After this was taken there was a MAJOR wind storm that blew over the light pole and ripped the plywood and canvas covering off the top of the caboose.
Well, speaking of things train restoration related...The good news is we "found" this, and it's been donated to our group for "free". Its all the stuff that goes underneath the car in the next picture, built by the same manufacturer in 1868. (It's upside down) and includes the trucks (wheel assemblies)
The bad news is, it's in Baltimore and has to be removed by mid February (or it gets scrapped) and the trucking estimate alone is $10,000
There is a lot of scrambling going on, and I'm sure it will get saved, but it's providing LOTS of excitement in our little group.
Had a nice Thanksgiving, went to a wine club that has excellent food who had a pot luck dinner where they provided the Turkey, Ham and mashed potatoes. The guy next to me was a close match to Keith Richards, mannerisms, appearance. Just lacking the accent. Great wine of course. (Lost on me, I don't drink)
Today was very productive, a trip to town, Yoga class, paid ATT bills, signed up for Comcast phone service. (Which, combined with the internet and TV we already have, SHOULD result in a savings) I'll believe it when it happens. Then shopping, then a call(via cell phone) that the phone tech was enroute. It took 4 hours and many trips to other places (for the tech) but about 6pm we got our dial tone back. There was a break somewhere else. When I asked earlier on about just using a different pair of wires, I was told they were all full. So more good news, next week there will be a pair available! Tech was very nice.
Comcast person confirmed my deceased mom was STILL listed as primary and showed me that he had changed it on the computer. I was shown the same thing years ago the last time this issue came up. Color me dubious.
But for now all is good (other than the 49rs loss, which they deserved)
We're spending some time out at the coast over Thanksgiving. When we got here late Monday, the phone was not working.
Went to a neighbor's house to report the problem. There was never any option to talk to a real person, and they wanted a contact # to confirm we would be home between 8am and 8pm. HELLO! OUR PHONE IS OUT!!!! And there is no cell phone coverage in this area.
Tuesday no repairman. So Tues night I went online and went around and around trying to report it but was unable to get a confirmed report. This morning I was able to get another 12 hour window, so we wait.
Meanwhile I got to thinking, why not go with Comcast who provides out TV and Internet out here? We can get a discount on top of it! So after much gnashing of teeth and fingers I get to an online chat person to confirm everything, "What's the name on your account?" Myname. Uh oh suddenly I recall the hell that is Comcast. When my mom died in 2006 I transferred the account to myname. Since then, every time I want to do something they say I don't have the authorization because I'm not MyMom. I eventually get it straightened out and they assure me that her name has been totally and permanently removed from the account, WE PROMISE! Lying sacks of turkey dung!
Where's that cop with the pepper spray when I need him?
If there's anyone not already at "that age", at some point many/most people start reading the obituary section, "To see if I'm in there!"
Age, natural selection, bad luck all take a toll.
There are a number of people I knew in high school that I have lost track of, and have been curious about. Last week I saw an obituary for an older woman with the same last name as a "missing" friend. Indeed it was his mother, and, sadly, he was listed as having predeceased her.
His parents had been missionaries. He was in the journalism clique, although I knew him from band. He had convinced a local church to let him set up a weekend coffee house in the basement. I spent a lot of time there helping with this and that. It was there,after closing one night, that we got robbed at gunpoint. I had 4 quarters, which got dropped by the gunman, and I retrieved. But it went into the report and I got repaid a year or so later. The gunman was an AWOL airman from the local base. The gun, BTW, was a .22 pistol that looked like a shotgun to me! I met a lot of interesting people and had some very interesting experiences there.
We had hung around together a few years in high school, but by senior year he had lost interest in our friendship it seemed. The last time I saw him was immediately after our graduation ceremony when I called out to him. He waved and said "catch you later". I never saw or heard from or about him again.
I posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone had any info, and one classmate responded that he had killed himself in the early or mid 70's.
First bit of retirement advice is if you are asked to be on a Board of Directors, this is NOT a Sally Fields Moment (They like me! They REALLY LIKE ME!) They have you pegged for a sucker. Do it if you really want to, but have your eyes open.
