Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

Yes, it's that time. Some ball drops, most people drink too much and then wake up and it's just like the day before. Well that hangover might not be a daily thing.

I spent an hour talking to the in-laws about how they should go about putting some things away, food and water. They actually initiated the meeting and even had some appetizers and wine for us. Brother in-law wants some information as well, and now I'm wondering if I missed some big event or news story.

Perhaps some people just 'wake up'. It's actually humbling, considering I think I don't know much and sort of stumble around and get lucky. A years worth of food for 2 people can be very inexpensive but variety is what costs a lot of money. Sustain life or sustain and enjoy it a little more. Oatmeal for a year once a day would make me vomit, but it will keep me alive along with other things. The biggest concern I have for them is an adequate supply of medicine, lucky nothing that needs to be stored in a fridge. We were having a good discussion until the budget came up, and suddenly everything got derailed about how the spreadsheet doesn't make sense to me. The expenses they have each month are mind boggling and if they want to save so the money lasts then they have to make changes right away. I'm talking about little things like grocery store shopping once every 2 weeks, not each day. Shopping each day for food can easily add up to $1200 or more a month.

We are overrun at work with business, not complaining, but our employees need to get off their asses and work. Shift workers bother me, it's like giving away free money when you have customers waiting 10 minutes to get helped... and all the employees who are working are already with customers. I'm charming and can distract some people for a few minutes, I just want everyone to work all day like I am so we can all have bigger paychecks.

This is a short post, I have to order lunch for the management staff, we can't leave our desks. Have a safe weekend, make some 2012 goals and most of all have a great time living.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back to normal

Well I suppose I'm not normal so getting back to normal isn't really a good statement. The normal people scare me.

My weekend without using the computer was a success, I didn't even watch the news. Spending time with family and friends is always nice, the holidays just make it a little more festive. We had a traditional Christmas dinner that ended up being later than planned, somehow 4 bottles of wine got emptied and then no one really cared about dinner so much. I don't really drink so I was just relaxing and cooking the turkey when I realized everything was done and I had to herd everyone to the plates. Fun.

I'm looking forward to the new year, time to make some goals and slowly check them off my list. Planning a trip to Mexico later in 2012, planning a trip to Moab in the spring. I have a lot of weekends booked up with work events so I have to plan everything very carefully, nobody can take my place and do things the way I like. Lot's of running to do, my training is going well, getting back on track after all the snow (hard to run for a few hours when it's so deep).

All the food laying about this weekend got me thinking and I spent a couple hours in my food storage checking supplies. After reading an article by another blogger ( about food, I was wondering how much I really have. Inventories and such are fine but when you actually put pen to paper and calculate, things can change. I was very confident that I have a lot of food, about 2+ years worth. After figuring a lot of things out, and some guessing, I'm pretty accurate in that figure but I do need a few more things in the basics category (pasta and flour). Huge variety and the ability to cook, drink and clean made me very comfortable.

I also realized when SHTF that I will have a lot of company, but that's a post for tomorrow perhaps.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas, a little early

I'm going to be busy the next few days so I figured I would get a post up while I had time. 2 feet of snow this morning and it's still coming down hard. I'm not concerned at all, I enjoy when it snows like this. It's better then 3 inches that turns to slush, at least this is a workout when I shovel. The dogs were having a blast tearing around and leaping over the snowbanks I made shoveling, even a squirrel braved the snow to wave it's tail around and get Rock barking.
What a great morning in the canyon.

I'm looking forward to a nice run tonight too, it's a fantastic workout, sort of like doing slow squats up and down. My neighbor was shoveling this morning and had just gotten done running and told me I should call in and go for a few miles. Tempting. It's going to be negative temp's tonight so I'm really looking forward to grocery shopping and pulling people out of the ditches and sidewalks.

Whatever your plans for this weekend, if any, Merry Christmas. Have a safe and joyous weekend.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It feels like Christmas!

I love nice weather, it doesn't matter if it's snowing or sunny, all the weather is nice. If you can't control it, try to enjoy it. Crisp air that makes your nostrils stick a little, crunchy snow under your feet. Wearing a stocking cap even if your hair looks like you are a teenager who hasn't showered in a week, once you take it off. Passing people on the road who made 2 eye holes in the snow and ice on the windshield; it's not Halloween folks. I think it's like texting and driving, it's not worth my life and a couple minutes won't hurt especially if you plan ahead.

and that damn kettle bell ringing drives me to the brink of insanity.

Yes, the holidays are almost here.

Then of course it's fun to run at night and look at all the holiday lights up around the area. The Broadmoor hotel is real close to the house and they do a lot of lights each year. It causes some major traffic issues this week until new years, but as long as they stay off the sidewalks and I pay attention, it's just traffic. Around the neighborhood there are a lot of million dollar homes that try and outdo each other with lights, but still remain pretty classy in tradition and nothing too gaudy. People with 30 yard spot lights just blind the crap out of me, perhaps they are doing it for security but each one of those houses has a 10+ foot shadow around the house... so much for security, maybe they like a big light bill.

My Christmas cards finally showed up just in time to get them out to a few people who will be surprised I actually did cards for the first time in 15 years. I will get them out in the mail tomorrow so they shouldn't be late, but it's the message not the time. With so much negative and bad stuff I decided to try and put a smile on faces of my best friends and family, I hope it works. My Brother will be surprised to get a gift card for Lowes, something I debated doing, he doesn't like to talk about me and my life. I don't do it to compare but when he asks me what I've been doing, I tell him, and that's the end of that conversation.

Look, more cookies arrived! really.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mountain house lasagna

I always wonder if people who have a lot of food in the house can never find anything to eat. I swear I am going to wear out the hinges on the cupboards sometime soon. I was done running, didn't have a lot to eat for the day and was scouring the house thinking I don't have anything to eat and there isn't any food in the house.

