Pictures From Jan-Feb 2020 - It's All About Having Fun!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

1-31 Vacation & Little Green Men

We are on the road today and I have no idea when I will blog next. Please don't get all paranoid thinking something awful like being kidnapped by aliens has happened. I'm headed to New Mexico and everyone knows that aliens landed in Roswell back in the 40's, well I think everyone knows but if not simply click on the following link to see YouTube videos about it, by the time you are done I will probably blog something new. YouTube Roswell UFO Video's

Friday, January 30, 2015

1-30 Excitement Abound

We are headed to New Mexico for a few days of snow skiing. We try to do one ski trip a year but there have been a number of years here and there where we did not get to go. Last year we were building the house, other years there may not have been good snow, who knows, but this year we are going and I am so excited.

We have made arraignments to board Flo at the local pet resort, OK, not really a resort, actually it's at our vets office, she will have a small but nice indoor kennel, they have indicated during the day on weekdays she will be able to go in and out on her own, on weekends they will take her out a couple of times a day. We have never boarded her before but I think she will be fine, over the last year or so she has slowed way down and spends the majority of her time sleeping, due to the other dogs she won't get as much sleep but that might be good for her. I have asked her what she thinks about all of this but she doesn't seem to care. We do have some friends in Austin who offered to watch her which was extremely nice of them but we decided to try out boarding her.

Skiing attire - Now as most folks know going skiing requires the correct wardrobe. It is quite cold out there, you can dress to be seen or you can dress to be warm, if you are really creative you can do a little of both. I like to stay warm but I also have this really great hat that gets lots of attention, most days quite a number of folks will ski by telling me they like my hat and a few will even holler down from up on the ski lift, we even had a pilot come out of the cockpit and offer the trade me his captains hat. For safety I really should switch to a helmet but I also love my hat. What do you think I should do? Leave me a comment below.

I have been dieting for the past four weeks and I am happy to say I have lost five pounds. I have another fifteen pounds to lose but I'm not in any hurry.  I track my calorie intake using My Fitness Pal and I normally  workout on the Wii an hour or two. I have been eating at least one piece of fruit everyday and occasionally walk Flo to the lake or around the neighborhood. Larry and I also go square dancing four or five times a week. Tonight the Killeen Kickers held a dance where every dance was a square dance, no round dancing, kept us up and dancing the entire time.

Squaring up to dance
Square Dancing

Thursday, January 29, 2015

1-29 Two Heads / Discussion

Are thoughts and ideas better when you have more input? This morning Larry and I were discussing something he read on the internet and later I got to wondering if you didn't have anyone to discuss things with are you at some type of a disadvantage? Not only that but if you are not the type of person who explores outside information and you also live alone would that be detrimental in some way?

I do not read newspapers, never ever, nor do I read news types of information on the internet. It's not that I am not interested in topics they cover I simply have other interests that occupy my time, I spend much of my time on computer games, cooking, blogging, cleaning and dog stuff. However, Larry loves to read newspapers, magazines, the internet and all kinds of information handouts, heck he will even take and read handouts from religious groups. Most days he will bring up some topics he has read about and we will discuss it a bit. Without him doing this I would be far less informed and he would not get the benefit of my thoughts, believe it or not we don't always agree, of course many of these discussions are not about agreeing or disagreeing they are simply thoughts on the topic. Many of these things are not political or controversial, they might be something as mundane as a new road or downtown Christmas decorations.

After mulling this about I believe if I did not have someone to bring these things up and to talk about them with not only would I be less well informed but my views would be narrower. Of course these conversations could take place with someone other than a spouse but I don't think I would be as open with most people, especially when it came to political, religious or controversial subjects.

