Friday, July 21, 2006

Wheels Falling Off Hummers?

I monitor the Sacramento Bee for stories that interest me and came across this one. Something to read if you own a Hummer or want to buy one used. The models are before 2004. May require free registration.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

First Pictures from New Camera

I haven't had time to play much with my camera but I did take a few pictures of my flowers. I left them as raw data but reduced the size to 50%. Blogger will reduce them even more but click on them and see if they will enlarge for you. Full sized they are sharp and clear and very large and could make a good framed print (not these pictures but the size that it can enlarge to when not reduced).

The 7.1 megapixel lets me enlarge quite a bit. The bee in the flower was taken with the camera moving. I quickly brought the camera close to the flower and clicked quickly. I cropped that one. It isn't as sharp as the others but it was in the shade and I was moving the camera.

The camera is the Olympus Stylus 720 SW.

I didn't have any real problem with viewing the LCD screen in outside daylight (it doesn't have a viewfinder) so that was a relief.

The software is very hard to use at least until I study it a bit more. More instructions to go through, bummer.

Click on these to see the larger, better size.

This is my black/red hollyhock. It has a beautiful dark red color.

See the pollen grains on the bee's legs? I should have stayed back a bit and zoomed in on him and I think it would have turned out better.

This is my balloon flower. The plant is gorgeous and a real performer! I love the shape and color of the flowers. Reports Mother Comes Forward!

I just read the breaking news on that the abandoned baby's mother has come forward.! I'm glad, I'd like to see a happy ending for that darling little baby.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Woohoo or is it Yippee?

Regardless, the noise I'm making is similar. Last night my husband bought me a new digital camera (I have finally outgrown my beginner Cool Pix 2.1). The old camera missed too many shots with that long delay after you press down. I took many of what should have been great shots of my husband getting dunked in the dunking booth for a youth charity last weekend but instead they were pictures of just water as he had already disappeared to the bottom of the booth by the time the shutter clicked. Well, no more!

It was a tough decision on which camera I wanted but the deciding factor was the fact it was waterproof. It is also shock proof (necessary judging what my cell phone goes through) and has image stabilization (very necessary as my hand seems to move when I press down on the buttons).

We fish a lot and want to get back to using our canoe. We may take up kayaking, also. They make some great fishing kayaks now. I had a close call with my other camera when I was taking the camera out to take a picture of a fish and it fell into the water. Luckily, I hadn't taken it out of my ziplock bag yet that I carry it around in when we fish. So those things do happen. Now I won't be afraid to take it along (like in my float tube) and I'll be able to get some great shots.

The camera is the Olympus Stylus 720SW. So far I just love it. The sound video it takes is really nice and of great quality at least as compared to my cell phone's video (I haven't transferred any to my computer yet but it looks great on the camera screen). The digital is 7.1 Megapixel and has 3X optical and 5X digital zoom. It's so small! I'll be able to take it everywhere. I can take pictures of fish underwater! What may be the only drawback for what I'll be using it for is it doesn't have a viewfinder to use if it is too bright out that the LCD doesn't show up well. You can adjust the LCD screen so hopefully that won't be a problem.

Now it is time to learn how to use it. 83 pages of instructions, ouch! Luckily, most of it is appears to be similar to my old camera and my cell phone (as far as figuring out how to move around the different modes.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pittgirl (the burgh blog)

Since my sister bought a vacation home in Pittsburgh, I have started checking that city out for things to do. My husband graduated from Pitt so he knows the area but not being from this area I really don't know it from a hole in the wall. In my research, I came across a funny, light-hearted blog put out by someone with the screen name Pittgirl. The Burgh Blog

Check out her archives, too, some great entries to make you smile.

In one of her blogs she linked to a website called the sloganizer. I put in some key words just to see what would come up. The results are below. (you can keep hitting enter to get different slogans) The first words are what I entered., where success is at home.
Erie.......Where's Erie?
Erie...Erie, your family will love you.
Erie....Always the real thing, always Erie.
Erie...Erie, we build smiles.

