Wednesday, February 26, 2020

sportpet, driver safety, do the math and ESPP



I got tired of trying to get Meadow and Mesa into their individual fold-down carriers. They still make like flying squirrels with the new carrier but it’s way easier. This is a SportPet Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier, size XL. It folds down to 5”. The carrier also comes in one or two smaller sizes. It sure got comments at the Vet.
One can easily take the door off and set it up as a cozy spot for their cat/s to sleep or hang out.
The new carrier along with two Vet visits only cost me $1560. What a deal.

I guess Vehicles for Charity is the organization that handles donated vehicles, such as from NPRs Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program. They sent me a letter stating that my 2004 Ram 1500 was sold for $2,000. The new owner got a good deal with the new trans, brake rotors and other parts.

A few years ago I took an online driver safety course recommended by GEICO. The course wasn’t through GEICO, many insurance companies offer discounts for taking a driver safety course.

I taught Motorcycle Riding and Street Strategy up in Utah for four or five years, so I have a good knowledge of safe street strategies. Even with this knowledge base, over the years, I felt it would be smart to take a refresher course. I do not have that know-it-all mindset when it comes to driving—I’m a good driver - I’ve been driving for years - I don’t get in accidents. If people with this mindset took an online driver safety course, they’d probably find it an eye opener, and might save a life.

Anyway, I got an email from GEICO stating that my discount would be expiring soon unless I took another driver safety class. I chose the online AARP Driver Course. This course focused more on senior drivers and current car technology. I’m a big fan of these informative courses; cannot see how one could go wrong. Take one.

Picture a cartoon that depicts a sitting cat with a raised paw and a mouse facing him, holding a revolver. The cat looks down and says, Six bullets, nine lives. Do the math.

On Weekend Edition, I heard about a free economy book. Economy is something I have little knowledge of, so I looked into it.

“Economy, Society, Nature: An introduction to the new systems-based, life-friendly economics (World Economics Association Books)
‘Economy, Society, and Public Policy is an outstanding resource for teaching economic principles to students who will not major in the field. It provides an accessible yet comprehensive introduction to the economic ideas that are essential for understanding policy.’
The Curriculum Open-Access Resources in Economics Project (CORE Project) is an organization that creates and distributes open-access teaching material on economics. The goal is to make teaching material and reform the economics curriculum. Its textbook is taught as an introductory course at more than 300 universities.”

Sounded really good. Then I ran into a snag. Economy Society and Public Policy (ESPP) from The CORE team offers the book free for reading online. There is not pdf download. Guano. Doesn’t work with my present lifestyle. One can purchase the book for $46. I’ll have to think about it.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

January sixty minutes sixty years— 1800 minutes
January Triple 18—upper: 1920; core: 1900 legs: 1830

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life:
music and cats. Albert Schweitzer


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

a grain of salt


All I am trying to get across on this page is to accept statements while maintaining a degree of skepticism about the truth. Simple. But in the current political situation in this country, exceedingly important.

(‘Take with a grain of salt (or a pinch)’ comes from the fact that food is more easily swallowed if taken with a small amount of salt.)

A while back, I heard a clip on National Public Radio of the current president attacking two of his opponents about the homeless situation on their home turf.

Three years ago, being a listener of NPR, I learned to question statements coming from White House. So I questioned what was not said in his homeless statement. What about the homeless situation in cities overseen by his own tribe? I then googled the homeless situation in Washington D.C., his own turf. I was not the least bit surprised. Look it up.

Partial truths can skew the true story.

If I hear a politician discrediting her/his opponent, I’ve learned to take it with a grain of salt. Then I see if there is evidence that supports such statements.

Open your browser and type in these keywords, ‘documented false statements coming form Trump’?
Did you catch that? Documented.

Did you not take The Tax Bill with a grain of salt? Did you look up who benefited the most?

I definitely favor one tribe, but that is not what I’m addressing here.
When it comes to current politics—stop and think, question, research and assess what members of both tribes are saying.

I might have already written on another page that more than half of NPR listeners hold a college degree. We do not like to be snowed.

