Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Still Alive After A Few Days Off

I guess it has already been 3-4 days since the last blog post. I usually try to take at least one day off without computer time and find it amazing just how much I can get done in one day when I am not vegging out in front of the computer. With great weather, quite a bit has happened in the past few days. I took a day off from the computer but not activity.

From the sound of that, don't expect any exciting news from the hounds. Their days most of the time are all the same. That's an early morning yard inspection, a nap for an hour or so while I drink coffee and their first walk. We have been taking three walks per day around the activity I have been doing outside and around the house.

As long as I can remember I seem to fall into the "all or nothing" category. That has followed me to the world of blogging, although when I first started, if you look on the side bar those first couple of years I did less than a hundred posts in a year. Somewhere along the line blogging became almost an everyday thing ... sometimes multiple times per day. Recently I have been noticing a change that I needed to fix.

I started off the spring fast in mid-April by burning and clearing the bank along the side of the driveway. After that, some of it might have been because of weather but the main excuse for not getting anything else done on my annual house 'to do' list was laziness. I couldn't pull myself away from the computer even on the days that had great weather. That had to and has changed these past few days.

While I ramble I will include some commentary about some of the pictures. Here you can see just how fast the field is growing near the house.  It is not nearly this tall after we leave this lower area where the hounds have spent the winter fertilizing it and all of the underground water in that field ends up on this side. I mow that path to see where my anchor is for the rope.

So as I was saying, my routine had to change. Based on what I was doing the past three days, a lot of times I was busy doing stuff outside during the hours I normally download and edit my pictures, then upload to the blog and start writing. I started noticing a trend that if I did not get away from the computer after we left for the first walk of the day ... I was there for the rest of the day.

Therefor I will probably go back to posting on my blog at the end of the day after this. That leads to the next problem I had. With a full day of outdoor activity getting stuff done, fitting in two hound meals and three walks per day ... I was tired by the end of the day. I am not in 22" push mower shape right now but getting there. By the time I fixed dinner and cleaned up afterward I would read, surf the internet, check email or watch a ball game but there didn't seem like enough time to blog.

I enjoyed a 'normal' life again as I say. Yet, I like to take all the pictures of the hounds and I like writing on the blog ... so there is a fine line when you have a personality that leans towards the 'all or nothing' policy.

I did find out it helps to get things done, if I print out my 'to do' list rather than use the lists on the computer or the 'Reminders' app on my iPhone. There is something about putting a line through a task after you complete it and see how many things you knocked out in a day. Otherwise on the computer you click something is complete and it usually disappears from view.

The thing is I have just started on a long list of things to get done this summer before it gets too hot. Usually I high pressure wash the house and shampoo the carpets once the weather gets hotter because each will dry out faster rather than doing that in cooler spring temps.

I have inspected under the house in the crawl space. My crawl space is a big 'moon crater' that the Mennonites dug when they built the house in 1975. So it's easy to walk around bent over instead of crawling with not much space. I have some new things I need to get finished under there before it gets too hot. They are both all day tasks, where the hounds might only get two walks during those days instead of three ... plus there may not be any blog posts on those days.

Sadie was flushing out birds this morning that were sitting in the field, hiding in the deep grass and wild flowers.

Even as I write this I have a few things on my mind that I want to get done today and since I did spend time away from blogging it's almost like I feel rushed to finish this and get back outside. Some of those activities is bike riding again. I've made a few trips to town on my mountain bike just to enjoy the ride and still get a good workout in. When I start riding my road bike I will be riding for at least an hour and longer after I get in better shape. In that case picture taking and blogging might move to the side.

Basically when the weather is nice outside, sometimes there isn't enough time in the day to set down and put a post together. It does take time to process the pictures, upload, write the post and then go back into the HTML side and changes those photo settings so they stay sharper and clear after they are posted on the blog. After all that is done, I like to proof read before I publish the post.

Someone asked me about cars the other day and wondered if I missed my Toyota FJ. It's only been 4 months since I traded the FJ for the Mini Cooper Countryman. That's a hard question for me because when it comes to cars or trucks, I like every one I have ever bought and traded. I wish I had them all.

I have found the Mini Countryman to be a great car. Plus the gas mileage is great, it's got speed when you want it and room to take two trash cans to the recycling center. There is room for Heidi in the passenger seat and the bloodhounds fit in the back for trips to the vet. I thought at one time of trading for another FJ but stopped for the simple reason ... when I think of my future travel plans I am not set on what type of vehicle to use. Right now I like what I have, or an FJ, maybe a Chevy truck with a truck camper or a Chevy Express cargo van.

So with that many options floating around my pool of ideas, nothing will be traded until I come to the point in time that I am ready to hit the road. That will not happen until I am down to just one hound or maybe none, depending on their situation.

Every walk, not just every day, Stella will stop at the exact same spot in the field to scratch. Is that a habit or something else?

I need to take time to take Heidi to the vet for her annual checkup and weigh her. She looks and feels like she had gained the 13 pounds she lost in June 2015 and kept off until this past winter. It's the middle of May and I have seen no sign of her allergies that bother her skin. Based on past pictures, it usually started in late April or May where her paws would be raw from licking plus she would have a lot of scratching. So far, that has not happened this year.

Stella looks like she is gaining some weight but really nothing can be confirmed until I take her to the vet 11 miles away and use their scales. She still does not run full speed but she has been trotting more and her tail is in the upright position more than it had been. Whatever she has or had, I think it will take a long time before she returns to her old self.

I guess I'll announce some big news on the topic of my computer situation.

Each time I would move my laptop from the desk to the living room or kitchen table to use, most of the time I would lose the settings for the wireless keyboard and trackpad. That meant that every time I sat down to use it I had go back into 'preferences' and reset those so I could 'drag and drop' cells in Excel or hold down the delete key to scroll and delete words or sentences fast, not one character at at a time. I was told yesterday by an computer geek that with a wifi connection that is normal.

While mowing the yard yesterday at noon because it would be 6° hotter in the late afternoon I decided I was going to clean up after that and head to Best Buy to buy the Mac Mini hard drive and move the laptop back to it's normal home ... the kitchen table. Like I said a few days ago, I had plans to use that Mac Mini with my tv later on if I decided to by a new iMac.

Luckily when I was at Best Buy yesterday the sales rep I had help me was a true definition of a computer geek and gamer. Whereas on Saturday I had a sales rep that was a college student working part time and was more interested in telling me about this MacBook Pro and why I should buy that ... instead of asking me what I was going to use my computer for or even what did I do on a computer.

So we started with "what can I help you with today", I knew I was getting a professional sales rep. He showed no favoritism to brand names, nor the type of PC or a Mac. It was all facts with him. I'll spare you all the details but I found out that what I wanted to use the Mac Mini for later with my tv was not possible.

Yes, it did have a HDMI connection but that was only for output and not downloading movies or ballgames I would be watching on my DirectTV DVR and using it as a storage unit for playback. If I was streaming shows or games over the internet, then it would. With a data limit per month on my internet service, I don't stream anything.

With that news, the Mac Mini was no longer an option. So my only two choices were 'small or large' monitor because the hardware and specs were the same thing between a 21.5" and a 27" screen on the iMac. Once you see a "Retina Display" on a large monitor it's hard to look at another LED monitor the same way again, even with a high quality picture. My iPad Mini and iPhone have retina display.

The smaller screen is a 4K. I guess that is the new buzzword that is just starting with televisions and shows, similar to the change from analog signal to HD. IF a 4K tv shows this much sharpness and clarity on a tv screen then I am in trouble and I will refuse to look at any 4K tv just for that reason.