So after I retired, and after some consideration, I got involved in a railroad historical society that was doing restoration of an old caboose near where I live. (BOD #1) My skill sets lean more towards deconstruction than fine woodworking. This came in handy when two additional cars were acquired.
I have an interest in historical preservation/documentation, so it has evolved that I have done much of the still photography documenting of the reconstruction. We also have a videographer. And it happens that my digital camera has a video function. In the last year, freight service has been re established in our area after an absence of many years and trials (literal trials in some cases) and tribulations in the interim. So I began documenting some of the return with the video function, and how better to share that Utube?
It turns out that there are quite a few people who are REALLY into trains. This has encouraged me to video the local trains. I've branched out a bit into our local waterway (Also very historic, basically the reason for our towns founding) I came across a site that tracks maritime traffic, (http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/) and has pictures of many of the vessels. You can upload pictures of the ships. A local company has a number of ships, so I have been taking pictures of them and uploading them. If I can ever catch them moving/unloading a barge, I will video that and post it on Utube. I also did a utube video of the Sonoma County Gran Fondo bike ride as it passed a spot on the coast.
All this is leading up to my posting of two of the most viewed videos I've done. I don't guess there are train buffs here, but you might enjoy them anyway (they're short). The first is popular because of the audio I think. The second has some historical significance. And despite what you see here, I think these are the only times the two locomotives have run together. Enjoy!
My back is finally feeling well enough to walk on the beach and pick up garbage, so I did just that Monday afternoon as we fled once again from the heat inland.
I had been reading about the red tide, an abundance of plankton and algae that is harmful to many creatures, and indeed, the shore was littered with muscle shells and a few abalone type mollusks. Starfish are also dying but I did not see any of those.
Having reached the end of the beach, I turned to make another pass at a different level looking for garbage. I came upon a couple with two unleashed dogs, a no no, but I don't really have a problem with that, except that as I was talking with the "gentleman" about the dead sea life, one of the dogs took a crap in the sand, and the "lady" was using a plastic ball thrower to toss it into the surf. He saw the look on my face and said "Oh we forgot our plastic bags"
I continued my walk in the opposite direction they were going, and I came across a tennis ball. I put it in my garbage bag and as I walked away I could hear him saying "Hey boy, where's your ball?"
Got the van back late Monday, about 4 hours earlier, for no apparent reason, my back started tightening up. By the time we picked up the van I was taking Muscle relaxannzzzzzzz.... what was I talking about?
So Tues was spent in bed except for the occasional hobble to the bathroom. Had to double up on the Muscle relaxannzzzzzzz.... what was I talking about? Some details will NOT be discussed. Glad to have an Ipad and glad a bunch of folks I follow had posts. Bought a book on line, (Turn Right At Macchu Picchu)
Wed I could occasionally shuffle places (bathroom again) briefly. All the muscles that had been compensating were complaining about having apparently run a marathon.
Today I CAN WALK! Briefly. Wash dishes, lay down rest, take out garbage cans, lay down rest, get the mail, lay down rest. Previously compensating muscles are in the "Whoa" stage. Guilty party muscles are in the "Who gave YOU permission to run a marathon?"stage. Back to recommended dosage of Muscle relaxannzzzzzzz.... what was I talking about?
So as proof that previous to this I was not a total slug, I provide video. I had pictures, but just realized I already used them in a previous post!
Shot this 8 days ago. May not be interesting, but it is PROOF I used to have a life outside my bed
Time to get back in bed. BACK in bed!! Hah Hah Get IT? I crack myself up. And say, it's time for another Muscle relaxannzzzzzzz.... what was I talking about?
Last Saturday was a workday at the train restoration yard. I had started painting, but got pulled off because the paint needed to be thinned and we didn't have any thinner. So I started work on the Baggage car (NWP 605). A couple of us pulled some non original wood off one end, and then started removing much of the roofing materials. Much of this was done after lunch when it had gotten warmer. Not a lot of fun and I was sore the next day. So I got to thinking that Monday was predicted to be cooler and I had nothing better to do, so 8 a.m. Monday I'm on the roof.
