Daily Archives: December 27, 2020

Pizza, Pizza!

As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I was hoping to do a front brake pad replacement on the Jeep. and yesterday the weather and the time to do it coincided, so about 1pm I headed outside.

After loosening the lug nuts, I jacked up the Jeep using my floor jack and a platform to extend the height. And a jack stand for safety, of course. And getting the wheel off gave me this. Note the green smudge on the top lug bolt. That and a matching mark on the wheel lets me put the wheel back on exactly like it came off. This was more important back in the days when  they often spin-balanced tires on the car, but they don’t seem  to do that much anymore.

But old habits die hard, I guess.

Jeep Brake Job 1

I removed the two bolts holding the caliper on and hung it out of the way, leaving  the pads exposed.

Jeep Brake Job 2


Removing them, I wire-brushed the pad guides and installed the new clips that came with the new set.

Jeep Brake Job 3

Putting some grease on the guide clips, I slid the pads into place, with no problems.

Jeep Brake Job 4


And after putting a little grease on the two caliper bolts, I mounted the caliper back in place. and I was done. Then, as usual, it took me longer to get the tire lifted into place and up on the lug bolts.

Jeep Brake Job 5


Then it was on to the passenger side, and it was a whole new deal. ]

First off, the bolts holding the caliper in place were 14mm instead of the 12mm on the drivers side. And they fairly shiny, much newer than than the other ones. And when I tried to install the new clips and the pads, nothing seemed fit quite right. Including the two caliper mounting bolts.

Although I wasn’t curious enough to take the other wheel back off to compare, I suspect that this caliper had been replaced somewhere along the line, and maybe by one that was close, but not an exact fit. And this is a no-no in itself.

You should never replace brake parts, any parts, on just one side of the vehicle. If you’re replacing pads, replace them on both sides. Same goes with calipers, rotors, etc.

So we’ll see how things hold up.

Now, on to today:

Jan had been wanting to make a Container Store visit for a couple of weeks, so I thought today would be a good time, especially if we combined it with lunch at the Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, right on the next street at Baybrook Mall.

And yes, Baybrook Mall has streets and parks and fountains, all outside. In fact the newer, outside part is bigger than the original mall.]

Baybrook Mall Plaza 20201227

Our Grimaldi’s pizza was just as delicious as always, even with the 20 minutes. But we sat outside in the sun with a nice breeze and just people-watched.

Grimaldi's Pizza 20201227

This is a medium (16”) with Meatballs, Jalapenos, Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, Ham, and Bacon.

We normally get the Small House Salad, but I think we were still too full from Brandi’s Christmas dinner. And we still had pizza to take home with us for tomorrow night.

Jan wanted me to get a picture of her wearing her new peacock earrings,

Jan at Grimaldi's 20201227

but they didn’t show up very well, so you can see them better here.

Peacock Earrings

They were a Christmas gift from Sherry, Lowell’s sister, and Jan just loves them.

Thought for the Day:


December 27, 2010

Gulliver’s and Grandkids . . .

This morning started early (well, early for us) when we headed out about 10am to drop Jan off at Chris’ so she and Miss Piper could have a girl’s day out.

And they had a pretty full day planned. First up was a movie with the new Jack Black film Gulliver’s Travels in 3D on the schedule.

After that it was lunch at the Texas Tea Room, a place that our friend Barbara Cutsinger had recommended, but we had never tried.

After that it was shopping, shopping, shopping for the rest of the afternoon.

Jan was hardly home and in her jammies when our friend Maria called to see if we wanted to meet them in about 30 minutes right down the road at La Brisa.

Hey, it’s Mexican, we’re there.

Then later, our daughter Brandi called to catch us up on their trip to see Lowell’s family in Oklahoma. They had a great time and Mister Landon slept the whole trip back. We also made a date to meet them Wednesday night at Pappasito’s Cantina, another good local Mexican place.

And, of course, we’re meeting Maria tomorrow night at Monterey’s Little Mexico before she and Jan head down to La Marque for bingo. And Miss Piper might be going too. We’ll see.

Of course, that means we’ll be having Mexican 3 nights in a row. I don’t see a problem with that, do you?

