28 June 2015

FFS

If you are automatically tagged a cross burner because you are a white guy that shows up somewhere in a beat up 62 Chevy pickup with Iowa tags, is that racism? Damn right it is. You don't have to be white to be a racist and you don't have to be black to be a victim of it.

The Southern Cross, more accurately known as the Tennessee Battle Flag (which is very similar to the Army of the Potomac's Battle Flag) is a symbol of the Confederacy because it shows up in so many paintings and movies (mostly because many of the more famous battles were fought in Virginia where the AoP operated). It was never an official flag of the Confederate States of America, although it was used as the union in the second and third Confederate flags and was also used as the second Naval Jack and Ensign.

South Carolina should either use the first Confederate flag or its own Sovereignty flag over the war memorial on its Capitol grounds to get rid of the strawman that the Southern Cross has become. Changing the flag won't change attitudes, but as long as we concentrate on the symbols I guess we can ignore the substance.

26 June 2015

Range Day

Today we took some time out with Range Partner to sling some lead downrange. It was the first time M and Range Partner had met and the first time M has gone shooting with me (and as far as I know, only the second time she has ever shot handguns).

Along for the ride was Grand-Dad's High Standard, both the Glocks and the Sig. Range Partner brought a Glock of his own at my request, a Glock 21 with a .22 caliber conversion kit. Younger Son also came along, but he and Range Partner took turns with a .357 Taurus snubbie that Range Partner brought along.

After a review of the Four Rules (the first time M had ever heard them, so we went over them pretty extensively) and some basic instruction on grip, sights, stance and operation (I was ever grateful for the instruction I received at Tigerswan because all I did was review with her what I remembered from learning there) we loaded up and started putting rounds downrange.

First up was the 9mm Glock 19, followed by the Glock 21 with the .22 conversion kit installed. I wish I could say these were my targets...but no. Two fliers, one .22 and one 9mm, in the eight ring and the rest in the black, with two of the .22 and one 9mm solidly in the X.


Next up was the .45 Sig. She wasn't sure if she really wanted to shoot it, but she at least wanted to try it out. Four rounds went into the Sig, and when the smoke cleared two of them were in the eight ring and two in the ten. Next up she wanted to try the Glock 21 in Gods Own Caliber. So, off came the .22 conversion and on went the .45 slide and magazine, five rounds in the magazine...and as you can plainly see, two in the nine, two in the ten and one in the X.

Not bad shooting...for a guuuuurl.

Yeah. Not bad shooting for anyone, and when you consider this was her second time at the gun range to shoot handguns (and since the first time was a "here, point this that way and pull the trigger" you may as well say it was her first time) you could say that was pretty excellent shooting. Hell, she out-shot me, and I couldn't be prouder.

I really wish I could send her to one of Kathy Jackson's classes to learn how to shoot properly, but I will certainly find some instruction for her somewhere. I was OK with showing her the basics, but I'm not an instructor and everyone can do with some instruction. (Speaking of which Sean...isn't it about time for another Tigerswan class?)

There just might have to be a Glock 21 in her future as well.

19 June 2015

Yikes!

$275 to change the plugs, right around $200 for the transmission service (which is really the only thing I wanted to have done; everything else I can do myself and certainly will do in the future) and $50 for the oil change. And just for those three items I sat in the dealers waiting room for a little over four hours. That's with an appointment.

And that isn't everything Ford recommends at 100K, oh no, there is also the rear differential, the coolant system flush and fill and the fuel system servicing which would run another $400 or so. And that doesn't include having them look at the little issues I'm having with the car, such as the blend door actuator needing calibration or the oil life monitor staying at 100%.


When they asked me why I hadn't brought the car in to them for a while I just laughed and said "Gee, I don't know." Fortunately I have a full set of tools, basic mechanical knowledge, and a whole slew of friends who love Mustangs and know how to do everything associated with them, so it's not likely they will see it again for another long time.