As I'm tearing off stuff, a motorcycle cop drives by and glances at me. I immediately flash back to when I was a kid. When I was very young, a troublemaking friendhad this brilliant idea to climb on top of this decrepit single car garage on a dead end street, which became the bridge of a warship and we were fighting off attacking planes with the only weapons at our disposal, pieces of composition roof. They sail very nicely BTW. Later that evening my dad gets a phone call from the LOL who kept her car in that garage.
So my friend and I had to go down immediately and clean up our mess. The roofing, being old and brittle broke into zillions of pieces which had to be swept up of course. Our dad's spent the weekend reroofing her garage. I don't specifically remember the punishment, but I'm guessing I wasn't comfortable sitting for awhile.
In the top shot, the heaviest layers ( about an inch of tar and paper) have already been taken off.
The green in the foreground is the original canvas based roofing. I left it on for now for documentation, and it looks kind of cool.
So far, I have gotten only compliments, but I don't think I will be playing war games on garage roofs again.
Although it seems obvious in hindsight, 20/20 vision and all, it did not occur to me that allergy swollen eyes would be contraindicated regarding Downward Facing Dog in yoga. Now into self diagnosed Conjunctivitis, I look back in wonder.
Just as well, the instructor had indicated that the class would be doing Handstands, so I was already wondering "well what shall I be doing during that period?" Instead an early exit. Now I'm wandering around in a Benedryl induced haze.
Update: After phone consult, MOST likely allergies (vs Conjunctivitis)
Last week, while waiting for the train, the wife of another rail nut urged her husband to tell "the story". So he related that once upon a time he had been doing some surveying work on a hot day near some rail road tracks. The crew broke for lunch and he sat on a rail.
After some time he heard a very loud "TINK!" and wondered what that might be. Sometime later he heard it again, only this time it was accompanied by incredible pain in his butt.
He was sitting on a rail joint, the heat expanded the rail, "TINK", pushing the rails ends together, BITING HIM IN THE ASS! It took a piece of his pants AND a small chunk of him.
I hate to say negative (searchable) things, so perhaps if I put the name P.e.t.e.r. G.a.b.r.i.e.l like this he won't get his feelings hurt.
It started off with 2 songs by one of the backup singers. Not awful, reminded me of Alannis Morrisette, with some unusual vocal inflections.
Then a bit of a monologue by PG about how he has been trying to work with other artists, covering each others songs. In the background meanwhile, sits an orchestra. What turns out to be good news, is that he hasn't gotten a lot of cooperation/production from this scheme. (Thus short on material?)
EVERY SINGLE SONG in the first half was slow and depressing. The only song I recall was Paul Simon's "Boy in the Bubble" Can you imagine that slow, with NO beat? If he had kicked into a beat the last verse it would have brought the crowd to it's feet! As it was, I felt staff should have frisked people for sharp objects before they were allowed in.
I guess I have to admire his commitment to his artistic vision, and his bravery....
The second half was mostly his stuff, with an orchestra. Again brave, but...
Oh, I should mention "In Your Eyes" (which he did as his first of 4 encores) F A V O R I T E S O N G
E V E R !
Amongst train restoration/history enthusiasts, it's ALMOST a joke about "the locomotive sitting in a pond in a quarry" waiting to be rescued.
Even with this knowledge, Thursday morning at 7 am, I set out with a group of people who should know better, for a 4 hour drive north to the site of an old train station next to a river. Here, it was related to us, had sat some old passenger cars on blocks, that were burned in place, and the metal remnants shoved over the bank next to the river. There is a picture of the cars. There is a first person account of seeing the metal over the side. So permission was eventually obtained from the railroad for salvage/access rights. These could be valuable original parts to use in our restoration of several cars.
I ended up sitting in criminally uncomfortable rear seats in a 4X4 pickup truck for a total of about 7 hours, 3 of which were unpaved bumpy roads.
After following directions, maps and Google satellite photos, we arrived to find the tracks themselves covered by 6 foot high Scotch broom plants we had to wade through to get to the bank which was covered with large trees, blackberries and poison oak. And lots of leaves and old railroad ties and metal strapping.
But nothing else.
But the river was beautiful, as was the drive (which I couldn't take pictures of due to my rear seat perch.)
This is the road to the river I took so I could look up and see something. (I didn't)
There were a few clearings, a lot of I can't take a picture because all you'd see is branches.
This shot is somewhere in between. Look carefully and you can even see some rail.
An elevated shot of the river.
Oh, and it was all very wet because it rained a lot on our way there. My feet were soaked all day, and I got home at 8:30 pm.
I should also mention that the timing was partially due to weather timing and partially due to planting timing as this is located in the midst of what is known as the "Emerald Triangle" where the largest cash crop is, as they say, off the books.
(again, hopefully this works) and stops my mind from wanderin'
Another half gallon of roof patch on top of the previous quart we tried on the first attempt.
This occurred the day before we left on vacation. The good news is that the paper sucks back in when it dries out, and we have a dehumidifier right below it. Pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional....
While we were waiting on line, Mary Hart shot some footage of herself pointing to the Billboard. (She later was on Letterman reading a top ten list) I think that will be on ET which is on As I write this.
This show starred Mark Harmon. The process to get in was quite arduous, not for the meek.Lots of waiting in lines before we were essentially culled and banished to the mezzanine with all the other codgers. Very loud music.
We wandered down to Ground Zero this afternoon, since we missed all the celebrations last night. We got interviewed by Shepard Smith(FOX News). Since then we've heard that Obama wil be there Thursday. we'll have to check that out.
I want to make clear that anything that might appear as whining here, is done with the understanding of the great suffering areas of the country have and are continuing to endure. Our hearts go out to everyone who has suffered in this terrible time.
It was a rough start on Thursday. reservations were made for a vacation rental for 2 weeks which included being picked up at JFK.
After a smooth flight, it was a bumpy arrival due to bad weather. Despite this we were 30 minutes early. 90 minutes later, after 3 unanswered calls and an email to the "landlord" we caught a shuttle, "Straight to your door" They didn't mention that there was a transfer, and that was a smaller bus that we couldn't get on and had to wait another hour for the next one. THAT bus dropped us off on the wrong street, but we caught the mistake before he got away. When we finally got to "our" rental, there was no one to meet us, no one knew the name we had or anything about a vacation rental in the bldg.It was nice having my Ipad to make a reservation right then, we got the last room.There are Brits EVERYWHERE here.
By 7pm, we caught a taxi to the Wellington Hotel near Times Square. We have still not heard from the scam artist, and it's pretty clear it's a scam. We have filed a dispute with Paypal, and will make a police complaint next week if we haven't heard anything.
We spent Friday morning watching the royal wedding and filing the dispute. We wandered down to Times Square and ended up in a crowd watching on a bunch of large screens with commentary by "Say Yes To The Dress" from TLC channel. We also started shopping for another hotel, ending up Friday at the Sheraton 4 Points Chelsea. Not exactly saving money.
Our stress level has lowered and we are enjoying the trip. Pictures to follow It's interesting to note that our usual pattern of taking massive amounts of pictures the first several days has NOT occurred.
Late last night, a bunch of "hints" came up in Ancestry.com. I had some free time before my yoga class this morning, so I thought I'd start winnowing them out, I find them slightly annoying, something that has to be dealt with. About half were on a line I'm not following anymore, but half were on my dad's line. As I perused the information, I found Samuel Maris Wilkinson. Born 1897, died in France 1918. So I checked military records, and found that he had enlisted in the Marines in Dec 1917, was wounded in June 1918, and died of his wounds. So few facts, but one can imagine so much. I may research June 1918 battles, but next thing I know I've missed Yoga.
I feel like my heart got exercised a bit, and a bit of poor Samuel has resurfaced.
