Monday, October 23, 2017

"Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done." - Peter Drucker

If you're not watching "Shetland" on PBS you need to fix that. Turn on closed captioning because the thick Scottish brogue can sometimes be hard to understand, but it's well worth the effort. Typical BBC cop show, nothing like ours, that engages your mind and draws you into the characters. I don't know how you end up with a main character named Perez on a Scottish island out in the North Sea, but you can't help but like the guy even if he is stoic and distant (i.e., Scottish).

<---- after="" cleared.="" fog="" had="" living="" of="" our="" out="" p="" room="" the="" view="" window="">I have no idea why all that garbled text is in there, and I can't get rid of it.
<---- after="" cleared.="" fog="" had="" living="" of="" our="" out="" p="" room="" the="" view="" window=""> thing about having farm animals is that they come to count on you showing up every morning and evening. This morning was in the low 50's and after the weekend's hard rains a fog had settled in that had the view out the windows with the just-visible Alder trees in full color looking like something out of a painting. Add in my cup of hot coffee and Vaughan Williams's music and I just wanted to stay in my chair for a good long sit. Alas, AJ and Burrito thought I should come out and feed them. And once they got started Stella and Sundae decided to join in.

This fall has brought something I don't remember from last year - GIANT flying beetles of some kind. June bugs on steroids. If I turn on the porch light they come from somewhere close by in swarms within seconds. They're the size of my thumb and apparently blind, because they'll fly right into my head.
This is a problem because last year I had to remove the screen from the inside of the bathroom window in order to fix the 50-year old crank that opens it, or rather didn't open it. That screen was built into MoHo at the time of construction and was not meant to be removed...ever. I had to cut it out.
Last year I rigged up a fan that hangs over the top of that window to exhaust the humid air when we shower so the black mold only has to be cleaned off the walls every six weeks instead of every six days.
Now we either have to wait until after daylight to shower or put up with a dozen of those bugs in the bathroom. In the middle of winter that means showers come progressively later in the morning.
I may need to make work of coming up with a new screen, eh?

I did 8 miles today at a fairly brisk pace that turned out to be a PR. That's the last run of any significant distance until Saturday's race. I'll do 4 tomorrow and maybe Wednesday, but those will be easy, loping runs just to stay loose. I *think* I'm ready.
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Saturday, October 21, 2017

"The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more." - Jonas Salk

It rained pretty hard all night, or at least every time I woke up and heard it. 
When I fed the goats last evening the dirt under their straw was wet. It's rained so much that because the barn is on a bit of a slope the water is coming underneath the wall and running from the front of the barn to the back. Wet ground is not good for the goats! But I don't think there's anything I can do about it now except put down more straw. We're supposed to get 2" between now and Sunday night with winds of 30 mph later today. Monday we dry out, so I'll remove all the straw in the morning, let the ground dry during the day, and then put down more straw late in the day. I'll also dig a shallow trench across the uphill side in hopes that water from future rains will drain to either side.

Speaking of rain, this is a beautiful screen shot of the forecast for Grants Pass:
The race starts at 8 a.m. so it will still be in the low 50's or even cooler, but the 0% chance of rain is what has me doing a happy dance (not a rain dance). I may wear an old long sleeve shirt over a short sleeve and take off & toss the long sleeve if/when I get too warm. 

The F1 series is in Austin, TX this weekend, the only stop in the U.S. I root for Lewis Hamilton, an English driver who happens to be in first place with four races left in the season including tomorrow's. If he finishes first and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finishes 7th or lower Hamilton will sow up the season championship.
I've rooted for Hamilton for several years. No particular reason except that he's mixed race and the only non-Hispanic non-Anglo driver in F1. (There are a few from South America.) But I think my favorite driver name is Stoffel VanDoorne. Yeah, he's Dutch. 

A charity that apparently supports first responders sponsored a "hot rod" show. I put that in quotes because it was barely a show - maybe 30 cars - and about 25% of them weren't hot rods. But on a rainy day with Pam in Michigan it seemed like a good way to fill part of the day. There are some unwritten rules that have governed hot rods for decades. Alas, like so much of the glue that holds our society together those rules seem to be willfully disregarded by too many builders.
  • Thou shalt not put a Chevy small block (350) in anything other than a GM car. If you put a SBC in a Ford of any year or model and then compound the heresy by propping open the hood to show chrome valve covers with the Chevy logo you will spend eternity driving around the same block in a pink 2004 Thunderbird.
  • Thou shalt not build a hot rod and install an automatic transmission. If you cannot figure out how or are unwilling to work a clutch and a manual transmission content yourself with driving a Toyota Camry. Installing an automatic with a shift lever that looks like a manual might fool my 94-year old mother, but car guys know you're embarrassed at this lameness and trying to cover for it. We are not fooled. Never mind the absence of a third pedal.

