Thursday, June 30, 2016

I Caved

Yes, I did.  I moved into the current century by getting a Smartphone.  I had resisted it over the years and never had a true need for one.  To get one just because it was the latest rage seemed goofy to me.  I also didn't want to become one of those annoying folks, including family, that would break them out and surf the internet or whatever they did with them, at family gatherings, visiting with friends, in restaurants etc.  I find that extremely rude and inconsiderate.  I know that I might be tempted to break mine out when things got boring.  Being bored is not a valid reason to be rude to your friends/family or anyone for that matter.  So I resisted. 

I rarely ever get a call anyway.  I do text but can go for days without ever sending or receiving one and you don't need an expensive smartphone to do that.  So I kept using my old flip phone, it was about 10 years old and was still working fine for what I needed.  

I did miss having a better camera, one that would actually take pictures big enough to see what it is you photographed, especially with Grandkids.  I don't carry my regular camera with me every time.  Having a much better one will be nice.  

However, with now having hearing aids I can connect them to my phone and hear the conversation in the hearing aids instead of resorting to speaker phone and letting everyone else in on my conversations, when they actually happen.  The app also lets me make adjustments to the hearing aids as needed without having to go to Costco and having them do a minor adjustment to the volume levels.  I can also change the program without being as obvious by reaching up and pushing the buttons several times, I can do that on the app, in my lap.  That's how I justified it anyway.  It didn't cost me anything other than activation fees and an additional 20$/mo. and committing to a two year contract.  

I have already noticed that the battery doesn't last very long compared to the old phone.  Hopefully once I get it all set up and I quit goofing around with the new toy that it will last longer. 

Don't judge me, I know I'm weak.

Happy Trails 

Monday, June 27, 2016


I was watching the network news talking heads Friday evening (against my better judgement) in regard to the UK's vote to get out of the EU.  They focused on all the people that were upset that the vote went to leave the EU.  They got sound bites from numerous folks and had a breakdown of how the UK voted.  Actually they only focused on the sections that voted to stay.  Scotland was so upset they will seek independence.  In all of the coverage they only had one person that was for leaving.  It also included several Wall St. types that were shocked that it happened.  They actually didn't think it would happen. 

The way I look at it, is if the news talking heads are focusing on the negatives, it was most likely a good thing they left.  I don't know enough about the economy to know how this will work out in the long run, but I did expect that Wall St. would take a big hit.  How long that will last, no idea.  However, I believe it will recover, in time.  And not a long time either.  Yeah, I'm sure my small IRA's took a big hit.  They did in 2008 and they have recovered.  So I am not jumping off any buildings today.  

I am however interested in how this will affect their immigration.  I see a lot of videos of how the immigrant muslims are behaving there and how they have taken over some areas and it isn't safe if you aren't a muslim.  Maybe they have seen the light and will clamp down on that issue.  It just might save them from themselves.

However, as it turns out, there are four options for not getting out since this was a 'non-binding' vote.  (why have a vote that is non-binding, especially for something like this)?  Parliament can just ignore the vote and vote to stay in the EU. The majority it seems is against getting out. This may not bode well for the next election however if they went against the vote.  Then there is some petition thing that could bring about another vote.  There are some percentage markers that must be met also to prevent a 're-vote' and there is a huge call for that already.  I don't recall the other at this moment but it's Europe. I have never really understood most of the stuff they do there anyway.  Just remember, the libtards want us to be like them, Europe.  Scary thought.  Oh yeah, I remember now, the EU could make concessions on the current treaty, most of which would involve immigration.  But I have heard that other members of the EU want them out now they are so upset with how the vote went.  I'm not a betting man and I wouldn't bet on how this will turn not after everything is said and done.

I didn't really pay much attention to this to begin with.  I don't know the issues that brought this to a vote anyway.  I am sure it is more complicated than it appears to Joe Public.  To me sovereignty should have been the main reason.  It boggles my mind as to why a country/people would give up deciding for themselves how things should work IN THEIR COUNTRY, and let some other loose gathering of a huge mix of ideas and different way of living decide for them.  Yes, I am aware that the leftards would love for that to happen here.  I can't even begin to understand that way of thinking.  It's insanity as far as I'm concerned.

Happy Trails

Friday, June 24, 2016

What a Mess

Just after my surgery, while still pretty much incapacitated, we needed to have a plumber install a hot water heater.  Something I probably would have done otherwise.  It was way too expensive but we got a full 8 year warranty.  With the water conditions we have, we are lucky to have a water heater last that long.  This morning we woke up to very little hot water.  Frustrating, but knew we had this great warranty and all the documentation.  I checked the breaker, it was fine.  Everything about the water heater indicated it was the problem.