Seriously, what was I thinking. My creative process was shut down by my hunger, but I've dropped from 4500 calories a day to 2000 so it's a real struggle. I'm working my way back up slowly, in conjunction with my running plan. I really don't need 4k calories a day when I am only running 2-3 miles a day for the next few weeks. This really works great with my holiday schedule, I seem to be split between all kinds of things and places but I can always break time out for a 30 minute run.

Oh ya...

You may be wondering why this picture is sideways... well so am I. It's vertical on my desktop, online, etc. But blogger wants it to be horizontal and I can't seem to change it. Choose your battles.

I had a mountain house lasagna 2 serving pouch sitting around from a camping trip so I decided that would be dinner. Tea kettle whistles, pour in 2 cups of water and stir (then cuss at yourself as you pull out the oxygen absorber covered in melted cheese) and let sit for 10 minutes. I can eat anything, especially being from a poor family growing up and almost 10 years in the Army. The lasagna with meat sauce was actually really good and while I ate the whole 2.5 serving pouch instead of sharing, I wasn't hungry! I give this a good review!
In a real emergency or even a backpacking situation, it's not a lot of calories but it will keep you from starving and get you somewhat fueled up. I think making a side of elbow noodles and mixing it all in would be the perfect combination.

I've done 3 runs with my heart rate monitor and it's pretty interesting. I used to think I was working hard but it turns out I was backing off a lot on the hard stuff. Running up a steep hill seems like I am working hard but in reality my heart rate is LOWER than if I was running on a flat surface. Mentally I think that breathing hard and heavy legs means I am really trying. Now my effort is based on heart rate and I am literally taking minutes off my old record times. My old limits on effort are going away, it's good to get in better shape even though I thought I was cardio fit.

Speaking of running, new dog Rock was very calm last night downstairs while I was in my office, I was very proud of him. Then I noticed it's cause he was busy eating my running shoe. By the time I discovered it, he was doing other dog things so I couldn't really scold him, he wouldn't understand why. My fault for leaving them on the floor where they belong.... I think I can salvage it, will find out tonight if it will cut into my ankle at all. I will bring a blister pad just in case.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What do I pay these people for?

The phone call early Sunday morning from a work related number is never good, especially when you stay up really late Saturday night. The alarm at work is going off, and unlike a normal door sensor, this code is for glass break. The police have been dispatched and there are 2 command centers within 2 miles so I'm expecting someone would meet me there.
The owner and I show up a few minutes apart but the vandals are long gone, riding 2 bicycles they apparently needed more than we did. It could have been a lot worse, there is a lot to steal here, but we keep the building locked up internally as well dividing it into 3 sections. Customer information getting stolen is of course a nightmare but they were after the 7 year old cheap bicycles they must have seen when walking by the building.

When the police finally show up 30 minutes later they take us on our word we should be here at 5am, and there are no fingerprints to be done of the door, on the rock tossed in the window, etc. Lame, really. We pay to have police dispatching when the alarm goes off, I wonder if I can get my money back.
Had we shown up and needed the police, we would have had to handle the situation without them. It's another reminder to not count on anyone and to be prepared for as many situations as you can be. Having a no weapons at work policy really bothers me on a daily basis, but we had a good laugh that we both were armed. Perhaps now I can get an exemption to the policy.

The other bad part is the alarm company failed to inform us that the digital recorder for half of the 16 cameras had failed a week prior and was no longer recording or storing data for 7 days like it should have. If they know the system isn't working correctly, they should have told me and I would have made some changes to record only the important areas. The cameras look fine on the display, they just didn't record... It's not like it would have done any good, I just wanted to see the bastards in case they had worked here before (that's usually the case in business robberies not bank or medicinal related).  I wonder if I can get my money back.

On a positive note I got a heart rate monitor for my training runs and so far it's pretty neat. If I'm feeling like crap I can still have a good workout and I can really train the right way instead of guessing. The 50 mile training program I started is going to be hard but I'm determined to give it my best and hopefully see some huge improvements in my health and my running.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookie coma

Seriously people, stop letting your wife cook. I have great willpower, but when they are standing there asking me if I like it, what can I do. Everyone knows I can cook so I am like the taste test guy.
Seriously, stop it. Can't live on cookies alone but today I think I'm going to try. STOP!

I'm fighting a cold, something else everyone likes to bring to work, so I took a night off from running and feel really good today. I slept really well for once, very not normal for me, nice to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the weekend. I'm going to hit a nice long run tomorrow morning, hopefully 2.5+ hours to restore my sanity. Keeping up with all the blogs and news can make for a weary mind, especially when it's powered by cookies.

I cranked up the propane heaters to make sure they worked and checked my propane supplies. I rotated 10 gallons of fuel storage that had been sitting for almost a year. I cleaned all my stuff out of the Discovery so I can tow it to the shop on Tuesday, I don't want to drive it and damage it anymore just in case. Having a dual axle flatbed trailer proves worth every penny a few times a year when I'm not hauling my toys around to off road. Always something to do to try and stay prepared, since you never know what or when.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

40 degree heat wave?

I woke up this morning sweating my ass off, forgot to take the extra blankets off the bed and the dogs were laying on me. Sometimes the middle of the week really slaps me hard in the face and I don't appreciate it so much. I wasn't late getting up but I forgot to get everything ready the night before and it was trash day as well. I had a bunch of cardboard boxes I had to set out, but I had to remove labels and stuff so it couldn't be identified as to what I had in the boxes. Anything that's a pain in the rear went in the car to the recycle dumpster at work. I'm not worried about people seeing I got a new cast iron pot, but I don't want people to know I got a new dewalt tool set (for example).