This show included a form to vote for a "People's Choice" car. Because I wouldn't vote for any build with an automatic transmission my options were reduced to about four vehicles. Among those the choice was pretty simple - this 1940 DeSoto Touring Sedan. All stock, beautiful black paint, suicide doors...
Easy choice. 

Our NPR station plays alternative and routes on Saturday afternoons. On the way home from the car show I heard a woman singing a blues song: "You can take my husband, but don't mess with my man."

Friday, October 20, 2017

"Writing is simply thinking through my fingers." - Isaac Asimov

With one week before the race I don't want to skip training runs, so when the weather cleared about 8:30 this morning I quickly got my gear on and headed out for 5 miles. The clearing ended right after the halfway turn-around point at Warthen Rd. and it started to RAIN! By the time I got home I was soaked through to my skin, but the rain gave me the motivation to pick up the pace on the return leg and I did a negative split by one minute.
I feel good about having done the miles and got confidence from doing it in those conditions.

I finished the last section of the book yesterday. It isn't so much a chapter as a brief "final thoughts" bit about keeping a sense of perspective regarding mid-Acts dispensationalism. So now I'm doing a final read-through to catch as much as I can before sending it out to proofreaders.
I think a couple of the sections are going to need some beefing up and I may even add a section. It's hard to tell how it flows when I've been at it for two years, sometimes writing just a few paragraphs at a time, which is why a read-through is appropriate. If I spot holes in the line of thought or even topics that should have been covered now is the time to deal with it.
I'll send it to three people who will read it for grammar and three people who will read it for content. The former are gracious individuals with skills at grammar and syntax who have agreed to help and will flag things like poorly constructed sentences and inconsistent verb tenses. Then there's commas. I can NEVER figure out when to use or not use commas.
Three others will give me feedback on my content. Have I made my case well or are there non sequiturs that have led me down a wrong path?
I set a goal of having this project completed in three years. I started when we moved here which was two years ago this month. If I can get the manuscript ready to send out to readers in the next month or so I should be on target. By the time I get it back from them, incorporate the changes I need to make, and then get it published we'll be pretty close to that time frame.

Several months ago I got a Rhino ring. After a scare years ago that nearly took my finger off I stopped wearing my wedding band. Then I learned about these synthetic rubber rings that are flexible and would stretch and tear before my finger got cut (or worse).
I've gotten leaner (read: skinnier) with all of this running and that Rhino ring is now too big. It came off when I was making the last pie on Monday and then again while I was working on the trailer Wednesday. I found it each time, but decided the smart move was to order a smaller one. Mine is black but I decided to get stylish and go with blue this time.
If you're like me and don't wear a wedding band because of the safety issue this makes a good option, and they're cheap!

I had to go into town to get an ink cartridge because proofreading is, they say, best done from a hard copy not a computer screen. I decided to get lunch at McDonald's on the way home.
Oh my. What a microcosm of Oregon culture.
I also noted how hard some of those employees work. This particular McDonald's is staffed by people who look to be in their late 20's or 30's and who are hustling to keep things running smoothly during the lunch hour - not an easy task given the caliber of the customers at this location. They work quickly and efficiently and any stereotype of someone who works in fast food doesn't apply to them. I have no idea why a gal in her 30's is working at McDonald's, but I give her props for a solid work ethic.
If I had a company and was looking for employees who would learn skills, work hard, and do it with a good attitude I might go head hunting at McDonald's.

I can't begin to explain how proud I am of our kids (all four of them) and how much I love them.
My heart gets too full and it comes out my eyes.

There's an add running on TV for an OTC med that will cure dry mouth, which is apparently a bane on those who have that affliction.
I'm not one of them.
I say that because my problem is the opposite. Almost every time I fall asleep in my chair - something I do often - I wake up because I've got drool running down my chin.
I hate that!
It's such an old man thing.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

I've got to stop saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge

I enjoy Facebook. Some days it's as social as I want to get. But some of its features leave me wondering.
My news feed gives me two options, Top Stories and Most Recent. The latter I understand but I'm curious how FB decides what qualifies as a top story. What factors go into their algorithm? Does it weight people whose posts I've responded to? Those who have the most followers? Whose profile pictures qualify them as good looking?
Facebook also recommends potential people for me to friend. Why? Often we have one friend in common and occasionally no one as a mutual friend.
One of the recent suggestions was someone named Abraham Lincoln whose profile pic was...yep, the president. I didn't take the bait 'cause I've read he only uses Twitter.

