Typical Daily Tamoto Harvest
Here's a picture of a daily harvest of tomatoes from our home system. We're also getting a lot of lettuce, onions, kale, chard, and peppers, although the peppers aren't ready to harvest yet.

We Have Fish
Yesterday we spent the day in the Van. We drove to Burbank pick up our first boxes of fish and then drove them all to Goleta. We saved one box to add to the tank at home and put the rest in the two tanks at Sustained Harvest Farms. Here's what the bags of fish look like while the temperature of the water in the bags matches the temperature of the water in the big tank.

We Have Nutrients
Seeing algae in your aquaponics system is a double-edged sword. All that green tells you your system is cycled (or cycling) and that you have nutrients galore. On the other hand, all that algae has a life cycle of about 24 hours and the deceased algae create a lot of ammonia, which is not good for your fish. We have no fish in the system, yet, so I scraped out the worst of it and we will hope for the best.

Sprouting Tables
Here are the sprouting tables, in Carol, right after being painted.

Cleaning Up Carol's Soil
Meanwhile, I've been cleaning up the dirt sections in Carol, getting ready for the tanks and the sprouting tables. Lot's of work, but beginning to look good.

Three Troughs and Counting
It looks like John and David and Linda can build and line about one trough per day. We have nine more to go.

Beginning To Install Weed Mat
We got "Bob" all cleaned up and are getting ready to install weed mat over the dirt areas. One of these dirt rows will become our main path for moving rafts around, since the troughs will take up almost all the concrete lanes. We'll begin construction of the rafts tomorrow.

Here's a picture of "Bob", the inside greenhouse in Goleta, shortly after we signed the lease. It's a before and after sort of thing.
Flush off our "success" (it's an inside joke) with our home aquaponics system, we did what anyone would do.  We signed a one year lease for two greenhouses in Goleta to build a commercial aquaponics system. These greenhouses were built in the 1960's by Samual B. Mosher, an oilman who later willed the "orchid farm" to his wife. Needless to say, they are not in "new" condition, so we will have our hands full getting them up to speed. 

We named them "Bob" and "Carol". Carol is a twin peaks model and this is Jason and Linda posing shortly after we moved in.

Our New Greenhouse
As we're getting ready to start a new aquaponics venture we decided to start a test system at home. We also decided to put it in a greenhouse. After looking at the options I went ahead and built my own.

Treating a Knee Injury
Many years ago (like 35) I injured my knee while lifting a couch. Something went snap and I was hobbling around for two or three months before I could start to walk and run normally again. Many of my friends criticized me for failing to undergo knee surgery.  However, to this day, I still don't believe it would have helped.

And today I read this article. Yep.

The Things You'll Find In The Rain Forest
I don't know how they got it there. I don't know what's inside. They had airline seats in the restaurant. Ignorance is bliss.

First Full Day At Hatch House
This is our second trip to Costa Rica, and our first visit to the southern Pacific coast area. We feel lucky to get to travel as much as we do, and it provides us with a great deal of satisfaction. Most of the people we will meet here will never fly on an airplane or visit another continent. Yet they probably feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful setting. Most of the Earth's peoples do not live in such a place, so luck takes many forms.

This is the view from the back porch of the house where we're staying for four nights.

We decided to spend the last week of our vacation in Edinburgh, Scotland. The city is beautiful and green and we bought one-week passes for the bus so we were able to go everywhere we wanted. We also spent a lot of time walking. A Scot won Wimbledon while we were there.

Spain - Ronda
We spent a day in Ronda, doing a lot of walking and sightseeing. There's this ancient bridge built across a canyon that runs through the old part of the city that is amazing.

Spain 2013 - Granada
We stayed at an apartment in Granada, which unfortunately had a bed that had been treated with some kind of chemical. Despite seeing more mangy dogs than I've every seen, the city was fascinating and we were very close to the section of the city that more or less duplicated the Moroccan experience. We even got to smoke a hookah.

After our three days in Granada we spent two nights in Conil, which was very reminiscent of our stay in Albufeira on our trip to Portugal.

Spain 2013 - Malaga
Our first stop in Spain, 2013, was Malaga. We were not terribly impressed by the Novotel suite where we stayed as it was small and not very well designed. Still, we had a great time walking around the city for the two days we stayed and began enjoying the Tapas experience right away.

We also got to see the Malaga Market, where we bought some wonderful olives and one very unusual pepper.

Spectra Cine
Back in 1989, when I lived in Burbank, one of my bookkeeping clients was Spectra Cine. Lynne and I rented a house with a swimming pool and she worked for Buena Vista Video, part of the Disney Empire. I don't remember much about the company, but I also had other clients in the entertainment industry.

I also bought and sold motorcycles, after fixing them up a bit, with my buddy Johnny Doucette.

Our Garden - 2013
This is our second year on Vista Del Mar and we're off to a fast start. Once again everything is happy and we've planted the usual suspects, but also Kale and Grapes and Raspberries. It's been windy this year, but mostly clear. This is a shot from our upstairs bedroom, out the east facing window. Note the teepees and the half-moon pattern.

Excellent Advice from a Young Whippersnapper
Here is the post:

  • Try not to give unsolicited advice.
  • Showing up on time, consistently and without fanfare, is the single best way to show another person that you respect them.
  • People should hear nice things about themselves. Do not assume that everyone does. Give more honest compliments.
  • If you drink beer, drink the absolute best beer available, even if that means you can afford fewer beers.
  • Try to be the best person that you can be all the time. Maintaining different identities is a burden and it distracts you from working on your real one.
  • Kindness, and the strength to display it in all situations, is the single most admirable quality that people can possess.
  • If given the opportunity, people will surprise you. Leaving yourself open to these surprises is a kind of risk. Taking that risk is how you believe in people.
  • Own fewer things. Identify possessions that you love. Take care of them, treat them well, and keep them forever.
  • When with others, make every possible effort to be with them wholeheartedly and every possible effort to not fiddle with your mobile devices.
  • Every photograph and video you take at a concert or other live event will probably be terrible. Just enjoy the moments, don?t feel pressured to document them.
  • Let people leave your life when they need to. Leave a light on for them in case they ever decide to return. Collect those lights and regularly remember why you keep them lit.
  • Write more letters. Literal, pen-and-paper, had-to-buy-a-stamp-and-remember-where-your-friend-lives letters.
  • Be a relentless champion of people you care about.
  • When hugging, hug with two arms, while standing and applying reasonable, affectionate pressure.
  • Take every possible precaution to ensure that you own what you make: words, art, music, photographs, and even social media updates.
  • If you make something that you think could help someone, give it away.
  • Go to bed an hour earlier and wake up an hour earlier. Life is nicer in the morning.
  • Give more, smaller, unexpected, personal gifts.
  • You will miss things. You will not live long enough to experience everything. Try to spend time with this in mind.
  • To accomplish something difficult, make the work as easy as you can on yourself. Remove every obstacle except the work. Then do the work.
  • When writing lists of advice, simply mine your past mistakes and failures, then try to rephrase them as folksy wisdom.
  • There are not many tasks that you?ll be doing repeatedly for as long as you?re alive, carrying stuff is probably one of them. Buy a really nice bag.
  • Other people cannot always see your intentions, they can see your actions.
  • No matter how important the rush that you are in, there exists someone in a more important rush, possibly the person directly in front of you.
  • Find something small, cheap, and easily reproducible that makes your day better. Make it a point to include it in life as often as possible. I suggest tea.
  • Settle into the realization that other people can be as intelligent as you. And more intelligent. And less intelligent. But, understand that you often won?t be able to tell the difference.
  • Ask your parents more questions about themselves, answer more of your parents? questions about yourself.
  • Unless you have finished writing a book, it?s probably best not to tell anyone that you are writing a book.
  • Seeking comfort is just fine. Seeking unending comfort can be a trap; occasionally, pursue the uncomfortable.
  • Placing a ripe, soft avocado in a refrigerator will extend its life by two days, give or take.
  • Once in a while, when you feel strongly about it, break a rule.

