News from the Hill — with all the usual Smith Manor-isms

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June 01, 2019

Happy June Fools Day!

Pleasant 80 degree weather, today, after weeks of 92s, it's a welcome relief.

Soon after awakening, I made my bi-monthly changing of the CPAP nose pieces and filters, so we should be good to sleep safely tonight.

I drove out to the store to purchase 2 pounds of jumbo shrimp at 10 dollars per pound, but I missed the sale on turkey breasts for 99 cents a pound. So I "settled" for chicken leg/thighs at 99 cents a pound (to-MAY-toe, to-MA-toe). Then I bought some lottery tickets and came back home. Excitement!

June 02, 2019

I wasn't pleased with the quality of our singing this morning at church, but judging by the smile on our director's face, she was pleased enough that we didn't sound totally incompetent.

It was another Mah Jongg day at Suzanne's. We each won two hands, so we were all happy. Suzanne had fixed Shrimp Tacos, so naturally we felt compelled to consume the same.

June 03, 2019

I downloaded a new OS for my Toshiba Netbook - MX Linux. It's a bit faster than Ubuntu, takes up less memory and disk space, but it is different enough that I'm having to actually learn how to use it. It came with an Operator's Manual, for crying out loud! In the mean time, I'm leaving Ubuntu in my desktop one for now, until I learn a bit more about how to backup from one OS and restore to a different OS.

June 04, 2019

While attempting to set up Thunderbird for my various email accounts, I started with my Gmail account, the one I use most frequently. I received a nasty-gram from Gmail saying that Thunderbird is too unsafe for them to use anymore. So, naturally I went shopping for a replacement client, and I landed on Claws Mail. It took a while for me to understand how to set it up, and apparently as it is now, all the incoming mail from all five accounts go into one folder, and it is up to me to set up filters to distribute them to the appropriate folder. They said I "could" have it that way, but they didn't say how to avoid it. That's tomorrow's investigation, I guess.

June 05, 2019

Ropeyarn Wednesday again. I got the clothes washed and all but the whites dried before lunch. Then after lunch I forgot to start the dryer. It wasn't until we returned from Bell and Choir practice that I remembered to start it. Now they're done.

Bell Practice was frustrating. We had a full compliment of ringers, save for the one who played the three bells next lower to my four. Naturally, it was those bells I had been cuing on, so my ringing was considerably off tonight. Still, the places I had been worrying about all worked out well, much better than I had even hoped.

In Choir Practice, we learned that a second applicant for the position of Music Director has surfaced. He is being considered for a position at Christ School in Asheville, and true to his previous employment, is eager to supplement his income with a position at a church. We will meet him on the 19th of June, though it will not be a practice session, due to rehearsals having been cancelled until after Labor Day. Four of us from the choir, Becky and I included, will meet with him, get to know him, and get a feel for how he would handle such a group of singers, not all of whom read music or sing well. Then, of course, we'll all go to dinner.

June 06, 2019

Becky went to the church to practice on the organ, to get better accustomed to the touch, feel and sound. The pipes are directly behind the organist at head level, so when she plays full organ, it blows the wax from her ears. She has decided, of course, not to practice at full organ.

While she was doing that, I went shopping at Publix for Blueberry Craisins, cranberry juice, Duke's Mayo and breakfast cereal. They had no Blueberry Craisins, and the juice they had ona Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer was the 64 Oz. size. They did have some Cape Cod kettle cooked potato chips on BOGO, so I got some, along with the cereal and mayo. Then I got a haircut on the way home, discovered I no longer had my billfold with me. I called Publix, but they found nothing. Then I recalled taking my debit and Sam's card from the billfold at home, so naturally I wouldn't have needed it at Publix. I went home, retrieved my billfold from where I had left it, then to Sam's Club for a huge package of toilet paper. I still got home before Becky did.

Melinda, Becky's sister, had her second throat surgery this morning. Karl, Melinda's son, called to report the success of the surgery and to say she was sleeping off the anesthetic. I hope this will do the trick so her throat can heal.

