Category Archives: Stuff

Schoolhouses 1916 | Plans and Comments

How I See It

Seedy Bunch stopped the big yellow school bus in front of our farm house. I was excited to join five of my older siblings as they boarded. It was my first day of school.

We arrived at East Railroad School first. It was a mile east of town where some of my siblings were going to get off. I had to get off alone and join a bunch of kids I had never seen before. This school thing was not starting out the way I expected. I cried. I cried for a week.

I must have gotten over the trauma with no harm done. As it turned out, I became a school teacher myself. As a teacher, I felt those pangs associated with the start of school each of my 38 years.

East Railroad School looked very much like this fine example. We found this one on a recent hike celebrating…

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The Magic Day: Calendar Tricks for Geeks

by Melanie and Jim

Amaze your friends! Astound your neighbors! Confuse your enemies! Calculate the day of the week for any date, all without consulting a paper OR electronic calendar!

Several years ago my dad, a brilliant man, told me about a calendar trick he used. The trick allowed him to figure the day of the week for nearly any date. While other people were still looking in their paper planners (back in the old days,) he already knew.


Original calendar layout  jks Lola – | Noted dates by Jim and Melanie in IA

In 2014, Friday is the MAGIC DAY, a reference day around which the calendar trick revolves.

Let’s begin with the easy ones:
the 4th day of the 4th month and
the 6th day of the 6th month and
the 8th day of the 8th month and
the 10th day of the 10th month and
the 12th day of the 12th month

ALL fall on the same day of the week, the MAGIC DAY. In 2014 the Magic Day is Friday.
Note that for the EVEN numbered months starting in April, the day and month match up.

Besides those:
the 9th day of the 5th month and
the 5th day of the 9th month and
the 11th day of the 7th month and
the 7th day of the 11th month

ALL fall on the same day of the week, the MAGIC DAY. In 2014 the Magic Day is Friday.
Note how 5 and 9 match up [think “9 to 5”] and 7 and 11 match up [think “7-11”].

That leaves January through March. February and March are simple.

For February, the LAST day of the month is the Magic Day (Friday this year), regardless of whether or not it is leap year.

For March, since the LAST day of February is the Magic Day, the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of March also fall on the Magic Day. Pi Day is the Magic Day!

January is more difficult, but because the last day of February is the reference day, the last day of January is the same day EXCEPT in leap years. In leap year it is the day before the reference day. For example, in 2012, a leap year, the last day of January was Tuesday, not Wednesday. (Go ahead, check the calendar and see.)

Once you know these rules, you can move backward or forward in any month to determine the day of the week. For example, my son’s birthday is on the Magic Day, and mine is two days later. This year his birthday is Friday, so mine must be Sunday.

The reference day progresses through the years. It becomes one day later every year, except in leap years when it advances two days. In 2011, the Magic Day was Monday, and it progressed two days to Wednesday in 2012. In 2013, it was Thursday, and in 2014, it is Friday.

These days when so many people carry smart phones, it may not be as useful as it used to be. But I don’t have a smart phone. I have a dumb phone, and I still use these rules. Do you think you are geeky enough to remember and use these rules?

Shortcut | WordPress Reader

Handy dandy shortcut…

How I See It

I have been unhappy with the interim step in WordPress Reader for opening a blog post. Click on something in the post in Reader. You get a pop-up window that may or may not show much. Then, click on View Original at the top to finally get to see it. It is particularly tricky on an iPad. I don’t have a smart phone. That must be hard.

A while ago I was clicking on other buttons in the Reader window list and tried the one circled in this image. Presto! It went directly to the original of the post.

Could be everyone else in the world knows about this and I am just now finding it out. Wouldn’t surprise me. 🙂

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WW-I History | Operation War Diary

How I See It

The First World War Centenary begins in 2014 and lasts until 2018. Commemorative events are scheduled at many times and places. Diverse groups are coming together to remember the loved ones lost in that terrible war. As you can see in this image, a soldier is taking advantage of a break to sleep. Another is writing. Soldiers were given papers to use as a diary or an intelligence summary. (See second image) There were columns for place, date, hour, summary of the event, and remarks or references. Over 1.5 million pages of war diaries tell the story of the British Army on the Western Front during the First World War. There is a way for each of us ‘citizen historians’ to help enter the contents of those diaries into an electronic database which others can search and use for family history or research purposes. More below the second image.

