Archive for August 2014

Kindle Unlimited Isn’t

August 23, 2014

I wrote a few weeks ago about Amazon’s “Kindle Unlimited” subscription service for books. Well, yesterday I discovered a limitation of the service. It seems that you can only download 10 books at a time. When you try to download book number 11, Amazon tells you to delete one of the previous ten books.
 Now this limit is probably buried in the fine print of the terms and conditions document that you accepted and if you are anything like me didn’t bother to read.
 Also, my guess is that when you cancel, Amazon will reach into your Kindle or Kindle App on your iPad and delete all of the free books. I’ll find out when I cancel later after I finish the book about Ernest Shackleton’s adventure at the South Pole.
 The service is just not worth it. The book selection just sucks. in the two or three weeks I have had the service, I haven’t seen any improvement. Most of the books would normally be selling for under $5, some under $3. Just not worth it.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Two Years in California

August 22, 2014

Today is our two year anniversary of our arrival in the great state of California. On Aug 22, 2012 we arrived after our trip across the country. We had stopped in Delaware, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada.

Our trip across the country took about 21 days. We had initially planned to take a little longer with a stop in Chicago, but decided to skip Chicago because we felt Paula’s mother needed us to be there,

We had visited friends in North Carolina. We visited Paula’s family in Houma, LA. We stopped for a couple of days to visit Graceland and Memphis.

We visited our son Neil in Salt Lake City. Neil had requested that we buy a case of Sam Adams Beer in Evanston, WY, before we crossed over the Zion curtain. (Utah doesn’t sell full strength beer in either grocery stores or state liquor stores.)

Here are some pictures:

This was our POD. It contained all of the stuff we were bringing to LA plus a few odds and ends in the back of the Jeep. It was pretty full.



Mississippi rest stop had WiFi. There was a young man there keeping track of where people were from. He was amazed to hear that we were from Mass. It made his day.



Graceland on the 35th anniversary of Elvis’ death.



This is the Olympic Nordic training center in Park City, UT.




This was the hotel/casino we stayed on our last day on the road. What a dump. We’ve since learned of better places to stay on our way to visit Neil in UT.



Mojave desert. This was at a rest stop just after the NV-CA state line.



California Dreamin’

August 21, 2014

Okay, so everyone knows that I have been in California now for two years. So, what’s it like? What do you like about it? What do you not like?

So in no particular order, here’s my list:

Things I like about California:

  1. The weather. These days, I wear shorts most all of the time except for lodge and church. Same thing for socks. Come winter, I might have to go back to wearing long pants and socks. I still have an ice tool in the back of the Jeep that I haven’t used since we left MA. There are some winter gloves back there too. Ditto.
  2. I can buy beer, wine and liquor at the grocery store. None of the state run liquor stores here.
  3. I belong to the Masons and Eastern Star. Lodges and Chapters here are much more casual than the east coast variety. I seldom have to wear a tux. See number 1. I am truly thankful for our Masonic brothers and OES Sisters and brothers. We walked in the door two years ago and were welcomed as new found friends. It made the transition a lot easier.
  4. No Stairs – This is not so much do to California, but related to our living quarters. We live in a condo with no stairs. After knee replacement surgery and hip surgery it is nice to not have to deal with stairs.

Things that I don’t like about California:

  1. Speed Bumps. Every darn parking lot has speed bumps. Pain in the shocks.
  2. Traffic. You haven’t seen traffic until you’ve seen six lanes of bumper to bumper on the 405. Luckily for me, I don’t have to commute or deal with it very often.
  3. Price of Gas in LA. As of today, price of regular unleaded runs from $3.59 at Costco to $4.00 at local Shell station. Peak over the summer hit has high as $4.40.
  4. LAX. What a madhouse. Doesn’t matter what air line you pick, it’s a zoo. Worse around rush hour. Luckily I don’t need to fly very often. “The white zone is for loading and unloading passengers only”,  just spend and extra 30 second there and CHP will be on your ass to move.
  5. No Dunkin Donuts. (except for Barstow and San Diego). I’ve actually gotten used to Starbucks. Actually, the Starbuck’s at our local grocery store is pretty good. They know our names and know what I usually order. But alas, no chocolate glazed donuts. Bummer. (Like I need chocolate glazed donuts.) Starbuck’s is the only coffee place around here that knows how to make iced coffee properly. I hear that Dunkies is moving out west. Neil says they’re in SLC, but not yet in LA.
  6. No home made ice cream joints. Do a search for “home made ice cream” on YELP in Eastern MA and you get about 25 hits. Do the search in Los Angeles and you get hits but most are franchise joints. Not the same.
  7. Local News – One of the local news station (KNBC) spent 10-12 minutes of a 30 minute broadcast talking about a dog who was loose running along the 710 freeway. The KNBC news chopper was following the pooch running along the freeway along with the people stopping their cars in attempt to capture the pooch before it came to serious harm. This seems to be normal. They will follow a police chase when appropriate. Eventually someone caught the dog. Back to the usual stuff. Weather, sports, etc. This seems to be the normal way of doing local news. Blah blah blah.