June 07, 2019

My day started with an email telling me that the items I had ordered had arrived. That was at about 7 AM. I looked out on the porch. There was no package there. THEN I read the message more thoroughly and learned that it had been delivered yesterday - by the USPS - and left IN THE MAILBOX! Insert <Face-Palm here>. I went to the mailbox and, behold, there was a package - and a rather humid piece of junk mail. The package contained our new Kindle covers (the old ones having worn out). They are wonderful. They came with a cleaning cloth and a stylus for each.

Then Suzanne called to say that her medications had arrived at the pharmacy, and since I had agreed to fetch them and take them to her, which we did, she insisted on feeding us Tuna Melts (Yum!). Then we were obliged, since we were there already, to play two hands of Mah Jongg, during the second of which the medication, a patch on her neck, kicked her in the belly! Becky and I packed up her Mah Jongg set and stowed in in her closet, then we sat and talked until I began to yawn. By that time, the afternoon rain had stopped, so we took that opportunity to leave and return home.

June 08, 2019

Rainy Day! We really need rain, too, so there's no complaining from us. Of course, by the end of the next week my grass is going to be requiring a drastic cutting. Since my lawn mower is being very unreliable, I have my eyes on some cute little read Honda mowers at Sam's. They appear to be inexpensive enough for even ME to buy. They are not self-propelled, which is what I want, because self-propelled ones don't propel themselves up my slopes very well, and they tend to be heavier, and even I cannot propel them up the slopes very well. So I'm guessing at about Tuesday or Wednesday I will make the purchase, get it unpacked and prep'd, ready for its baptism in fire, so to speak.

I've started working on the website for next season's 1907 & Friends website. I've had the photos and instructions for about a month, now, but haven't had the gumption to get started until now. It seems I've forgotten how to work the magic with photos like I used to. It took me all afternoon to combine two photos for the masthead and then resize the result. Then I had to remember how to make the Season placard with two lines of text, each line a different type font and size. I think I created it seven or eight times before I remembered. Part of the trouble is that I'm not using the same tools That I had used before. The last time, I went ahead and used the Windows computer, but this time I decided I'd have to learn to do it on the Ubuntu computer. The software is completely different, and I actually have to look up procedures and make lots of experimental mistakes before I get things right. I'm going to have to cut my hourly rates to keep the price about the same as last year.

June 09, 2019

This morning, the Bell Choir played a Festival Sanctus, by Cathy Moklebust, the complex piece we have been working on for ages (so it seems). Everyone in the choir was worried about it. It went quite well. We also played Sine Nomine, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, arranged by A Birling for the Bells. We knew that one would go well. It didn't!

The Choir sang Thomas Tallis' "If Ye Love Me," and did a fine job with it. We sang it a capella, and I heard only one mistake - the Bass standing next to me sang the last note about a quarter-tone high.

This being Pentecost Sunday, six of us read the lesson from Acts 2:1-21. Well actually, six of us read verses 1-6, one language at a time on one verse each. One read in English, one signed, one read in French, one in Spanish, one in Irish (me), one in Hebrew and one in German. Then we read those verses, all languages at the same time, and the sound was completely unintelligible, but loads of fun. I was afraid I was not projecting well, but at least one person, in the front row, heard me, and said that she liked my reading the best. I guess stumbling Irish is somewhat less familiar and, therefore, more alluring that fluent French, Spanish or German. The English everyone knew, and the Hebrew was far more stumbling than my Irish.

We had a Shrimp and Salmon party at Suzanne's house, mostly because I had taken 2 pounds of precooked jumbo shrimp the other day when she was cooking moderate-sized shrimp for tacos. We also brought, today, enough wild Alaskan salmon. We were stuffed to the gills, so to speak.