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Inventory your stuff!

Wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods… every part of the country is susceptible to disaster; every one of us is vulnerable to natural (and human-instigated) phenomena. Climate change issues are likely to make these worse in the future.

Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe is the highest priority for most of us, but these events also can lead to severe financial hardship. What can you do NOW to mitigate your financial harm when disaster strikes? INSURE. Know what your insurance covers. And be prepared to make a valid and complete claim by having an inventory of your stuff.

Anyone who owns a home (with or without mortgage) and anyone who rents (or stays rent-free with someone) should have insurance to reduce financial losses in a disaster.

Two Purposes of Homeowners’ and Renters’ Insurance

Two primary purposes of homeowners’ and renters’ insurance are to protect you from liability claims and to protect you from actual property losses.

Liability, when discussing insurance, is the legal responsibility to pay someone else for damages as a result of your actions or inaction. If you do not repair your sidewalk and a pedestrian trips, breaking her hip, you may be liable for the cost of her medical treatment. A renter may have liability, also. For example, if a renter turns down the thermostat too far over a winter vacation, and the pipes freeze and burst, the renter may be liable to the landlord to pay for damages. Both homeowners and renters need insurance, if only to protect them against liability claims.

Property insurance is the portion of your policy that covers losses due to damage or theft. You may experience actual physical losses of property or the use of your property, due to disaster.

I want to be very clear: I am not talking about insurance coverage of any business equipment, business malpractice, or business loss-of-revenue due to interruption of business activity. Please talk to your insurance agent about these concerns, as they likely fall outside the personal insurance I am discussing.

Some losses are not covered under typical homeowners’ policies. Flood, earthquake, and mold damage are not, generally, and require specific insurance, separate from the homeowners (or renters) policy.

From the National Flood Insurance Program note that

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.

In addition, if you are eligible for flood insurance and wish to obtain it

It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it’s important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise.

Make sure you don’t wait until the water is rising. It’s just too late then. Similarly, this article last year from the Durango Herald noted homeowners can’t add insurance as the wildfires burn.

In addition, some household assets may need supplemental insurance for full coverage. For example, your valuable jewelry, musical instruments, computer or other electronic equipment, may need a rider or supplemental policy. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you know what is covered under your policy, and whether you need additional coverage.

If You Need to Make a Claim

If disaster strikes and you need to make a claim due to property losses, you MUST know what is lost to submit a complete claim. That may not be easy for most of us, as we’d have trouble listing all the items in our home. For example, think of the cupboard closest to your stove. Can you list every item in the cupboard from memory? Can you list every item in your hall closet from memory? Probably not. Virtually every property insurance company recommends creating an inventory of assets, and many provide worksheets, spreadsheets, and other devices to do so. The task, though, would overwhelm many people, as even the least acquisitive of us typically own thousands of items. It would be ever more overwhelming while dealing with the distress of tragedy.

Instead, inventory the simple way. You’ll at least have a help in remembering what you own. Just use a camera, phone with camera, or video camera and make sure you take images of every room, all walls, and inside each drawer, cabinet, cupboard, and closet. If there are items of special value, such as antiques or high-end electronics, take close-ups of them. If you have receipts for valuable items, also create digital images of those. Though it’s still a time-consuming task, it gives you a huge boost in your ability to remember and claim all that was lost.

Then STORE those images away from your home. These days the easiest way to do that is to upload them to a photo service, or even email them to yourself.

If you lose use of your property and need to stay elsewhere for a period of time, keep all receipts for lodging to provide documentation for your claim. Also save receipts for repair, clean-up, and replacement costs. Your insurance agent will want copies of all of these to process your claims.

I hope none of us experience losses due to natural or man-made disasters. The probability is high, though, that many of us will. Please be prepared. INSURE. Know what your insurance covers. And be prepared to make a valid and complete claim by having an inventory of your stuff.


Note that state insurance laws vary. Please discuss your concerns and coverage with your insurance agent to optimize the value you get from the policies you buy.