Warranties are great, until the plumber that installed it is no longer in business.  I used a national brand so you would think it would not be a problem.  As it turns out, while they have a national brand, they are all independent.  They have just used this big name as advertisement.  The national number is just a call center, they can't help you at all with any warranty issues if their contractor has gone out of business and there aren't any others in that service area.  

I managed to get in contact with the water heater manufacturer.  They run me through some 'tests' with a multi meter.  They actually told me how to hook up my meter (i had never used it, I got it from my Dad in their recent move.)  The tests indicated that I was getting no power to the unit.  They advised I needed to call an electrician since it wasn't a water heater issue.  Can you see the steam rising from my head?  I am beyond frustrated as I see this costing me when it shouldn't.  I am sitting there looking at my multi meter and rearrange how they had me connect it.  Sure enough, I am getting the 240 V just like they said I should.  They had me hook up my meter wrong.  Also I notice since I had turned off the breaker to remove the panels, and then turned it back on, the water heater started making all the noises it usually does and the pressure release valve started getting hot.  Evidently it just needed resetting.  Why? I don't know, and it does concern me.  It has a reset button on it anyway, but it didn't work when I pushed it.  The breaker was off at the time...duh.

I appears we have hot water again.  How long?  Who knows?  In the mean time I got a call from a commercial plumber that said they had taken over most of the accounts for the defunct plumber and would service our warranty.  Really?  I couldn't believe it, but was glad for that news.  Not sure how they got my info other than the incapable call center for the national plumbers finally realized they had somehow sold that franchise to this other company and called them.  But none of those call center folks, 3 of them, could figure that out when I called them.  Might have saved me some frustration.  

Not sure why these sort of things bother me more than they used to.  

Happy Trails

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Yes I have been, as far as this blog is concerned.  I don't want this blog to be just an everyday record of the hum drum life I lead, but it appears it has been heading that way for some time even though I created this for my own benefit to help me remember various events especially in regard to my battle with Prostate Cancer.  I also wanted to use it to help others be informed about Prostate cancer and what can be expected by sharing my experience.  I also hoped it would spur others to take an interest in their own health.  My cancer has not returned and there is no follow up treatment and the visits to the Urologist are becoming farther and farther apart.  So that news will be less and less necessary.

I also don't want to waste your time.  I will most likely be posting less and less.  I know that this will chase most readers away.  I appreciate your visits so much more than you probably realize.  I enjoy the interaction with those of you who come by and take the time to comment.  I will miss that, but I will be visiting your blogs most everyday as I do now.  

From here on, posting will be sporadic at best.  

I do have one thing in the works I am excited about.  I am having a custom knife made for my leather work.  It's a Head Knife or Round Knife.  

A good one can be very spendy.  The stock off the shelf affordable ones are not real good for holding an edge which is critical when cutting leather.  I have been wanting one for some time but just couldn't come up with the spare cash to afford something like that.  As it turns out a friend has been learning the knife making trade.  He makes all of his knives by hand.  Yes, cutting the steel with a hack saw and using files to get the shape and edge he wants.  Since we are friends he has offered to make this knife at a much reduced rate.  He is pretty excited about this one since it is a much different style knife than his usual, and so am I.  Mine will be even more customized than the above.  Most serious leather workers have several of these with differing size blades and some shape variations.  Mine will be significantly different in order to cover several needs in one knife, thus saving the need for several knives. 
I have used a rotary cutter in the past and they are only good for cutting straight lines and marginally at best.  After using one for a couple years with mixed results this is the time to bite the bullet and take advantage of this.  My last couple leather projects suffered due to inconsistent cutting.  Better cuts will save me time and produce a better quality item.  I won't have to spend as much time evening out sloppy cuts.  

Being a worker with hand made crafts I can appreciate what he is doing for me.  Most of us that hand make a product are never really able to recoup the true cost/worth of our craft.  We also realize that it does need to be sold at some point.  I did not ask him for a break on the price, expecting to pay full price, if I could afford it.  Otherwise, I would do without until....  I am so grateful for what he is doing for me.

I will post pics of it when I get it.  It is pretty wicked looking.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


No, I am not.  I am sadly aware.  I generally choose not to rant about the craziness in the world.  There are plenty of others that can do a much better job of sharing their thoughts.  However, sometimes I can't help myself.  

In regard to the latest tragedy, I am surprised it hasn't happened and on a larger scale and more often.  When it does, I try to avoid all the politics that both sides indulge in.  The solutions offered, especially by those of the left are totally self serving.  NONE of their ideas or solutions make any all.  I refuse to get into a debate with them.  They are so blinded by their agenda they can't see reality, even with it staring down the barrel of an AK 47.  There is no solution to evil.  It exists, it always has.  No amount of rhetoric from either side will stop it.  You can put what ever name you want on it, pretty it up and put makeup on it.  Put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig.  Evil is still evil.