June 10, 2019

This morning saw a return of the Monday Brunch with Jim and Carol. Jim has been suffering with his one natural hip. The doctors are telling him he "needs" a hip replacement, and having had one replaced already, he's not about to replace the second one. Naturally, we referred him to Dr. Reilly, who can work miracles (seemingly) with lasers and Graston therapies for patients who have been told they need hips or knees replaced. Carol, on the other hand has lost feeling in her thumb, index and middle fingers. It may be carpal tunnel, or whatever, but it is neuropathy. Again, Dr. Reilly can help to reverse neuropathy with the same techniques. I gave them the doctor's business card, and maybe they will call him and find out what he's capable of helping with.

After I brought Becky home, I went to WalMart to purchase some sparkling water with the most intense Orange-Cream flavor I've tasted outside a Dream-Cycle. On the way back from Wally-World, I stopped at Sam's to see about getting a lawn mower. I had seen some on display there, Hondas, with prices below $300. Today there was just one of them left, so after examining it for a brief while, I pushed it to the registers, scanned my members card, the bar-code on the mower, then paid for it with my credit card. Little did I realize how heavy the mower would be until I had to lift it into my car! I got it home, and it sits in my garage. The rain is supposed to stop over night, but of course the ground will remain too wet to mow for another day or so, after which I will have to give it an initiation. The mower is self-propelled, and while I have had difficulty with them actually propelling up the slopes, I figured that if I don't try to drive it directly uphill, perhaps it will climb well enough. I might have to fit it with studded chains if it won't make the climb. I also have to devise a way to store it in the garage, because the handle doesn't fold as handily as on my old mower. To do that, I would have to unscrew two knobs and remove two stove-bolts, then reassemble before the next use. What a bother!

June 11, 2019

We attended the neuropathy seminar today at lunch time. For once, the doctor was so focused on his revamped presentation that he didn't have much time for my testimony, which I told to some of the attendees as we were eating after the doctor went back to work. He also left off the little video at the end showing the difference proper regenerative care could make in the life of senior citizens, comparing putting on shoes with trying to get hospital slippers onto your feet, and so forth. Maybe he just thought that schmaltz didn't go with his new vamp. Anyway, a few people signed up for the evaluation to see if their neuropathy was in any way treatable, and that's the point. Once they're evaluated and accepted for treatment, most will see the validity of being treated.

Then, mid-afternoon, Becky went to the church to practice and confer with the secretary about Sunday's bulletin. When she returned, she was stewed about changes that had been made, unbeknownst to her that, if she hadn't found out about them today would have come as a complete surprise on Sunday, resulting in chaos and complete unpreparedness.

As soon as Becky came home, I left to attend the Men-of-the-Church's monthly dinner/meeting. Tonight we had some delicious smoked pork with our choice of BBQ sauce. I started with something I thought would be a winner. It was called, Carolina Pig Polish. Aside from the name, it was pretty much nothing. I ended up adding Sticky Fingers sauce to it to give it some BBQ flavor.

June 12, 2019

We had a mid-morning appointment with Dr. Reilly, just a chiropractic check. I was pleased to hear so few snaps and pops coming from my spine. We talked for a while about his frequent seminars, and he said that he's thinking about reducing the frequency of neuropathy seminars, because the number of respondents has dwindled drastically. Apparently those I thought were signing up for testing, were merely talking about it. The other seminars, correcting back pain and avoiding knee replacement, are apparently still producing clients.

This morning, when I got out of bed, I started the laundry. When I went out to put the first load into the dryer, I was floored to find water all over the floor. The drain hose of the washing maching had slipped out of the drain pipe behind the wall, and it was lying on the floor behind the washer. On the way back from Dr. Reilly's, we bought a wet/dry shop vacuum so I could pick up the water.

Then, since the air was cool under a cloud cover, I decided to see how good the Honda Lawn Mower is. I made sure there was enough oil in it, and emptied the gas can into the gas tank - which is significantly larger than the tank on any of my former mowers - pulled the rope only once and the engine started surprisingly easily. I had resisted the self-propelled feature, having been disappointed in past mowers so equipped, but I quickly learned that this mower will easily pull itself uphill. THEN I quickly learned NOT to pull the drive lever all the way, but like a throttle, to ease it slightly toward the drive position. That way I did not have to run uphill to keep up with the mower!