‘Make America great again’? Is that the phrase? The actions of the current administration do not jive with those words.
Why have so many world leaders lost faith in the U.S.?

I wonder if more people listened to National Public Radio, American Public Media and the like, and truly listened to what was being said, might we not start to make progress in solving the mess we are in?

It is not about which tribe one belongs to. It’s about both tribes starting to work together so they can get back to governing this country. And maybe, Make America great again.

There is a vast amount false or misleading claims equating to disinformation out there. Take what you hear with a grain of salt (or a rock of).
Don’t be taken in. Always look for the facts behind the statements. Often, they are not there.

There are millions of people who do not do this. Be one of the others.

Then there’s Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Good grief.

We need changes. What mindset would lead to changes?

If one reads this and blows it off—they might be part of the problem.

If one starts off a conversation on politics with mentioning the opposing party in a negative way—they are likely part of the problem.

I wear a ring in an ear—Not my nose.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

December sixty minutes sixty years— 1820 minutes
December Triple 18—upper: 1535; core: 2405; legs: 2930

If you feel you have come to the end of your rope
tie a knot and hang on.
Then start pulling your way back up.

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RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

winkler, smokey and the solstice



Another one from Dianna’s folder

Met up with my favorite winter acquaintance and had some good talks and laughs. Simple pleasures.

I also met a couple from Wisconsin who travel south for the winters in a Holiday Rambler Class A, towing a Mercedes Benz Smart Car. Had two good, informative conversations with them. I need talks like this. They lent me a DVD of the 1988 miniseries, Lincoln, with Sam Waterson and Mary Tyler Moore. I remember Moore from the Mary Tyler Moore show. This is the only time I saw her in a drama, that I can remember. Mary Tyler Moore gave an absolutely stellar performance as Mrs. Lincoln. I do not think anyone could have topped it. He facial expressions nailed every scene. I was thankful that I was given the opportunity to see this performance.
When they were leaving the park, they gave me a package of Dove dark chocolate. This candy is now a staple in my freezer. I take them one-a-day, like a vitamin. Thank you so much. They also gave Meadow & Mesa a gift, a bag of Friskies Party Mix treats. M&M love them. I generally buy Temptations chicken flavor treats. I’ve tried something new from time to time, but M&M never liked any. Glad we now have a 2nd option.

I like Henry Winkler; he comes across as a good person. And granted, I’m only judging this from listening to him, the couple times he was on NPR’s Wait, Wait.
He said, ‘I live by two words - tenacity and gratitude. Tenacity gets you where you want to go and gratitude doesn't allow you to be angry along the way.’
I thoroughly enjoyed both times he was on. Wish I had more opportunities to listen to him. Maybe I will order a season of Happy Days. Or Not.

‘It’s alright, mate. It’s just Smokey’s (the cat) sense of humor. Whenever anybody sleeps in this room he likes to get up on that beam up there, and just as you’re dropping off and all’s right with the world, leap onto your stomach.’ Frank Legg

Once again, my favorite day of the year came around—the winter solstice. I started out with 40-minutes of exercise, including one of my favorite HIIT routines, 20-minutes of stretching, breakfast and an hour’s walk.

I added something to my solstice tradition. Buying myself gifts. I might have occasionally done this in the past but as of 2019, it will be a given. I wanted to add a touch of style. For some things, it does not take all that much. Something to wear when going into town. Hence, a pair of Dockers black, cap-toe dress shoes and two white button-down shirts. Now it’s leather footwear (one needs two types) for most things and athletic footwear (pretty much synthetics) for exercise, walks, hikes and the like.
I also wanted a heavy, wool, knee-length overcoat. I went into all the clothing stores I passed, but none carried overcoats. Bummer. Guess I’ll order one from the web once I get back up to Timberon. Maybe Lands’ End Wool Overcoat, even though it is not 100% wool and it does not look all that thick. Dark charcoal or navy?

As you know, I always purchase a good bottle of wine, and as a treat to look forward to each evening, limit myself to one glass a day until it is gone. With the first glass of this cabernet sauvignon, I watched a DVD that I’ve been saving. Simple pleasures.

