Showing posts with label New Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Life. Show all posts

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kinda Unusual

The view from the study window this morning...

And, for comparison's sake, last July...

Fog in an arid climate.  Who'd a thunk it?  I think I MIGHT have seen three foggy days in the 12 years I've lived on The High Plains o' New Mexico.

This caught my eye while goin' through the overnight mail:

That describes me to a tee.  What AM I doin' right?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cleaning House Today...

... the way it SHOULD be done:

The ladies and gentleman (not pictured, he's doin' the bathroom as we speak) from Excellence House Cleaning do a fine, fine job.  Much better than **I** ever do.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

We Don't Get Out Much

So, there I was... reviewing the monthly OnStar report those kind folks at GM send me on a monthly basis.  One metric the OnStar folks provide is "average miles driven" during a particular month and here's the graphic:

Quite the difference from days gone by, by which I mean the post title sez it ALL: we don't get out much these days.  I suppose this is graphic evidence that we all slow down in our dotage.  Or at least **I** do, anyhoo.  Those day trips?  I could tell ya where I went, Gentle Reader, but then I'd have to kill ya.  And you don't want THAT now, do ya?

Monday, August 04, 2014

"How Many Geezers Does It Take To Change a Light Bulb?"

More than one, apparently.  About which, this:

What you see is a light fixture ripped from its moorings as a result of my ham-handed efforts at installing a new light bulb.  There's a story here, of course.  One needs a special tool to replace these light bulbs, one o' which I dutifully bought and attempted to use recently.  Like this:

To continue...  I managed to (a) remove the burnt-out light bulb, (b) replace it with a new bulb, and (c) rip the fixture from its proper place in the ceiling while attempting to free the special tool from the newly-installed light bulb.  What you CAN'T see are the fixture mountings, which came undone in my attempts to free the tool after diligently screwing in the new bulb.  And here we are... about which... adding insult to injury is the fact the new bulb (which is one of those damned CFL thingies) doesn't work with my dimmer switch.  So, we have duly filed a service request with the landlord (who gracefully refrained from smirking at my tale o' woe) for a service person to come out and re-seat the fixture and change the other burnt-out bulb (there are two).

So... we know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.  At least there's that.

It's always SUMTHIN'.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack...

... makes an early appearance today, mainly coz we CAN.  The Stones:

I'm the man who walks the hillside
In the sweet summer sun
I'm the man that brings you roses
When you ain't got none
Well and I can run and jump
And fish, but I won't fight
You if you want to push
And pull with me all night
That lyric brings to mind this lil episode...

Apropos o' not much... the lady's immediate reaction was "No one has ever bought me roses before!"  Which, I suppose, might could be a comment about the class o' men she hung with before she met YrHmblScrb.  That said, we never did get around to that "push and pull with me all night" thing, even though we tried our BEST.  Insert big-ass sigh here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Another One o' Those Days...

... which would be the sort o' day where we say "I got nuthin'."  Shoebox can't even come to my rescue today, mainly coz I'd look pretty gay (not that there's anything wrong with THAT) if I posted this.  I thought, ever so briefly, about posting yet another Hillary 'toon but decided not to do so coz I don't want to be part of the problem... said problem bein' Hillary Overload.  I'm already sick of the woman.

I was awakened at oh-dark-thirty this morning by the crash of thunder and lightning... and it was LOUD... as a T-storm moved through the area.  That was at 0518 hrs (I looked at my phone).  I'm tempted to say this sorta thing would really piss me off if I was still working but I can't really say that, mainly coz I would have been on BART at 0518 hrs heading into The City when I was at my last gig.  There's also the fact that once my eyes pop open, for whatever reason, I can't close them again.  I did just that this morning, however, and stayed abed until 1030 hrs.  That's pretty rare.

Related:  It's been raining off and on all morning, which is another rarity but a blessed one.  The temps are in the low 60s which is also a rarity for this time o' year.  We'll take both conditions and LOVE 'em.

In other news... My coffee consumption has been cut by more than half since I bought that Keurig machine.  These days I'll drink two cups... three, at the most... and be done with it.  I used to brew a 10-cup pot BK (that would be "Before Keurig") and drink the whole damned thing.  Not any longer, and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing... it just is.  