I was able to mow the entire front yard and half of the back yard without stopping the engine for any reason. Then, after I got really tired and thought it was time to stop, I used  the most unusual feature of the mower that I have ever seen. I connected a quick-connect link to my garden hose, connected it to the port on the mower's deck, turned on the water and started the engine to wash the undercarriage and blade. There was only one problem, and it could have been my fault. I had forgotten to suit up properly for the task, and not only was I wearing my Levi shorts, but I was NOT wearing my hat, sunglasses or gloves. My head did not get sun burnt, my regular glasses have Transition lenses, so were dark enough, but my palms have been red and itchy since.

June 13, 2019

Friday the 13th came on a Thursday this month!

I awoke this morning dreaming about my red and itchy hands, and yes, they were still red and itchy. Both of those qualities have faded significantly this evening.

This afternoon, I had another retinal exam. The appointed time was 2:50. I was called back for the preliminary exam at 3:25, and the exam-proper started at 3:55. We left at 4:50 and got home at 6:05. Everything, apparently, was running slowly. Dr. McLean said, almost apologetically, that he could find no retinal tears. Actually, he was just expressing that, as closely as he looked, he found nothing to worry about. The good thing is that he only blinded one eye with his lamp/lens. On the way home, though, the eye started to hurt, and didn't stop hurting and stinging until about 8 PM.

June 14, 2019

We took Suzanne to her doctor's appointment this morning, then to lunch at Tommy's, a Mediterranean restaurant in Weaverville. Afterward we went shopping at WalMart, then got her back home before she collapsed. After sitting and talking for a while, we returned home. 

Once we got home, Becky went to the church for some more practice at the organ, while I stayed home, pretended to watch television for a while, then gave up, started to play a podcast on my Netbook and fell asleep. Becky got home with an Udi's gluten free pizza, which I cooked in the oven, and we ate as we watched the news.

How exciting can life be?

June 15, 2019

Beware the Ides of June!

This afternoon, I drove Becky to the church so she could practice, then continued on to the store to purchase a few things on our shopping list. Yes, I had the list with me. Yes, I forgot to look at it. However, I bought lots of things we needed. Then I returned to the church to run through my solo for tomorrow, and when we were done practicing, we returned home. It wasn't until after supper that I realized I hadn't bought the two things on the list that Becky had specified. Oh, well, there's always tomorrow.

June 16, 2019

When we got to the church, this morning, Becky went straight into the sanctuary to practice on the organ. I went up to the choir room and "suited up" in my red cassock and white surplice, held a brief conversation with our director pro tem, collected my folder, hymnal and bulletin, then went down to breakfast - eggs and sausage with a few pieces of fruit.

With my food eaten a bit hastily, I joined Becky in the sanctuary, took my seat in the choir chairs and marked the hymn pages with the ribbons for fast access. The director came in, assigned me to a front row seat, where the sopranos and altos usually sit, since I was singing a solo this morning. The other bass would take the seat to my left, while the two tenors took seats behind us. When the rest of the choir had joined us, there were two sopranos and one alto, but the only singing they would do would be the hymns and responses. The anthem would be sung by the mens quartet.

Becky played the service with no difficulty, the second week in a row, while the titular organist enjoyed her two-week vacation. When the time for the anthem approached, I felt some fog in my throat, and started willing it to go away so that I could sing, and during the passing of the peace, I coughed up my "fog-ball" and swallowed it down. After the peace had been adequately passed, it was time for the anthem. "Beautiful Savior", a familiar hymn, arranged for male voices, three times through with humming the first time, my solo for the second time with the words of the first stanza, with the other three continuing to hum. The third time we all sang the second stanza, and that was it.

