25 December 2013

Christmas morning

In my house, there aren't any wide-eyed toddlers clamoring with excitement to get at what Santa has left under the tree. The dog isn't jumping excitedly around them. The cats aren't hiding under the tree hoping they won’t get stepped on. It isn't chaos. It’s peaceful quiet, the tree shimmers in the corner of my living room, unseen except by those who live here. 

I’m up early as is my nature. I've had my coffee, fed my kitties, checked my Facebook page, read the news on the web and now I’m ready to start another day. Traveler is next. I’m waiting for daylight. It’s hard to see where I keep him, sometimes the overhead lights don’t work if there’s been rain, or a light frost, or heavy dew. He’s patient, he will be glad to see me when I get there.

I don’t have to cook today, I did that last night… a prime rib roast with mashed potatoes and acorn squash, just for me. There will be leftovers enough when I get around to fixing something later on. 

I don’t know what I’ll do today, there‘s nothing pressing… maybe just play on this machine, though I know I should go out and take some pictures…

I miss the things of the past; the children’s laughs, their wide eyed pleasure, their innocence. The cooking of a huge meal to feed the family after church. Everyone together. Bundling up later in the day to go visiting; perhaps some fresh snow on the ground. 

There’s no snow in the desert, though the hills are green. It’s going to be a balmy 70 degrees outside my door today. No need for heavy winter clothing, shirtsleeves and shorts, though I haven’t worn shorts in a long time. 

Reminiscing of things past and present… and it’s wondrous. 

Believe in the magic!

Merry Christmas to all!

13 November 2013

Hydroponic Amaryllis

Did this last year and had good results...

Thing is... you have to buy new bulbs each year as they don't do well the next year after being grown in water...

I'll keep you posted with more pics as they grow.

25 September 2013

Which state is which?

A foggy morning ....

                                       A beautiful early fall afternoon

Gray skies become sunny 

So peaceful

A little bit of heaven

Yesterday, unexpected road trip. Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ an area of Arizona I've wanted to see ...

Looking through the trees onto the golf course, which I couldn't find again if my life depended on it.

Nikki's truck parked out of the way on a street that's more narrow than my driveway, she had to pull around the corner so I could get by and follow the maintenance man to where he wanted me to dump.

I want to go back and spend a long weekend.

25 August 2013

Kid's stuff

                                                     Hobo Corner

                             Eats, something to drink? Right here!

                                         Kettle Corn, anyone?

Plymouth waterfront

Friday evening, Sis and I met my son and his kids for supper (dinner) along the Plymouth waterfront.

The tide was on the way out and the last rays were having a mirror effect on the tidal flats.

.... and what an awesome sunset it turned out to be.... 

23 August 2013


Arrived yesterday, Sis and I headed for the National Cemetery in Bourne to visit Dad's grave site.

                                                        Kind of an overcast day.

              More overcast by the time we stopped to take pics at the canal.

                    Railroad bridge across the south end of the canal ....

There was a guy sitting in a chair behind this tree. His faithful companion, ever alert and attentive watching us from his tether.

08 August 2013

Another rainy morning

Yesterday, our trucks left the yard well before daylight. Rain was intermittent along our route fifty miles to the east...

Out there, somewhere, in the middle of the desert is a thriving mining operation including a concrete plant, and this asphalt plant. 

  'This shot was taken with my new Galaxy S4'

As daylight dawned, although the showers did not abate... we were cancelled and sent home after an hours' wait.

04 August 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4

For a few months, I've needed to upgrade my Huawei Prism cell phone to something newer... I've been on a prepaid plan from T-Mobile. Recently, T-Mobile changed from contracted services to something more reasonable for people like me who don't want contracts. 

Unfortunately, where I live service options can be sporadic and limited, even though the Phoenix metro area has excellent service in most areas, where I live under South Mountain can be challenging on any service.

Yesterday, I returned a rented laptop, I was planning to carry on vacation with me. I didn't see the need to drag one along when I'll be staying with family and will have access to one or more of their computers. I figured upgrading the cell phone device would be the most prudent way to go.

Here's what I came away with after chatting with a customer service rep in store. I'd done my homework which made her job a whole lot easier.

