This file contains all our news for
July 2005

Saturday, 30 July 2005

Hi !

    Dale got me up at 6:45AM this morning! (I'm going to report her as a terrorist)! Yes, we had to be up early in order to move all our attic junk & treasure out of our garage and into the driveway for the big community garage sale. I had always heard that people show up hours before the official opening time, and sure enough, we started putting stuff out around 7:30AM and didn't have five minutes go by before small groups were swarming over everything. Some didn't even wait for us to get the stuff out of the garage. I think we sold about one quarter of our items in those first 15 minutes! The published times for the sale were 0800-1200 (8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon for you "civilians" ;-) and we did very well. All the bulky exercise equipment, a set of 40lb dumbbells, extra rugs, small tables, a rack for VHS videos, a three-light stand, a glass end-table, three plastic toolboxes, a fishing tackle box, a large mirror, smaller bathroom mirror, a couple of swords (yes! From our trip to Spain back in the early 1970's), large plastic wastepaper baskets, two framed Mickey Mouse posters, glassware, knicknacks, and who-can-remember all those other little items. All gone! We can actually walk around the attic spaces. There's still lots of "stuff" up there, mind you, but now we have room to examine what's left. When Springtime rolls around, we'll probably have another batch of stuff culled from all the remaining boxes still crammed into the far reaches of the attic gables, and will have them ready to be disposed of. Since we've never done a garage sale before, we were pleasantly surprised to end up with $171 for the "stuff" we sold. In the past we've just handed over our "stuff" to the Goodwill Industries or another charity.

    Steve Graham tipped me off about "Autostitch", a free "demo" program written by two guys at the University of British Columbia, that can be downloaded from the Internet. It enables you to stitch together multiple pictures of a scene into one panoramic shot. And it is totally automatic. You just tell the program which picture files it should use, and the program puts them together. So, I downloaded the program (from and then went outside with my digital camera, stood in one place and took 3-4 shots of the house from left to right, each time making sure that I captured a bit of the rightmost parts of the previous scene on the left side of the succeeding shot. I then used my photo editing program to reduce the size by half, to fit on this web site. Here are the results:

The program did a great job. It's just like having a camera with a superwide lens!

    Our neighbors, Bev & Joe Moon are celebrating birthdays, so tonight we're all going out for some burgers and then back to their house for an ice-cream cake.

    Our friends in Bradenton, the Weilers, have very graciously offered to watch our cat, Bandit, for us while we are in Hawaii. That's a big load off our minds. We didn't really want to put her into a cage at the local Vet's. Karen & Chuck will also be in Hawaii for Susan & Dan's wedding, of course, and our neghbors here in Myrtle Beach are also leaving the area at the same time. This way we can bring Bandit back to Florida with us and leave her in the condo, a familiar place for her, and Gary & Pat will come over and check on her. We also have those self-feeding/self-watering bowls, which can accommodate her food/water needs for well over a couple of weeks in case anything went wrong.

Bye for now!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Hello from Sunny, HOT, MUGGY Myrtle Beach!!

    Well, I was complaining about "rainy weather" before; now it is just plain hot and very muggy. Just like last summer, only this time even the weathermen are saying how unusual and extended it is. Yesterday's heat index was the equivalent of temperatures between 115-120 degrees. I've been outside working on the house for weeks (yard work, painting the shutters and installing low voltage Malibu walkway lights) and it's unbelievable how you can sweat so much that it comes off in near-continuous streams. Today I decided to take a break and stay inside during the day, and catch up on the web site. I just uploaded a bunch of photographs we took in the last month

    We've been back in Myrtle Beach since late June, and we'll be returning to Bradenton on 12 August. That will give us a couple of weeks before we fly off to Oahu on 26 August. Tracey has a friend who owns a condo in one of the condo hotels right near her in Waikiki. We looked at the Internet web site for the unit, and it looks great! So, we now have our own place to stay while in Waikiki, at a GREAT price, courtesy of Tracey's friend! Tracey "done good" again ;-)

    Dale's been doing a lot of work, volunteering with the local Red Cross office. She's attended a number of classes (CPR, and something about weapons of Mass Destruction) so don't mess with her! It seems that every week one or more of her Red Cross officials are on the TV being interviewed by the local stations. When the hurricane hit Florida the local chief was scheduled to be down there, and every time there is another scare of a storm possibly coming our way (Myrtle Beach), the newspeople are on the red Cross doorstep asking for comments. Pretty soon I'll know all Dale's co-workers just by watching TV!

