Archive for September 2014

Shrine picnic

September 29, 2014

Yesterday we attended the annual picnic of the Beach Cities Shrine Club at LA Harbor Lodge. This is an annual event where the Al Malaikah Potentate visits. Al Malaikah is the Los Angeles affiliate of the Shriners. Shriners run children’s hospitals across the country for either burn cases or orthopedic injuries or diseases in children.
 So our son Neil who is down from Salt Lake City visiting for the week, joined us at the picnic. Here is the view from LA Harbor Lodge. It was a beautiful clear day in San Pedro. The view is of LA Harbor. One can almost make out the mountains across the bay. Temperature was in the mid-seventies.

 So we had a conflict. Our church was having their annual picnic. But we decided to do the Shrine event. The shrine was doing steaks, corn on the cob and beer. Also, the venue was a lot easier for Mary. We often choose events on how fall-safe the venue is.
 Mary had a great time. The bar was stocked with her favorite white zinfandel. She had two glasses, which for her was one glass too many. Luckily she wasn’t driving. We made sure one of us was on each side of her.
 Mary got to see a lot of old friends that she doesn’t often get to see. There was a drawing for many prizes to raise money for the hospital.
 So Paula wins a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. Not too shabby. I would drink it, but Paula doesn’t care for Scotch. So one of the brothers who won a bottle of rum asked if we would care to swap the scotch for the rum. Seeing as we both don’t care for rum that much, we said no. But, we said, if you swap the rum with the person who won the bottle of Tanqueray Gin, we would swap the scotch for the gin. So the deal got done. Everybody was happy.
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September 27, 2014

Our son (Neil) is in town to visit for a few days. We were looking for things to do besides eat and drink. We decided to go visit the space shuttle Endeavour up at the California Science Center in downtown LA.
 The Endeavour was moved to the California Science Center in October 2012. It was quite an event watching the ship move through the streets of LA from LAX to Science Center in downton LA. Here is the Wikipedia Link. Here is a picture of Endeavour on the launch pad.

 Currently the Endeavour is on display in a hangar-sized building at the Science Center. There are plans in place to move it outside and display in launch configuration with booster rockets and fuel tank.
 Here are some of the pictures that I took.

I was impressed on how worn the shuttle looked. High mileage indeed.

On the wall in the hangar are posted brief descriptions of all space shuttle missions.

The mounting of the space shuttle is on four massive pylons with earthquake resistant disks.

The engines have been removed from Endeavour and replaced with nacelles. This is a model of one of the engines.

Here’s a picture of the space shuttle toilet. There was a video explaining how it was used.

Mock up of NASA command center.

Where the rubber hits the road (or runway).

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Location:Los Angeles, CA

Lomita Railroad Museum

September 27, 2014

We decided to go visit the Lomita Railroad Museum in beautiful downtown Lomita. The museum is a small affair with one steam locomotive, a couple of cabooses, and tons of railroad memorabilia. Price is $4 for an adult, $2 for children. One can do the museum in less than an hour. It is handicap friendly with the exception of the locomotive. It’s a challenge to get up in the cab. Here’s the link to their website.

You can tour by yourself or ask for a guided tour.

Here are my pictures:

Not exactly a user friendly interface.

Railroads were genesis for a unified, consistent time keeping. Lots of clocks.

Lights, signals, bells, whistles. As the saying goes, “All the bells and whistles”. A pity one couldn’t try out the bells and whistles. I think the neighbors would have something to say about that.

Inside the caboose. Stove, bunks, toilet, water supply. All the creature comforts a man could want.