After the service, one of the younger women gave me one of the deepest compliments I've ever received, "You made me cry!" Then she went on and on about how I should sing solos more often, especially in Gaelic, for she was the one who really loved my Irish reading of the scripture last weekend. I, of course, told her I would sing whenever our director suggested it. I've been called a ham, before, for my willingness to stand forth in performance.

June 17, 2019

We were introduced to a new restaurant in close proximity to home, this morning, Early Girl. They serve breakfast and lunch all day. Becky and I tried their Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash. It was delicious - and HUGE. We could have split one and still been well satisfied.

I have been learning more and more about my MX Linux operating system, and Linux in general. Today I successfully paired my Netbook with my Android cell phone, then tested it by sending three photos, one at a time, from the phone to the computer. The transfer was nearly instantaneous, far faster than a wired transfer or email.

While I was in the learning mode, I re-learned how to remake a website. It was a struggle for a while, mostly because I was working on the Ubuntu computer, relearning how to combine two photos into one banner. With that done, I was free to fire up the Windows computer and remake the website's template. Naturally, I made it a little wrong, but it is not irreparable. I'll open it up, change the colors a little, then reassemble it.

June 18, 2019

This morning I got a phone call from Dr. Reilly's office, saying that the seminar for this afternoon had been cancelled for lack of attendees. That left us free to attend the Tai Chi class. 

Tai Chi was, as always, a great review, lots of fine points for us to practice, with emphasis on the entire body moving as one unit, "turning the four corners", as our instructor says, that is the shoulders staying in the same relation to the hips and not letting the spine twist (except in certain instances). We practiced various motions, then did a full warm-up and ran through the form a few times. In the end, I was tired and somewhat moist, a very successful exercise.

Afterward, we went to lunch at TGI Friday's, then bought some Starbucks on the way home. As we pulled out of Starbucks' parking lot, it started to rain. By the time we got home, it was a downpour. Our umbrellas shielded only our heads as we made our way to the house, and we were happy to have a warm house in which to dry out again.

Later, I attempted to go to the store for some items that I had kept forgetting to buy, but the major artery to Asheville was at a standstill. I tried a secondary road, which was also at a standstill. It took 20 minutes, or so, to slowly roll one mile, so I returned home. We didn't need those things that badly. There's always tomorrow.

June 19, 2019

Becky and I had an appointment with our Financial Advisor at the bank. The premise was that Becky is now at the age (or will be in September) where she must start getting the Minimum Required Disbursements from her retirement accounts. He had to explain it to us a few times before I understood what he was saying. Finally, though, I understood enough to ask a question. "You mean she will be getting a check from each account annually?" Bingo! I did it. I got it right!

Then we went shopping for the things that I have been not-getting for the past week or so. I got those, too. Wow, this getting things is exciting.

All seriousness aside, though, this afternoon we met with the applicant for the position of Director of Music for Grace Church. There were supposed to be 10 of us there. One was in New York, two didn't show up, and one was there for the interview, but had to duck out for the dinner. There were only six present for dinner. Since Avenue M is so close to the church, that's where we ate. We have been there only three times, and managed to pay for our own meal only the first time. The food there is always excellent, and a bit pricey, but well worth the cost.

I was very excited about the prospect of having such a wonderful Director of Music. It all hinges on his being hired by Christ School as an instructor, but they seem to be equally excited about him, so I think the chances are pretty good.

June 20, 2019

We had nothing much to do, today, so we just did whatever we wanted until I received an email from Lloyd with the program information for his 1807 & Friends website, which I'm updating for next seasons' schedule. For the most part, I just had to copy and paste information from his email into the website, Then, when trying to make it look right half of the data disappeared, I did it again. This time I didn't let it disappear, but saved it as I went along. Then, when I got done with that, it was almost 3 PM, and "Happy Hour" at Starbucks (buy one, get another to share for free, is what their adverts say - I would just call it BOGO), so naturally we had to get our designer coffee of the day.

That's about it.

