Archive for the 'notions' Category

Neighborhood Project Concerns

Project Dirt

Late last year, the outfit who built our house bought the six acre parcel that lies to our west and northwest. We knew that they intended to subdivide into parcels and build houses, but we had no idea that they were going to do some major grading and landfill at the top of the wash that runs along the west side of our lot.

I looked on the County Assessors website and saw a map of the project where they had divided the parcel into ten lots surrounding a to-be-built cul de sac. The big problem with building an access road is that there is a deep gully at the top of the wash that would need to be filled in. If you click on the map link above, you will see our lot’s proximity (outlined in turquoise) to the project.

All week, the big machines have been clearing, filling, watering, compacting and repeat at the top of the wash. We’re OK with getting new neighbors, but the main concern that The Better Half and I have is what will happen when we get our first monsoon microburst, which is a regular summertime occurrence. We hope that the new fill doesn’t run down our west creek when the storms will, inevitably, hit our town.

We will probably contact our former contractor with the concerns and see what reassurance they have. More on this as time and the project move along.

What’s for St. Paddy’s Dinner?

Irish Dinner

Irish Dinner, That’s what. Late last evening, The Better Half started a flat cut of corned beef in the crockpot. Damn if that didn’t smell good all night.

This morning, she added potatoes and carrots to the pot and later in the morning, she added the cabbage. This afternoon, she served it all up along with an Irish Cocktail which we used to toast our sumptuous Irish dinner. The cocktail was from a recipe she found on-line somewhere and was a mix of Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Creme de Menthe liqueur.

As we mentioned on the other blog, we wish you all a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Look Ma - No Stitches

incisionWhen I was admitted to the ER last November with a throat abscess, the radiologist discovered a mass on the right lobe of my thyroid gland. After consulting with our Family Doctor we were referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist who said the mass and the right thyroid lobe has to come out.

Last Friday, we went to the hospital and had the procedure. The operation was a “Thyroid Lobectomy” which involved removal of the right half of my thyroid which was the section with the mass.

This operation involves removing the half of the thyroid gland that has the nodule. It is sometimes called a “diagnostic lobectomy” because the preoperative diagnosis may be uncertain and part of the reason for the operation is to make a diagnosis of cancer or no cancer. [more]

After the procedure while I was still under anesthesia, the pathologist froze the nodule and did a quick slice analysis biopsy under a microscope and determined there was no cancer. Had the biopsy been positive, then the other half of the thyroid would have to come out. Thank the Lord the mass was benign.

Today (and all weekend, actually) I am doing fine. There is a little discomfort, more pressure than pain, a little swelling and bruising. I am using an ice pack a few times a day to try and reduce swelling.

In the (clickable) image above is the base of my neck where the incision was made. When they closed it up, they used neither sutures nor staples - they “glued” me back together! I had been expecting to have a railroad-track scar across my neck, but they tell me this won’t be very noticeable.

I have a follow-up with the ENT on Wednesday where we discuss what happens next with possible supplemental thyroid medication and whatever else. I’m just glad the main event is over and things went well.

Tree Trimming Days

Tree TrimmingFor the past two days (working part-time), I removed a limb from the little Palo Verde tree in front of the house by the driveway. The idea is to give the tree a vertical appearance and the lower limb that I removed was growing at a low angle. The limb was branching out of the main trunk too close to the ground.

Yesterday, I started halfway up the branch and removed several smaller limbs which I could cut with the large set of pruning shears. Today, I got out the electric chain saw and removed the rest of the limb, sawing it into waste receptacle compatible chunks.

The chore that follows cutting off the branches is trimming them into, as i said above, waste receptacle compatible pieces. The twisted and gnarly nature of this variety of palo verde, along with the spikes growing everywhere makes it a labor-intensive activity.

I am pictured in the clickable image above (courtesy of The Better Half) using the hand held pruning shears to cut the branches into smaller chunks after removal of the lower limb. Ultimately, the scraps all fit into the bin with little room to spare for our normal refuse.

We wanted to get this chore done this week since I am going to be in questionable shape following a surgical procedure on Friday (03/09). I’ll have more about that afterward.

Classic GMC Truck Parked Downtown

GMC Front Truck View GMC Rear Truck View

The Better Half and I once again broke our weekend stay-at-home policy today and went out among ‘em in the old downtown Wickenburg district. We had business over that way getting the dogs groomed and while we were waiting, we visited some of the touristy gift shops and attractions. We also had lunch at The Cowboy Cookin’ restaurant where we split a chicken fried steak between us. Yum!

This Classic 1950 or so GMC Truck was parked on Tegner Street across from Town Hall and in front of Ben’s Saddlery. It is a very nice, clean and well maintained/restored truck inside and out. Clickable images.

TBH and I browsed the shops in the area and I bought a new Larry Mahon straw hat to replace my old aging and falling apart cowboy hat that I use around the yard and when walking the dogs. The old one, literally, was coming apart at the seams. It is now in the recycle bin.

There were tourists and snowbirds milling about down there today. TBH overheard a couple of snowbird gents lamenting as to how they might have to stay here in Wickenburg for another couple of months until the glaciers melt in Saskachatoon, or wherever they hail from. Ironically, we locals find the high temps in the 50’s to be too cold for our liking, while some of the snowbirds were wearing shorts and t-shirts today.

Trying for a New Amateur Radio Callsign

500px-fcc_new_logosvg.pngI have been considering becoming more active as an amateur radio (HAM) operator. I have had my ham ticket since high school and there is always an underlying interest for me in the radio hobby, no matter how inactive I may be. I am a life member of the American Radio Relay League and still get my copy of their magazine on-line. I read QST every month and get the weekly ARRL email.

The truth is, that I have had a hand-held VHF/UHF radio for almost five years and only use it once in a while. The radio goes with us in the RV when we travel and is available for emergencies or just for “rag chewing” with other hams.

That brings us to the reason for this post. I have had my current callsign since 1979 or so, and it is a special one that identifies me as a top-of-the-pack Amateur Extra Class licensee. It also, unfortunately, identifies me as being from California by virtue of the numeral “6″ embedded therein. I currently reside in, and am proud to be a citizen of Arizona for which the identifying numeral should be a “7.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a program which allows amateur radio operators to apply for a “Vanity” callsign. I have submitted several applications for desired callsigns but the competition is so great that I have had my applications dismissed thus far. The FCC uses a raffle system to randomly pick a winner for a given callsign and I have competed with twenty to fifty other applicants. I intend to keep trying, however, as the callsigns become available.

One of the applications I made was deeply disappointing. I went to the trouble of finding a “silent key” which is a term used for a ham that has passed on. I found one such ham here in Arizona and submitted some paperwork to the FCC which included his obituary. The FCC cancelled the callsign and it became available. I wanted this callsign since the prefix was a classic W7 and the suffix was my first and last initial. Even more disappointing since the eventual recipient was in the “9″ call area. I am old school and believe in having the regionally appropriate numeral.

As I said above, I am still trying. I have my hat in the ring for three different callsigns at this time.

Gold Rush Days Classic Car Show

Classic Model T Ford Radiator Cap Ornament

We did our annual trek down to the old part of town today where the classics were again gathered for the Gold Rush Days event. The Model T above left was very cool with a big V8 in it that had eight stacks. The Radiator Cap was fancy with a winged ornament shown in the other photo.

The event was pretty crowded today with the probability of blue skies and 80° weather motivating some to attend. I and The Better Half both wore shorts today. The same weather is forecast for the parade which will be at ten tomorrow morning. The parade route runs a quarter mile to the south of us, so we will likely attend that.

Clickable images courtesy TBH.

« Previous entries