February 2018
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Light Blogging

I really have not been in the mood to blog as much. There is this tube of stuff I have been putting on my face. It has not been pleasant. However, if you get too much sunlight over several years, it becomes the the thing you need to do.


Spring is showing

Every year I have volunteer sunflowers come up in the backyard. I usually thin the crop out to one or two plants. The birds love the seeds and it is nice to have sunny little flowers in the back yard. It lets me know spring is here.


Sweet with Sweets

There is nothing like the smile of Elizabeth when she is happy. There is nothing that make a kid happier that something sweet.


Happy Pi Day

Tonight I looked around the kitchen trying to find a way to celebrate Pi Day. Flour tortillas are round. Check. The next step was what to do with the flour tortilla. Looking through the refrigerator I found mozzarella cheese, pepperonis and pizza sauce. On went the broiler. I toased up the tortilla a bit, spread on the pizza sauce, sprinkled on the cheese and placed the pepperonis. Back under the broiler the pi(e) went. Happy Pi Day.

Frugal Girl

The oil change reminder showed up on my daughter, Emily’s Toyota. She went down the street to Firestone to find out the cost of an oil change and said no way at the price. She continued her trek to the local auto parts store, purchased some oil and a filter for her car.

She asked me for some help changing her oil. We got the ramps set up and she drove her car up on the ramps so we could look under the car and determined what was needed to drain oil and change the filter. We needed a special wrench/tool for the Toyota oil filter. We took a trip to an auto parts store and got what we needed as well as oil and filters for my trucks. This also gave the car a chance to cool off.

We made it back and I handed her the socked wrench and socket and she put all her might into loosening the drain plug. She tried one way and then the other with no movement. I got her a bigger wrench and still no movement. The next step was for me to slide under the car and give it a try. First try there was no movement so I re-positioned myself to give it more force. There was movement so we were on our way. She finished the job and drained the oil.


Next came the oil filter. Wouldn’t you know it, the apparatus that we purchased to take off the oil filter housing did not work. We made another trip and got a different tool. It looked like a large socket. Emily tried again. Things would not move. She asked for my assistance. As the cover uses an O-ring to seal, it does not need to be put on with excessive force. However, it seems the same person that over torqued the drain plug wanted to put the oil filter cover on permanently. After a little work, it began to move. We were soon on our way.

New filter was in and the plug put back into place. Soon enough the car was getting fresh oil. Emily started the car up and we checked for leaks. Everything looked good so she backed her car off the ramps, drove it around the block and parked it for the night. Emily is a Frugal girl and will not spend any money unless she has to. She likes to save her money and that is a good thing. Even if it means getting a little dirty.

Pizza Time

Was in the mood for home made pizza tonight. The toughest part is having to wait for the dough to rise. However, a good crust takes it time. Did not get a picture of the pizza pies, just a few slices of what was left.


Voltage or Current

I could not drive by without taking a picture of a truck with a pair of arc welders on the back. One placed on the right rear one one placed on the left rear corners of the truck. Then there was the microwave oven seemingly mounted at the heart of the bed of the truck with the cord dangling beneath. I thought, which piece of equipment on the back of that truck is most important? As I was hungry, I though, it has to be the microwave oven. One surely cannot heat a frozen burrito with an arc welder quickly and efficiently. Is it current or voltage? No, it is microwaves . . .


Sacrificial Burnt Macaroni

My neighbor had a small outdoor fireplace with a nice fire in it tonight. I thought, what do you do with burn macaroni? You finish the job. The only problem was the wind changed directions and blew towards our house. Nothing like the light fragrance of burning macaroni again. At least the job is finished.


Smoked Macaroni

Last night I woke up to the smell of smoke in the house. I made my way into the kitchen to find smoke coming from a pot on the stove. One of the children in their twenties decided to prepare some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. No problem starting the preparation part. the problem comes when one falls a sleep in the middle of the preparation phase. My biggest fear is that the burn macaroni smell will never leave the house.

Burnt Macaroni

Burnt Macaroni

Lizard Watching

Elizabeth and I set out on an adventure to find some lizards. I usually carry her in a backpack on my back and really was not into that today so we sent to Sycamore Canyon Park, which is somewhat flatter than Box Springs Mountain Park. We stopped my the Ameal Moore Nature Center to get a map and then we hit the trail.

There was a lot of green grass and not many rocks. Knowing that we usually see the lizards sunning themselves on rocks, the lack of rocks created a problem. We made our way to a rocky outcropping about a half mile away from the trail head.

While there I decided to check out my geocaching app to see if there was one close by. There was one real close so Elizabeth took a seat on the rock and I started looking just below where she was sitting.