What do you think? Feel free to add your comments below.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1-28 Makeup

Do I wear makeup? Nope, never, can't even remember the last time, might have been when I went to Glamor Shots 20+ years ago and I certainly didn't apply it. Dye my hair, not yet, maybe never. Dress up, only for square dancing. I certainly understand why women wear makeup, when I am in the line at the super market I see the magazines with all the beautiful women on the covers. I have also seen the dramatic results demonstrated on shows where they give a normal person an entire makeover but for some reason I simply have never cared to follow the path. I certainly don't begrudge women for spending the time and money and if it makes them feel better about themselves than I say more power to them.  I don't consider skin moisturizers and the like as makeup but I don't use those either, I probably should have but once again it just never appealed to me.

Don't forget, if you click on a picture you will get an enlarged view

Here are a couple of before and after examples that I found, the first one is a lady somewhere near my age and the second is much younger. I think both of these ladies did a excellent job on their makeup, they both look great.

We have built 3 houses and Larry has designed a makeup vanity for me in each of them, a really nice area with drawers, mirrors, lights and a chair, I am sure many women would love to have such an area but I never use it for makeup or hair, every once in a while I might sit there to put on my shoes but I probably sit on the corner of the tub more often, it seems quicker and easier, I don't have to pull out the chair. Know what I use this for? Normally I have a few articles of clothing thrown on top. If you look in the far back left corner you might be able to see a couple of bottles of perfume, someone gave those to me decades ago, might spritz a little once or twice a year.  Anyway, what do you think of makeup? Feel free to leave a comment below.

When Larry and I go square dancing sometimes we dress up and other times we go casual. Monday we went casual but tonight we dressed up. Most of the time at the dances the dancers are dressed casual but when the club dance is a special dance the club ask the dancers to dress up.
Larry and I dressed up for the dance.
Round Dancing at the Shirts 'n' Skirts regular dance.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1-27 Household Net Worth / Savings

Saw an article the other day on our My Yahoo page referring to a article on the Motley Fool about Household Net Worth , I think the article has some importance and the chart is interesting.

I am not an investment counselor nor do I care much about investing, fortunately Larry has always taken care of that but I do know that if you want to have a fairly large net worth it helps to start saving and investing early in life, you should also avoid as much debt as possible, really, do people need to live in 2500+ sq ft homes and have huge mortgage payments. Does anyone really need a new 35k car every few years. Drive that perfectly good car for a long time, use the money you save to invest or to help purchase the next new car. Once you see your account balances grow a bit it actually becomes quite a motivator and you will probably try harder to spend less and invest more. Keep in mind why you are doing this, I believe most people invest so they can become financially independent and be able to retire as early as possible. Most people will need greater amounts than the above chart indicates they currently have.   

Monday, January 26, 2015

1-26 Bed

Take a look at that picture, think that bed looks like something from the 80's? You would be correct. This is a King size waterbed from about 1985 and every day we are home we sleep on it, love sleeping on a waterbed. We bought this when we were living in an apartment in Tucson, moved it into our Tucson home, moved it to our rent house in Austin then into our permanent Austin home. Larry said when we sold that home the bed was going to the dump and we would purchase something newer and more modern, maybe a sleep number bed, well when the house sold he took it apart once more and put it in storage all the while saying he didn't know why. When we moved into the new house he hauled that bed out of storage and reassembled it in our new house. Now to be honest we really did plan to replace it and even researched new beds but over the years Larry has developed some pretty bad chemical allergies and foam seems to be especially bad, sleep number beds have a lot of foam in them so up went the old bed. For years we have talked about at least getting a more modern oak frame and headboard for this one but it has just never seemed that important, wouldn't make it sleep any better. Do you like that quilt? Hand made by Larry's mother, come summer we remove it, she also made us a very nice summer quilt. Love those quilts.

Our Waterbed
Larry and I are getting ready to go on a snow skiing trip and we decided to board Flo for the first time. We usually leave her with Aunt Louise but her aunt sometimes works 16 hour shifts and we thought it was unfair for Flo to be stuck in the house that long. Larry did some research on the Internet on places to board pets. He found a few places in the Belton/Temple area so we drove around to look at them. We stopped at the Belton Veterinary Clinic to look at the facilities and asked how it worked. They told us before she could stay with them she needed a few vaccinations updated (bordetella and influenza) so Larry called our vet and made an appointment for her shots, the vet didn't carry the influenza vaccine so Larry called the Belton Veterinary Clinic and they said they carried it. They told him he didn't need an appointment it works on first come first serve basis for vaccinations. Today we took Flo in for her appointment and while there we found out that they board pets. Larry walked around and looked at the area and we decided to board her there and made the arrangements for her stay. They didn't require the influenza vaccine so Flo only had to get the bordetella shot. This was a good thing for her.    