Of course my new dog would deter most people from venturing into the house if they broke into the fence or cut a gate lock. Rock's disposition is really sweet, but he has a huge bark and still makes me nervous when he is charging at me like a mack truck.
In fact he jumped up on my leg today while I was turning the power strip off for the TV and it threw me into the cabinet and the TV almost had an abrupt end... luckily the TV rotates on the stand. I let him know I wasn't pleased, but I also don't mind him jumping when I am ready for it. The last thing I want is either dog so obedient that they wont jump to protect, 2 large 85 pound dogs will buy me enough time to get a weapon when it's needed.

I had 4 large boxes waiting for me today from Fed-Ex, so now I can make holiday gift baskets with long term food storage. I'm so thoughtful, and since it was all on sale, I'm so cheap too! I'm going to send a nice box to my brother, who will hate the fact I'm sending food, but I'll toss in a Lowes gift card. I debated even sending him anything but I will do my part to keep good relations even if he doesn't want to really talk much to me or about my life.

It's 41 degrees out, feels like summer. I can't wait to run tonight, last night I was a minute per mile slower since I had to negotiate a few inches of snow and some icy areas. I'm going to get a 2 hour run done on Saturday, it's about all I can manage this month... kind of sad when 60 days ago my normal run was 2 hours. It's just my lack of motivation and BattleField 3 sucking me in. I'm starting to work my weekly mileage back up towards 50 but it's December so I will be happy with looking back and having an average of 30.

This movie is in town tonight, I might go see it for motivation: WS100

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet negative numbers batman!

Yes, brr! Something like -6 when the dogs went out at 2:30.
I turned the heat up last night when I got home, a toasty 66 in the house at bedtime and 61 when I got up. Old houses tend to have cold creep in, and it crept right in up next to the bed where the extra blanket kept it at bay.

I planned to run last night, but by the time I could get ready it was around 7pm and already negative numbers plus some wind. Good thing my running schedule doesn't really kick in until January, this month is maintenance miles. It's pretty difficult to go for a real long run in winter unless you make laps and I prefer out and back or a big loop, laps make me dizzy. My first big run is on Superbowl Sunday, followed by runs of 20+ miles each weekend with the first 13 of them gaining 3700 feet for a steady uphill grind followed by a quick downhill home if I have energy. I really want to drop an hour from my 25 mile run time at the end of April and get the good training for the 50 mile run later in the year. It's a lot of time invested not just in the running but stretching, travel, buying new shoes every 45 days, etc.

Broke into some supplies over the last few days so I wouldn't need to go to the store. The canned chicken from Costco is pretty good, I fried it up with some sesame oil and put it on some noodles. I have some real chicken breast in the fridge that I will make in the oven tonight with some freeze dried veggies and rice. I wish there were more options for meat for long term storage, freeze dried meat isn't cheap but it's about the only thing I've found that last a long time. I also got some #10 cans coming in for gifts to a few of my friends for the holidays, pancake mix and powdered milk can't be beat for a family of 6 for a hearty breakfast.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cold and windy?

I got up 3 times during the night to make sure my fence was still secure, it wasn't too windy but it was enough to concern me that the fence could come down somewhere. Most of the posts are metal, but a few of the wooden ones are scheduled for replacement in the spring.
I don't mind wind, I don't mind cold. I can't stand to run in a combination of both, it's just hard to keep your exposed skin warm like on your face for example. I have a full face mask I can wear when I run but anything more than a few miles it ices up on the face and I just can't stand it. I can't wear sunglasses with it since they fog up with every breath, so I shuffle my run-days off a little when it's windy and cold at the same time. I'm probably going to do a few miles tonight and then get up early for a good 10 or 12 miles tomorrow. I'm laying out my plans for 2012 running and I have some work to do starting in March... I'm even debating a 24 hour run but I'm not sure I'm insane enough for that yet. I see lot's of ultra runners this time of year, of all sizes, running from the car to the gym door. I still run outside but stick to more pavement late at night.

Our work employee appreciation party is tomorrow night. It's not a holiday party, nope... but you would think so. We have about 150 employees and those who bring kids will end up leaving with present for each of their children. The employees get raffle tickets (non managers anyhow) and can win stuff like digital cameras and kindle's, etc. This party costs over $15k, closer to $20k this year and I still can't convince anyone to just give each employee a hundred bucks. I don't understand why people I work with all day, all month, all year for 15 years want to see me for a few more hours on a Saturday. I sure don't want to see them, so it's only fair. I would much rather get $100 than go eat some shitty buffet food at a hotel with a bunch of people who want to come up and shake my hand or hug me and say Merry Christmas.
The $100 I can spend, the food I will crap out and the people will still be the same assholes on Monday that they are today.
Maybe I'm just a prick.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

check out a nice cheap rack

This is the type of rack/shelving I like to use at home (sturdy, easy to assemble, heavy duty). The ones I have right now are polished/chrome and I couldn't be happier with how they work out. Lowes has them on sale (right on the homepage, middle left), in black as pictured for $49 vs the usual $79. I know a nice rack when I see it, even if it's cheap, so I got 4 ready for pick-up at the closest location (free in store pick-up instead of shipping charges). With each rack I only use 4 shelves (this will leave me with 4 extra shelves), I can pick up one of the smaller size racks later for around $35 and use the large shelves and save money.
With 2 of the new racks I will replace some metal with wood racking that will not only free up space, but give me more actual shelf space for stuff. One of the remaining racks will be full as soon as it's up, I ordered a lot of sale food this weekend (33 #10 cans of freeze dried stuff will take up about 2 shelves) and now that I have more space I can continue to pressure can. I will also put some more dog food in storage, the new boy eats twice as much as the other one.

