Summer, Canadian Style

The last five days, Tuesday through Saturday, were unusually cool.  A cold front passed through on Monday the 14th, bringing some needed rain (there had not been any rain for the previous two weeks), and then after that came the chillier days.  Temperatures each day got up into the 70s (only 72 degrees on Thursday), and at night they went down in the 50s a couple of times.  I can’t remember another time when I experienced a July that felt like a May or September; somebody on the radio called it a Canadian-style summer.  We even slept with the windows open for at least half the time.  Today it finally reached the low 80s again, and we’re supposed to go back to the usual summertime 90s tomorrow.

The cool snap was well-timed for us, too, because we had three guests in the house last week.  My brother Chris came up from Florida last Sunday and stayed with us until Saturday morning.  Then on Wednesday Leive’s cousin Sonny and his wife Mencie stopped here, on their way to Michigan, and spent two nights here so they could see both of us (I was in bed when they arrived).  They are supposed to come by again tomorrow, on their way back to Georgia.

In other news there has been a virus infection on my computer for the past week and a half; only today can I declare the last of the viruses gone. And since I last wrote here there have been two birthdays in the family, Leive and Brin-Brin.  Or maybe in Brin-Brin’s case I should call it an anniversary.  Last Tuesday marked seven years since we got Brin-Brin from a bird show in Bardstown, KY.  It’s hard to believe it has been that many years, though parrots do have quite a long lifespan.  It also means he is eighteen years old, but he still acts more like a kid than an adult.  We were amused to find he liked Mencie while the folks were here, and let her carry him around the house.  Well, Brin-Brin always had a thing for Asian women, except for Leive’s niece Rezia, who married his worst enemy.  Maybe I will share the pictures of Brin-Brin and Mencie here, if I can get copies of them.

Tomorrow marks three months since I started the job in Richmond.  Boy, where did all the time go?

Published in: on July 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Movin’ On

June has been a time of transition for us, in at least two ways.  First, our church has moved to a new building.  The congregation Leive and I have attended since 2006 has never owned its own building.  Instead, they have shared space with another congregation, and held their services on Saturday night, instead of Sunday morning, so they won’t get in the way.  Myself, I liked going on Saturday night, because it is always easier to get Leive out of the house in the evening than it is in the morning!

Now the building has been sold, so both we and the other congregation had to get out.  The church had been meeting there since July 2000, almost fourteen years.  We had our last service in there on June 7.  This group picture was taken on that night; it’s probably the last picture anyone in the congregation took in that building.  I’m on the left in the pinkish white shirt, while Leive is wearing red and purple.


Fortunately our pastor had known since January that we would be leaving.  Around May he found out that the Assembly of God church on the north side of Lexington would be willing to share space with us.  Thus, we had our first service in the new place the next Saturday, June 14.  So far we have gotten along great with the other church; their pastor spoke at our June 21 service, and we are planning to meet together on July 6 to hear our local congressman.  My pastor is even starting to talk about their congregation merging with ours, after he retires.

For Leive and I it is a longer drive -– six miles instead of two and a half miles.  Still, because the new location is just off New Circle Rd., we can usually get there in fifteen minutes.

The other move is work-related.  Yes, I have been at my new job for just over two months, so it looks like I’m going to succeed there.  Two weeks ago, my supervisor decided he wanted all technical writers in the same office where he resides, an unmarked building at the Richmond Mall.  So last Wednesday, the 25th, I moved from the office outside the entrance to the Blue Grass Army Depot, into the Mall.

They have a funny tax structure in Madison County.  I have learned that the county income tax is 2 percent in the city of Richmond, and 1 percent in rural areas; I don’t know what they charge in Berea, the county’s other significant community.  That means they will be taking a bit more out of my paycheck every time.  I hope I have enough in tax breaks elsewhere to get it back as a refund next spring.  By contrast, when I worked in Florida, there were no state, county or local income taxes – but the sales tax was higher, and it varied from county to county.

So far I have found two advantages to the new location.  First, it is two miles closer to my house; with all the driving I have to do every day, that matters.  Second, there is a Wal-Mart Supercenter on one end of the Mall, and a Kroger on the other end.  At least once each week, Leive sends me on an errand to get something at one or the other of those stores.  Now if I run over there after work, I won’t be going out of my way!

Published in: on June 29, 2014 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Diamonds Are a Slaver’s Best Friend

To the spammer who has posted 260+ ads for diamond jewelry on this blog over the past two days . . .


