Monday, August 18, 2014


Its Tourmalet Day on the blog.  Three years ago today, 4 and I did the iconic climb in the Pyrenees.

It is also Moving Day on Highland Avenue.  Good luck, Kiddo!
And a tip 'o the hat to 3.  She was in airline torture until Oh-Dark-Hundred this AM getting to a meeting in San Antonio.
More here later.  Monday's are never easy.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Started this yesterday afternoon, but couldn't get it done...

Just a little checking-in for a Friday afternoon.  I'm pretty sure that this has been the least productive day I have had since the return from Tahoe.
My latest experience with the iPhone has been a discussion with a Verizon tech support person who walked me through some paces to discover a "Do Not Disturb" function that had been activated.  Hmmm.  I suppose that one of the drops could have jarred the system.  And she also advised to install the latest update which I had been avoiding.  OK.  So we'll see if the fix actually works.  Missing incoming calls had become aggravating.  (It seems to have been the fix.)

ND made some headlines today for another academic fraud situation involving at least four football players.  I have no sympathy for these idiots.  How difficult can it be?  Is the culture on college campuses so twisted that athletes think they are immune to simple rules?  My 25-year streak of not attending an Irish game is safe.

Now Saturday afternoon...

I restocked the MCSC wine stores last night with a case from the 53rd Street Hy Vee.  I elected to go with a modest-priced selection...and the first couple of bottles were very so-so.  The first was a Spanish Rioja that I chose with an eye to some reasonable experiences that 4 and I had in Vitoria-Gastiez.  After one glass, I elected to send the remainder home with 2 who had stopped in for a Friday evening libation.  The second bottle was a Napa Cabernet (2010) that must have not sold elsewhere.  Meh.
My new wine inventory plan is to make it over to the local Total Wine store when I visit Harvest Path in two weeks.  They will definitely have more wine to choose from...and likely more from the older vintages.  Lots of 2012 on the shelves at Hy Vee these days.  And the same old names.  I got spoiled in SF and Tahoe.

Its been the Iowa State Fair this week in Des Moines.  Can't say that  they have anything to offer that would get me to attend.  The Buttered Cow?  Not so much.  Some political debates?  Right.  Florida Georgia Line on the grandstand?  Sure.  But I am absolutely ok with it being one of the annual big events for Iowans.  Lots of 4-H kids, FFA members and families see the fair as the feature time of the Summer.  We're a farm state.  Let the fair be the fair.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has to be on its last legs.  I hope all of the people who have made it a bigger deal than maybe it should be, write the check.  I did.
The 24 team continues to bring a fast car to the track.  A faulty battery took them out of the race last week, but he's on the pole for tomorrow's race at Michigan.  Different paint-scheme this week.  One of the sponsor's subsidiaries that makes automotive finishes.  Not a fav look.  (Jeff is the poster-boy on the August page of my current basement bathroom NASCAR calendar.  It notes that his birthday is August 4th.  I was disturbed to learn through MSM coverage of the White House last week that the POTHUS shares the same birth date.)

Party tonight at my pal Ron's house.

Hope it is a good weekend in your neighborhood.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The new Home Page pic was taken from the tower of the deYoung Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on July 26th with the Canon mini-digi.  (This is an aerial shot of the museum that I pulled from the Internet.)  2 and I had taken the long way home back to Aunt Margaret's after the morning on Fisherman's Wharf with the Dornies and @srh4.  The building across the way in my pic is a science academy of some sort.  The area was pretty busy during our visit.  The art was, meh.

My iPhone has been on the fritz.  (Again, my apologies to the racist use of the term fritz.)  I'm guessing that the problem is the result of user abuse, mainly my fumblitis which has had the phone hitting the deck a few times in recent weeks.  Alert sounds don't sound unless I'm in that application at the time.  Which mean I miss all incoming calls.  No alerts for texts or incoming email.  I'm guessing that the fix will cost some dinero.  Shock.

I'm giving 4 the nod of Daughter of the Day in recognition of her being a member of the crowd today celebrating Left Hander's Day.  I'm not sure where I was on the Net today that brought this to my attention.  Every day is National Something Day.  Do they have one for Old Anglo-Saxon Christian Conservative Guys?

Banking 101.  Wells Fargo finally got wise and has started charging me for blank checks.  In the past, I always was able to have the basic, no frills checks for free (which I could order from the online WF site).  Being down to my last book of checks after vacation, I looked to repeat the ordering process that I had followed previously.  This time, there was no ordering capability on the Services menu, except to go to a different site.  Which was a supplier site...that had standard fees for the printing of new checks.  Not very surprising.

Banking 102.  I have set up my Medicare premiums for online banking.  After the first few months were sorted out with multiple-months billed together, June had been a single month's fee which I paid with a standard mail-in check.  For July, I used the online service, directing WF to send the payment...which they did...and Medicare cashed.  For August, the billing included the regular amount due...AND a request for the July payment that they said was past due.  Hmmm.