I have been working on my genealogy tree for a couple of years now, joining Ancestry.com as needed, partially because one brother is a Morman, and also out of curiosity. Typically, I would make great strides, then get stuck for a LONG time. Last year,after a long hiatus, I hired a genealogist via Ancestry.com to try and break through on the male line of my dad.
We got "over the pond" back to Antrim, Ireland in 1712. I found that when they came over, they were Quakers in North Carolina, near Raleigh. Sad to say they were slave owners for a time. I'm not sure how to feel about that. One ancestor married a Presbyterian and got kicked out of the Quakers.
The family fortunes seemed to have declined, and my line moved to Arkansas for a few generations. The only nagging question left for me is the date of death of my great great Grandfather and the circumstances. (And why he was named "Egbert", it's not surprising that he's the only one!)
Anyway, the point I wanted to get to, is that after all this struggle for bits of information, you come to a point where you start intersecting with other peoples trees and are suddenly FLOODED with new distant relations and the information about them. And every time you enter them, Ancestry.com gives you new links, which lead to even MORE new relations. These people knew how to have babies! I'm talking about 8-10 with the first wife, then a few more with the next! Then maybe 60% live to breed and have another 8-12 kids!
So I've stopped entering "new" people, unless someone shows up who is "closely" related or otherwise interesting. I have one relation with the nickname "the kid" who was killed by a bushwacker. I'm guessing that nickname predisposes you to that sort of thing, versus longevity. Another was a minister who founded a church in Arkansas, who was kicked out of the same church for drunkeness.
While I was meeting with the Tree Guy to arrange the clearing of the fallen tree, I got a call from my boss that a large part of our back fence at the coast had blown over. The termites must have been frightened by the storm and stopped holding hands.
Our Gust meter indicated a high of 50 mph, but it reads a little low I believe. We got off lucky, just behind our house I saw THIS.
This took out phone and power lines for a bunch of houses, and they weren't repaired for several days.
Our dear former neighbor who lost her house, then was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer last Easter Sunday, made an appointment with Hospice today. She is no longer able to keep any food down. This is just so unbelievably unfair.
The only upside is that she knows how much everyone in our community loves her and how much she will be missed.
She is a former Marine and very patriotic. The picture is of her house July 4th 2009. She did all the retaining walls herself as part of a landscaping plan the would have been lovely, but now will never be done. I used to call them The Great Walls of Norma.
Lots of rain yesterday/last night. Two inches in 24 hrs. It was forecast to be very windy, and it apparently was, but I slept through it. Got up, went to Sunday morning yoga, feeling all warm and relaxed, stopped by the trainyard to check on things. At first glance all I saw was garbage cans and chairs scattered around. Then I saw the tarps had been blown nearly off the cars. It was more than I could fix so I called in reinforcements. Amidst some rain and hail, we spent two hours redoing the tarps. In the middle of THAT, I got a call from my tenant that some trees were down. The ones across the road had been cleared by the Fire Dept, but another was kind of, sort of, on the house. A number of other trees on the same street had gone down, several others across the road.
No lunch for the wicked I guess.
house to right
More rain forecast for tonight and the rest of the week. I'm now "on the list" for the tree guy. I suspect other trees may need some attention as well.
Lost amidst all the recent tragedy, was a small notice of the passing of Joe Morello, best known as a drummer for the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which itself was known for producing music in odd/unusual time signatures.
I always thought he was something special, but I am biased because I have been a Brubeck fan since the mid 60's. REAL appreciation of drumming I believe is rare, and I probably don't even know how good he REALLY was, but people "in the know" seem to agree he was something special.
He wasn't particularly fashionable, but he was damn cool none the less.
An odd "memory" I have of him was that he was part of a very vivid dream I had when I was about 15. In the dream I was watching him on TV doing a drum solo on the Mike Douglas show, when the doorbell rang. I answered the door and an old lady lady shot me. I was dying, the sensation being that of numbness starting at my feet and moving up my body until it got to my head and I woke up. Actually I had another vivid death dream the next night also. The following night I was understandably not anxious to fall asleep, but I resumed "normal" sleep/dreaming. ( I actually rarely remember dreams)