My reaction to the latest is sadness for the families of those that lost someone.  Sadness, that there are those that want to use events like this to promote their political agenda, politicians and media mostly.  Also there is anger, anger at those same agenda promoters mentioned above.  Anger that we have become a weak kneed country that is more afraid of doing the wrong thing than actually doing the right thing.  Anger at those that continue to defend an ideology that has no basis in truth.  Anger, that our government has made the American people divided against itself.  I also pray, for guidance, wisdom, understanding and compassion, and for myself to react in a rational manner.  These prayers are also offered for those that run what's left of our government.  But mostly prayers for those that have lost and for the defeat of this particular evil.

Not today, I just can't say it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Garden Adjustments

The garden is finally producing.  Have picked a few tomatoes, onions, and peppers.  The strawberries don't do much, one or two here and there.

The riper tomatoes above are the Mortgage Lifters.  They have that indented area where the stem attaches.  It's awkward for slicing to put on a sandwich but they are so flavorful and juicy.  The others are the Florida somethings.  I still don't remember the entire name.  They are more solid and not very juicy at all, very meaty, but not as flavorful.  They would probably be better for a sandwich, they won't get the bread all soggy.  Then there are two of my onions in there.  They are very mild and are very good, surprisingly so.

So two of the three strains of tomatoes are producing.  The other strain, Striped German are not setting much fruit at all.  The bush is huge but not much else.  I can see where there have been blooms and they are now gone.  Maybe bugs, but they aren't touching the others.  I am pretty sure they didn't produce much last year either.  If they don't get busy in the next week or two, they are gone.  They take up too much space and block sunlight from the others.  Either way, they will be a no go next year.  While I love the Mortgage Lifters, they didn't produce as many as I hoped last year.  While they are good, if they don't produce better they will be gone too.  They are really tall and bushy, much more so than the others.  They take up more room than all the others combined.

Bell Peppers have been a flop.  Lots of blooms, not fruit.  I see evidence of some sort of bug on the leaves.  Something damages the leaves and probably does the same to the peppers.  I don't even have a small pepper to show for it.  Those won't be replanted.  We use Bell Peppers in a lot of our cooking, so this is a big disappointment.  Maybe I will research them some before I surrender, I would really like some for our use.  The Jalapenos are doing OK.  I bought two, but it turns out they mixed up labels and I got some green banana type pepper with one of them.  Will try those again, maybe replace the Bell Peppers with them.

The Strawberries. This is the second year I have tried them.  Most lived all year long and produced into the early winter.  However, just one or two strawberries every few days from six plants just won't cut it.  I found out unless you are planting a huge amount of Strawberry plants you won't harvest enough for your pie. A small backyard garden is no place for Strawberries unless you just want them for the beauty of the plant. 

I will plant onions again.  That will happen this fall.  I may increase the amount.  I haven't had to harvest them all at once.  They can stay in the ground until I need one to cook or give away.  I will have to think about what else I will plant in limited space.  Squash takes up a lot of room, melons even more.  Beans or some sort, probably not since I am the only one that eats them.  Time to research.

Happy Trails

Saturday, June 11, 2016


While this is fresh in my mind, I want to urge all you men to get your PSA levels checked.  Ladies, if you have a man in your life, do whatever you can to get him to go.  Even if you have to play dirty.  Sorry fellas, it's your own fault, you know how most of you are about going to the doctor.

Why am I mentioning this now?  Yes, I got a good report recently regarding my own prostate cancer.  However, not everyone is as fortunate as I have been.  Yes most do survive and live a long life after.  But there are at least 5 % that don't.  I was reminded of this Thursday while I was sitting on the beach eating my lunch.  I got a rare text from my old high school best friend.  One of our mutual friends from high school, passed away this past Monday from prostate cancer.  He was only 61 or 62.  Much to young.  Don't let this be you.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Day Trip

Before we even made coffee in the morning I asked Kim if she wanted to go for our morning walk or go to the coast.  Without hesitation she said 'coast.'  So we started scurrying around to get ready to head south and sit on the beach at Padre Island.  We left around 9:30 AM so we missed all the city rush hour traffic and arrived sometime around 1 PM.

Birds of some sort, all I know is some sort of sea gull and the other, no idea.

The water was as clear as I have ever seen it.  That doesn't happen too often

Buster wasn't impressed.

He doesn't care for water and he would only go so far in and only with one of us taking him in.  Otherwise, he steered clear.  He tried to keep the sea gulls off HIS beach.  At least as close as his leash would allow.  I can't trust him off leash.  Once he gets zoned in on something, his recall is totally ineffective.  Unfortunately this limits our freedom of movement.  We actually tried to leave him at home, but as we were leaving we see him trying to dig out of the yard under the fence.  He has done this before, but it's been over 10 year since he has gotten out.  So we loaded him up.  I would rather be inconvenienced than come home and find him gone.

