Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cleaning The Closets

I decided that this fall's project was to clean and organize my closet.  I moved into the condo six years ago last January, and the closet had not been cleaned since.  So here are five questions about your closets? 

1: When was the last time you cleaned your closet?  
2: Do you have clothes that are too large or too small in your closet? 
3: Have you "lost" anything that you might find if you cleaned your closet? 
4: If I went through your closet what would the item of clothing that would most surprise me? 
5: What item in your closet should you get rid of, but just can't bring yourself to do so? 

My Answers: 
1: When was the last time you cleaned your closet?  I just finishing, it had been 6 1/2 years. 
2: Do you have clothes that are too large or too small in your closet? Yes, I kept one size smaller - hope springs eternal 
3: Have you "lost" anything that you might find if you cleaned your closet? I lost a blue Adidas shirt when we came home from Germany a year ago, and found it when I cleaned the closet. 
4: If I went through your closet what would the item of clothing that would most surprise me? A chief's jacket.   
5: What item in your closet should you get rid of, but just can't bring yourself to do so?  A sweatshirt from the Hard Rock Cafe in London, I bought on my first visit back in 1990 - I don't fit it, it is ratty - and I can't bring myself to toss it - ROCK ON! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Travel Tech

Some technology we never leave home without, our phones for example.  Once in the past 10 years I was well on my way to the office when I realized I didn't have my phone with me, I felt so vulnerable without it.  I made it through the day, but I would prefer not to go phone-less.  You never know when you might have a rare opportunity to take a selfie with a curious bear.  

I am using a Samsung Galaxy that is three generations, or three years old.  I like it, it works well, I am comfortable with what it does.  I see little reason to replace it as long as it works well.  I always have a charging adapter in my shoulder bag, in fact two of them, one standard one that will charge my phone, my kindle, or my camera, and one specifically for the phone that has a slightly higher voltage and charges the phone about twice as fast. 

I always have a Kindle with me, and with that half a dozen books to read with only a few ounces of weight to carry.  

For travel I carry a very small, very lite weight laptop or notebook computer.  I prefer a full size desk top computer at home, I find the larger keyboard easier to use, and the larger display allows me to work without glasses.  So the laptop is only for travel.  I am currently carrying an 11 inch Dell, Windows 10 machine.  It does what I need it to do, it weighs less than 3 pounds and it cost less than $200.  I know Mac makes an amazing laptop, but not for that price.  

When I go out of town I carry a compact digital camera.  Currently I am using a Samsung.  I selected it based on a wide-angle to moderate telephone lens.  Camera technology is rapidly advancing, you really need to replace these things every 2-3 years.  I have a larger "through the lens" digital, that I occasionally use, but only then the added bulk and weight seem worthwhile.  

All of this stuff connects with the same USB, or micro USB cables. I carry a couple of them, including one that is 15 feet long.  The long one comes in handy in a hotel room when the only available outlet is no where near where you want your phone (I bought it when I spent a month in hospital rooms.)  I have a small zippered kit with a USB cable, headphones, a standard wall charger, and a 6-volt car adapter.  

I carry a couple of sets of headphones, with microphones in them, so I can make phone calls without trying to hold my phone to my face.  

If I am driving in unfamiliar places,  I carry a portable GPS unit with me.  I know there is GPS on my phone, and I use it when I need to, but the Garmin unit with the suction cup window mount and power cable, is easy to travel with and I am not trying to hold my phone and drive at the same time.  

What do you never leave home without?  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunset and a big Moon

When I am home, in the city, I seldom see the sunset, I know it happens, the room gets dark and lights are turned on, but I am almost always too busy to notice.  And there is not much of a view.  
Here along Lake Tahoe for a couple of days, I have noticed the sunsets.  How pretty.  Last night I looked up and the moon was bright and huge.  Part of that is being over 6,000 feet in elevation, and the mountain air is clear, and there is a lot less ground light interfering with the view of the moon. I sure am glad I stopped and looked up. 

Stop and look up, pause to gaze at the sunrise or sunset.  Enjoy your day. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Working late into the night

Part of the work I do, includes serving on boards for organizations that advance the kind of work I do.  I am in the third year on one of the best board appointments I have ever had, this board generally meets in person three times a year, twice a year at conferences (hence, Newport Beach, California, and Denver in the past year) and once a year the organization pays for an annual "board retreat" two days of meetings in someplace nice. 

The first year was Charleston, South Carolina, it was nice, I was having trouble with my funny walk and didn't enjoy it as much as I should have.  Last year was Portland, Oregon - great fun, I was moving much better and had a nice wander around the city.  This year is Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada side.  A little hard to get to, but it is a spectacular place. 

Most of the board is from the eastern half of the united states, and here we are for the second year in a row, in the Pacific time-zone for the board retreat.  This results in waking up very early local time, and wanting to fall asleep early.  

