April 25, 2015

Names

Thanks to Cop Car, I have found a completely useless, but fascinating theory on my name. If I use my former married name, I am the only person in the US with that name. And, there are only 164 people with that last name at all. I must know at least 20% of those people. I will admit that the spelling is a non-common variation and if I put in an alternate spelling, the instances rise.

However, what I do find funny (and perhaps accurate) is that according to the graphic, there are 1 or fewer. If I was the only person with that name on Dec 31, 2014 as of Jan 1, 2015, no one has it.


HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There are
1
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.
How many have your name?

Now that I have gone back to my maiden name, it seems there are 188 people that would respond if it was called over the loudspeaker.


HowManyOfMe.com
Logo There are
188
people with my name in the U.S.A.
How many have your name?

Of course this is non-scientific, not claimed to be accurate, and just uses statistics to estimate those numbers, so this means absolutely nothing except I had something to post.

Posted by Bogie on April 25, 2015 at 07:37 AM in Funnies, Science | Permalink | Comments (5)

April 19, 2015

Birdie's Cage Fail

When last I left you in this riveting story, due to the base of Birdie's cage breaking, I bought a new cage for him and seemed to be doing well in his digs 9picture taken 3/27).

Birdie

Well, he liked his mirror (transferred from the old cage), but he was rooted to his spot on the upper perch. He would not venture down to eat, even when I clipped one of his favorites, whole grain bread, above the food dish. By 3/31, he still had not moved to eat, although he did eat some bread that I placed in a clip next to the perch he was on - so I knew I had to do something - especially since I would be leaving for my 3 day trip to Rhode Island. So. I brought the old cage back pstairs and placed him in it until I could come up with something better. He immediately ran down to the food dish and started munching away.

I started searching CL, and found that several weeks previously someone had posted the exact same model as Birdie's old cage. I had tried desperately to find the same model as new, but evidently it had gone out of production (not surprised since it is at least 12 years old). So, I found someone who was selling the cage - or were they? You never know on CL with older ads. Did they sell the item and not delete the post? Did they get tired of waiting for someone to want it and take it to the dump or local swap shop?

Only one way to find out, so I mailed the person that had placed the ad. In the email I offered a little less than they wanted explaining that I really only needed the base, not the whole cage. Yes, the cage was still available, and they would take what I offered so I arranged to pick it up the night before leaving for RI. I didn't wet it up as I had other things to accomplish (like pack), but at least I didn't have to worry about it while I was supposed to be relaxing.

A couple of days after I got home, I transferred Birdie to the new/used cage (hey, it was already clan, so I might as well use the whole thing). Although traumatized by the move, as usual, he settled in as if it was the same old cage.

Birdie new used cage

At the same time, I decided to go ahead and assemble the stand that I had gotten for the new cage. Since the stand is contoured to fit the base of the new cage exactly, I had to scrounge in the basement and found a couple of shelves from a broken book shelf that works well for holding the cage.

If you look below the cage in use, there is a clear plastic seed catcher in the above picture. That thing has been in use since sometime in the 90's, and is brittle, cracked and falling apart. I looked and looked for a replacement, but the company that used to make them was bought out by another company and they discontinued making the seed catcher. Birdie is very messy for a cockatiel; throwing food and pellets out of the cage, so a catcher is needed.

Most solutions available now consist of a covering that blocks off view from above the seed bowl to the cage bottom. I knew Birdie would never go for that, so I finally found something that works, although it freaked out Birdie for a couple of days - but he is okay with it now.

New Seed Catder

Note that I only put up a couple of sides to the catcher so it sags and looks like crap, but it is the only way that I can still access the food bowls every day (it interferes with the latches for the bowls - if they slid upwards the catcher would be fine). It works better than the old catcher as Birdie hasn't figured out how to flip the pellets/seeds over the side, so the floor stays a lot cleaner.

Since the new cage that Birdie doesn't like is used, it can't be returned. I am torn as to whether I will try to sell it (and take a loss), or hold onto it. Every once in a while I see birds being given away on CL (cockatiels or parakeets), and I wouldn't mind having a couple more birds. Even if I don't get more birds at this point, Birdie has surpassed his life expectancy (he's over 20), so when it is his time to go, I am sure I will get another small bird or two - and having a new cage would be preferable to the used cage, which is about as old as the cage that I replaced.

 At least Birdie is happy and eating, so anything beyond that is just a minor irritant.

