It’s Raining!

Hey, it’s actually raining outside! Don’t see that very often around here. Been at least a few months. It cooled things down very nicely, at least for the time being. Supposed to get hot again soon, but we’ll enjoy the 80’s while they’re here.

One of our Major Events last week was car shopping. We’ve been kicking around the idea of selling all our vehicles and just getting one car. We were a one-car household when we moved out here, which worked fine, and then it all went bad. I don’t know what happened, but now we have 3 cars, the motorcycle, and the scooter. That’s a lot of registrations to keep track of, if nothing else. Anyway, for our single vehicle of choice, we decided on the Jeep Wrangler. Lots of reasons behind this. For one thing, you just can’t be rolling around our new neighborhood in the Benz’s. Likely to get profiled. We need to “fit in” a little better. It would also get us anywhere we needed during the occasional winter storm, which we are finding to be not-so-occasional the last few years. They’re also towable behind the motor home, which is a plus. We’d looked at them a few times already, and had become convinced we needed to wait for the 2024 models to arrive. Lots of cool new features on them. Well, they are here, with one big unexpected caveat. It seems Jeep has decided that even though the ill-thought-out gas vehicle ban in California doesn’t take effect for ten more years, they are just going to go ahead and quit shipping gas vehicles here now. I did NOT see that coming. It was a pretty short shopping trip, because I do not want an electric vehicle, and I do not want a 2023. Back to square one on the new car front.

Not much else happening. We drove out out to Sutter Creek yesterday, mostly just to enjoy the weather and eat lunch. The evenings were spent at home on the patio. Don’t want to waste these cool temps, need to take advantage of it! Oh, and I should mention, I’ve started my annual beard project. It’s a week old, and already driving me crazy. I’m just not cut out for facial hair. But again, I’m just trying to fit in around here. I am actually the only guy in a 37 mile radius without a beard of some sort. Plus, as Donette put it, I’ve been blessed with the ability to sport a sexy, handsome beard, and I should take advantage of it. OK, maybe I paraphrased her words a bit, but just a bit.

Portland ’23

Spent a fun weekend up in Portland. Great weather, OK-ish company, and a fun city; Great combo! The main focus of the trip was the Young The Giant show at McMenamins Amphitheater. We’ve already seen them a few times, but like them enough to make a short trip, plus Milky Chance was opening and we like them also. We got to Portland Thursday evening and the show wasn’t until Saturday, so we had ample time for extracurriculars. Some friends drove down from Washington Friday morning, and we kicked things off with a great breakfast at Pine State Biscuits. I won’t lie, I almost ruined the whole plan when I saw the option to order your biscuits with mushroom gravy. Sometimes you just have to make a stand for what is right and wrong. The group was able to talk me off the ledge though, under the somewhat flimsy premise that just because they offered it, I didn’t have to order it. Well… OK. I have to admit my breakfast was fantastic, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that somewhere in the restaurant, someone had ordered biscuits and mushroom gravy. Shudder. After breakfast our locally-based hostess took us on a nice little tour of the downtown area, and general vacation-ish fun ensued.

The place we stayed was actually a really nice short-term apartment building that our friend was able to hook us up with, so our rooms were great. They had a really nice roof-top deck with great views, so we enjoyed our coffee and donuts up there to kick off Saturday. You could see the river directly below, Mt Hood was right in front of us, and Mt St Helens was visible in the distance also. After that we kicked around a few nearby entertainment areas, then it was off to the show. Both bands put on great sets, but I do find my generally anti-amphitheater sentiment growing. This place didn’t have any seats at all, and we ended up sitting on the ground. Yeah, I’m about 20 years past those days. Every time I stood up, it got progressively more difficult. I was reasonably sure there was going to be medical personnel or heavy equipment involved in extricating me by the end of the concert, possibly a mix of both. Somewhere during the Young The Giant show though, Donette decided that if we were going to be uncomfortable, we might as well just stand down front. Key decision; It wasn’t really that crowded, and the show was way better. Our blanket-spot was so far back that the stage was barely visible, and the music marginal, but down front both were great. Made that call a little late in the show, but it paid off at the end.

