Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, December 30, 2013 10:00 PM

End of 2013

At work there are a fair number of people taking the early retirement that the company has offered and this is their last week of work. But it isn't my time yet. Instead I spend Tuesday doing a lot of running around and moving around as we are testing another sensor for space. We make a lot of progress and it appears that we might finish on Wednesday. Since I've done so much running around today I just ride on home and relax with no workout tonight. Person T_U and his friend and Person Ti_Ca and me talk about hanging out for a bit.

We have a very productive day at work on Wednesday. We finish one set of tests and switch over to another axis and finish that set. But it is a long day and my eyes are blurry on the way home in the dark. I manage to get in an abdominal and lower back workout today, but that's all I'm going to get. In the evening I polish some of the marble in the bathroom and try to wind down after the long workday. A decent offer on the old Ciocc is now coming along, so I send off some more photos to a potential buyer and look forward to a holiday break.

It is supposed to rain on Thursday but it is not raining in the morning. So I'm on the motorcycle and at work before 6 am (because I woke up at 4:45 am and couldn't sleep). This is the last working day for me for the year and I'm productive helping other people with their problems and issues but I don't make much progress on my work except getting out the test report. I leave work early and get in an even heavier workout with the weights (with no joint pain). And then I drop the World Rally Car off at the dealers for an oil change and checkup. The service manager and I are teasing me because I only have put 1300 miles on the car since March. "But I was out of the country and I ride the motorcycle more" is my story. I walk the 3 miles home and do some reading and relaxing - I'm worn out from the week of testing at work.

On Saturday morning my lower back is stiff and sore, but I head north on the Los Angeles river trail on this cold morning. I meet up with Derrick and we go down the San Gabirel river trail and along the ocean and back up the Los Angeles river. It's about 60 miles for me today and I don't feel tired at all. After a shower Person Ti_Ca gives me a ride to pick up the World Rally Car and then we go run errands. When we return home I go to edge and mow the lawn and then relax - another day where I've been on the go since 6:30 am.

I want to sleep as late as possible on Saturday but it doesn't really happen. I am wide awake at 6:30 or 6:45 am so I get up and surf the Internet before going on a mountain bicycle ride at 8 am. I have good but windy ride today and don't really run into anybody that I know. After a shower I drive to downtown Long Beach to the main branch of the public library and pick up 4 books to read. When I return home I change the oil and spark plug on the lawnmower, rake leaves, and do laundry. (I change the oil and spark plug of the lawnmower every Christmas. When I first bought this house I bought a Murray lawnmower that ran well for 20 years. A while ago I bought a Sears Craftsman lawnmower that is a piece of crap - it stops running for no reason and needs starting fluid to get started. So much for Sears Craftman products.) (Raking leaves is a December event in Long Beach though I remember raking leaves as a kid in late October during REAL football season when the weather would turn chilly.) I spend the rest of the afternoon reading books and relaxing. Person T_U and I have spoken earlier about going clubbing, but it doesn't happen.

I try to sleep in on Sunday but it doesn't really happen. By 6:25 am I am wide awake. I get up and surf the Internet a bit before going out with the mountain bicycle for a two hour ride. When I return home I getin a quick shower and drive to the mall. I hit two stores and get out as soon as I can - I am allergic to shopping malls and shopping. But I get my goals accomplished and head for home. During the afternoon I watch some football and Person C_T and L_M come to visit. We have a nice visit before I go back to reading.

I go to work on Monday though I had originally intended to take the day off. There are very few people present so I make a lot of progress on things. When I get home I work the abdominals and lower back and watch some football and do some web programming. Now I have 14 days off from work. I spend most of Monday night doing some web programming and writing a web crawler to grab the GPS coordinates for every city and every shcool district in Texas. (Why Texas? Because we hear that Texas may want to use our product for a domestic violence process and we should start getting the information ready.) I'm up late getting the information and hope to sleep well.

Tuesday starts with - guess what? A bicycle ride. I just take the mountain bicycle out today but there is a pretty strong headwind the entire way home and I pick up some people who want to tag behind me as I just keep pedaling and get to my northernmost turn around point. I hope that they enjoyed the free ride. After a shower Person Ti_Ca and I have lunch at Applebees (because it just opened and he has never been there and I haven't been t an Applebees in almost 20 years). We then go deliver holidays gifts to Person Ti_Ca's sister, Frank and Jeanine, Person Ti_Ca's mother, and Person T_U. When we return home Person Ti_Ca gets down for a nap and I wash and wipe down the kitchen floor (on my hands and knees both times) and then I sweep the hardwood floors. I see Person Ti_Ca off to work and I'm standing on my sidewalk. I stretch my hands to the sky and absorb the sunshine and warmth of a 74 degree day in Long Beach. And I think, "I love this life!"

I'm supposed to ride long on Christmas morning, but instead I just take the mountian bicycle out for the extended ride again and fight wind on the way home. I make a trip to the grocery store to buy supplies for today's party and after relaxing a bit I bake the corn muffins and gather the fruit for the party. Person Ti_Ca has gone to meet up with his Mother, so I go off to the party and eventually Person Ti_Ca meets up with me there. It is good to spend time with Frank and Jeanine and the two kids (that I used to babysit) as well as another couple with two kids. The food is great and the company and trying to re-establish friendships is great. Both Person Ti_Ca and I are getting tired before 9 pm so we take our leave and head for home.

Thursday, the day after Christmas, starts with me waking up at 5:30 and not being able to sleep. I get up and when the light comes out I fertilize and water the front yard. I take off for a bicycle ride and find a very difficult headwind going north on the Los Angeles river but it's a great workout of two hours riding. After a shower I run some errands and when I return back home I was down the driveway and then just relax. Person Ti_Ca goes off for work later in the afternoon and I basically do nothing for the rest of the evening.

Friday starts with a ride up north on the Los Angeles river trail. I don't run into Derrick, perhaps there was a mis-communication, but I continue over the Whittier Narrows dam and then down the San Gabriel river trail. I'm feeeling strong today but I quit at about 40 miles (rather than continuing on for 55 miles). When I get home I spray for weeds and rake leaves and do a little bit of touch up painting. It is another warm day and I enjoy having the doors and windows of the house open for a warm breeze coming through. Later in the afernoon I clean up some paperwork and just relax as Person Ti_Ca has gone off to Las Vegas for his birthday with friends (and I have declined because there is nothing for me in Las Vegas). By the end of the night I do not know where the afternoon and evening have gone. But I have spent a fair amount of time reading and watching television. I don't watch much television regularly, so it is something different during my vacation.

I'm awake well before 6 am and cannot sleep. Thus I get up and water the lawn where I've dropped new fertilizer until the morning is lighter and warmer. I do the two hour mountain bicycle ride today as a recovery ride and, as always, enjoy being on two wheels. After the ride and a shower I get gasoline for the car, do some laundry at a laundromat (the dirty shop towels that I don't want to clog up my own laundry filters), get a Subway sandwich to go, and do some grocery shopping. When I return home I sand and paint a beaten-up door threshold and continue taking pictures of the old Ciocc bicycle to try and get it sold on ebay. (I probably had a sale at $1050 until I was too honest and gave full disclosure. But I want the next owner of this bicycle to be as happy as I was with it for almost 28 years.) The day is sunny and warm and I do small tasks around the house to get them out of the way.

On Sunday I head north on the Los Angeles river and pick up Derrick at Grant Rea park. We then cross over the Whittier narrows dam and head south on the San Gabriel river trail. Though I have ridden quite a bit lately, my legs feel strong and I continue to pull people along as we gather people. At the southern end of the trail we ride along the ocean and then head back up the Los Angeles river trail. Derrick is as tired as I am but I pull him until I exit the ride at 55 miles. When I get home I get a nice warm shower and relax with football games. I keep getting up and moving the legs around because they are tired and I don't want them to cramp. Person Ti_Ca comes home from his birthday with friends in Las Vegas, but he can only rest a bit before he has to go to work. The evening is spent reading and watching close football games.

I'm up near 6 am on Monday and I water the front lawn. I procrastinate before today's bicycle ride a bit because I feel something coming on in my head. But I get out for the two hour mountain bicycle ride. Afterwords I do some errands and coem back home. I start working on the two websites that I have been putting off for so long. Before Person Ti_Ca goes off to work we try to fix his car window but don't have much luck, so we just wedge it semi-permanently shut. When Person Ti_Ca goes off to work I continue working on websites and near 8pm I realize that I've been at it almost continuously since 1 pm. I also note that I have the sniffles so I take my last actifed in hopes of good sleep and a general drying of the sinuses.

I wake up on Tuesday morning near 7 am. I know that I am a little bit sick with the sniffles and the sleep will do me good. Before 8:30 am I am heading out the door for a bicycle ride. There is no need to push the pace today and I just enjoy the sunshine and the chilly weather and the hope that some moderate exercise will help kill off this cold. After a warm shower I get out to Home Depot for some supplies and return home to start trimming the bushes in the front and side of the house. I'm just cleaning up and see the street sweeper heading down the street towards my house. I run inside the house and try to find Person Ti_Ca's keys and rush back outside, but the parking enforcement officer is already writing the ticket. He and I joke around a bit and wish each other a happy new year. It's a $50 ticket for Person Ti_Ca. In the early afternoon I check on finances and pay some bills and do some end of year paperwork.