Sunday, January 25, 2015

1-25 What is a Blog?

What is a Blog?

 A website that displays postings by one or more individuals in chronological order and usually has links to comments on specific postings.

Blogs are usually written by one person and updated regularly, they are often written on a particular topic like travel, hobbies, kids but most are simply kind of a diary on day to day lives.

Blogs normally have the following:

Comments - At the bottom of each blog entry you will normally see a  place where you can add a comment, say you really like a photo or something about the blog entry is really interesting you can make a comment. Give it a try, folks love it when someone makes a positive comment on their blog.

ArchivesNormally in the sidebar on the right you will find a archive. The archive is a way to easily find old blog entries you may have missed. If you look over at my archive you will see it is arraigned by year, simply click on the year and you will see each month, click on the month and you will see all of my entries for that month, really easy.

Subscribe - By using this box you can subscribe to get updates to the blog posted on your own webpage portal, like My Yahoo.

Follow by E-Mail - If you subscribe by E-Mail you will get an email with every new blog update. 

Search - If you are looking for something in particular you can simply search for it.

We have been square dancing over a year now and a couple of times a month we drive to Gatesville to dance with the Coryell County Squares. In all that time Larry and I have never ventured into downtown Gatesville so today we decided to do just that. Gatesville is about 35 miles west of Belton, it is a beautiful small town of about 16,000 people which is known as the Spur Capitol of Texas, it is small enough that most everyone knows each other. Gatesville is also the count seat and the Coryell County Court House sits in the center of the downtown square, it is a magnificent building. Flo was really good during the ride (she always is) and when we got home I took her for a walk to the lake to go for a swim. On the way home we stopped so she could say hi to the neighbors.

Coryell County Court House
Living on Lake Belton

1-24 Going for a Ride

The sun is shining and we have been stuck in the house for a few days now it's time to do something. We didn't have anything to do in town so Larry took Flo and me for a ride around Morgan Point to look at new homes going up. It was amazing to see how fast the area was growing. Flo started to get restless so we stopped at a neighborhood park in Morgan Point and took her for a walk. When we got back in the car she settled right down and went to sleep. Once we got home I worked out on the Wii. In the evening Larry and I went to our fifth square dance this week. The Denim and Lace Club was celebrating their class graduation. The dance had a great turnout and a lot of delicious food.

Larry and I dressed for the Denim and Lace Club Dance.
Dennis Camp calling during the dance.
Square Dancing to Dennis.

Friday, January 23, 2015

1-23 Extended Warranties

Do you purchase extended warranties? Should you? My experience tells me there are very few instances where you should purchase an extended warranty and reputable resources such as Consumers Reports agrees (Consumer Reports -Extended warranties Guide). In my blog the other day I talked a bit about vacuums, in over 30 years we have owned two, never took either one in for a repair. Let's talk appliances: Stoves, owned three, no repairs. Refrigerators, I believe we are on our third (might be fourth), have not repaired one but have paid service guys to check out the two that finally failed, both times they said compressor was shot and we should buy a new fridge, the quickest one has failed was seven years. Washers/Dryers they last years and years, when a washer finally quits we simply buy a new one, nothing fancy, dryers are simpler and Larry has fixed our current one a couple of times but once again they are not that expensive and when he can't fix it we simply replace it. Dishwashers, have never replaced one, of course I never use one. Trash compactors, love em, three houses, three compactors, no failures. Microwaves, couldn't live without one, use them multiple times a day and in over 30 years only one failure. Water heaters, no failures. As you can see if I would have purchased an extended warranty on any of the above I would have simply been giving my money away.