Sunday, by the time we got up and around, it was time to head to the airport. We got home at a reasonable 1:00 or so, grabbed a pizza for lunch, and headed home to see the dogs. Quinny faired the absence reasonably well, but Nacho treated us to her typical over-the-top dramatics for quite a while. The volume level at the concert paled in comparison to her rather ridiculous shrieking. Nice to be missed, I suppose.

Foiled Again

Ugh, had to work again last weekend. Hopefully that’s the last of the ruined weekends for a while. We did get out Saturday night for a few hours. Some friends were singing down in Folsom, and we wanted to catch that show. Normally I would have immediately declared it too far out of my circle, but as it happened I had to be in EDH at 9:00 pm for work, so why not mix in some fun prior to the not-fun.

Sunday I was couched all day. Those all-nighters at the datacenter just ain’t my thing anymore. My excitement for the whole day was grilling a chicken, following a recipe I came across last week. Not gonna lie, preparing the spatchcock chicken has intimidated me for many years. I’ve watched youtube videos, read countless directions, but never got up the courage to give it a try. Turns out it’s not quite the complex process I had in my head. Two minutes with a meat cleaver did the trick. Add that to the life skills list I guess. The recipe came out good, with one quibble. I put the weight on it while it cooked, per the instructions, using a bacon press as it happens. Of course that didn’t let the skin brown under the weight, leaving a big ol’ white spot right in the middle of the nice crispy brown skin. Flipping it helped, but it didn’t get evenly browned by any stretch. I might skip that part next time, not convinced it was needed.

Latest Concert

Still wicked hot out here. A little better, but still well into the “stay inside” range. We elected not to heed that rule though, and instead traveled to a concert at an outdoor amphitheater. As it happens, we bought the tickets quite some time ago, well before the weather could have been forecast. Yeah, I suppose you could argue that the date was late July in northern California, and therefore it was a foregone conclusion that is was going to be hot. I guess my optimistic nature got the best of me. But anyway, the show was Tears for Fears, (yeah, of 1980’s fame,) and Cold War Kids (still old, but not THAT old,) opened for them. There was a rather lengthy list of “pros & cons” associated with this lineup for me, but at the end of the day we like going to concerts, so we went. That actually pretty much headed up the list of “pros,” along with the fact that the tickets were quite reasonably priced. Now, moving on to the “cons” list, it is a bit more extensive. The location was actually in Wheatland, CA, falling WELL outside the boundaries of my established travel area. It was a solid 1.5 hour drive each way. We were able to get a driver, which eliminated most of the unpleasantness, but it’s still a heck of a long time to sit in a car for me. Also in the list were the facts that I’m just not, and never was, a really big Tears for Fears fan. I do, however, generally like Cold War Kids, so that’s OK. The sound was borderline horrible though, so that kind of took away from it. Some outdoor venues are better than others I guess; this one wasn’t my favorite. I suppose the fact that we DO really enjoy shows won out, and I had a good time. Any show, regardless if I really wanted to see the group or not, is better than sitting home on the couch all night in my book.

Some friends joined us at the concert, and we elected to just stay at their house afterwards. This was nicely pre-planned, the dogs were left there to play with their pup and everything. Sunday when we got up, we enjoyed a great brunch to start the day. I’d picked up some breakfast steaks at our butcher shop, and we also had hash browns, scrambled eggs, and sourdough toast that Donette baked the night before. While it was indeed a great start to the day, it was also effectively the end of the day. We just aren’t used to staying out that late, and it really took it out of us. We limped back home after brunch, and the rest of the day was spent on the couch watching unremarkable movies. I suppose that falls under the “relaxing” category, sometimes erroneously referred to as “boring” or “unproductive.” Oh, we caught the end of the Royals game too; three game winning streak, what?!?!?! First one of the season if I heard right? While that is an absolutely embarrassing statistic this late in the season, I was glad to get to watch it anyway.