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Arizona Lou

Blog Archive 2011 Dec

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Thu 12/1 - Before breakfast I went to the doctors office for my annual fasting blood test and stopped by Harbor Freight, bought a heat gun on sale for $9 and got a 9-LED flashlight for free. Now I can do shrink wrap without turning it black by using a cigarette lighter; toast my bread on the low (572 degree) setting or burn my toast on the high (1112 degree) setting.

Fri 12/2 - Todays big trip started out this morning about 8:00 and lasted until after dark this evening. It included delivering a stool sample (sorry) to my doctor's office; getting a refund at Summer Winds Nursery for my myoporums that had died; buying grapefruit, grapes and broccoli crowns on sale at Safeway; buying some Christmas gifts at Dollar Tree; seeing my allergist for my annual checkup; getting 20 qt. worth of powdered milk at Fry's Food; Replacing 3 sprinkler nozzles at Dahlia; working out at the Moon Valley LA Fitness and buying black berries and bulk raisins and oatmeal at Sunflower Market. Whew!

Sat 12/3 - I started out with $100.00 in my pocket to give away five and a half weeks ago and I have $20.00 left. My plan was to encourage people to read personal improvement books by paying them $10 for each one they bought as ebooks, audio books or physical books. Two new books that I recommend are: If you buy either of these books, I'll send you $10 (US & Canada only) until I exhaust my $20 (big deal, eh?). If I have to, I'll give $10 for buying other personal improvement books, or even give $20 to the same person for buying two books. Just email me. First come, first serve. Aren't you glad you read my blog today?
- Disgusting! I gathered my stuff together, stopped by Home Depot for a bunch of parts and headed for My Dahlia rental house to repair an under-ground sprinkler leak. I found that the pipe was broken up against a T where the pipe size reduced from 3/4 to 1/2 inch. The parts I had would not do the repair and it had started to rain and it was getting cold. So I left the hole, the exposed broken pipe, the dirt and sod piled on a plastic square and a barricade... and went to the gym.

Sun 12/4 - This morning I got the house all straightened up for brunch with my
Chet & Edith and boys Eden, Mason and David
. We talked about a debt-free lifestyle, then caravaned up to Payson for the annual Hayes Christmas party. Eden rode with me in my van. He and Mason, in his parent's vehicle, talked to each other using a couple of my
short-range Family Radio Service
radios. Eden was a pleasure to have onboard. The boys had a lot of fun in the snow. They tried to make a snowman, but the snow was too dry. The party was its usual family fun with all sorts of goodies. I got back to Phoenix after dark.

Mon 12/5 - This morning I researched micro SD cards with adapters. This afternoon and into the evening was pretty-much Dahlia sprinkler prep and repair. I stopped by Home Depot on the way for a PVC 3/4 to 1/2" reducer for the repair. I had everything else I needed, but could not have anticipated that one. I got the system repaired... I hope. Since it is cold, I will let the repair set overnight before testing it with water pressure tomorrow. Before heading home, I checked out Best Buy and Fry's Electronics for Christmas gifts, which they did not have so ended up ordering them online.

Tue 12/6 - I held my breath before I turned on the Dahlia sprinkler system. The repair hole in the lawn I had dug was still there so I could get to my line repair if it started squirting water. I had covered a couple sprinkler heads so I would not get soaked while inspecting my handiwork. Lowe and behold, my fix was perfect. All I had to do to finish the repair job was to fill in the dirt, replace the sod, return the $30 worth of unused parts to Home Depot, stop by the gym, drive home and start putting away all the tools I used.
- This evening I would NOT let myself listen to podcasts of my favorite talk show hosts. This was an attempt to force me to secure lodging for my Philippines trip starting the last part of January, 2012

Wed 12/7 - I strained my brain in the process, considering all the lodging locations, their proximity to the kiteboarding shops, websites, emails, a phone call to the Philippines, currency conversions, availability (considering the Chinese New Year) but I did it after over a week of effort! I booked my room on Bulabog Beach on Boracay Island, Philippines. It looks like I'll be staying at the Surfers Home Boracay, which is near a kite school.
- This afternoon I stopped by the Tempe LA Fitness gym for a brief workout on my way to Gangplank for about an hour before heading to
My nephew who lives in Mesa and did a little windsurfing with me years ago when he was younger
's house. As an engineer, I thought he could help me figure out how to hook up my little LCD panel meters and circuit boards to measure my van and
battery voltages and current. He did after we poured over the cryptic Chinese instruction sheet. Now I think I understand how to do it: At Circuit Specialists, swap out the 5-volt units for 9-volt units which work with a common ground and if I can find LM7809s to power them.

Thu 12/8 - Today was driving 53 miles for parts day and finding out that maybe I did NOT understand how to hook up the circuits (see yesterday's blog). I drove to Capital Electronics in west Phoenix for three LM7809 power regulators and then to Circuit Specialists in Mesa, where George blew my boat out of the water, saying that what I had might not work. The guys there were good at exchanging my 4 unused CX101B (5V) panel meters for CX101A (9v) ones and one CX101BG (5v). George is going to do a little testing tomorrow to determine what really works and phone me. Hopefully I won't have to make another trip for more exchanges.