Physical Therapy
A couple of weeks ago I had my last physical therapy session, the third I had to pay for myself since Blue Shield had denied any further therapy beyond 12 sessions in a year.

All this started a couple of years ago when I over-threw a disc at Casitas disc golf course. I tore my rotator cuff and labrum, so much so that it produced bruises. As the pain continued over the months I finally relented to have an X-ray and then an MRI. With the tears revealed, I scheduled surgery for May 20, 2012.

The aftermath of this surgery wasn't fun. I was in a sling for three weeks and didn't begin therapy until after six weeks. In retrospect it is easy to see that this waiting period was far too long. Despite their best efforts, my therapists were unable to restore my full range of motion. My surgeon didn't seem to care, saying that I probably had developed a case of arthritis.

I sought a second opinion and in early February, 2013 I had a second surgery which removed some bone impingement from my collarbone (which had been mysteriously missed by the first surgeon) and also removed lots of scar tissue.

Now, almost a year later, I am getting close to my full range of motion in my right shoulder and am working hard on strengthening the rotator cuff muscles. It has been a frustrating year and at times I regretted having had surgery in the first place. I can't say that this regret has gone completely away, but I'm moving on and am seeing the bright side of life once again.

Every day a try to do one more push-up than the previous day. Today I did eleven.

Repost of Excellent Summary of Obamacare
From CaspianX2 on reddit:

What people call "Obamacare" is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (abbreviated to PPACA or ACA). However, people were calling it "Obamacare" before everyone even hammered out what it would be. It's a term that was, at first, mostly used by people who didn't like the PPACA, and it's become popularized in part because PPACA is a really long and awkward name, even when you turn it into an acronym like that. Barack Obama has since said that he actually likes the term "Obamacare" because, he says, "I do care".

Anyway, the PPACA made a bunch of new rules regarding health care, with the purpose of making health care more affordable for everyone. Opponents of the PPACA, on the other hand, feel that the rules it makes take away too many freedoms and force people (both individuals and businesses) to do things they shouldn't have to.

So what does it do? Well, here is everything, in the order of when it goes into effect (because some of it happens later than other parts of it):

(Note: Page numbers listed in citations are the page numbers within the PDF, not the page numbers of the document itself)

Already in effect:

  • It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices) ( Citation: An entire section of the bill, called Title VII, is devoted to this, starting on page 766 )

  • It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare (so drugs cost less) ( Citation: Page 235, sec. 2501 )

  • It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn't directly control, PCORI, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money. ( Citation: Page 684, sec. 1181)

  • It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy. ( Citation: Page 518, sec. 4205 )

  • It makes a "high-risk pool" for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of "pre-existing conditions" altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered "pre-existing conditions" can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them. ( Citation: Page 49, sec. 1101Page 64, sec. 2704, and Page 65, sec. 2702 )

  • It forbids insurance companies from discriminating based on a disability, or because they were the victim of domestic abuse in the past (yes, insurers really did deny coverage for that) ( Citation: Page 66, sec. 2705 )

  • It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.

  • It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths. ( Citation: Page 942, sec. 5000B )

  • It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won't get any more coverage because they have hit a "lifetime limit". Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance, that company can't tell that person that he's used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won't cover him any more. They can't do this for lifetime spending, and they're limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2711 )

  • Kids can continue to be covered by their parents' health insurance until they're 26. ( Citation: Page 34, sec. 2714 )

  • No more "pre-existing conditions" for kids under the age of 19. ( Citation: Page 64, sec. 2704 and Page 76, sec. 1255 )

  • Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans. ( Citation: Page 47, sec. 2794 )

  • People in the "Medicare Part D Coverage Gap" (also referred to as the "Donut Hole") get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend. ( Citation: Page 398, sec. 3301 )

  • Insurers can't just drop customers once they get sick. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2712 )

  • Insurers have to tell customers what they're spending money on. (Instead of just "administrative fee", they have to be more specific).

  • Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they're turned down. ( Citation: Page 42, sec. 2719 )

  • Anti-fraud funding is increased and new ways to stop fraud are created. ( Citation: Page 718, sec. 6402 )

  • Medicare extends to smaller hospitals. ( Citation: Starting on page 363, the entire section "Part II" seems to deal with this )

  • Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.

  • Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly. ( Citation: Page 511, sec. 4202)

  • A new website is made to give people insurance and health information. (I think this is it:http://www.healthcare.gov/ ). ( Citation: Page 55, sec. 1103 )

  • A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness by paying half the cost of the investment. (Note - this program was temporary. It already ended) ( Citation: Page 849, sec. 9023 )

  • A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they're not price-gouging customers. ( Citation: Page 41, sec. 1101 )

  • A limit is placed on what type of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Basically, your insurer isn't paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover. ( Citation: Page 819, sec. 9003 )

  • Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms. ( Citation: Page 819, sec. 9002 )

  • Any new health plans must provide preventive care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2713 )


  • If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes go up a tiny bit (0.9%). Edit: To address those who take issue with the word "tiny", a change of 0.9% is relatively tiny. Any look at how taxes have fluctuated over the years will reveal that a change of less than one percent is miniscule, especially when we're talking about people in the top 5% of earners. ( Citation: Page 837, sec. 9015 )


This is when a lot of the really big changes happen.

  • No more "pre-existing conditions". At all. People will be charged the same regardless of their medical history. ( Citation: Page 64, sec. 2704Page 65, sec. 2701, and Page 76, sec. 1255 )

  • If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the "mandate" that people are talking about. Basically, it's a trade-off for the "pre-existing conditions" bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can't just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you'll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you're not buying insurance because you just can't afford it. (Note: On 6/28/12, the Supreme Court ruled that this is Constitutional, as long as it's considered a tax on the uninsured and not a penalty for not buying insurance... nitpicking about wording, mostly, but the long and short of it is, it looks like this is accepted by the courts) ( Citation: Page 164, sec. 5000A, and here is the actual court ruling for those who wish to read it. )

Question: What determines whether or not I can afford the mandate? Will I be forced to pay for insurance I can't afford?