I bagged the cow and pig meat based diet on the winter solstice of 1970 and started on my plant based diet—49 years. Not bad.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

November sixty minutes sixty years—1820 minutes
November Triple 18—upper: 2120; core: 2705; legs: 1985

Keep life moving forward, looking backward
is only for time travelers.
Rachel O. Washington


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Saturday, November 30, 2019

karma, people, the boot and
radiator & exhaust


A character in a book I was reading walked into the scene wearing a T-shirt with this on the front:
‘Dear Karma,
I have a list of people you’ve missed.’

Dropped down over 3,000’ in elevation from Timberon to have it go down into the 20s the first night. Guano. I’ll stay down on the flats until March. When I get back up to Timberon, there will probably be a few days with a little snow and/or hail, typical for March. But after four months getting my social fix, I’ll be over-ready for some solitude. March is quiet up there.



One from a file of photos sent from Dianna.

The ten years I was hard-wall camping, I was content with not having people around to talk with. It felt good. All the wildlife and Meadow and Mesa were enough. I didn’t think about people not being around. This year I realized that there are people around me in Timberon to talk with—but I cannot talk with them. Almost like feeling alone while around people. I have two favorite acquaintances I enjoy being around and I can talk with about most things. Remember, I differentiate between acquaintances and friends. With friends, one can talk about feelings and just about everything else. With acquaintances, not so much. I am truly thankful for my acquaintances, however. But if there are people around, I need more. It is nothing like the solitude life of off-the-grid.

So this mindset should get me seriously looking for property 20-30 miles outside a town or small city. With people who listen to NPR, are more health conscious, and a population with a much lower percentage of smokers. Talking with such people further open my eyes and help me grow. I’ll work towards developing a new set of friends. Wish I could be somewhat excited about the coming search.

For the two or three places I’ll be spending most of the winter, the signal for the public radio station comes down from Portales NM. The station offers a different schedule and some different shows. They play ‘The Best of Car Talk’ right before ‘Wait, Wait.’ On Sunday mornings at 5:00, it’s ‘Travels with Rick Steves’ instead of gospel. A nice treat for four months.


I have to wear this rocker boot for a month. Down to the last week. The initial bandage wrapping on my foot for the first two weeks was huge. It was such a treat to take it off and put on a much smaller one. The day the sutures were taken out was another treat.
Then I’ll start working back to decent walks. Next step will be building back strength for brisk walks (15-minute miles), starting with short stretches interspersed in my walks, working towards longer and longer stretches. Ditto for jogging, working towards running. Been here, done this, know how to go about it. I’m getting way more opportunities to build back up from medical setbacks than I thought I would get from a lifetime. But I really wish I could say it is not deserved.

This guy was saying how his body is like an old car. Every time he sneezes, coughs or sputters, either his radiator leaks or his exhaust backfires.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

October sixty minutes sixty years—2100 minutes
October Triple 18—upper: 1805; core: 1920; legs: 3235

In nature there are neither rewards, nor punishments;
There are only consequences. Robert B. Ingersoll


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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

new panels, a comeback, ford
and paw prints



A doe occasionally comes by with two fawns. Haven’t seen a second doe.


Deer are not the only ones who drink out of these buckets. Even though Mesa and Meadow have their own water bowl, with fresher water.

I was reading through some legendary comic comebacks. I like this one:
Reporter: How many people work at the Vatican?
Pope John XXIII: About half.
I guess I found this humorous because it was from a Pope. The position might need a sense of humor.


It was time to replace my window foam panels. The aluminum facing on the other side splits and peels over time. These are the new panels I cut. I also cut one for the tall curb-side back window. I use them most mornings in the summer since I have not been able to set up in the shade. They take up very little space in the shower stall.
I don’t use them as consistently in the winter and only at night if the temp is going down into the 30s or below. With the blinds down and closed, one cannot see the panels. Remember, I use a small $30 ceramic heater for the three months I get an electric site.