I sent in a paper check for the regular amount...and also sent along a copy of the online check paid by WF in July.  I'm really curious on how this will flush out.  And am equally curious as to why the WF payment didn't register (given that my ID number was clearly shown on the check).  I love the bureaucracy.

(I had to "publish" this entry before I was quite done.  We've been having serious Internet issues here this week that has the connection being lost mid-function and then having to start completely over with the task.  Annoying inadequately describes the problem.)

This business with the ice-bucket dumping has been the rage this week.  CNBC got in the act yesterday, and literally everybody who has been challenged has met the dare...and most have also contributed to the cause.  I'm okay with this.  It is a little like the Coaches for Cancer day/week when all the basketball coaches wear tennis/running shoes at games regardless of their suit/attire.  And much better than the teams wearing pink in October that has gotten way out of hand.

OK.  Now all for today.  Thanks for reading.


Monday, August 11, 2014


I had really expected to get a post up yesterday (Sunday), but the late afternoon and evening kinda got away from me.  Best laid plans, eh?

It took all of last week to get back to "normal" following the trip out West.  I'm not sure if it was the time difference, the strange beds, or the lack of serious "down" time on the trip, but I found myself very "un-relaxed" when the bell rung for the start of business last Monday.  Whatever.  Much better today.

Our extended family continues to grieve the passing of our sister, wife, Mother, aunt and Grandmother Martha.  Words inadequately express the sense of loss when a family member unexpectedly leaves us.  Her passing has been difficult for us all to process.  To Uncle Doyle, Julie, Sue, John and Dan, and families, please know that we all share these feelings of sorrow and this unfamiliar emptiness.

I'll do an entry about Martha in the near future.  She was always one of the important people in my life.  The list of things she did for me over the years is long.  Among other things, I think I learned from her as a young adult the commitment to family and the importance of supporting the far-flung interests of kinfolk.  Regardless of my meanderings off the beaten path, especially in those early years at ND, the USAF, and pre-marriage, she never judged (or kept it to herself!), and always supported me.

Anyway...more on that in a later post.

4 and I were in Vitoria-Gastiez in Spain three years ago this week.

The Early Ride...I think that title is now worthy of pretty much in darkness these days (when we leave before 0500).  Not much traffic...a definite bonus.  I wouldn't recommend it on roads that aren't familiar.  As it is, we need to be careful of the wild life that seem to have an early foraging schedule.  Still feels mentally good to have the workout done before 1st Coffee.

Tony Stewart is in a spot of bother to say the least.  He's a bit crusty, and I wouldn't be surprised if his instincts were to spin his tires a little at the driver who was walking on the track to confront him.  He could have produced a little rear-end waggle to warn-off the guy by gunning the engine.  Did he go too far?  Or did the other guy walk into a danger point?

I have almost zero interest in the NFL pre-season that is now in full-swing.  And really not much higher interest in the colleges.  I'll be at Kinnick two weeks from Saturday with my pals Pete and Doug for the Hawkeye opener against UNI.  (I even upgraded my "gold" shirt to a dri-fit Hawkeye-monogrammed polo when I did my thing yesterday at Kohl's.  I'm ready!)

OK.  Hope it is a good week for all the readership. 


Thursday, August 07, 2014


It always amazes me when I do the math thing and figure out that it has already been "x-long" since vacation began.  In this case, I was in San Mateo with Sister Margaret two weeks ago today sipping wine on the patio.  How did that time go by so quickly?

Today is my pal Roy's birthday.  You are Pal of the Day, friend.

Congrats to 2 for getting through the home inspections for both the sale and purchase on her move to Iowa City.  She will be a busy girl over the next couple of weeks.  Good luck, Kiddo!

And "Safe Travels" to 3 and 3.1 on another coast-to-coast trip this weekend for a wedding in the Great Northwest.  They be wracking up the frequent flier miles.

August 8th is the three-year anniversary of 4 and my departure for Bilbao.  Talk about time flying by the wayside!  This is a shot at the top of the Tourmalet, the most-storied climb in the Pyrenees, that was on the TdF route again this year.  Been there, done that, eh Kiddo?  Next week one day, we'll be celebrating Tourmalet Day on the blog.

Speaking of cycling, I've pretty well decided that my riding at Tahoe next time will not include any of the roads that go around the lake.  The rides on the road to Sand Harbor and the road from Truckee to Kings Beach were just too thick with traffic to make the trips anything but exercises in stress.  I'll do the short side of Mt. Rose, but otherwise, I'll need to find some off-the-beaten-track roads to dial back the excitement.  (All readers:  Please remind me of this commitment if I announce any rides next time that aren't traffic-friendly.)
I'm giving our wine selections for the vacation an over all grade of a B+.  The bottles that we consumed in San Mateo were all from our normal Top Shelf categories here in the QCA.  I mean, Safeway and Hy Vee are pretty comparable stores and their wine inventories are very similar.  Then the case that I bought at Total Wine in Reno and the bottles that 3.1 brought in from their weekend in Napa were all above the Top Shelf category.  Very smooth.  I'm glad that I bought all my purchases with a debit card.  I really don't want to have to look at the cumulative cost on a credit card statement.

