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Old 12-22-2010, 07:34 AM   #6441
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I am also aware that I am writing these lines on an "early retirement" board, and most people on this board may have different priorities in life. I wish I could take some of you one day with me on one of these missions. It puts all our problems in perspective - we have so much here. We are so privileged.
My SIL is a nurse and went on one of these missions this past year. She said pretty much the same as you. A life we can't imagine.

Having some decent weather here. Played golf yesterday and will again today. Suppose to cool off Christmas day though.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:40 AM   #6442
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...........
I am also aware that I am writing these lines on an "early retirement" board, and most people on this board may have different priorities in life. I wish I could take some of you one day with me on one of these missions. It puts all our problems in perspective - we have so much here. We are so privileged.

Take care everyone.
Great post. I think your personal narrative adds perspective to the often abstract view of human suffering. Each life is one worth living.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:47 AM   #6443
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I'm making cinnamon raisin bread on the dough setting in my breadmaker. I am going to divide it into 4 portions for baking and give it as Christmas presents for the MA crew.
I'm getting ready for our trip east...phone calls, turning off washing machine water feeds, writing the "gotta bring this" checklist...
Mr Boston is in ProcrastiSanta (kudos to the recent Sears TV commercial ) mode this AM. My shopping was done weeks ago thanks to Amazon.
I will NOT go near a mall at this time of year. People's "gimme gimme" behavior in stores makes my teeth grind 365 days a year, and it is especially bad right
now.
So more power to Mr Boston facing the hordes on his own.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:15 PM   #6444
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This morning I ran several errands (including the farmers' market ranch folks). Got home at ~1PM. Garage door made a loud noise on the way down and there was detritus on the floor.
Asked the neighbor who to call, got name of person who had installed door, he showed up, went to Lowes and bought some parts and fixed the door.
A great advantage to blue-collar neighbors is that they can fix stuff or know who can.
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:29 AM   #6445
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I saw many patients in 10 days.
It does make anyone else's complaints in the U.S. seem minor. Never in my life have I wondered where my next meal was coming from.

Thank you for the reminder of how lucky we are.
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:43 AM   #6446
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Words fail me . . .
Me too. Thank you.
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:18 AM   #6447
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Making a caramel/peanut butter mousse/chocolate tart for Christmas eve dinner. Just finished a pecan pie and a carrot cake...now on to the homeade cranberry sauce with creme fraiche.

LOVE cooking, glad the family loves eating too!

We're incredibly blessed. We've never wanted unlike most people on this earth...very, very lucky to have been born in this great country and had the opportunity to be educated and make a good living.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:04 PM   #6448
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Sprinkler repairs. Or should I say "repairing things operated by landscapers".

A neighbor is a single parent who's just about finished raising three kids. Work is demanding and she's not mechanically inclined, so she calls me for handyman repairs.

Her yard's sprinkler system has three control valves sticking up out of the ground on PVC pipes. The PVC is the thin-wall style and it's over 20 years old. As the hired landscapers would work around the yard with their mowers & string trimmers, they were whacking the PVC pipes and cracking them. After my fourth repair from that crew, I persuaded her to buy an enclosure.

Although the enclosure protects the control valves, it also hides them. Yesterday she got a call from the Board of Water Supply advising her to check her sprinklers. (You know it's a bad leak when the BOWS calls you.) She called me and relayed the news. When I arrived, I could practically hear it in the driveway 20 feet away. The landscapers had been starting the sprinklers manually with the bleeder valve and had hastened the process of wearing it out. It was spraying at least a gallon a minute inside the enclosure and turning the area into a mosh pit. After watching the leaky bleeder valve let the leak slice through two new gaskets, I decided that it was time for a new control valve. It's a shame, too, because the old valve is solid brass, weighs a ton, and is built (mostly) like a brick outhouse. I'll go back today to check for leaks, connect the new solenoid, and put everything back together. Maybe I'll just leave the enclosure lid to one side so that next time people can see the spray.

At least the new control valve has a bleeder valve attached to the solenoid-- which is a lot easier to operate and a lot easier to repair/replace.

Our daughter is on Day 7 of 21 of her college break, and the financial-adulthood paperwork continues. NFCU has split her accounts out, so I guess now she's building her own credit rating. She signed up online for a PenFed account and that paperwork is on the way. (We still have to call a rep to complete the process of being able to transfer funds from my PenFed account to hers.) She signed up for a Fidelity account and has mailed off the "transfer of assets" forms to move her T. Rowe Price accounts. She's also linking her NFCU checking account to Fidelity for automated transfers.

Today she'll start moving money from NFCU to PenFed for her CDs. She'll start moving money from NFCU to Fidelity to make her 2010 Roth IRA contribution. She'll figure out which one of these fine institutions is interested in giving her a credit card in her own name so that I can cancel "our" Citi card. And finally she'll get a quote from Armed Forces Insurance on a personal-property policy. I am that close to getting rid of my oldest financial-management client.