When I started to get repeats I found faqs that they only have 320 slogans in their data base. They could certainly use a lot more or everyone will be using the same slogans!

I used spellcheck on this post and of all the words the spellcheck says is spelled wrong, the word blog is highlighted. This is the blog's own spellchecker and blog isn't a word? I suppose it should be added to the official dictionary soon if it hasn't been already.

Don't make the mistake of getting too quick at your accepting the spellcheck's recommended words. I wrote a letter to my family that I spellchecked and caught it before I hit "send".

I must have had my pointer on the replace instead of ignore because I had an email that didn't make much sense and actually was insulting. This was with the Netscape mail program. For instance Vernon got changed to vermin. Janice got changed to Junco, Presque Isle to personae Isle, Behrend to behind. The spellcheck doesn't recognize common names like Vernon, Janice as real words? I kind of like Personae Isle, though.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Corn on the Cob for Breakfast, I Say Why Not!

I'm still trying to lose weight. I gained 4 pounds over the long 4th of July weekend (my eating celebration lasted the whole week, though.) It is that delicious Romolos chocolate, it is too addicting. If I added up the cost of all the chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate-covered cherries I bought there last week, I could have bought that light sconce I have been eyeballing. If you set that sconce (which I really want) and a plate of chocolate in front of me, the chocolate would always win out. I think a body really needs chocolate.

Soooo, here it is..I lost 34 pounds but put back on 4. I'm still not at my goal.

In the refrigerator is corn on the cob. I'm back on my "eating right" plan. I love corn on the cob but to add it to a regular meal makes me go over my target calories. So why not just forget what I usually eat for breakfast and eat something I really want in the first place? Because I know, with it sitting in the refrigerator, I'm going to eat it at some weak point in the day. So just go for it now and get it over with. I'll save calories in the long run.

It was delicious, I'm happy and satisfied and the calories are about the same as the egg white-sandwich wrap that I normally eat for breakfast. I think I'm onto something here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Block Party

This Saturday is our neighborhood's block party. We have only been able to go to 2 of them since we moved here. We live in an area of older houses and most everyone on the block has fixed up and/or restored their houses in some way or another. There seems to be a real upgrading going on with backyards, too. Good, I like to see we are in an improving neighborhood and not one that is on its way down. As different as we all are, we have the common bond and stories to tell of living in an old house.

When we first moved in and I started renovating I came across many things that were upsetting. Like all the woodwork that had the original shellac on it had been coated with poly and was peeling off. If the top coat of shellac wasn't dewaxed, poly probably won't last long (I read this in a book) and it didn't. It was peeling like dried egg whites. I tried to remove it but ended up having to strip all the woodwork downstairs. A job I'm still not totally done with. Being new to the block and with a need to talk about something, I brought up the woodwork and how the "handyman" the older ladies that owned the house before us had hired, had ruined the woodwork by using poly over it. There were many other things I complained about that the handyman had done, like just painting over chipped old paint instead of removing all the old paint first (at the time I didn't know how difficult that is to do). I was on a roll and there were hours of conversation to fill. We had fun at our first block party.

Weeks later when I happened to strike up a conversation with our very nice next-door neighbor, Cindy, she managed to nicely add that I may want to know that the person I was sitting next to at the block party was indeed, "that handyman" that the women used to fix most of the things in the house. Oooooh. Nooooo...

Can you imagine how he must have felt with the whole neighborhood listening to me babble on? He lives one house down from us and I just feel so terrible every time I think about it. Especially since I guess everyone in the neighborhood knew who the handyman was. I wave and say, "Hi" whenever he is out in his yard and he actually has always talked to us and has been friendly even after the comments I had made. What a nice person. I'm sure he helped those ladies and probably barely charged them anything for his time. Shame on me.