Posted by Bogie on April 19, 2015 at 08:07 AM in Our Animals | Permalink | Comments (2)

April 11, 2015

Birthday Vacation on the Island

The Outlaws (they aren't really true in-laws anymore - LOL), that used to live in the next town over, moved to Rhode Island last fall. More precisely, they moved to an island, off of Rhode Island, to manage a timeshare resort. They kept telling me I should go out for a visit. Since I get my birthday off work as a holiday, and my BD fell on a Friday this year, it was a great time to take a 3-day weekend to go visit.

The tourist / vacation destination of Block Island, has not yet gotten underway so most "attractions" were not open, but that was okay, I wasn't going for ice cream, specialty chocolates or any of that stuff - just get away, see BIL & SIL, and generally recharge.

I left Friday morning to make the 1PM ferry (ferry only runs 3 times/day at this point, so timing is everything). As usually happens when I take vacation, I left in 40 degree weather and it was raining. It was the same when I got to the docks, and was supposed to stay that way for most of the weekend. Oh well, I expect nothing less! The view from the ferry was less than spectacular

View from ferry

So, I ended up taking a nap. Don't get to do that often, and obviously I needed it because I woke up just as we were approaching the breakwater of the island 55 minutes later. I texted SIL when I landed, and she came to get me; the timeshare community was only a couple of blocks away so I didn't have to wait long.

The rest of Friday afternoon I spent talking with SIL as she was finishing up ordering of linens and dishes needed for the units before prime season began. They had given me a room (thank you so much guys!) since they weren't full up yet. I also accompanied BIL to the dump, where I helped unload cardboard from kitchen cabinets that he had installed in some of the units. We also stopped at the local hardware store for plumbing supplies to finish installing kitchen sinks. With that, I got some idea of the lay of that part of the island, and BIL gave me histories of some of the features we passes (like "New" port - which used to be a lake and was opened up to the ocean for more portage).

That evening we walked to one of the few restaurants that was open for fish fry - walking is the main transport as everything is right there at the port, so it doesn't make sense to drive. At that point the rain had turned to intermittent drizzle, so we didn't get too wet. The fish was fabulous and we all returned to the resort gorged. I broke out the kindle and got in some reading before calling it a night.

Saturday I awoke to 40's, gray skies and massive wind. After making some tea, I curled up with the Kindle and read a bunch more. The outlaws expected several parties to arrive from the 1PM ferry, and they were doing last minute preparations, so I was left to my own devices. I walked the street along the beach and found the water was very pretty.

Water of cove

When I returned, it was shortly before the ferry was expected. SIL needed a couple of things done, so I was happy to help out. Then some of the guests started to arrive, so I retired to my room for more reading.

After the commotion died down, I decided to go walking a different direction. Even though it was still mighty windy, the sun had come out and it was warming up some. I found one trail, which I followed until it appeared to be getting close to town, then turned around to find more outlying area. I found the airport and the local air taxi. I was fascinated with the tail emblem and then suddenly realized it was the shape of the island.

Island outline plane tail Block island Airport sign

After detouring for the pictures, I kept heading out, where I found another trail that went past this driveway.

Country driveway
Country driveway
Country driveway

Above the steps, I found that I was behind and above the airport

Above airport

I was debating whether to go along the trail further (I was off the trail for the above pics, when I received a text from SIL asking where I was. I replied "I'm on some trail behind the airport." She replied that she wanted to make sure I wasn't bored. Ohh, no way! I decided to head back the way I had come as I wasn't sure how long the trail would continue before it found another road. When I got to the bench, I got another text from SIL saying she had ordered pizza and it would be ready in about 30 minutes.

I got back shortly before the pizza and we stuffed ourselves (obviously, this was not a wheat-free weekend for me). While we were eating, more guests arrived and SIL had to go check everyone in. I cleaned up (we had been eating at the picnic table). I then headed to the office, where SIL was checking in the last guest to arrive for the day. It was a youngish couple (anyone who appears under 45 is youngish to me now - LOL), who was asking about hiking. SIL hadn't yet gotten to any of the trails, so I was happy to give them some direction to the two trails I had found.

While the young woman took their baby to their unit, the young man asked if they should drive, or if it was safe to walk there. I told him that most people gave wide berth to walker (as wide as they could, some roads were barely two cars wide), and as long as they walked facing traffic they would be good. I also told him that most of the people would wave to them - the islanders are truly friendly, even In the off-season.