In fact years ago, when the kids were little, we ate at the same Mexican restaurant every night for a week. What can I say, we liked the place.

Our friends George and Sandy Stoltz sent us this picture of their new grandson.

We have agreed that our grandsons are tied for The Best Looking Baby Boy of 2010.

George GrandsonLandon at Garden Ridge 2

And I have to take this opportunity to embarrass our granddaughter Piper, who I think won the title of The Best Looking Baby Girl of 1993. And she’s only gotten more lovely every since.

Piper At ChuysPiperAtWedding

Of course she probably won’t be speaking to me for a while since I put these photos on the blog again.

Oh, and did I say she’s really smart, too.

And since I’m making family members mad at me, here’s a photo of our beautiful daughter Brandi, along with Miss Piper again. This was taken at Bubba Gump’s Seafood in Time Square last year when they both came up to visit us and see New York.


It’s easy to see why they’re often mistaken for sisters, even thought they’re aunt and niece.

Well, I’ve alienated enough family for one blog post, so that’s about it for today.

More tomorrow…

Thought for the Day:

If you agree with the French raise your hand – And if you are French, raise both hands.



December 27, 2011

Tea Rooms and Toaster Ovens. . .

I was up about 9am this morning because Jan and I needed to head out about 10. She was meeting up with our granddaughter Piper to the spend the day together, and I had to drop a new laptop off at a clients.

I dropped Jan off at Piper’s about 10:30 and then headed over to my client’s. I had picked their new laptop before Christmas to get it configured with all the software they wanted on it. The problem started when I got there and they had a whole new list of software to install, and it had to be done today since they are flying to California tomorrow morning.

But the real problem was that almost all of this software needed to downloaded, and most of the files were really large. And their connection was really, really slow.

So 5 hours later I finally finished. But since I get paid by the hour, it was all good.

In the meantime Jan and Piper had headed out for their day together. Their first stop was the Texas Tea Room for lunch, our favorite tea room in this area for soup and sandwiches. Hopefully Jan and I will be able to eat there before we leave.

Their next stop was to do some shopping during the after-Christmas sales. Piper is a  sharp shopper and they picked up some great bargains along the way.

Next up was a movie. They’d decided to see the new Matt Damon movie, “We Bought A Zoo”. Based on a true story, although in real life it happened in England,  it tells of a family that bought and rehabilitated a small zoo. They both liked it and said it was ‘touching’.

By the time they were done with the movie I was finished also, so I met them back at Piper’s, and then Jan and I headed home with a stopover for dinner at Kelly’s Country Cookin’ in League City. Jan was hoping they would have Turkey and Dressing (cornbread, of course), but unfortunately they didn’t. They did, however, have the next best thing – Roasted Chicken Breast and Dressing.

She said it was really good, and being from Kelly’s, of course there were leftovers.

On another note, Jan is really enjoying the Christmas present I got her. A new Black & Decker Toaster/Convection Oven.

She had made a comment about how nice the one that Nick and Terry Russell bought recently, and she also likes the one our daughter Brandi has, so I surprised her with this one.

B&D Convection Oven

It’s all digital and big enough to cook a 12” pizza or toast 6 slices of bread at one time.

As far as my Christmas present, my new Garmin nuvi 1490LMP GPS, goes, so far I really like it. I want to play with it for a while longer before I give a review.

It looks like tomorrow is when I’m going to try to reinstall the washer back in its cubbyhole. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thought for the Day:

What ISN’T in the news is often more important than what IS.



December 27, 2012

It’s Dead, Jim . . .

Jan and our granddaughter Piper had scheduled a Girl’s Day Out with lunch, a movie, mani/pedi’s, and shopping, so they headed out a little before 11, with me about 15 minutes behind.

As for me, I was heading over to a client’s to earn some money to pay for lunch, a movie, mani . . . you get the picture.

I was going to finish the setup of the new computer that I started yesterday. But I should have known this machine was snake-bit right out of the box. In fact it crashed pretty much right out of the box.

The first odd thing was that it tried to turn on as soon as I plugged it into power. But powering down and back on brought it right up. Then, further into the initial setup, as I was entering the Account Name and the PC Name, the machine blue-screened, rebooted, scanned for HD errors, found none, and then settled down and worked fine.