Answer: There are all kinds of checks in place to keep you from getting screwed. Kaiser actually has a webpage with a pretty good rundown on it, if you're worried about it. You can see it here.

Okay, have we got that settled? Okay, moving on...

  • Medicaid can now be used by everyone up to 133% of the poverty line (basically, a lot more poor people can get insurance) ( Citation: Page 198, sec. 2001 ) (Note: The recent court ruling says that states can opt out of this and that the Federal government cannot penalize them by withholding Medicaid funding, but as far as I can tell, nothing is stopping the Federal government from simply just offering incentives to those who do opt to do it, instead)

  • Small businesses get some tax credits for two years. (It looks like this is specifically for businesses with 25 or fewer employees) ( Citation: Page 157, sec. 1421 )

  • Businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees, or pay a penalty. (Citation: Page 174, sec. 4980H )

Question: Can't businesses just fire employees or make them work part-time to get around this requirement? Also, what about businesses with multiple locations?

Answer: Yes and no. Switching to part-time only won't help to get out of the requirement, as the Affordable Care Act counts the hours worked, not the number of full-time employees you have. If your employees worked an equivalent of 50 full-time employees' hours, the requirement kicks in. Really, the only plausible way a business could reasonably utilize this strategy is if they currently operate with just over the 50-employee number, and could still operate with under 50 employees, and have no intention to expand. Also, regarding the questions about multiple locations, this legal website analyzed the law and claims that multiple locations in one chain all count as a part of the same business (meaning employers like Wal-Mart can't get around this by being under 50 employees in one store - they'd have to be under that for the entire chain, which just ain't happening). Independently-owned franchises are different, however, as they have a separate owner and as such aren't included under the same net as the parent company. However, any individual franchise with over 50 employees will have to meet the requirement.

Having said that, the ACA only requires employers to offer insurance to full-time employees, so theoretically they could get out of this by reducing all employees to 29 hours or fewer a week. However, if any employees' hours go above that, their employer will have to provide insurance or pay the penalty. And also, this is putting aside how an employer only offering part-time work with no insurance will affect how competitive they are on the job market, especially when small businesses with 25 or fewer employees actually get that aforementioned tax credit to help pay for insurance if they choose to get it (though they are not required to provide insurance).

  • Insurers now can't do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2711 )

  • Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers. ( Citation: Page 81, sec. 1302 )

  • Health insurance cannot discriminate against women on pricing or plan availability ( Citation: Page 185, sec. 1557 )

  • Reduce costs for some Medicare spending, which in turn are put right back into Medicare to increase its solvency. Most notably, this bill reduces the amount that Medicare Advantage pays to be more in line with other areas of Medicare ( Citation: Page 384, Sec. 3201 and Page 389, Sec. 3202 ), and reduces the growth of Medicare payments in the future ( Citation: Page 426, Sec. 3402 ). The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that between 2012 and 2022, this will amount to $716 Billion in reduced spending (Citation: CBO Estimate ). Also being cut is $22 Billion from the Medicare Improvement Fund, most likely because the PPACA does a lot of the same stuff, so that spending would be redundant ( Citation: Page 361, Sec. 3112 ).

  • Place a $2500 limit on tax-free spending on FSAs (accounts for medical spending). Basically, people using these accounts now have to pay taxes on any money over $2500 they put into them. ( Citation: Page 820, sec. 9005 )

  • Establish health insurance exchanges and rebates for the lower and middle-class, basically making it so they have an easier time getting affordable medical coverage. ( Citation: Page 107, sec. 1311 )

  • Congress and Congressional staff will only be offered the same insurance offered to people in the insurance exchanges, rather than Federal Insurance. Basically, we won't be footing their health care bills any more than any other American citizen. ( Citation: Page 100, sec. 1312 )

  • A new tax on pharmaceutical companies.

  • A new tax on the purchase of medical devices.

  • A new tax on insurance companies based on their market share. Basically, the more of the market they control, the more they'll get taxed.

  • Raises the bar for how much your medical expenses must cost before you can start deducting them from your taxes (Thanks to Redditor cnash6 for the correction!).


  • Doctors' pay will be determined by the quality of their care, not how many people they treat. Edit: a_real_MD addresses questions regarding this one in far more detail and with far more expertise than I can offer in this post. If you're looking for a more in-depth explanation of this one (as many of you are), I highly recommend you give his post a read.


  • If any state can come up with their own plan, one which gives citizens the same level of care at the same price as the PPACA, they can ask the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for permission to do their plan instead of the PPACA. So if they can get the same results without, say, the mandate, they can be allowed to do so. Vermont, for example, has expressed a desire to just go straight to single-payer (in simple terms, everyone is covered, and medical expenses are paid by taxpayers). ( Citation: Page 117, sec. 1332 )


  • All health care plans must now cover preventive care (not just the new ones).

  • A new tax on "Cadillac" health care plans (more expensive plans for rich people who want fancier coverage).


  • The elimination of the "Medicare gap"


Palm Tree
Oh palm tree, 

In the heat of the day your fronds glisten with silver. 

In the ebb of this same day your fronds turn to gold. This ebb and flow is a wonder to my aging eyes.


A Tree Named Bob
When Carol passed, the family planted a tree at Jason's house. When Bob passed, the family decided to plant a tree in a pot, to sit at Miles and Linda's house, since we rent. It's a Lime tree, named Bob.

A Sea-Home
Check this out:


Robert Nelson
Linda's father, Bob, died yesterday at the age of 87. I will always remember him for his grin. It was infectious.

Robert Richard Nelson, 87, was born Feb. 6, 1925 in Newberg and passed away peacefully April 4, 2012 at his home in Tillamook with his daughter, Linda, by his side.

Bob served in the U.S. Navy at the end of WWII and was honorably discharged in March, 1946. He then graduated from the University of Portland. He married Carol V. Olby in June, 1948. His loving wife preceded him in death on Nov. 2, 2011.

Bob and Carol moved to Tillamook in 1955, where he and his brother Jim owned and operated Atlantic Richfield Oil Distributorship until they retired in 1986. Bob was an avid bowler and also was active on the local golf league. He was a member of the Elks Lodge and the Oddfellows. He spent most winters after retirement on the  Island of Maui, and enjoyed plenty of time snorkeling, golfing and just enjoying the sun and their newly made friends.

He is survived by his son, James Nelson; daughter Linda Gassaway and husband Miles, of Ventura, Calif. and daughter Melissa Riverman and husband Joe of Bend. There are eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchilden who will also miss him dearly.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to hospice or a charity of your choice. No service is scheduled at this time.

Linda's New Drawing App
Linda created this using an app called "Paper" from fiftythree.com. I couldn't do this sort of thing in a million years.

My Baby In Jamaica
Here's my best buddy standing on "our" beach in Jamaica. This was in front of the condo we stayed at the first week, at the north end of the seven mile beach.

