Nice Win!

A mediocre weekend at best, but had its upsides. The weather was quite nice, we got some things done around the house, and the Chiefs won. The wife is down with a cold or allergies or something of the sort, so she wasn’t up for too much excitement. My turn is coming, I’m sure.

Friday was sort of slow. We were supposed to go to a concert in Sacramento, but the opening act cancelled out and that’s who we really wanted to see. Luckily we were able to get a refund. I’m sure we would have still had a good time, but why risk it. Instead, we went to our regular Friday happy hour spot, Foothill Beer Temple. It was a brief stay, then we headed out to find some dinner. We ended up at the newly opened McDermott’s Pub in Placerville. It’s attached to The Italian Place we go to, but more of an Irish Pub thing than the semi-nice restaurant next door. It was pretty empty for a Friday night, I think they’ve got some advertising to work on. I’m not sure how it’s going to do really, I guess we’ll see. I think it’s a bit… “spendy” for the area. They are pretty proud of their stuff for sure. All you could get for food was pizza from The Italian Place. Nothing wrong with that, it’s what we wanted anyway. The girl brought it out in a to-go box though? Uhhhh, trying to tell me something? Little odd. I’m hoping they expand the menu to include more items from next door, then I’d be all in. It seems their big push was craft cocktails, which I have little to no use for.

Saturday I woke up semi-motivated for some yard work, so I headed up The Hill to cut some firewood. Not a bad way to spend a 65 degree afternoon. There is certainly enough up there that needs cut up, that’s for sure. I like to think I’m making a dent in it, but it’s going to be a while. I got a whole load of oak cut up and loaded in my trusty little trailer, then things started going south on me. First, I was headed down to dump the wood and ran smack into a little tree stump that I didn’t see. The worst part is, I’d stomped around for a good 20 minutes earlier trying to find it, because I’d hit it before. Guess I finally found it. It was right in the middle of the mower deck. Too steep to back up, and no way to get around it going forward. I finally had to go get poor sickly Donette and between the two of us we were able to scooch it around. In the course of trying to back up, I’d thrown 1/2 the dirt in the state up on the mower deck, so I decided to wash that off. In retrospect, I probably should have done that out in the yard. There was even more mud than I thought, and now it’s all over the driveway behind my car. For the big finish, I went to put the mower away and it had a flat tire. I aired it up and got it put back away, we’ll see if it holds. (Yeah, I already know the answer to that one.) The good news is, I had a fair amount of frustration built up by then, so I took it out on splitting the logs. Good outlet right there!

Sunday, well, it was a day of couch and football. I tried out a new recipe for dinner, chicken and rice, and it came out pretty passable. I got a little carried away with the siracha sauce perhaps, but at least I was at home so nobody had to watch me pouring sweat all over the place. Mostly I just like cooking in my super-duper new cast iron skillet, and it worked fantastic. Actually I took a picture of my skillet and forgot to take one of the actual food, oops.

Ribs & Football

The missus has been in New York for the last week, so I was left to my own entertainment all weekend. That pretty much resulted in a lot of couch time, as usual. I did step out of the house for a bit Saturday and went to a wine tasting nearby. I took the dogs with me, I am pretty sure they enjoyed it more than I did. Lots of attention and treats, can’t go wrong there.

Sunday I rolled down the hill to a friend’s house for a day of BBQ and football games. That’s just good wholesome entertainment right there. We couldn’t get the Chiefs broadcast unfortunately, but he did have the RedZone so we made do with that. While we watched the team slog through a rather tedious victory, we had three slabs of baby backs on his smoker. I had it in my head I wanted ribs, but when I went to get them at the grocery they were $7 a pound! Geez, that’s just obscene. No thank you. Luckily he happened to have some in his freezer so I didn’t have to go without. They came out, for the most part, delicious. Right when they were finishing up, I caught him slathering them in sugar free bbq sauce. As in, bbq sauce with no sugar. I futilely tried to save the third slab from such heresy, but all I could get out was sort of a stuttering mumble. I spent the rest of the evening researching just what in the heck this stuff was and where it came from. Not surprisingly, info is scarce. I am sure it comes from either California or China, I just haven’t been able to confirm which yet. (Actually the ribs were great, I have to admit. No way I could let that one go without comment though.)