Things that I neither like nor dislike. (ie. just different)

  1. Some grocery brands that you buy in New England, can’t be found here. eg. Pepperidge Farm Breads. I have yet to find an equivalent marble rye bread.
  2. Some brands have made it out here, like Cape Cod Potato Chips and Sam Adams Beer. For that we can be truly thankful.
  3. DMV – Dept of Motor Vehicles is pretty much the same everywhere. Try to do anything online. I loathe to actually go into the DMV. Same as in MA. Vehicle inspection is different. One has to do a “Smog Check” every two years. The smog check garages are hooked into the DMV computers. So if it passes, no problem. I still have the MA inspection sticker from 2011. The first time we had to register the Jeep and CA driver’s licenses it took all afternoon. Major PITA. No different than MA.


August 21, 2014

I saw this on the wall in the men’s room at a Masonic Lodge in Santa Monica:


  • When you can’t do a thing with your hair wear pig-tails.
  • A pig-ture is worth a thousand words.
  • Don’t be a boar.
  • Life is not a dress rehearsal. Ham it up now.
  • Tell people you are not fat. Just saving water for the whole barnyard.
  • When your house is a pig sty. Hire a maid.
  • Be pig-headed only when it really matters.
  • Better to bring home the bacon than to cook it.
  • People love you more with a few extra pounds.
  • Be the little pig that went “Wheee-eee all the way home”.
  • Life is just a bowl of slop so don’t take it seriously,

The Mystery of My Father’s Mind

August 15, 2014

This morning I read an interesting article about Alzheimer’s disease on the New York Times by Rebecca Rotert. Whenever I see an article on the human mind I usually read it to try to make sense the changes that are happening to Paula’s mother’s mind.
 Here is an excerpt from the article:

 He went to the opera with her for years, and even though he dreaded it — the horrible seats, the suit and tie, the story he couldn’t understand — he never let on. Except to us kids. When they announced that they were headed to the opera, he would make a face as if he were about to undergo a spinal tap. But to her, he remained willing, enthusiastic even. It was one of the things I loved most about their love, the emotional concessions they made. I will not only go to the opera with you, but I will be happy about it, so that your joy can flow uninterrupted.
 Tonight, Mom’s going to the opera with an old friend, and I stay home with Dad. We don’t leave him alone anymore. Without Mom he’s terrified.
 Mom around here somewhere? he asks. I tell him she’s at the opera. He looks at the window, then back at me. Is Mom around?

 Here is the pointer to the entire article.
 And so it goes, we try not to leave Mary alone for very long. It seems that in some cases our minds fail before our bodies. We are seeing that in Mary.
 When we first moved out here in 2012, she was not very happy with us moving in with her. She didn’t feel that she needed any help. Fast forward two years, and she has learned to appreciate our presence. Though she still hasn’t learned how to use the TV remote. She hasn’t told us but I think that she knows that if we weren’t here she would be in a nursing home.
 The other point I took from the article was how their love manifested itself. Go read the whole article.
 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


August 14, 2014

Every day is a struggle. We continue to try to keep it together. Mary’s memory continues to fail.

This evening we were having dinner and discussing our plans for a picnic on Saturday. We always try to be inclusive with Mary. We tell her of our plans and ask her would she like to go.

We are planning to meet with our long time friend Roberta who will be taking the train from San Diego up to Anaheim. We told Mary that we would pick Roberta up at the train station at Angel’s Stadium and go to a local park in Orange to meet up with Mike and family.

Mary asks us “Do I know Roberta?”. We tell her we should hope so. She was Paula’s maid of honor at our wedding and friend of Paula since her days at UC Davis. Blank stare. She was at Harold’s funeral in 2009. Nothing.

Were Harold and I at the wedding? Yes, let me show you a picture.

2014-08-13 20.20.05


Well she recognized the picture, but had no remembrance of the event. I thought that only her short term memory was failing, but from this event it seems clear that her long term memory is also failing. Picture was taken in October, 1978. Sigh.

She probably won’t come to the picnic. She is worried about the rough surfaces and possibility of falling. Fair enough, we understand.

I was just thinking…

August 11, 2014

I am hereby breaking one important rule of mine. My good friend Doug (a DEC retiree) once told me, “Do one thing a day”. And when you get an urge to do a second thing, “Take a nap”. Words to live by indeed. But today, I am going to break that rule and write a second blog post.

So, I have been seeing a bunch of FB folks taking the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” whereby a person is challenged online either to pour a bucket of ice and water on themselves (videoed for proper evidence, of course. OR, send a check to ALS for $100.

So what exactly is ALS? ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is also known as “Lou Gehrigs Disease”. For you millenials, gen-x’ers and other young folk, Lou Gehrig was a baseball player.

Here is the description on the ALS web site:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

So my question for you all: All of you that have dumped a bucket of ice water on your head. Have you sent some money to ALSA? I am sure that the ice bucket challenge is helping to bring awareness to their organization. Perhaps, they might need some money, too?

By the way here is a pointer to an article in the Boston Herald on how the ice bucket challenge started.

Last but not least, here is a pointer to the donation page for ALS.

Now, time for that nap.