But there's one bad thing about that machine... this:

That's the portion of my pantry where I store the coffee and you'll note there are four one-pound bags of coffee lurking in there.  I restocked the coffee supply about two days before the old pot went belly-up and now there's all this coffee I don't use.  Don't tell me to buy one of o' those do-it-yourself refillable K-cups, coz that's what that lil red thing is in front of the yellow bag on the right.  I've used that thing exactly twice, mainly coz it's a right royal PITA to fill, especially for that second cup.

I know, I know... First World Problems.  We haz 'em.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Afternoon In the Garden o' Good and Evil, Revisited

I posted this pic last week when the Debbil Flamingos landed at El Casa Inmóvil De Pennington:

Well, now.  Our resident flamingos... not the newly-arrived Debbil flamingos, but our long-time residents... seem to have regained something of their old self:

They must have found some shrimp nearby.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Midnight Afternoon In the Garden of Good and Evil*

This looks bad...

I think it's a stand-off, for the moment.

*With apologies to John Berendt.  He wrote a damned good... no, great... book. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

J.J. Cale...

You told me you didn't love me no more
Yes I heard that one before
Same thing, same news
Treat me like a fool that you can use
Let me tell you, I won't be kind
You can put it right there
Where the sun don't shine
There are some great good guitar licks in this tune, as there are in all of J. J. Cale's work.  It goes without sayin'... although I will say it... that the lyrics get a "Heh," as well.

In other news... today's a maintenance day here at  El Casa Inmóvil De Pennington, which is on-going as we speak.   The dishwasher has finished its cycle and the second load of laundry is about ready to be committed to the dryer.  Maintenance days, such as they are, are few and far between in these parts, aside from the normal daily clean-up and wipe-down we must do to keep things tidy.  I run the dishwasher about once a week (as opposed to daily, in past lives) and do laundry about once every two weeks... depending on when the tee shirt supply runs low.  Tee shirts are the pacing factor here, as we have enough other garments, linens, and towels to last at least a month between laundry episodes.  But, Hey!  This ain't much cuttin' for a cutter, as we used to say.  And it's kinda sorta amazing at how the laundry cycle and the beer cycle matches up.  Serendipity?  I think not.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


We want some better weather, too.

We've been three days in the maelstrom.  Let me up, I've had ENOUGH.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

More hippie music, from a group known as Captain Beyond...

Sufficiently breathless
Sufficiently breathless
Sufficiently breathless
Sufficiently breathless
Hearing and watching all the city sounds
On the street where we live
No one to care about us
Seems it´s falling down around us
Nothing left to live for
Nothing left to live for
Sufficiently breathless
Nothing left to live for
Sufficiently breathless on the street
Where we live
Well, now.  Those lyrics have significantly different meaning today than they did back when the album came out, which is to say 1973.  We weren't so sufficiently breathless back then, we certainly are now... in the most literal sense.  About which: no whining about self-inflicted wounds.

And now it's back out to the verandah where we shall continue as we've begun.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Sunday Re-Run: Sartorial Elegance

Our tongue is firmly in our cheek with that "elegance" bit.  That said, we do have our own personal style in garments.  From November of 2008:
We’re currently in the midst of a pretty good cold snap, as noted elsewhere and below. I kinda like that because this is the time of year I get to drag various coats and jackets out of the closet and renew my acquaintance with ‘em… an acquaintance that goes back over 20 years in two cases and nearly that amount of time in one other.
Like most guys, I don’t own a lot of outer garments. As I matter of fact, I have five…which is probably a little bit more than most men. But two of those garments are relegated to storage; I wear three outer garments on a regular basis. Strangely enough… all three are military-issue items. Today was the first day of the winter season that I wore my favorite jacket… an M-65 field jacket. (Full disclosure: I actually have two field jackets, only one of which is still serviceable enough to wear in public. The other is really worn… ripped here, torn there, the Velcro is gone, and it has all sorts of grease stains and such on it. It’s worn as a work jacket… if it’s worn at all, given as how I don’t do much “work” these days.)