Home Air conditioner / Heater: Over the years we have had some repairs and even had to have one totally replaced, the repairs are normally less than $200 and most new ones actually come with really long warranties, we certainly would have lost money on an extended warranty.

Computers, normally come with a one year warranty, odds are if they are going to fail it will be within the year, if they fail after that maybe a friend (or brother) can get it going for you and if not buy a new one, a decent machine can be bought for less than $350 and it will be faster/better than your old one.

Automobiles, we keep them far longer than most folks, after having the last car for 16 years we just bought a new to us car, yep, bought a used car, oh did I mention the car we had for 16 years was actually 21 years old, yep, bought it used. We have purchased our trucks new, we have found by purchasing less fancy models we can actually buy a new truck for less than a used one. As of today we have never bought a vehicle extended warranty and would have lost money if we had. This is one place where we might eventually purchase a warranty, new cars are extremely reliable but they now have far more sophisticated stereos, electronics and computer controls. While a person will probably lose money on the extended warranty they will buy themselves piece on mind. Let's say you purchase a bumper to bumper warranty from the manufacture that will cover the car 7 years or 100,000 miles, these can normally be purchased for less than $1700 (remember the mfg. new car warranty will cover the first 3 years), this would mean 4 years of warranty is costing you about $425 per year, the piece of mind might be worth it. A couple of things to think about, these extended warranties normally have a $100 deductible so you will still be on the hook for some money and you don't have to purchase the warranty when you purchase the car, both GM and Ford will let you purchase the warranty later as long as the car has less than 36000 miles, why on earth would you purchase it when the car is new, you may not have the car in three years, it might get totaled in a wreck.

Today Larry and I went square dancing with the Double C's Club Founders Dance. The club had a special caller Nelda Eaton, who calls to Gospel Music. Ed Smith was the cuer for the round dances in between square dancing sets. This was Ed's last dance curing because he decided to retire but his wife and him are still going to dance at the different clubs. We wish him all the luck in his retirement.

Ed Smith cuing the Round Dancing Tips.
Round Dancing to Ed's cuing.

Nelda Eaton the caller during the Founders Day Dance

The outfits Larry and I wore to the dance.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

1-22 It Sucks

Let's talk a bit about vacuums. This is probably not a subject that would come up in most conversations but the other day Larry was working on the retractable power cord on our vacuum and in doing that he discovered a couple of filters that we have never replaced. He dug out the manual to get the part numbers and noticed the receipt (he always staples the receipts to the owners manual) indicated we had purchased the vacuum 13 years ago. WOW, got me to thinking. I only remember owning two vacuums in our entire time together. Way back when we first got together Larry's mother bought us a Sears Kenmore canister vacuum as a gift (she probably was tired of us borrowing hers), that vacuum lasted us through 3 houses, 3 moves and two different states, heck it lasted longer than most marriages. When it finally sucked it's last bit of dust we replaced it with the Sears Kenmore canister vacuum we have today. Larry's mother still uses one of these vacuums and so does his sister, I have no idea how many each of them has owned but we all swear by them (not at them).

Current Vacuum
Original Vacuum (nice color)

Now those folks who know us know if something isn't working correctly Larry will counsel it, work on it, try his very best to nurse it back to health and only after that will he finally replace it, well I am happy to report that our current vacuum only needed minor surgery and is now back to full health, a new vacuum will not be finding it's way into our home today.

Vacuum Surgery
Surgery Complete
It was raining on and off all day so we hung around the house. In the evening Larry and I went to Gatesville to square dance with the Coryell County Squares.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1-21 Small Town Living

