Monday, July 03, 2017

To The Hounds Everyday Is A Holiday

I knew when I retired in April 2014 that my life would not change much from a weekend routine if I stayed where I have lived now for 20 years. Traveling was an option, but I did not have my answer about traveling with hounds until after our trip in June 2015. What I did not know was that I would become more like the life of a 'hound' ... it's not bad really ... stress free, relaxing and no schedules.

You might tell from the opening paragraph I am in the mood to do a little rambling about life in general here in the tropics, minus political or religious talk. Commentary will not go with this morning's pictures of our walk. I will warn you that Heidi is not photo available since her new love is the air conditioned living room while setting records for continuous sleep on the couch. She gets up only to eat and drink water.

With a little rain scheduled for tomorrow, which may or may not happen based on recent forecast, the yard will be mowed today no matter what. With the new Indiana state laws starting July 1 I was happy to follow one of their newest laws ... an additional 10 cent tax per gallon of gas. Luckily I was filling up a small can for my lawn mower and not my cars. The Countryman was filled up on Friday at 12 cents per gallon lower than today.

Indiana may only have 3.5% income tax but they don't miss a beat on that 7% sales tax. I've paid higher in other places I have lived but Indiana taxes everything imaginable and I'm guessing that is why the state has billions of dollars in their accounts. Still I live in a low cost area, so it all evens out.

In the above picture Sadie was positive she was inches away from finding a deer. Stella trotted behind her but never got into the full running mode like Sadie did all over the field.

After looking at past blog posts for this time of year in past years I realized that July 4th weekend was no different this year than in past years, even before I started blogging. I can't remember being into parades, crowds or carnivals even at a young age. I might have been forced to go to them at an very young age but my mind was somewhere else ... most likely the ballgame I was missing on the radio or tv.

So the hounds and I are more than content to sit outside with a large glass of ice tea watching traffic go by with a highway full of camping trailers, boats and a few dangerous drivers that you hope they get back on the road before mowing down your mailbox. I am out of the hole digging business just so I can plant a new pole to mount a new mailbox on ... 99.9% of my mail now is just recycling material.

I am an addict with no possible help when it comes to college basketball and college football. Yet, I cannot remember the last time I watched a complete NBA game. I watched part of their Game 7 but not all of it. I do like to follow what certain players are doing ... so this week has been rather eye opening since they started their free agent signing period.

I'll not go into detail but in summary, when a player that I never heard of in college, is only a role player in the NBA and doesn't score much more than 5 points per game ... is signing for 8-10 million per year ... something is out of whack. The stars of the league are signing for $20-40M per year ... when does it tap out?

If I count my neighbors in a half mile radius there are 7-8 houses. All of the owners living in those house drive a pickup truck as their main vehicle. I live in the land of pickup trucks. That got me thinking the other day just how versatile a pickup is. I should have never sold my 1994 Chevy V-8 with the heavy duty shocks and springs for towing. It was not driven much but was always there when I needed to bring home some landscaping mulch, river rock or building supplies from Lowes or Home Depot.

Like I have said recently I am very happy with the Mini Cooper Countryman. It has done all I expected it to do plus more. It's very comfortable over long distance and since it's bigger (800#) than the smaller 2-door coupes, it does not have the 'go-kart' feel to it. So, I really don't have any intentions of make a trade for any kind of vehicle right now. Once the hounds pass on and I decide how I want to travel, I will decide what vehicle I will use.

Stella does not do full speed runs like she use to. She has been trotting more these past few days but I was pretty sure I saw her flinch a couple of times over the weekend when she started to trot.  The vet approved  of me giving her 700mg of buffered aspirin in her food twice per day, based on her weight. We will see if that works instead of moving on to something stronger.

She stopped this morning to sit and face the neighbor's house with the pool. No one was out swimming that time of morning, nor were they bbq'ing but she was smelling something ... I was wondering what they were preparing for a possible cookout later today or tomorrow ... Stella can smell food a mile away even while sleeping.

Once I yelled at her "come on let's go" ... she started the slow walk to the house. She is on her own time, not mine. The great news today though was how she did NOT tear out the window screens while I left her and Sadie in the bedroom when I went to town to buy gas and dog food.

I FORGOT to close the windows to prevent her from tearing out the screens and jumping out the window like she did twice in past years. I did not realize I had forgot to close the windows until I opened the door to let them out when I got back. It was fantastic to see that I still had window screens.

It's been around 7 months since she had any kind of separation anxiety and damaged anything. I wonder if she had figured out she is okay and I'll be back since, she has lived her 2 years this August.

The weekend was very relaxing, no drama, hot but not so much where you couldn't go outside and the humidity was a low 64%. I don't know where the gnats or other flying bugs went but I am happy that I can sit outside and read without battling bugs ... plus I can see where the hounds are as they roam the field.