                                        Samsung Galaxy S4

It's huge, light weight, a big 5" screen, 13 mega pixel camera (front and back) with flash (not that I need another camera, I already have two, lol). I really like the screen resolution; it's bright and cheerful. It's easy to work. I'd looked at the iPhone 5 and didn't care for it. The iPhone 4s would have been my other choice. 

This Galaxy S4 will replace the laptop and then some once I get used to using it and figure out what all the different apps are for.  So far so good, not had a bit of issue figuring out how to make it work. There are apps built into it I won't ever use, and I'll need to see how much those unused apps might affect the battery life.. I think I can get rid of those extra unused apps if the battery life is too severely compromised.

I'm waiting for the old phone number to port over to the new phone. For now both phones are still working, hopefully that will change in the next day or so. I'm told it could take up to 72 hours.

If you're thinking about this phone.. there's a 'support site' available with lots and lots of information, check it out here .

03 August 2013

Laptops and such....

For the time being, I've reconsidered buying 'the' laptop ... returned this morning much to the dismay of the rental store folks... I'm sure they were hoping I would keep it and pay the ridiculous amount they wanted (more than $1300.00 over the term) ...  If I wait (patiently and save my pennies), I can pick up the same (or similar size) around the holidays for 1/2 the cost. Anyway.... I'm still not sure about the Win8 operating system. It's definitely a new learning curve ... tho, I was able to make it work. Much prefer the Win7 operating system in my desktop.

What do I need a laptop for?  The convenience of having it when I travel? I dunno...Why? As my sis would ask... (I'm sure I'm over thinking this, too...) I'll be travelling in a few weeks, I'd take it with me... but, there will be access to computers where I'm staying, (a houseful of them), so I won't loose anything in the travelling, (can't use it on the plane anyway). Yup, don't need it.

Instead? Perhaps an upgrade of my cell to a newer brighter style, maybe an iPhone 4s (or 5) or Samsung Galaxy S4? Each device will do what the laptop would accomplish in a smaller more confined space (tho both are pricey) ....  and I'll still have the desktop for use at home when I'm not travelling. Then I wouldn't need the laptop at all until I'm ready to let go of the desktop.. I think I just had an AHAAA moment!

Off we go, in search of ....

13 July 2013

Working out of town

Last week, I eluded to leaving (the heat) of the 'Valley of the Sun' for the cooler climes of Northeast AZ. We were supposed to leave on 7 July, but for unknown reasons, the job was tangled in snafu's and we didn't leave town until Wednesday afternoon.

Arriving so late in the day, there wasn't an opportunity to get shots of the local area of Snowflake, AZ where we were staying. Snowflake is a little community (actually with a 'city' designation) about half way between Holbrook, AZ, to the north and Show Low, AZ, to the south. The landscape ranged from rolling high grassland, wide huge washes, and draws, to scrub pinion, juniper, and rocks. I even saw a few windmill farms in the distance. This is a great place for windmill farms, the wind blows most every day, the elevation is around 6000 feet.

Thursday morning's early start didn't afford me the luxury of snapping some shots as I'd hoped to do. The shot below was taken on the second round while I was in the plant waiting to scale out... What appears to be a barren mountain in the foreground is actually a stockpile of 1/2" or 3/8" rock.

                                 All day long I've been watching the clouds build around me.

                                            This shot was taken toward the southeast.
It's a balmy 71 degrees, and I've shut the truck down. There's a light breeze, too. It's so quiet out here, I can hear the energy buzzing through the electric lines that stretch and stretch for miles.

This taken directly to the east after the bulk of the storm had moved to the north and almost rained itself out.

Later in the day, I captured these clouds as they were beginning to build to the north and northwest of where we were working.

The job is forty miles to the north of Snowflake, in Holbrook, AZ. US 180 passes 'The Petrified Forest' and east to St. John's and Springerville, AZ on the New Mexico border ninety plus miles away. In the winter months, the road is not maintained by plowing, though this time of year, there is plenty of tourist traffic and locals to and from where ever they go.

It never did rain on us ... and I certainly enjoyed the solitude of the area.

01 June 2013

A good friend

Happy Birthday to my roomy, friend and co-worker, Rick! It’s his day.  Charlee (his fiancĂ©) and I are planning a 'tiny' cookout later on. Ugh, that he already knows about... it's hard to keep secrets.

