Happy New Year 2017

This week my daughter stayed over several days for the Christmas holiday.  I had a great time, especially with my grandson Miles. We went to Clearbrook park for a walk, watch the ducks land on the lake, watch how the garbage was crushed by a machine at the local dump and more.

Our family had meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas day; once at our house and the other at my in-laws' new home.


Miles enjoyed the train set my in-laws bought him for Christmas.

I'm glad he also loved the play kitchen we got him for a Christmas present.

Have a Great New Year!

Interesting, Useful, Enjoyable, Addicting

You may want to bookmark this site for future reference.

Diffen - Compare Anything. Diffen. Discern. Decide.

Let me know what you think.

Side Effect from My New Medication

Yesterday I took a long nap and when I woke up I felt like I was drunk.  I'm going to skip taking a nap today or maybe only take a short one.

I'm waiting until the holidays are over before doubling the dose, as my doctor directed.

I found the video and GIF on the web.

Dog & Grandma Christmas Carols

These two songs make me laugh each year.  I found a video of what seems to be dogs actually barking the song without some sort of technical electronic modification.

Here's Grandma's Song

Just before Winter 2016

This adorable puppy must be experiencing its first winter.

Some Strange Looking Nuts

I found most of these on the  Miss Cellania blog.

Mouse Hunt (1997 Movie)

I watched this clever slapstick movie again this morning.  Still getting used to my seizure medication, it brought a much needed smile.  If you enjoy a lighthearted comedy with chases and collisions, you'll like this movie. 

Some Christmas Preparations 2016

I finally finished the play kitchen and Lynette put up a tiny live tree.
We go for a tiny tree because a large one is just too much work instead of being fun for us.
I cut a gash in my fingertip with the power screwdriver while I was setting up the kitchen.  It still hurts but that was my only injury.  I guess I got away easy.

Every year Lynette asks me what I'd like for Christmas but I just never know.  I can't think of any realistic gift; no Rolls-Royce, no collection of homes across the world, no fame and fortune.  None of that would truly make me happy anyway. So it will be a pair of pajamas or something like that.

Here's a closer view of the kitchen. The photo isn't very sharp.

National Microwave Oven Day Dec. 6

From National Day Calendar:

I mostly use my microwave oven to cook frozen vegetables, frozen muffins, potatoes and "TV dinners" .  It doesn't seem like much but I use the oven every day.  
Lynette likes to cook with the stove top and regular oven.

3D Jigsaw Puzzle

Lynette sent away for a toy play kitchen for our grandson Miles.  This is it partway finished.

If he does not like this Christmas present then someday his yet to be born sister may. He'll have many other presents to enjoy.

When it arrived the box was so heavy that we could not lift it. We had to drag it into the bedroom where I could put it together. There were no parts attached to each other.  It was like a jigsaw puzzle but in three dimensions instead of a flat two dimensional set of pieces.

The instruction sheet consisted of fifteen pages without one word on how to put it together.  I'm not exaggerating.  There was not one word. It was all page after page of diagrams.

I'm not a "handyman" so this is a real challenge for me.  But it's fun.  It is difficult but fun, just like a jigsaw puzzle.

Here is the cardboard sheet with the screws, bolts and other fasteners, most of which I have no idea of what they're called.

So far this will be the third day that I'm spending many hours working on this project.  I hope it turns out okay.

So far there is only one piece missing, a door handle.  I'm waiting to see if I find more before calling Amazon.  I wanted to check that I had all the pieces before I started but there were just too many. If there are any more missing pieces I'll find them as I go along.

Change in Seizure Medication

I visited my Neurologist yesterday. He wants me keep taking my present medication Lamictal and add Vimpat.
I can't drive for six months. It's almost like being under house arrest, allowed to go out only when Lynette drives me!
It all started when I had a small seizure this past Friday.  Lynette called the medics but I was okay soon after they arrived.
I decided not go to the hospital.

I'm afraid it might interfere with the good mood I've been in.  My depression has been gone for several years. The goal now is to prevent seizures from getting worse.

I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Our First Pressure Cooker

Last week I bought a Pressure Cooker at Walmart to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. It's a Farberware 6 quart "7-1 programmable pressure cooker".  I like it because it can also be used as a crock pot slow cooker.

The first thing we cooked was a pork roast.  It fell apart but tasted great.
Next we want to try the slow crock pot setting, maybe on chicken cutlets.

It's a new toy for old folks.  I even want to try and cook, which is something I usually leave for Lynette who loves to cook.

Any favorite recipes you'd like to share? 
Strange or funny experiences you've had and want to comment about?

Strange Jumping Spiders

I've never seen these interesting spiders myself but I'd love to see one up close in real life.

Here are a few videos.

Their eyes are special.

This Wednesday I have an appointment to see my neurologist about the small seizure I had last week.  It always happens while I'm asleep so I should be okay during the day.  Maybe a medication adjustment might help.  Thanks for your encouraging comments.