The Tram Above Como
While we were in Como, Italy, we rode the tram up the mountain, which afforded spectacular views, like this:

Linda and I regularly pick a spread of Tarot and analyze the results using numerology. We find it both fascinating and useful. Here's one of our spreads from late last year.

Polka Dots For Halloween
Here's Terry, Jeff and Harper, resplendent in their Halloween garb.

Off To Hawaii
We're flying to Hawaii tomorrow to visit Linda's dad, Bob, and to help him clean the place up in preparation of his departure back to Oregon. Linda was over there recently and here's a picture to prove it.

Linda and Johnny
Here's more from the cleaning pictures off my phone department:

A Friend Made In Paris
While in Paris, Linda and I went out to see a jazz band called No Jazz. They were terrific. We met Isabelle at the show and had a great time chatting her up. She invited us to lunch at her place in the ninth arrondissement and we completely forgot to mention that we don't eat meat. Well, she prepared a beautiful coq au vin, and we didn't get to taste a bite.

Here's Linda with Isabelle and her children Daphne and Odysseus.

Why We Had To Move
This is why we had to move:

View Video

Lake Como
Here's more from the "cleaning photos off my phone" theme. We loved Lake Como, Italy. It would be wonderful to live there. We stayed at the Hotel Borgovico, which was run by the same sort of friendly, happy people that you would see all around you.

Gary and the Harp
I'm cleaning out some photos from my phone, starting with this one of Gary holding the Harper in her first few days. About a year ago.

Reminds Me Of St. Lucia
I stumbled across this image on the internets recently. It so reminds me of the tree house we stayed at on St. Lucia.

Our New Address
We've moved! Our new address is 1511 Vista Del Mar, Ventura, CA 93001.

 Here's the new pad:

Treasure Beach
We stayed three days at Treasure Beach in Jamaica before we returned to Negril for four days prior to flying back December 1st. A good trip, very relaxing.

Our Trip to Jamaica
The first half of our holiday to Jamaica is coming to a close. We've been in Negril enjoying the sun and the beach and generally having a relaxing time of it. We went on a bit of a tour yesterday with Earl, who has been taking us around town, and got to see some remarkable sites. Today we will be journeying to Treasure Beach, for more relaxation and perhaps a chance to play some tennis.

My Mother In Law Passed Away Last Week

Carol Virginia Olby Nelson, 81, of Tillamook, died Nov. 2, 2011. She was born in Mellen, Wisc., and then moved to Gresham with her parents, the late Helen and Hugo Olby in 1930. Carol graduated from Gresham High School in 1948.  She married Robert Richard Nelson that same year. They lived together in the Portland area before relocating to Tillamook in 1955.

Carol worked at Tillamook High School as an office secretary until her retirement in 1988. She was passionate about making a difference in the lives of students. She was well known and loved by the students for her willingness to listen and her fairness.

Carol was an active member of the Tillamook Womens Bowling League, a golfer for many years, an avid ping pong player and an aggressive card player. After raising her three children, Carol loved to travel to Maui where she and her husband resided in Kihei.  They spent over twenty winter years there enjoying the Maui sunshine, community and lifestyle. Carol had many friends. She made friends easily.

Carol is survived by three children: James Nelson of Tillamook, Linda Nelson Gassaway of Ventura, Calif., and Melissa Nelson Riverman of Bend. She also is survived by eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren with twin great grandchildren on the way!

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to a cause of your choice.

No service is scheduled, as family and friends will gather for a private celebration of Carols life. She will be missed by all.

Cremation arrangements are in care of Wauds Funeral Home in Tillamook.

The Impending Doom
I've got a real reputation for predicting imminent demise for us all, and for the past forty years I've been wrong. I now chalk that up to the free-for-all spending of all our cheap energy, which has enabled "growth", which has kept everyone busy, employed, and consuming. I'm absolutely sure that all of this is about to come to an end.

Linda and I will be traveling to Jamaica in November, and one of the things I hope to accomplish is to get a better idea of what life will be like when our economy tanks. Already a quarter of Jamaicans are unemployed, most recently with the decline in textile and clothing work. The tourism industry is being hit hard, just as it has been world-wide. There is no petroleum on the island, but they do manage to provide the world with 10.4% and 7.4% respectively of its bauxite and alumina. 

It's weird to think of having to do without things that you've had your whole life, like properly paved roads, guaranteed clean water, and all manner of consumer goods that are soon to be too expensive to ship long distances. I expect to begin losing electricity a lot, which will certainly serve to get us out of the house more.

Mobile Internet Connection
Back when I was boondocking a lot (in my RV, don't your know), I often wished for a way to connect to the internet, fantasizing about a satellite dish and so forth. In those days, the satellite companies wouldn't let you install or use a dish on an RV. I don't know if the Dish Network offers an internet package, but they certainly have made a portable dish package.
My Daily Commute
I love riding my bicycle to work, and I really enjoy the route I take. This morning it was unusually cold on the way in to work, but you always warm up after a half mile or so, no matter how cold it is. I get to ride down Ventura Avenue, which is always a hoot because of the wide variety of people you see, even first think in the morning, and because you get to make drivers nervous (not really). The first good hill climbs up to Poli, and then again after the courthouse, finally topping out next to cemetery park. Then comes a long fast downhill to Jeff and Terry's house which is followed by a long flat stretch that passes Ventura High School, goes partway up Foothill, down Dalton to the hospital, crosses Telegraph and then heads into the Mall parking lot. Once I get across Mills Road I have arrived at the office.

Here's a picture of the steepest hill closest to home:

Back to Biking
A couple of weeks ago Linda and I bought new bicycles. My old Gary Fisher had served me well but needed to be put out to pasture. Linda's Trek was really a man's bike. We got a couple of Specialized bikes and I installed our motors on them. We also ordered two new lithium ion battery tubes from AmpedBikes. It's nice to be commuting on a bike again.

Momentos From Italy and Paris
Here are some of the cards and tickets I saved from our trip to Italy and Paris.

Como, Italy
We spent the next day by taking the funicular up the side of the hill to get this view.
Second Day in Como
We found a suit jacket and tie, though it turns out this was not necessary, since the printed restrictions on dress code were not enforced. The Ballet was incredible, as we hoped it would be. It was very modern, but was danced mostly to Baroque pieces, with the exception of the last one, which must have been a modern piece meant to show the difference between Baroque and nightmare (or simply modern discordant 20th century music), which gave a very fine point to the whole of the ballet. We were worried by the potential of a strike by the train workers that was scheduled to start midway through the ballet, but luckily was postponed due to the "exposition", which we assumed to mean the furniture show we will attend on Saturday. It would have been tricky/expensive to get back to Como after the ballet without the trains running. As it is, we caught a train and had a late drink at a neat bar down the street from the hotel before retiring around 2:00 AM.
Second Trip to Italy
We have arrived in Como after a very long travel day. The flight from LAX to Zurich was about 11 hours but we managed to sleep about half of it. We figured out the train and arrived in Como around 8:00 PM local time. After a salad and drinks at a lovely bar we found down the street we retired to the room for a well earned night's rest. We slept until 9:30 AM and just made it to breakfast in time. We're hoping to go to the ballet at La Scala tonight but apparently I'll need a jacket and tie, so we'll try to locate them today.
Human Resource Management
I deal with human resource management on a daily basis. It's part of my day job. It's kind of neat, really, to be the guy in the company that everyone else goes to to get information about their hours, how overtime works, their benefits and how to manage them, and stuff like "how do I reduce all these garnishments on my wages?" Keeping track of employees and their dependents, and all the various details that go with them (how many dependents exactly, and whether they are natural children, adopted, or step-children) is a bit tricky, so I've developed a human resource management service at extendedtribe.com. I had already built many of the pieces of this puzzle during the course of my duties, so putting it all together hasn't been as hard as it would have been if I were starting from scratch. Still, there are lots of interactions to consider as I build out the features and I'm sure I'm in for one of my famous "learning experiences". 