I was having trouble finding it so I brought her closer to where I was. There was a nice big rock for her to sit on again. I looked some more and was not finding the cache. I then decided to read the visitors log and found “This one sits on top of a rattle snake den. There were at least 5 to 6 skins around the base. I would only do this one in the winter and leave the children at home. It has a great view of the golf course and surrounding areas. Thanks for placing the cache. Took a bit to find, probably because of the snake pit!” Needless to say, I figured it was time to go and get away from a potential rattlesnake den down the side of the rocky outcropping. It was back up to the top of the rocks for a picture and away from the potential danger.


Now that I am home, I see the comment about the snakes was from 2012. We did not see any snake skins or signs of snakes. I used a stick as always to go poking around the rocks. A good friend of mine got bit on a finger by a rattlesnake last year. We both had a great time out looking for lizards. And of course watching the sun go down.


New Year

The New Year is here and I have not blogged very much. Been busy on projects around the house and spending time with Elizabeth. She is really blossoming into a two and a half year old. We have more words as well as some dialogue. She obeys very well most of the time. Sometimes she is taken away into a little bit of a temper or suborn streak. Nothing I have not seen before. I just need to be careful I do not get melted into submission by her sweet smile. Catching that smile is getting more difficult the older she gets.


Christmas 2014

It is feeling a lot like Christmastime. The air is cooler as I drove around town today with my windows rolled down listening to Christmas music. It amazes me that as I have gotten older, the real reason for Christmas seems to get lost more and more. Of course, a lot of things seem to have gotten lost over the years. Things like, respect for others, kindness, an understanding that Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to someday return to live with him. That concept has a unique connection to the birth of our Savior, the one that was sent to prepare the way that we may return. However, there are a lot of other things going on in the world that seem to preclude the thought that we should act like we want to someday return to Father. There is no need to point them out as I am sure that you can think of a few. As for this years Christmas events there are a couple that stand out.

The first is how do you get a two year old to sit on the lap of an old person dressed in bright red. To you and I, we understand. However, to a two year old that has no idea who this old bearded person is that keeps sounding out ho-ho-ho because she has never seen Santa before in her life, it is a little traumatic. Elizabeth would not venture close to Santa for over a half hour. She wanted nothing to do with him. She had seen other children sit on his lap, but that was not enough. Finally, I took the Mini Mouse doll and put it on Santa’s lap. I asked Elizabeth if she wanted to join Mini Mouse and she said yes. I would conjecture that if it is safe for Mini, it is safe for Elizabeth.


The next Christmas event was out Christmas breakfast. We get up early and cook breakfast and the children show up to eat. This year it was about three pounds of bacon, biscuits and a modified version of dutch oven mountain man breakfast using twice as much sausage in the “hot” variety. Add in milk and orange juice and it is a morning feast. After breakfast we open gifts. Of course Emily wanted to get a “selfie” with her brothers. I found that it was an opportunity to take a picture of the four of them.


Christmas has been great this year. We had the children over an got a chance to travel and visit friends and relatives. I am just looking forward to a few days off to relax and possibly go for a hike. But for now, there is something from the kitchen calling. I will eat something sweet and contemplate the real mining of Christmas.

Cold Springs or Frozen Flakes

We traveled to Cold Springs in the western sierras north of Yosemite to spend the night with relatives in their cabin. When I got up and put my things in the truck, it was 39 degrees and drizzly with cloudy a sky. By the time my sweetheart got up and had her thing packed for my to put in the truck it was 34 and snowing. By the time we left, it had put another inch or two on the ground.

We made it about halfway out before coming to a point of not being able to go forward. The grade up and out of Cold Springs was a little steep for a vehicle on wet snow. The only remedy was to go back to the cabin and get a little assistance from a 4 wheel drive truck and a tow cable.


Once we were on the main highway, it was plowed and clear sailing at “about” 25 miles per hour, the posted speed with the “chains required” sign below the speed limit sign. I think California is one of the only places that the state wants you to put chains on while driving on a nicely plowed road. Then again, there are those drivers in California that have never driven or seldom drive in the snow. Better to keep them safe and annoy the others.

Sourdough Sam and the Brick Oven

When you go to a Christmas Craft and Music Festival you never know what you will find. There were plenty of crafts at the 40th Sonora Christmas Craft and Music Festival at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora, CA.

As for the things that I thought was the most unique, the thing that topped my list was the portable brick oven for pizza. I wondered why we did not have one of those when I was a Scoutmaster.


As for the most curious person, it was the lady wearing the cooked turkey hat where the legs would wiggle. The most enjoyable was Sourdough Sam who sang several whimsical numbers.


Those in attendance were from a wide range of backgrounds as one would guess of any festival of crafts and music held in the mountains east of the Bay Area. It was great fun.

Happy Thanksgiving

Elizabeth and I had a little fun making hand turkeys. Perhaps next year she will really understand Thanksgiving better and know what a turkey looks like.