Anyway, he’s not really keen on the idea of celebrating 53 years. I dunno, but it’s a good excuse to use my new, already used once, ‘gas grill’ and drink a few beers. I’ll suffer the consequences tomorrow, also known as a hang over… and maybe I won’t have to do the cooking? It’s pretty sad when the 'guest of honor' of your get together is targeted do the cooking. Charlee doesn’t know how to cook on gas/propane grill’s,  though, I think it’s time she learned.


21 April 2013


                            It really does look nice when it's clean!

13 April 2013

New glasses .... a learning experience

A few years back I posted my thoughts about photogray and transition lenses... Recently, I went for new glasses, and I'm scratching my head on this one ... here's why...

I drive every day usually from before sunrise to sometimes after dark. I'm a 'commercial' truck driver. I've been wearing (glass) photogray (aka photochromatic) lenses for many many years, and yes, I understand they are heavier on your face and aren't necessarily good in outdoor industrial situations where 'safety glass' is recommended and the rule. The heavier glass lenses are not an issue.

For me personally, the convenience is photogray will change from light to dark in all kinds of bright light and through the windshield, negating the necessity for having to change glasses in midstream and/or having a second pair as sunglasses or having clip on sunglasses.

The early 'Transition' lenses were made of plastic and would change color in bright outdoor sunlight, even with a lined bifocal, but not through the windshield. Today's 'Transition' lenses are made of a polycarbonate, also a plastic, but much stronger and more resistant to scratching and hairline finger cracks found in earlier editions.

My eye care professional suggested they couldn't offer my usual photogray any longer, so, I thought I'd try transition againI opted for the transition no-line (progressive) lenses, because I couldn't have a lined bifocal in the xtra-active lens. I added anti-glare hoping to eliminate the blur from oncoming headlights and sun glare on windows.

I learned (6/April, 2013), even though transition lenses have made great strides they lack in other areas... Although Transition makes an xtra-active lens that will and does darken through the windshield, BUT you can't have a lined bifocal. Progressive no-line is the only option here.... I was warned no line bifocals would take some getting used to, and I would lose some peripheral vision. I think the wording was 'you will loose some peripheral vision with this lens'. I took that to mean 'some' not one half

Originally, there was a delay in getting my new glasses. I picked them up  5/April, 2013 with the understanding it would take a 'couple of days' to readjust to the no-line bifocal and not to wear them working, driving, etc., until I was comfortable with them. Okay? That was cool. 

I was more concerned with them darkening through the windshield than the no-line aspect. They passed the test of darkening through the windshield... good to go, I thought. We'll see what happens tomorrow morning.

Testing, testing, testing....
That evening, I discovered sitting at my desk, that my arms weren't long enough to reach the keyboard and everything seemed smaller though sharper in image. It also appeared I was reading through a small round circle (kind of like a fisheye lens), there was blurr on either side forcing me to move my head or sit back to be able to read things... not so good. Was that the loss of peripheral vision?

More testing, testing, testing....
The next morning I put on the new glasses to head out and run errands. For safety, I took the old pair with me just in case of. The just in case of happened before I had driven three miles (over to feed Traveler). I didn't have any peripheral (side to side) at all. Again, I felt like I was in a tiny fishbowl; everything to the side was blurred. I didn't have any distance ... maybe give or take 50 to 75 feet. Everything beyond the 75 feet was a blur. 

No, no, this is not so good to go!
This just isn't  happening, I need way more than that! 3/4 of a mile to 1 mile at least for driving a big rig. I felt like I had blinders on without any peripheral vision. Scary, and I don't have the luxury of sitting at home for two weeks watching TV to re-adjust (as a co-worker suggested it had taken about two weeks to get used to them). 

Quick, quick! Change glasses .... ahhh comfort. I can see again. Now what to do? I've spent big bucks to try these new fangled progressive xtra-active lenses and I can't see? Good thing, I have 30 days to return them if I'm not happy with them. I am not happy!

After the usual Saturday morning errands, I took the new glasses back. As it was explained to me when I told them what I was encountering....Transition is made that way. You lose peripheral with the progressive bifocal lens, but what was a shock to me was that you not only lose peripheral you lose 50% of your vision field, almost like driving with blinders on, no side to side at all. Definitely like putting a fisheye lens on a camera.