Besides employee tracking, I've included an online time clock feature, an employee manual wizard, and an evaluation (appraisal) service. It's always nice to build a service to solve your own problems. Who better to do so, eh?

What Not To Care About
My wife and I are both accountants, among other things. I lived my life single, she had six kids before we met. Her desire to be in control of her life is intense; the four husbands she had were little or no help in bringing up her children, weren't particularly good bread winners, and failed miserably at accounting. There can be little surprise, then, that my wife wants very much to take care of our family finances, just by force of habit, if nothing else. 

Accountants are nit-picky sons of bitches, as most everyone knows. We like to get everything just right. And why not, when you're working with numbers there's no reason to settle for approximations (at least in accounting) because you should be able to balance everything out to the penny. So it is with no small degree of effort that I have managed to not want to take care of my own finances. 

But there is something much more important that I have learned to not want. Opinion. I have found myself forming opinions about the various things she does, which amounts to forming judgements based on my own perceived superiority. That's really it in a nutshell; it's my ego wanting her to live up to my image of her. Sounds stupid, doesn't it. Believe me, there is no greater stupidity than to waste your moments forming an opinion of your mate, when you could simply be loving her. I've tried both ways, and the love wins, hands down. It's been a hard thing not to want, this intense scrutiny of her behavior. But in order to have her back (always be there for her), I cannot care about this, not even a little. And guess what. Guess who gets to be happier as a result of giving something up?

Looking Ahead
I can see two things happening in the future, inevitably. Or not. This would depend on there being a future, so I guess inevitable is overstating it. At any rate, I believe that voice command will become the default human interface with computers and devices that contain computers just as soon as it becomes technologically feasible, and probably a bit before then. I also believe that wearable computers are just around the corner. Some are already here, of course, but just you wait. There is one more thing about voice interfaces. Members of the young generation today who have come to depend on text messaging, you know the ones, they have learned to walk and drive while staring intently at their portable device, will not wish to make the change to this new interface. They have become reliant on the close relations giving by instant messaging, which also gives them safe distancing, since never a word need be uttered, nor a thought thunk, methinks.
Christmas 2010
This year we decided to make a bunch of stuff, rather than spend so much on everyone, so the house ended up looking like a manufacturing facility.

These trays that Linda made are terrific. Each one has a sponge, some sea salt for the bath, some of Linda's famous soy soap, three soy pillars, two palm was pillars and three palm was cubes. Also included are two soy and bayberry tapers.

Here are the baskets that Linda put together.

If I'm Not Here When You Get Back
"If I'm not here when you get back, it will mean I've gone somewhere." I was sitting by the fire, gazing idly at the sky to the west. The day was ending, but that was because it was almost over.
"Do tell," she said. As she walked away towards the clearing I got the impression that she wasn't at all interested in the sky or the day, much less what I might be able to tell. The last of the dinner lay sullenly in my stomach, which meant I had over-eaten, again. Time for a drink.

Treasure Hunt Tool
Each year we have a treasure hunt for our grown children and they behave like eight-year-olds. The event is very complicated with lots of different clues and tasks for each team. It literally takes months to complete each year's new treasure hunt. To keep ourselves organized we use Extended Tribe to keep track of what we've done and what we still need to accomplish. We find it a splendid tool for the job.
The Tree In Mission Park
This is the big tree that grows in Mission Park on Main Street. I took a photo of it when we were on our way to a Thursday night happy hour at J's for martini's. $4 a piece, a very nice bargain. Plus they have a very nice Caesar salad and a humus plate with pita bread. 
Possible Futures
I'm going to indulge in some multiple prognostication. I've been thinking a lot about the future lately, with an eye towards some major changes in our communities. I feel that the coming shortages of fuel and water are going to bring about a new way of life for us all, at least to a minor degree. And here's where the multiple part of the multiple prognostication comes in. I'm going to make three sets of assumptions and attempt to describe the likely results of these three cases.

First, some background. I'm assuming that the cost of fuel for all purposes will increase steadily going forward. The degree of the increases will change with each of my three assumptions. I can safely predict rising fuel costs because of simple supply and demand. Currently, the U.S. imports over 9.8 million barrels of oil a day and 3.1 million barrels of gasoline. Remember, a barrel equals about 43 gallons. Due to falling production and rising demand elsewhere in the world, The U.S. is going to experience shortages of gasoline, and reliable alternatives simply do not exist. A good summary of this problem can be found here.

Perhaps more troubling are impending shortages of water. In my own community I have witnessed the inevitable march of Peak Water. With shortage of both fuel and water looming on the horizon, individuals will be well advised to prepare for the changes to come.

So, here are my three predictions about conditions in my own community three years from today.


This first prediction involves the least change. I foresee much higher gasoline prices and a deep recession still in play. As much as 30% of the U.S. workforce will be unemployed. People will be driving a lot less, so there shouldn't be any rationing in play. Water rationing will not yet be a permanent part of life, and the era of the green grass yard will still exist for years to come. Drinking water will still flow from the tap. This prediction is that most people will still have a very high standard of living, compared to other countries, but the deep recession will be effecting everyone in one way or another. Families will be the last lifeline for many of the unemployed. Government programs will be overwhelmed. Our communities will respond with compassion and goodwill, but many people will become desperate. Violent crime will increase dramatically and homelessness will be rising rapidly. 


This prediction sees even higher gas prices leading to depression and very high unemployment. Government infrastructure will still be intact but operating at low levels. Communities will attempt to take up the slack, but many people will be living in parks and hastily set up homeless shelters. Many communities in the U.S. will be struggling with lack of clean drinking water. Water rationing will be in effect everywhere. Violent crime will be high and many people will start carrying firearms. There will still be a high quality of life for many people, but a change back to an agrarian economy will have commenced.


In this scenario, gasoline is prohibitively expensive and depression is combined with a lack of basic goods due to shipping problems. Government at non-local levels is ineffective. Violence is increasing and many people are having trouble just surviving. Health care suffers from the lack of prescription drug deliveries, though those are given highest priority. Water is a precious commodity and gangs begin to take control of communities.

