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Pat Rieger




December 25th, 2017

Treasure Trove

I do not know much about my family history. It is not for lack of trying, it for lack of the older generations don't know either.

But tonight I know a bit more than I did.

One of my brothers brought over a box of lots of old photos. I sifted through it and wow! My mom and her sisters when they were little, mom in elementary school, and her high school graduations photos (1946).

My maternal grandmother when she was a baby, in 1904, and the city listed on the frame is Allegheny, so it was before Pittsburgh annexed it.

Receipts from when my grandparents had coal delivered for their coal furnace in the house. An envelope from Duquesne University to my maternal grandfather's older brother in 1927. The house he lived in in Friendship at the time I have passed thousands of times.

Copies of my grandparents death certificates.

But the best and most important is a color photo of my mom holding baby me.

So I will be spending lots of time scanning and adding to the online family tree.

December 7th, 2017

Random Stuff

An advantage of having been sick last week was losing a few pounds because I was hardly eating. Not a healthy way to lose the weight I had put on but I'll take it. Now I need to be careful with my diet and not put the weight back on.

I took a look at myself this evening and I certainly need to lose the weight, which has mostly accumulated around the middle. Part of it is bloating because the last of whatever made me ill last week is working its way out and making lots of gas.

My family tends to have the same breakfast each weekend, or every other weekend when my older son is with us. My older son and I tend to eat chocolate chip pancakes. I am going to change that starting this weekend to eliminate the carbs and sugar. I am thinking of omelettes with veggies. The last of the pancake was used nearly 2 weeks ago that it won't be tempting to make more.

Other areas to consider are snacks, getting rid of the candy we have.

Other meals are still fuzzy but my wife keeps talking making Mediterranean but it has yet to happen.

My goal is to get back to where I was when we met nearly 7 years ago.

November 29th, 2017


My family and I went to the home of a friend of my wife for the Thanksgiving Meal. It was very yummy, all home made (at least most of it). There was ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, carrots, mac & cheese, and I forget what else. I ate a lot.

That night my stomach started to complain.

It wasn't so bad that we could not see the Corned Beef & Curry Band at the Harp & Fiddle the next night, and I had my favorite of fish & chips.

But as the weekend continued and into the next week my stomach still complained, to the point I got very sick Sunday night. I hardly ate anything since then. Applesauce, bananas, and tea were mainstays. Tuesday I felt good enough I had fried rice and general tsos chicken from Giant Eagle for lunch, and I felt fine. But my bowels for very sore. I figured I was stopped up. Wednesday morning I got something to help unclog me. still waiting for it to kick in but overall I feel much better, including having a full dinner.

Whenever I get very sick to the stomach and intestines like this I also fall into a deep depression, feeling pointless, hopeless, ashamed at everything, questioning everything about myself. But once I heal all of that goes away. It has happened a few times in my life. I wonder how the brain, or at least mine, is wired so the one event causes the another? Despite my best efforts to use my intellect to help pull myself out of it and feel better I still felt deeply depressed.

The connection is something I want to look in to.

October 28th, 2017

A Long Shot

house, christmas
Last weekend my family and I went for a walk, something we do often.

We came across a house decorated for Halloween with 2 women on the front porch carving pumpkins. My 5 year old son told them he loved their decorations, and they said thank you.

We got to talking about decorating and houses. We said when we have a house of our own we would decorate it up for the Holidays too. Turns out one of the women is a realtor and gave us her card.

We have been in touch since then, and also talked to someone about per-qualification for a mortgage. We told her where we are looking, and what we need in a house and what we want.

It is a long shot considering our income and our debt, especially mine, but we need the space a house provides, and we want out of this apartment.

We have been considering different avenues for job and career changes. We are not happy with our income level, and my wife hates going to work anymore. She is ready for a change.

Both would be serious changes for the good. How to accomplish both goals is still unclear.

Both would lower our stress level and lift our happiness level.

They are long shots but well worth the effort.

August 7th, 2017

All in One Place

The iMac is gone.

The tech where I had the mother board replaced suggested I open take off the glass cover, remove the screws holding the screen in place, and insert something to hold the screen 1" out from the case so I could feel the source of the heat.

I did that, and the screen shifted, ripping out a small ribbon cable and damaging the end. My wife and I decided that was the end of the iMac. Replacing the screen would cost too much.

The 2TB hard drive the shop installed was removed, as well as the RAM. The iMac was recycled at Best Buy, which gave me a gift card for it which was nice. I haven't used the gift card yet, there is not much there I need. What I would like to get costs far more than the gift card is worth.

We bought a SATA hard drive docking station with 2 docks, and placed the two drives we have which adds up to 3TB. Plenty of space for music, photos, et al.

What I would like to do with the drives is get a Mac Pro from the previous generation, when it was a tower with 4 hard drive slots, and place the drives I have in it so my family and I can use it as a central place for all of our media. A Mac Mini could do it but it would not be as fast, the docking station would be connected to the Mac Mini via USB. I have connected it to my MacBook Pro and streamed via Apple TV which worked very well, but I can't have the MacBook Pro on all of the time without killing the battery, and I just had that replaced.

