Sunday, March 29, 2015

This and Thats for March

20150329 002I feel as though I have been slacking, not writing as often as I should.  Nothing has been going on that I have needed to write about, and backing off from posting as frivolously as I had in the past was part of my plan when I took some time off from blogging recently.  So I guess I should just get over it.  I know I'm not going away, just posting less than I have.

Now, having said that again, to start off this This and Thats post is a blurb from a draft I wrote back in December, after I made my decision to back off a bit.

  • "In my first year and two thirds, 2009 and 2010, I posted at an amazing rate of about 20 posts a month.  I took to it quickly and buying our first house at the same time gave me some material to work with.  In 2011 I slowed a bit to about 8 or so posts a month on average.  I think I realized how much time I spent on posting crap.  2012 and 2013 - coincidentally have 99 posts each.  I found my rhythm.  This year was on the same pace, perhaps a few more even, until something... changed.  Changed in that my computer, 10-15% of my normal 24 hour day, took a dump on me.  Changed how I looked at how I spent my time.  Changed because I wanted it to.  Hell, I needed it to." - Scoakat's Blog draft from December, 2014.
  • My most recent post was on a day we reached over 70º F, we haven't been even close to that since.  Mother Nature has given us more snow on a few occasions, and I have had to get back out some winter gear for the temperatures.  This week we are to settle in with highs mostly in the 60's.  Hopefully it can finally be - and stay - spring.
  • I bought a power washer a few weeks ago.  I liked the gas powered ones a lot but I didn't feel I could justify the higher cost and maintenance for the few uses a year it would get so i got an electric.  I have assembled it but I have not tested it yet, the temperatures have not been warm enough to start anything.  It looks like next weekend I can finally test it out and get started on our foundation - cleaning, sealing and repainting before the flowers come up.
  • We bought two very nice new floor lamps for the living room recently so the living room is almost how we want it to be.  We still need a couple nice end tables to replace the very cheap temporary things I bought a few years ago.  And we need to get rid of my La-Z-Boy recliner, it is just too big for the room (and not the best for my back).  We need to replace it with a different kind of living room chair, one that fits and matches the space we are creating.
  • We also bought a very nice light fixture for the bedroom (pictured above).  Before, there was just a plain, white ceiling fan without a light.  Since we've had the house I would often hit the switch wanting a light to go on, even recently still, so it was time to get rid of the little used fan and replace it with a nice light fixture.  We could have gotten a cheap but adequate replacement like we did in the other bedroom, our office, when we moved in, but we wanted something nicer.  My wife pointed out one or two of this style and eventually I really warmed up to it.  It was for sure expensive, but it looks great in there I think it is worth it.
  • My next two big projects are to look up tree removal services to utilize in the very near future, and to start looking for a new car.  I want both done by summer, and hopefully done by the end of May, my next extended time off from work.  I also have a new shelf to assemble downstairs.  I write that now to remind myself to do it, it's been down there waiting for 2 weeks.
  • The new Nightwish album will be released in the US on Tuesday.  Amazon says I should receive it that day so it should be here when I get home from work.  I can't remember anticipating a new release like this in a long time.  Of course, I've had it free from the internet already for about a week, but I do not want to listen to it yet.  I want the CD so I can hold it and read it and follow along with the lyrics, like people used to do for a much anticipated release.  These days most things are leaked early and shared, long before the artist intended.
  • I've noted here before how it is a pretty good time to be a sports fan in Wisconsin, and it still is.  The Wisconsin Men's Basketball Badgers have reached the Final Four for the second year in a row.  They play Kentucky next Saturday in a Final Four rematch from last year when we lost to them by one point.  The Badgers are better this year than they were last year, I think they can get by Kentucky and go for the national championship!  I'd love to see that happen but it will be tough, only one team in the tourney ends with a 'W' and only the best are left.  (Congrats to Michigan State, too.  May we meet in the championship game!)

Thanks for stopping by and checking out what my wife and I are up to.  I have high hopes, as we do every spring, but our to-do list this year is very specific and there is much on it - and it is to be done very soon.

We also have enough fun things scheduled out that I'm sure I'll have more to share here in the coming months.  Weather permitting, of course, it would be nice to be able to fully come out of winter hibernation!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sprung Spring

Just a quick note to acknowledge the dramatic change in our weather.  In a week our high temperatures raised over 40 degrees, from highs in the teens or lower at the end of the previous week (Grandma's funeral) to over 50º F by the middle of last week.  Right now it is 71º F.  Very nice.  I have to re-learn how to dress myself.  Winter coat in the morning, light jacket midday and none in the evening?  Who carries two coats around all day?  Sigh.  I'll adapt, I always do!

20150216-0314 029Pictured here is the yard on Saturday.  The only snow left was in the shade along the back fence.  Today there is no snow left in the yard and after work we got a little bit of raking and picking up sticks done.  There is always much to do in spring, waiting for the proper time can be difficult, though.  I finally got my pressure washer, it will first be used to clean the foundation (and I may as well get the siding while I'm at it) so we can repaint it before the plants come up.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Daylight Saving Time

How is this still a thing?  

A bit late for the topic, but I must agree.  There are no discernible benefits to our bi-annual time shift, so why do we continue what is generally viewed as a useless tradition?  Dubya (President George W. Bush) altered the dates for no apparent reason in 2005.  That's enough for me now, I blame him!

In reality I think we would all adjust rather easily.  The video is entertaining - watch it!

via B&P

Saturday, March 7, 2015

RIP Grandma L

GL 09092014My paternal grandmother passed away on Monday morning.  She was 95 years old and had lived independently up until only a couple months ago.  I had last seen her on September 9 of last year, my mother and I had met at grandma's place for a visit.  I liked visiting with her but I usually always had someone with me, just to help fill the silences.  It can be hard to keep a conversation going for a few hours, for me anyway.  Grandma loved talking about the farm where she grew up and I was able to get part of one of those stories on video that day.  Two days later she called me to wish me a happy birthday - a message that I still have on my phone.  I think part of me really thought that it may be the last time I see her, and it was.

We drove down, about an hour and change away, on Wednesday afternoon and checked into a hotel before going to the wake.  I had just been here less than two years ago for my maternal grandmother's funeral.   Like then, there were several relatives I had not seen in a long time - aunts and uncles, and lots of cousins that have grown up and, in many cases, had moved away.  It was very nice to see them all again.

A few years ago I was visiting with her and she asked me to be one of her pall bearers.  Of course, I told her, and I was.  My brother and sister always used to tease me about being her favorite.  I was her first grandchild, but I cannot say that I was the favorite.  Maybe they were just rotten kids.  I think I'll just go with that.  Thursday morning was the last visitation and funeral service.  It was nice as far as church things go, grandma didn't need to know I'm agnostic/atheist.  The ceremony by the grave site was shortened as it was very cold that morning, barely above zero, so no one lingered long.  Afterward was a lunch in a small hall attached to the church.  It was a last opportunity to visit with everyone before we all went our separate ways again.

I'm fresh out of grandparents now.  A sign of getting older, I guess.  RIP Grandma L, I will miss you.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Andrew Bird - Echolocations

Just because I like Andrew Bird and I find this refreshing and relaxing.  Enjoy.