I should have given up then, but it worked fine the rest of the afternoon as I installed more software. But then this morning right before I left the rig, one of the office people called and said they had been installing MS Office 2010 on it, and when they rebooted at the end of the installation, the machine would not come up. The power light was on but that was it.

And when I got to the office I found the same thing. I did unplugged it for about 5 minutes, but after I plugged it back in, the power light came back on and that was it. So I packed it back in the box and off to Fry’s Electronics I went.

Of course, when they booted it up at the store, it worked fine. Of course.

But after I explained all the problems I’d had, they quickly gave me a replacement machine and then it was back to the office. Back at the client’s office, I started the setup over, and this time everything went fine, with no problems.

Finally finishing up for the day, I stopped by another client’s to check in before heading over to the house to wait for Jan and Piper.

And as soon as they showed up, we said our goodbyes to Piper and then Jan and I headed toward home with a stopover at Monterey’s Little Mexico for dinner.

Chicken Tortilla Soup on a cold, wet evening. YUMMM!

Thought for the Day:

Officer: “Why did you shoot this man 6 times as he broke into your home?”

Home Owner: “’Cause the seventh time I pulled the trigger it went click.”



December 27, 2013

Hot Coffee and Hot Peppers . . .

After last night’s checkout with a K-Cup, I did an 8 cup pot using our new Hamilton Beach Flex Brew 2-Way coffee maker.

Hamiliton Beach FlexBrew

Hamilton Beach 49980A 2-Way Single Serve Brewer and Coffee Maker

And it was just as good as last night. We’re really going to enjoy having the convenience of doing single cups or full pots.

We didn’t sit outside with our coffee and muffins this morning, because with no sun and 55°, it was cold so, we stayed inside.

A little later we checked out Jan’s Christmas gift that she’d been wanting – A FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer.


FoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealing System

She’d been wanting one for a while, and since she was on Santa’s very naughty list this year, he fulfilled her wish.

Although this is their smallest model, it does everything the bigger ones will, including sealing jars. We had a lot of fun fooling around with it, just sealing up different bags of chips and other stuff, and also watching some YouTube videos about it.

My present was something I’d also been wanting, a Chia Willie, And believe me, I need a plant that’s hard to kill.

Willie Chia

Chia Willie Duck Dynasty Handmade Decorative Chia Pet Planter

Friend and Blog Reader George Stoltz sent over this article on the latest entry in the hot pepper wars.

This is the latest winner, the Carolina Reaper. They just look evil.

Peppers - New Hottest

A batch of these clocked at 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Unit, with an individual pepper rated at over 2.2 million. SHU.

Sounds tasty to me.

Jan’s sister, Debbie, sent over this photo of her kids and grandkids.

Debbie's Family Photo 2a

From left to right, that’s daughter Tana, her boyfriend Curt. son Jason, his wife Laura, daughter Christina, and Tana’s daughter Gwen.

Down in front, it’s Ella, and Avery Jane, and Laura’s holding the newest addition, Annisten. A really cute group.

Wrapping up, for all of  you complaining about your nasty weather this winter, check out Fairbanks. AK today. It was –49° this afternoon, and looked like this.

Fairbanks Arctic Cam 1

Now, stop your whining.

Thought for the Day:

Doubt that the government is screwed up, no matter who’s in charge.

They already have proven they can’t even run a cat house. Remember the Mustang Ranch fiasco in Nevada after it was seized by the IRS? They couldn’t make a profit selling sex and liquor to a bunch of horny guys with cash in their pockets. But we trust them with running our lives.



December 27, 2015

Really Lucky . . .

Well, after it rained (and poured) all day, the cold front showed up right on time, with the temperature dropping from 74 degrees to 49 degrees between 5pm and 7pm with a drop to 39 degrees scheduled before the night is over.

The weather was bad enough that we didn’t even think about walking this morning. In fact we never even left the rig at all, but just hunkered down and goofed off with reading, computing, and napping. So actually, a very nice day.

But our rain and cold front is nothing compared to the bad weather that hit areas around Dallas, especially the River Plantation RV Park.