I also got a year end bonus, something I really enjoy but never count on at all. That will go to fixing the rod knock on my Discovery. One of my bestest friends owns his own repair shop so I will help him fix it, learn how to fix it, and get a good price on the things I need to buy or labor I have to help with.
I'm also going to get a visa gift card from work that I'll use on some much needed ammo, my .357 and .38 seems a little low. I'm going to give myself $600 at Christmas for a new weapon, perhaps an AR, perhaps a better conceal carry. It's the season for giving and being thankful and I haven't gotten a new weapon in years.

Tomorrow is adoption day, signing the papers on the new family member to make it official. Today I'm adding him on the pet health insurance policy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guard up!

In all the craziness this time of year, and especially in my life right now, I made a sign on the inside of my front door that says: Keep your guard up.

It's easy to be complacent and forget to do things like:
Scan the parking lot when you come out of a building or store
Lock your car when you get inside, before you start the engine
Park away from the majority of vehicles so you don't get blocked in
Know where and how many exits a building has that you are going to be in
Sit so you can see the exits if possible (I call it the paranoid corner)
Keep your fuel tank over 1/2 at all times
Change your get home bag to season appropriate clothing (can't get home if you are Frozen!)

I think we all need little reminders about things, and sometimes a sign on the door you see on the way out is the best.
Other signs I made this year:
Don't ruins the gains you made today, tonight
Skip a day and do twice as much tomorrow
Can't shoot someone if you don't have your gun

Funny stories for each of those signs, but probably only funny to me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Terrible 2's?

First off, it's cyber Monday and after deleting all the crap from my email and getting work done.. I did the American and shopped at work. Walmart has the Tramontina 6.5 Qt Cast-Iron Dutch Over for $35, I just couldn't help myself.

The new dog is really a new puppy even though he is 2 years old. It was a hell of a long week and weekend but I think he has finally settled down some. All he has known for 7 months is getting out of a cage to play OR be trained with treats as a reward.
I'm not a treat train kind of guy, especially for 7 months. I also never wanted a puppy, especially an 85 pound bulldozer puppy. Oh well, it's still worth it even if it changes my entire routine (really, do people eat at the dining room table anymore... I do now!). It's been tough prepping for the dog, and then getting him, so I seemed to have missed on Thanksgiving and didn't even eat half of my plate of food. Rock is worth it (renamed from Rocky since it's too fight movie oriented).

Speaking of deals, I managed to get some #10 cans ordered ( sale ends today fyi) in between puppy chasing. I was able to snag some things for such a good price it's better than getting it locally or storing it on my own. I still need to hit up Lowes and get another shelf set, maybe I better buy 2. I also hit up holiday sales at a few grocery stores to get canned goods at some silly prices. I stocked up on canned pumpkin, blackberries, blueberries and some apple and cherry pie filling. I normally bake everything from scratch, fruit included, but the prices were too good to pass on especially for 3+ years of storage life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The almosts

I'm not complaining that I'm busy. It's interesting that this time of year is usually my slowest time at work but for some reason everything is going on. I had planned to head back home to New Hampshire in January but I'm glad I didn't buy the ticket, would have been a waste.

I've been spending some time finishing up my list I made in July, on things to get done before the end of November. The only thing I have really failed on was getting a couple of solar panels up and running to charge some batteries I run emergency lighting on. I have a massive trauma pack I just finished finally, as well as adding another 50 gallons of water into storage. My food supply is silly and I just keep building it up, but it's really nice to grab 99% of whatever I need for cooking/eating without leaving the house.

If you are a freeze dried food fan, Shelf Reliance has some really good deals this weekend. I'm not involved in the business, nor a consultant, I just like the stuff I get from them. I rotate a lot of stuff into my normal food consumption, the freeze dried just takes a little longer as it sucks up some water.

Since I'm a picture guy, here is Rocky. Rocky should be moving in on Friday afternoon. He is 2 years old and has been at the rescue organization about 6 months since he is a pit and isn't the color most people like (white isn't the most scary color in a dog).
Here is a picture of my dog Luke. He wasn't really excited about the bath, but I had him in a good location so he could check out the lady dogs as they walked in!
He is truly a hound.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011


This week has been amazingly busy, something I'm not used to but really enjoy. I even got some boxes of food delivered for storage.

However I'm too busy to post more pictures and such but in GREAT news, we decided to give another dog a forever home and I am awaiting a phone call from a rescue place. I also decided to donate $7500 to the Humane Society for the holidays in hopes some good families will be able to adopt if I can cover the fee's.

I am a believer in fate, and so much has happened today to let me know I'm doing the right things in life. Now I just need to make some pie's, a turkey and a ham for Thanksgiving! Have a great weekend, I'll try to get pictures  up this weekend from Ancient Rome and Florence.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vatican museum, or my lack of religious knowledge.

It started to rain so everyone ran inside and crowded the place, making great photo's really hard. Nothing like trying to take a picture and having 500 people behind you ready to trample. I had to get outside, rain or not, more than a few times so I wouldn't lose my mind. The Sistine chapel was amazing, and really loud. The rule is no photo, video, or talking and OF COURSE everyone broke the rules. I don't care if you are religious but you should at least have some respect for the situation and the rules.

I won't add text to all the photo's, I really don't know what a lot of the stuff is and won't pretend to know the religious context of a lot of it. I only went to church to sing in the choir and to eat food at the pot luck. I was there for the art, the Roman stuff mainly, but at least I didn't come away hating religion more... it really wasn't lined with stolen gold.
 Saint Peters dome, I think. I told you I don't know this stuff.
 All kinds of ancient Roman treasures line the halls. The marble and such used to be on the Coliseum, but was recycled (or stolen, depending on your view). Each item has the Pope's name etched on it, so everyone knows who's reign it was added to the collection under. I thought they were supposed to be humble, but as I said.... I don't know about religion.
 Fantastic sculptures, this one is about a serpent killing a guy. This was supposedly the inspiration for Michelangelo to really get the bodies and anatomy correct for all of the sculptures that he did.

