Sunday, July 24, 2011
I didn't cut the grass first thing this morning because it was wet. We had three inches of rain the last two or three days, and the BW's new hedge is all perky. If it were a dog the ears would be standing up.
By a quarter to nine it was dry enough, and I did manage to cut it and only clean the mower deck once, at the end of the mowing. The temperature today is going up to 93 or 94 again, and I had to hang both my shirt and jeans in the garage to dry out after I was done. The shirt didn't have any dry places on it - not even the collar.
I dropped out of TOPS this week - turned in all my weight recorder materials to the president and told her that I was going to try a sabbatical. After three years at my goal weight and seven years in TOPS I think I can manage on my own. I do weigh myself every morning and keep a log of my weight, exercise, and food, so between that and Spark People I think I'll be OK. If not, I'll show up again and sign up - like a lot of other people I have seen who stopped and then started again. Time will tell.
Now, if I could get out of Kiwanis and AARP I could look for some other volunteer jobs. I never kept the same job for more than four or five years when I was working for a living, and after that length of time I get tired of what I'm doing now. I'm at that stage with both of the other volunteer jobs now.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
When I got up this morning it felt cooler outside than inside - and it was! It was only 75 degrees outside, and our ride on the trolley turned out to be extremely pleasant. The views over the bridges were incredible, probably because there were no posts to limit them, and partly because I wasn't paying attention to the road to keep from running off or drifting into the oncoming traffic. The front of the trolley had windows, but the pack part just had roll up plastic zipper covers (I assume to keep the rain out.)
There are other, longer range trolleys that have tinted, closed windows and are a little bigger than the one we were on. They are essentially small buses, and they run a lot longer routes than the tourist trolleys. Then there are the PSTA buses. If you buy a pass you can ride any of them any time, so I guess they are all owned by the same organization.
We passed Clearwater beach, which is three miles of sun umbrellas and hoards of people that show up from somewhere. All I get is a quick glance when I'm driving, but hanging out of the trolley you can gawk to your heart's content.
We also toured the downtown of Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, and Clearwater as well as all of Clearwater Beach and Sand Key. The trolley doesn't go all the way down the barrier islands - but there is one that covers the whole 30 miles. It's one of those with closed tinted windows, so I'm not sure the tourists would like it unless they want to spend the whole day on the bus.
We saw St. Petersburg trolleys out on the Pier, but I don't know if there is a connection to the northern routes, and they were open like the one we were on.
The BW had a fine time, and we finished up by stopping for a snack before going home.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The BW and I took Jack to lunch today. I had a good eight hours' sleep, and woke up at 6:00 so I took the dogs on a nice walk this morning. It was cool - only 76 on the out door thermometer, but when we came inside it was like stepping into a cold shower. I checked the thermostat - still at 81 degrees. That dry air feels good.
This year the Jolly Trolly opened a route in north Pinellas, and tomorrow the BW and I intend to ride the Jolly Trolley from Palm Harbor up to Tarpons Springs - all the way to the sponge docks. Then we will ride it all the way down to a transfer stage in Clearwater and shift to the beach Trolley route. We take that all the way north and south on the barrier beaches, and then transfer back to ride home again. It is supposed to take three hours if we don't stop anywhere and don't miss any connections. We'll see how it goes. I think the dogs are good for at least six hours, and they have never yet wrecked anything, so I think it will be OK even if we do decide to wait out a stop. On Saturdays the beach trolleys still run on a 30 minute schedule, but the inland ones drop to every hour on Saturday and Sunday. I would pick a week day if it were my choice, but the BW has focused on some Saturday for a reason that only she knows.
I hope it is a fun ride.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I wanted to be a rocket engineer when I was in school – in fact, I belonged to the American Rocket Society, but when I graduated I had a wife, no job, and a big debt. The only job I could find was working for the Navy as an electronics engineer (topic for a separate blog) so I turned into an electronics guy.
I recall Sputnik vividly, in the mid 1950’s. It was a shock to see the US civilian rocket effort eclipsed by the Russians, who just used a military booster and a second stage to put a tiny satellite in orbit – beeping away on every pass.
In 1969 the BW rented a house in Titusville, and I drove the whole family down to watch the Apollo 11 lift off. We had a good view, and I reminded the kids that this was a historic event – remember it. When I talked to our son yesterday he told me that he remembers it perfectly. Of course we visited plenty of tourist traps while we were there, but we got home in time to see Neil Armstrong step out and say “It’s light and fluffy – like powder” the “Oh – One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” In the last 40 years I have only heard one person on radio who remembers that and contests the official words – in fact, NASA TV played that scene recently, and the first quiet words (he was probably talking to himself) were missing. Big brother at work.
Later, while we were living in an RV, we went out on the causeway and watched a shuttle liftoff a couple of times. I had a porta-pottie in the van and beer in the cooler to go with the folding chairs, so we had a good time. Unfortunately, you’re pretty far away, even with binoculars, but it was fun.
For the last Atlantis mission, the BW wanted to go over, but she found out that she should have made reservations a year ago. We finally decided to just stay home, and watch the NASA TV channel. The HD coverage on a flat screen TV puts you up close, and shows you stuff you would never see with your eyeballs on the ground. We had a great view of the liftoff, from the fuel tank camera, and from the shuttle itself. It was a good choice. I had dug up the NASA TV channel before and we watched an earlier launch on the computer, but this was a lot better – HD in the living room.
Today we got up at 4:15 (the BW) and 4:45 (me) and watched the preparations and return on TV. It was infinitely more information than we would have had if we had been there, and the BW did hear the double sonic boom as the shuttle passed by here, so she was happy. She finally lost interest and I turned the TV off at 8:00.
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