First Sunday Puzzle

Solved my first New York Times Sunday crossword revealing no words but using my rules! My brother-in-law says it was easy, but I'll still relish the accomplishment!


Puzzle Progress

 Solved last Saturday's NY Times crossword! Making progress toward eventually solving a Sunday puzzle!



 Goals in retirement revolve around things one enjoys; a lot if they become goals!  I have worked for years the Sunday puzzles in the newspaper and with the arrival of an iPAD, I started doing the USA Today puzzles.  I have always been amazed at the folks who can do the New York Times puzzles with mind boggling speed.  In the depths of my mind, I set a goal to one day do a Sunday puzzle on my own.  (Remember, I'm a math and science guy.) For Christmas, Gretchen got me the New York Times Crossword app and I began doing the puzzles on my iPAD.  

Today, I reached a milestone of sorts.  I have solved Monday through Friday puzzles on my own!  Serious NY Times puzzlers would scoff at my rules for success, but I'm OK with that at this juncture.  I do the puzzles a day late so the Help is available.  I can then check if a word or letter is correct.  If I don't reveal a word or letter, I say I have solved the puzzle on my own.  These rules speed up the process and mitigate the frustration.  

How long will it take before I do a weekend puzzle on my own?  I can see improvement since getting the app and feel, someday, the stars will align and I will be successful. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the daily task, take encouragement from the crossword achievements of my brother-in-law Greg, and know that my goal is cognitively stimulating, educational and just plain fun!


Civilized ride

 Eating in a restaurant while cycling is the earmark of a civilized ride!  As such, we found ourselves at Baine's Bookstore in Appomattox yesterday for lunch.

 David led us on a great, relatively flat 43 mile popsicle loop (imagine big sucker) from Red House to Pamplin, Evergreen and Appomattox.  It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. How long will our winter luck last?  We passed an interesting place on the Evergreen-Appomattox road.  It appears this family has built a replica of an old filling station with all of the antique signs, gas pumps, etc.  Perhaps a unique hobby that also serves as a social center?



Joe, Robert and Leonard in absentia

In an issue of the Small Craft Advisor, I saw an article about constructing a galley box to house a small stove, mess kit and cooking utensils on a sailboat.  I thought it was a great idea!  On SunShower, our 17 foot catboat, it would give us a central place for kitchen stores and afford us the opportunity to eliminate our gas grill that is currently blocking access to the cockpit from our swim ladder.  

Having no skill or the equipment needed to build a wooden cabinet, I was reminded of the Rolling Stones lyric;  You can't always get what you want..But if you try sometimes well you might find..You get what you need.  The reality was if I tried to build it myself, I would not get what I wanted or needed.  But if I asked, I just might get what I needed.  So, who to ask?  The choice was simple; Joe is known for his beautiful woodworking and Robert knows a lot about building anything including things metallic.  So at a recent gathering I showed them the article and asked if they would help me build a similar galley box.  Sure, they said, we'll give it a go.  Shortly thereafter, we headed to Smith Mountain Lake so Joe and Robert could see the space in the boat where the box needed to fit and to take exact measurements.  In addition to space requirements, the box needed to house a single burner propane stove, dissipate heat and have a metal top for hot pans.  Sitting in the cramped cabin, Robert began to visualize a design, make some sketches and ask Joe if he concurred.  Satisfied, we headed home and I asked when we could get started.  They said tomorrow!  But I said I could not do it in the morn due to another commitment.  Robert and Joe indicated that would not be a problem (subtext: Tom, you don't know crap about this and have no skills so you'd just be in the way!).  Robert indicated he had some cedar and aluminum he thought would work so all I would have to buy was the hardware. Joe told me the next day the galley box was done; did I want him to finish it?  Me thinks, he does such great finishing.   Sure, that would be great if it is not an imposition!  The next week, Joe delivered the galley box, a lovely cedar cabinet with a brushed aluminum top and hand made wooden handles!  

This project reflects the way Robert and Joe approach life.  They are always ready to lend a hand and take great pride in their work. Motivated, self-reliant, skilled, dedicated, smart, and cheerful are adjectives to decscribe them.  They must be grown up Boy Scouts!  No seriously, Robert and Joe are just fine men; friends I trust and admire for who they are.  I am glad the Appalachian Trail brought our paths together.  Thanks for the galley box guys; it is what I needed and more than I asked for!

PS:  Leonard is another guy who can generally be found messing around with these guys who is cast from the same die.  I feel the same way about him; he just wasn't involved in this project.  But beware Leonard, if I ever approach you with an article in hand.......



TOF Brothers Stock

 The stock market had its best January since 1998!  And so did the TOF Brothers compiling quite respectable mileage totals for a winter month; David over 100, Gary over 200 and Tom in the middle at 166.  Today we rode a 41mile loop in NW Appomattox County in sunny, 65 degree weather.  Amazing for February 1st!