After a few minutes of paperwork, SIL decided she wanted to show me the "Cliffs". Since it was late in the day (6-ish), she drove us there.

Posted by Bogie on April 11, 2015 at 04:16 PM in Life in General, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Island Birthday - Part 2

The Cliffs were truly grand - giving a great view of the ocean, with a very nice staircase down to about 100 feet above the sands.

Sairs from half way - up
Sairs from half way - up
Sairs from half way - up Waves from steps to beach
Waves from steps to beach

We then went to another viewing area further down the road, before we headed back to the Resort.

Waves breaking
Waves breaking

When we got back, I broke out some wine that I had brought to celebrate their first opening (for them, not the resort). We had some good conversation while I played with their kitty. Eventually kitty got tired and decided my jacket was a really nice place to snooze.

Island kitty
Island kitty

Sunday morning, SIL wanted to go to the Easter Sunrise Service at 6:15AM. So, we started walking about 6. The horizon was starting to show color when we got there, The service was beautiful, and short. The sun broke thru the clouds on the horizon shortly after the service started.

Sunrise service - before
Sunrise service - before

When we turned to head to the church for breakfast, I saw that there was a full moon too.

Sunrise service - full moon

The church put on a great breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, bacon (fresh, not store bought), potatoes and French toast made with cinnamon raisin bread - with real maple syrup. I put in donations for both of us since they had provided my room and two large meals while I was there (I took salads, sardines and bananas with me for my other meals). We walked the long way back to the resort to help all the food settle.

All too soon it was time to board the ferry for my trip back home. I had a great time, got to see and hike some new territory, had great food and even better conversation. I am so blessed that they invited me to come down (and meant it!). I hope to go again in the fall, when there is more color.

Posted by Bogie on April 11, 2015 at 04:15 PM in Family, Life in General, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 29, 2015

Still Snowing at the End of March

Although it is slowly warming up, and the birds are flying up from further south, we are still getting snow. The storms aren't big, mostly dustings - and we got about an inch yesterday, after heavy rains on Thursday (the garage did get some water, but not nearly what I got last year, and not entering the basement, so I am good.

Pictures taken yesterday and today of the snow pack remaining.

Snow backyard 3-28-15-2
Snow backyard 3-28-15-2

In my area, a big flock of redwing blackbirds arrived about 2 weeks ago and they have hung around. I can hear/see them in the trees in the trees in back, and to the side of my house. Pictures of other birds at the feeder a couple of weeks ago (3-7-15).

Bird flock
Bird flock

It is supposed to get in the 40's this coming week, but even then Easter egg hunts next week may be in the snow.

Posted by Bogie on March 29, 2015 at 09:19 AM in At Home, Wild Birds | Permalink | Comments (4)

Birdie's New Digs

I was cleaning Birdie's cage Wednesday evening when this happened.

Broken cage base
Broken cage base

I can't be too upset. It was Birdies original cage; I have had him since 2003 and he was about 10 years old when I got him. That cage came with Birdie, so I assume it is around 20 years old or so. Additionally, the center part had cracked a couple of years ago, so it was only a matter of time. Fortunately, Birdie isn't a big wanderer, the biggest issues the break caused would be more mess outside the cage and the wire being less securely balanced on the base. Heck, that portion that is still attached was very floppy even with the cage wire settled on top of it, and I was afraid it would break too.

I was originally going to go to a pet store to get a replacement cage - I could run out during lunch and pick one up. I got online to see what was available in-store, and couldn't believe what they were charging for a small cage (smaller than the 18 x 18 x 22T  cage I had). I did find a somewhat larger cage that would be good for Birdie, but I  wasn't liking the cost (really - it should have come with a bird or two already). People on CL also must have coated their cages in gold.

So, off on an internet search I went. At Overstock I found what I was looking for with the additional bonus of being able to buy a stand (total cost was for what the cage cost at where the pets go). A stand would be good because even wwith birdie's broken cage, it was all I dould do to fit the cage and the cat food on the table. With a stand for the even larger cage, I wouldn't have to worry about that. However, the cage wouldn't arrive until next week if I got it from Overstock. Although not a catastrophe, I had issues with that for my own reasons.

Since Overstock gave me a good skew number (the pet place used its own numbers), I was able to track one down on Amazon, where my Prime membership would get me 2-day delivery for the cage (the stand will be here sometime in the coming week - but that is not so urgent a need). So, Friday evening FedEx delivered the cage and I got it all set up.

New cage
New cage

The cool thing about this cage is that I can take it completely down to flat if needed (the other cage I couldn't).