13 June 2015

And So We Begin

I am now the proud owner of a three stone setting in white gold that is on its way to the jeweler to have the topazes removed and a pink sapphire installed in the center.

After the sapphire is in I will be getting an estimate to install diamonds into the outer settings.

M is the proud owner of a bundle of nerves.

10 June 2015

Milestones

100,030 miles on the pony now. I need to schedule it for its 100K mile check-up.

I also need to schedule a dentists appointment for myself.

I also need to schedule a vet visit for doglet.

I wonder which one will get done first...

09 June 2015

You Know...

He's right.

Mother tried to raise me to be polite and kind, regardless of my failures in these areas, but it does seem as if the squeaky wheels get the grease.

After all, look at the recent social issue upheavals. They got what they wanted by being dicks, even though they are but a small percentage of the population. Hell, even the American Revolution was start, fought and won by a bare 3 percent of the population, if the stories are correct.

Makes you think.

08 June 2015

Travels

I finally made it back up to Lenoir NC this past weekend for the monthly cruise-in. There weren't as many cars this time as there usually is, but we still had a good crowd. This time was different because it wasn't just me and Youngest Son; M came along as well which was nice.

And while we were out and about wandering the streets and looking at things we happened upon this quaint little shoppe...

Of course M had to go in and check out their stock of yarn and whatnots. There were a bunch of people sitting inside knitting and talking, too. Apparently every Cruise-In day they open early and stay open late just so the ladies who have no interest in cars but have husbands/significant others who do have someplace to go and have fun in their own way.

On the plus side, M says we can go back every month.

05 June 2015

A Time to Bake

M was feeling a little depressed the other day. Seems as if she was in the mood for cookies, so she went and got some pre-made chocolate chip cookie batter and tried to bake them...and they got burned.

So while she is at work I am busy making some cookies for her, using my own recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C butter, softened (that's two sticks)
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

2. In a large bowl cream the softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the dry instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Drop cookie batter by rounded spoonfuls onto a cool ungreased cookie sheet. Press down to flatten the cookies out, they will not flatten out as they bake (but they will spread, so leave plenty of room between them). Bake only as long as needed for the edges to turn golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 - 2 1/2 dozen cookies (I got 30 out of this batch).


I didn't leave enough room between them for these batches...but I have the feeling they will get eaten anyway.

I also had some bananas turning brown, so I made some banana bread for Eldest Son. I substituted rum for the vanilla as per a recipe I got from Eldest Sister, so I'm curious how it turns out. It smells good anyway.

04 June 2015

June

Time rolls by, another month gone and it has been more than half a month since I've touched these pages. Good thing you aren't paying for this.

So, what's been happening you ask (or not). First things first, M has started the arduous process of moving in. Yes, she agreed to it, and now we're getting it done.

The house is being cleaned one room at a time and as we re-arrange we are moving some of her things in and some of the old things out. There isn't much of it, and what we are moving out needed to go anyway. I expect that process to take a while but we hope to have the bulk of it done by August.

Last weekend I went to a rimfire rifle shooting match at Crosse Creek Rifle and Pistol Club just outside of Fayetteville where I shot my Marlin 795. You may remember I equipped it with the EOTech sights for Appleseed, although I have not yet been to Appleseed.

I sucked at it.

I didn't suck as bad when I got the sights dialed in (one click up, one click left) but the only reason I didn't finish dead last in the modified sights category is Youngest Son was shooting with the scoped Marlin 60. The scope was off as well, and he did better once we got it sighted in (8 clicks left), but he still managed to score dead last.

I'm sure that if we had taken them out a couple of days before and sighted them in we both would have done better but unfortunately I don't have a place close by to do so. Nevertheless I do really need to get out to the range more. I also need a spotting scope.

School is out in a couple of weeks and that will kick off travel season here at the Refuge. There are a couple of Pennsylvania trips scheduled and at least two Florida trips as well in August. We're also hoping to make an Iowa trip around Christmastime.

