As I not-so-subtly alluded to in the title, we spent that weekend in good ol’ Lake Tahoe. I have to say we prefer visiting there in the summer time when it’s a little warmer, but it was an enjoyable weekend all the same. It wasn’t too cold, and the traffic was definitely more tolerable than the summer months. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, just sort of enjoyed the sites. We did have a very nice dinner on Thursday, at Chart House. We usually go to Riva Grill for our “one nice dinner out” but took the recommendation of a local for something different, and it worked out quite well. It’s basically a Landry’s, which puts it dangerously close to our “chain restaurant” black-list, but we decided to give it a go anyway. Donette and her mom enjoyed the prime rib, and I had an ahi tuna dish that was quite delicious. As a matter of fact, I had a very similar dinner last time we were at Riva and they utterly destroyed it, so Chart House is a little higher on my list now. We also did the requisite shopping rounds, took a trip to the must-see Emerald Bay (I never get tired of that view,) and did no small amount of relaxing.
We were in Tahoe Thursday through Saturday, getting back home later in the afternoon. Sunday was mostly eaten up by a trip out to Carmax in Roseville to look at a new (well, used) sled. We have been a one-car family for over a decade now, and honestly it works out just fine 99.7% of the time. But for some reason (bad judgement most likely,) I recently decided I just really needed my own set of wheels. You know, for those 1/2-dozen days a year when it rains and I can’t easily get to work. Sigh. Well, whatever the reason, I got this idea in my head several weeks back and I’ve been shopping ever since. For the most part I stuck to the Carmax site, which I must say I am now a fan of. This is the third car I looked at, and it’s just a really easy process. The first two were fails, one I missed out on by dragging my feet, and then when I saw this last one I was hooked. It’s four years old, but as close to new as you’re going to get without paying the new-car price. So, while it was a bit unfortunate her mom had to suffer through an hour of paperwork on her vacation, I went ahead and picked it up that day. And, as you read it on this page right now, if I only put 1,000 miles on it in the next year we’re going right back to the single-car garage.
For someone who professes to have no use for cars, I suddenly find myself with a garage full of rather fancy vehicles
Leaving Carmax with the new wheels. Pretty happy with the experience overall.
Selfie at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe
Quinn rocking his new Adidas hoodie we got him in Tahoe.
Busy weekend. Busy busy. Yeah that’s us. OK maybe not so much. We were “occupied” though, to say the least. Donette’s Mom came in to town Saturday night, so we ran down to the airport and picked her up. Our plans to entertain her during her stay are sketchy, to say the least. Our first big item on the schedule was to take her wine tasting down in the Napa/Sonoma area. This, despite the fact that she has no use at all for wine tasting. Well… Hey, our options are sort of limited around this place. It’s a nice area to see, and there was just a little bit of fall color to enjoy. (Mingled with the rather devastating fire damage from the recent wildfires.) It was an entire day of driving, to be sure. Our first stop was one of my favorites, Soda Rock. Great wine, great place… But the drive is horrible. It’s not in Napa or Sonoma actually, but clear past them in the Alexander Valley, a solid hour’s drive past Napa. Whew, it was a long trip. We had a shipment to pick up there though, so we made the drive. (Granted, it only costs about $10 to have it sent to our doorstep. With gas at $3.50 per gallon, and a 2.5 hour drive each way… Yeah let’s just not do that math. It’s a fun place, go with it.) Next on our little circle was our Sonoma spot of choice, Walt. I like to fancy myself a Pinot Noir man, and I find theirs to be the best. At the end of the day, I am 99% sure I couldn’t tell a Pinot from a generic red blend, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Although this was only our second stop, I was already a bit worn out from driving so we didn’t stay there long. They were super busy (as always) too, and I didn’t feel like waiting around, so we picked up our shipment from them and then left to grab some lunch at a nearby deli. From there, our third and last stop was our Napa favorite, Cuvaison. This is our most recent membership, and I must say we’re very happy with it so far. (Or maybe the new just hasn’t worn off yet.) They have a nice variety of wine, and so far we enjoy them all. Their tasting room is very nice too, with great views, and they manage the crowd by asking that you call beforehand to let them know when you’ll be there. It was a good way to wrap up the afternoon, before making the arduous drive back up the hill. We got back into our home area around 5:30, and went directly up to our friends Michael & Alaina’s house to enjoy a nice dinner. After some delicious pasta we were all absolutely finished, and headed back to our house for an early turn-in. Whew, busy day.
Donette & her mom in front of the sculpture outside Soda Rock
Some of the fire damage we passed on the drive
Toasting outside Cuvaison Winery. That liquid looks suspiciously light-colored.
Quinn in a good game of tug
Busted carrying my shoe around, trying to hide on the back of the couch.
Grabbing a nap in the sun
The green leaves on the left are chardonnay vines, and pinot vines on the right. The only time of the year you can see the difference. Learn something every day.
Merry Halloween to all! I like this holiday, for no particular reason. Usually solid Fall weather, festive people running around… What’s not to like. We even went to an honest to goodness Halloween party this year. Saturday night was the annual “blind beer tasting” over at our friends Michael and Alaina’s house. I believe it’s the sixth annual, and it seems to get a little bigger and better every year. This year the Halloween theme was a new twist, and I think it was well received. The same good food and “interesting” beers to sample, mixed in with some truly unusual costumes.