Due to the heat and lack of shelter from the sun we don't generally go this time of year.  It gets too hot and I burn much to easy.  We only stayed a couple hours and headed back home.  Just in time for our regular supper time.

Maybe we can do this come October when it's much cooler and we can stay a little longer.

Happy Trails.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Good News

The doctor appointment went well.  I didn't actually see the doctor, I saw the FNP.  Just as well.  Since there was nothing unusual about the visit I felt comfortable enough seeing the FNP.  Family Nurse Practitioner, FNP's have to specialize in what ever field they choose as I understand it, i.e. Family Medicine, Urology etc.

The main thing is, there is still no detectable cancer.  For this I am exceedingly grateful.  We are looking into a different type of hormone replacement therapy.  The twice a week injections are literally a pain.  The option is having them inject me with pellets every four months.  There is the additional cost to consider and an additional trip to the doc.  But at this point I am willing to try something else.  I can always go back.  As far as the other issue I mentioned, there is no alternative at this point.  At two years after the surgery, they will look at another option, which requires more injections.  There are other considerations I am not comfortable with, so that will most likely be a no go.  Plus, I suspect my insurance won't cover that.  Yes, things are good all in all.

I watch the young fawns around here quite a bit.  There is one fawn in particular that has taken to laying in the flower bed right against the front of the house.  It obviously feels safe there, even with Buster pawing at the window and an occasional bark when it moves.  I have been noticing that the does don't seem to mind letting any fawn suckle, even when they aren't their own.  I was relating this to the wife and she came back with 'so you are saying it takes a village?'  She knows how to push my buttons when she wants to.  She knows I think that is libtard bunk.  I set her up pretty good with that one.

Happy Trails

Monday, June 6, 2016

Another Follow Up

Tuesday I visit the Urologist.  He will go over the results of my latest bloodwork to see if there is any indication of a return of my cancer.  He will do this for the next 8.5 years.  Eventually, as time goes on I will go less often than every few months.  Not sure what the progression is for that exactly.  It will eventually move out to every 6 months.  I am not sure but at some point it goes to once a year.  They are very careful on how they say things to you.  They say things like 'there is no detectable trace of cancer.'  I get it.  But it doesn't bother me at all that they can't say 'you don't have cancer.'  It could be much much worse. 

There are a few things he will also need to address for me.  Questions I have and whether we want to pursue another type treatment to deal with one of the issues I have from the surgery.  Prescribed meds have been no help.  Next is some sort of injection I am not looking for ward to at all.  I am not sold on that at this point anyway.  I get stuck with enough needles as it is already.  

It's still pretty soggy around here and a stray shower will pop up without warning.  Kim got soaked at the resort Saturday.  They have her outside, and where she was at she couldn't see the weather developing.  One of those stray showers came in with a lot of wind and blew her craft items all over the place and what didn't get blown got soaked.  But everything turned out OK.

The weather is still so unsettled.  We don't really make plans to take any day trips or much of any outdoor activity.  It has even been hard to find a way to cut the grass in the yard.  Kim mentioned missing the Grandkids the other day.  The will be here for nearly a full week later in the month.  But I think she wants to have them come over sooner and stay.  We need the weather to be better so we can get them outside.  

Friday, June 3, 2016

That Time of Year

They are all over the place.  You even have to watch where you step.

Almost every year we have at least one of these little ones camp out on the front porch for a few hours.  Not sure why they find that area so attractive.  These were taken looking out the windows in the front of the house.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chance of Rain

That's what the weather geeks said.  If it happened at all it would be before 1 PM with the rest of the day sunny.  Wednesday through Friday we should expect heavy rain.  With that in mind we took a day trip.  We just wanted a free day to just goof around away from home.  We started out for Llano by way of Fredericksburg.  Not long after we left Fredericksburg we started hitting some pretty strong showers.  It got bad enough I was down to 40 mph on a 70 mph highway.  We could see that the direction we were headed it was just getting heavier/darker.  Kim gets pretty nervous in stormy weather, plus more rain wouldn't be good for her shopping plans.  So we turned back to home less than 20 minutes out from Llano.  It was about 12:30 pm.  We didn't get back home until just after 4 PM.  That is a trip that shouldn't be much more than an hour.

We ran into even more rain and then by the time we hit Boerne ( pronounced burn-ee) schools were letting out.  What a mess that was.  Boerne is not a big town.  But the traffic was a giant mess.  Nearly 30 minutes to get through there to the back roads to our house.  Then we had to turn around, twice on the back roads, due to high water and go an even longer way to get home.  Kim was pretty nervous and was relieved to get home finally.  I was glad to just be out of her car.

We will just wait and see how the weather is the rest of the week before we do that again.  But since we were expecting more rain we hadn't made any plans.

Happy wet Trails