Thursday, March 19, 2015


Josh and Gwen called to say "I asked her, and she said yes!"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Plans Change

Sometimes your plans change abruptly. We became aware on Friday of a homeless woman with a two week old infant and nowhere to stay--other than "in a storage pod with fourteen people", which is what it had been. So we brought them to our house and fed them and got her stuff from where she'd been staying and did the other things that seemed needful--such as taking all the wine and brandy extract and such out of the cabinets and fridge. Kid had a wheeze, so Diana took mom and baby to CHKD Hospital, where they stayed over. It looks like they'll stay over tonight, too, although that may  (or may not) be more because the hospital wants Child Protective Services to get involbed than because it's medically needful.
The point of this is that we weren't planning on doing any of this as of breakfast on Friday, and what we had been planning was abandoned without a trace.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Frozen Pipe

In January 2014, we had a night or two at 16°F and had a pipe pull away from a fitting, but not actually freeze. This year we had a night or two around 10° . The weather started warming this morning and behold, in early afternoon there was the sound of  running water. The copper water line near the back porch faucet had suffered a small split, but the ice that had caused it also plugged it, until the ice melted.
I figured the plumbing profession would already have its hands full with people who needed them more urgently, so I slithered under the house and found the break was about where I expected. I went to the hardware store, got silicone tape and a pipe clamp and an insulation tube, crawled back under, and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped the leak, and then put more tape on. The first fews yards of tape didn't entirely seal it but got it down to a slow drip, and it's possible the rest of the tape may have staunched that as well. I'll need to have it "really fixed" at some point but in the meantime, we could turn our water back on with less than $10 materials and about an hour's worth of work.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Charleston SC

We had decided to take a mid-winter mini-vacation, somewhere warmer than Virginia Beach, but a bit less expensive than Costa Rica. Diana picked Charleston SC. Given that the Lynnhaven River was frozen the morning that we left, we were glad to go.

Outline, which I'll fill in later

  • drive to Charleston
  • Vendue hotel
  • Tour the istoric district
  • Manigault House, with the most unexpected thing of today. At the top of the main spiral stair, there's a big 4ft wide door which looks as if it ought to lead to the master bedroom or the drawing room, but there's only a little broom closet, 18" deep. But if you squeeze into the closet and look up and right, that's a hidden stairway to the children's room on the third floor.
  • Charleston Museum
  • King Street boutique district (I suspect "boutique" comes from a combination of "buy" and the "EEK" you emit when you see the price) and the Market, which was mostly empty by the time we got there--after 5pm. 
  • Jazz at the High Cotton restaurant
  • Went to Fort Sumter, which turns out to have been pretty much completely destroyed by the Union siege during the Civil War, and again during the Martian invasion of 1891. 
  • Watched dolphins from the fantail on the ferry ride back. 
  • Walked 438 miles around the historic district of Charleston. 
  • Had barbecue at Stckyfingers. 
  • Waited patiently for 14 hours 47 minutes as Diana shopped at The Trunk, which I would describe as a "secondhand shop" except I suspect it's called something else when a used dress still costs $640 and a scarf $198--neither item came home with us despite being "on sale, 5% off" as the clerk helpfully pointed out.
  • Took another stroll through the Market.
  • Went to SNOB (Slightly North Of Broad) where Diana had flounder with fennel and gold rice and I had lemon chess pie with diamond dust.
  • Set part of the hotel wall on fire but the flickering light makes it hard to sleep so I'll probably douse it shortly.
  • Drive around the south end of Old Town and see churches--First Scots Presbyterian, St Michaels and others. We'd have done more but it was 25° not counting wind chill--too cold to spend much time walking around
  • Patriot's Point, with Yorktown and the Medal of Honor Museum
  • Drive home, up Rt41 to Rt501 and 38
  • Snow at the Virginia border

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Supply and Demand

"Politicians build their careers on voters’ ignorance about supply and demand curves."

--Glenn Reynolds

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gradual and Silent

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
- James Madison

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Soursop / Guanabana

I had nectar of guanabana (also known as soursop, gaviola, etc). The Wikipedia article says "The flavour has been described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavour notes contrasting with an underlying creamy flavour reminiscent of coconut or banana." As far as I could tell, though, there wasn't much taste difference between that and pear. A hint of citrus, perhaps. But it's a New Thing which has been tried.