Saturday, December 28, 2013

And now the year draws to a close

Now the memories of 2013 begin as the year's final weekend is in full swing.  There are too many good memories of the year to mention them all here, but the year certainly wasn't the worst we've had. 

One not so nice thing did happen:  I voluntarily stopped driving.  It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since Jan. 11th when I had a new heart event and my doctor told me I had to stop driving for six months.  He did give me permission to resume and sent the necessary paperwork to the license bureau, but I still had pictures of "what could have happened" in my head and my wife and I decided to hang up the keys was best and I sold my car.

Gee.  I started out with we had good memories and then immediately broke into the one negative.  That wasn't very nice of me.  One of those good ones was the introduction of our daughter's new puppy into our family.  We were very happy when our older dog totally accepted that new Hellfire, a perpetual motion machine, and that the young and the old coexist rather nicely.

My wife and I are learning that one of the best investments we've made in our home also took place earlier this year when we had a new pellet stove replace our fireplace.  We did get one big enough to generally keep our whole living space comfortable and we have saved "a ton of money" on oil.  The thing is thermostat controlled so we don't have to seemingly continually feed it logs as we did the old fireplace.  The pellet stove is also much more efficient than the fireplace ever was.

Christmas, of course, is over and our Tree is packed away for another year.  Yes, we switched to an artificial tree several years back. That year we took down our last "real" one and discovered its branches were getting very brown where the low voltage lights had been resting.  The needles came off simply by having anyone look at it and we decided it was too close to bursting into flame to try continue to use a real tree.

Finally, remember our Village?  We construct a collectable village as our celebration of Christmas.  Here are two scenes, the one on the left is a portion of the main Victorian section and the right one is a skating pond scene designed by our daughter.  The coming week is its final week for this year.  We'll begin disassembling it New Year's Day and have it all boxed and put away for next year by next weekend.

Speaking of New Year's Day, although the day isn't an official beginning to the 2014 state political races and the national Congressional races since they've been underway since the last elections, slowly the political scene will be heating up, if it can get any hotter, between now and Fall.  We can't ignore them and I won't stop believing the "good old days" were better when those races didn't begin until shortly before primaries in September getting ready for November elections.

Now we never seem to elect the persons best representing our positions and honestly conducting our business, either in Augusta or Washington, but rather electing the people on whom special interest groups spend the most money to support their wants. 

Jan. 1st is also when most of us really will begin to realize that we've been scammed by the health care issue.  The warnings of the true cost, both in premiums and new taxes, will begin to show their ugly heads.  Have you received your notice of changes in the paycheck taxes beginning Jan. 1?  I have along with probable increases in insurance rates.

I might follow some of the political scene and the effects of the "Affordable" health care act in my ramblings this coming year.  Now, I hope you enjoy the effects of our climate change and global warming.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

A super day!

What a wonderful day Christmas was!  At least in our family.  Because of the size of our small remaining family in Maine, our celebration is small, but each of us got what we wanted or needed and the Christmas dinner was its usual deliciousness.  It would be nice to duplicate the day another time, like next year.
Naturally, it was the pups that had the best day.  Our ten-year old Golden Retriever Mariah and our daughters six-month Golden puppy brandy first started out examining a bag full of new toys that awaited them.

That's Brandy in near right.

I don't think Santa knew what noise that small soccer ball made.  Instead of a usual doggy toy squeaky noise, the ball sounds the roar of a crowd.  I'm not sure what will happen first...the disappearance of the toy or our insanity.

One thing is for sure, neither animal will be without toys for a long time.

It was a cold day in Maine and many folk in our state had to celebrate without electricity.  And some of those folk won't get their power back until later today or tomorrow.  I guess I'm selfish in my happiness that our family wasn't among them.

Now the time has come to begin looking ahead to a brand, new year.  It is still about a week away, but we're hoping it'll be a great year.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

The entire Gator in Maine congregation
wishes you and yours
The Merriest of Christmases.

May this day bring you peace, joy, and happiness.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Possibly not a nice weekend (Editied Monday AM)

Edited Monday morning to update weather
We did get some light icing over the weekend, and it hasn't stopped yet.  Our neck of those woods could come sometime today.  Other areas were much worse off than ours, but we did a thin coat of ice primarily as a result of some rain or freezing raid overnight Sunday.  So on this next to last day before Christmas, those of you who must go out to work or shop should exercise caution and take it easy.  Give yourselves a little extra time, especially this Monday morning.
It's hard to believe, isn't it, that this is the last weekend before Christmas, 2013.  Unfortunately for us here in Maine, and in a large portion of the whole country for that matter, we're in for a lousy weekend.  Ice, snow, rain, freezing rain will disrupt that final weekend for shopping before Christmas and travel for millions who use this weekend to get to Grandma's house for the holidays.
Our little section of Maine is looking at an "iffy" weekend.  The weather reports don't seem to really know on this Saturday morning just what kind of weather we'll be getting here.  Freezing rain, which would make travel treacherous, seems to be the major consensus here along the immediate coast, which is where I live.  Or, we're told it could be just rain.  Not very far inland, only a few miles and perhaps as close as my Fearless Friend lives, ice could be terrible situation.
What's the difference between freezing rain and ice, you ask?  In a word, severity.  Ice has the potential of being much more destructive as it makes trees, wires, etc., very heavy and often causes them to break and fall.  Freezing rain, which also can be dangerous, tends to disrupt the roadways more than anything else.  Of course, most ice starts out as freezing rain.
As I understand it, both begin very high up when warm weather is passing over cold weather at the earth's surface and produces rain.  Whatever happens this weekend, we are told the travel and weather conditions are going to be simply awful, and it could last right into Monday morning.
Way up in northern Maine, snow, a whole lot of snow, will be the interrupter.
Whatever happens where you live, use extreme caution if you head outside and don't forget to occasionally check on your neighbors, especially the elder ones.
I, for one, am especially happy this weekend as all our family shopping has been completed and our presents are wrapped and patiently awaiting Wednesday.  And my wife Sandra should be home from her Saturday job well before all the weather starts later today, Saturday.
Our yard no longer looks quite like the picture below as it is snow covered from this month's storms, but just before the winter weather set in, Our Golden Mariah and her new playmate puppy, Brandy, our daughter's newest addition, were having a good time outside.  Mariah looks puzzled trying to figure out what the puppy could possibly find more interesting than Mariah's big ball.

This is another of my computer's desktop slides.
Hey!  It's now 8:02 on Saturday morning.  Do I see the sun adding more puzzle to the weekend forecast?  I think I do; I think I do!
I hope you have a safe and trouble free weekend as you and your family prepare for a Very Merry Christmas.
P.S.  BTW...I'm having some error message problems with Blogger.  Please excuse any mistakes, especially formatting ones, until I can figure out how to fix them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Like most users of Windows, especially Win 8, I have a series of my favorite photos which rotate every few minutes to give me a new desktop background.  I much prefer the old desktop over the new tiles that come with Win 8.  All my desktop automatic slide show pictures are of our dog, Mariah, or both our dog and Brandy, our daughter's puppy. 
In case anyone is interested, I'm thinking of returning to some form of blogging after Christmas.
We got around a foot of snow over the past weekend and expect a little more Tuesday night.  I forgot to take Sunday pictures of the storm.  Perhaps this old head can remember to do it Wednesday. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back to the pups

I've had this one on here earlier, but it is one of my favorites; so I thought I'd give you something other than the completed Village to view.  It's also one of my rotating desktop backgrounds.
That's our dog Mariah with our daughter's new puppy Brandy.