Saturday, July 11, 2020

A Solid Structure Needs a Good Foundation

DH needs some specialty concrete blocks for the wood shed (which is turning into a major project with lots of roadblocks). After going to Menards yesterday, he was frustrated, having found two of twelve packages of bolts that he needed, and getting nowhere with the concrete blocks. Of course, he can't hear, and customer assistance wasn't very "assistive". He came grumping into the shop after his outing and said "We'll order them on-line tonight, but I won't have them for weeks!" 

These are pretty specialized concrete blocks, but they
look like they'll be able to hold the wood quite
effectively. The wood shed will be carrying quite
a lot of weight, and it'll be outdoors in the heat of
summer and the snows/cold of winter. Sturdy is

My question to him was "Wouldn't you rather we ordered them right now? We can do that. My laptop is right here." So, after a few more huffs and puffs, we pulled up the website, found the concrete blocks, and ordered a dozen of them. Apparently that's what will be needed for stability of the uprights. Fine with me. I'll mail the on-line rebate today - it wasn't worth mentioning one more task to him. The blocks are rather interesting, though, even though they won't arrive until July 31st. 

He also needed more of the specialized bolts, so I sent him off to the Maplewood store which said it had a dozen packages available. As it turned out, they only had eight, but it gets him closer to the quantity he needed. *sigh* baby steps ... baby steps ... LOL. 

Although we do get a lot of things at Home Depot, we prefer
to shop at Menards when possible. It's equal distance from
the house, but on comparable items, their pricing is usually
a little better. The negative is we can't use American
Express there, but we manage - LOL. 

After that catastrophe was averted, and he had gone on his grumpy way, Chickie and I settled back down to the final steps in getting our latest order checked in. We accomplished that by mid-afternoon and we're all caught up now with lots of restocked colors for our customers. 

I remember talking about the money I pulled for the three guys who protected our block. Kathy, the coffeeshop owner, came by with three cards yesterday, which I signed after I handed her my cash. Good thing I remembered to grab money yesterday morning - LOL - although I could have borrowed the cash from the shop if needed. But, all is good, and yesterday turned out to be a pretty good day, even if it started on rocky ground. 

I'm calling today's post finished and getting on with my day. I hope your day is filled with happiness and ask that you spread some joy where you go during the weekend. I'll be back on Monday. 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Thanks You's Long Overdue

I remembered to grab some quick cash this morning - something I'd been reminding myself to do for the past two days. I needed it to join with the funds from three other business owners - owners of businesses in my same stretch of four stores in a single old brick building. We're gathering together to buy gift cards for the three men who saved our businesses on the nights of the riot. 

My store is the second one of the four. On the left is
the coffeeshop, on the right is the Veterinarian and next
to her is a t-shirt screen printing shop. We're all women
owned and operated. Although there is a second
story, there are no tenants on that floor. Long ago
there used to be apartments above.  

During the night of Thursday the 28th-29th of May, looters and rioters protesting the death of George Floyd crossed over into St Paul, looting and destroying businesses along University Avenue. They they turned north and hit a variety of businesses - gas stations, convenience stores, and of course my neighborhood pharmacy, as they continued damaging and looting the area. Around my little four-business building, they hit directly South, directly East and directly Northeast, but our block was saved. 

My pharmacy, kitty-corner from the coffeeshop next door to me, was
looted and burned to the ground. The gas station to the right, across
the street from the coffeeshop was looted, but not fired. The gas
station up a block across the street from us was also looted, almost
completely destroyed inside. It's been gutted and I'm not sure if
they'll ever reopen. 

It was saved because of the efforts of three men who patrolled, cajoled, and protected the block. Brian, who lived on the top story of the building just south of me, John, one of the workers for my landlord who owns much of the block, and Mylan whom I don't know, but I think he operates the detailing shop a bit farther down the block. These three guys talked at least two waves of looters/rioters away from our little block, and patrolled regularly throughout the night, keeping all of us safe. 