June 21, 2019

Happy Summer Solstice!

I managed to stay home all day, even resisted the urge to mow the lawn again. Maybe tomorrow, if it doesn't rain.

I did, though, finally get around to photographing my Patch Jacket. It was created years ago mostly just to have a place to display my patches from my years in the Navy. I can no longer wear it because of my increased bulk, so I thought I would share photos of it. They're on my Facebook page.

June 22, 2019

While the morning weather was clear, the ground was wet from the overnight rain that we heard as we slept. Therefore, there was no lawn mowing done, and by noon the rain had returned to our area, so I spent the morning listening to a podcast about the Beetles' "Paul in Dead" conspiracy. In the afternoon, we watched the last of the Harry Potter series of movies, completing our cycle for this year.

I'm struggling with the decision to replace Ubuntu with MX Linux on my desktop computer. I want to do it because it runs so much better on the Toshiba Netbook than Ubuntu had, but on the other hand, The backups I made with Ubuntu may-or-may-not be recoverable in the different operating system. While I have nothing of consequence saved on the Netbook, the Desktop does hold my documents and downloads that I'd like to keep. I'll keep mulling it over until I learn that the backups are, indeed, recoverable across platforms, then likely make the change.

June 23, 2019

Happy 18th Anniversary!

This morning, in church, we were honored when they prayed for those celebrating their Anniversary this week. Ours were the second pair of names read. Someone asked Becky what day was our actual Anniversary, and when she said, "Today!" they were shocked. It isn't often that a couple is recognized on the actual day in question.

We spent the afternoon at Suzanne's. She had some store-bought cauliflower pizza crusts, some sauce and cheese, and we picked up some pepperoni and mushrooms. She made one pizza with those toppings, and another with bacon and sausage that she had on hand. She also had one store-bought pizza on a cauliflower crust, so she cooked that one, too. Naturally, we had to eat some of each. The Bacon-Sausage was my favorite.

We played Mah Jongg until Suzanne could bear the hard chairs in the dinette no longer, then we moved to the living room to share some conversation. It was quite fun, but eventually I grew drowsy, so we had to call it a day.

June 24, 2019

When I went out pull the recycling and trash cans to the street at 6AM, I noticed that the bamboo that grows wild along the property line was lying across that portion of the lawn. It hadn't been that way yesterday. It wasn't broken, so there's no chance that it was bent over deliberately, and there had been some overnight rain. At any rate, I knew that I would need to cut it and carry it to the curb for collection during the week. I didn't do it at that time, because I was still sleepy and wanted to return to the bed, which I did.

At about 11 AM, then, I suited up and went out to cut the bamboo. I made it go away, and then I made some of the vines that are choking the rose bush at the corner of the garage go away, too. Not satisfied with that, I started whacking at the Rosemary next to the driveway, the bush behind the Rosemary, the holly bush and, eventually, the ornamental Dogwood, whose limbs were hanging rather low over the driveway and lawn. Then I was bushed!

 After a bowl of soup and a shower, I worked at the computer for a few hours, and then it was time to go to the bank, and thence to dinner.

Our dinner was at Cedrick's Pub in Antler Village at the Biltmore Estate. Becky had the Reuben Sandwich, as did Carol, who was our benefactor for the dinner. I had the Irish Dip Sandwich, as did Jim, who was at least complicit with Carol's outlay of funds for the meal. The Pub gave Becky and me a congratulatory dessert of Peanut Butter Truffles, while Jim and Carol had Raspberry Lime Cake.

When we left the Pub, we had intended to see the train exhibit, but one of the two such exhibits was outside, and the sky looked ominous. The other exhibit was a couple of miles away, so we decided we would return at a later date to see the trains.