 I really liked this one, it seemed like it was full of agony and suffering and beautiful at the same time.
 Romans killing babies (I think they said they were killing them since they were Christian), the entire tapestry has silver strands woven in, it was amazing.
 Ceiling of one hallway, amazing work.
 End of a hallway, over the doorway, this is the crest of some pope (if I understood it correctly)
 Saint Peters square.
 Don't hate, but this is supposed to be some really religious sculpture by Michelangelo, it might be Mary holding Jesus but I'm honestly guessing.

 Here lies a dead Pope, awaiting the final years before sainthood (I think, lol).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when. I think that's something a lot of LMI keep in mind, and something that's been said for ages. 79 AD was not the first time Pompeii had issues, they were not even done working to repair all the damage done from an earthquake. I wont go into a huge history lesson here, there are plenty of places who have the information gathered in a better format than I would do.

Here are a few shots and some description of what's going on in each.

 The main entrance road. Everything you see is original unless it's wood (usually over a doorway). They knew how the city was laid out since it's based on a typical Roman city. That's how they knew how to stack the columns that were knocked over, etc.
 After the earthquake they repaired columns with the new brick type construction. They used marble, black lava stone, large blocks, smaller large blocks, red brick and a sort of honey-comb type of building style. When you are there, and in some pictures, you can see all the style of construction material that was used making it easy to see what is older and what was redone after the earthquake (before the eruption).
 I don't like people in my pictures but after 10 minutes it was a steady stream of people so I took it. This is the bathhouse, the main meeting spot for men. It included an intricate system of heating that made the floor so hot they had to wear wood sandals or else burn their feet. It's great color and detail on the walls after all these years.
 Typical shop counter, containers in the background, and a nice view of some different construction materials that were used.
 From your front door, if people could see a fountain, a garden, pillars, fresco's, etc. then you were considered filthy rich. Even the sidewalks were private so you could decorate them. The bedrooms are on the sides, just large enough to sleep in.
 Bakers oven, where they actually found bread preserved with the bakers stamp on the side. Marketing 101, branding.
 Wine shop counter with 7 containers of what I am assuming would be different types of wine or drink.
 This person didn't have a garden but let people know he was rich by creating this fantastic house. It used to be open so you could walk up to the railing but since people can't stop stealing stuff (yes, pathetic) they gated the doorway.
 In the brothel you didn't need to know the language, you could just point to what you wanted. The erotic art of Pompeii is all over the place, they have preserved a lot of it in the museum. If you needed money you could sell your wife to the brothel, rent her to people who needed sons (if your wife was producing sons), etc. Not just the women worked the brothels, it was acceptable for men to be with other men, but there were very strict guidelines about all of this stuff. It was pretty crazy to hear it.
 If you didn't know your way to the brothel you could simply go in the direction of the penis. This was also considered a sign of good luck and fortune so they have penis sculptures on walls of houses, penis oil lamps, etc. Fighting, drinking, sex... the life of a Roman man.
Part of the main square with a nice marble base for whatever statue happened to be here to whatever god was in this section of the square. I'm sure this piece is in the museum (in Naples) along with almost all of the treasures, statues, etc. from Pompeii. When Emperor Constantine was in power (the first Christian Emperor), that started the downfall of worshiping various gods.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yes, I'm behind

I knew getting back to work would sort of suck, and I wasn't let down. Being gone for over a week can create havoc especially when you are replacing the main software system and all of the computers in the entire place. I'm glad I did some work via email while I was in Italy so it wasn't super crappy. It's usually the people more than the projects or problems since I can't fix them.

With losing the dog, then leaving the country and now it's dark when I get home... I'm a little out of sorts. I got a headache on Saturday that kept me down all weekend. Sunday afternoon I finally felt better and that's when the kitchen light fixture decided it had enough. It took a few hours to get some new track lighting installed, I'm not very handy when it comes to electrical work for some reason, but now it's working great. My vacuum decided to give out right after that was done, so another trip out for another big ticket item that will hopefully last 15 years like the last one.

I had a few shipments of freeze dried stuff come in and really need another shelf rack for the next stuff I decide to order. I got a really large selection of fruit, just in time for the holiday munching. My new computer and laptop came in so I've been busy getting everything organized and working the way I like it. Battlefield 3 is up and running, letting me kill some pixels during my 'don't know what to do before bed' time of night.

It's all good, still in the high 50's out and my headlamp is getting a workout on my runs. I feel like I've slacked a lot lately but I'm on track for my goals and training. I need to win lotto so work won't get in the way of my fun!
Pictures up tomorrow from Rome and the area, I hope.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nuovo post!

Here is a picture I was sent showing someone making good use of the hot dogs at home!
That's my boy!

Rome is exciting and disappointing all at once. Everyone smokes, it's like a cloud when you step out of the hotel. YUCK!
The ancient monuments are amazing, but it's so obvious they are only repairing them or keeping them around to make money. It's hard to get a picture of anything ancient without some light, wire, gate, etc. in the way. Plus all the people who really don't care about the history and just want to look at stuff in a tour and are so obviously not interested in what is being said. I want to spend months here learning about every little statue and building and ruin, but I'm on a whirlwind trip!
Punch to the junk.
The plane ride over sucked, but I refuse to pay $8k a ticket for first class. The food is great of course, here is a lunch from today:
Very simple food, just my style. We are going to some nice place tonight I'll try to get a picture if I remember. I took a few hundred today at the Colosseum, tomorrow is the Vatican. Hopefully I wont be saddened over the money wasting away in Vatican city, but I might not get another chance to see it. If being here proves anything, it's that nothing lasts forever and building on top of stuff you just destroyed saves having to expand.
Found a nice park without many people for a run. Got lost for a while and ended up at some embassy where the guys with guns were not friendly.
Museum of Modern Art, and a humid sweaty me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review: Hot Dogs!