But in the meantime a new month brings a new ROTM.

May I present to you the lovely Magdelena Jasek. You can see more of her here.

And now I'm off to take Eldest Son to the dentist. The fun just never stops here at the Refuge.

10 May 2015

Apologies

to those folks on my blogroll that I used to visit frequently and haven't done so lately.

In my defense I've had things to distract me lately, which is nice.

But still, there have been things that happened that I wish I had seen.

I'll try to get better in the future.

05 May 2015

Customer Dis-service

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. It is actually Teacher Appreciation Week, but according to my favorite teacher (and the National Day Calendar) today is the day for the week to exist.

In order to commemorate the day I arranged for flowers to be delivered through an on-line service. Their website offers a 4 hour same-day delivery service, so I figured they would arrive in plenty of time before school was out.

The order went in at 9:30 AM and was processed and sent to the local florist at 10:15 AM. Plus 4 hours indicates a delivery time at or before 2:15 PM, plenty of time. I took myself off to dreamland secure in the knowledge that my teacher would be appreciated on Teacher Appreciation Day.

Sadly, no.

I got the notification at 5:07 PM that the order was out for delivery. School gets out at 3:10.

If you need flowers delivered today, I would highly recommend against using Flower Delivery Express.

UPDATE: They were delivered at 2:45 yesterday, 30 hours and 15 minutes after the order went in. So much for same day/4 hour delivery. I'm glad she liked them, even though they were late.

03 May 2015

May

April is done and May has begun, April showers will bring May flowers...and hopefully a bit more warm and a bit less rain. The forecast looks good here at the Refuge for the next week, lots of sun and temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's, at least until Saturday when the rain reappears. This assumes, of course, that the weather-guessers have guessed right this week.

And since the weather is giving promises of summer, here is the Redhead of the Month for May:

Here's hoping she is dressed appropriately for the month.

27 April 2015

This Lack of Posting Brought To You By Real Life

You may have been wondering (or not) what I've been up to lately since I've obviously not been blogging.

This past weekend I finished cleaning up the master bedroom and got it re-arranged. Ditto with the master bedroom closet, to include the hanging of new shelves (take note, if you want them done right you don't want me to do them). The new arrangement has opened the room up and I like it a lot better than it was before. M is now making curtains for it, she's been a great help.

To facilitate cleaning the master bedroom I've started an office where I've moved the computer I am currently banging the keyboard on as well as my bookshelves and all of my books. Damn, I have a lot of books. But I digress. The office was M's suggestion as well, it was something I was considering anyway but she had a lot of good ideas about how to get it done.

I've had to become completely ruthless as I've gone about my cleaning, at first I was putting everything into boxes thinking "the girls might want this" but as I've come along I've adopted the attitude that if they wanted it they've had five years to come and claim it. I'm tossing about everything but pictures now. There certainly is a lot of it, and I'm sure the trash man will hate me.

Next on the agenda is the train room (bonus room off the master bedroom) and then on to the living room, dining room and family room. It really needs to get done, I've got dust bunnies the size of house cats, but the rest of the house shouldn't be as bad as the master suite. The dining room will be extra interesting because on the dining room table is this great honking dollhouse that I've been trying to complete for Grand-daughter.

The dollhouse was a project that Laura and I started, I did the building/assembling and she was to do the decorating. It's a huge Victorian, complete with corner turret, three stories and thirteen rooms all together. Laura decided she wanted Grand-daughter to have it when she got sick, but the decorating never got done (although the assembling is mostly done). I think I'll have Grand-daughter up for the summer to do the decorating and then maybe we can get the project completed.

Maybe she will let M help her. It's been tough on her, accepting M's presence, since she was her grandmother's heart and soul, so maybe she won't...but maybe she will. She was absolutely crushed when Laura died and she was distant when M and I were there at the beginning of the month. I hope that she will accept M's help, and in doing so perhaps be able to do some healing of her own.

At times it's been tough, but I've got proper motivation to keep me going.

