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Week of 2 July 2001

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Monday, 2 July 2001

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Lot's accomplished yesterday on the home front. After getting the house tidied again and a quick shower is was time for lunch. After lunch it was off to the office to play catch up. I spent two hours going through mail and web pages. I also updated my WebViews page for the month with a couple of neat astronomy sites, a house plant guide and a really cool history site. 

I then tackled both desks getting things put away and organized. Since Bob moved the scanner back to his office I now have the area just to the left of my monitor for my use again. Bob was working on the scanner and could still not get it to work. I stopped about 5:00 and started dinner of homemade pizza.

While we ate we watched a tape Bob had found in his office from Obsession. Now, now, get your minds out of the gutter, Obsession is a very high end telescope maker. Bob got it for free in some promotional material he requested back when he was shopping for a telescope. Although he knew they were out of our price range he was interested in the video anyway. Well, talk about your most boring video ever. It was homemade deal with bad sound and video. However, the people who made it were sincere in their product it was just rather blah!. I gave up on it when they were full into the description of how the bases were constructed and went outside to water the dying plants.

When I came back in Bob was talking to my friend Nancy on the phone who had called to go over some CBCR stuff with me. With the skies fairly clear and not much showing up on the weather radar we decided to head to Bullington to try out the new scope. We called Bonnie who said she would see us up there.

As usual by the time we loaded the car, settled the dogs and Lenore, and got up there is was cloudy. We sat in the car watching this tremendous thunder storm grow off to the south of Winston-Salem. Between the front to the south and one behind us to the north we had a clear view of the moon and Mars from time to time. Finally about 10:30 Bonnie decided to get out her scope to look at this mountain we had discovered on the moon. We got out the new scope and after taking a bit to get it set up had just enough time to look at the moon and Mars before the clouds rolled back in covering everything up.

We finally bagged it about 11:30 and came home, which by that time the skies had cleared again, the moon was out, etc, etc. Damn the weather and observing. On the way just as we were about a mile or so from home there was a cop ahead in my lane with a car stopped. I switched to the other lane and slowed down. Just as I passed him we saw all these lights, cop cars, cones, etc in the right hand lane. I thought man there must be a bad wreck up ahead, a tree down, or something.

No! It was drunk driving check point. As we drove up there must have been a total to 50 cops and state police on both sides of the road. A big trailer in the middle of the four lanes with this big .08 sign in red on it. They had one lane on the other side of the four lane coned off like ours was checking cars turning at the light and going in the opposite direction. There must have been dozen motorcycles and thirty cars. They waved me through this line of cops to the last one who waved me to stop. I had my wallet ready. He asked to see my drivers license and wanted to know if I still lived on Witherow Road. Just behind this young guy was a cop I have known since high school. He used to be a patron at my library and worked plain cloths for awhile. I said hello to him as the other cop yelled at someone behind the truck to see if our license plate was fine.

Man, every store around the area could have been robbed with ease with the number of cops they had at the check point. We got home just before midnight, walked the dogs and off to bed.

Monday morning routine, off to the gym and drugstore. I am going to work on the poisons book this afternoon.

Hope your week is off to a good start.




Tuesday, 3 July 2001

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If you read Marcia's page for Monday you will see that we are going to get to meet in Atlanta. Pretty exciting don't you think. In addition to being the shoe queen she also wins the award for having met most of the Netwidows. I am sure we shall have a grand time in hot Atlanta. 

Free to a good home! One HP Scanner suitable for tossing on your bonfire or dropping from a 20 story building to test gravity!!! Bob gave up yesterday and ordered us a new one. That stupid HP scanner is less than two years old and while we used it for making copies and scanning my pictures of my trips it is practically like new. 

In addition to that problem our Internet connect keeps going up and down. I was working on the book late yesterday afternoon and every five minutes or so it would go down making it hard to do research. Mr. Rat and Thompson Techno Grotto are definitely having some hardware problems in the Rat's Nest.

After returning from the gym I headed out to mow the lawn before the temps and humidity became unbearable. After lunch I decided I better go down and give the truck a good vacuuming out and window clean from dog hair and slobber. Since I was down there anyway, I pulled everything out of astro-truck and did a good clean of it too. 

Back upstairs for a shower, Bob was taking a nap. Later he came down to help me organize the big scope in the back than I packed all the regular gear back in. Looks more organized now and will make it easier to find stuff. Pork chops, green beans, and my mom's homemade apples for dinner.