My daily-wear M-65 was issued to me in 1984, the year before I retired from the Air Force. I knew I was gonna go, my retirement papers were in and approved, and I wanted a new field jacket to last me into retirement, as my old one was looking a lil bit the worse for wear. So… I beat feet down to supply, requested a new field jacket, got it, signed the receipt, and was on my way, a Happy Troop if there ever was one. I’ve worn that jacket every winter since. You cannot beat the thing for utility, what with its four large cargo pockets, collar-concealed hood, a button-in polyfil lining that keeps you oh-so-toasty, and the fact it’s waterproof… provided you give it an annual spray-down with Scotchgard. And when it gets dirty? Just throw it in the wash. That’s it. The M-65 looks damned good, it’s utilitarian, and it’s low maintenance. What else is there?
(Me and my M-65 in Yellowstone, May of 2000. It was frickin’ cold that day… and I was on the bike, too. But I stayed warm.)
Well, it turns out there IS something else. The M-65 is casual. VERY casual. For more upscale occasions I wear my pea coat. (Don’t laugh… it’s true. And I’m weird, I’ll freely admit.) My pea coat is The Real Thing and not some sort of knock-off (one sees a tremendous amount of knock-offs advertised as “Navy Issue” or some other such blather. Most aren’t even close.) And how do I know my pea coat is real? Coz it used to belong to SN2 when he was on the E-side of the Navy house (Pea coats are only worn by enlisted sailors. Ossifers wear Bridge Coats [scroll down for pic]. I’m serious.). He gifted it to me the year he was commissioned… the culmination of literally years of me badgering him to “get me a pea coat!!1!!” And so he did.

I love this coat. It, too, is quite versatile, and being 100% heavy wool it’s also very warm… especially with the collar turned up. I’ve been wearing my pea coat for about 15 years now, assuming I’ve done the math correctly. From the looks of things I’ll probably get at least another 15 years out of it… maybe more. The thing simply doesn’t show wear at all.
(Pic: Me, Grandson Sean, and SN1 on San Francisco Bay… an appropriate milieu for a pea coat, no? c. 2001.)
Last, but not at ALL least… My A2 flight jacket is perfect for Spring/Fall weather and is the jacket you’ll see me in most frequently. My A2 is over 20 years old and was made by Cooper, a firm that’s out of business now but was the official supplier to the USAF, back when the Air Force re-authorized the A2 for wear in the 1980s. The A2 I own is made of goatskin and is the “older” design, which precedes newer gub’mint-issue items manufactured after 1987. You can still buy the older model here (from Cockpit USA (formerly Avirex LTD), the current manufacturer and supplier of the A2 to the Air Force). Or… if you prefer the current, updated model (which is visually identical to the original A2 but has internal pockets)… you can buy that here.

Digression: The Second Mrs. Pennington about had a cow (man!) when I told her I wanted this jacket in the way-back. She looked at the price and flipped out… being the frugal woman she was and probably still is… telling me I could get something “just as good” for about half the price at any six stores in Detroit. But that wasn’t the point, I countered… “this is an official Mil-Spec A2!” And so it went… back ‘n’ forth. I obviously won the battle (I lost the war, but let’s not go there) and I feel somewhat vindicated, too. The jacket has lasted lo these 20+ years and looks just as good as the day I bought it. Better, even, since it’s acquired that patina one sees in old but well-kept leather. Besides that… It’s Teh Quality, Gentle Reader.
(Further digression: TSMP and I had a “one hundred dollar rule,” meaning consultation was required prior to purchasing anything over that amount. That’s a really good rule to have in a relationship, btw. It stops a lot of arguments… not to mention regrettable impulse-buys… dead in their tracks.)

(Pic: Me wearing my A2… somewhere in the Wilds of New Mexico (which is shorthand for “I don’t remember”), c. 2004.) 
And those other two outer garments? One is a Yuppie-looking windbreaker with an oh-so-discreet EDS corporate logo embroidered on it. It’s nice but it’s not me. I wore that thing rarely… most often to casual corporate events back in the day where it was de rigueur to fly the flag. I don’t know why I keep it. Souvenir value, I suppose.

