Every Little $20 Helps

October 20, 2016

Our internet provider recently changed hands from Time Warner to Spectrum. We’ve been getting a pile of ads from them urging us to add TV and phone, which we are not interested in doing.

But today I got brave enough to contact them (via chat, not phone) and just asked them to lower our bill! What we’ve been paying is more than their current advertised prices, so I asked for the current price. They agreed and if it works as they say, we’ll be paying $20/month less. Yay!

Rachel also had a reduction in her mortgage payment recently of about $50/month, because a certain type of insurance was no longer needed. So that was good news too.

Fix-It Day

October 18, 2016

I didn’t go to work today. I stayed home and fixed things.

I started by washing all our utensil holders and changed out a blue one for a beautiful one of earth tones. The blue one has no nicks or chips, so it could still be used as a gift from Desert Sun Pottery.


Next, I fixed the carpet beater attachment to our vacuum cleaner (though now that I have, we own two perfectly good vacuum cleaners…).


Then a miracle happened. I was placing another piece of pottery up on the very high top of the kitchen shelves when I found the spot blocked by a stick. Turns out this stick was something all three of us have been looking for since the weekend we hid it from the foster child we were babysitting. It is the wand used to open and close the wooden blinds in the living room–but the metal loop had broken many weeks ago. Today I fixed it using a cup hook, florist wire, and epoxy putty. Yay! Now we can open an shut the blinds again.


After that I decided I needed a necklace watch–all the ones I buy for my wrist just die. I saw a few online that looked OK, but then I decided to go to my watch graveyard and see what I could find. I ended up removing the works from a old necklace watch, replacing it with the works from a wrist watch, turning the face 90 degrees, finding a working battery, and attaching it to a string of Solomon Islands shell money. Now I have a working necklace watch and a unique one at that.



Then, lastly, I repaired the broken hinge on the recycle bin because somebody–no names will be mentioned–backed into it and knocked it over, breaking one of the hinges. Not sure if this fix will last, but I’m giving it a try.  No two tiny bolts matched.


Then my last project of the day was to sort the nuts and bolts, nails and screws, gizmos and gadgets–consolidating so we can save space (which is at a premium around here!).


I also cleaned off my desk and did a few chores in the pile there, and–drum roll, please–I found Gary’s lost boxes of baseball cards.

All in all, a good day.  Sadly, we decided to cancel our camping trip this coming Th-Sat because all the campsites were already taken for Friday night.  Oh, well.  The last time we went camping was 1.5 years ago when we got rained out and came home to a tree in our roof.

Recent Nature Walk

October 17, 2016

It is still pretty hot here, but Saturday morning was cool enough for a bird walk at the park while Gary was a the EMS conference.

I didn’t see many birds, but an Eastern Phoebe posed for a closeup.


Otherwise, a few flowers and creatures.






They’ve put up a sign to explain the work they’re doing at the park, trying to turn part of it back into Tallgrass Prairie.


The Rocks are Crying Out

October 16, 2016

We have a boy in our church, someone I’ve mentioned before, who is not quite right in the head. (This is due to a brain injury he suffered several years ago.) However, we’ve all noticed that he is often more right in the heart than all the rest of us put together.

This morning we were singing the closing hymn–well, really more of a peppy gospel song from the turn of two centuries ago–the and aforementioned boy was singing along with some dance moves. Adult A’s hand reached over to calm him down, and –what can I say?–the rocks started crying out. Well, at least I my rocky heart started crying.


This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the cluster Westerlund 2 and its surroundings has been released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding science. The image’s central region, containing the star cluster, blends visible-light data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

In other news, did you hear that scientists have discovered this week that there are 10 times as many galaxies in the universe as they thought there were last week?  How cool is that?  Of course, it hurts one’s head to think about it but that news item fit in perfectly with my Sunday school lesson today which resulted in some artwork combining Genesis 1 and Psalm 8.  The kids make some cool pictures, but I posted them on the bulletin board and forgot to take a photo.

Arizona Trip, part 3 (The End)

October 10, 2016

Well, not much more to say to finish up my story. Thursday was a long day of driving across West Texas. We had a rather close call with the driving on our last day as we entered the freeway on a short and steep entrance ramp only to be met by a semi driving a double trailer, and he wasn’t about to move over and let me in. We thank God for his protection.  We stopped at a few rest areas to do a little birding, but didn’t see much except twice we saw Curved-billed thrashers.



We got home at 6:30pm then reconnected with Rachel and went out to find some dinner.


Gary worked at home Friday morning while I did laundry and went grocery shopping. It is good to be home.

On Its Way to New Rochelle

October 8, 2016

I’m interrupting my series of blogs about our trip to Arizona and back to tell about packing the pod today. We had all of the stuff ready–furniture, pottery, stuff from the storage unit, and stuff Rachel was donating, etc.–but the moving crew with the Ubox didn’t show up until after 6pm. I won’t go into all the details, but we were beginning to get worried…



Anyway, we had all the stuff out and ready, and once they finally got here, they loaded it up in about 45 minutes. All of it fit with a little bit to spare.




