Thanksgiving ’23

Excellent holiday once again this year. Thanksgiving ranks high on my list of holidays, and this year didn’t disappoint. Mass of people, check. Unbridled gluttony, check. Perfect weather, check. Yep it pretty much hit all boxes. OK, yeah, there were probably too many people for my liking, (25 I think?) but I guess that is mandatory for such things. It was a great time at any rate.

I did need a little wind-down after that event though, so we loaded up the RV and headed west early Friday morning, destination Pacifica CA. We’re making some attempt to branch out a little from my usual camping spot, and this was our first pick. It’s a nice little beach town just the other side of San Francisco, about two hours (RV-time) from home. Worked out great! OK, the park wasn’t exactly fancy; It was sort of like a big asphalt parking lot. Actually, it WAS a big asphalt parking lot. That little downside was negated by being right on the ocean though. The view was fantastic. The water access was a bit challenging, as it was right on a huge cliff, but you could get there with a little walking. There were also lots of restaurants, shops, etc within walking distance too. I’d go back!

Jayhawkers in my House

We actually had company this weekend! Our friends David and Jill, from our Texas days, stopped in and spent the weekend with us. We haven’t seen them in so long that they were unaware of our perpetually boring lifestyle, and so they came anyway. They may never come back again, but it was good to see them for a few days anyway. (Despite being KU fans; We all have our character flaws I suppose.)

They wheeled in to town on Friday, and we met up with them at Millhouse in Cameron Park. The weather was great, so we got to enjoy their huge outdoor seating area. I guess I still love to hate that place… Their whole service model is just abysmal. They’ve been open at least six months now, so I’m starting to lose hope that they’ll ever get it ironed out. But, I keep going back, so shame on me I suppose.

Saturday the weather continued it’s unseasonably warm streak, so we took off wine tasting. We only hit two spots, Narrow Gate & Edio, but that’s usually enough. The second place, Edio, kind of wore me out anyway. They have sort of an annual fall event up in that area, not even sure what it’s called. I call it crazy. We even called ahead and asked if it was too busy, and were told nope it was slow. LIARS! It was just insane. We couldn’t even turn off the road, the parking lot was full so people were just stopping on the road in confusion. It’s not just their place either, it’s the whole area up there, so traffic coming and going was total chaos. We made it in and out though, but then scurried back home to relax. We lit the firepit and sat around that for a while, then hot-tubbed it. Oh, and before we left in the morning I’d thrown a chuck roast in the crock pot with a jar of homemade salsa verde. It was nice and tender by the time we got home and made fantastic tacos. Little departure from our usual pork recipe, luckily it turned out OK.

Sunday when we all got up and around, David made a breakfast casserole to get us started. Their travels on the way here had taken them through Albuquerque NM, and lucky for us they grabbed a few extra jars of Weck’s salsa. That stuff is the real deal. Boy it lit me up though, had to keep the dish towel handy for my head. They left a bonus jar too, can’t wait to make it again. After letting my tummy settle for a bit, we loaded up and drove to the Lotus area for a Christmas Fair. (Oh pardon me, it’s a “Faire.” I think the “e” means it’s a lot fancier than just a regular fair.) Our friends from Two Lee’s Boutique set up a booth there every year, and it’s always fun to go walk around and check out all the stuff. The weather was great and they had a good food truck, so it was definitely a nice way to wrap up the weekend.

Halloween ’23

Guess we’re well into holiday season now, for better or worse. We had a rather fun Halloween this year. We are never going to get any trick or treaters out at our house in the boondocks, so this year we loaded up the RV and headed to the river for a few days. They do a big event every year called “pumpkins on the bridge,” (or something very similar to that) right next to the campground, so we decided to check that out. There’s a long-ish bridge crossing over the river, and people bring their jack-o’-lanterns out and line both sides of the bridge after dark. It was worth seeing! I’d guess there were a hundred carved pumpkins, from the very simple to the very elaborate. It was a little disconcerting to have a huge crowd of people with their kids running around taking pictures and wandering around the bridge while cars whizzed by at 60 mph, but nobody seemed concerned. The most important part of the event was that Gorilla Rock Tacos opened for one last time during the festival, so we got one more round of tacos before they shut down for the winter. No river traffic means no tacos apparently.