Of course like many people I said years ago that I would never buy a CD player with all the music I had on other formats between vinyl albums and cassette tapes. Then I said I'd never buy a DVD player, why do that when I have hundreds of ballgames and movies on VCR tapes. I've ended up with both players and now have hundreds of CDs and DVDs on the shelf ... so when it comes to electronics ... never say never.

Trying to keep this story short ... I'll just say after many weeks of analyzing, researching, thinking and working on each size of computer ... I decided to buy the 21.5" iMac with a retina display just like I did in October 2010, minus the retina because they were not out yet. Sometimes a 27" monitor is just too big. I suspected before I bought it and have found out in the few hours I have been on this computer ... the retina 4K quality picture makes up for the decrease in monitor size. So far I have not missed the 27" display I had before.

What happened to the idea of installing new memory sticks and a new solid state hard drive into the old broken iMac? I confirmed with the computer geek yesterday that it was a concern that a new hard drive and memory sticks may or may not match up with a 7 year old processor. Yes, I would be buying what the company would tell me would work with my model and year of computer but no guarantees I would not continue to have problems.

Looking at the process of installing stuff inside an iMac was much different than when I did in my old PC's many years ago. With no guarantees I decided to leave the old iMac as it was and will either use Best Buy's trade in program even when they know the HD needs replaced or sell it to someone that can use what parts are usable.

So I moved the 27" Apple Cinema Display off the desk last night, moved the old iMac to my other desk and out of the way and moved the MacBook Air back to it's home on the kitchen table. The new computer set up pretty quickly without any problems. I migrated my files from the old computer to the new computer using my Apple Time Machine Backup. That took the longest amount of time of the set up.

I have more ram memory, a faster processor and a HD twice as large. This computer is just as fast if not faster than my laptop that has a solid state HD. So the computer situation is settled, the car situation is settled at least for a few more years, the hounds are happy with their dog food and my 'to do' list is printed and taped to the refrigerator door so I cans see and mark off what is done. Everything is good.

Another problem I have with blogging is my own fault. Those people that know me, know that I like to talk. You can correlate that to typing long blog posts that take longer than I like because I type as much as I talk sometimes. If I only blog once per week or per month or even every few days ... the next blog post would always be longer and more time consuming because of me trying to write about all that has happened in those days I did not blog.

I didn't care for the sale rep on Saturday. He was bored with the lack of customers since the university had ended their spring semester. The population has gone from 40K to around 10K for summer school students. While answered my questions he was on other websites at the same time. But ... he did one thing good ... "if you like playing Mahjong, then you will love the app 2048 tile game".

He was right ... I am addicted to that game.

For example about this blogging stuff. I have been working on this post since the hounds and I stepped back inside. This picture of Stella and Sadie was taken at 9:33am ... it is now 12:28pm and I am still not finished ... close to finishing but not yet ... so over 2-1/2 hours. In my eyes ... way too long. I still have to go into the HTML and change the settings on all of these pictures.

The bottom line is it's great, fantastic weather. I have a new fast computer. The hounds are ready to eat and I have a printed 'to do' list that I can see. Everything is good.

Back to the 80's today here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.


  1. Wow, a to do list. I use them a lot and it does feel good to see checked off tasks and serves as a reminder that the task was done.
    Noticed a public commercial today, warning about posting address, when your gone and friends names etc. Perhaps blogs should be a thing of the past. I thought about the woman you saw looking in you window a while back.
    Enjoy the heat, it was just over 60 today and Sunny, should be low 50's the rest of the week with low clouds and light rain.

  2. It was somewhat surprising after I printed the list out like I did a couple of summers ago. I immediately got to work. That public commercial is a good reminder. One of the biggest culprits are people posting on facebook where they are eating or vacationing with personal info in the profile that may not be set to private.

    I like the heat, 80's are good for me.

  3. I have a spreadsheet on the laptop to keep track of things that need to get done (weekly-ish, monthly, etc), but its pretty much useless unless a "to do" hard copy gets printed out for the week. Out of sight, out of mind I guess...