When we were able to breathe again, I suggested to Kathy, the owner of the coffee shop next door to me, that we (four business owners) gather together and give the three guys a collective "Thank You" gift for their help. I'm absolutely sure none of us would have had a business to return to without their help. So, I pulled $75 from my personal funds to contribute and I'll talk to the T-shirt gal today about contributing. I'll leave the Veterinarian up to Kathy, and then pass all the funds along to her so that she can purchase Target gift cards for each of the guys. She also wants to include small gift cards for her coffeeshop, and that's fine. That's totally on her. 

People gathered a mile north of my business on Monday,
July 6th to honor the memory of Philando Castile who was
shot in his car without provocation by a police office from
the local township. The town disbanded their police and
their policing is now done by the County Sheriff's department
instead. I'm not sure that's an improvement.

I've been reminding myself for a few days now, so I'm very proud that I finally remembered - LOL. So, onwards. Life moves on, people (hopefully) change for the better, etc. One good thing about all of this was my starting to chat with Brian - the Vietnam vet who lives next door. I see him smoking while his Shih Tzu wanders the area. We've had a few good conversations since the riots. He's a interesting man. 

On that note, I'm out of here. Have a wonderful Friday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Thunderstorm In The Summer Can Mean Tornadoes

It's hot and sticky and it's only 5:30 am! We had thunderstorms throughout the night and are looking at rain through today. DH isn't happy because he wanted to continue working on the woodshed. But - Mother Nature won't be denied.

I love thunderstorms. I love watching the lightning. I'm not as fond
of tornadoes, although they are fascinating to watch if you can
see them through the rain. 

Thunderstorms like this are inevitable when we have high. hot temperatures and unstable air masses. Thunderstorms can pop up very unexpectedly. Sometimes they are small, area wide soakings of rain, then gone. Other times they take over a vast territory and bring rumbles, lightning, and sometimes tornadoes along with them. 

Much of the time, since tornadoes are formed from thunderstorm cells, the
rain is so hard that you can't see the tornado with this clarity. I still
remember driving down to New Mexico one summer and crossing a wide
open patch of land in Nebraska/Texas. I saw one tornado on my
right and two on my left in the wide open spades. A bit spooky, trying
to thread that needle. 

We do live in a state that gets tornadoes - most of the USA gets them. Those who don't get tornadoes sometimes get hurricanes. I'm not really sure which is worse ... oh yes I do. Hurricanes are worse - they hit broad swaths of territory and usually move through slowly, so their destruction can flatten and affect large portions of a state (or states). Tornadoes are skip-hop, usually relatively small, and although horribly destructive, are rarely affecting wide and long areas of land or cities. Of course there are exceptions - because we're talking nature here. Nature writes her own rules, and they are always changing.

Tornadoes are beautiful destruction. This one was photographed in
Illinois, and the lighting was just perfect. 

I've lived in states with tornadoes for my entire life, and I'm used to them. I have always been more on the fringes, not in the central USA which really can get slammed. But Minnesota has tornadoes every spring/summer and some of them are quite deadly. There were some tornadoes popping north of us last night, and I just hope that they touched down in places where they didn't harm people. 

This third tornado was photographed in our next door state to the east -
Wisconsin. You can see the wet road here. This photo captured the rain
along with the twister. 

What kind of destructive weather do you have in your area of the world? Whatever you have, I hope that you have a wonderful day and I certainly intend to be back tomorrow. Stay well, be kind. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A New Toy That You Might Like

I take and use a lot of photographs, and have for years. My digital photos are stored, along with much of my life, on my various computers over the years - never truly organized, but at least accessible, if I'm willing to dig deeply enough. However, a computer crash (don't really even want to think of that!) happens, I've lost a lot because the paper versions of digital photos ... no, I don't really have that and printed versions never are as nice as the digital ones in any case. 