What to do with a fridge crisper drawer full of hot dogs and bologna. Eat it of course! Here is a secret family sandwich recipe:
2 pieces cheap ass white bread, cheaper the better
2 pieces bologna or hot dog (sliced real thin)
1 Tablespoon Miracle Whip

Ok, kidding aside:
Thanks for all the kind words and thought over the last week or so, I really appreciate it. I would answer each comment but I don't have the energy right now and I am heading to Rome tomorrow and trying to get a week ahead at work (impossible).
I never made it that far south when I was stationed in Germany, some small shield/storm thing got in the way of my traveling time. I think I only have 1 day where I don't have something scheduled. I have to pay for internet access at the hotel so I can do work (the joy of salary and caring) so I will probably post some pictures and such.
I still have to pack but I have most of my stuff laid out and ready for the bag. I'm always a little anxious about traveling overseas and being away from all my preps and plans but I'm only here once and have to enjoy  myself.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So long old pal

The end always comes sooner than you think, and certainly want. The decision had to be made or else we would have been selfish hoping for another day, or two. It has not been a good weekend. We did everything we could and if someone tried to prolong my life by making me suffer I would bite the shit out of them, and we are sure he was telling us it's time to go.

Our other dog Luke is a little lost, as we are. We spent today working on the in-laws fence replacing more rotted wood posts for the good metal ones.The entire family came over, and they brought all the dogs. Our nephew loved our pitt so much he has 2 of his own, and fosters up to 5 when the rescue place needs it. His female pitt came charging across the yard to where we were working, and I swear it was my boy coming to see what we were up to. Perhaps it was the light and shadows, or her light coat, but Tobie is watching over us already. I know he is playing with good company, where the toilet seat is never down and he has an endless supply of squeak toys. Too many things today reminded me of him and the oddities only he seemed to have.

So here is to the great memories. The ridiculous things our animals do and the things we do for them. The 2am need to go outside when it's 20 degrees and we are camping. The resting of snouts on heads when we are sick. The alerting us to people outside the house. The unconditional loyalty and love even when the trash can is dumped over in the kitchen. The Thursday and Sunday ride to Starbucks for pumpkin bread.

I also have a lot of hot dogs and bologna that he unfortunately never got to eat. I guess I'll pretend it's a survival food and do a review on it. Go hug your spouse, kids, pets, whatever fills your life with joy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The quiet time alone

I'm a fan of people spending time alone, I think it make the time spent with others a little more quality. If you don't have quality individual time then you can forget how important the time together is. In a SHTF situation I might not get any alone time for a while so I take advantage of it when I need it.

It also keeps you from strangling people.

I spent some time alone lately doing what relaxes and focuses me. Running lets me focus on just running, once my mind wanders I twist an ankle so I just focus on running. I like to find spots and just stop, listen, let whatever is bothering me come to the surface and just go from my mind and body. The snow makes it a lot easier since it keeps 98% of the people away, and you can get neat scenes like these:

My time alone lately has been to try and get rid of some sadness. While the treatments our pitt has gotten has done well for a few months, nothing is working now and it's almost time to say goodbye. Not having children, my dogs are just about everything and live a fantastic life better than some people I know. The cancer is making his nodes swell up and he will eventually not be able to eat, and the doctor says he only has a week or so left until we need to make the decision to let him go so he won't starve to death and be in misery.

I figure he has about 10,000 or more miles of head out the window fun and has seen more things and been more awesome places than most people. I know I am doing the right thing but it still feels like betrayal, just like the last 3 dogs made me feel. I can't imagine my life without the company of my loyal 4 legged friends, they have enriched me more than I have them.

But living life like this, maybe they are getting the better end of the deal.
Tobie enjoying being sucked into the leather.
So while I am very sad, I know that it wont be the last time I have to say goodbye to a faithful friend, and I know another one will come into my life soon via. fate. That's how we got Tobie, Luke the foxhound and the other dogs we have loved (Mollie the shepherd, Angel and Mocha the rotties, and cinnamon the mix breed). The sadness is always outweighed by all the other times that make/made me smile and laugh.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

18 degrees!

the ground wasn't frozen yet but the road up to the top was closed. Closed roads never stopped me from getting somewhere, especially when I have 2 feet. Breaking trail in up to 18 inches of snow was awesome. My neighbor had a blast laughing at my antics, but we got out and about while most people are huddled up inside.


It's snowing, there is a lot of snow on the trails and I'm super pumped for a snow run tonight. I couldn't sleep last night knowing I would be in the snow tonight.

Might as well enjoy what you can't control, that's how I look at it. I got the fireplace up and running last night and cleaned up my office some. I also ran out about midnight and disconnected the hose from the house in case it got really cold. The house was a comfy 64 this morning and I got to break into the winter weather clothing closet.

Winter weather is a good time to look over your stuff and make sure you are as ready as you can be, in whatever situation you are in. I'm feeling good about my stuff, there are holes that can be filled in various areas but generally it's a good stockpile. I have to start on the in-laws preps, they are just about settled in the new house and we will probably hit Costco this weekend and get some stuff.

It's a great time to be alive.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who eats better than I do?

My dog does! I'm cooking some good meals for him and then not eating much of anything myself. I'm having to get creative on the cooking, never cooked for a dog before so it needs to be good, and bland. Tonight is mac and cheese with hot dogs. I'm having some bbq chicken and... hmm nothing else.

I have lots of dog food, dry and canned, but I never planned on cooking meals for more than two so I will have to spend some money on a few more items for a SHTF scenario. Unfortunately I don't expect my pitt to last more than another month or so but he is doing great so far. His nodes are super swollen still but he has energy and he isn't going to starve to death. It's very depressing really, it's like losing part of the family but at least he can go out on good terms knowing we did everything money can buy.