Fri 12/9 - Finished and printed my Christmas cards; plopped some money into my Vanguard MM Sweep Fund & bought some VT shares

Sat 12/10 - Two glass-plate LCD digital bathroom scales for $10 was my Goodwill find this morning. They are very consistent and read the same regardless where on the platform you place your weight. Neither worked until I went to Dollar Tree and bought new CR2032's for them
- At Bill Johnson's Big Apple this evening we had our annual
Arizona Repeater Association (ham radio operators)
Christmas dinner and gift exchange. I took a digital pocket scale and came away with an ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 Class 2 traffic safety vest which I stole. The event is always fun. The vest will make a valuable edition to my van's Emergency Safety Box.

Sun 12/11 - First thing this morning I made the mistake of looking up glass-plate bathroom scales to find how much I saved at Goodwill yesterday. That lead to a website with lots of good information about weight control, so I spent the rest of the morning creating a new Weight Management page for my website, instead of working on my Christmas letter or my IRS Form 2210. I did get my checking account resolved - this time the first day the information became available online!
- This evening I visited the Rainbow Cactus Saloon where I did my monthly blog rollover to December and enjoyed the company and entertainment, of which my Bricklayer Story was a part.

Mon 12/12 - Up this morning to apply preemergence spray my front yard, back yard and neighbor's side yard. This prevents [weed] seeds from germinating but has to be watered in to activate. I set out my rain gauges and got the required half inch of rain within a couple of days, saving me a lot of watering-in work.
- An afternoon visit to Dr Hurm, my urologist, just about turned my world inside out with a low uroflow, high retention and a PSA about double what it was last year. I'll be getting two additional PSA blood tests tomorrow and Wednesday. Depending on the result I may be looking to a prostate biopsy Friday and maybe LASER surgery on Tuesday.

Tue 12/13 - I rearranged my schedule and an upcoming appointment with Dr Brian Schneider my oral surgeon, to allow for the above eventualities and researched the issues, researched trip insurance for the Philippines and worked on my Christmas letter.

Wed 12/14 - My prostate concerns have precluded continuing with my Dahlia rental house garage project. Since about the 8th of November I have been working out some details and getting bids for enclosing the double carport into a garage.
- To Gangplank this evening.

Thu 12/15 - Dr Hurm phoned me this evening (what a guy!) to discuss my reluctance to take antibiotics. There are lots of reasons. I believe my immune system is just about perfect and it has been over three years since I have taken any antibiotics, including after a serious cut on my foot on a sharp anchor in Pamlico Sound and after a cut on my shin which took eight sutures. Antibiotics tend to mess up my digestive system for months as well, according to reports, cause one's own defence system to somewhat shut down. The bottom line: Our plan is to monitor the thing and, at least for now, put up with some of the inconvenient symptoms. He'll look at me again the 28th.

Fri 12/16 - I polished off My Christmas letter after a third revision, my Canon iP4820 printer was streaking, so I refilled the pigmented and dye black ink tanks. It started working well enough for me to print out the letters. I need three more Christmas cards and the printer's magenta was empty. I installed a fill port in the tank and refilled it... it worked and I was able to print out the additional cards. It doesn't always work so well. Frequently refilled ink tanks still streak and have to be replaced with Canon's expensive new ones.

Sat 12/17 - First thing after breakfast this morning I went to Goodwill, specifically looking for impeller-type coffee grinders. Today is half-price Saturday, so earlier in the week I had scoped them out. I bought the two: a Toastmaster Model 1119 and a Gloria Jean's 202 (same as Krups 203). At home I tried both out and they worked well - ground almost too fine in less than five seconds. Oh yes, why a coffee grinder when I do not drink coffee? I like to mix sunflower seeds in with my FF cottage cheese concoction but they tend to be pretty uncomfortable to chew with the rest of my brew. Thus the grinders, although both are a bit of a pain to clean.
- This evening we had about 18 at our Saturday-night hamfeast. Dennis Campbell helped me understand potential ground loop problems and solutions as they relate to my van's
battery monitoring system. The solution would be to have a separate LM7805 voltage regulator powering each of the three meters. I have yet to hook up any circuitry, but am understanding it better.

Sun 12/18 - Today I took care of some emails, including those connected with
my SFR rental house
. I tried coffee grinding the almonds I put on my oatmeal. Delicious! Also I had my first helping of coffee ground sunflower seeds. They were tasty.
- I drew a new diagram (about the fourth one) for the
battery monitoring system including all that I have learned so far. Maybe this will be the final version that I put together and, hopefully, works.
- This evening I went to the Rainbow Cactus Bar. It looked quite different, not being configured for performances as the previous times I was there. Famous Clay Custer, pianist and singer, provided the entertainment. Boy was he good!