I purchased two of these - one for myself and one to
give as a gift to Chickie. I tried mine out on my computer
last night. I have to say, I'm impressed! 

I indulged in following positive reviews, etc, and a sale and purchased a small digital device called
"The Photo Stick" and it arrived earlier this week. I bought two of them, in fact, giving one to Chickie who has been making me so many fabulous masks to wear at the shop and outside of my home. This digital thumbdrive plugs into your computer and self-loads (or you can find the file and double-click on it). I decided to try mine out last night. 

When you click on the big green "GO" button on your
screen, ThePhotoStick goes to work. It eliminates
duplicates and finds all of the photos (and videos if you
also check that option) and stores them. I'm not sure
how long it took, since I started it when I went to bed,
but it was finished when I returned to my computer
early this morning. 

It took me a little bit to find the file, but once I did, and clicked on the large green GO button, it was running through my files, eliminated duplicates, and backing everything up - organized - onto my 128 GB ThePhotoStick. When I returned to my computer this morning, I found it had backed up almost 14,000 photos and still have 3/4 of the drive available. I can update easily and it will only pick up the new photos to add to ThePhotoStick. I think I like this! Because it was so easy to use and because it actually seems to do what it purported to do, I'm recommending it to my friends and readers. 

Because today is a bit of a crazy day - appointments and errands and grocery shopping, etc., I'm going to call this post done for the day and start figuring out the most efficient way to get my errands finished before the heat gets too bad. Have an excellent Wednesday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Fantastic Worlds in Computer Games - I've Played for a LONG Time

One of the reasons I play MMPRPG (Massive Multi-Player Role Playing Games) is to get a feel for other worlds and characters. Almost twenty years ago DH and I began playing "Dungeons & Dragons On-line" and loved it. We were sucked into a fantastical world of monsters, heroes and just plain folks. It was a huge step up from the days of "Might and Magic VI - The Mandate of Heaven" (my favorite of the long series) and "Bards Tale". 

DH and I started playing games on the computer WAAAAY back when
with Wizardry - a text-based game of "Turn right, walk 20 steps. You have
walked into something hard." I didn't get that involved in computer
games until I had video, and video games in a fantasy world
changed my leisure time activities for life. My favorite game of the
early era was "Might and Magic VI:". 

We fell in love with D&D online. Played it often and knew it very well. I still kick myself when a mistaken "click" of my mouse sold a rare sword to a merchant and I couldn't reverse the transaction. ARGH! The developers of D&D Online came out with a call to Beta a few years later - a Beta I was VERY interested in - one for Middle Earth. 

We joined into the world of Dungeons & Dragons
on-line very early, more than fifteen years ago. It
was immersive, wonderful, and sometimes
frustrating. DH was more patient (or persistent)
than I was and am with on-line games. 

Lord of the Rings Online beta came live more than 13 years ago, and I was brought into the Shire and the larger Middle Earth. The books I had been reading since they were first published as paperbacks in the 1960's had come alive. I never looked back. I've been playing LOTRO ever since - sometimes intensively, sometimes taking a break of a few weeks or months, but always coming back to a world I love. 

The Midsummer Festival starts out by your assistance with and
attendance at the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen. Assisting them
gives you a basic understanding of the levels of Minas Tirith and
the types of quests that will be available in the Festival. 

Why mention this? I know it's old history to some of you. I mention it because the new Festival - the Midsummer Festival, has got me trapped, and I'm thoroughly enjoying a Fest once again - this time in Minas Tirith. Each character playing starts out with a long intro - the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen and the wedding banquet following. It's visually stunning and great fun. Then a large variety of quests open up for the actual Midsummer Festival. They take the player to and fro and up and down Minas Tirith. Total props to the programmers - Minas Tirith is stunning - beautifully conceived with surprises throughout each of the seven levels of the massive city. 