Algonquian Street
When you walk up Algonquian Street in my neighborhood you come to a locked gate (easily circumvented) and a short road up to the town's water tank. Walking around the tank back towards the orchard you see the backyards of all the houses across the street from my house. And you get a lot of stickers in your socks.
Biking Up Sulphur Mountain Road
We took a trip up Sulphur Mountain Road yesterday, and the road is a little smoother than it was this time last year. There were quite a few bikers and hikers on the road, but it was still a very enjoyable time. Here's a photo overlooking Oak View.

You Better Have Some Hobbies
Some days you wake up wanting to get straight to the computer to begin coding. And on some of these days you have one of those days when nothing you do works out right. The simplest tasks turn into major research efforts and you tend to make stupid mistakes. I've lived long enough and am unintelligent enough to have had way too many of these kinds of days. There are basically two ways to approach this problem. The first is to try to work your way through all the difficulties until you succeed at whatever you were attempting to do. The second is to walk away and enjoy one of the fascinating hobbies you have taken up. You do have hobbies, don't you? You're going to want more than one, because sometimes even your favorite hobby will throw monkey-wrenches and road-blocks at you, and you'd better have a plan B. 

Come back and beat your head against the wall later, because if you just keep beating, you're going to end up with a bloody head.

What Was Hard Is Now Easy
I only started using Coldfusion about six years ago and I didn't have any relevant experience with web development before that time. Along the way I made some lousy programming decisions, based on my lack of knowledge of simple techniques. Well, as time goes by, you learn new things (or die). This week I'm going back over some poorly made decisions and upgrading them to reliable code. I thought that this exercise would be cumbersome and time consuming but neither of these turned out to be true. I've learned enough that making these changes, now, is almost trivial. As good as that makes me feel, I realize I should have done this task long ago. I'll take some of the time I thought I would need and I'll use it to review more old code. And, while I'm at it, I'll schedule regular code review into my routine. Dreary as it sounds, the advantages outweigh the inconvenience.
What I Did This Year
As 2009 draws to a close, I wanted to sit down and recap some of the things I've done this year. My major accomplishment, as always, has been to remain the loved-one of my wife, Linda. Without her I don't amount to a hill of pintos. 

Most recently we have become involved in the upcoming congressional campaign of one
Tim Allison. Deborah Dent, who guided us through the Obama campaign has signed on as his (interim) campaign manager, and Linda and I have agreed to volunteer on his behalf. As a result, one of the projects I just started is an online database of voters and volunteers in the 24th Congressional District of California. I'm sorry I can't show it to you, but it is password protected by user, as it must be.

Linda and I have also started a "new" company which will complement our "old" company,
The Extended Tribe. We're still trying to get that one together and have lots of work to do. But the new one, Nine, is already seeing revenue and will probably be easier to push and time goes on. These projects, though relatively old, are being re-worked all the time.

One project I haven't worked on lately is
menotforget. Even so, of all the things I've thrown up there, it gets the most attention. Also, Tribe101 has fallen into a bit of disrepair, mostly from lack of interest, except for Ben.

This year we also started a
site to aggregate local resources, though there didn't seem to be any enthusiasm behind it, on my part. It sits there waiting, however, and may come to something eventually.

Meanwhile, life goes on. I chronicle some of my daily real-job learning at
txspt. And Linda and Jayme and I got to go to Saint Lucia this year. We've been lucky, as usual, to be healthy and happy and to have loved-ones around us to amaze and amuse us as this delightful life goes on. We are in for interesting and probably difficult (if not disastrous) times ahead and we need to be able to help each other where we can. Happy new year and love to all.
Electric Bicycling
I've been riding an electric-powered bicycle to work now for a year and a half. I bought my first kit from Largo Scooters (a Crystallite Go-Hub kit) in late May 2008 and posted a picture of my bike here. It came with Sealed Lead Acid batteries which are not really up to the task. I purchased my first LiFePO4 battery from Li Ping in September 2008 and that was a terrific improvement in the performance of the bike. I bought a kit for Linda's bike from AmpedBikes in October and ordered a second battery from Li Ping. 

Towards the end of summer, this year, my Go-Hub kit started cutting out on the way up the hill. Research indicated that the battery wasn't getting enough of a charge and Li Ping told me how to adjust the output of his charger. That helped, but the Crystallite motor just wasn't working very well any more. I went ahead and ordered a new geared, rear-wheel motor from AmpedBikes and have been extremely happy with it. Of course, I forgot to check the wheel and installed a tube and tire without the protective band in place and thusly got a flat tire my first time out.

Now Linda's kit is cutting out regularly even though I had already adjusted her charger. Could it be the controller this time?

A Wonderful Time In Bend
We had a great time at Marcus and Kate's wedding in Bend this weekend and all the kids did, too. The dancing especially was fun. Can't wait for the Sportsman and Jeff and Teri's wedding.

Here's my beautiful wife.

Along The Bike Path
In Ventura, we're extremely lucky to have a well-maintained bike path that goes all the way up to Ojai. Along the way is passes an old, abandoned refinery. That's where I took this photo of a spray-painted sign bidding us to "Behold" the junk someone had been hanging up on the fence that surrounds the place.

Our Hawk
Here's a beautiful picture Linda took of the young hawk we have living around our neighborhood. I've seen as many as three at one time, but we've only been seing this one for a while now.

Time To Move On
Last year we befriended a number of younger people while working on a political campaign. One of them, Mike, is a very gifted programmer as well as a community activist. He came up with a plan to build out a community free and low-cost wifi service. I pitched in to help and Linda arranged the use of a building and its internet service. Jeff helped out greatly with the installation and everything was looking good. Unfortunately, the installation for the company that uses the building had some issues even before we did our work, and they lost connectivity two days in a row. It wasn't really our problem but Mike came in each time and got things going again. During this process I must have done something stupid or whatever because Mike no longer returns my calls.

All of this is merely background for something that happens to me all the time anyway. Any new friends I cultivate will eventually decide the work isn't worth the gain and the relationship comes to an abrupt end. My point here is that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. When you recognize that time spent with someone might be more productively used elsewhere, the sooner you move on the better. I don't really care what caused Mike's decision. It doesn't matter. Life is short.

