Meet Bella



Meet Bella!  I had the unplanned privilege of hosting Bella last night at my home while we were trying to find her owner.  She wandered about two miles ( we think) from her home through the woods and next to a lake.

It took her the rest of the night to calm down and rest – she wouldn’t eat or drink and that much exercise was pretty tough for her to say the least.

During her stay at our house, I realized how much I missed having my own pet, and being able to project my own love and care toward something like a pet.  In a previous life, I had an orange tabby cat named Lucky.  Much the same story as Bella, but he was born into the home where I was staying at the time.  Not such a sweet disposition as Bella, but he was just Lucky.  Lucky didn’t get much attention from the other home dwellers and was often bullied by them.  But he and I got along just fine.  I still miss Lucky.

Lucky’s ending isn’t happy, and he passed away much sooner than he should have, and that was a very hard day for me.  And with only spending a few hours, roughly one day and a half with Bella I starting getting attached to her very quickly.

Belle’s story has a much happier ending though.  We put up flyers around the neighborhood where we think she came from and we found someone who thought they knew the owner.  So we left the dog with the neighbors.  Unfortunately the potential owner’s English Bulldog passed away last March.  So, the neighbors took her to the county animal shelter the same day we left her with them.

Almost a week passed before we knew any of this, and the potential owner never contacted us to say anything about the dog.  So we decided to go back to the potential owner’s house and see for ourselves.  The neighbors decided not to take the dog back the potential owners once they found out from another neighbor that the “real” Bella had passed.  So after I rang the doorbell, and asked the potential owner how Bella was doing, she was very confused.

She gave me the story about her Bella, and I gave her the story about mine.  Not a comfortable conversation once I learned the real Bella had passed.  So, what now?  I queried the family that took her that one day, and they gave me the whole story.  I shared that with Bella’s owner and she set out to find out where this dog is, or was going to be.  She was transferred to a rescue shelter because of some health conditions she had, but was also placed on an adoption list, which Bella’s owners are at the top of.  We’re hoping this Bella can connect with her new owners so everybody wins in the end.


Crazy Kitchen Talk

kitchen.01I want to cook, or pick up where I left off when I used to cook for myself a lot. Most folks that cook have an arsenal of tools they use from kitchen string, to spatulas designed by NASA – well, maybe not NASA but there are a lot of pampered chefs out there – I’ll leave it at that for now.

So my arsenal consists of four new knives pictured above, and a few baking pans and skillets I’ve collected over the last few years. The skillets and bakeware I used for a dinner I cooked for my girlfriend’s nanny. She’s British and I thought I cook a “Thank you, you’re awesome!” Sunday dinner for her and her family. It turned out amazing! Their words not mine. All of the recipes I took out of a Jamie Oliver cookbook that targets British favorites his family and friends shared over the years. The recipes were wicked simple to follow and made sense for the amateur taking a whack at a full-blown three course meal for 11.

This past weekend I was shopping for the two smaller knives pictured and stopped at a store I thought would have what I needed. So, I’m standing there looking over the myriad of brands and sizes of cutlery and the knife angel shows up – not a store employee but someone on the same type of quest a few months back who, unlike me, did all of research to make an informed buy. More than I ever thought I know about metal, age, steel, handles, grips, knife duties, etc. I left with the two pictured “Cuisinart” knives pictured.

I’m not sure my “arsenal” is complete, but it’s started. I also picked up another cookbook from a book fair at a local elementary school with my girlfriend and her daughter. Simple recipes, full of flavor, that don’t need the full arsenal, but enough to get me started for sure.

One of my blog followers (Tina Schell – was looking for more sparks based on a blog entry I composed about writing code; I’m hoping there won’t be to many sparks from my crazy cooking that would lead to a mishap in the kitchen. I promise to be careful. There. I’m good now. Besides, like my good friend Z says, “what’s the worst that could happen?”


Distracted Progress


There’s a lot of distractions that run across your desktop, kitchen table, cafe table, and your mind throughout the day.  So I decided to block them all for this long Memorial Day weekend and dive deep into a new web thingee that’s been getting a lot of chatter and traction in the developer community. I set a simple goal after asking myself, “what do you want to accomplish with this deep dive, given the time you have to spend?”


I wanted to get through the first three chapters of the online tutorial and get three things:

1)  figure out what I don’t know and should

2) learn the lingo of the this particular language so my Google and Bing foo doesn’t suck and I can find what I need;

3) stick with the tutorial as close as I can and get my laptop setup so I can do my web development going forward;

4) build something that works and has some tests built into so I’m not just slinging code, but testing what I sling.