13 April 2015

All Good Things

Monday morning. Everyone back to work and school.

2000 miles, two different cars and seven states, we still like each other and no one had to thumb a ride home.

It's been a good week.

09 April 2015

Catching Up

The Florida part of our trip went very well, the liquid sunshine took a break and the girls loved M, as I knew they would. Or more to the point, the girls loved how happy I am since M came into my life, which amounts to the same thing. We got in some beach walking and touristing as well, so all in all it was a good trip.

But wait, there's more. The later part of the week is being spent in Pennsylvania, where M is from, at her parent's house. Her mother is deeply appreciative of how I treat M so already I've made a good impression on her, and her dad isn't quite the curmudgeon that M says he is (either that or he's on his best behavior).

For the next couple of days we will be wandering to and fro about the Pennsylvania/West VA countryside as M and her mom enjoy each others company. My job is to fetch and carry and generally show her parents that I will be good to their daughter. I can handle that.

On the way up we passed by Pilot Mountain, which is near Mount Airy NC. Youngest Son saw it and immediately announced that it looks like a nipple.*

He's right, you know. It does. And now that I've seen it, I cannot un-see it.

At any rate, this brings us to the final but by no means least important item on the agenda, the Redhead of the Month:


April's ROTM is brought to you by Europe. It has to be good for something after all.

And with the necessities out of the way, I'm back on vacation. See you next week!

*I'm shrouding myself in the illusion that Youngest Son recognizes the nipple from TV or the internet, and have instructed him to leave my illusions intact.

08 April 2015

Due To Circumstances

beyond my control this month's ROTM will regretfully be delayed.

Sorry Guffaw, I'll try to make up for it later.

Off to the Pennsylvania mountains now.

05 April 2015

Some Beach

Somewhere...in this case Mayport, FL.

31 March 2015

Two More Days

Workdays, that is, and after they are done I'll be on vacation for the week.

The plans are to take M to Florida to meet the girls and walk the beaches for the weekend, then back to rest up for a day and repack, then off to Pennsylvania to meet her folks.

She's been buying new togs for the trip. She hasn't had the need for a "girly" wardrobe for a while so didn't have anything to take along. She has also been complaining all the while about the coin she's putting out, but it appears as if she has everything she needs now.

Sunday morning I was folding my laundry and putting everything in the bag I'm taking on the trip and she was telling me it was too early to pack (accentuating her point by taking my socks out of my bag and throwing them - like a girl - at me). After I went to work she went back to her apartment...and packed for the trip.

All told we will travel a bit over 2000 miles, half in my car and half in hers, the two of us and Boy. I figure if I don't end the week standing on the side of the road with my thumb in the air it will be a successful trip.

30 March 2015

One Of These Days

I'll post some content. I promise.

Not today though. Work day today.

18 March 2015

Lies

Damn Lies, and Statistics.

You are entitled to your own opinion, but sometimes the facts can be pretty annoying.

16 March 2015

A Few Simple Repairs

The past weather has not been kind to my poor convertible top. Yesterday when I put it back up I found this:



Yep, that's the rear glass un-bonded from the canvas outer top almost all the way around. The bottom still has a strip that is barely holding on, but the top and sides are completely unattached. The glass is still attached to the inner liner so there aren't any leaks, but it's only a matter of time before I have problems with water between the layers.

The convertible top people I've contacted seem to think that four years is a bit soon for this car to be having this problem, but for a nominal fee ($1800-$2000) they will be glad to install a lifetime warranty top that should fix it right up.

Or I could opt for the $200-300 re-glue job instead, which isn't guaranteed at all but just might buy me a couple more years.

I'm thinking I might explore that option to begin with and see how that works out for me. If I save my nickels and dimes I might have a couple of grand to put down on a new top in another year or so, but right now I'm just not seeing it.

Oh the joys of convertible ownership. You take the good with the bad I guess.

12 March 2015

Darkness Falls

across the face of the Discworld.