I love small town living. Back when we lived in Austin getting out and doing anything had become a chore simply because of traffic and the growth of the city. We now live in Belton, Tx. where things are much, much slower and there is no congestion. The other day we needed to go downtown to the county appraisal office to file for a homestead exemption on our new house, normally the thought of going downtown and doing a task that has anything to do with the government would be enough to send a person running and screaming into the street, not here, simply took the easy drive downtown, parked about 50 feet from the front door, walked directly to the counter, no waiting and no number machine, told the friendly lady what we needed, she quickly filled out and printed the form, had us sign/date it, passed along a few pleasantries and we were back in our car, probably took less than 10 minutes. Now some cynical person might think we simply got lucky, nope, we have been here a couple of times in the past and the experience has been the same. Need to go to the county courthouse, same thing, park right next to the building and walk in, no security and friendly helpful folks, need to talk to someone at the city water department about anything other than a bill, simply call and ask to talk to Dustin, yep only one person to deal with and they have a name. Want to stop by and see Dustin, no problem, park next to city hall and walk right in. Oh, almost forgot to mention, no paying to park, not a meter or pay parking lot anywhere in Belton or Temple. The only time we have had to park more than a block away was for the fourth of July parade, downtown is packed and we had to park a whole five blocks away, still free. Got to love small town living !!!

Appraisal Building - Look busy to you? Parking right up front
County Court House  / Downtown

Downtown - See any parking meters?
Anyone can be in the parade
We had a very relaxing day because it was dreary. In the evening Larry and I went square dancing with the Shirts 'n' Skirts Club in Georgetown. They didn't have their regular caller Jim Hayes instead Ed Larder called because Jim was sick.

Line Dancing during the Shirts 'n' Skirts Dance.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1-20 Pictures vs. Photography

I take lots of pictures, Larry would probably say too many pictures. We started taking digital pictures in 1998 and have approx. 30,000 pictures, took over 4000 last year alone. I like to take pictures to capture memories of people we know or have met, places we have traveled and sights we have seen. Of course the only way to revisit those memories is to take a look at old pictures and at times we actually do that.

Once in a great while there may be a particular picture that I really like but in no way would I call my picture taking photography. Have you ever compared a photo taken by a professional photographer to something you might have taken a picture of, huge difference. I took the following picture of a bull elk last fall in Yellowstone National Park, got really lucky getting a picture of this magnificent bull, he was in the open and the sun was setting so the light was pretty good. I was thrilled to take this. Don't forget to click on the pictures for a bigger view.

Now here is a similar photo from a professional photographer, see the difference.

Over the past six years we have spent a considerable amount of time in Yellowstone and have discovered quite a few professional photographers simply hang out there trying to get the perfect shot, these people will spend hours and hours waiting for the photo they want. Early one morning we came upon a small group of them trying to get the perfect photo of a fox, we probably spent 20-30 minutes and got a couple of nice pictures, one of the photographers Larry talked to had been there for hours the previous day and had been there for numerous hours the day we were there hoping for a better photo, when we drove by the following day he was there again. Not only do these photographers have extreme patience they have also perfected their craft with years of experience and really expensive camera gear.

My Picture of a Fox
Professional Photographer

Today Larry and I went on an hour walk to Temple Lake Park and we took Flo for a half hour walk around Lions Park in Temple. It was another gorgeous day. LIFE IS GOOD!

Belton Lake during our walk to Temple Lake Park.

"Fun Time" sculpture at Temple Lions Park

1-19 Hiking Miller Springs Trails

It was another beautiful day so Larry and I decided go on a hike. We usually walk the road to Temple Lake Park but today we decided to walk somewhere new. We hiked the Miller Springs Nature Center trails for an hour and half and had a great time. This was the first time here and we weren't familiar with the trails so we hiked a little of each trail. We hiked through trees, down a hill, through an open field, and by the Leon River and the dam. In the evening we went to Georgetown and square danced with the Sundancers. It was the Sundancers 18th Anniversary Dance so they invited Paul Cote to call with their caller Brad Caldwell. This was the first time that Brad and Paul called together and they did an outstanding job. Everyone at the dance had a fun time.

Larry on the walkway to the parking lot at Miller Springs Nature Center

Larry hiking the trails
Miller Springs
Lucy Pate cuing during the Sundancers Dance.
Round Dancing to Lucy
Brad Caldwell and Paul Cote
Outfits we wore to the dance.