Sadie turned to look this morning to see if Stella was going to make it back to the yard sometime before lunch. She too cannot understand the slow pace of Stella but will aways wait for her to catch up.

Notice the dark spots on each leg where Sadie licks. Is it seasonal allergies? She seems to do that more in the summer and spring compared to the fall and winter months.

I guess the highlight of today will be mowing the yard. That will get my pulse rate near 170 even if I am not panting or out of breath. It will be a good 47 minute workout.

The Garmin VivoSmart3 has done exactly what I wanted plus a couple of features I had not counted on. It's very accurate about my sleep patterns, right down to the very minute I lay down to sleep at night to getting up. I guess I am not the deep sleeper I thought I was as I only get 1-2 hours per night of deep sleep.

With the combination of the Garmin, no fast food runs or junk food, and Sadie dragging me outside for 3 walks per day ... I lost 5 pounds in June, an inch around my stomach and 3mm of fat pinched between the calipers. I am a couple of pounds away from the weight I was 18 years ago.

I've also been doing some low effort bicycling both on my mountain bike rides to town and my road bike out into the country at a faster pace. Still not anywhere close to what I use to do but enough to get the pulse rate up.

I'm sure there were other things I was going to talk about but have forgotten them.

I'll have to get on Google search later on and find out how to adjust my exposure setting on my Nikon camera. It does talk about 'exposure' in my owners manual but nothing shows me where and how to adjust it. {Found it and adjusted the exposure compensation to -3}.

I am not sure why but comparing my photos to those I took the first week I owned the camera ... there are major differences in quality. Those pictures taken when I first bought my camera were so much better in color and depth.

Oh, I did find out from another Countryman owner on the Mini forum that our black cars with the red mirror covers, JCW inserts on the sides and red brake intakes ... were an option that came out for the 2012 model (my year) and still available on his 2016 model. I might have the dealership or a local body shop install the stock red stripes again. Not sure.

I'm off to mow the yard while the hounds sleep until their lunch.

Still great weather here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.


  1. Congrats on losing weight and getting into better shape. I have gone from 195 Lbs I held for two months in Feb to 220 lbs now. I gotta turn this around.
    Hope the setting helps, compare before after pics etc.
    Happy 4th of July.

    1. I was stagnated for a short time where I was not gaining weight but at the same time not losing weight, while eating the same foods. I was beginning to think my body had decided that 202 pounds was the place to be.

      As far as the camera you do know don't you that I shoot photos with automatic settings? I am going to look more in the manual way of taking pictures today but so far the two tests I did in the manual mode did not have great results.

  2. I do most my photo-shooting in aperture-priority mode. That way I can open up wide to fuzz out distracting backgrounds and emphasize the center of interest. (More like our eye's really see) This works especially well with medium to long lenses. Or I can close the aperture right down to get more of the photo from front to back into sharp focus. I also keep the exposure down by about a third of a stop since i can always edit to bring out detail in shadows but blown-out highlights are lost forever.

    On Monday I worked my way down out of Indianapolis on 37 and picked up the 'new' section of 69 out of Bloomington. So I can once again officially say that I have driven every drive-able section of 69 from the Canadian border down to the Mexican border, at least until the next section is complete. . . So other than that whirlwind trip to a family event, two days up, two days there and two days back, things are laid-back down here too. Especially since the heat has settled in for the next couple months.

  3. I'll have to check out the aperture mode. 30 years ago I only had a Cannon Manual 35mm camera but I have basically forgotten about all I knew about taking pictures with manual adjustments. I'll try what you are talking about.

    That section of 69 to Bloomington is a fantastic invention. It also goes through some great southern Indiana scenery. Now 37 on the other hand I hear is a nightmare since they started construction over 2 years ago. I have not been on 37 since they started and use 67 as my alternate route when going that direction.

    It's a small world, when you were in I69 north, it went by the house I grew up by a mile and the southern part is near the house as you know. It certainly makes it much easier to get to Evansville when I visit my old friend from our college days.

    That's quite a bit of traveling in a 6 day period of time, pretty close to my 3,000 mile trip in June 2015 in 6 days.

    1. On the way up this trip I was on 465 and saw the construction and congestion along there near 67, 37 and I65, so on the way back I used I70 to pick up 39 on down to 37. (I didn't want to go back through that long-standing mess around Terre Haute!) 37 is under construction but it didn't seem all that bad (Day before the 4th.) and traffic moved right along.

      My brother still lives a few miles from the northern end of 69 and decades ago I used to repair machines right there in Port Huron where 69 ends as it crosses into Canada.

      It was a sudden family event that I wasn't going to miss so invited myself to it and ended up covering 2979 miles in the 4 days of driving. (Of course I didn't have the hounds with me.) Now I just have to turn around and go right back in a few months for a long-planned event. . .

    2. 2,979 miles in 4 days is my kind of driving I love.