version of Al Sharpton.
A political buffoon.

In case you are wondering, here are my basic policy/philosophical positions:
1 Pursue the war on terrorism – wherever that may take us.
2 Stop the flood of illegal immigration - build the wall, deport all we find here.
3 Scrap the income tax and adopt the Fair Tax.
4 Reverse Roe v. Wade.
5 Fix Social Security by changing the way COL increases are calculated (use cost increases rather than wage increases). This will fix the coming shortfall.
6 Make health insurance like car insurance – allow individuals to buy it from whoever they want. Get employers out of the health insurance business.
7 Repeal McCain-Finegold – expand freedom of speech.
8 Allow oil production in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.
9 Move the United Nations headquarters to France.