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.

And I’m Back

After the longest downtime in the illustrious history of, I am back online. What was the root cause of this extended outage, as I’m sure you have been wondering during the many sleepless nights without access to this critical content? Well, nothing really. I just didn’t feel like it, how ’bout that. I’ve been wanting to move the site back inhouse for some time, and as is the case with everything these days it turned out to be harder than expected. After weeks and weeks of online tech support meetings and troubleshooting though, the site is now being hosted out of my house where it belongs. OK, maybe it was more like a few hours of googling error messages, but even that was nearly more effort than I care to expend these days. Databases, ugh. Glad I didn’t pick that for a career.

So what have we been up to during this 1.5 months of silence? I’m sure you know the standard response to that. We did, however, work in a good trip to our hometown, KC. It was a great trip. I felt like we managed to hit a lot of my standard-issue highlights without the somewhat frantic pace of my birthday trip five years ago. See all the family and friends, check. Several favorite food and drink spots, check. Catch some live music shows, check. Crappy trip back to CA with an unexpected, unwanted stay in Phoenix, check. OK could have done without that last line item, but it’s almost expected these days.

I do have quite a stash of photos, so I guess I’ll put some of those up. Hopefully I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled updates now that I have the convenience of updating this on my own server. Truth be known, it is quite literally exactly the same as updating it on the hosting service I’ve been paying for the last 1.5 years. But, I suppose I do get some (very small) satisfaction out of managing it myself, as well as an extra $3 a month in my pocket. Still need to figure out how to allocate that unexpected windfall of cashflow.

That Time Again

Ugh, oncall weekend again. No bueno. I am way too old for that sport. It was insult to injury, kind of piled on to the lack of fun last weekend. I guess it could have been worse. Not entirely sure how, but I suppose it can always be worse. We did make good use of the down time on Saturday, with some fridge cleanup. We’ve got tomatoes coming out every corner of the house, so we cleaned them up, roasted them on the smoker, and froze them. Now what will we do with them? I guess that’s a puzzle for another weekend. At least they’ll go bad from freezer burn instead of from rotting on the kitchen table. I also finished up the Great Tallow Experiment. It had been sitting in the fridge since last weekend, taking up our favorite mixing bowl. So, this weekend I dumped it in an aluminum pan, melted it down in the smoker, and put it in mason jars. I had a little bit extra, so I fried up some green tomatoes in it. As far as I know, that is the first time I’ve had fried green tomatoes. They were good! I wouldn’t say I now crave them as some claim to, but they were pretty tasty. Several recipes I read called specifically for Roma tomatoes; supposedly their lower water content makes them fry better. Since that’s the kind of tomatoes we have by the bushel, I thought I was in luck. Well, in practice, I don’t think they’re good at all for the recipe. Too small. I was pretty tired of flipping those little dollar size discs by the time I was finished. Matter of fact I threw several away, too much hassle. I’d try it again, maybe with a different variety. We got out of the house for a bit Sunday. Headed over to a friend’s house and took advantage of their pool, which felt great because it is HOT out here. We brought burgers and corn over for a bbq, but decided it was just entirely too scorching outside and ended up cooking it all in the kitchen.

Kind of fell down on the pics last week. Hey, I didn’t have any subject matter. I did put a camera on one of the hummingbird feeders, which has turned in some great videos, but I still can’t figure out how to post video on here.

Well, We Had the Best Intentions

What a drag THAT weekend was. Worst thing about a bad weekend is, it just keeps rolling into the next week, which is obviously going to suck because… Well, because it’s not the weekend, and that’s my rut for the foreseeable future. Things started going bad Thursday evening. We agreed to watch a puppy, Dallas, who was being fostered for the rescue where we got Quinn & Nacho. The word “puppy” should have been a red flag right off the bat. We fell for the ol’ “He’s pretty easy for a puppy” line though. Fully housetrained, sleeps most of time… What could go wrong? Well, the “housetrained” rumor failed about 30 minutes into the stay, and several times thereafter. Not the end of the world. Our two little brats had quite a time adjusting to the new house too, in that respect, so not like it’s the first time the floor got peed on. He had a major case of puppy-biting though, which was annoying and even a bit painful. Puppies have sharp little teeth! Nothing was safe; Arms, fingers and toes, ankles, calves… He’d just latch on out of the blue. And the chewing… If you turned your back for (literally) a second, there was going to be damage involved. Couch, power cords, table legs… Everything was fair game. Probably the worst part though was that Quinny & Nacho just hated him. Now, I’ll admit I had no expectations of Nacho interacting. Heck, I’m not entirely sure she likes Quinn, but she tolerates him at least. If this beast got anywhere near her, which was quite often, she would just erupt in that shrill ear-splitting yapping that the little ones are so good at. Quinn, on the other hand, was a real disappointment. I genuinely expected him to have a ball with the puppy. Yeah, not so much. I don’t know if it was because Dallas was so big, or if it was his rather “in your face” approach, or maybe Quinn just didn’t like him. Hey, you can’t be best buddies with everybody you meet, an adage I’ve become quite familiar with. He didn’t just ignore him though, he would go after him quite ferociously, or as ferocious as a 12 pound dog can be anyway. I have no doubts that if he wasn’t 3 times smaller than Dallas, there would have been injury involved. I thought he actually did hurt him a few times, but it turned out to just be his feelings for the most part. Ol’ Dallas was a slow learner though, he wasn’t giving up. Just kept running at both of them in that big goofy puppy way, over and over and over, always with the same result. I kept expecting him to realize he had a considerable size advantage and turn the tables, but luckily he never figured that out. Oh well, I guess we survived. Maybe I should hold that assessment until after I get through this week.