Mon 12/19 - This afternoon I saw Dr Brian Schneider, my oral surgeon, who said my jaw was healing well so we scheduled my implant surgery for January 8th, 2012.

Tue 12/20 - Big traveling day, all to Mesa: to Circuit Specialists to trade out some 9-volt LCD panel meters for 5-volt, both with common ground; to 24-hour Fitness Sport on 8th st. and then north to a hay ride/BBQ, celebrating
younger brother
birthday, which was actually two weeks earlier. Practically the whole world was there (at least George's big family), including
older brother who flew in from Hutchinson, KS
. What fun!

Wed 12/21 - This morning was the annual visit with Dr Damian, my cardiologist, who figured my ticker was doing a good job and is expected to continue.

Thu 12/22 - Straightened up and vacuumed the house in preparation for Stan's visit, then met George, Cindy and Stan in Scottsdale for supper and to transfer Stan to me.

Fri 12/23 - Hung with Stan today; took him to Dollar Tree, LA Fitness and Food City where we caught up on stuff, exercise and some food items. Also I got my Smart Stuff pull-down menu working with all the browsers, not just Firefox.

Sat 12/24 - Stan and I had a good of visiting. On our trip out I went to 24-Hour Fitness while he explored Harbor Freight across the parking lot.

Christmas Day, Sun 12/25 - Stan and I spent the entire day with
George and Cindy
younger brother who lives in Mesa and his wife
along with various
Bill, Evangelina and Bud & Chupin (from the Philippines)
they had invited for Cindy's famous Christmas breakfast casserole. We all had an excellent visit, played a word game (which I surprisingly won, with a little help from Cindy) and visited with various of their kids that dropped by.

Mon 12/26 - I finally got my bare south and west windows washed and hardly know the windows are there, they're so clean. I take the screens off in the winter to brighten up the house and to collect more solar heat, saving on utilities.
- For after-Christmas shopping, I bought half-price wrapping paper and Christmas cards for next year.

For the first time I met Wendy and Leigh, the buyers of one of my 10 acre parcels near Wittmann, northwest of here. It was certainly a pleasure getting acquainted with such quality people and sharing some of our interests and goals.
- On the way home I cleaned out a Walgreen's stock of blue LED Christmas light strings. Next year they'll be up on my house as replacements for the old, tattered incandescent ones. I'll put the old lights on my Natal Plums, controled by a
Farm Innovators TC-3 Thermo Cube Thermostatically Controlled Outlet - On at 35-Degrees/Off at 45-Degrees
, to keep the plants from freezing.

Wed 12/28 - This morning I finalized my bluetooth purchase decision and this evening, at Fry's Electronics, I bought a little
operated by an InfraRed remote control
8-inch, 1.4oz $35
Sky Invaders

helicopter that includes spare rotor blades, a USB charger and remote-launchable missiles. Just before going to bed I ordered a
Farm Innovators TC-3 Thermo Cube Thermostatically Controlled Outlet - On at 35-Degrees/Off at 45-Degrees
to help keep my Natal Plum plants from freezing and and a
bluetooth headset
Plantronics 38885-01 Voyager PRO UC B230
so I'll be able to carry on quite phone conversations in noisy environments.
- Practicing on the floor with the little helicopter for 20-minute segments is my reward for accomplishing other things that need to be done. The theory is to learn to control the horizontal dimension before I attempt airborne maneuvers. Crashing is inconsequential that way, although I accidentally got it off the floor about 10 inches once.

Thu 12/29 - Spent most of the morning on the phone making medical arrangements for a prescription, referral and 2nd opinion, all leading up to a possible
Photoselective Vaporization of the Prostate
procedure upon my return from the Philippine kiteboarding trip.
- This afternoon and evening I tried to figure out how I'm going to get from Manila International Airport to Boracay Island. I found enough options to confuse me - especially considering I'll be traveling with a rather large kite bag.
- Got in three practice sessions with my new helicopter, now occasionally getting it up to an altitude of a half inch. Don't laugh, it's still in one piece!

Fri 12/30 - I spent most of this morning on the phone adjusting my appointments to doctors' qualifications and changing schedules. This afternoon I gathered phone numbers for possible
Roro bus
Roll-on/Roll-off the ferry boats
companies for getting to Boracay from Manila on my trip next month. My helicopter skills have improved with three sessions today. The little tyke's batteries take about an hour to charge and last about 14 minutes of flying/crashing time. I took a long naps today, having had a rather miserable night last night and day today with a headache and mild fever - up to 100.1 degrees.

Sat 12/31 - Mostly nursed my cold around home today, doing a little financial shuffling, converted the contents to a pull-down menu on my Locations web page, went to Goodwill's half-off Saturday and looked for anchors to use for my
battery shunt at Home Depot and Harbor Freight. Oh, yes: three, 12-minute, practice sessions with my little helicopter, reaching an altitude of six feet once. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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