So the first of the holidays is checked off, albeit a minor one. It used to be one of our Major Events, but seems to have faded in obscurity along with the rest of my social life. Sigh. We did celebrate it though, if a day early. (It was on Sunday? C’mon. Note to the US Social Committee, should they be reading this: Holidays should be on Friday or Saturday. Period.)

We started the weekend on Friday at our regular “Friday Happy Hour” spot, the Foothill Beer Temple in Shingle Springs. We make a little bit of an effort to get there every Friday. It’s a great place, definitely the best tap selection in the area, but mostly the owners are just great guys and we try to do our bit to support them. They got a rough draw opening right before the lockdowns, not really sure how they managed to keep it going for 1.5 years, paying rent with no business. I doubt our weekly round of pints is going to make much difference in their bottom line, but hey, it’s something. After that, we headed back to our Circle for dinner with some friends. We’ve been to The Place several times, but this was the first time since they opened their new, larger location. Unfortunately it’s now about 2 miles FURTHER from our house, almost making it outside our Circle, but since we were driving by it anyway we managed to make the sacrifice. I would say they lost a bit of “ambiance” with the new spot. The last place was super small and just sort of cool, the new place… Not so much. On the upside, they really did need more space, and the food was definitely great as always. I thought they may have added a few new menu items, but our newbie waiter was unable to confirm that. At any rate it was delicious as always. As an added bonus, they take reservations now so you don’t risk waiting a long time for a table, which was definitely an issue at the last spot. As a matter of fact the guy parked next to us was leaving as we pulled in, he said he couldn’t get seated for an hour.

Saturday night we did our Halloween thing. Some friends hosted a big party, sort of a combo Halloween & Beer Tasting event. It was the ninth annual, so it’s been going a while. It would have been the big 10th, but alas, no fun allowed in California last year. It was a good time as always. They’ve got several stations set up to sample various beers that everyone enters, and you rate each. At the end the results are tallied and a winner is announced, along with a prize for best costume. While you sample all the beers, there’s a catered taco truck serving some great food. I may like that better than the beers; Man there are some wacky entries. We actually placed second in the beer tasting, our first time in the top rankings. And, as usually happens, it was an entry with the least effort we’ve ever put in. I just grabbed a random 4-pack at happy hour on my way out the door on Friday. Nothing I’d ever even tried, it just fit my personal entry criteria of “local brewed IPA.” Lucky pick! I apparently liked it, as it was my second-highest tasting out of all 34 entries. (All the labels are removed before the tasting so you don’t know which is yours.) As for the costume contest, we weren’t so fortunate there. Matter of fact, we were so excited for the tacos that we completely forgot it was Halloween and didn’t bring our costumes. Yep, that’s just the way it happened. By my informal count, we were one of only three couples that didn’t dress up. This in no way made me in the least uncomfortable. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. Hey, our dogs wore costumes, that’s gotta count for something. Surprised they didn’t win actually.

Sunday, despite being the actual holiday date, was just another football-on-the-couch day. I’m pretty sure I didn’t step outside all day. I didn’t even have any real interest in the games I watched, it’s just kind of the Sunday thing to do. I guess I did go outside and assemble my new firewood rack. Granted, it consisted of three parts, held together by eight bolts, but it’s still going in the “daily accomplishments” category.

Rain, Rain

Wow, big storms out west. It was reported yesterday that we’ve received a third of our total annual rainfall over the weekend. That is pretty wild. Sure seems like it though, it’s been dumping. We lost power last night around 10:00 PM, and it just came back on. What a nuisance. I was about to hook the generator up when it finally came back on. Some day our eternally back-ordered Tesla batteries will come in and that hassle will be a thing of the past.