Typically rainfall is rated as sprinkles, showers, light rain, and rain.
We've added another category: hard enough to interfere with reception from our internet satellite.
That's what we've had today. And the weather guy on the evening news said we'll get almost 2" over the next 24 hours.
I saw a shirt at Meyer this morning with the outline of the state and the words, "Oregon Reign."

This evening while out feeding our critters I checked the coop nests and got the first egg from this second flock. Like most first eggs it's small, but they quickly get big, especially from this breed. No way to know which hen gave us this egg but the other nine shouldn't be far behind. Soon we'll have eggs to sell and plenty for baking. I think my next attempt is going to be a merengue pie, probably lemon. My mom had a good recipe.

I've just done the dishes and had a warmed piece of apple pie. I can hear the rain coming down outside and it's cooling off inside, now down to 65 degrees.

I think it's time to crawl under the electric blanket and call it a day.

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

I think it's flooded.

You can see Uranus with the naked eye this week.

The downpour is supposed to start at 3 a.m. and continue through Sunday. I think I'm ready. I got the barns cleaned, the burn pile is now an ash pile, and I did 11 miles today at a decent clip, a PR for that distance. I wish the race weren't still 10 days away because I think I've peaked. The next non-rain day is Monday and that's a little late to be doing more than "stay loose" shorter runs.

I dropped Pam off at the airport about 4 a.m. and she arrived in Grand Rapids without problem. I'm glad she made it but wish she were here. It's going to be a long week.

It's 8 p.m. and someone just posted a message on the community Facebook page that his wife spotted a cougar crossing their driveway...1/4 mile up Baker Rd. by our mailboxes.
It's not the first cougar sighting in the area, but certainly the closest. I'll be sleeping with one eye open to see if the motion lights down by the barn come on.
Not that I'd know what to do if they did.

The above was written last night. Then I died, or lost the ability for cogent thought. It's now Thursday morning, I've had at least three cups of coffee and enough food to fill my normal daily intake, so continuing....

I am sore! But as of 10 minutes ago I'm also registered for the Grants Pass Half Marathon. Over three days I did runs of 8, 4, and 11 miles so I feel fairly confident I can do the distance (13.1 mi.) without a problem. And I can now see that Saturday with the 10-day forecast which, as of this morning, calls for a slight possibility of showers and high/low temps of 42 and 62. Good weather for a distance run.

The event hasn't been run the last two years so the most recent results are from 2015. Uhm...this could be interesting. There was only one male runner in my age bracket (60-69) and he ran the half marathon at an 8:20 pace, something I can't even imagine. They had a total of only 53 runners, both male and female, and the last place finisher ran it in 2:42, or a 12:23 pace. My primary goal is to finish without any walking and my secondary (wish list) goal is to finish in under 2:30. Based on yesterday's pace over 11 miles (10:27) I'd finish in 2:17.
I'm gonna need some adrenalin help.

I've thought about getting a T-shirt that's blank on the front and on the back says, "Please, Lord, let there be someone behind me to read this."

The rain was late in arriving but at 9 a.m. it's started. They're still calling for over an inch today and nearly the same amount every day through Sunday. If there's a break I may try to get out for a few miles tomorrow through Tuesday, but today will be spent inside with a fire in the stove.

I realized yesterday that I've lost interest in all professional sports except F1. Like too many celebrities, the majority of athletes seem to be prima donnas who think their salaries and name recognition give them outsized credibility off the field. They are, on average, no smarter or wiser than the guy who's a machinist. He'll give me his opinion on the state of the Union or anything else that's in his craw, but he's got enough sense to understand his influence is not and should not be in greater proportion than the mechanic working down the street.

The #MeToo campaign has put the spotlight on the sexual misbehavior and harassment women endure.
I'm betting we will have moved past this level of awareness before we get to the next award show with the red carpet display of booties and boobs on full display.
"But I should be able to dress however I want without men assuming I want that kind of attention."
Yeah, right. That's a special kind of stupid.

It's now 11 a.m. and I've spent time at the coffee shop and made a run into town. There was something of an emergency here with NO coffee beans of any kind in the cupboard. That catastrophe has been addressed with a trip to Fred Meyer. I've got a fire started so the place should quickly warm up from its current 62 degrees and my plan for the rest of the day involves mostly sitting here close to the stove with a computer on my lap.
Don't judge. I've earned a day of sedentary.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"She's what we used to call a suicide blonde; dyed by her own hand." - Saul Bellow

I had an appointment with my cardiologist this morning. Actually, it was with the tech from St. Jude's who made my pacemaker and then the PA to go over the results. Every six months I go in, they download all the data from the last half year, and then see if any changes need to be made.