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News from out West

September 13, 2014

Time for an update. It has been 3.5 months since Mary’s accident up in Salt Lake City. She is doing amazingly well. She is doing physical therapy twice a week. The therapist has been working on balance issues. She has started transitioning from the walker to a cane (the kind with four prongs at the base for additional stability). She uses the cane only at home.
 So physically she is doing fine. Mental issues are a different story. Short term memory is a problem. She will ask me in the morning what day it is. I tell her today is Saturday. Oh she says. Are we going to PT today? No that was yesterday.
 We are working hard on getting her to eat a healthy diet. If we weren’t her that would certainly not be happening. Sometimes though it is a struggle to figure out what she likes and doesn’t like.
 So she went with us last night to Eastern Star meeting at Lomita. I was filling in playing the piano for the chapter. Everyone was happy to see her and she them. It is often a struggle to get her out, but it is worth it when we do. It’s the initial struggle to get her started that is the problem. Once we get her moving she is fine. Overall, she is doing pretty good for 90.
 I seem to be seeing pictures of our friends back east wearing coats and jackets. So I guess it’s starting to get cold. It’s been in the 80’s all last week here in San Pedro. It’s been up in 100’s out in the desert. I still have a coat in the closet. I don’t expect to use it this winter either. It’s been almost three years since the last time I put the Jeep in 4-wheel drive. I seem to remember seeing an ice scraper in the back of the Jeep. Haven’t used it either.
 We are planning on driving up to Visalia for our friend Roger’s installation as Worthy Grand Patron for the Grand Chapter of California on October 18th. We asked Mary if she would like to go. She said yes, so we will drive up on Saturday (in October) and return the following day. Installation is on a Saturday evening.
 Our daughter in law in do to give birth to our second grand-baby this week. The baby is expected to be a girl and her name will be Sarah. We are very excited. We love being grand-parents. I will be posting pictures as soon as they are available.
 Apple announced new iPhones and the Apple Watch on Sept 9th. I have pre-ordered an iPhone Six Plus with 128Gb. I ordered the first day orders were allowed. I wasn’t nearly fast enough. Expected delivery is not until November. Sigh. I heard that orders for initial delivery sold out in minutes. Luckily, I don’t have to pay for it until it ships. Paula gets the iPhone 5S and I’ll try and find a home for the iPhone 4S that she is using now. I will post pictures and a review once I get the new phone.
 So you are probably wondering, Joe what about the Apple Watch? I am not getting an Apple Watch. I haven’t worn a watch in years. With an iPhone in my pocket, why do I need an iWatch? I would be wearing a watch that screams out “STEAL ME!!!”. Not going to happen.
 Our son Neil will be coming down from SLC to visit for week later this month. We are looking forward to his visit.
 That’s all the news that I can think of from Pedro. Stay warm (or cool) as the case may be.
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Sophie’s Big 2

September 7, 2014

Today we attended the birthday for Sophie, Sophie turned two. She is the grand-daughter of our friends John and Chris Coil who live up in Davis, CA. The party was held at a nice park up in Santa Monica.
For my east coast friends, Santa Monica is a community about 10-20 miles west of downtown LA. We get there by taking the 405 north and then the 10 west. It is about a 45-60 minute drive from San Pedro. No big deal on a Sunday morning. Traffic was light and no delays. More about the party later.
So we had talked about meeting our friend Roberta at the Long Beach Greyhound station. I screwed up in not looking at text message detail from the previous night. Roberta had decided no to come. So no big deal, we would continue on to Santa Monica.
We were up early this morning to get ready. Of all the Sundays that Mary K didn’t go to church, she decided that she had to go to church today. We had told her about the party weeks ago. Of course, she didn’t remember anything about the conversation. She never remembers. So she tells us that she would call a cab. We ask do have money for that? Do you have phone number for cab company? So we decide to take her to church and drop her off. We called one of her friends to ask her to give her a ride home. I made sure that Mary had her cell phone and her house keys. So far, so good. I reminded her how to call me. I have speed dial set up on her phone. All she has to do is push the number 2 for 5 seconds.
Okay back to Santa Monica. Santa Monica has been in the news back in Boston over the last few days. Dunkin Donuts will be opening new restaurants on the West Coast. The first one was opened this past Tuesday in Santa Monica. So we think great, we’ll stop by and get an iced coffee and a donut. I load up the address on my GPS on my iPhone and off we go. We arrive at the address on Wilshire Blvd. Line is out the door and around the block. No DD iced coffee today. I reset the GPS to the park address and we continue on to the party. We’ll eventually get to a DD out here once the hoopla dies down. For the time being however, there’s Starbucks.
Santa Monica is also famous for being the location where Whitey Bulger hung out while on the lamb from the FBI for many years. By the way the unit went on the market recently.
Sasha and Zach (Sophie’s parents) had provided us with bagels and coffee and other treats. I found out that little Sophie likes cream cheese but doesn’t care for the bagel. So she had licked all of the cream cheese off of the bagel and didn’t eat the bagel. Good for a laugh.
There were lots of little kids at the party, the oldest probably about three or so. Lots of infants too.
So at about noon, I get a phone call from Mary. She had arrived home from church. She had gotten inside the perimeter door but couldn’t find the key for the condo door or couldn’t open the door. Now I know for sure that the key is on that key ring. Paula and I try to describe it to her. Eventually one of our neighbors helped her open the door. So we now have a couple of action items. Get some graphite to lubricate the lock and mark the key with some finger nail polish.
We never seem to be able to predict what kind of predicament that Mary can manage to get herself in. All of our best efforts to prepare for any eventuality are fraught with peril.
Here are a few pictures from the party.