Minas Tirith is huge, and I'm always running over people
with my horse as I work my way from level to level. I'm
really impressed with the programming that went into
creating the King's city. 

If you have some time to waste and are already playing LOTRO, I recommend the Midsummer Fest. It only goes until July 20th, so start as soon as you can. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy exploring Minas Tirith in all of its glory. Have a great Tuesday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

366 Meme - I Have a Lot of Catching Up To Do

I've gotten into the 366-Day-Meme very late. After all, the year is 1/2 over. But an on-line friend sent me the link to the entire list, and I think it might be fun, so I'm going to start with January and work through the listing, but I'm going to group them into larger groups, and post once a week, until (hopefully) I catch up. Maybe next year won't be so hectic, or I'll find a meme like this earlier. But, here I go with the first group ... 

I refuse to do bunches of the 366 Day Meme at a time, but I will
group them one or two times a week until I'm caught up. 

JANUARY 1 - What is one thing you'd like to accomplish in 2020? 
My goal has been to retire in 2020. Of course, events of the Virus have put a serious kink into that dream/schedule, but I really would like this one to happen. 

JANUARY 2 -What would be the first sentence of your autobiography? 
She lived an unapologetic life. 

JANUARY 3 - For every day of 2020, you will be required to wear a t-shirt with the same one word on it. What word will you choose? 

I could totally go for wearing a t-shirt that says "Fierce". I don't
back down easily, I stand my ground. But I'm also willing
to learn, and I have learned the benefits of apology. I might
be fierce, but I also like to cuddle. LOL

JANUARY 4 - What one thing are you looking forward to in 2020? 
Retirement - as stated in January 1. 

JANUARY 5 - What's your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning? 
Pretty much like yesterday morning. Sitting on the patio with my cup of tea, and reading the Sunday comic pages while the sun rises above the trees. Then breakfast and a relaxed day ahead. (For clarification, I don't get this often - LOL.) 

JANUARY 6 - Tell about an "Aha!" moment you've had. 
I'm not sure I ever had one of these, or if I did, it didn't have much of an impact. 

The "Showy Lady Slipper" or Cypripedium reginae, is the
state flower for Minnesota, my Frozen Northlands. It actually
grows wild in our woods, but can be grown in gardens
as well. It's quite lovely, isn't it? 

JANUARY 7 - In the US, each state has a "state flower". If you're in the US, what is your state flower? 
The state flower for Minnesota is quite lovely - one of our wild orchids, the Showy Lady Slipper. It's quite pretty (even though I'm not an orchid aficionado). 

JANUARY 8 - Would you rather live in a deep-sea station or a space station? 
Neither, please. I think my claustrophobia would count me out on both stations. 

I don't even do well in small rooms or elevators. I'd go
totally mad in an underwater or space environment. 

JANUARY 9 - What's your favorite "comfort food" when you're feeling down or unwell? 
Macaroni and cheese or celery with peanut butter are two of my absolute favorite comfort foods. 

JANUARY 10 - What was the last film you saw at a theatre/cinema? 
I don't remember clearly, but I'm quite sure it was a kids animated film, because those are the films I most adore. 

So, there's the first ten days of January. I'm not going to do this every day, but I do have quite a lot of year to catch up on, so I will be doing it at least once a week for a while, in groupings of "bordering on a realistic amount" - LOL. Have an excellent Monday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July

Just popping in quickly to wish all of my friends and readers a very happy 4th of July. No municipal fireworks shows this year, and no massive gatherings, but I'm sure there will still be speeches and posturing by those who should know better. What I care about is the fact that we've managed to survive some pretty awful leaders over our history, and we're still standing. That's what I'm celebrating today - LOL. 

No fireworks, but we're still celebrating. Happy 4th to my US friends
and neighbors. 

Burgers and brats for dinner today, ribs for dinner tomorrow. All's good. Be safe, be happy, and have a safe and wonderful 4th. I'll be back on Monday.