Story 17March2023: St. Patrick’s Day 2023 and BTW

St. Patrick’s Day was also a back-to-work day for me. I started with the alarm waking me at 7ish and getting started with coffee, Equal Exchange, made in my French Press. I also had a banana and some slices of Irish Soda Bread I made the day before from a King Arthur Flour mix. I cut a few extra pieces and put them in plastic bags to take to the hummingbird house.

My first meeting was a staff meeting. As much is going on in the project, the meeting ran long. The status meetings have now halted, so I had no meetings until the afternoon. I was busy reading emails, news, and Slack channel updates to get caught up again.

This is Susie’s flower at the house. She looks for it every year.

I skipped excises and got dressed later in the morning after showering. I collected the bedding and got that in the washing machine–Friday is laundry day. I noticed light flooding in the backyard–one of my neighbors is pumping out their crawl space, the only reason to see this, into the French Drain in the back. This is new, and soon a small pond forms in my backyard. The birds like it. Yes, there are droughts, and here in the Pacific Coast areas, we have more water than we need.

Dressed, dishes were done, laundry started, and Zoom meetings attended–it was time to see Mrs. Wild. Air Volvo had no trouble reaching the hummingbird house on a perfect 63F (17.2C) sunny and dry day. One huge truck roars its engine from behind me, passes me on the right, then drives through a red light. I could not reach the speed limit as the cars were all going slow, which upset the truck’s driver. Unfortunately, there are no cameras at that intersection.

Reaching Susie’s place, I gave the soda bread to Jennifer, the live-in and weekday nursing aide, and discussed cooking corn beef for St. Patrick’s Day. This was a new experience for Jennifer. Susie waited for me to finish talking to Jennifer and was thrilled to see me. She agreed to head outside to the park. Susie was already in a green sweatshirt, and we decided that just a blanket would be enough.

The parking spots for the park had just been recovered with crushed stone, and the stone had not settled yet into the mud. I had to push Susie through the broken rocks, which was more accessible today, but I had to pop the wheels onto the park cement walkway as the light gravel settled, leaving me a slight 1/4-inch stop to jump. After seeing me pop the wheels, the park guy put lighter gravel there. I suspect he will get replacement fine gravel there in a few weeks once the heavy crushed stone settles more.

We stopped at the first bench because it was unused, and the warm sun covered the area. We called Susie’s mother on my iPhone using FaceTime so they could see each other. Susie and Leta chat pleasantly (I added a few comments here and there). The wind was not as cold or pronounced on Friday, making the park pleasant.

There were dog walkers and folks playing basketball. A mother and her small daughter were trying out using the tennis courts (not in use) for a game of frisbee. I noticed quite a few cedars are cut; apparently, they are dying, but many are still healthy, yet it is sad to see them go.

Soon Susie was getting cold, and I had to return to work at the house office, so we headed back into the hummingbird house that adjoins Metzger Park. Susie was sad to have me leave, but I went with a kiss and a promise to return on Saturday to watch a movie together (and to see the park as the forecast was wrong, and it is, at the time of the writing, another sunny day on Saturday).

I returned by way of Safeway. I picked up a corn beef brisket, cabbage, carrots, and other items. I started the boiling process for the corned beef and put a frozen pizza in the oven. I was ravenous. I had a Zoom meeting and ate a rushed lunch. I followed along as it was Friday; there are few crises of the moment on Friday, remarkably light when we are not running data conversions (they start again soon). I continued heading back to the kitchen, mopping up spilled water when I ignored the boiling pot during the meeting; oops.

By 5:30, I was baking the corned beef, fatty side up, and adding the cabbage to the hot water. Dinner was excellent, with the beef being less oily and ready for sandwiches and other uses.

After eating food and working for the first time in a week, I was tired. So I rested for a while. I did wash the heavy blanket too from the bed. After that, I read and nodded off.

It was too early to sleep, and soon I was back up, did more laundry, and returned to my electronics. My speaker set worked, but I needed to attach a microcontroller to complete my design. The whole is the set of electronics to do everything but the radio. I was considering using an AdaFruit Gemma. I had a few, and they were cheap and run in C. Unfortunately, I forgot I had trouble attaching to them from my Apple M1 laptop and re-experienced that frustration again. So I returned to my original plan: Arduino Pro.

I returned to the paper box and mounted stand-offs (I have a nice kit of brass ones) for the power board. The board provides regulated 5V from a LiPo battery and charges from a micro-B USB cable. I will let that run when plugged in to always have a charge in the LiPo; the radio that will match this design will thus work without power and will always be charging. I have to use a hard switch from the power board. I ran lines from the powerboard through the power switch (for power) to a mainframe board, a solder version of a breadboard (supplied as a gift for larger orders from AdaFruit). One side of the mainframe is 5V from the powerboard and ground. The other power is regulated 3.3V from the Arduino Pro (3.3V version) with a shared ground.

I made stand-offs for the Arduino, and as this is the thru-hole version, soldered it into the speaker box. Power from 5V and then lines out to create the 3.3V rail on the mainframe. Next, I attached a potentiometer (a nob) to read the settings with the Arduino using a 10K (I am testing whether I can use this or need a lower resistance version for 3.3V). I also attached the needle meter to the Arduino, and it read the hard code setting I put in the initial program for the Arduino–the RC filter is working!

I tested it all, attached all the boards to stand-ons, and grouped the wires to reduce the rat nest look. It tested out, and I used it to play music from my Apple. Perfect. I can use a standard audio jack to connect to these new speakers.

I need to write and upload the code to the Arduino Pro to read the nob and move the needle to match. Later I will control the needle by listening to a mic to make it bounce with the sound, but I have to buy a new mic breakout from AdaFruit in NYC.

With that success, I went to bed, after remaking the bed, and read until I started to fall asleep.

Thanks for reading.



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