I'm suppose to bring pasta salad. I rarely eat pasta of any kind and I don't think I have ever made pasta salad. And I won't start now. I'm going to run to Wegmans and get their pasta salad that people rave about (I need a peace offering). Then I need to read the paper a couple of times so I can be informed and carry on an intelligent conversation that doesn't have anything to do with my house lest I stick my foot back into my mouth.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Float Tube

How I love my float tube! One of the best Christmas presents I ever got. When the weather is perfect as it was on Saturday (and that means the wind isn't blowing) flyfishing in a float tube can't be beat as a way to spend the late afternoon or evening at Presque Isle.

There isn't much effort to using a float tube, especially when my husband carries the thing to the water's edge. I carry the fins. Once I'm in the water, I'm free. Free to fish anywhere I see the fish jumping. But I suspect my husband feels free, too. Free of my jabbering and bad casting.

Oh! The big ones are jumping out there, I can see them and I'm heading that way. As soon as I get there and start fishing, I see the big ones jumping back from whence I came. Hmmm.

My float tube is equipped with a pillow to lean back on, a netting in the front to lay your fishing rod onto so you can put on your lures with ease and many pockets for all your stuff. It is quite efficient and comfortable. I wear my chest high waders with a snug belt as not to fill with water. It all keeps those creepy crawler things, if there are any, off my legs. You never know.

By not paying attention, I managed to get my self tangled up in thick, strong weeds out in the middle of the bay. I kicked and tried to turn. I was thrashing. I was afraid of leaning forward in case of a flip over onto my face. I'd be a gonner had that happened, I suspect, even though I was wearing a life jacket. I was strapped into the tube (there are quick releases if you have your head about you, which I didn't, but being off the tube and tangled may have been worse.) No one else was around except my husband and he would have had no way to get out that far and rescue me especially in the weeds. So I panicked. My heart was beating so fast and I had the frightful feeling like I was being attacked by a shark. My husband yelled for me not to panic and when I settled down and leaned back and made smaller kicks I finally freed myself. A lesson learned. Stay out of the weeds and don't go out so far, and maybe bring along a cell phone in a water tight bag for those "emergencies". On windier days I have been blown to places not intended but you just get to the closest shore in the direction the wind is blowing and find some way to walk back.

The best part of using a float tube is leaning back and looking up at the sky, watching the clouds go by. Reminds me of being a kid when I'd go kite flying in the field overlooking our foothill town. I also like to watch the shoreline for the ever-spectacular bird sightings that you see only at Presque Isle. A deer came out to graze along the reeds on the far side of the bay. My blood pressure quickly dropped below normal.

There is a danger of falling into a semi-conscious state while you are relaxing with the rock of the waves. When this happens you often wake seeing dozens of little round "objects" surrounding you, almost within reach. Turtles, some of them snapping turtles. Then an "object" was spotted out of the corner of my eye right next to me and I gave out a scream. But it turned out to be the edge of my black flipper poking up through the water. This is good exercise for my blood pressure, up, down, up, down.

Needless to say, I don't get too much fishing done when I'm in my float tube. Though I did catch many panfish and a bass, when I'm in my float tube my heart is into watching nature.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I Guess I'm Bilingual.

I must be speaking a second language because everyone I called today just didn't understand what the heck I was talking about. I guess it is East meets West.

I thought everyone knew what sun shade screening is. You just take these things for granted. I thought it would be nice to be able to cover the pergola with a sun shade screen or shade cloth (as it is also called in the west). They make it with 50% shade or you can pick 70% shade. It is a mesh-like tarp, usually black, that you see everywhere in the west. You hang it over the dog pens, horse paddocks, picnic areas, garden areas where you may want shade loving plants to grow. It lets some light through but it doesn't burn the plants. It makes it tolerable to sit out on the patio yet lets air through which makes it better than just an ugly tarp.