They remind me of a picture I saw on over the weekend.  How many Africans did you exploit or even kill, to get the product you’re selling?

Published in: on June 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Friday the 13th Full Moon

If you’re superstitious, get ready for a wild night.  This is the last time we’ll have a full moon on Friday the 13th until 2049, so catch it while you can.

Superstitions Collide:  Full Moon Rises on Friday the 13th

Published in: on June 12, 2014 at 8:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

LegalShield Works for Traffic Cases!

I haven’t talked about LegalShield here since the beginning of the year, mainly because I put my LegalShield business on hold last fall, to concentrate my efforts on getting a job.  Well now I have used it for a service all LegalShield Associates talk about – traffic tickets.  It all started at the beginning of May, but I waited until it was over so I could share how it turned out.

At least half of the commute to my new job is on Interstate 75, and the part of 75 between Lexington and the Kentucky River has been under repairs/resurfacing since I started.  On May 1 they got the first lanes finished, so drivers don’t have to dodge the potholes anymore.  The drive that morning was so smooth, it was delightful.  I didn’t realize how fast I was going until an unmarked car came up behind me and started flashing blue lights.

I guess I had it too easy when commuting to last last two jobs.  Going to L-3 Communications meant driving through the countryside past horse farms; you’re not likely to find many cops or state troopers there.  At DRS in Danbury, CT, I only had to go two and a half miles from my apartment to work, and it was bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way, so I couldn’t really get in trouble there before I reached my destination.  Now I have to watch for the cops again, for the first time since moving to Kentucky.  The good news is that if the road construction crew had been there that early in the morning, my fine would have been much worse.

Actually, I have a reputation for being the slowest driver in the family.  The last time I got a speeding ticket was in 1986.  When I told Leive about this one, she didn’t know I had it in me!

Anyway, I did what LegalShield told me to do; I faxed the ticket to our provider law firm in Louisville, and they promised to send a local attorney to court in my place.  I was introduced to the attorney by phone of May 30, and the court appointment was at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, June 3.  Eleven minutes later I got an e-mail from him; he got the ticket dismissed with a warning.  For me that is a best case scenario.  No fine, no points on my record.  Aside from being late to work on May 1, it was like I never got the ticket at all.  And there’s the power you have in your hands when LegalShield makes attorneys affordable to the common man!

Published in: on June 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

D-Day Plus 70

You’ve probably heard that today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the key World War II battle that marked the beginning of the liberation of France, and the beginning of the end of the Third Reich.  For me it’s hard to believe that many years have gone by; for today’s school kids, World War II is further into the past than the Spanish-American War is for me.  Here are two articles to commemorate this day:


A tribute to the soldiers who fought on that fateful day.


A heartwarming story about a British D-Day veteran who sneaked out of his nursing home and went over to France so he could take part in what may be his last D-Day ceremony.

Published in: on June 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Birthday Dad, Happy Shavuot to Everyone Else

retro kitsch parrot birthday card t2-640x480


Published in: on June 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

I’ve Been at the New Job for Six Whole Weeks

Hello.  The first and foremost purpose of this message is to let all my readers know that Charles Kimball is alive and well.  I can’t believe that over the whole past month I only posted one message, and it wasn’t a very important one.  That is my longest absence in the seven years since this blog started.

The main reason is my work schedule.  From Monday through Thursday I am working a ten-hour day at my new job, so when I get home I am usually too busy doing other things, like eating and sleeping, to write anything here.  On the job it’s so far, so good, but I still have a lot to learn, even after six weeks; I am not considered to be completely out of training yet.  I’m off the other three days of the week (more when there is a holiday), but it turns out I’m often busy then, too, or I just can’t think of anything to blog about.  Oh well, my gain is your loss.

When I have been on my computer at home, I have also been working on the next and final chapter of my Latin American history series.  Since the end of March I have completed the sections on Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela, and have composed bits and pieces on the other countries.  It looks like I will be tackling Nicaragua next.  My goal is to complete the chapter by the end of this year.  For those of you looking forward to the latest chapter, I hope you will find it was worth the wait.

Here in Kentucky, the main news last week was the discovery that $20 million disappeared mysteriously from the local school budget, and for the first time, both the men’ and women’s softball teams from the University of Kentucky made it to the college world series.  College baseball is a sport that normally doesn’t get as much attention as basketball and football, maybe because the season is shorter.  We’ll see if that changes for Kentucky now.  Way to go, ‘Cats!