In other random news, we had our carpet replaced last week. Big deal, people. It was a little disappointing to be ripping out carpet after only three years in this house, but it was thrashed. I know we had the cheap stuff put in when they built it, but come on. Well, whatever, I guess. We got two quotes, one from the friendly local big-box store and one from an independent contractor. We ended up going with the independent guy, mainly based on the fact that he was considerably cheaper. (Which is how we make most of our decisions, for better or worse.) They did a great job on the carpet, we are quite pleased. Nothing like some fluffy soft carpet under your feet in the morning, the old stuff was all matted down and gross. Now the “furniture moving” part of the deal might have been a small let-down. The deal was they would move all the junk (which there is no small amount of) out of the way, and lay down the carpet. Well, maybe I didn’t read the fine print, but I erroneously assumed this would also include moving said junk back in place. Ohhhh, bummer. In all fairness, I think they just underestimated the size of the job and were ready to get out of our house, and bailed on us. And, truth be told, as it was my highly-prized Friday evening, I was ready for them to get out of the house too. So, we have nice new carpet, but also a sizable unplanned project. Or maybe it’ll just stay where it is, who knows. I’m kind of getting used to having the bedroom furniture in the master bath. You can just hop out of the shower and there’s your clothes, right there and handy. And having the office in the garage? Not bad at all, and we gain an extra bedroom. True, it would be nice to have the car in the garage where it belongs, but these are the small trade-offs you have to make sometimes.
While we were at our Halloween party, the dogs were playing “carry all the throw pillows outside.” Hellions.
Pooh Bear & Eeyore at the party
Quinn is going trick-or-treating as a taco this year
Blech, I’m down with the “something” for the first time this season. Already! I don’t understand it. It cannot have anything to do with my penchant for falling asleep on the patio in 50 degree temps, or riding my scooter to work in the cold, or going wine tasting when I’m already starting to feel sick… No, couldn’t be. Just bad luck I guess. I did manage to have some fun over the weekend despite my feverish condition, so it must not be that bad yet. And it ain’t… Sore throat, runny nose, blah blah. The usual crud. Woe.
Mostly we spent the whole weekend running around with our friends Michael & Alaina. They are in the process of selling their house, and had a pretty solid stream of showings and open houses lined up, so we agreed to entertain the poor little waifs while they were temporarily homeless. And, their pup Renfield is Quinn’s best friend, so they’re always excited to get together for some destruction of my landscaping. We had quite the social weekend. We hit some wineries, one stray brewery, a few brunches, a dog park, did some grilling…. whew. Tired me out. Tired the dog out too, he was asleep until Tuesday afternoon. The pups did pretty well together as always, but they did tear up my landscaping something fierce. Ugh, little monsters. There was also an unusual instance of random shoe destruction. We got home from our travels one afternoon (they went with us a lot, but not this given day,) and I found one of my favorite shoes in the back yard, hopelessly destroyed. Now, it is a well known fact that Rennfield is a destroyer of footwear. There’s a solid history there. Angelic Quinn on the other hand has never done such a thing. So, naturally, blame was placed and discussions were underway regarding reparations from the damage caused by their wild beast. Meanwhile, I decided to review the security cam footage for any hard evidence. After viewing dozens of clips, this was the only one showing any meaningful proof:
GASP!!!! My own little boy! The only plausible explanation is that Rennfield had chewed up the shoe inside, and Quinn was attempting to carry it to safety to prevent further destruction. Alas, I could not find the film to support this very likely claim. Time to buy more cameras.
This is some of the decorative grass in my yard after a day of the dogs playing.
So that weekend was mostly ate up by a catastrophic pc failure. Really now, is there any other kind of pc failure? Nope, they’re pretty much all catastrophic. I came into the (home) office Friday morning to a blinking black screen, informing me that no boot disk could be found. Bummer. Not a good start to the weekend. I hopped on amazon and ordered a new drive with same day shipping, and when I got home from work that afternoon it was waiting on the porch for me. Pretty slick. A few things were learned over the course of this latest disaster. My pc backup software (Acronis True Image) is generally worthless. I’ve used it since 2010, faithfully upgrading to the latest version every year. It’s really the only software I’ve ever purchased, outside of Microsoft Windows & Office, and my anti-virus. Over all those years, I’ve never really used it. So this was the big test: I booted my new drive up to the rescue disk, clicked “restore image” and went to eat dinner. I came back to a screen not unlike the one I’d woken up to that morning. Fail. Guess I won’t be buying the next version. So, I spent the rest of my weekend building Windows install disks, hunting all over the house for various serial numbers, blah blah blah. So lame. Good news is I don’t think I really lost anything, as all my music, pictures, and documents are stored on another device. And as an added bonus, my new drive is faster than snot. Really fast snot, however fast that is.
Notable events over the weekend included a trip to the dog park, and a cookout involving a really large steak. In chronological order, the steak came first on Saturday evening. We had friends over and I headed down to the grocery and bought a steak for us all to share. One steak for two couples? Cheaping out again there, Phil? Well, the one steak weighed in at a not unimpressive 3.8 lbs. Now THAT is a steak. Somewhere between a steak and a roast I’d say, actually. It took me over an hour to get that thing up to medium rare on the Weber, making dinner a bit late. It was worth it though, it came out very tasty. Then Sunday morning, we took Quinn to the dog park here in El Dorado Hills. Really not such a big event, but it was fun. We took his friend Renfield this time, in case there were no other puppies there to play, which was indeed the case. There was one other big goofy something-a-doodle, but Quinn was terrified of him. Little intimidated by the size difference I guess. He had fun though, and slept soundly beside us while we enjoyed lunch afterwards.
Donette getting ready to tear into some steak
I cooked the steak a little over an hour over an indirect charcoal fire, then finished it on a scorching hot cast iron griddle. (I just remembered I forgot the butter. DANG IT!!!)
My new hard drive. Doesn’t look like any drive I’ve ever seen, these new pc’s are wacky.
The dogs were locked in the back yard while a contractor was here for an estimate. They were quite displeased.
Nasty smokey haze over the whole area from the wildfires.