I'm Taking More Medicine While Waiting

I usually take 3 tablets of Lamictal 100mg in the evening and 2 tablets in the morning.  I was on 3 tablets twice a day but it was too much.  It made me too groggy.  So I went to taking 3 at night and 2 in the morning.

Now after the seizure I added another half tablet to make it 2 and 1/2 in the morning and 3 at night.  I felt like I was "drunk" all day.  I could not drive. Caffeine from coffee and tea helped.

That's all I can think of for now.

Mild Seizure Early This Morning

I had a seizure this morning, nothing major.  Four men and a woman who was in charge came to the house.  The four men must have come because Lynette said I was acting strange.  I don't remember it.

I remember Lynette talking on the phone and locking herself in another bedroom.  I asked what she was doing and she told me about the seizure.  I couldn't believe it.  I was sure she was overreacting to a nightmare I must have had but I didn't remember any dream.  

When the medics arrived they took my blood pressure and some other physical exams.  Then they asked me several questions which was very disturbing.

I could not remember my daughter and granddaughter's names for a while.  The year and day of the week was difficult.  The name of the president was a mystery. But after a few minutes it all came back to me, thank God.

They asked me if I wanted to go the the hospital but I did not want to go.  I decided to call my neurologist in the morning


My Favorite Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York is my favorite.  For me it's a work of art with much history behind it.

For more information follow this link:
Brooklyn Bridge - Wikipedia

Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge

(I found these photos on the web)

I'll Try it Again: "Try Something New for 30 Days"

I tried doing this several years ago and just could not keep up with it.  Maybe I just lost interest.  My guess is that I started a 30 day project then learned that it was not for me.  It was a mistake. It was something I really did not want to do. Even so, I felt like I had failed at it.  This discouragement led me to just drop the whole 30-Day thing.

Here's the video about trying something new for 30 days:

For my next attempt I'll try to:

1. Give the project a few days to try out.  If I feel it's worthwhile I'll continue.  Otherwise I'll choose some other goal. There's no shame in stopping a goal that's a mistake.  If I'm going the wrong way there's no shame in correcting course.  (As an example I need about 8 hours of sleep.  If I try to get by on less I'll feel miserable.  So I'll stop and  just switch to another project.)

2.  The goal must be realistic, not almost impossible to do.  (A bad habit might take longer than 30 days or I might need someone's help.)

3.  It must be what I really want, not just anything to fill up the 30 days.

4. I can start at any time, not just the beginning of the month.

5. I'll continue with the project past the 30 days if I want or just remember it as a completed project.

6. It's okay to skip a few days then go back to finish the 30 days or even skip a month.

Do you have any thoughts about this?

Have you tried it?  

Early One Morning Just as the Sun Was Rising

I'd like to share this wonderful yet sad old English ballad
that Lynette found on the web.

Does USA Have the Same Fate as the Roman Empire?

There are many similarities but I believe there is still time to set things right. Here are some opinions I found from a few articles on the web.  I'll try to condense them and leave a link in case you want to read more.

From Salon:
8 striking parallels between the U.S. and the Roman Empire -

1 — Staggering Increase in the Cost of Elections, with Dubious Campaign Funding Sources.
Our 2012 election reportedly cost $3 billion. All of it was raised from private sources – often creating the appearance, or the reality, that our leaders are beholden to special interest groups.

2 — Politics as the Road to Personal Wealth.
“Their focus is therefore not so much on the people who sent them to Washington. Their focus is instead on those who will make them rich.” (Republic Lost)

3 — Continuous War: A national state of security arises, distracting attention from domestic challenges with foreign wars.
Similar to the late Roman Republic, the US – for the past 100 years — has either been fighting a war, recovering from a war, or preparing for a new war: WW I (1917-18), WW II (1941-1945), Cold War (1947-1991), Korean War (1950-1953), Vietnam (1953-1975), Gulf War (1990-1991), Afghanistan (2001-ongoing), and Iraq (2003-2011). And, this list is far from complete.

4 — Foreign Powers Lavish Money/Attention on the Republic’s Leaders.
 As one specific example: A foreign businessman donated $100 million to Bill Clinton‘s various activities. Clinton “opened doors” for him, and sometimes acted in ways contrary to stated American interests and foreign policy. (Was Hillary planning this?) 

5 — Profits Made Overseas Shape the Republic’s Internal Policies.
As the fortunes of Rome’s aristocracy increasingly derived from foreign lands, Roman policy was shaped to facilitate these fortunes. American billionaires and corporations increasingly influence our elections.  (I hope this is not Trump's goal.)

6 — Collapse of the Middle Class.
In the period just before the Roman Republic’s fall, the Roman middle class was crushed — destroyed by cheap overseas slave labor.

7 — Gerrymandering.
Rome’s late Republic used various methods to reduce the power of common citizens.

8 — Loss of the Spirit of Compromise.
The Roman Republic, like ours, relied on a system of checks and balances. Compromise is needed for this type of system to function. In the end, the Roman Republic lost that spirit of compromise, with politics increasingly polarized...