Thank you Sir Terry Pratchett, for this and for all the other things that you wrote. Rest in peace.

The EBS Project: Revisited

Remember when I said it was done?

Well...I may have been a bit hasty...

It would require a re-barrel since I have the 8 shot magazine and the 20" barrel, but it would be totally worth it. Of course I would have more into the gun in accessories at that point than I had in the actual purchase price, but if I start adding things up I may have already passed that point anyway.

Drum magazine fed evil black shotgun? I can hear Nanny Nancy screaming from here...

Couldn't Help Myself

I just had to tell her.



The nice thing is...she said it right back.

10 March 2015

Ain't Skeert

Ain't runnin'.



I know you've had it rough up to now, and I know that talk is cheap, so I'll just be right here wrapped around you until you can believe it on your own.

On The Mend

Weak and dizzy like I've been on a 3 day bender but it looks like I'm getting better.

Just don't ask how many attempts it took to type these two sentences.

08 March 2015

Ugg

I've been cleaning house quite a bit lately and stirring up a lot of dust.

Wednesday when the weather was nice I changed out the central air filters, stirring up even more dust.

Wednesday night I had a sore throat. It only got worse from there.

All weekend I've been unwell, something that is not normal for me.

I don't like it a bit.

05 March 2015

Yep

As predicted the rain and cold are back today after a very brief hiatus. It was 60 and damp when I left work this morning, 55 and misting when I got home 45 minutes later, and at 1:30PM the temperature has dropped over 20 degrees and the rain is steady.

This afternoon the rain is expected to become freezing rain just in time for rush hour and whatever is on the ground by midnight will turn to ice as the temperature plunges to 19 overnight. It will stay that way through the morning hours since the temperatures tomorrow aren't expected to climb above the mid 30's.

In other words, winter is BACK, beyotches!

It was nice while it lasted.

04 March 2015

It's About Time

Seventy glorious degrees and despite the fell warnings of the prognosticators the sun is shining brightly.

Betcha can't guess what I'm driving to work tonight...

03 March 2015

For Range Partner

It ain't much, but it's what I got.



02 March 2015

Heat Wave

The temperature is up high enough today (55 Fahrenheit) to have completely melted the snow off the car. The snow is also gone from the bushes and they are starting to stand back up, a good sign that they will recover from the snowpocalypse. There is still a nice unbroken expanse of snow through the front yard which is shaded by the pine trees out front and along the back in the shadow of the house, but everywhere else it is gone except for fringes.

Dog and I were able to walk all around the house for the first time in a long time.The back yard is pretty wet, but except for some low-lying spots and the aforementioned expanse in the shadow of the trees the ground in the front of the house has dried up pretty well. Tomorrow is supposed to be quite a bit cooler (39) with rain but Wednesday the forecast is for 70 degrees or better, depending on who you listen to. Of course it will be raining.

Thursday is calling for more snow and freezing rain.

I love living in the South.

It could be worse, though. Tam has been Scooby-less due to clutch issues that have thankfully been resolved and she's had to pilot the Nazi roller skate around in way worse weather than I've had to endure for quite some time now. In my world the Baja has soldiered on without a hiccup and the Mustang hasn't moved in over two weeks (although I did fire it up the other day to dry it out and hear it run). I'm going to take it out a bit today though while the temperature allows and the sun shines.

01 March 2015

That's Nice

She left her shirt here this morning.

That means she will be back to get it.

This pleases me in ways I can't begin to describe.

March

It has come in, if not like a lion then at least like an icy little lamb with freezing rain and ice hanging off of the trees. It's warm enough now that it has mostly melted away, but when it gets cold tonight it's going to be a real fun time driving home.

But, ice storms notwithstanding it is a new month, and even though my own situation has changed for the better there still must be a ROTM, oh yes there must.

And so, without further ado, I give you your morning coffee.

Love those socks. Hey, I have a table almost exactly like that one...

Good morning everyone!