We locked it up with the same padlock that had been on the storage locker in Peoria. Now we’ll see if it all gets to Andrew and Laura’s place as planned.


Next job for us is to get our house back to some semblance of order and then back to normal work next week.

Arizona Trip, part 2 (Balmorhea State Park)

October 7, 2016

After our sleep in Willcox we started out for Texas. It was a long day of driving through the desert of Arizona and New Mexico but we made it to our location just off I-10 a bit after 5pm,  Balmorhea State Park in west Texas.  They had a lodge so we weren’t really camping. Our key was awaiting us.  It is a one-of-a-kind place and is an example of what an oasis in the desert is really like.  So un-Texas looking!!





We changed into our swim suits so we could experience a the world’s oddest swimming pool–built by the CCC in the 30s, fed by a desert spring and filled with endangered fish. It was really cold, a constant 72 degrees, but we got in anyway. Well, Gary got in further than I did.









There were very few lights there, and very clear skies, so we saw the Milky Way and a million stars.  There was also no place to eat.  We finally stopped at a “grocery” and bought day-old burritos, a box of Cheese-its, and some cranberry juice.

We got off to a slow start the next morning because the truck complained that we needed to add air to one of the back tires. The air at the first station didn’t work, so we found a bigger station and got the air there to work. It was also large enough to have a grill inside to make us some breakfast burritos–so big we shared one for breakfast and saved the other one for lunch. We took a 2-lane road back to I-20 and drove through Pecos. My dad was stationed here in the war days, and he always talked about Pecos. It is also famous for cantaloupes.


Arizona Trip Report, part 1

October 6, 2016

First let me say, we arrived home safely at 6:30 this evening after two and a half days of driving a Budget 12″ rental truck starting at Peoria, AZ. Many folks were praying for our safety. We are grateful to God for his protection.

Our trip started very early last Sunday morning with a rather large hiccup. Our ride to the airport, scheduled for 5:30am pickup, did not show and did not answer her phone. We made up a plan B and jumped in our own car and headed for DFW. We left the car unlocked, put the keys under the mat, and sent a text to our friends Dave and Sharla after we got checked in for our flight. They kindly picked up our car after church, then even brought it to our house so it was here when we arrived. Thanks!

We arrived at El Dorado, the assisted living facility where Gary’s parents live, in time to go to church with them (thanks to the fact that Arizona doesn’t go on Daylight Savings Time). We spent Sunday and Monday with them, visiting, watching football, and working on their computer. We also went swimming at one of Sun City’s pools.

On Tuesday morning we went out for breakfast then picked up the rental truck.


We then went to the storage unit in Peoria and opened it up.





A few minutes later a couple of men showed up whom we had hired to move the furniture from the unit into the truck–that stuff is heavy! Best $80 Andrew ever spent.🙂 They tied it up, took a photo of us, then we said goodbye to Wendell and Judy and headed out at about 11:30am.

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We drove about an hour and stopped for lunch:


Then we drove to Sweetwater sewer treatment park near Tucson for some birding–lifer: Harris Hawk.  Then on to the town of Willcox where we found a terrific birding spot, one we had visited a few years ago.  I got another lifer–Cassin’s Flycatcher.




We found a Pizza Hut for dinner, then to the Holiday Inn for some sleep.  Except Gary watched Cast Away, which he had not seen before.

Getting Ready to Leave

October 1, 2016

Our ride to the airport is supposed to pick us up at 5:30am tomorrow. We’re starting to get ready to leave. I’m mostly packed and Gary is mostly watching golf. And football.

I got up early this morning and went birding at the state park. Not very many birds, but the weather was nice, and it was the first time I’d been there in quite some time. It is finally cooled off a little. Of course this air conditioner will keep running for several more weeks.





We went to a funeral at our church today and had a tiny little accident on the way. Gary was driving, which he almost never does, and we were stopped at the red light at Clark and Wheatland when some elderly gentleman rear-ended us. No damage was done, but I felt like my neck got swung around a bit, which didn’t help the headache I’ve had for two days. I got out of the car and asked him what just happened and he replied, “I didn’t start braking soon enough.” True.

Please pray for us while we are away. Pray for our safely while driving an unfamiliar vehicle, and pray for Rachel staying home by herself. On Wednesday she will be driving to a new babysitting job about 20 minutes away.

We’re getting rid of some furniture, but had to take a photo on its way out.  The fabric is still in good shape but the mechanism is broken and one arm is broken.  Maybe some day we’ll get a new one.


More Stuff Out the Door

September 27, 2016

Today after work I took a load of baseball stuff to a local card shop. He said nothing much from the 80s or 90s was worth anything, but he’d give me $20 for my car-full. So I’m $20 richer and somebody has a bunch of Nolan Ryan posters.

From there it was a third trip to Half Price Books, this time with two decades worth of National Geographics which I had tediously sorted and tied into annual bundles. $3 was my haul– next time I won’t bundle them.🙂 We also said goodbye to the set of Science books that Gary won when he was in 7th grade. I’m sure those books were formative in his brain’s development fifty years ago, but not very useful now.  What we could use now is some vacant space.




In other news, didn’t Nana Maureen take some cute photos of our mutual grandkids?