Birdie is still getting used to his new place. The more vertical bars, versus his old cage having more horizontal bars, are not as easy for him to maneuver around with. He was never that good at climbing cage wires to begin with. The perch dowels supplied with the cage were for slightly larger birds (O'hara-size), so I bought a dowel yesterday and fashioned a new main perch for him - he seems more comfortable now.

As I suspected, the new cage takes up almost all the width of the table so I have moved the cat food to the living room bay window until the stand arrives.

Hopefully Birdie settles in quickly and enjoys his new cage for a long time to come.

Posted by Bogie on March 29, 2015 at 08:58 AM in Our Animals | Permalink | Comments (5)

March 22, 2015

New Cooking Appliance

I frequent a Pellet Stove forum - at first it was to soak up knowledge, now it is more conversation and helping others, expecially with St. Croix Hastings/Greenfied stoves, since that is the one I have had to figure out everything on. I still learn plenty about both stoves and set ups in general. And we all share what pellets are available where (some areas have shortages, other areas have gluts, and still other areas the price can be as much a $4/bag difference between retailers). And we share how different brands are burning so those that drop big bucks on buying several tons at a time don't get stuck with crappy pellets.

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked if anyone had tried cooking with their pellet stove. After much off topic banter, a member reported that he had just tried baking some potatoes in his Harman P61a (the same model that I have in the basement) and that they had come out perfectly. Well, that is all it took and I was off and running.

I bought a couple of sweet potatoes, washed/scrubbed them up well, wrapped them in foil (still wet) and set them on the ledges at the side of the stove. I made sure it was in a maintenance burn (would not turn itself off), set the timer and went about my business.

1.3 hours later I removed the foil packages and opened them up to find perfectly steamed sweet potatoes. I dumped them in a bowel and stripped off the skin (very easy - just lifter right off), then added some real butter.

After the butter had melted a bit, I mashed them all together, added a bit of real maple syrup, about 1/2 cup of oats, ground cinnamon and some water.

Sweet potatoes cooked in P61a

I then let the concoction sit a couple of hours for the oats to soak up the water and decided that a parfait would be perfect;  So, I scooped out a bit of the sweet potato mixture, added vanilla Greek yogurt, and topped it all off with cinnamon.

  Sweet Potato Desert with Yogurt

Awesome! I reported my results on the forum, and someone else chimed in with their results from steaming vegies in their stove. Someone still needs to do an experiment with filling a small crock with meat and vegies to make a stew for 1-2 people - I am looking forward to a report on that! Earlier this week I put in 3 more sweet potatoes and have been enjoying them at work (and for breakfast this morning).

Pellet stoves; keeping the house warm, blow drying hair, and now cooking - is there anything they can't do? LOL

Posted by Bogie on March 22, 2015 at 09:11 AM in At Home, Cooking | Permalink | Comments (5)

March 15, 2015

Melting Progress

So far I have gotten my wish and the weather has been very slow to warm up which means the snow is melting slowly and not creating flooding havoc.

View out the living room bay window on 2/22/15

View of snow from living room bay window

View out the living room bay window today (3/15/15)

Livingroom view 3-15-15

We still have a long way to go before there is green grass.

Posted by Bogie on March 15, 2015 at 08:06 AM in At Home | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thanks are in Order

It has slowly been warming up here in the frozen Northeast. I haven't seen or smelled a skunk for months, until driving to work Wednesday morning; I smelled a skunk shortly after leaving my driveway. I remember wondering if the resident area skunk had gotten run over, it was so strong.

Thursday, I got ready to leave for work - loaded up my coffee, lunch and purse into the car, turned off the garage light, and started to lift the garage door. Looking out the window, I saw a small figure waddling off. At first I thought it must be an area cat; they sometimes hang around by the house. Then I realized it was the resident skunk. Why he (she?) was right at my garage door, I have no idea, but evidently there was some reason.

The skunk stopped before he even got to the path to the front door. Well, that wasn't going to do as that is about 10 feet from the garage door, and I need to not only back up, but get out of the car to close the garage door. I lowered the door back to the ground (it was only up a couple of inches), and lifted it partway again. That produced enough noise that the skunk continued, and took the path toward the front door.

Good enough for me, so I continued on with my mission. By the time I was backing out of the driveway and could see up the path to the door, the skunk had disappeared around the side of the house. 

I want to thank the skunk for deciding to retreat instead of defend his position that morning!