The other item is a Burberry trench coat, another relic from corporate days. It, too, is most versatile, warm (with the liner zipped in), good looking in a “Bond. James Bond.” sort of way, and probably never will go out of style. I love that thing (as much as anyone can “love” an inanimate object), but it doesn’t quite go with the levis and tee shirt ensembles that are en vogue around here. But: I can’t bear to part with it and who knows? I may have to go to a funeral in a cold rain some day. And if that happens… I’m ready. 
Well. That was much ado about not much, eh?
I said we had style.  I didn't say we had GOOD style, yanno?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I Lied

That "I lied" is in reference to the post below and might could be a little strong.  Let's just say I found the motivation that was lacking earlier and did the deal, with mixed results.

The good news is I get a refund on my federal taxes, the bad news is I'll send over half of that refund off to Santa Fe.  But that beats owing money to both Sam and the vampires up in Santa Fe.  Oh, well... civic duty, done.


Procrastination Я Us... I received the last of my 1099s this past week and prolly should start thinking about doin' my taxes.  Well, check that.  I AM thinking about it, what with having bought and downloaded TurboTax earlier today.  I just can't bring myself to get started, mainly coz I always write a couple o' checks every year at tax to my favorite uncle and one to the state o' New Mexico, just for the privilege of living in this freakin' desert.  I'm beginning to think becoming a New Mexican was a big-ass mistake just because of the tax thing.  I was a Texan for the ten years before I acquired this fixed address and paid exactly zero in state income tax over those ten years.  But we're a New Mexican now... what the Hell was I thinking?

So, I'm recently in from taking out the trash and it's freakin' COLD outside.  Like this:

That's quite the change from yesterday, and there will be no Happy Hour on the verandah today as that wind... a steady 27 mph, with gusts significantly over that speed... is pretty fierce.  And cold.  I suppose I shouldn't bitch as it IS still winter and I'm not up to my ass in snow; that and the fact we'll get up to 70 tomorrow.  All things shall pass, but still... Bleah.

Friday, February 14, 2014


There's an upside to gettin' up at oh-dark-thirty to watch hockey.  Today we watched the Swedes... our second favorite team in the tournament, after Team USA... beat a surprisingly tough Swiss team, 1-0.  The game was scoreless through two periods and was always in doubt, right up until the final seconds.  Daniel Alfredsson scored in the third to bring it on home for the Tre Kronor team.  And why are the Swedes our second-favorite team, you might ask?  Simply because of the number of Red Wings... five... on the roster, including captain Henrik Zetterberg, who is also the Red Wings' captain.  We heard this morning that Zetterberg will miss the rest of the Olympics due to a recurring back injury.  This does not bode well for the Swedes' gold medal hopes and most certainly will affect the Wings' playoff run.  Zetterberg is suffering from a herniated disc (or discs), a condition that rarely gets better with time*.  NOT good news.

But we digress.  We began by talkin' about an upside to gettin' up early, and that's this: we found ourselves with a strange amount o' energy after the game was over.  So we vacuumed and dusted the whole house, changed the bed, and did three loads o' laundry... for we were perilously close to dippin' into the emergency tee shirt supply, aka "vintage tees."  A further upside: the bed gets made when I change the sheets, like this:

Oh, well.  Once a week is enough to make the bed, eh?  And now it's back out to the verandah to continue to laze around in the sun, drink beer, and smoke cigars.  We've earned it today.

* I know from whence I speak.  I went through a year o' Hell back in 1998-99 with herniated discs, which resulted in surgery followed by six months of excruciating rehabilitation physical therapy.  Not fun, at all.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Sunday Re-Run: Small Towns

This, from earlier blogging days, with additional comment at the end.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Small Towns I've Known and (Sometimes) Loved

I’ve lived in a wide variety of places in my life, big and small. In America I’ve lived in big cities like the megalopolis of Los Angeles; sophisticated, moonbat-infested San Francisco; hot and humid Washington, D.C.; and gritty, industrial Detroit. I’ve also lived in medium-sized cities like Oklahoma City and Rochester, NY. Internationally, I’ve lived in Tokyo, London, Paris, and Ankara, the capital of Turkey. I’ve also spent a year or longer in garden spots like Wakkanai, Japan, and Sinop, Turkey. When I say “lived,” I mean a minimum of at least a year, two years or more is better yet. It doesn’t count, in my book, to simply visit a place for a week or two, you have to live there to know it. Of all the big cities I’ve lived in, London is my favorite, by far. But that’s another story!