My 'very' silent thought was .... no wonder so many people have wrecks... perhaps they can't see where they're going if they're wearing Transition Progressive Lenses they haven't adjusted to.

(13/April, 2013)
The long and short of the story is; I cancelled the order last week. In an effort not to lose my business, the 'manager' of the store said they would try to get 'the photogray glass' lens made for me. That was a week ago... heard nothing from them, the refund from the 'progressive' lenses has hit my account, and I'm still waiting to find out if I'm going to have glass 'photogray' or will have to go in another direction.

31 March 2013


                      Some things just don't grow in the desert....

                                                                Happy Easter!

17 March 2013

Boiled dinner, anyone? New England style...

On Saint Paddy's Day, it's tough not to be a wee bit "Irish".. though I'm not quite sure where the 'New England' fits into 'Boiled Dinner'.  Salted beef or  corned beef, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage might have been 'cold' stored in ground cellars through the winter months and pulled out for a 'hearty' meal this time of year... I would guess the 'Irish' boiled dinner is a staple as winter wanes, the hills begin to turn emerald green, the mists lift, skies clear, and the sun comes out.

In our house when I was  a kid, New England style boiled dinner was a kind of staple, too, and not necessarily reserved for St.Paddy's day. Back then, it was an inexpensive meal and could be cooked all in one pot over the course of some hours...

By virtue of our heritage, we are not Irish.  My dad was a staunch Scot, so when it came to St. Patrick's Day, he would recognize the day by wearing orange instead of green. He had an orange tie for the occasion, too. I suppose it set him apart from others in his office. 

My sis and I were having a conversation last weekend... and she wanted to know what 'holiday' was coming up that everyone wanted to have a 'boiled dinner'... and I remarked ... Saint Patrick's' Day!

Then my sis commented she disliked mushy veggies...Frankly, I'm not a fan of 'mushy' veggies either. I'd prefer to 'mush' them myself... I can remember Mum's boiled dinner usually acquired mushy veggies in the process of the 'all in one pot' cooking method.

When I thought about doing this post... I thought of my sis and her 'mushy veggies comment'. Hey, sis? My veggies are not mushy! And everything was cooked in the same pot! It was delish too! The corned beef was not overly salty either...

So, it is Saint Patrick's Day... celebrations abound... Green beer (please consume responsibly), and eat some 'boiled' dinner, too! It's a hearty filling meal that takes the edge off the dreary cold late winter weather... and, spring is just round the corner.

17 February 2013

In memory of ....

                                                     My very good friend Steve Shaw.
              Early Tuesday morning I learned my friend Steve had passed away.
There was always a 'road trip' ..... or something we were talking about doing, somewhere to visit when we had a day off from our respective jobs and could get away. In all the years we've been 'road and day tripping', I've rarely been able to capture a shot with him in it. Just this past year, I was able to snag a few...  
                                                    These pics are in memory of Steve.

On this Saturday morning we were attempting to hike from the 48th Street trail head into South Mountain Park, an area I was not familiar with, but where Steve had been told the trails were relatively easy. We'd been talking about ways to 'get fit', and thought hiking might be a way. I didn't last long before I  was huffing and puffing, lol. These trails weren't as easy as others I'd taken him along.

He had never been to Massachusetts and wanted to go. The day we arrived in Massachusetts this past September. Cohasset Harbor; the site of the building of the Minot Lighthouse.

The next day next to a William Bradford Monument while we were doing the tourist thing around historic Plymouth. I think he was a little overwhelmed with all the 'American' history there.

 He was kind and generous; he was funny and fun to hang out with. He will truly be missed in in my life and anyone else's who knew him. Farewell, my good friend.

What used to be ..... is no more

 I was out this morning to take some pics with my 'new' camera.   I thought a good place to begin was in South Mountain Park .....

It's been a while since I was last in the Park, about a year I think when my sister was visiting...The abandoned buildings were still there then, albeit they were definitely an eyesore.

                                                                       It's gone!
                                                 Used to be a Stable and Saloon here.

                                             I used to live here, kept my horses here, too.

 Anyway, it's been turned into a parking area for cyclists who use the park and others who want to explore 'Scorpion Gulch' across the street. I was shocked...