Remembering my mom’s birthday with an Oldsmobile photo

Posted By on September 29, 2020


RichC_SuadeCoat1976My mother’s birthday isn’t one that I mark with a blog post every year, but since I ran across this old photo of my mom in East Tawas Michigan, I set it aside (along with one from me in my new suede coat back in high school). I spotted the Kodachrome slide of Mom next to our 1958 Oldsmobile 98 two-door hardtop when searching for our old camping and family travel photos this past summer. I set it aside thinking that I might just include it someday … even though the photo was before my time and my memories.

I wish my mom and dad still around to celebrate special occasions like birthdays … she would have been 86 this year. Hm, who knew, my mom was this young once upon a time …and yikes … according to the other photo so was I!

Great night sky viewing of the moon, Saturn and Jupiter

Posted By on September 28, 2020


As usual, my night celestial bodies viewing in person is SO MUCH BETTER than trying to capture the beautiful night sky with an iPhone (and older 7 model to boot) … but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Here’s a view of the rising moon, with the faint speck of Saturn about a 1/3 from the right hand side and the brighter speck of Jupiter to the right of Saturn. For perspective, I included the trees, and pool house garage lighting of the new grandkids swing set at the bottom left (click for larger).


Music Monday: Social unrest and the 1970s song Chevy Van

Posted By on September 28, 2020


It’s likely the politics and social unrest from a decade of racial tension, the Vietnam quagmire and the impeachment, then resignation, of disgraced President over his involvement and cover-up in Watergate was as upsetting to Americans in the early 1970s as events are today. As as young student the politics of the day should have impacted me than it did, but being a young teen, everything is judged in the context of your experiences and what is normal – and in my case “not” Sammy-Johns-8Track_1977.going to war was better than being sent to fight the Communist expansion in Vietnam (or Korea in my father’s case). Nowadays, as someone who is not a grandfather, I see things through the lens of time and past experiences … both good and ugly. 

That’s a l-o-n-g and questionable segue into today’s Music Monday song, Chevy Van by Sammy Johns. that became a top ten hit in 1975 Chevy_Van_-_Sammy_Johns(recorded previously in 1973 and subsequently several times in country music). The mellow escape-oriented music attracted a lot of young people who were tired of the tempestuous times they were growing up in and at least mentally escaped the “ugly” listening to music. Of course some turned to drugs and others actually made their physical escape by “dropping out” of the societal norms – back to nature, seeing the country living in a van (Chevy or otherwise) or cruising on a small sailboat. Now that made me think of Lin and Larry Pardey and the start to my dreaming and life-long love of sailing/cruising … but I digress, so here’s the song.

  Chevy Van – Sammy Johns | 1975


A semi-portable thickness planer for my woodworking shop

Posted By on September 27, 2020

When bragging that my latest sewing cart project had zero cost in it, I held off until the end of the post to mention that I was spending money and would post about that on Sunday. Well here it is: I bought DeWalt735Planer200925my first planer; it’s a semi-portable DeWalt DW735, with the “X” option (extra set of blades and infeed and outfeed flip-down tables).

I grew up and used large industrial planers in the past (before there were portables), but could never justify adding a planer or a jointer to my woodworking shop (continue to use a Makita portable 3-1/4” power planer). Besides a thickness planer beingMakitaHandplaner expensive, noisy, dusty and kind-of a pain to keep blades aligned and sharpened, they aren’t generally necessary if you’re buying dimensional material that has already been planed – it is what you find in big box stores (although rarely decent, always expensive and lacking in wood varieties).

A few things changed this for me:

  1. I’d like to reuse some Maple material for a couple of projects. I’ve salvaged these from my old type galley trays and  might be able to use this high quality hard maple for this winter’s projects.
  2. I’m not getting any younger and would like to do more woodworking as I enter into my retirement years. Too many of us go without good tools or the right equipment only to buy later in life.
  3. I’d like a few nicer pieces of rough sawn, kiln dried hardwoods that aren’t overpriced. Something where the cost of lumber doesn’t exceed the cost of buying a piece of quality furniture at the store.
  4. I had a $125 credit at Amazon burning a hole in my pocket. Sure I could have told Brenda we’ll save it for Christmas presents … but then I didn’t tell her I had the credit.
  5. Finally, my friend Mark Jones has a planer in his new garage shop and I’m jealous (let’s see if he is still reading my blog)!

Started the weekend with a Sailrite LSZ-1 sewing cart project

Posted By on September 26, 2020


If you have ever used a heavy portable sewing machine, you know what a pain it is to haul it out of storage and set it up to make a simple repair. I don’t know how many times I’ve grumbled when Brenda wants me to set it on my workbench … or worse, haul it upstairs … so she can make a quick and easy stitch or two. Yes, it is nice to have something portable that can be moved around (repaired the pool cover in the backyard or for sailboat repairs in Florida), but now that our Sailrite LSZ-1 has an extra 7 lbs in the case due to the add-on Monster Wheel, it is an even heavier portable (and takes a bit of set-up each time). We have used it both with the bigger flywheel and without it on a couple of projects, but I am not convinced the extra weight and $125 is worth it?

Opinion aside … I’ve been thinking about creating a rolling sewing cart to house the Sailrite sewing machine and extra gear I’ve accumulated underneath and all in one place. The idea was not to lose the portability SewingCartCovered200924or actually remove it from the protective carrying case … but to have it “at the ready” whenever a project or repair arose. I didn’t want the table to be too large, but definitely wanted a little more working surface.

The plan is to utilize an existing cart that was in my dad’s workshop and held is grinder. The red metal cart was sturdy and has locking caster wheels and is about the right height with my normal workshop stool. The plan was to make an oak (had the wood) surround and create a drop in plywood top after cutting out and filing to fit the shape of the Sailrite case. I even nibbled around the latches so that the top of the case can be used to protect the sewing machine and keep the dust out.

The final piece was to use the hinged shelf supports that I bought for the laundry room. I “was” going to put a folding shelf/table on the wall to be used as some work surface area – we decided it wasn’t necessary and would end up just being an additional cluttered space. So far, so good and haven’t spent a dime, unlike tomorrow’s post.


Real ID is still happening, but you have a 1-year reprieve

Posted By on September 25, 2020

Since I posted last year about the new Real ID regulations for domestic flying and travel, I figured it was appropriate to update the one-year reprieve.

RealIDExtensiontoOct2021Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security, as directed by President Donald J. Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline. I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.

NOTE: The published Federal Register notice can be found at

A sign of Autumn and our 1987 Mercedes Benz 560SEL #TBT

Posted By on September 24, 2020

We had our first taste of cooler fall weather for 2020 last week as the hot 80+ degree days of August and early September gave way to pleasant mid-to-high 70s KBT_Fall_87MB560SEL1991and cooler evenings dipping into the 40s. Brr, my body has not adjusted yet.

As autumn approaches and the temperatures are more tolerable in the garage, it has me struggling with what to do about the brakes on the 1958 Packard Hawk. The additional cost of upgrading the brakes to disks in front (mentioned the Turner Brake conversion kit previously) plus having to switch from stock 14” wheels to 15” wheels plus new tires has me rethinking my strategy. The problem is that if I don’t to it this go around, I’ll need to do a full brake job (drums) anyway and then still likely need new tires before driving it on the road or even selling it. Yikes … first time I said that out loud. 

The whole BIG DOLLARS in servicing had me remembering the costs involved with maintaining our luxurious 1987 1987MercedesBenz560SEL_in92Mercedes Benz 560 SEL after buying it ‘right’ at an estate sale (I had been searching for a W123 diesel like my 300D Turbodiesel when this beauty crossed my path. I bid low and ended up with the car). Anyway, the autumn photo above of Katelyn, Brenda and Taylor in the early 1990s showcases the beautiful lines and one below from my mom and dad’s house was dated 1992. It was a great road car for the 10 years we owned it, but expensive to fuel (premium) and own (genuine MB parts), especially when trying to keep the “dealer stamps” up to date.

All in all, the car makes for good memories for Throwback Thursday #TBT post.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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