The answer is no, everything is fine. It's working 5% of the time in the upper chamber and 4% in the lower chamber and at this rate the battery will last another 8 years. Oddly, it kicked on four times yesterday afternoon (I have no idea when or why).
My BP is good and my pulse is 48.
Yeah, running will do that to you.

Steve told me about Waze, an app similar to Google Maps for finding places as you drive, places like my cardiologist's office which is on a side street hard to locate from the main drag in Springfield. I used Google Maps to get there and Waze to get home. They recommended different routes and I deviated from the Waze route just to jerk it around and see how it would respond. No problem; it quickly adjusted and told me what I should do next.

Waze gives you a variety of voice options and I chose "Boy Band" just 'cause it sounded like it might be fun. NOT! It's a guy with the same sing-song inflection for everything and by the third turn I was ready to smack him.
When I got home I changed it to Anita or something like that.

I do like Waze better, though. It includes an indication of the speed limit as your route progresses and then shows your actual speed. The former is helpful because I sometimes miss seeing signs that tell of a new limit and the latter because Sally's speedo is inaccurate due to non-original size tires. When the speedo says 55 mph I'm doing slightly over 60 mph.

Steve said Waze will even warn you of traffic delays, accidents and the like, but nothing like that came up on my drive. The problem: Sally is noisy enough that I had trouble hearing the Boy Band idiot.

Our small group met tonight. We have a potluck each week and each of the 4 couples and two singles bring one item from the menu that Lainey chooses. It's always something simple, like tacos, or chili, or baked potatoes. We signed up to bring dessert this week so I baked an apple pie and made some cardamon toast.

I worked yesterday's 8 miles, especially the last 2.5 miles which is all uphill with the last 2 miles a pretty significant incline. So today my quads were sore. Today the plan was to just do an easy 4 miles so I can do 11 miles tomorrow. Except almost immediately I started pushing and ended up with a pretty respectable time for the route. The race is 11 days away and I take the last three or four days before the event off; no running so I'm fresh. It's supposed to pour Thursday through Saturday morning - "our first significant storm of the season" - so Wednesday's run may be it until Saturday. I'll run in the rain, but when they predict 1.5" I'm not going outside unless it's absolutely necessary. Even the goats have that much sense.

Right now we just got home from small group and I'm really tired. We'll leave home about 3:30 a.m. to get Pam to the (Eugene) airport for her 5:15 flight to Denver, and from there to Grand Rapids. I think I'll be going to bed just as soon as this cup of coffee is down my gullet.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"BACON is duct tape for the kitchen." - unknown (but a smart person)

Almost 50%, a pretty decent number compared to what's typical.

I'd forgotten just how hung over I am on Mondays after preaching. Not a lot of oomph for anything. I did eight miles this afternoon, but mostly because the event is 12 days out, not because I was filled with energy for the task.

The sermon has been posted on the church website. I was, uhm, surprised and a bit dismayed to see how long I preached. There really wasn't a way to shorten it - I'd already cut non-essential content out - and people sure seemed to be with me. What's the worst that can happen? They don't ask me to preach again?? Yeah, I'm more than OK with that.

We parted company with family (my folks and Steve, Michelle and the two grands) Saturday. The week or so afterward are always the hardest. It's so easy to be with our kids and grandkids, and to be with my folks, that I really miss them when it's over.
I'm already looking forward to January when we'll go the Phoenix and see ALL our kids and grands. And we may go up to Seattle for my mom's 95th birthday on Christmas Eve.

Pam's leaving Wednesday morning to visit her mom in Michigan. I'm a wimp about being alone; hate it. She's good about leaving me with meals I just have to heat, but the place is just too quiet.

I got a letter from the Oregon State equivalent of the IRS asking for my FEIN, or Federal Employee Identification Number. I should put that in the appropriate box and mail it back to them.
Except I don't have a FEIN, don't know what it is, and what I'd do with one if I had it.
So I called the 800 number, left a message, and the guy called back in a couple of hours.
"Yeah, we've just begun using a new system and are sending that letter out to anyone who might have a FEIN. If you don't have one just ignore the letter. You can throw it out."
If you're the tax man, even at the state level, don't be scaring people by asking for stuff just in case it might be necessary. That's not even nice.

Sundae's udder has shrunk a lot. She's gone from a Triple D to a C, maybe even a B cup. So I've begun to add grain and alfalfa back into her diet so she can put back on the weight she lost while nursing the kids.

Colin Kapernick protested by kneeling during the national anthem saying it was a matter of principle. Now he's suing the NFL for collusion, saying team owners conspired to not offer him a contract after he opted out of an extension with the Forty Niners.
Seems a bit contradictory to me.