So the effect of doing something like this is that (for me anyway) is I want to keep going and go deeper and understand more – part of my Magic Factory initiative I blogged about last month.  My goal is to finish this tutorial and actually move into some more advanced content and site construction.  But, baby steps – always baby steps with this type of thing so I glaze over something I need to “get” and would miss if I’m in a big hurry.


Tried Something New

Wooden Apple

I decided to try out two new Apple devices a few months ago.  The main points of this was not to upset my local group of cronies who are somewhat “all things PC and not fruit”, but to simply upgrade my current PC to newer hardware.  I’d heard of other folks trying this and repaving the initial Lion or Snow Leopard image with Windows7, but I had a few things in mind: I wanted to shift the way I used a laptop, specifically one with fewer buttons and one with (IMHO) superior graphics and display; I still wanted to keep a Windows7 image on the machine; I wanted my music and photography to follow me around instead of putting some pics over here, and then some over there.

Sure, there’s a slew of gestures and key combinations to learn but the last time I had to learn a keyboard I was in typing class in high school, so my brain is enjoying the attention and exercise at the moment.

Two good friends (also coders) have been using Apple machines (and phones) for a while, who I used as resources to ask specific questions about the configuration a.k.a. features to add at buy time, and how to run Windows7 as well since my day job still requires some coding tools that only run on Windows.  They’re smart guys so I trust them and they were right.  It has been a blast so far, and moving back and forth from the MBP and the HP hasn’t been terrible but I do find myself mashing on the track pad on my HP laptop and obviously nothing happens.

A good friend of mine told me this one time, “if you want to work, use a PC; if you want to play, use a Mac”.  He was right. Totally.  Now that I used my MBP for both work and play things seem more normal, not sure what word to use there, but maybe you get it.  At any rate its been a great journey so far, the hardware is awesome, the graphics are clean and crisp, and there’s no shortage of help when I’m trying to figure things out.  The thing that probably sticks out in my mind the most is the amount of time I don’t wait for the laptop to startup and shutdown.  I’ve probably saved about 12 days of my life since December not waiting for things to start and stop.  I was glad to wait in the old days, now I’m a bit less patient, and I like it better when things are more snappy.

I also recently purchased an iPad.  The main driver for this was to have face-time with daughters and their kids since there’s a lot of distance between FL and OH.  The face-time so far has been awesome, and it’s great connecting randomly with my girls.  I also discovered so many apps to help organize me.  Most notably are Remember the Milk, and FlipBook.  Other apps that stream things are more of a distraction during go-time so I won’t list those, but I will say that there’s probably no reason to continue buying music when some many applications can stream it.

FlipBook really does a fine job of collating all of the blogs I read (7 total); plus it connects all the other social stuff too which is nice but not necessary – and its free.  All of my magazine subscriptions have companion applications as well, this means I don’t have to stop reading, oh, and all of the eBooks and PDFs I stuff into DropBox are available too and they read like I’m using a giant Kindle; I can’t read outside but if I’m outside I probably won’t have a book in my hand anyway.  I still like books.  I have a lot of them, so I don’t see myself replacing that experience with an iPad.

All of the other usual stuff is basically the same, the PC could do the same as the iPad or MBP; there are some nicer trade-offs though but I’m really enjoying this change so far.  A lot!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter‏

This will probably be as close to a real (cold) winter this year.  My daughters were driving me back to Columbus to catch my plane back to FL, my camera was in the truck so I just started shooting scenery from inside the car with my cell phone.  I liked these two the best.

Winter I-71N Toward Columbus

Winter I-71 North To Columbus








Winter I-71 North To Columbus

Winter I-71 North To Columbus

It’s farther than you think

Lake Apopka Loop

Lake Apopka Loop

Today we went to a local trail that was converted from unused railroad tracks.  It’s a loop that is farther than I’m sure, but it’s called the Lake Apopka Loop.  We started down the trail and really didn’t set out to do a full 20 miles, it was the first time we had all four bikes on the carrier (which was a bit of a Rubik’s cube) and on this particular trail.  20 miles it is.

Three hours later, and at almost complete exhaustion, we returned to the trail head where we started out.  If you look at the map to the right, we did the yellow line, back and forth 10-miles each way.

At the 1/2 way point cramps had already set in, by the time we reached the last incline before the trail head none of us had any drive left.  Hopefully the next time I take on a twenty-mile trek it won’t be so far.

What a great day for a ride, kind of chilly, definitely not hot however it felt like we rode into the wind going in both ways.

Great day, great ride.

Shiny Brand New Year

I had an awesome time bringing in the New Year with friends, family, and of course more food. One of the thoughts or more specifically I had last night was from my grandmother – her message, “don’t stop moving”.

So this year I’m going to just try to keep moving and stay moving. So I’ll say to you the same thing I told myself on the way home last night, don’t let this year zip by the way the last one did.

HNY to you and yours!