Here is a large table of comparisons by ROSEANN SALANITRI 
Rome v. America: when nations die | Conservative News and Views

Table: Parallels between ancient Rome and modern America

Factors that contributed to the fall of Rome
Similar factors that exist in America today
Antagonism between the Senate and the EmperorAntagonism between the President and Congress, as well as between our two major Parties
Economic factors included:
  • Trade deficits
  • Inflation
  • Poor management by government
  • Poor leadership in government
Economic factors include:
  • Trade deficits
  • Inflation
  • Poor management by government
  • Poor leadership in government

Decline in morals – especially in the rich upper class.Decline in morals – especially within the entertainment and sports industries.
Political corruption was rampantPolitical corruption is rampant
Constant WarsConstant Wars
High unemployment within the working class, resulting in increasing dependency on governmentRising unemployment within the working class, resulting in increasing dependency on government programs.

High cost of the “Dole” which was government supplied bread and entertainment for the non-working poor.
High cost of government dole, including food stamps, Medicaid, extended unemployment insurance and other government entitlement programs.
Unrestricted trade agreements with foreign nations, resulting in Roman citizens not being able to compete with foreign trade.Free trade agreements that have resulted in loss of American jobs, since Americans cannot compete with foreign low wages.
Class warfare between the rich and the poor.Government inspired class warfare between the rich and the poor.
Increased government subsidies enabled citizens to live comfortably without working.Increased government entitlements allow citizens to live comfortably without working.

The mob and the cost of games – the roman government provided circuses for the unemployed.

Decline in ethics and values – the decline in Roman ethics and values is well-known and needs no further explanationAmerica has experienced a decline in ethics and values that cannot be argued and needs no further explanation.
Decline in morals led to the destruction of families. It was not common to have two parent households.Decline in morals is leading to the destruction of families. It is now common to have single parent households.
Barbarian Invasion

For America, this can be considered to be Islamic terrorists.

Expansion of government – Ralph Martin Novak, author of “Christianity and the Roman Empire,” stated:“…whereas at the start of the third century A.D. the Roman emperors employed only about 300 to 350 full-time individuals in administering the Empire, by 300 A.D. this number had grown to some 30,000 or 35,000 people.”
Expansion of government. It has been said that today you will work for the government one way or another.
High taxes were instituted to fund growing government and its programs.High taxes are being instituted to fund growing government and its programs.
Government ceased being the servant of the people and became its nanny.The Nanny State is increasing exponentially.

Practices of infanticide were justified and legal.
Abortion is justified and legal.
Gladiator games, chariot races, and forms of violence were considered entertaining.Violent games of all kinds are considered entertaining.

Decline of the military and reduced incentives to join, including lack of respectable leadership.Attempts to disrespect and underfund the military have thankfully been unsuccessful.

Citizenship granted to foreigners
Amnesty and disregard for immigration laws.
Romans became globalists instead of nationalists.Americans are encouraged to become globalists, abandoning patriotism.

I may not agree with all of these comparisons but there are enough of them to get me to think about our risky future. 

A touch of hope:
"If the technological promises of nanotechnology, robotics, and biological breakthroughs can be realized, America’s democratic history, can-do spirit, and belief in social equality might prevail in a world of ideas, not shortages."
Quote Link:
Is America the New Rome? - United States vs. the Roman Empire

National Button Day

"National Button Day is observed annually on November 16. 
Founded in 1938, the National Button Society 
recognized button collecting as an organized hobby. 
Both novice and advanced button collectors celebrate
 the enjoyment collecting on this day."

Quote from the site:

Who knew?  I've never heard about this hobby but it does make sense.  If you can collect coins and stamps, why not buttons?  I don't think I'll start collecting buttons myself though.

"Stand by You"

I found this video on the Plowing Through Life Blog.  It was on an excellent post about Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in USA).

Enjoy the video and visit the blog post:
Plowing Through Life: Remembrance Day

The Chladni Plate

"Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni was a German physicist and musician. His most important work, for which he is sometimes labeled the father of acoustics, included research on vibrating plates and the ..." Wikipedia

These videos have very annoying sounds!
Please turn down the volume.

On this site the author shows some of the patterns he found.
Physics demonstrations: Chladni patterns | Skulls in the Stars

Watch these two videos for an explanation. 

Setting Up for Christmas 2016

At Clearbrook Park they're starting to decorate for Christmas.
  It seems a bit early but maybe they need the time.

Looks like Santa needs more time to practice.

Or maybe he's celebrating early.

Holy Cross Monastery

Yesterday My wife and I took a ride to the Holy Cross Monastery.  It was a pleasant unusually warm November day.

The Abbey is set back down a long road.

I felt a quiet peacefulness.

I wish I had a stronger faith.

The monks help support themselves by baking and making jams.  We bought a couple of jars and some candy at the gift shop.
I wasn't able to take a picture of the building or chapel but you can find them on the web if you like.

Here's a video featuring the very same monk we bought the jams from.  He's explaining how he became a monk.



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