Monday, August 29, 2016

The Purge

I speak not of any elimination diet or any weirdness like that. I speak of the ghost of Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin's dreaded head of the Secret Police who knew a thing or two about purges (until the sad day...well sad for him...when he got purged). For the ghost of Beria is doing its thing right here in the Tower! It has taken over Wife!

I blame my in-laws. They have been on a semi-spiritual quest to get the clutter out of their lives for years now. They read books about decluttering. They get together and help each other to declutter. They put up blog post congratulating themselves on decluttering.

Wife does none of pep mutual support activity. She just ruthlessly and efficiently goes through rooms eliminating whole closets, drawers, file cabinets as if they were nothing more than inconvenient political opponents leaving to me the gruesome work of hauling out the purged to the trash bins.

I'm pretty sure because of the blood connection all that semi-spiritual work done by her relatives had the unforeseen consequence of awakening this ghost of Beria within her. One can only hope the spouses aren't on the list of things that are deemed 'no longer necessary'.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Learning The Truth Of Mentoring

I have recently received a promotion from Camera Sherpa to Photographic Novice 2nd Class.  This does not mean that I have been freed of my duties as Camera Sherpa. But it does mean that I am allowed now to have my own camera and do some of my own non-cell phone pictures.

Some background is in order.

Wife in her benevolence noted a number of years ago that her  trusty Camera Sherpa was looking a bit long in the tooth. He was having more aches and pains from carrying the huge bag of lenses and other camera paraphernalia. So she decided to look for a mirror-less camera to replace her beloved Nikon. This led to purchasing an Olympus which is indeed much less heavy both in terms of the camera body and its lenses. But the Olympus never really won her heart.

Also as time went on, Wife started to get the idea that it would be nice to have someone around that would share her passion for photography. After doing a very, very thorough search throughout our household, multiple times, over a number time periods, she kept coming to the conclusion that there was not a lot of choices out there as to the person who could fill this role. It had to be de-I.

She floated many trial balloons that didn't really get the desired result. However, as the fullness of semi-retirement lifestyle came upon de-I and as the influence of Wife's photographic knowledge started to take root in his meager cell phone pictures, de-I began to come around to the idea. But there was the problem that there still was only one camera.

Then like a deus ex machina Nikon came out with a new electronic SLR that was much lighter. Wife was in love again. With new camera in hand, the Olympus was now available for de-I. But what was going to be required for all this to work?
  • Photo editing software needed to be put on de-I's computer
  • Had to figure out how to even use the Olympus in a minimal sense
  • Needed to figure out how to transfer images from the camera to de-I's computer
With all this, there was the challenge of de-I being a MAC user and Wife being a PC user. de-I however looked forward to having the interaction that would come from the knowledgeable Wife guiding him, teaching him, passing on her knowledge to him.

The first sessions showed just how this relationship was going to unfold.

"Here," Wife said, "This is the stuff for the editing software. There are directions in the box and you can web search if there are any problems. Here's the camera. You can find the instruction book in the cabinet and web search as necessary. I have things I need to do."

Clearly the 'closeness', 'interaction', and 'passing on of knowledge' has a different meaning for Wife.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I See The Future...And It Meows

NO! I am not contemplating getting a cat! Nothing that requires any ongoing care (like pets, house plants, etc.) will ever be part of the semi-retired, transitioned state while we are committed to extensive traveling.

What I AM talking about is my personal future...What I aspire to when physically I can't do the semi-retired, transitioned state as currently defined. This is important. I am a goal oriented person and while I am incredibly content with the way things are now, you have to be realistic and know that physically something comes up that will impede the ability to continue in this state.

But I think I have come up with an idea that would really fit who I am and what I like and would work in a state where I had much less energy and mobility than I have now.

I plan to become a cat.

Not a kitten. Yuck all that running around and playing would never do. Not a mature cat prowling the neighborhood looking to mate, fight, eat, get into trouble. That would not be appropriate. I envision an old, overweight, cantankerous cat that does just enough to be kept around and loved in spite of its cantankerous nature.

The realization that this was a perfect role for the future came about by accident. It started with sleeping. Over the last few years my sleep patterns changed and I now can only sleep 4-5 hours at one shot in the evening. I offset this by getting an afternoon nap. But often if I was up at 4 AM (not unusual if you're going to sleep between 11 and Midnight and only sleeping 4-5 hours), I would meditate or do yoga and it would still be 5:30 to 6:00 AM and I would be drowsy. So I added a morning nap.

Then came my discovery of massages. I found that I really liked just laying there and having some one touch me.

As I imagined a future where my ambition and drive was much less, I tried to find a role that would encompass a lower level of activity that would still be enjoyable. That's when it came to me. I should become a cat. Older cats spend much of the time sleeping or napping. I'm totally good with that. When they want it, they will seek attention particularly to be petted. I'm totally good with that too. I wouldn't have a problem playing around with small rodents until they died. They'd have to be pretty slow rodents though.