Whether here, or when I’m out hard-wall camping off-the-grid, most of what I want is always there with me. Most days start before the sun comes into view and M&M are around for entertainment and companionship. There might not be trails nearby but there are generally places to hike. All in all, a quiet, peaceful life with books and music. I don’t need much more than this.


I read the pros and cons on buying a Ford pickup. One of the cons was how the options can really drive up the cost of the relatively low-price pickup. Mine were were $6,000. But the Ford will probably be my last vehicle so, so what.

I’m more of a Ford person than a Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram person. I had a Ford Club Wagon back in the early 70s which was well made and had no problems. I even lived in it for 3 years as I drove a beer truck full-time out of Paterson, NJ to Jersey City and Hoboken. While taking pretty much a full load of college classes at night. Anyway, glad to be back with a Ford.
It’s a 2019 STX F 250 Super Duty 4x4 with a 6 ¾ bed. I really like the aluminum body. With 18” wheels, I won’t be changing any tires. They weigh a ton. The color (Blue Jean) is darker than it looked to me online (there wasn’t another vehicle on the dealer’s lot for me to see first hand), but I can live with it. Lighter colors are safer, as in easier to see against the black and gray of the roads.
Remember my May 2013 page, two trailers and one tow vehicle, when I was out in the woods up in Oregon? For a couple weeks here, it was two tow vehicles and one trailer.

"Nothing attracts paw prints to an automobile faster than a fresh wax job or a warm hood." Niki Anderson
Mesa tracked muddy paw prints across the hood and onto the roof the morning after I drove the Ford home. So predictable.

I donated my 2004 Ram 1500 to NPR’s Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program. I was too far away for them to send a tow truck so I had to hire someone to follow me down to El Paso and give me a ride home. I paid $200 to give away my truck. Bummer.
I have not yet found anyone here who listens to NPR. Reason enough to move somewhere else.


Looks like some grass is growing where I spread scratch grains this year. Might be my only grass. None came up where I put down grass seed. I wonder if buffalo grass would work here.

If you come across the November issue of Trailer Life magazine. Look on page 48. Recognize the photos? I submitted an article for their ‘RV Renovation’ page. My story was within the word limit but it was still cut and edited. Oh well. Wonder if they published it because of the photo I sent in of my Nash. Be that as it may, I’m thankful that they published my piece in their magazine. Way cool. Thanks.

You are stuck in an elevator that stopped between floors. Someone says, “There’s a first time for everything. Are you thinking, “There’s a last time for everything too.”?


Sometimes deer move off only a short distance before they lay down after eating the cracked corn. This girl didn’t even go that far.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

September sixty minutes sixty years—1850 minutes
September Triple 18—upper: 2125; core: 1970; legs: 6330

If music is a Place, then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness,
Rock is the Road, and Classical is the Temple.
Vera Nazarian, writer and philosopher


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

upset, 20 gauge, and smartest & dumbest



After it rains and the buckets fill from under the gutter spouts, I move them out to where the corn and scratch grain is. This is a common scene.


I might have finally taken a decent shot of my Montezumas.

When the lady gets a little upset, sometimes a simple, ‘Calm down,’ in a low, soothing voice—is all it takes to get her A LOT upset.

Early in the summer, hummingbirds were sippin’ the feeder dry in a day. I did not want this to be a daily chore so I started taking the feeder down around 8:00 in the morning and hung it back up around 5:00. I figured the hummers should learn where flowers and other feeders are located in the area in case mine wasn’t up. The survival thing.
If I’m late hanging the feeder back up and I’m outside, I’ve had a hummer buzz me. As if to say, Hey, slacker, where’s my sugar water? If I’m inside, sometimes one will hover outside the back window for a few seconds looking in at me. I always respond quickly.

I’ve been having trouble with one hummingbird for the last month. If there are only two or three hummers around the feeder, the little pisser chases them away. I think it is a male Rufous. I was thinking of standing out there with a fly swatter. Then I thought maybe I should add a 20 gauge shotgun to my town-run list. Wish he would re-locate.


Not the green I was hoping for back in April. Don’t know where the seeds for these plants came from. There were none of these plants in the area since I’ve been here.
Have not yet been able to get any grass seed to sprout. I depend on rain for watering, but we sure have not been getting much this summer. Have not had monsoon rains here since 2017.