Since the Internet connection would not stay up I finally bagged trying to work after dinner and finished off Round Ireland with a Fridge. Last walk for the dogs and off to bed to read the fourth book in the Robin Paige Victorian series.

This morning is cool, cloudy, and refreshing. After so many days of heat and humidity it is nice to have a cloudy morning. I am off to have lunch with my friend Nancy and then back home to work on the book. If the Internet connection will not stay up I can work on material I already have pasted in to the individual pages.

We really need some rain and cooler weather. The grass is starting to look brown in places and the some of the trees are already starting to drop a few brown leaves.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting  my pages.



Wednesday, 4 July 2001

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Happy July 4th to all of you who live in the United States. The dogs will not have a good evening as the kids in the neighborhood start shooting off firecrackers and bottle rockets. The weather looks much like it did yesterday with cloudy skies and high humidity. We never did get any rain. I think I will take advantage of the cooler temperatures this morning and do some general maintenance in the yard. Several natural areas need weeds pulled and other assorted tasks.

Poor Bob Walder and Benson sweltering in 70 degree heat in Britain. Yes, I know it is all relative. What the Netwidows who live on the West Coast wouldn't give for those temperatures right now. We still have relatively low temps for this time of year with highs in the 80's to low 90's. However, with the humidity it very quickly can feel like it is in the mid to upper 90's. And boy do we need rain!

I had a very nice lunch with Nancy yesterday at the Midtown Cafe. Afterwards we sat outside in the courtyard of the shopping complex where the restaurant is located and let her 14 month old run around and play a bit. I worked in the book most of yesterday afternoon until time to start dinner. We watched Wimbledon tennis than I read until time for bed.

If you have the day off I hope it is an enjoyable one. Just another day around the Thompson Techno Grotto. Work some, watch some tennis, play with the dogs, etc. 


Thursday, 5 July 2001

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It may have been cloudy with cool temps but the humidity was right at 92% when I started in the yard. It did not take long before I was soaked just pulling weeds and tidying up plants that needed some pruning. After I finished doing that I fixed my hose reel. The connector hose from the reel to the faucet was rotted and the connection on the reel itself had started leaking. 

I put on a new piece of connector hose from a small piece I had left of an old hose I had cut up for some other use. The connector to the reel itself was a small hose clamp, so that end was no problem. Pop it on and retighten the hose clamp. But, the other end need a connection for the faucet. The hose repair female end that I had leaked from the faucet for some reason. The only thing I had left to make the connect was a series of quick connect pieces. By the time I found enough male and female connections I had three or four rigged up connectors made. But it works for now. Next time I go to Lowe's I will get a new brass fitting and remove all the Geri rigged stuff.

I came in and fixed lunch then watched a little tennis while I cooled off. The neighbor next door was taking out a small tree in the other neighbors yard behind us. I went out and helped them haul limbs to the street just to be neighborly. We got to talking about the two dead Lombardy poplars in the back of our yard. Jim offered to take them down but we would need a rope to guide where they fall. They are pretty tall. Since Bob had already had his shower and it was getting even hotter, I told him we would postpone that project for another day, preferable one morning when it is not so hot.

Back in for my shower, I spent the remainder of the afternoon working on the book. About dinner time some rain and thunderstorms finally moved into the area. It looks like we got a least a half in anyway by the time we took the dogs out.

Golf this morning so as usual I wrote this last night. I am not sure what I will get into this afternoon. Catch you later.



Friday, 6 July 2001

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Dad and I played our usual round of golf yesterday. Although warm it was not nearly as humid as the day before and we had an occasional breeze to help keep us cool.

When we finished we called my mom to let her and my sister know to head on over the the little diner where we like to eat lunch. They met us there and then I went back to the house for a few minutes. It was around two o'clock before I made it back home. After usual mail check, etc I worked for a bit until time for Bob and and I to go to the library and dinner. We decided there was way too much cloud cover for a trip up to Bullington, the weather liars again missing the forecast of the evening being clear.

I watched the rerun of the Williams/Davenport tennis match from Wimbledon while catching up a stack of magazines sitting on my end table. I was also going to watch the qualifying for Saturday's race from Daytona but it was rained out. I had just enough time to finish the Robin Paige mystery before it was time to walk the dogs for the last time.

