I’ve made some minor cosmetic changes to this blog but more importantly I changed hosts (servers). Some of the links and other aspects of the site now might not be working properly.

If anyone notices something not working, please let me know at [email protected]


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Moving again

Janice and I were probably nomads in a previous life. We just can’t seem to stay in one place for very long (though we were in Florida for 12 years).

We both have our own reasons for wanting to move. Janice can’t stand living under the thumb of what she considers an unfair, dictatorial homeowners association board of directors.  Alan is not crazy about paying Oregon income tax and it’s getting boring cruising up and down the river.

We recently came back from a 10 day cruise of the San Juan Islands, WA. trailering the boat up there was an unpleasant experience but the islands were worth it. There are other great cruising grounds in Canada and Alaska.

So we decided to either move up to the Puget Sound area or to Vancouver, WA and perhaps keep our boat in Puget Sound.

We put the house up for sale a couple of weeks ago and have been house hunting. It probably won’t be easy selling a floating home but we have patience (at least I do).

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Janice and I just returned from a 7 day cruise to Alaska. This time we took a cruise ship rather than our own boat. We might be getting to lazy for that.

The trip started on an exciting note. After we were 2-4 hours out, soon after we were introduced to the emergency alarm and had our lifeboat drill, the alarm sounded again. This time the Captain announced that this was not a drill. There was a fire in one of the boiler rooms. We were assured we weren’t in immediate danger and in a little while it was announced that the fire was out. About 10 minutes later the Captain came on again telling us that the fire re-ignited. This time he didn’t mention that we weren’t in danger but he wasn’t ready to abandon ship. Again they extinguished the fire, but this time the Coast Guard ordered the boat back to its original port (Seattle) to investigate.

We were supposed to be on our way to Juneau but spent the remainder of the day and night on the boat in port. They never did tell us the result of the investigation, i.e. what caused the fire but we left again the next morning. Because we were a day behind schedule they had to eliminate one of the ports we were scheduled to visit (Sitka).

The remainder of the trip was uneventful and quite wonderful. People have asked me if Alaska was as beautiful as they’ve been told. No doubt, Alaska is beautiful but so are a lot of other places we’ve been to. I think I prefer the scenery of the tropics and desert. Did I say Alaska is cold? I’ve included a photo of people on deck in their winter wear.

You can find the photos on Flickr at:[email protected]/H95770/



Posted in Alaska, Travel | Tagged | 10 Comments

Portland snowstorm

1794726_10151859846425936_1751784994_n Our neighborhood during the recent Portland snowstorm.










Morgan after is first romp in the snow. He had a ball.

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After living together for 19 years Janice and Alan were married yesterday at a private ceremony.

Morgan (our puppy) is now legitimate.

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I’m impressed

The shock of moving from sunny Florida to Portland last winter is finally wearing off (just as winter is starting again).

Among Portland’s other attributes that really impressed me last week is their mass transit system.

It consists of light rail trains, heavy rail trains, buses and trolley cars. It seems there is one kind of station or another on every street. Best of all, for Seniors it cost $2 to ride all day ($5 for regular people) getting on and off at will. The vehicles are in great condition. Unlike my memories of the subway system in NY there is no graffiti, the seats are fabric (NY abandoned fabric years ago because they would quickly be torn up by knife wielding hoodlums) and comfortable.

Considering parking in downtown Portland is about as available as it is in NYC I think we’ll be taking the train.

I’ve linked to a transit map for those that are interested Trimet System

And here is a typical train:

April 9, 2009- Portland, OR- MAX train

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The joys of owning a floating home

While owning a floating home may be romantic and fun, there are definite downsides. Actually quite a few but I’ll only talk about the latest incident.

Janice had a party planned for her Portland relatives. They were to arrive in the afternoon on a Saturday. Coincidentally a diving service we had hired came out that morning to put  large blocks of Styrofoam  under the house.  If there is heavy snow or a large amount of icy rain in the winter it tends to build up on the roof. It weighs a lot and the house will further sink into the water, so the additional  buoyancy is insurance.

Immediately upon diving under the house the diver surfaced and told me that raw sewage was leaking out of our “honey pot” into the River.

What is a “honey pot” you ask. We do have city sewer lines but they are about 1/4 mile away. For our sewage to get into the city system it has to be pumped uphill. Our community (moorage) has one large pumping station at the foot of the dock. Each house has a 30 gallon tank which collects all the water and sewage from the house plumbing. That for some reason is what they call a “honey pot”. Inside the tank is a sewage pump with a float switch that pumps it up to the communities pumping station when it becomes full. Well the pump was obviously not working as the tank was overflowing.

Janice had to call 20 people to cancel the party as obviously someone would have to use the bathroom. (Most of these people are in there 80’s).

That was the easy part. Try getting a plumber on Saturday on a beautiful day in Portland (they value their beautiful days). Well I couldn’t. Then Janice reminded me of my previous profession (gastroenterology) and also of all the times I fixed the head (toilet) on our previous boat trips. I could fix it (so she said).

The pot is located under our front porch. It was covered with decking material that had to be unscrewed. That was a job in itself. After removing the planks I noted a round black container with electrical wires emanating from it as well as several plastic and rubber hoses. Leaking from the top lid was, you guessed it, sh**.  It was gross (as a gastroenterologist one rarely sees stool, contrary to popular belief).

Well not to prolong the story I and a neighbor friend did manage to take it apart, pull out the motor (which was dead), drive to Home Depot, buy a new motor and replace the motor. The tank emptied immediately and all was well.

Just waiting for the next thing to go wrong.




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Janice is finally published!

Buy book on

Check it out. The link above is to Amazon. If you’re a Kindle owner with a Prime account you can borrow it for free, otherwise it’s a paltry $3.99. If you don’t have a Kindle you can download a free viewer for your PC (I don’t know about MAC).

Update: Stumbling Aboard is now available in paperback at Amazon.

If you do read it please leave a review.

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IMG_0763-1_edited-1I think I finally got the hang of taking cute shots.


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More photos of Morgan

For those who have been asking for more photos of Morgan I present[email protected]/3M1Mu2

I’m still learning how to photograph moving, black, hairy puppies so bare with me.

Please let me know if this link doesn’t work. I’m using Flickr for the first time.

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