I have a plan, I know what I need, I just need to be able to afford it (like something I else I need to do). In the mean time I will continue to look around and if I am lucky find a Mac Pro at a good price which can still run the latest Mac OS.

June 14th, 2017

Get to Be Computer Geeky

It's been a while since I have been able to really be computer geeky, but this past weekend my older son found an Asus Aspire laptop. He has just a 160 gig hard drive with Windows XP installed, so we need to take care of that. A friend of ours has a copy of Windows 7 for us, so I just need to get the hard drive. It's a SATA, which are inexpensive. At least 250 gigs in size will be good.

Duncan knows how to use a computer but not how to take care of one, so this is the opportunity to teach him. There were 73 updates to the OS installed and for MS Office 2007. We plan to get the family subscription to Office once we can afford it. Besides the OS and hard drive, there are some firmware updates.

I am the computer support in the family so it is up to me to get all of this work done, and I happily will.

June 7th, 2017

Picture Jupiter

A few years ago at the Christmas party of the astronomy club we are members of, I received a CCD camera that was designed for taking pictures of solar system objects.

Sadly the Mac drivers are not up to date so I can run them.

I have an old Dell laptop that has Windows 10 on it, and I used software to find the product key so I can install Windows 10 on my Macbook via Bootcamp. I hope it is the correct key.

The only obstacle I have now is I need a USB drive to install Windows, then I should be good to go.

I hope.

Then I can start imaging planets. I want to see if it would work on bright deep sky objects like the Orion Nebula.

This is going to be fun!

May 30th, 2017

Let's Do This!

Last Wednesday I had my wellness consultation at the Y and it went very well.

First we went over my goals, which are to lose weight and get back into the shape I was in a few years ago before I had to quit the gym. There were 3 sections for goal, each based on time range. Now up to 6 weeks, 6 weeks to 3 months, and beyond 3 months.

I have a family event to go to Labor Day weekend (assuming we can afford it), and my wife wants me to wear a kilt. In order to wear the kilt I need to shrink my waist back down to wear it was 5-6 years ago.

This requires a combination of change in diet and exercise.

The diet part has been changing at a moderate pace. We have been eating what we have and not restocking it, such as pancakes. We have more fruits in the place, and we need to get more veggies. If we had the required time to spend in the kitchen I wouldn't mind going vegetarian, but that can time consuming.

The consultant, Rubilyn, suggested lots of greens but don't forget a source of protein. She complained about lots of runners do not take in enough protein so they are becoming too thin. She herself eats every 3 hours.

After the talk we started with stretching, and then worked on free weights, kettle bells, weighted bars, and medicine balls.

Following that was the exercise machines. I had worked out with these before but after nearly 3 years I was rusty. But it came back to me pretty quickly.

Rubilyn was amazed at my strength, which I did not lose much of, it was my endurance I need to get back, as well as lose weight.

She said to lose weight it would be better for me to strength train.

Friday I took a Les Mills Sprint class. It lasted a half hour, and was pretty intense. I could feel I need to build up my strength here. 3 years ago during a sprint in Spin class I would be up to gear 23 or 24, but now I went no higher than gear 18.

Sunday we went to Open Streets Pittsburgh, and walked the whole course which according to my iPhone's Health app was around 5.5 miles. My legs were a bit sore, a lot less than I thought they would be. When I had my job downtown I went on an hour walk every day at lunch time, 2.2 miles. I miss those walks, they were very enjoyable, besides being a part of my exercise routine.

My wife mentioned today my belly looks to be shrinking, which is awesome. I am on my way.

May 24th, 2017

Got Back

Early Monday afternoon I headed down to the Y. I didn't make it in time for the Spin class, which is what I really wanted, so I headed over to an elliptical. I did 30 minutes on it, burning 413 calories in a little over 3 miles. I had added my information in so it would give a more accurate calorie count.

The nearly 3 years since I used such a machine was evident, I couldn't push myself as I once had, so I will need to build up to it.

Wednesday I have an appointment with a Wellness Consultant. My goal is to lose at least 20 pounds this Summer if not more. I want to get back to where I was 5 years ago, before I started to gain weight.

But I finally got back.

May 8th, 2017

In the craziness and busyness of life, and changes that happen, friends can stop seeing each other as often as they used to, sometimes to a crawl, sometimes to not seeing each other at all.

Tonight I got to see a few of them. Some of the Rennies, a group to which I happily and enthusiastically say I am a member.

As joyful as it was to see them, it was the circumstance that was not joyful. The funeral viewing of the mom/mom-in-law of 3 of them.

But despite that we were all happy to see each other and catch up a bit. One of them, who just lost his mom, brought up the point that we never did finish the project of making a new base for one of my telescopes so it sits higher. The group of us also talked jewelry, ren garb, and plenty of other things. We have missed each other.

The past few years I have gotten away from things that are precious and important to me. I have spoken a lot recently about one, exercise and being in shape, which I am now working on getting back to where I was. Now it's seeing the Rennies again.
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