Two campers staying in a National Park were talking with the ranger who was in charge of maintaining order in the campsites. He showed them how to operate the new garbage cans. The complex models had a rotating upper section and a special door designed to keep out hungry bears. One camper asked the ranger whether the fortified cans were working as intended. “Not really. We’re finding considerable overlap in the intelligence of the smartest bears and the dumbest campers.”

Mesa came in one afternoon with a mess of burrs. We deal with goat’s head every winter but these were nastier. He has no trouble picking off goat’s head with his teeth but not these. I took over 20 burrs off him. There were three tightly clustered on his cheek near his eye. Luckily I had a wide pair of tweezers. No way could I have gotten them off with my fingers. Some were buried down in his fur on his chest. Others were not a problem for me but there is no way Mesa could have gotten them off. How do wildlife cope with all that they have to deal with out there, with no human to help them out? M&M have come in with burrs many times but nothin’ like this. Mesa is not all that affectionate but he was on my lap all evening while I was reading. He sure seemed grateful. It felt good that I could help him with something he could not do for himself.

I’ve been looking at pages in my NM DeLorme Atlas for areas to check out for property. Nothing is jumping out. I have a number of requirements that I want as to a location and distance from a town and mountains, what I need in a town, as well as for the land itself. Maybe I should have held on to the ten acres I had in Lake Placid, NY, bordering on the Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

August sixty minutes sixty years—2965 minutes
August Triple 18—upper: 4400; core: 2880; legs: 10475

Life is how you spend your time.


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

eye catcher, last of coral, first and boink



My pair of Montezuma quail with some of their little ones. Like last year, they do not come around much and I have yet to get a good photo of them. Bummer.


It has only been a couple months but it feels as if the coral reef has always been here. It adds so much color to the interior, not just the paint in and of itself, but how it changes as the light changes. Way cool.

If I ever get another RV with faux wood, I’ll keep an eye out for any problems with the rig, see how it feels after living in it for a few months and if it is a keeper, I’d—bring out the paint!

Entry level RVs are low-cost rigs. One will not see solid hardwood cabinets and wood veneer paneling. With low-cost rigs, I think some interior paint will really spruce things up. I wouldn’t touch the walls and ceiling; that might darken the interior. But remember, I’m talking from the perspective of one living in the box. For those using their RV for road trips, a bright interior might not be as important.



One evening, I was looking around to see if I wanted to use coral reef on anything else in the Nash. Maybe the roof vent sleeves, lights, ceiling strips and whatnot. Then I’m thinkin’—No. I feel anything more than I’ve already painted would detract from how it is now; just clutter. I did not paint the bathroom, its door, nor the paneling under the settees, bed and under the cubbies. I’m done and it looks awesome.

Okay, okay, only one more mention of coral reef. I guess I’ve kept mentioning it because the coral reef gave the Nash a whole new feel. Simple pleasures.

I’m not much into the ‘norm.’ The common, has many good points, but I feel it can often be improved upon, and I’m talking about most aspects of life. Stop and think, question, access—then make a change.

I like eye-catchers. When I taught silversmithing, I had my students make a pendant/medallion. It’s an in-your-face piece of art; one can’t miss it. When I wear one of my medallions, I wear it on a short cord, like a choker.
Now there is an eye-catcher as one walks into my Nash. Oh yeah!

Different strokes.

How bout a curve?

It can be said that Moses was technically the first person to download files to his tablet from the cloud.

One evening, I glanced up from reading and noticed two hummingbirds at the feeder. The female was sitting on the feeder with her tail feathers up and spread while the male was strategically hovering behind her, real close. Wasn’t on my Never Want to See List. I got an unexpected chuckle from it; always a good thing. This lifestyle definitely has some quirks.


Some young bucks stopping by for cracked corn.

The ball is in your court. Pick it up.

July sixty minutes sixty years—3250 minutes
July Triple 18—upper: 3145; core: 2455; legs: 3400

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh—
at yourself. Ethel Barrymore


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

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