I see some challenges however. Purring. I can't purr. I'm pretty sure if I want the stroking I'm going to need to purr. I don't know if anyone wants you to spit up fur balls but it seems to be an intrinsic part of the role. And then there is the whole grooming with ones tongue. That seems to require a degree of flexibility that has totally escaped my aged body.

But anything worth having is worth working for. I have actually bounced this concept by a number of women that I know and have gotten nothing but positive feedback. Clearly I'm tapping into a virgin marketplace here.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Why Thai?

After our trip to China and Southeast Asia, I had a gastronomic question. Why way Thai food so ubiquitous throughout the world as opposed to Malaysian cuisine? In my opinion, Malay food was far more interesting in its flavors and its variety. Were there that many more Thai expats around the world than Malay?

In posing this question to many people casually I got no guidance. But the world nourishes those of pure heart such as de-I (fortunately for me the world evidently doesn't have forwarded to it any articles pertaining to de-I Sandia Outfitters). For just a few weeks ago in a food publication I follow there appeared an article talking about governments using food culture export to promote their standing in the world particularly for tourism.

The Number One Exemplar - Thailand

In 2003 the Thai government initiated a program to export Thai food culture to world explicitly to create a better awareness of Thailand and to promote increased tourism to Thailand. To this program involved providing financial support to Thai citizens that would agree to go to other countries and start restaurants. It negotiated with many other countries special visas to allow this to happen. Once that was successful, it was found that it was needed to provide better access to Thai specialty ingredients around the world which involved supporting food exporters.

The results have been as the government would have hoped with Thai cuisine found worldwide and tourism having grown substantially since the start of the program.

Now you know..

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Road Trip Pictures #3 - Bryce Canyon National Park

The main event of our road trip was our visit to Bryce Canyon National Park. We had schedule a whole day and went to every single open view point but one.

Even before we got to the park there was a National Monument - Red Rock - that we went through.

And now the main event
Our Crack Team of Photo and Video Journalists

Many, many pictures

Agh Wife don't go down there! 

One of many view points
More pictures

Taking all these pictures is hungry business

Darn photo/videographers going off again!

And let us finish with the important finale
Ice Cream
Clearly serious business

Friday, August 5, 2016

Road Trip Pictures #2 - Zion National Park

We hadn't planned on going to Zion but it turns out that the most direct road between Las Vegas and Bryce Canyon goes right through Zion

Into the Valley

One of the finest examples of fossilized shallow water deposits I've ever seen

The Checkerboard Mountain

And the Panoramas

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Road Trip Pictures #1 - Yosemite and Driving to Southern Utah

On day one we tried to do an 8 hour drive combined with going through Yosemite Park. Not our best decision. Turned out being a 12 hour day. AND we didn't have time to actually go into the main valley :(

For another trip

But we did see the back side of Half Dome

Granddaughter and Grandmother Photo Bonding


And some of the scenery on a very cool part of the drive from Nevada to Southern Utah

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

National Park-a-thon

I'm not sure what we had in mind when we decided we would take Granddaughter 1.1 on a road trip this summer instead of her just flying out to Albuquerque. I'm pretty sure we didn't have anything in mind and hoped something would make itself apparent in the fullness of time.

As it has turned out we've ended up doing a whirlwind tour of National Parks. Of course since we really didn't plan very well (read 'at all!'), we've just barely touched on most of the parks we've visited.

(Remember when reading this that this has all taken place over three days!)

We started out leaving the East Bay area and made an impromptu decision that we would go via a route transversing Yosemite National Park. That turned out to be a very long, long drive with all kinds of twisty turny mountain driving. AND we didn't get to see the main valley itself but did the northern most drive across the park. It did leave us with a desire to come back and do the main valley itself.

Today was going to be a relaxed travel day, but a business friend told me that you could get to where we were going by going through Zion National Park. That was an inspired piece of advice and we loved it. In addition to the main valley, there was a portion on the Eastern end that had some of the most spectacular examples of fossilized ocean/beach shore I have ever seen. (Pictures and Videos will be posted this weekend when we get back).

Tomorrow we're on to Bryce Canyon.

Traveling with 1.1 one has been very easy. She's a good traveler and meshes well with us :)

Introduction to Road Tripping

Greetings Grrandchild . Welcome to the de-I and Wife School of Travel. As you have never gone on a road trip before, we feel it is best to gradually work you way into the world of de-I/Wife travel. I know that you are internet savvy and  have probably done some searches on our travel reputation.


Anything that has been posted in the way of a review, commentary, police brief, court action in regard to de-I Sandia Outfitters (Our Motto: You Have Nothing to Lose But Yourself), has nothing to do with the firm de-I Sandia Children Tours that you are not traveling with.

For your first leg of this trip we are going to do a gentle 12 hour trip in a car with frequent passages through very steep windy mountain roads with no guard rails.  This was what the brochure your parents described as the 'gentle mountain vista' section. You will get at least an hour of break time (that's total break time not time in one unbroken section) during the trip.

Stop whining, I know you could have flown to Hong Kong in this amount of time.

When you are done with this segment, you will be completely broken...NO I will so experienced that the rest of the ordeal...NO I MEAN...trip will seem a breeze.