Tomorrow it's bbq chicken and rice for him at dinner and hostess cupcakes for morning 'hide the pill' snacks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cooking for more

My pit isn't doing so well lately, those good and bad days. I'm not cooking food for him every night so he will actually eat something and not starve to death. The chemo treatment had to be changed, and now he is on antibiotics and heart medication as well. Last night he had sirloin, green beans and eggs, all jumble cooked in a frying pan. I had a couple slices of pizza, he's eating better than me!
I think it's worth it, I don't want to feel like I didn't make the effort and just let him slip away. His glands are not as swollen this morning, but I can only imagine trying to eat dry dog food must be horrible something like swallowing hard cookie crumbs when you have a sore throat. My fresh grocery bill is going to double but I get a lot of satisfaction cooking for my little guy.

Went wheeling yesterday, had 7 rigs and a bunch of friends. The people I wheel with are actually friends, strangers I can't rely on when something happens to break. We actually had one of the smaller Jeeps get stuck on a rock and completely crush the oil pan in, but not enough to cause it to leak or cause the incorrect amount of oil to get into the system. Another smaller Jeep wasn't so lucky and toasted his rear ring gear and needed some assistance in the harder spots with a tow strap. The gears broke enough to make a smooth section so he drove home in 4high, front wheel drive, without any issues. I had some horrible squeaking and discovered a bolt for my transfer case bracket was working it's way out and had stripped so I couldn't get it tight enough. .50 cal ammo can full of spare nuts and bolts saved the day as usual and it was business as normal.
Shot of the 3 big rigs after a dusty road and before 5 hour trail time.
Parking was at a premium so I found a rock to perch on for lunch
I canned some apples, the honey-crisp are finally in stock and I took advantage. Spend $100 and get $10 off coupon plus 10% off if you have a football shirt on, bonus. I stocked up on pumpkin since it was on sale and lasts a long time PLUS I managed to get out of Costco under $70 for the first time ever. I'm not panicked nor really worried, but when I find things on sale I try to get a lot while I can afford it, just in case the price for groceries triples next year. Farm produce is expensive since many states don't allow illegal labor anymore and it seems most 'Americans' don't want to do that kind of work. I think that people want jobs but hardly anyone wants to work. Same old story.

I've got some freeze dried cans I'm waiting to get shipped, but it's been delayed and now I have to call and have it delayed more so it's not sitting on the curb for a week while I'm away. Supposed to get snow and high of 30 on Wednesday, I can't wait, so tonight I'll put away the hose and I'm ready for winter.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Permanent frowny face time?

When I read and skim over the dozens of blogs, I seriously feel like I'm the only one who is having fun and enjoying myself. It's good to be prepared, it's good to stay current on events and happenings, it's good to have a plan.
I ordered Battlefield 3, gonna lay the smack down online.

It's also really good to enjoy yourself and not have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't wake up wondering if the world will collapse today. The people I talk to about such things outside of the web are all just waiting for it to happen and concern themselves with just that and really nothing else. Can't anyone live this kind of lifestyle and not be worried 24/7, or am I really so far out of it that I'm more of a yuppie with some food in a storage bin.

I don't really take myself too seriously, maybe it's a fault but I still keep going at it. We did add some SHTF booze into storage yesterday. Since I don't drink it's going to last a while or get me so drunk I won't be able to do anything but vomit while the world is torn asunder by the occupy whatthefuckever crowd (occupy the barn over at Zydeco ranch! lol that was awesome). I also inventoried my get home bag before I went to Denver yesterday. I mentally had forgotten some of the stuff in it, and I need to change it over to cold weather orientation this month.

I got a call from my friend who is looking at doing a 1000 mile run next year, over 20 days, and I got an invite to run the last 50. It's sooner than I had mentally planned for a 50 miler, so I've got some work to do. At least it's winter and my running won't get in the way of doing other fun outdoor things, it's too dark and cold for much of anything else in the evenings.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Overindulgence, did you get some?

As usual the news was depressing, many of the blogs I read were doom and gloom, some vendors jacked up everything at work this weekend, the project I needed done didn't complete so my schedule is screwed up for another weekend. Instead of sitting around in misery or going to join a protest without a focus, I got up early. Hopefully everyone worked some fun in this weekend.
3 of my favorite activities:
Bright and early rock climbing lead.
 It's always exciting when you are pulling the rope, especially on granite with cold fingers.
Followed by a few hours in my little Jeep.
 I'm going to put the bikini top on, I got hit in the head with a lot of mud chunks. I met a nice couple on the trail who joined us for the day. Not only did the guy have good driving skills but he climbs and runs. Hopefully we didn't scare them off with our brand of humor, I can't find anyone who climbs on Saturday that I trust to belay me on a lead climb and/or fall.
Rounding out the evening.
I was overheating on this run but was worried it would get dark and a lot colder than it did. Being prepared is fine, sometimes I think I'm a little overboard but that's hindsight.

Big carb loading dinner and it was time for the much anticipated season 2:
I don't want to put up any spoilers but when you have your pick of vehicles, why would you drive a hunk of crap RV. Why don't you have more guns, why don't you practice a little better security, why didn't the zombie in the bathroom scene attract more zombies with all the noise, how much money did Gerber pay for that big plug, why does the guy only have 2 bolts for the crossbow.... I could go on, I'm hoping it's not like Terra Nova, I'm really tired of lame piled on top of lame. I'm glad I have books.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Let it snow!