Dallas Christmas Tornado

Garland RV Park Tornado photos 1a

Garland RV Park Tornado photos 2

According to reports, no one was killed at the RV park, although 11 were reportedly killed in other areas of Texas.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost family or friends in these storms

One of Jan’s favorite gifts this Christmas was a two’fer. First Landon gave her a sample of his latest artwork from school.

Landon's Art Work

I’m constantly amazed by his use of color and composition.

And his school is so hi-tech that even his artwork is bar-coded on the back

Landon's Art Work 2

But Jan’s real gift was that Brandi took that artwork and turned it into a notebook for her.

Landon's Art Work Notebook

She probably won’t even want to write in it, just to keep it longer.

For more on the family front, we got this photo of our great-nieces, great-nephews. and a . . . great-fawn?

Darby, Stahlie, Luke, and Harland

We never know what’s going to show up with them. The last pictures of Darby and Stahlie came from the Great Wall of China.

Great Wall 7

Great Wall 6

Only Stahlie could get photo-bombed by a Chinese Communist soldier.

Great Wall 8

If you want to read more about their China trip, you can follow it up here:

Walking The Wall

Tomorrow about 9:30 Jan and I are driving down to our daughter Brandi’s in Katy to spend the day with Lendel and Sonja, our son-in-law Lowell’s parents, so we can take Landon out for some fun stuff.

Really looking forward to it.

Thought for the Day:

“Drill for oil?’ You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” –Driller who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859



December 27, 2016

I Spoke Too Soon . . .

Not about the Rattlesnakes, but about the Cell service here at this gate.

Last night and tonight, it’s been all over the map. Sometimes it works great, and then sometimes nothing. And pretty much everything in between.

Sometimes my AirCard shows that it has Internet Access but no data will flow. My laptop says it doesn’t have an Internet Connection. Then for a while it will work fine.

Later last night my S5 phone showed 3 bars of 4G and I got good data rates, but I couldn’t make phone calls. When I tried, all I got was dead silence, with no ringing.

Hopefully they’ll get it fixed soon.

I slept in until about 12:15 this afternoon, about an hour later than normal. I’ll keep pushing it back until I’m comfortable not taking a nap later in the afternoon before I go into work.

About 12:45 Jan and I headed off to Barth’s for their Fried Chicken and Roast Beef lunch.

Barth's Fried Chicken and Roast Beef

Need I say more.

Hard to believe that food this good is only $6.50 for all you can eat. And this one plate was more than enough to fill me up.

Next up was a stop at the bank to pick up the checks ordered. While I was there I also ask them to check on a problem I’m having with my MasterCard Debit Card that I have for my account there.

Normally it works fine, but anytime I’m asked for my billing address zip code, like at a gas pump or sometimes online, it tells me the number is incorrect. My zip code on all my mail from them is correct, but maybe it’s screwed up on the debit card address somehow. But the cashier found nothing wrong with it.

On the way home I was mulling over the problem and remembered a similar occurrence at a client’s quite a few years ago. Their payroll system would not recognize an new employee’s SS number and kept saying it was invalid. But it looked fine on the screen.

So I went in and looked at the actual code of the file and instantly saw the problem. Somehow the secretary, when she entered the SS# originally, entered a non-printing character as the first entry in the SS# field. Probably she accidently hit the ALT key in combination with some other key which can cause the problem.

Non-Printing characters are ones that the computer sees but you don’t. An example some of you may be familiar with is the Show Non-Print Formatting Characters command in Microsoft Word. When you use this command you see Paragraph Markers, Manual Page Breaks, etc. Otherwise they’re invisible.

The secretary had deleted and reentered the number several times without fixing the problem because she just backspaced over the old number and just typed in the new one again. But in doing this she stopped backspacing at the first VISIBLE number in the field.

If she had just backspaced one more character, even though she couldn’t see it, or if she had clicked in the field and hit the Delete key, she would have fixed the problem herself.

So hopefully I’ll be able to talk to some of the computer people at the bank and have them look at the problem.

After a quick stop at the HEB it was back to the rig for the afternoon until I was on the gate at 5pm.

Thought for the Day:

“The difference between sex and love is that sex relieves tension and love causes it.” ― Woody Allen