Keep It Simple
I've been toying with really simple user interfaces lately and it has made me more aware of the philosophy of simplicity and observant of attempts to be simple. In many ways, as Merlin Mann says, it is essential to "shut off anything that's noisier than it is useful". And as Kas Thomas says, "We know that something like 30% to 40% (some experts say 45%) of the features in a software system are typically never used, while another 20% are rarely used". So the simpleness of a user interface not only allows for simpler development, it also improves the user experience. As I observe simpleness, I begin to see patterns all over the place. The latest figures on netbooks show that they are, apparently, the bridge down to the pocket computer we've all been predicting for years, and which has probably already arrived in the form of the iPhone. Some of the iPhone's success can be attributed to keeping it simple. As John Gruber points out, "There's a long list of features many experts and pundits claimed the original 1.0 iPhone needed but lacked". Obviously the features it shipped with were enough. You even see the advantages of simplicity when choosing which language to use for a particular purpose.  On a larger scale, it is beginning to look like the era of big business is getting what it deserves - less profit. The advantages that small companies can bring to the customer gives them a huge advantage. 37 Signals appears to have gotten it right with their strategy of:
  • Less features
  • Less options/preferences
  • Less people and corporate structure
  • Less meetings and abstractions
  • Less promises

From a Post by Bre Pettis
I present to you a manifesto of done. This was written in collaboration with Kio Stark in 20 minutes because we only had 20 minutes to get it done. The Cult of Done Manifesto:

1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
3. There is no editing stage.
4. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
7. Once you're done you can throw it away.
8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
11. Destruction is a variant of done.
12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
13. Done is the engine of more.
What If US Collapses?
Here's an interesting article with this same title. It gets me to thinking about converting savings to "durable objects of lasting value".

San Diego
We went to San Diego last weekend to visit with Tom and Pam. We took our new Flip Camera with us. Voila: Miles and Tom
Disc Golf
Linda and Jason and Ellene and I stopped off in Victorville on our way to Las Vegas to play disc golf at this course:

Compare that to our home course at Lake Casitas a few miles from where we live in Ventura:

All but one hole at Victorville were less than 300 feet, yet they were all par 4's. The course at Lake Casitas is a bit more challenging and is all par 3's.
The Order of Mystics
I used to live next door to Stan Zurawski, a funny old guy who fancied himself a "Preceptor". He talked me into putting together a website for him which consisted mostly of stuff copied from some theosophy book, I think. The website is gone, as is Stan, but his card will live on (for a while).

How To Help Kids Nowadays
I've been put in charge of handling Johnny, Linda's 21 year-old son. He hasn't been able to hang on to a job and has pretty much burned his bridges with his brothers and sisters. He lived with us up to a few months ago and it was a trying time. He has a tendency to lie and steal and seems to have no sense of courtesy towards others. I believe he is reasonably bright, but he behaves in ways that make you wonder if he's stupid. Linda and I have been renting him a room here in Ventura in order to get him out of the house, and he has had a couple of jobs for a few weeks at a time. Linda tries to help him find work - Johnny got a DUI soon after we bought him a truck and he never took care of the tickets or court appearances, so he has spent a considerable amount of time in jail and will have a hell of a time getting his license back. He smokes pot, has no ambition (except to con his family out of money), but when he does work he is a pretty good worker. I wonder if we shouldn't start a foreign exchange service for troubled kids. I'm not talking about international exchange, just getting them out of their environment and into a job that would teach them something. I know we would be willing to pay to relocate Johnny to a trustworthy place where he could have meaningful employment and a positive experience. Ultimately, it would be up to him. But the alternative, at this point, is welfare. I wonder how many other parents are having this problem?
Pam makes the newspapers

Original Article

Don't stress out Pamela Gassaway or she's likely to go and stand on her head for a while.

"Oh, it's one of my favorite poses," Gassaway gushed. "It's such a mood changer."

But don't worry about this limber lady hurting herself - she's a pro. Gassaway teaches yoga and has been helping folks use the ancient art to improve their health for years.

People sometimes joke about the sometimes peculiar poses and postures used in yoga, but this teacher swears that more people should seriously give being upside-down a spin.

"You know handstands can do the same thing. If you're really dragging in energy, drag yourself over to the wall and do a handstand. It just works wonders."

She currently teaches yoga at Club Yuma, where she emphasizes that yoga offers the human body much more than an emotional response.

"It gives you a workout, it increases your flexibility and your strength. And the meditation is just like taking a trip. Without psychedelic drugs, it's the next best thing!"

Gassaway just chuckles when the uninformed write off yoga as being new or faddish. She just smiles and points to its history - its ancient history.

"Yoga has been here for many centuries, almost like forever. This is certainly nothing new."

In addition to yoga, Gassaway also performs other healing modalities ranging from massage to healing touch. She is a recent graduate of the new massage therapy program at Arizona Western College. She also practices a form of energy exchange simply known as healing touch.

Gassaway describes her own spiritual path as being most parallel to Buddhism. She travels for events and workshops to a center in El Centro where a Buddhist lama from Los Angeles visits.

Gassaway says she was hatched in Ohio but grew up in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area.

"You lived in a cocoon there, though. You thought everyone had sunshine, a good time, and going to the beach was just a routine of life," she said, chuckling. "It was a good way to grow up."

Her mother worked as a teacher-librarian and her father sailed around the world with the Merchant Marines, a combination of influences that would have a unique affect on young Gassaway.

"I ended up with the idea that you needed book learning, but you could always go wherever you wanted to go. Travel was good for the soul. The trick is that I was too into having a good time and fooling around to get an education. That's why I'm still going to Arizona Western College!"

It was the 1960s during her college years and Gassaway may be quite the free spirit today, but she says the whole counterculture thing was just one ride that passed her up somehow.

"I was not the '60s flower child. I missed out on that. My upbringing was not in that variety at all. I didn't learn anything about being a flower child until I moved to Denver. That's when I finally got with it."

Instead Gassaway got married in Florida, had two children and "got divorced somewhere in there." She also pursued her dream of becoming a legal secretary.

"Do you remember Perry Mason? Well, his secretary just knew how to do everything. I knew I could do all that, too."

Gassaway eventually moved to Denver, where she worked for an international broker and married her husband, Tom. The couple have since run businesses selling fire extinguishers and lightning rods in Denver, San Francisco and around Farmington, N.M.

They moved to these parts in search of cleaner and warmer air to help Gassaway's asthma.

The lifelong lover of jogging and running discovered yoga 23 years ago, back in Denver. But unlike now, yoga wasn't found at practically every gym. There was only one yoga studio at the time in the entire city of Denver.

"I first got into Jazzercise, when that addiction hit. Well, I was right in there, right in the center until I could no longer move! I was obviously doing something wrong and told my friend that we needed to find something else to try."

But she found something far more than just another form of exercise.

"You can take from yoga whatever you want. You can have a meditative workout. You can have total concentration on the breath. Or you can have a physical workout and get going with the muscles full force just like a jock would. You just tune into the level you want."

She began teaching 19 years ago.

Outside of her work at Club Yuma, she has also taken yoga into more experimental territories, including a year of teaching special education students at a local school.

"It was the most rewarding experience ever. These kids had all kinds of problems, mental and physical, but it didn't matter and they didn't care. We can all do yoga - and they loved it."

More recently Gassaway began working with Hospice of Yuma, offering the comfort of healing touch to clients preparing to make the transition into death. It's obviously hard losing clients, especially those whose bodies she worked on for a long time. But Gassaway stressed how that challenge is also the source of the greatest joy.

"You know that you were blessed to have been there with them," she said, smiling. "It just makes life more special."