When that's all done, she can get started on her tax returns! Maybe she'll just install TurboTax on her Macbook and take care of that at her leisure. I think we'd both rather be surfing...
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:23 PM   #6449
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Took what I thought was going to be a cold, grueling training ride. Jenny says she's going to whip my butt in bicycling when she visits -- I could beat her last year, but just barely.

In any case, the sun came out, and it turned out to be a very pleasant ride.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:54 PM   #6450
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Jenny says she's going to whip my butt in bicycling when she visits -- I could beat her last year, but just barely.
As an experienced parent/spouse, I think that no matter who crosses the finish line first-- you're gonna lose.

I don't know what those NROTC Marine gunny sergeants have been teaching my daughter, but at taekwondo the other night I had my hands full. If we'd been sparring with helmets then I would've been hurtin' from head shots.

And after she was done beating up on me she went on to an hour of kickboxing...
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:02 PM   #6451
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Yesterday, the first full day of winter, we looked out our kitchen window to see our hawthorn tree covered with robins--maybe 20?--who were fighting over the handful of remaining berries. Rarely see migrating robins, and never in December.

Even weirder was about ten minutes later when we looked out again and saw a hawk sitting on the fencepost. By then the robins had moved on, and after a minute or so he took flight. We have never ever seen a hawk in our yard or even in our neighborhood. He must have been stalking the robins?

Both sightings were awesome experiences for DH and me.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:09 AM   #6452
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Yesterday, the first full day of winter, we looked out our kitchen window to see our hawthorn tree covered with robins--maybe 20?--who were fighting over the handful of remaining berries. Rarely see migrating robins, and never in December.

Even weirder was about ten minutes later when we looked out again and saw a hawk sitting on the fencepost. By then the robins had moved on, and after a minute or so he took flight. We have never ever seen a hawk in our yard or even in our neighborhood. He must have been stalking the robins?

Both sightings were awesome experiences for DH and me.
My neighbor's tree had a flock of robins a few weeks ago too. Plus, I have a hawk that seems to be killing my chickadees. The hawk showed up in my yard three days in a row, killing two birds. The birds I was feeding seem to have disappeared.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:59 AM   #6453
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We arrived safe and sound in MA. We had a little bit of snow going through the Berkshire Mts but nothing to scream about. There was all sorts of frozen waterfalls along the way on the sheer rock faces along the highway. Some were blue, some were light brown in tint. Fabulous !

We have a busy day today visiting relatives and have several places to be later on.

Santa arrives right after midnight.
I better take a nap so I don't miss the clatter of hooves on the rooftop.

Merry Christmas everyone!

PS I'll log on here and there over the next week, so if you PM me, it may take a day or so until I read it.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:41 AM   #6454
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The birds I was feeding seem to have disappeared.
Actually, you are feeding the hawk also (and cats probably). That's how nature works.

At least, that's how I think of it when a hawk visits our feeders or see a satisfied looking cat with stray feathers all about. (I am, however, uncomfortable with the way cats play with their food before getting down to business.)
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:53 AM   #6455
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I don't mind the hawk feeding, but the cats bug me. They rarely eat the birds they kill. Outdoor cats are a pet peeve of mine.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:05 AM   #6456
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Outdoor cats are a pet peeve of mine.
I am definitely in that camp... and indoor ones are at some considerable risk.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:23 AM   #6457
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Actually, you are feeding the hawk also (and cats probably). That's how nature works.

At least, that's how I think of it when a hawk visits our feeders or see a satisfied looking cat with stray feathers all about. (I am, however, uncomfortable with the way cats play with their food before getting down to business.)
So true...nature can be so cruel to witness tho. I'm just glad I saw the aftermath of the hawk's dinner.

The hawk was a very proud looking bird, sitting on my fence. I have to admit I was pretty excited to see him. Watching out for my dog tho.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:07 PM   #6458
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There is no such thing as an outdoor cat where I live. Between the rattlesnakes, great horned owls, golden eagles, coyote, bobcats, mountain lions, all 3 of our cats are indoors only.

This morning I cleaned lots and lots of penstemon seeds for the garden and natural area around the house.

What an absolutely mindless j*b, but I was outside in the sun, and was watching the birdies.

Yesterday we were hit with the left overs of the CA storm. Rain most off the AM. I lit a fire and we had brunch in our Chiricahua room.

The Gypsy Carpenters » Chiricahua Room Progress

Today we are back to our normal boring, sunny and warm weather.
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Old 12-24-2010, 01:08 PM   #6459
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Made Cherry Pineapple cheesecake, also cream cheese taco dip. Fed Dog, cat, wild birds, stray cat, (probably a mistake) and chickens. Told rooster if he attacked me again he was Christmas Dinner. Going visiting this evening.
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:37 PM   #6460
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Sliced a 12 pound pork roast into manageable pieces.

DH rewarded my endeavors by making a frozen coffee drink for me. After blending, he decided the drink needed more ice. The ice was added...problem is, he forgot to put the top back on the blender.

What a mess......after cleaning up, he had to take a shower.
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