The place I live, Portales, is a small town. (I’ve written about Portales before; here’s a link to a city profile, and here’s a couple of pics.) I like small towns at this stage in life for a lot of reasons, chief among which are: no traffic, friendly people, low crime, and much less complexity in day-to-day living. There are drawbacks, to be sure. I’ve mentioned a few annoyances in the past, when I’ve compared living in Portales to, say, living in San Francisco. I don’t have a broadband internet connection (ed: but we do now! Yays!), there are precious few good restaurants, and I can’t get a decent cup of coffee anywhere NEAR Portales. My local shopping options are also severely constrained. Nearby Clovis (pop. 30K) provides more options than Portales, but they’re still limited. I have to drive over two hours to Lubbock, TX or four hours to Albuquerque to get into “mainstream” America as we know and love it. But, all that said, I love living here, for the moment. Things can, and do, change. I may wake up tomorrow morning and decide to hit the road. It’s good to have options!

I’ve lived in a number of other small towns besides Portales, and I have the Air Force to thank for that. Air Force bases aren’t generally located near big cities, but they usually are close to medium-sized towns, at the least. My career was different than most, in that I was in the radar business for the greatest part of my 22 years in the Air Force, and that meant being stationed in some very small towns. Here are a few of the small places I enjoyed.

When I was stationed at Fortuna Air Station, North Dakota, I lived in the smallest of small towns: Westby, Montana. Current population figures for Westby, MT are 153 people; there were (supposedly) 250 people living in Westby when I was there in 1977-78. The first three months I was at Fortuna I lived in neighboring (30 miles west) Plentywood, MT, which had probably less than the current reported population of 1,855 people. I could have lived in the town of Fortuna (pop. 31), about three miles away from the radar site. Or there was Crosby, about 25 miles east of Fortuna, which now has all of 1,067 souls, again, probably a lot less in 1977...or perhaps there were more. One of North Dakota’s biggest problems is out-migration. People don’t want to stay up there. Obviously, there aren’t a lot of people living up in the Great White North of the United States!

Westby was great. You could walk the whole town in 15 minutes. There was a grain elevator, one gas station, two bars, four churches, a small grocery store, and a combination beauty parlor-laundromat-City Hall. There was no cable TV; we got two TV stations out of Williston, ND, and radio out of Regina, Saskatchewan. The nearest McDonalds was either in Regina, or Minot, ND. We used to go to Minot to party, which is why I laugh at Air Force people when they go on about how bad being assigned to Minot was. All in all, I loved my time in Fortuna/Westby, but I don’t think I’d live there again. It’s just TOO cold, and I mean TOO cold!

And then there’s Boron, CA. Current population is listed as 2,025 people, but once again, there were probably a lot less people there in 1970. I spent a year in Boron, and this place is probably the least favorite of all my USAF assignments. Smack in the middle of the Mojave desert, the best thing I can say about Boron is there was wonderful dirt-bike riding to be had! I could literally push my bike out of my garage and be in open desert in less than a minute. The second-best thing about Boron is that it was less than three hours from Los Angeles, and four hours to the ancestral home of the First Mrs. Pennington. She and I spent every available moment AWAY from Boron as was humanly possible.

A much, much better small town is North Bend, OR, population 9,620 people. The city of North Bend and its twin, Coos Bay run together. Coos Bay has 15,374 people. Since the two cities run together you have to say the total population is about 25,000. This is on the very fringe of what I’d call a “small town.” North Bend was one of the best assignments I had in the Air Force. Living on the Oregon coast was very, very pleasant, all things considered. The weather is mild, the location is beautiful beyond belief, and the people were very friendly. I’d live there again.