Posted by Bogie on March 15, 2015 at 07:59 AM in Wild Animals | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 08, 2015

Plumber Girl

There has been a leak under the kitchen sink since I moved in. I've had plastic containers under the drip to catch most of the water, but the base would sometimes collect water. It didn't seem to follow a pattern, and I could only sometimes feel/see wetness on any of the lines, so I ignored it the best I could (EX tried to find the leak shortly after I moved in, but it eluded him).

About 2 weeks ago, I finally decided I was going to find the issue and fix it. The impetus was that lately when I turned on the faucet, it was evident there was a little air in there. The weird part was, if I didn't turn on the hot water, the next time I used the faucet, there wouldn't be air. So I emptied out everything under there, grabbed a flashlight, and made myself comfortable laying underneath to watch what was going on. Eventually I found two areas that were dripping (neither consistent). One place was under the sprayer sink cap, a mere sealing issue, the other was at the connection between the main faucet and the spray hose.

The second leak was the biggest issue and was weird because it wouldn't' leak while the water was running - just after the faucet had been turned off. The only thing I could surmise was a weak area had developed at the connection, and as long as the water had somewhere to go, that area was bypassed for the easy route. Once the water flow was stopped, there was just enough pressure to force a little water out thru the weak spot. Another assumption I made, was that the hot water did not shut off right away, creating extra pressure even after the handle was in the off position.

I decided the best route for me was to replace the entire faucet and after much dithering, decided on the style and color that I wanted. I went to several stores (big box and smaller local places) and wasn't impressed with the prices or choices, so continued my search online. I finally settled on one, found the best price, and it was delivered the morning of 2/28. That evening (I had other things to do that day), I decided to dive in.

I had watched a couple of videos online and knew that the removal of the old faucet would take the most time. It did - at about 3 hours. The hardest part was getting the spray head out as the plate underneath was super rusty and I couldn't get ahold of it  very well. When I managed to get a grip, and finally got it to turn some (after spraying with WD40), the whole assembly would turn. Since my arms aren't 10 feet ling, I couldn't both turn the plate and hold the spray assembly. After getting a whole lot of rust in my eyes (yes, I had on safety glasses), I finally managed to get it out.

Main lines off
Main lines off
Main lines off

Underneath the baseplate of the faucet was a nasty mess. I spent some time scraping and scrubbing to get all the crud off (be thankful that I didn't think to take a picture of it - there was a miny swamp under there).

When I went to put the new faucet in, I found the directions left a little to be desired. It told me to take off a pre-assembled from the bottom of the faucet. Um, there was no pre-assembled section, just a bunch of parts in a bag. So, I slept on it and restarted the project on Sunday. After much trial and error, I finally figured out what worked (I'm not saying it was right, just what worked), and got everything threaded thru the holes in the sink and the initial tightening done.

Once again I needed longer arms to hold the faucet while performing the final tightening. Then I realized I hadn't put any plumber's putty under the faucet base, so everything had to come out again while I played with the putty (pretty much play-doh). The putty helped keep the faucet in place, though I still spent a lot of time in frustration as I tried to keep it placed exactly in the position it needed to be, and tighten underneath. Eventually I won the battle, and voila, the faucet is in.

New faucet

Of course, I never thought the whole thing thru and now am in search of a solution. My old faucet had a regular head on it, and I could use my dishwasher with it. Now, with the spray head on the faucet, I can't use the dishwasher. I thought about putting a small faucet in where the soap dispenser is (it came with the faucet and is just in place at this  point to plug the hole left from the sprayer). But in order to have it swivel out of the way, I can only find another large faucet. And, faucets with the correct head/aerator, don't seem to come in the oil-rubbed bronze to match the other faucet (oh, well, if I want to spend MORE, than I spent on the newly installed faucet, which wasn't cheap, I could probably find one - no thanks).

II can't use a bathroom faucet (small enough), because those don't swivel, and the thread are so different that the connector won't go in. And, I spent an hour at a BBS, trying to find a way to adapt to that kind of aerator without any luck.

So, at this point I am doing dishes by hand. Not a huge deal but it just galls me that A) I probably use close to the amount of water that a load of dishes takes, just to do my measly daily dishes (the dishwasher uses about 3.5 gallons) and 2) that I have this dishwasher sitting in my kitchen that I can't use because I was too short-sighted to get a faucet that fit all my needs.

Posted by Bogie on March 8, 2015 at 08:04 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (4)