I called Lowes, Home Depot and even that Custom Patio Rooms store that I see advertised on They just couldn't understand what I was talking about. I got transferred to the paint department for heaven's sakes. Then they thought they knew what I was talking about and put me through to the shades and blinds department. NO, I said, give me the garden department, which tried to transfer me back to the paint department. Then the Custom Patio place said they didn't have the shade screens but they have retractable awnings (that would be really better but I wasn't looking to spend much). Oh, well, I can buy it online and have it shipped. But our summer, as short as it is, will be over by the time it gets here. But that isn't the only thing I had trouble locating today that I will probably have to buy online.

I have several potted plants that I keep on the front porch and back deck. To leave on vacation is troublesome because my plants need water if it doesn't rain at least every third day and I have a lot of money tied up in those plants. That's when I have my in-laws water. They already take care of the cats everyday and I hate to have them spend all that time watering. When I lived out west I had drip lines. Everyone has them. You almost can't live without it out west if you have any kind of landscaping. I told my husband I'd like to get some spaghetti line for my potted plants and he hadn't a clue what I was talking about. Well, neither do the stores. I'm sure someone has them somewhere, I mean surely they do. You get the pressure regulator and hook it to your outdoor faucet, then attach the pvc 1/2 flexible hosing to the regulator. You cap the end of the hose and bury it (or you can just run it above the surface of the dirt) and attach emitters to the trunk line hose at each plant. For potted plants you get the spaghetti 1/8 inch line that attaches to the emitter and hang it over your potted plant and clamp it onto the pot. It drips at a specific rate (gallons per hour) that you control by the size of the emitter that you attach the line to. You can even put them on timers so you never have to worry. It is FREEDOM in the west.

OK, I can see there isn't a big demand for that sort of thing here where it rains a lot and the sun doesn't shine much but when it does you really could use a sun shade screen.

Monday, July 03, 2006


For the past few days we have made an evening drive out to Presque Isle to watch the sunset and dusk approach, and to watch the animals come out. The first day we almost hit 2 deer driving out. It was quite a surprise to have them run out in front of you as they hide pretty well during the day. Right after the deer episode we came upon a skunk as he was scurrying over the bridge as fast as those little feet would carry him. The fireflies are thick at dusk and it really turns magical. Then we spotted a baby skunk along the road and he was cute as could be.

On Friday early evening when we drove into Presque Isle we spotted a blackbird jumping around and something was a couple of feet away. As we got close the "something" started running towards the brush. It was a mink or weasle and it had a little blackbird in his mouth. This was right past the office. Poor mother blackbird couldn't do anything to save the little one.

Yesterday afternoon we thought we would take in a movie but when we got to Tinsletown it was jammed packed with everyone thinking the same thing. We didn't even try to find a parking spot. Forget it.

Today we tried again but this time went around noon to go see Superman. Very few people were there as the weather was pretty nice outside. The movie was better than we thought it would be. I hated the Superman with Kidder and Reeve, I don't know why but I just didn't like those two even though it seemed everyone else did. But I do like the actor/actress in this movie.

Well, I don't know what tomorrow will bring. It all depends on the weather and the only way to really know what the weather will be is to wait until tomorrow and look out the window. You just go ahead and do what you want to do until you smell rain in the air and then run for cover.

I'm hoping we can do some fishing. I really love to go out in my float tube. A couple of weeks ago I used my float tube in marina bay only to have some rude (I'd like to kick their butts) guy and girl show up and decide they wanted to fish where I was fishing and cast right on top of me. Those great big lures were plunking in the water next to my flyfishing float tube. Those two won't last long in the fishing world. I had forgotten my lifejacket at home or I would possibly have attempted a grab at their line as it whizzed by my head and cut it. Imagine the absolute immense satisfaction to cut those jerk's lines........they'd have probably retrieved a shotgun from their redneck truck. So much for that idea but I can dream can't I? With so many jerks and idiots we have been encountering lately around here I dream a lot.