Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bread Bowls

My daughter Laura came over today and we were discussing what to eat for dinner, our normal late afternoon discussion here. She had seen the pasta bowls at Domino's Pizza and thought they looked yummy. It just so happens that I purchased some refrigerator rolls yesterday for just such a contingency. We decided that one by itself would not make a very large bowl and smashed two at a time together, rolled them into dough balls and put them in the oven. For future reference that will NOT make a roll of bread sufficiently large to make a bowl thus we ate them like rolls.

I suppose a yeast roll, allowed to rise and of a larger size would work better to make a soup bowl. If anyone has had experience in this area, let me know as we would like to try making them again sometime.

The soup and bread were all good, just didn't work out as planned.


Monday, September 28, 2009

New Blog

I've set up a new blog called The Improbability Trough. Check out the link on the right sidebar. The first posting pretty much sums up what it is about. Don't be thrown by the name of the author.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Education

There's nothing like a good education. My wife received a good education, with honors in high school and college. The college education was a 2 year degree. That enabled her to get a number of jobs with decent pay. Unfortunately, many jobs require a 4 year degree to get better pay.

I actually have 2 4 year degrees, one in Spanish and one in Accounting. I am sure this helped me to get the job I had for 25 years from which I am now retired. As I look for new employment to last for another 15 years, I find that my degrees don't mean as much as they used to mean. Most jobs available require a great deal of training or special certifications, none of which I have received.

A job offer came my way this week. Home preservation. You go into a foreclosed home, change the locks, clean up, take pictures, do some minor repairs etc. I told the man I was interested, but don't know if I can do everything. He sent a worker up this weekend with 5 jobs that I could go along and watch. We broke into 2 houses, changed and changed the locks.

The 3rd house had a keybox already on it. We hauled off some junked lawnmowers, but there was still a lot of stuff left at 2 of the houses. You have to submit a bid for certain amounts of stuff. We estimated that one house had 25 cubic yards of assorted junk to haul away. A cubic yard is roughly the size of a washer or dryer.

One of the yards had weeds 7 feet high. Another yard had weeds 4 feet high. Those get bid out to cut. If someone else wanted to bid on it I guess they could, but generally the mortgage company just comes back and says do it.

I received quite an education today. Not one I could generally use in very many other professions, but I think I could do most of what was done. Other jobs coming up might be really different. My trainer started talking about need this equipment or that, a truck, a trailer, better power tools, pressurizing lines etc. My eyes didn't glaze over, but I did get the deer in the headlight look.

This was not, in my mind a wasted day. I spent 6 hours receiving an education. I think I'm going to use it to save spending $5,000 to $10,000 in equipment and see if I can't find another job, one that I might be able to continue doing when I'm 62, 63 or older.

Call me wimpy if you want, I've been called worse.
I'll be in the hot tub,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Harm, No Foul

I have been working a great deal lately to set up a ham radio station, the antenna being the most challenging part. I set up a 32' mast on top of my roof with 6 guy wires, a pulley rope to raise and lower the antenna, 2 chimney mount brackets and 2 legs of the antenna wire itself. I succeeded in communicating with people a few hundred miles away. This is an on going endeavor and needs more fine tuning, literally and figuratively.

In the process of working on the big antenna I came across plans on the internet for a digital antenna to bring in TV signals, assuming you have a converter box or digital TV already. The plans, which I'd be happy to email to anyone interested, were fairly simple and inexpensive. I substituted aluminum tubing, scavenged off an old antenna, for copper tubing. Copper tubing is not really expensive, but I already had the other. I thought that having an outside antenna on the roof might boost the picture quality since we do not have cable.

The finished product looks pretty much like it should on the designs and functions as well as the somewhat expensive antennas we already have. It does not appear to work any better, but we'll see if it has any problems operating. Meanwhile, I've hooked it up to two TV sets in conjunction with the other antennas we already had. So far I haven't seen any of those digital signal jumps, but who knows.

Main point is I had fun making it and it didn't hurt me none,


Thursday, September 17, 2009


I just read in the newspaper that Elizabeth Smart is going on a mission. The details were slightly vague, but it sounds like she leaves before the end of the year to Paris, France. I think that was a very inspired call. With the recognizability factor in the USA, she may very well simply be a face in a crowd in France. Overseas, away from the paparazzi, she will get some peace and time to lose herself in the service of the Lord. I think it will be a better healing experience than college.

I wish her well and bon voyage,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Home at the Shack

This is what happens when you get grown men together who don't have enough to do. They put a 32 foot ham radio antenna mast on your roof. We spent about 4 hours taking the pole down elsewhere and putting it up somewhere else. It's mounted on the chimney, which I discovered needs $500 worth of work on the crown. No, not from anything we did. There is possibly 500' of guy line supporting the mast. I stood on the chimney at one point in the heat for so long holding the mast up, that I started feeling faint and dizzy. I had to get down and lay on the roof. I don't know if it was the heat or the strain or both, but we finally got it up. Lonehawk, this is my 80/40m antenna. If you do something similar, get lots of help.

Gottagofornow, the ham net is starting,


Thursday, September 10, 2009


I posted a note on my facebook that my time has really been taken up lately by other things. I've been to the doctors' offices several mornings with my wife and daughter. Both have ongoing issues that nobody seems to be able to diagnose or cure. I had jury duty this morning, though once I arrived at the court I discovered everything was cancelled. Yesterday morning I spent most of 2 hours 20 feet up in trees helping a friend put up a ham radio antenna. I went to a funeral, have had numerous miscellaneous church responsibilities and regularly pickup a son from school at lunchtime. I spent an hour sanding, sawing, varnishing and nailing on a couple of shelves we bought at a garage sale for $20. (They look great. What a bargain.)

I'm not really complaining about the demands on my time. I told my wife today that it would be so totally awesome if neither of us needed to work. It is not hard to fill the day with hot tub, kayaking, hiking, reading, etc.

I love retirement. Sigh, too bad it just doesn't pay enough. Maybe I'll get a call this week for an interview.

Guess I'll check the jobs posted online...again.