While we at the library I picked up a couple of travel guides covering the Carolina's and Georgia area just to flip through for the much anticipated trip this weekend to Atlanta to meet up with Marcia. You can of course now do all your planning on the Internet but I still enjoy having a book in hand to get an idea of where things are located in relation to one another and then hit websites for more information. I am looking forward to spending the day with and getting to know Marcia even better as we take in the sites. 

This morning has dawned somewhat cooler only because the humidity is way down. I am off to the grocery store, bank, and PO then back home to get some things done. I will wait until tomorrow to haul down the suitcase and pack. The dogs, especially Duncan, knows what a suitcase is and what it means. He gets a very worried look on his face because he understands that I will be going away. You cannot hide anything from a smart dog especially a border collie.

And, speaking of dogs. Check out this article on the front page of the Winston-Salem Journal this morning. New laws have gone into effect in nearby Davidson County requiring pet owners to pay a measly $10 to get their cat or dog vaccinated against rabies. There has been a horrible outbreak of rabies in many of the counties in the western portion of the state including ours and all the surrounding areas. If the dogs are caught without tags there is a $100 a day fine. In Forsyth County twice a year local vets conduct a $5 rabies vaccination clinic at the local fair grounds.

Instead of getting the shot, pet owners are dumping their dogs and cats at shelters or turning them out to become feral rather than pay the damn $10. David Letterman is missing a great opportunity here. Instead of stupid pet tricks he should run a show called "stupid humans who should not be allowed to own pets" stories. First of all, the animal control people are not going to go door to door checking your pet. Second, most of these people do not take their animals to have regular checkups at their vets anyway, so who is going to know unless the dog gets loose and is picked up by an animal control officer. Without proper registration the pet can't be traced back to an owner so why all of a sudden dump the dogs and cats? 

In twenty years of being a librarian and of course my 30-some years as an adult I have seen some stupid adults who should not have been allowed to procreate. In the last few years since I have started doing rescue and owning dogs of my own I have seen or read about twice that number of stupid adults who should not have become pet owners. Adults just do not seem to want to take responsibility for their kids or their dogs anymore.

Okay, I shall shut up. Friday rant is over. 


Saturday, 7 July 2001

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Atlanta Bound. I take off this afternoon for Atlanta with a stop along the way to do a home visit for a family wanting to adopt a dog from CBCR. I am leaving with enough time to allow for the visit plus bathroom stops and dinner. This morning I will water the outside plants, pack, and do any last minute things that need done before I leave.

Last night we did go over to SciWorks for the public observation. I spent a good portion of yesterday working on the book and some paperwork. About three I went out to the couch to watch the tennis and golf but ended up taking a short nap. After dinner we packed our stuff for the evening under the stars.

There was a very good turnout. Lots of families and kids and a surprising number of just moms with their sons and/or daughters. The moon was very late coming up but did make an appearance right around 10:15 in the low horizon. The Club had two scopes set up plus a handful of other club members who turned out with their own. All told, I guess we had 8 to 10 club members with scopes for people to wander around and look through. At this point my opinion of Mars in a scope is rather blasé. With atmospheric junk and as far away as it is, there is just not much to see through a scope. Several club members found some double stars and once the moon came up we all shifted our scopes on it. 

We set up both scope but unfortunately determined very early that the finder scope on the new grab and go sucked big time. It is poorly mounted and will not stay aligned making it virtually impossible to find anything in. Bob very quickly dismantled it and back in the truck it went. Looks like another Telrad will be arriving at the Thompson Techo Grotto next week.

However, we did mount the new Telrad on the big scope and boy is it much better for finding things. Things finally broke up around 11:30 and off home we headed. By the time we walked the dogs and settled everyone down it was going on 1am. The guys woke us up regular time and after Bob took them out we snoozed a little longer. I finally got up around 8:30 to read the paper and give the dogs their morning vitamins and pills.

There will be no posting for Sunday or Monday. I will be picking Marcia up from the airport tonight. Sunday we will be trying to see as much of Atlanta as is possible in one day. Monday morning I drop Marcia off at her Atlanta office and I will head for home. I have another home visit to do on the way back in the afternoon and should arrive back home well before dinner time.

Have a good weekend everyone. If it is clear tonight I guess Bob will go up to Bullington  to do some observing.


Sunday, 8 July 2001

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