    Our good friends, the Grahams, left the condo on 02 July for their return flight back to England. They had sunny weather for most of their stay in Florida and were able to go "alligator watching" at the Myakka River state park, as well as parasailing in the Gulf of Mexico, just off Anna Maria Island. I've got to do that myself one of these days! They've just purchased a new second home in Kingsbridge, on the coastal areas of Devonshire, and very near one of our favorite places - Bigbury-by-the-Sea and Plymouth. Hopefully we'll get to see it and the surrounding area in person next year!


    Tom & Sue Peterson came down from North Carolina for a visit 8-11 July! We had a great time but, of course, there just wasn't enough time to see and do everything we wanted to do. So, they'll just HAVE to come again! We did get to see Mocha, Chuck & Karen's pet. And we also spent a full day at Barefoot Landing and Broadway-at-the-Beach! Topped that day off with a meal at the River City Cafe on 21st Street. It's a REALLY CASUAL place where they give you a bucket of peanuts to keep you occupied while your food is being cooked. Shells on the floor, of course ;-) Since it's only 1 1/2 hours to Charleston, SC we drove down on the 10th and spent the day. Always a really nice visit inthe old part of town! We had lunch on the porch at Tommy Condon's Irish restaurant and then drove over to The battery to see the gorgeous historic homes, a view of Ft Sumter, and a stroll through the Battery's park. Then on past Rainbow Row, a string of pastel rowhouses.

    On our way out of town we noticed police cars blocking almost all the roads leading out of town and we soon found out that the new Cooper River Bridge was still not open (hikers were walking across it) and for some reason all traffic was being funneled into a single access point for the old bridges. We later found that the city had arranged for all the hikers to park at the end of the old bridges, and the bridge roadways stopped right at a traffic light, with no police performing any traffic control at all! Thousands of cars coming across the bridges into Mt Pleasant, SC and nowhere to go except wait endlessly at a traffic light while hikers sauntered all over the highway. Lucky for us that the new bridge was so spectacular that we were able to use all this extra time oogling the new bridge from the old ones!

    Dale loves her new (1991) PT Cruiser. She's added some shades for the windows, and she's transferred her bobble-head hula dancer and a few other doodads taken from the Explorer. The Explorer is now owned by T.I.G.E.R.S., The Institute of Greatly Endangered and rare Species, run by Dr. Antle, a friend of Karen & Chuck's. On 16 July Karen, Chuck, Dale and I were invited to tag along on a tour that T.I.G.E.R.S. runs at their Socastee compound. It was great! They are responsible for saving the Bengal Tabby Tiger from extinction, among many of their accomplishments, and many of their animals have appeared on TV shows and movies. The MGM lion is one of their animals too. They have recently partnered with a falconer who put on a really impressive free-flying show with his birds out in the T.I.G.E.R.S. compound's woods (not caged). Their web site is Take a look!

    My italian friend, Davide, sent me a beautiful picture of Pope John Paul II disseminated by the Rome newspaper, Il Messaggero. It is inscribed "Non Abbiate Paura" ("Don't Be Afraid") and apparently became very scarce after publication, since he had to scramble all over heck and creation to get it for me.If anyone wants a copy I can send you a scanned-in digital file, which you could then print (8x10).

    I've edited and uploaded some older digital pictures I took in April 2004 (Packing our household goods to leave MD; Texas - Fiesta!). Take a look (under menu item "Latest Photos")!

    I've spent most of my time this month working in the gardens. I bought three Crepe Myrtle trees, and brought back ten oleander plants from Florida. I dug out the lawn to make mini-gardens for these plants, and used the grass as plugs to fill in some lawn areas that were bare. Turned out great! Then Home Depot had a big sale on bushes, usually $18.95 apiece and I got them for $3 apiece. So, it was back to digging holes in the yard and playing in the dirt again. In a few years those bushes will make nice hedges.

    This saturday, the 30th, one of the members in the community decided to have a garage sale, and then broadcast it via e-mail and notes in neighbors' newspaper boxes, asking if anyone else would like to join in. Since we have an attic stuffed with things we probably don't need, we're going to participate in our very first garage sale! I'll have to start taking "stuff" down tomorrow and marking it with price tags etc. Should be interesting to see what we get rid of (and how much it goes for, of course ;-)

    Well, as I said, I stayed inside today - I needed a break from all this heat. Tomorrow I'll also be installing some more of those Malibu low-voltage walkway lights, and the garden needs to be watered. Bye for now!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale