New House

It has been mentioned by friends in distant places that while MUCH has been written in the past few months about the efforts to actually move, I haven’t show much, if anything, of the new house itself. I can solve that.

I can’t wait to get the telescopes back out of storage – instead of having that honkin’ big hill to our west, we’re pretty much on top of that honkin’ big hill to our west.

So far we’re really loving it here.

There are still boxes stacked everywhere as I unpack (and the paper’s still down to protect the hardwood floors as I move heavy stuff around) but the kitchen’s starting to get into shape.

Out in back there’s a wonderful yard (with lizards) and a view off the back of the hill down toward the east. I put the chairs out there near the edge – it’s a fantastic place to sit and watch the world get dark and the lights turn on in the evening.

There are trees that partially block the view – but they’re also filled with squirrels and hawks and crows and hummingbirds and sparrows and god knows what else, so I’m more than happy to let them share the view.

From the chairs, looking back across the yard at the house – it’s light and airy with skylights and lots of big windows. I think we’re going to really like it here.

Especially after we get unpacked and settled!


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East To West

The weekend with the in-laws done, it’s back home for me.

As much as I might love watching thunderstorms, I was just as happy to detour around this one, even though we were already late.

This time I was connecting through Charlotte – it looks lovely in the ten minutes I was hustling through from Concourse E to Concourse B in a last minute run to catch my connecting flight. (I made it.)

Over North Carolina and Georgia there was more convective activity, big thunderheads building up.

All the way through Tennessee, looking south into Alabama and Mississippi, more of the same. Lovely – but dangerous, so there was some bobbing and weaving to get around it all.

We crossed the Mississippi this time at Memphis.

Oklahoma gets flat – this is Norman. I hear they play some football here.

Texas gets flat – and BORING.

New Mexico, with Albuquerque just underneath us, the Rio Grande valley is hard to miss.

Finally we cross the Colorado, here over the Colorado River between Parker Dam (the bottleneck at the top) and Lake Havasu City (beneath and behind us). California, here we are!

Tomorrow, it’s back to work. And unpacking. And catching up on my CAF duties at the hangar. And all of those other adulting things.

Adulting sucks. But it does allow one to take transcontinental plane flights and see all of the neat stuff out the windows!


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Driving Lady Lilli

It’s always nice to see family – it’s especially nice when said family has a gorgeous old Model A that they let me drive!

(Photo by Melanie Kordis)

My dad had a 1929 Model A – this is (I think) a 1931 Deluxe Model A. The long-suffering-sister-in-law was kind enough to let me take it out for a while with her and she didn’t have a nervous breakdown or raise her voice or nothing!

(Photo by Melanie Kordis)

She did at one point very calmly and politely point out that we were passing the local courthouse and that coincidentally this is where the local speed limit was 25 mph and she had managed to not yet ever get a speeding ticket there despite the fact that it was heavily enforced… It seemed an odd point at first, but then again, I’ve often been accused of being a slow learner. (I slowed down, we did not get a ticket.)

Driving the Model A requires a delicate touch, even for those who are used to driving a stick shift. After doing my best to take 20,000 miles off the life of the transmission, I was catching on much better at the end. It was fun!

Thanks, Melanie!!

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Filed under Family, Paul, Photography, Travel

No Context For You – June 09th

Life is indeed too short to drink bad wine.

If you’re going to advise others to do “A” instead of “B” simply because “A” is “safe…”

If you’re going to tell others not to settle for “good enough…”

If you’re going to recommend that others live their lives with passion, fervor, and gusto…

Then you should bother to pay attention and do those things yourself as well.

Shouldn’t you?

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Filed under Castle Willett, Dogs, Photography

Lights In The Night Sky

Long day. Family events.

This evening we had a lovely gathering for home-made, wood-fired pizzas at the home of a dear friend of my sister-in-law. As evening fell and we sat around their koi pond, the fireflies came out.

I hadn’t seen fireflies since I was a kid in Vermont and Kansas.

It was charming and wonderful.

My watch beeped with a pre-set alarm. I had seen that there was a outstanding pass of the ISS over Virginia tonight. I let people know that it was coming up, and the entire party trooped out to the front lawn to watch.

Through the high, thin clouds and haze, we all watched the ISS go from the northwest, through the zenith, and fade off into the east, while around us floated fireflies.

It was wonderful.


Filed under Critters, Space

Titanium Tube, 500 Knots, West To East

Getting up before sunrise sucks.

As travel goes, I’ve had a lot worse. Being old and white means I get TSA Pre status a lot (let’s get real, it’s not because of either my charm or my good looks) which helps a lot in the early hours.

Climbing out of LAX into the June gloom (coastal marine layer) means it’s very pretty on top, watching that wave of clouds break upon the mountains inland.

Around the Colorado/Arizona line there are a couple of these long, dirty, brown clouds stretching out downwind from what appear to be coal-fired power plants that are still running, despite the fact that they’re probably costing more per kilowatt hour to run than a large solar farm. Thanks corrupt and evil government officials!

On the other hand, over Telluride there was still snow on the peaks.

We crossed the Mississippi just north of Quincy, IL.

We stopped in Philadelphia just long enough to get from the far end of Terminal A to the far end of Terminal F and grab a quick lunch along the way.

At Terminal F we got on a much smaller aircraft and scooted down the coast to Norfolk.

Let the family festivities begin!!

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Off In The Distance

From the really nice back yard of our new house, you can look off through the trees across a good chunk of the San Fernando Valley. It’s not quite a completely breathtaking, spectacular view over all of Creation – there are other hills around and plenty of trees – but it’s not half bad.

One thing that stands out is this white, six or seven story building:

What bothered me a day or so after seeing it was that there aren’t any six or seven story buildings like that anywhere in that direction or anywhere near us.

Now, I’ve lived in this area for well over twenty-five years. Not only do I drive everywhere, but between the practices for the Avon Walk a few years back and the training for two marathons, I’ve seen just about everything around. There are no six or seven story buildings in the area, especially ones that look like that.

A little to the left of this view you should be able to see Warner Center, which has a handful of buildings in the 25 and 30 and 40 story range, but they’re all black glass and there’s a hill in the way. The direction is wrong.

Nearby there’s the West Hills Hospital, and it’s got a couple of four and five story buildings, but that’s also in a different direction and they’re different architecture.

I knew which direction this is – but there’s nothing like that to see.

Until I saw this:

It’s not a six or seven story building. It’s the top six or seven stories of a twelve-story building.

The one I work in.



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