Finally, in the For What Its Worth Department, Budget Rental Car seems to be a bit behind the curve on the information processing of their contracts.  Hertz generally has a copy of the final bill in my email by the time I hit the gate for my departure flight.  I still haven't got anything from Budget except the surveys on How'd We Do?  (I'm not going to beat them up on a comparison of the rental experience since I have that Number One Club thing with Hertz and can normally just walk to my car.  This rental choice was all about price, and Budget was a winner by $1500+...unless the final bill has a surprise included!)

Hope it is a Good Friday in your neighborhood.


Monday, August 04, 2014

Monday III

Posting pics from the laptop is a real pain.  The system only allows me to enter one pic at a time...and then I have to exit Blogger to clear the path for the next pic.  And the system tends to then auto-justify from the center.  I did read a caution somewhere that the old operating system is no longer supported at Blogger.  Like, really?

My personal Top Ten memories from my summer vacation, not necessarily in order of importance:

1.  Wally Lunch at the old Embassy Suites in Stateline on Thursday.
2.  Monday night visit to Total Wine.  A great case for the week.
3.  Friday afternoon (before the marathon) at Club Weiland in San Mateo.
4.  Another successful ride up the short side of Mt. Rose on Friday.
5.  Hot August Night car auction on Friday with Tahoe Phil.

6.  DeYoung Art Museum in SF with 2.
7.  Successfully seeing 1 on another marathon course...twice.  It wasn't an easy adventure for 2 and I.
8.  TSA pre-Approved security status at the airport.
9.  Trouble-free air travel, car rental and biking operations.
10. Fisherman's Wharf with the Dornies on Saturday before the marathon.

So maybe members of the Peanut Gallery can add any other special items that ought to also be recorded here.

More here later in the week.


Monday II


So this is a sample of the pics from SF and Tahoe.  I thought the one out the hotel window of the Bay Bridge was a postcard.  And I really like the one of 4 and 1.01 immediately above with a little selfie action.
I'll add text in my next entry.


The new Home Page pic was taken on Friday, August 1st with my iPhone from the Incline look-out on my slow trek up Mt. Rose on the bike.  Its a great photo-op.

This is the family pic taken on Friday evening from the same spot.  We may need to consider a different time of day for the pictures next time as that early evening sun is just a shadow-inducing challenge for the shoot.

I really liked the Ellen-selfie.  But my copy of the Twitter copy loses a lot of definition.  Maybe 3.1 can get a photo store to enhance the image for a better permanent record.

I will get my first official entry posted later today.  Way too much here on my desk.

Make it a good week in your neighborhood.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday II

So I change the Home Page pic to recognize one of the TdF climbs that was part of the stage yesterday (Saturday 7/19).  The Col de Lautaret is a long grind at about a 4% grade.  I rode it in 2009 when I was on my first trip with 2.

The Home Page pic is actually on top of the Galibier which is the extra special eight kilometers...UP!!!...that they could make you do if they wanted to use that particular route.  Which is what I did, and was the whole purpose of the 2009 trip.  Yesterday, the stage came from the West (Grenoble) whereas I rode from the East.  They ended yesterday's stage South of Briancon (where I started) on another big climb.  So while they didn't do the Galibier, they had an equally difficult summit to make at the end of their ride.

When I made it to the top of the Lautaret, 2 was ready with a sandwich that she had negotiated with the proprietor of the little store at this intersection.  (She was a couple Euro short and had to convince him that I needed some energy.  She was right!)  This pic was me at the side of the rode before hitting those last 8 clicks to the Galibier.  Talk about a death march!

Congrats to 2.  It looks like she has a buyer for her house in Davenport.  Now she has to pack...and find a permanent place in IC.  @srh4 and I drove over to IC on Friday evening to look at a place on which 2 wanted another opinion.  The market there is different because of the university.  Nicer, less-than-pricey places seem to go quickly.  Good luck with that search, Kiddo.

I gave 1 and 1.1 recognition in that earlier posting.  You guys are Daughter and Son-in-Law of the Day.  Congratulations!  Lots of water under the bridge since that day at St. Thomas.  You have much to be thankful for...good health...a wonderful family...a bright future.  Life is good.  Drink deeply.

I don't think that I had ever done the math...or if I had, it was lost in the Sometimer's depths.  But today is also the anniversary of the moon landing...or the staging of the moon landing if you are among the Doubting Thomas's.  45 years ago. 

Sadly, I remember what I was doing that day (American Legion baseball in Moline or Galesburg).  Which means I was old enough at the time to have those things register in the gray matter of the frontal lobe.  Which also means that I am way too old to do any more math.  Anyway, here's to you, Neil Armstrong, and all who made that happen!  You are all American heroes.

The countdown to California-Tahoe is hitting warp speed.  There's no way I will get done all that I need to do before oh-dark-hundred Thursday.  I recommend that we all start with the written checklists now.

Hope it is a good week in your neighborhood.  Thanks for reading.



Happy Anniversary to 1 and 1.1!!!