June 25, 2019

First off, when I went to the gym this morning, I forgot to take my Kindle with me, so I had to read the book on my phone which, thankfully, has a Kindle Reader app. So I started reading the book as I started to walk on the treadmill, and the first thing I read was the chapter heading, "June 25", and I thought, "Well, how did they know I was reading this chapter today?" Then, a few chapters later, my 30 minute walk had ended, so I cleaned the machine where my incredibly filthy hands had touched it (some would say "SMUTCHED" it) and followed our arriving instructor into the activity room for Tai Chi. Becky was not with me, so it was up to me to entertain - I mean explain. Everyone who came into the room asked me the same question, "Where's Becky?" so I started embellishing the story so as to avoid repetition. One woman, though, asked me about my shirt. I was wearing the Disk World shirt, so I explained all about the disk world on the backs of four elephants that stood on the back of the Great A-Tuin, a space turtle who glides around the multiverse. Then that woman had to ask about Becky, so I explained, "She was wearing the wrong shirt, so I left her at home!"

I stopped off at Starbucks for some coffee (it's right across the street from the gym), but when I got there there were no parking spaces open in the lot, and the drive-thru line was completely around the building. After only three circuits of the lot, though, I saw a red pick-up truck backing out of a space, so I lost no time slipping into the void. Then, as I walked past three empty spaces on the way into the store, I was a little in awe that so many spaces could come available while I was parking.

I set to work on the Netbook (MX Linux) computer, then, trying to see if I could actually install some fonts for the LibreOffice to use. I found a great set of instructions on line that showed me exactly how it was to be done. I downloaded two fonts - Book Symbols (a faux Cyrilic) and Bunchló (Old Irish printing) - and installed them according to the instructions. It WORKED! I wouldn't sound so surprised, but the three times I tried that last year, it didn't work. I have no idea what made the difference. Anyway, I had to do the same thing to my desktop (Ubuntu) computer. It worked there, too.

June 26, 2019

It was foggy, this morning, so I didn't jump straight out the door to mow the lawn. Instead, I waited until nine o'clock in hopes that the grass would be free of dew. It wasn't, but I mowed anyway, just paid lots of attention to my footing on the slopes. By 11 o'clock I was done mowing and out of the shower already. Wow! I really like my Honda mower.

Becky "insisted" that we go to TGI Friday's for lunch, and I "reluctantly" acquiesced to her demand, but only because they had Tomato Basil soup as their du jour offering. I had half of a half-rack of ribs (brought the other half home for later) and Becky had Simply Salmon (brought salmon home, too). Naturally, we each had the soup. For dessert, we ordered one Mud Slide (Bailey's Irish Cream, Kaluah, vodka, chocolate and ice cream). It came in a glass, and since we were sharing, there were two straws. It was really excellent. We both loved it.

This afternoon, there was a tremendously involved update applied to MX Linux on my Netbook. I kind-of went to sleep during it, and it took a little button-poking to get it to resume when I finally awakened and saw that it was asking me to make a decision. (I guess I made the correct one, because it works).

I met another MX Linux user on line who also used a Toshiba Netbook. He asked me how I deal with the slowness of the computer, and I assured him that I'm lots slower than this one. No, not really. I told him all the things I have done (both of them) to speed it up, which is that I increased the amount of RAM to its maximum (2 GB) and replaced the failing spinning hard drive with a solid state one (SSD). Then, when I changed from Ubuntu to MX Linux, the speed increased even more. Now it's a usable item, if only I would learn not to touch the touch pad when I'm typing!

June 27, 2019

I finally did it - I abandoned Ubuntu in favor of MX Linux. In truth, they are both Linux, but MX is enough faster than Ubuntu that it makes my Netbook more usable. After using MX on the Netbook for two weeks, I finally decided I would use it on my desktop computer, too. I can have them set up identically so that I don't really have to think "Which computer am I using, anyway?" as though I cannot tell the difference by size alone.

The next thing I noticed was that the backup I had made with "LuckyBackup" wasn't as lucky as the builders of that app thought it would be. I restored my data only to find that I had no data. It only took 37 minutes to show me that there was nothing to restore. Fortunately for me I had manually copied the contents of my Home direcctory to the external drive before changing the OpSys. So, naturally, I spent a few more minutes copying them back to the hard drive.