We hung out at the campground a few more days, then it was back to the house for a standard-issue weekend. We did get out a few times though. Thursday we went to a party at one of the wineries we belong to, which was a good time. Low-key kind of event, and a short drive, so we figured what the heck. Then on Friday, we went to a fund raiser for the Sierra Chaplaincy. That was a lot of fun! We managed to escape without buying any big-ticket items too. I was in the silent auction for some boots for a while but didn’t win the bid, which is OK as I don’t need any boots. (They were pretty nice boots though…) Saturday & Sunday were college & NFL football days. I fired up the grill Sunday for yet another rib experiment, which ended pretty well. Not my favorite ribs, but I’ll try cooking them that way again.


Oh man, the weather really wants to go to full-on Fall season here. Just can’t quite get over the hump. Sunday was definitely in the season, rainy all day and barely broke 60. Then this week it’s back to the upper 70’s with full sun. Hey, nothing wrong with that either. As long as it’s not snowing, it’s all good.

The weekend was unacceptably marred by work. It happens. I’ve yet to convince management that I cannot be spending nights in the datacenter instead of hitting the town in search of blog material. I don’t really understand this mindset, but seem forced to comply. Robbed of my Saturday, I did have a fairly entertaining Friday. We went to our neighborhood haunt Bones for lunch. Haven’t been there in a few weeks, so it was good to see “the crowd” again. We don’t usually eat there either, as it’s gotten so expensive. Not expensive in the “costs more than everywhere else” kind of way, just in the “everything is expensive anymore” kind of way. Apparently I whined too much about the insane cost of adding bacon to my burger and they threw some in for free though, so that was nice. ($3.50 to add a few strips of bacon?!?! C’mon man.) After that tasty meal, we finished up the workday at home and then went to an open house our realtor was throwing at nearby Saureel Vineyards. We’d never been there, and it was a fantastic property. We need to make it a point to go back there sometime and check out their wines. Had a great time though, lots of food and a guy singing who was good.

Sunday we went out to a late breakfast with some friends, then it was back to the house for a day of watching football. It didn’t feel like so much of a wasted day like usual, since it was raining and cold out anyway. Donette made some great beef stew to enjoy during the night game, which hit the spot.

I’ll throw in another random “product review” since I don’t have much else to go on. I recently broke down and bought a Vortex setup for my Weber grill. I’ve been going back and forth on if I really needed one, and as usual finally came to the inescapable conclusion that yes, there was really no way I could continue life without one. I’ve used it twice so far, both times in the “indirect-direct” setup described on their site. (Whatever that means; Doesn’t really make sense.) I made chicken legs both times, and both times they came out great. Smoky, crispy, and they get done fast. I want to do wings in the same fashion, but when legs are usually 1/5 the price of wings I’m gonna go drummies every time. The main reason I got it is to do ribs in the same setup, but I haven’t had a chance to try that yet. Supposedly you can cook a slab of ribs in about an hour; This I gotta see. I also want to sear a steak over it, as it gets crazy hot in the middle. Overall, I’ll give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Half star ding for the price. Yeah it works great, just like everyone says. But I can’t shake the feeling that $40 is a little exorbitant for a metal cone. A lot of people make their own, but nah. Guess I ain’t THAT put off by the price.

Welcome Back

Geez, not sure what happened there. Sabbatical? Change in weather threw me off? Pure laziness? Maybe some combo of all those, and even a few more. Plus, it’s just been quiet out here. In a good kind of way, I suppose. Can’t get in any trouble just sitting at home doing nothing. (That has actually been proven false on multiple occasions. At least the odds are a little better.)

I’ll just skip over both the notable things we’ve done in the two months since I last got around to updating this, and jump right to last week. We spent all last week out in nearby Lotus, camping in the RV. I took a few days off, and worked from the RV a few more days. Working from it works out remarkably well. Only real issue is my data plan runs out pretty quick, but then I just buy a few days on the service the campground offers and it’s all good. The dogs seem to enjoy being out there, we both enjoy being out there… It’s enjoyed by all! I wasn’t able to get a spot in November, but we have some time booked in December, weather permitting.

Other than that week o’ fun, not too much happening. I got a new “heat deflector” for my firepit, which works great. The wife has “mentioned” (read: complains constantly) that the firepit doesn’t put out enough heat, it just goes straight up. I guess that must be a common complaint because they came out with this deflector thing a while back. Works pretty well, we gave it a good test on Saturday, sitting around it watching the Missouri game. Finally using the wood I split last year, it burns great! We just had two oaks removed in the back yard so there’s more where that came from too. Lots of firepit time in my future!