Category Archives: Family

Meowto the moocher

Mister Meowto is always very interested in whatever we are eating.  If it’s chicken or fish, he hovers at our feet and begs.  There are many other things however, that he doesn’t care for and he looses interest once he knows what they are.  He turns his nose up at beef, lamb and all vegetables, and he tries to bury anything with chocolate in it.

Meowto the moocher

We’d gotten Susan some apple pastries for her breakfast and she made the mistake of offering him some so he’d know what it was and go away.  Who knew he’d like them so much that whenever she had one he’d climb up next to her and avidly follow every bite from the plate to her mouth?  We had to yell at him more than once for getting on the table and trying to take some from her plate.  Now she just puts some where he can get it so he will leave her alone but we still have to keep an eye on him.

Susan’s new shelf

Susan and I traded which side of the bed we sleep on several months ago.  The side she started out on had a shelf and drawers next to it (which is why she got it) but it also had a step near the foot of the bed she had to get up and down.  Her balance and strength have decreased a bit and she no longer felt safe having to use the step, particularly at night, so we traded sides.

She had to give up her shelf, however, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to give her a shelf ever since.  I’ve gone through several different designs and even bought the material for one of them but I wasn’t happy with what I’d come up with.  I’m not sure where the idea for this design came from but once it came to me I knew it was the right one.

Susans Shelf

Part of the problem is that the wardrobe on her left (our right) is mostly thin plywood veneer and there are only two places where the wood is structurally strong enough to attach anything and that is at the very back and at the very front.  The design had to work with this and so the shelf is supported on the ends, but not in the middle.  The shelf has a lip around the sides and front so things won’t fall off and I combined the support for one end of the shelf with a handle to make it easier for her to get in and out of bed.  I used the same polyurethane stain and coating that I did for the handle I put above the bed and it fits in with the motorhome’s existing wood work quite well.   We’re happy with the way it turned out and Susan now has a shelf again.

I built a computer

I’ve had the bug for a while after reading an article on about building PC’s. The article had build plans for basic, mid-range and high-end computers.  Recently AMD released a new family of processors and Newegg had a combo-deal with them.  I ended up upgrading everything slightly (fastest processor, more memory) but was able to buy all the components for around $350 (which included shipping).


I got a metal case with two cooling fans, 350W power supply, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, 4-core AMD processor, motherboard, wifi card and a DVD-ROM drive.

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Susan’s new handle

Susan and I switched which side of the bed we sleep on several months ago because the side she had been on has a step and she was having difficulties getting up and down it. This made it easier for her to get in and out of bed but she also has a teflon tush and when she slides down she no longer has anything to hold on to that would help her get back up. The cabinetry in our motor home (and this really applies to all trailers and motor homes) needs to be as light as possible and so it is made of very thin veneered plywood over an internal framework. I looked for places we could attach something that Susan would be able to grab while in bed and fortunately, just on the inside of the cabinets above our bed there was a very sturdy framework although it was a bit narrow (~1″). We tried looking at both Home Depot and Lowes but we couldn’t find any handle that was anywhere near the dimensions that were needed so I decided to make on.

Susans handle before installation

I took a 24x1x3″ piece of oak and used a handheld jig saw to cut out the handle openings. I then smoothed the edges with a curved router bit and then used a drill press to drill the holes for 3″ brass screws.  I sanded the oak and then put two coatings of a combination stain and polyurethane on it, letting it dry a day and sanding it in-between.  Today, it was all done and ready to be installed.

Susans handlle mounted


I pre-drilled the holes for the screws, coated the tips of each screw with Elmer’s glue and then used my drill to mount it.

Susan using her handle

And here is how Susan will be able to use it.

My next project is a shelf for Susan’s bedside where she can put kleenex, her phone, her jewelry and the other stuff she needs.


Neal’s 59th Birthday

Neal on his 59th birthday
Neal on his 59th birthday

Neal turns 59 this coming Friday.  Mark, Harriet, Susan and Richard had lunch with him at Tao’s, an oriental restaurant in East Longmeadow.  Neal had his favorite food for lunch, lobster, and after lunch, cards and chocolates.  Happy birthday Neal!

Neal, Harriet, Mark and Susan squinting in the sunlight
Neal, Harriet, Mark and Susan squinting in the sunlight

Johnston Family picnic

On Sunday we went to a local park in San Ramon and had a picnic with Dan’s family.  Brad, Cierra, Deegan and Weston drove down from Antelope and Lindsay, Dusty, Devin and Mikayla drove over from Fremont.  The park had a kiddy playground and a lot of picnic tables.  We had seen Devin shortly for the first time shortly after he had been born, but this is the first time we’ve met Mikayla, Deegan and Weston.  The kids had a great time in the playground while the adults watched.  A good time was had by all.

Devin, Mikayla, Deegan and Weston
Devin, Mikayla, Deegan and Weston

Dan and Weston

Dan and Weston

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