For most of May the weather was fairly typical for Kentucky.  Wet enough for Leive and I to watch for leaks in the house, and the outside temperature is just right most of the time.  In the middle of May we had a cold snap where it got all the way down to 38 degrees for two mornings, but that was very unusual.

On Sunday, May 19, my aunt and uncle from Chicago dropped in for a visit.  They came mainly to visit my father in the retirement home where he is now staying, two miles from our house.  They spent most of the following afternoon and evening with him, celebrating his birthday early.

Since Wednesday, my in-laws, Gene and Rezia King, have been staying in our basement.  They are remodeling their own house, and with the floor stripped up and foul-smelling chemicals in the air, the place isn’t a fit dwelling place for the time being, so we took them in.  I think Gene will be moving back into their house tonight (he isn’t here now, anyway).  Rezia is still here, happily cooking and chatting in Cebuano with Leive.

The most amazing thing is that our parrot Brin-Brin is friends with Rezia again, for the first time in nearly seven years.  He took it hard when she married his worst enemy (Gene), and after that, she could come over alone, and he would still go to the bottom of the cage and cry, as if he expected Gene to show up with her!  What a silly bird!  Well, Rezia sang to Brin-Brin the other day, and music appears to be what he wants the most from people.  Now he’s all right with Rezia hanging around, at least when Leive is in sight, too.  He still hasn’t accepted Gene yet, but we all expected that to be a bigger challenge.

Published in: on June 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

May the Fourth Be With You!

For the benefit of anyone reading this who is a nerd like myself, I have kept track of the nerd holidays as I have learned about them.  So far in this blog, I have marked these ones:

March 14 = Pi Day.

April 5 = First Contact Day.

October 22 = Mole Day.

Now here is another.  Since 2011, May 4 has been celebrated as Star Wars Day.  Not because it is the anniversary of of the date when George Lucas released any of his films (however, he did release some of them in May, including the original one in 1977).  May 4 became the date because on this day, Star Wars fans like to say “May the Fourth be with you.”

If you get that pun, no further explanation is needed.  So Jedis, watch out, “Revenge of the FIfth” isn’t far away!

Published in: on May 4, 2014 at 7:30 am  Leave a Comment  

A Wet Derby Week (So Far)

Yes, next Saturday is the 140th annual Kentucky Derby, and as they do every year, the state’s radio and TV stations are building the hype for it.  So are the stores that sell Derby-related items, like flowery hats and Derby pies.

Well, I hope the track can dry out during the next three days.  We’ve been getting rain here almost constantly since Monday; more than three inches so far.  Previously this month was running an inch on the dry side, as Aprils go; now we’ve got at least a two-inch surplus on the rainfall.  Fortunately it wasn’t worse, and it easily could have been; this is part of the same storm system that dropped tornadoes on Arkansas and Mississippi, and twenty inches of rain on Pensacola, FL.

Besides storms, for the past few months our house has been under attack from telemarketers.  We have gotten as many as fourteen calls per day from those annoying scammers.  I know they’re not honest because they don’t comply with the law; they keep calling though we are on the Do Not Call list, use illegal recorded messages and mask which numbers they are really calling from.  And the calls also make my parrot scream – we want to preserve what little sanity Brin-Brin has left!

In March I tried to bring my phone service provider into the game, by blocking numbers I know are telemarketers and those that don’t show up on the caller ID.  No such luck.  They only allowed me to block twelve numbers (I have counted more than a hundred that they are calling from), and the unknown call blocker service didn’t work.  A stronger pesticide was in order, so last Sunday I ordered a call blocker device from Amazon called Sentry.  It arrived on Tuesday, so I set it up that evening; today was the first full day it was operational.  Only two calls came in to our land line today; one was me calling Leive from work, the other was an obvious telemarketer (518-417-1194), but the point is that because the latter wasn’t approved to call us, Leive didn’t hear the phone ring.

The next time you call our house, you will hear a voice with an English accent (our phone butler!) telling you to push “0” if you are a legitimate caller.  If you do, your number shows up on my caller ID, and I can add it to a whitelist or blacklist.  If I accept it, you can call me normally after that; those numbers I blacklist won’t show up anymore.  So far I think it works, but if it doesn’t you can still reach us on our cell phones.


Click on the picture to check it out if you’re having the same problem with unwanted calls.

Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.