Klamath Falls, OR , on the other hand, is east of the Cascades and has an arid, almost desert-like climate. K-Falls currently has 19,000 people. I was stationed there from 1971 until 1975. I’ve been back once, and once was enough. Nothing remarkable there.

And finally…there’s Lompoc, CA, with a current population of 46,000 people. The city (?) had more like 25,000 when I was stationed at Vandenberg AFB from 1964 until 1967. Both of my adult children were born at the VAFB hospital and the First Mrs. Pennington still lives in Lompoc. A nice, quiet little town back in the day. My kids tell me Lompoc has gang problems these days and is suffering from growth problems, e.g., housing cost inflation. I’ll always remember Lompoc fondly; I had some great times there!

So. Small towns. Love ‘em, or leave ‘em. I’ll love mine for a while longer, thank you!

Update, 01/13/2006, 2:30 p.m. I forgot Biloxi, MS. How could I forget Biloxi? Like all other Americans, my heart aches for Biloxi these days. This small town on the Gulf Coast is home to Keesler AFB and has suffered more than most from hurricanes. I knew Biloxi before and after hurricane Camille, having been to Keesler for training in 1963, 1967, 1972, and 1980. All told, I spent the better part of two years in Biloxi, if you aggregate the time I spent there on four PCS/TDY assignments.

I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Biloxi. I spent a good portion of the "wild" days of my youth in some of the best and worst dive bars in all of North America. I lolled on the beach. I played with my kids in various parks in and around Biloxi. I made the short trip from Biloxi to New Orleans more times than I can remember. I ate some of the best seafood I ever had in Biloxi and neighboring towns. Yea, I have fond, fond memories of Biloxi. And I wish the residents of this lovely town all the best in their efforts to rebuild their city and their lives.
All of the population figures in the above narrative are as found back in 2006, the actual numbers could be higher or lower today. As for P-ville, we stand at 12,280... so, yeah, we're small.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

My Personal Year In Review

This, courtesy o' Google+, which arrived in my in-box this morning.

Now how cool is that?  Just a simple lil montage o' some... not all... o' the photos I posted last year, set to an innocuous lil tune.  I like that.

Full disclosure: It took me quite a while to figure out how to embed this thing.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Well, OK...

So we're sittin' out on the verandah takin' in the very early afternoon sun (amongst other thangs) when this ENMU student walks by and flashes us the peace sign.  Not a wave, not the usual high-sign, but a bona-fide, two-fingers extended peace sign.  I waved back in the usual, customary and reasonable manner.

The sixties are DEAD, Dude... just in case no one told ya.  OTOH, mebbe he was just expressing solidarity with this:

It might could be one Deadhead recognizing another and I'll cut him a sprout if that's the case.

Hey!  There's an ideer for today's Happy Hour Soundtrack!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cheesy Videos XXXI, Wherein We Take Two Minutes Just To Say It's a Beautiful Day and We're Taking Happy Hour On the Verandah

But you should watch even though I've given away the plot.  It's a matter o' duty and obligation, Gentle Reader, and you haz it.

Let's do today's Happy Hour soundtrack while we're here.  Here are the Stones coverin' Dylan...

Watch the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
But I’ll sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow
Well... watching the 17th Street Canal and Intra-City Waterway flow.  Same ol', same ol'.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Which We Lay In Provisions Ahead o' the Impending Storm

Beer?  Check.  Dr. Pepper?  Check.  Bread, half & half, coffee, bacon?  Check.  Cigars?  Full up.  We're good to go... bring it ON.

Let's do today's Happy Hour soundtrack while we're here.
I'm gonna blow this damn candle out
I don't want nobody comin' over to my table
I got nothing to talk to anybody about
All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hidin' behind bottles in dark cafes... dark cafes
Those are Joni's words but they're my thoughts about this day.  I wouldn't have gone any-damned-where today if it weren't for the fact the weather's gonna be breakin' bad day after tomorrow and we still need to eat.  And drink.  Nope, we'd have hidden behind a bottle or two at Chez Buck's cafe and simply kept to ourselves.  It's THAT kinda day.

Oh, yeah.  Music.  Here it is...

This, too, shall pass.