After a long afternoon of wrestling with my computer, I think I'me almost done with the transition.

June 28, 2019

I downloaded and installed the apps that this distribution shipped with, and everything is as it was with one exception. MX Linux did not come with the radio/podcast player I was using, and I didn't download and install it. Instead, I'm using the VLC Media Player (the orange and white "traffic" cone). Most of the items I'm used to hearing are loaded, but for some of them I was unable to obtain an RSS URL, which is how I loaded the others. I'm going to research an alternate method of getting them back, or I might just not have to listen to them any more.

This evening, though, Becky and I watched the movie, The Memphis Belle (made in 1990). Neither of us had ever seen it before, and it made for a good preamble for Independence Day. Naturally, the television is running the old war stories (historically fictitious, of course). Being a pilot, I naturally pointed out the inaccuracies of the movie, but mostly I enjoyed it - as much as one can enjoy a story of mass casualties.

June 29, 2019

Another restful day, for the most part. I read the last half of the book I've been working through, and found it very fulfilling in the end (which is to say, it ended just the way I thought it should have, with one sly twist in the last chapter). It even had an afterword, where the author summed up the thoughts of a woman who had suffered a catastrophic stroke and had to be institutionalized, but was left with one very happy thought. (NO SPOILERS).

Once again I'm trying to solve an alignment problem on a website, where the client is using an iMac computer to view the results, and I'm using not only an MX Linux computer, but with a huge screen, so things are spread over half an acre. There's no way I can see what he sees, so I'm stabbing in the dark to try to make it right for him.

June 30, 2019

It's the last day of June - already - and time to turn the corner into July.

I've just finished the final revision of the 1807 & Friends website for this year, and will transfer it from my testsite to the actual website in the morning, barring any unfortunate circumstance.

"Lemme 'splain", as Ricky Ricardo would say.

I have been having a strange series of physical deficiencies, lately, in that I cannot seem to stay awake at times. It all started last Wednesday after I had mown the lawn. In the evening when I noticed two hives on my lower abdomen. I took one antihistamine tablet and went to bed. Thursday morning, as I was doing my usual morning "mental exercises" (puzzles) on the computer, I could not easily stay awake, so I stretched out on the recliner, where I remained for the remainder of the morning, asleep or if awake, feeling as though I had been drugged. The following morning, Friday, I no longer felt drugged, but I still slept much of the morning before feeling I could stay awake. Saturday was better, and I was alert most of the day. This morning, though, all during church I felt drowsy, and afterward, when we got to Suzanne's for a Salmon and Caprese salad, I was treated to a Reds Apple Ale, which I had drunk many times before and enjoyed, but this time, after I had drunk but 5 ounces of it, I felt drugged again. Soon enough, it was quite difficult to stay awake, but since I was not at home, I didn't want to conk out in someone else's house, so I fought the good fight and managed to come back to wakefulness when other guests, Hank and Mike, arrived. On the way home, after some tremendously good food and a few hours of conversation, I was able to drive home, but when I tried to make a modification to the aforementioned website's template, I couldn't function. It was like I had never seen a Joomla website before, which sites I have been building for many years, now. Again, I stretched out on the recliner listening to a television show about Lost UFO Stories (that weren't really lost, apparently, because they told us all about them), and I woke up two hours later feeling much more human. If I have a similar happening in the morning, I'm heading to my Primary Care's office for his morning clinic to see what he (more likely one of the PAs there) makes of it.

We got the good news that Grace Church has hired a new Director of Music, a man with impeccable credentials (including an M. Phil. from the University of Wales) and a super appreciation for liturgy and its music. he will take up the post at the end of August and meet the rest of the Hand Bell ringers and Choir Members the first Wednesday in September. I'm very excited for him to start working magic with us all.

Anyway, It's been a good month, over all, and I'm looking forward to seeing what new nonsense July can bring us.


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