Name: Pamela Gassaway
Birthplace: Somewhere in Ohio
Occupation: Yoga instructor
Marital status: Married
Children: Daughter and son
Pets: Two cats Pokemon and Pound Cake. I once had a horse at a racetrack in Denver, but he never earned us a dang penny!
Political affiliation: I am glad to be a Democrat and I just wish more people would stand up and say 'I am.'
Favorite thing to eat: Seafood
Favorite midnight snack: Please. Stay away from midnight snacks!
Favorite movie: Anything with Brad Pitt!
Favorite TV show: Anything on BBC America. I love "Footballers Wives." My grandson looks just like that bad boy that got killed on the show.
Biggest pet peeve: I really have to 'Om' over some of these drivers who have to turn left on the light when it's red.
If the world was ending tomorrow, what I'd do today: I'd be on a flight to London.
If my life had a theme song it would be: "Pearl" by Janis Joplin
If they make a movie about me I'll be played by: I don't think there would be a movie about me when we could watch one about Brad Pitt.
Favorite weekend getaway: Palm Springs
Our Trip To Italy
We are on our last day staying near Siena at the Relais Borgo Scopeto, a beautiful old villa converted to a hotel. We liked it so much here that we extended our stay several days at the expense of time spent in Rome. Sunday is the dreaded travel day.
The 16 Essential People in Your Life
I have removed the text of this article. It was written by pjammer (Kai Chang).

You can see the original post here.
Lightning on the Water

This lightning bolt struck in Rushcutter's Bay, Sydney, Australia recently.

Note the damage to the aluminum mast. We just spent nearly a week on Lake Shasta, one night of which featured a major thunderstorm that started several fires during the night. We got to see airplanes fighting the fires the next day. It never occured to me that we could have been at risk from the lightning itself.

Main photo by Gabriel Urbinaga and inset pictures by Scott Finsten.
Building Your Own Job
Linda's been talking about wanting to help people when we can afford to do so, and I've been thinking about how to build a business or a job that can sustain us through our older but better years. I've been thinking about ways that people can get together to share their abilities to do good things and help themselves at the same time. I come up with a hare-brained scheme every week or two, but I don't ever follow through on anything, in part because I don't have time. Now, I'm the sort of person who can get an awful lot done in one hour, and I'll bet most of you are too. What if we had some framework by which we could each put our hour in and have something to show for it at the end? I know I'm much better at fleshing out certain parts of other people's ideas than I am of my own ideas, for whatever reason, and it makes sense to me that I could put in an hour a week contributing my energy to a good idea.

I've been looking at how successful businesses organize their projects, and I think that the same techniques could be used in a more casual environment. Projects could be organized in a way that each can give according to their expertise (and I could reap the rewards - yea!). (And Joella could manage everything!) Anyway, here's an interesting article on how someone started a temp agency for the disabled. As you will see, this site has lot's of interesting articles about how people turned their hare-brained schemes into commerce. Yes, I know, capitalism is a BAD thing, so let's figure out a way around it, eh?
New Grandson!
Ellene and Jason Donaldson gave birth last night to a beautiful baby boy, Hudson Robert Donaldson. Hudson was born at 3:40 AM. He and his mother are healthy and resting comfortably at home.

Mexican Poker
We spent the weekend in San Diego with Tom and Pam and played a game called Mexican Poker. At one point we had the rules (found online) printed out, but nobody remembered to bring a copy. We couldn't find the right one's on the internet, but we did find these, which aren't right at all:

Minimum of 4 people start with 4 decks of cards. For every 2 people more add another deck.

Start the first hand by dealing the number of cards indicated. Put the remainder of the cards in a stack and flip the top card for the discard pile.

Everyone must try to achieve the first set listed. To achieve this the person who's turn it is may take the top card from either the discard pile or the stack before they do anything. NOTE: if this is not the first thing they do they can be penalized. If that person can not make the needed hand they must discard one card. When someone has the hand needed they must place only those cards face up. Mark that this person has finished the hand on a separate sheet of paper. If that person has any 3 (or more) of a kinds, or straights, they may also place these down face up. When they can place nothing more down they must discard a card. Play continues. After the next person finishes their hand they may play off of any of the other 3 of a kinds or flushes, someone who has not gotten the cards they need to finish their hand may NOT play off of the cards on the table. The hand is finished when the someone has played all their cards, they must remember to discard their last card.

At this point everyone must count the remaining cards in their hand, see scoring below.

The next hand begins with dealing the next level number of cards. I.e. everyone is dealt twelve cards on the second hand. However there may be someone who did not complete their last hand, they may not move on and must complete it, if they do on this hand they may move up only one step on the next deal. This continues on until someone completes hand #10.

1st hand, 11 cards, 2 X (3 of a kind)

2nd hand, 12 cards, 1 (5 card straight) 1 (3 of a kind)

3rd hand, 13 cards, 3 (3 of a kind)

4th hand, 14 cards, 1 (5 card straight flush) 2 (3 of a kind)

5th hand, 15 cards, 4 (3 of a kind)

6th hand, 16 cards, 1 (7 card straight flush) 2 (3 of a kind)

7th hand, 17 cards, 2 (5 card straight flush)

8th hand, 18 cards, 5 (3 of a kind)

9th hand, 19 cards, 3(5 card straight flush)

10th hand, 20 cards, 1 (10 card straight flush) 2 (3 of a kind)

We played with just two decks and never required a straight flush.

Let's hear what you think the rules should be.
Bird of Paradise
Here's a picture Linda took of a Bird of Paradise taking a sip from the fountain out front.

Identity Protection
Here's an email forwarded to me by my old boss, Petter.

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".

3 When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks.(DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away. This weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:
1.) Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
Trip to Yuma
Linda and I drove to Yuma last weekend to visit Tom and Pam. We all had a great time playing Mexican poker and eating at Mexican restaurants. Linda was the big winner at Mexican Poker, but Tom made the board at Yahtzee. Tom also recorded some basic tracks for The Traveling Gassaway's latest single Travelers. I completed the track at WhompyJawed Studios with the able assistance of Linda Gassaway.

A Day at the Beach
Here's a photograph Linda took one day at the volleyball beach in Ventura. Gary just yelled at her to take a shot and when she had the camera to her eye he tossed Nevada up in the air and caught her. That's Joey watching and the picture is just as it came out of the camera.

New Toys
Here's a fantastic new toy that has given me an idea for yet another one.


Remember "MouseTrap"? Let's all think of a way to update that particular time killer. I like the way the above toy uses a Lego-like approach, with individual pieces that fit together to make a path for the marble. For the new MouseTrap I suggest we take a similar approach: individual building blocks that can be put together to form parts that carry a ball, guide a ball, balance and redirect a ball...you get the picture. The world's waiting, let's go.
EarFull, The Game
Linda and I have had an idea for a new game called EarFull. It will be sort of like Name That Tune with other categories besides songs. Things you'd hear at the beach; things you'd hear at a casino; and so on. There will be some mechanism for playing snippets of sounds and then the players will try to guess the origin of the sound or be given multiple choices and there will need to be some mechanism for confirming guesses. Other details will have to arise out of your comments.