Spent about 6 hours working in the yard today getting the final touches done before winter. I'm in the need of a new leaf blower now, but the leaves are clinging to life and just clogging up the gutters. Each year I pay some random kid of someone I know to do the yard cleanup but I still end up doing about the same amount of work. Lazy ass teenagers, I'm doing them a favor I really don't mid the work. I will take the rain barrels down next weekend so I don't have to worry about them freezing when I'm out of town. The yard and the house plants really enjoy the rainwater, and I have a large supply of water hanging out, it's a win.

I also got my Jeep checked up and ready for a trip tomorrow, it has been sitting for a while. 5 vehicles and all in top running condition with spare parts and the knowledge to use those parts. Stockpiling stuff doesn't do anyone a bit of good if you don't know how to change an axle shaft, pull out a differential or swap a drive shaft. I think most of the spare parts for my Jeep end up being used on other vehicles I come upon in the mountains. I never charge and just hope it's good karma for when something happens to me. I never go alone and so far anything that has broken I've been able to fix on the trail. 4 bags of tools, spare parts, a bin for everything else, fluids, spare tire, nuts and bolts, etc.

Made a big batch of spaghetti sauce for the weekend and just pulled some more bread out of the oven. It's pumpkin season so I'm going to get a pie or 2 made tomorrow night. I need to hit Penzy's spices and use my gift card so I can get some holiday spices I will run low on soon. I did manage to score some deals at Albertsons this afternoon, they are having a sale on cereal, paper towels and toilet paper.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Friday, overload at work day, vendors jacking all kinds of stuff up. I'm going to put in some time tomorrow to get a few things resolved, after my neighbor and I hit the trails in the morning.

I got all the travel stuff for Rome finally. I'm glad it's going to be in the 60's/40's there, $75 for a 2nd checked bag just won't work for me. I'm going to have to carry on my running clothes. I'm getting super excited, but I digress.

For all my years of running my body hasn't been able to deal with the lactic acid my poor legs produced, causing massive muscle fatigue and many hundreds of sleepless nights. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get over the issue and just dealt with it as best I could, lumbering along in serious discomfort.
 My legs felt like they weighed 150 pounds each and were very sore even before I'm done running an hour. It's a big reason why I'm a lot slower than most runners, my legs just didn't seem to be able to do anything after a while besides a zombie shuffle.
I tried a supplement called sport legs and I am happy to find out that whatever the hell it does, it works great and it's really a calcium/magnesium and lactate mix.. that's all. Now I'm only sore from the actual activity of running 2+ hours a night, no more burning or heavy feeling and no more elevating my legs after a run in hopes I would be able to sleep later. I've gotten several run in after taking this and the results were the same, I'm wicked pleased.

I'm going to tear the trails up. I've already knocked 5 minutes off some of my record times on a couple of different trails, and I didn't even fuel up correctly for the attempt. A breakthrough, and just in time for me to start pulling my sled with 40-80 pounds of sand in it, pain and suffering at it's best.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paqlites and peaches!

On my camping trip I had the opportunity to try out the paqlites I picked up last month for more than just hanging on a chair in the dining room or stuffed into my get home bag:
I have a medium and a large. They never need batteries and just need a few minutes of light to "recharge". You can't read a book but you can find your way around a house, tent, or campsite once your eyes adjust to the dark. I used the smaller one under the canopy so people wouldn't run into the stuff at night, and the large one was in the tent providing light there. It ended up being brighter than I liked at around 3am (good light 6 hours later), so I had to put it under the sleeping bag. They won't light up a room for a game of cards, but for the price and near zero weight I think it was a good investment, something I would recommend to a friend. I would suggest rounding the corners of the plastic, it's a little pokey otherwise. If you want chem-light brightness, these won't work for you.

I try and use the storage food I purchase, rotating it in and replacing it. I don't want to find stuff I can't stand/stomach in case I have to rely on it alone. So I broke into some freeze dried peach slices (good vitamin c and fiber as a bonus) before this trip and took a large amount with me for driving snacks:
I've had this #10 can open for almost a month now and it's still about 30% full. The texture wasn't too 'styrofoam' (didn't give me goosebumps when I bit into them) and they were not so dry I had to drink water with each mouthful. 42 servings in the can @ 1/4 cup equals about 25 peaches, 25 year shelf life, 1 year opened shelf life. Cost is around $28 and you can rehydrate them. There are many vendors out there for freeze dried fruit, I get mine from Shelf Reliance, they are available in smaller container sizes.

I would recommend to a friend who wants fruit for long term storage. Not so long term I would use home canned or home dehydrated as it's much more cost effective but with an obviously short shelf life (comparably).


I was sort of hungry, and then I went for another 2 hour run on another new route that was pretty hard. My legs were tired and sore, but the only way to learn to just accept the pain and suffering is to keep at it and your body will adjust. This is true for most things in life, the more you do it the more you get comfortable with it even if it's not comfortable for your body.
I got an invitation to go back home for the holidays, and I was amazed the airfare was so cheap. I have a huge project at work so I might not be able to go, but I will attempt to swing it. The time off isn't a big deal, it's being away from home for another week doing something that's not really that exciting. Only 1 person in the family tries to stay in touch, even with social media and email making it ultra easy.

When it comes to dinner, I prefer to cook instead of eat out. It was a special night so I bit the bullet.
The plan was to have a ton of sushi, but we both got some dinners and these rolls, who can pass up chicken and rice. I'm sure it was a lot cheaper that way and I know what it costs to make food. Lot's of crab and avocado with some spicy tuna and such. Yum. I barely made it home, my stomach was so full I had to waddle to the car.

Tonight some friends are taking me to dinner and a movie, but there isn't anything playing I want to see so it will end up being dinner. They refuse to not get me a birthday gift, and I already guessed what it's going to be. It's going to be a nice dress shirt that costs around $180.... I choke when I spend $50 on a nice shirt so maybe I'll just frame this one.

Tomorrow I will cook my own dinner, pork loin with salad and rice. Cheap and good!