The Christmoose…

As promised, here is a shot of Murray Christmoose and his friends.  Murray is the one with the red nose.  He’s been drinking so it glows red.  Some people confuse him with Rudolph, but Murray is one of the other reindeer that laughed and called him names.  Tough crowd, these reindeer.


They are fun to make and don’t take a lot of time.  A glue gun helps loads.

So now we have then hanging on the tree – above the cats – and ready for Christmas.

Murray Christmoose

We are going to start making Christmas Mooses (or is it Meece?) this year.  You start with a candy cane, some pipe cleaners and a box of plastic “wiggly eyes” (the kind that move around when you shake them).

Take the candy cane and wrap the pipe cleaners around the hook part and form into antlers then glue two wiggly eyes right down on the “nose” of the hook.  They hang nicely on any limb of the tree and taste good if you sneak one while nobody is looking (oops – busted).

Our tree again this year will be a very pretty fibre-optic tree that has a rotating color wheel in the stand that reflects out through all the branches like a kaleidoscope.   When the room lights are out, you can stare at it for a long time and never get tired of the changing patters.

We had a short Christmas session just before we left Texas so they could share the presents with us before departing.  Every year we get a “Schütz Familienkalender” from my Daughter and Son-in-law which is filled with photos of my grandkids and everyone else from the European side of the family.  I really look forward to them.

Which reminds me – time to get another package of ‘stuff’ off to Pete soonest.  He blew through all those powdered biscuit/fudge mixes so fast that is would only be fitting to send more.  Talk about being an Enabler.

Home again

We arrived back in Ohio in the late hours (about 1830) on Sunday.  As predicted, Cincinnati was horrible.  Worse than horrible.  I had misread the sports page and thought that the Bengals had an away game but Nooooooooo it was a home game.  And, it ended about 20 minutes before I hit the South side of Cincinnati.  This meant that the entire population of Ohio was trying to enter the Interstate at the same time I was trying to travel it.  It was stop and go traffic for about 5 miles.  Very exhausting for my clutch foot.

We are home now  though and slowly unpacking the bed of the truck.  Naturally, it is raining while we do this. So we grab something, rush madly for the garage, and then bring it inside for placement.  We decided not to just bring everything in at once and are just doing one thing at a time and putting it where it needs to be right away.

Since it is now Monday, I can report that a good night’s sleep really does wonders.  So does a nice cup of tea after my morning appointment with the Urologist.  He says everything is still there and working as best as it can. When one has lost a kidney to cancer four years ago one is very careful about such things.

I had a very hard time getting my laptop to re-connect to my home LAN.  It kept giving me “You are not connected to a network” but, in fact, I was connected to my LAN and the Web already.  Clearly, Vista was a tad confused as to my status.  As it turns out, my forcible ejection of VMWare (see previous blog entry) caused some ‘holes’ in the Registry that needed to be plugged.  Since I exported each and every Registry key before I deleted it, I was able to browse each one and find the four or five that were necessary to restore IP functionality.  Now, I am back up and running.  It is possible to prune the Registry, but you’d better have a good parachute handy just in case.

Tomorrow I have to take the truck down to Midas and see about getting the exhaust system back into shape.  I mentioned that some holes appeared in the piping and, during the trip, opened up a bit more.  By the time we hit Memphis, there was a distinct rumble developing.  Before we left Texas, I bought a small Carbon Monoxide detector just to be sure – no warnings at all so most of the fumes were vented out from under the truck.  Not surprising, since we had 40 to 45 knot headwinds all the way Northeast.  I could hear my magnetic-mount ham antenna on the roof of the cab lifting up and down a couple of times under a larger blast of air.  Seems as if every time I am traveling, I have a headwind – both ways.

If you are traveling in Tennessee do not – under any circumstances – stay at the Days Inn at Lakeland Tennessee.  This has got to be the worst motel I have ever stayed at including some in the Philippines and other areas.  There was some kind of music festival going on so rooms were scarce and we couldn’t move to a new one.  The refrigerator leaked a huge ring of damp carpet right where we needed to walk; the shower head dropped off the pipe (it actually broke apart when I turned it on); the vanity sink was clogged and took forever to drain; the bath towels looked like dishtowels and were rough with starch, small, and thin; no TV guide to the channels available; no business cards at the front desk for whom to contact; and, finally, no decaffeinated coffee in the morning,  All the above was coupled to an inability to connect to the Internet through their advertised “Free High-Speed Internet” no matter what I did.  The Days Inn website provided a nice “contact us” page to vent on.

Time to get back to unpacking.

Ooh. Do it again…

Well, I didn’t win the Lottery – but – nobody else did either.  Now it is up to an estimated $170 million.  I might even spring for two chances on this one.  It will cost me $2, but somebody should win this time.  It rarely gets up this high.

Looks like we might extend our stay here until Saturday morning for departure.  Bad weather is lurking along the way and traveling through larger cities is much easier on the weekend than the workweek.  The interstates do a fairly good job of skirting the cities, but workaday traffic is usually higher even on the “ring roads” than on weekends.

We have to go through Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, and my old friend Cincinnati.  Of all of them Cincinnati is probably the absolute worst place to “just travel through”.  Such a thing is simply not possible.  One does not travel through Cincinnati, one bobs and weaves like a punchy boxer after too many shots to the head.  There are always instances of the unofficial State Flower of Ohio (the orange construction cones) when running through the town.

Our first days goal is to reach East Memphis so we don’t have any traffic out of Memphis when we leave in the morning.  The rest, except for Cincinnati, is easy.

Hit me with your best shot……

I’m ready Fate.  Let me have it right between the eyes.  I bought my first lottery ticket in quite a while today.  It is for the Mega-Million multi-state lottery.  Right now, about 6 hours before the draw, the cash payout is only $116,900,000.  By the time of the drawing, it could rise as much as another 2 or 3 million.  You can have either cash or payments of a set amount over 25 or 27 years.  I don’t really know which one I would like to have in view of the current economic state the US is in.  Maybe take the cash and stow it under the mattress for the time being.  That would earn more than letting those ‘Big Three’ auto manufacturers have it.