Other than that unwanted excitement, I guess it was sort of a down weekend. Saturday was just a bit eventful, as we took our little foster pup Grey to a “meet and greet” and some suckers (errrr, I mean “loving family”) adopted her. Actually they were a very nice couple, with a little boy. Hopefully the pup works out for them. I was just a little worried… young puppies just ain’t for everyone. Pretty sure we found a good match though when they sent us a picture of Grey in a new sweater she’d knitted her on Sunday. Then, a few hours later, another. Side note, I found it rather impressive that somebody could knit a little doggy sweater that fast. Looks complicated to me.

Sunday, blech. I have to say, I was pretty excited for the Chiefs game. What a letdown. Not even remotely entertaining. I did make a semi-tasty pot of ham and beans to sooth the sting though. They came out OK. I used a recipe off the Hursts Beans site. I’ve always wanted to try that 15 bean mix, for some inexplicable reason. Pretty solid! Tasted like… well… ham and beans. I did not, however, add the tomatoes as called for. Because this is America. And Americans don’t put tomatoes in ham and beans. I pointed this out to them in a strongly worded email, which they for some reason seemingly ignored. Either that or a SWAT team is in route to my house.

Two Weeks in a Row

Woot, I’m officially back in the swing of things. Until I’m not, anyway. The holiday season is nearly upon us, which always proves a challenge. But, I’ll keep my ever-optimistic attitude and see where it goes.

Wow, the season changed rather abruptly out here. We seem to have missed Fall, and jumped straight from summer to winter. Or perhaps it was just a very abbreviated season; Pretty much Friday & Saturday, then straight into cold. We made the most of the two nice days though. Friday after work we went over to a friends house for a bbq. Can’t ever go wrong with that plan. This was extra-exciting as it was the grand debut of his new smoker. His Traeger recently shot craps after a rather brief life, and with his refunded money he got a Recteq 590 instead. I gotta say, I have a little pellet-grill envy. (Note I didn’t bring my Cascade into that conversation; I’ll stick with it over the pellets any day.) It is decidedly better than my Traeger though. I almost wish mine would have died along with his so I could do the same trade-up. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with my current assortment of outdoor cooking apparatus. Anyway, he did a few pork butts and they came out just great. Much more smoke than a Traeger, a great app to keep an eye on it, and just overall better built. We threw on some chicken wings and sausage too, also came out great. It gets the “recommended” review.

Saturday was a truly spectacular day in the weather category. We loaded up the convertible with all the dogs and took off on a little local wine-tasting escapade. Side note: “All the dogs” as this point in time is three. Little Fabio got adopted out, and we promptly ended up with another waif. “Grey” is a roughly 3 month old dachshund mix. Yep, a puppy. Oh joy. Hey, we’ve never like the carpet in this house anyway. Anyway, back to our afternoon, we started with lunch out in Somerset, then hit a few wineries on the way back towards our house. We had three spots scheduled, but the day got away from us. Stop one was MV Winery. It is a bit lacking in “ambiance” if that’s the right word, but I’m quite a fan of their wines. Their tasting list is rather extensive though. Geez, I appreciate that you make a lot of varietals, can I try them over two or three visits instead of all at once? Add that to the fact that the girl helping us was much more interesting in playing with the dogs than pouring wine, and we ended up being there around 3 hours. Hey, it was a 75 degree sunny day, and we were sitting outside tasting great wine, can’t really complain too much. The second stop was Mira Flores, about ten minutes from our house. Now this spot is a little more in the scenic category. They’ve got a great view from their awesome patio, it’s always great hanging out there. Unfortunately we only had an hour left when we got there, but we enjoyed our short time. Our last scheduled stop was Narrow Gate, but we were out of time. The world pretty much stops at 5:00 around these parts. Oh well, it is literally in our back yard, we’ll hop over there another day.

Sunday was a down-day, full of football and food. We had a heck of time getting the Chiefs game, so that started our afternoon poorly. I don’t know what happened. We’ve never had any trouble using a combination of VPN service & various streaming sites, but the last few weeks have been busts. No matter what we tried, all we could get was the local broadcast, which was the Ravens. Once that game reached blowout status they switched over luckily, but that was well into the second half. Guess I need to work on a new scheme for getting the right game, maybe even **GASP** spend some money.