One of the traditions is the board dinner on Thursday night. Last year in Portland, we met at a nice restaurant 6:30 local time - 9:30 east coast time and they served wine for an hour.  Then we set down and it took the restaurant an hour to serve the first course (salad) and more, much more wine.  Entries were served at about 8:30 pacific time, or 11:30 east coast time, and the wine just kept flowing.  Most of what I remember about desert was that we were having a hard time keeping a couple of board members from trying to dance on the tables.  

This year, it was cocktails on the beach at 6:00, and a buffet at 6:30.  Much less opportunity for people to get crocked before dinner, and while still late by my bodies standards, dinner at 9:30 is much easier for me than dinner at 11:30. It worked much better.  My digestion still does not like the large volume of food and drink at that late hour, but it will calm down in a day or so.  

It is always important when traveling across time zones to keep one's body in mind when scheduling meals. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lake Tahoe

I swear this is work, why else would I get up at 4:30 in the morning, leave for the airport at 5:30, fly 5.5 hours, and drive through the mountains to Lake Tahoe - someone is paying me to do this.  The drive from Reno to Lake Tahoe is breathtaking, in more ways than one.  It crosses a mountain, I passed a sign saying 8,000 feet, and kept climbing.   Reno is very much a high dessert landscape, I love that landscape.  The area around the like is very alpine village - I prefer the dryer side of the mountain, but the lake is very pretty.  Meetings will consume most of the time I am here, and being three time zones away is a bit disorienting.  I surprised by the slot machines in the airport in Reno.  I spent 10 minutes in the casino at the hotel, I was $6.25 ahead and I cashed out.  Now I need to stay out.  

I posted the picture of me on the plane on Facebook and Ron mentioned the aisle seat.  I almost always, book and aisle seat.  I book as early as possible, and I always try to select seats.  If I can't get what I want when I book, I keep checking back online and 9 out of 10 times, I am able to get an aisle seat on the left side of the plane, so my right arm is on the aisle side.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oh My! I'm Late-I'm Late

Oh My, I missed setting up my morning post today.  Sorry  my early bird readers.  Every morning when I get up, the third thing I look at is my blog to remind myself what I said today.  This morning I looked and I was still stuck on yesterday.  I have never seen the movie "Ground-Hog-Day" but I understand that the plot is that some guy keeps waking up and reliving the same day.  Well I don't want to relive yesterday - the day I discovered that I had missed the due date on a mid-point project report and spent most of the day scrambling to pull it together - along with catching up on general day to day office stuff after having been away at board meetings for three days last week.  I live in the present, and that is today, and that means I must have a new post.  I have only missed one day in the past 21 months of blogging every day, today is not going to be a miss.  

There was a bit of great news in the office yesterday, my colleagues  received approval of funding for a huge two year project.  They has applied for it months ago.  The request for proposals offered $500,000, and they submitted a proposal for $498,000.  A month ago a request came through to modify budget to the full $500,000 - a process that was easier said than done, because every time you change a $1 in costs on the budget, you actually change the overall budget with all of the overhead costs someplace between $1.60 and $1.80, different overhead factors apply to different costs.  It took a week to make the edits.  So yesterday the good news arrived, the project was funded at $488,455, yup, about $12,000 less than the modified budget submitted a couple of weeks ago or about $10,000 less than what was originally asked for.  The person who labored over the budget was ready to start drinking heavily when I left the office - if she had room I think she might set up a still in her office for next couple of days while she reworks the budget.  Nice still above at the A. Smith Bowman distillery at Fredricksburg Virginia  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Space Shuttle Memories

I was living in Florida when the space shuttle program took flight. I can remember the NASA briefings at the Kennedy Space Center talking about this exciting new design, the first gliding tests in California, then the arrival at the Space Center of this new vehicle.  

I was standing on the banks of the Indian River just across from the Space Center the morning of the first launch, I had driven over from Orlando the night before and stayed at my parents house (they had not yet retired and were in Michigan on the farm,)  I needed to get to Orlando for work that morning.  I did this twice, the first attempt was down to go for main-engine start and it stopped.  The second time it went.  You see it for second before you hear it, you hear it for seconds before you feel it, and you do feel it, the air and the ground vibrate as the spacecraft pushes off the launch pad.  You can see it for over a minute as it speeds away.  

The first few landings were on the west coast, then they started landing at the Cape.  There was less to see on the landing, and it was much faster than the lift off.  I saw a few landings.  I saw many launches, including a couple of night launches out on the Space Center.  I missed the Challenger explosion, I was working in Orlando, talking to a client on the phone who watching the launch out his office window, he simply said, "oh-shit that is not right, I'll call you back" and hung up, we picked up the conversation a week later.  

I was working in DC when the orbiter above flown in for display at the Smithsonian out at Dulles.  They took it on a low-slow loop around the city, we went up to the roof of the building to watch the legend fly into retirement.  

What moments in history have you witnessed?