Neale is over in Alton. Ellis and I are cleaning. Later, we will check out the Pats/Giants.
I mounted Neale's weather station today. We went for a walk after the vet and a visit to Einstein's Bagels in Webster. Ellis weighed in at 29 pounds, 8 ounces. He dropped 10 pounds from last year. Overall, he is in excellent health. As for me, my calf is almost 100%.
I am making chai soon. I picked up some Darjeeling tea at Whole Foods.
I have been experiencing some odd shutdowns this week. I recently cleaned the software on the PC and updated drivers. But, I have never cleaned this PC properly. So, I cracked open the case, used my grounding wrist strap, and lightly vacuumed the inside fans. I took the heat sink fan off and blew it out. There was dust and there wasn't any hair. I put it back together and it fired up. So far, so good.
We went to the bank and opened a safe deposit box. We need to store some important papers. Afterwards, we went to Williams Sonoma to spend a gift card. We needed a butter keeper. We had lunch at the Pitted Olive, which was really good. Neale is out for a walk. I would have went but I strained my calf yesterday when I tried to run with Ellis. I iced it and soaked it in hot water for hours yesterday so it is much better today. We are bowling tomorrow so I hope I can play.
We had a great Christmas Day. Neale wants to know the details of the weather but isn't the kind of person to use a PC or TV to do it first thing in the morning so she got this. By the way, I got a much better deal than from the actual company. She got me guitar lessons at a shop in Webster. I had thought of resuming lessons last fall so this is an encouragement. On Sunday, Ellis did one of his few bad things and chewed open Neale's gift from Steve & Joan. She got her L'Occitane early. Ellis must have smelled the lotion. Since she lost a package to open, I placed a surprise in her stocking to make up for it. After gifts, we went for a walk and then out to see "Sweeney Todd", which was a full musical and Neale knows how I hate most musicals. I find that sugary sweet musicals (Singing the Rain comes to mind) are quick to give me a cavity. But, I knew this was a Tim Burton film and the cast was great. I actually liked "Sweeney Todd" because of how dark it was. Given the reaction of the crowd (which was full of noisy older Americans that should know better), here is the plot: betrayal, revenge, profit, blood, childhood alcoholism, cannibalism, and lots more blood. After the movie, we made dinner (pasta arrabiata & Neale's garlic bread). I made peanut cookies for dessert. We caught up on Christmas movies with "A Christmas Carol" (1984) and "A Christmas Story" (1983).
Today, I am getting back to working out and I want to mount Neale's weather station.
I ordered a Sirius Home Stereo system through Altec Lansing website in late November. They canceled my order because it was on backorder without informing me. Beware.
We're back. Last week, I was using gluttony, sloth, and pride get the best of me. There really are not any highlights from last week unless you count watching old movies and reruns as a highlight. No, not a highlight. But, it was good to break the routine. Today, we are visiting Britt's house for a Christmas celebration. We are making appetizers and we are doing dollar sandwiches. We don't have much planned for the week together besides enjoying each other's company and watching old movies. For New Year's, we are having dinner with the couple we had dinner with last year.
I am on 9 days of beard growth. I will also start some the projects I want to do this week. Yesterday, I took the basement apart and cleaned. You know that dust and dog hair that collects behind your computer? Well, I did and had to get rid of it. Also, I did the usual house cleaning and laundry. We went for a walk together for the first time in weeks.
"...At the beep, please leave your name, number and a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma, and we'll get back to you...."
This is me not grading. I promise I will.
It snowed overnight and we are getting more. I shoveled the front and cleared the porch. Ellis does not know when you have snow thrown at you, you should try to avoid the snow. We did go for a short walk. Neale opted not to go after driving in the slippery conditions for lunch and ravioli materials. We are making homemade rav tonight.
I dodged a bullet and Neale caught one. Last night, she called to see if I wanted anything from Nacho Mama's, our burrito place on Manchester. She did not get my message as I missed her call since I was bringing groceries in. She got home a little after 5 just after I finished my first mole sauce. I was making her chicken mole for dinner before she had Nacho Mama's on her mind. I have never tasted mole (traditionally made with chicken broth) so I had her try it. She liked it. I made it with veg broth so I could have some. She picked up lunch for Cathy (co-worker/friend who is moving to San Francisco) and did not get my call. She got a spinach and a chicken enchilada. She said she would eat the spinach and go back to get my food. When she got back she was not looking well. She got food poisoning, She had earlier offered to eat the chicken and I would eat the spinach . By 8, she was in bad shape. She did not get any sleep during the night. I checked on her in the morning and she was feeling better. All the bad stuff was out. She slept until 3. I made her some rice and she had toast with it. After the dentist, I stopped at Straub's Market for a few things and got her some bananas too. Despite her condition, she was determined to attend Cathy's goodbye happy hour. So, she out at a bar. Ellis and I hope for the best.
I made the latest version of the deep dish pizza turned out well. But, I need a larger pan. I ordered a 14" from Amazon with a pizza pan gripper.
Steve and Joan got me a Garmin for Christmas.
My teeth are fine. Our dentist is moving down the street. Both of his parents are dead.
I am almost done grading. I have journals to read tomorrow.
Neale emailed and said she was accepted in the federal government exchange program. She will be visiting Washington for a month next summer. Finally, my chance to paint the walls in the house something besides white.
I have to admit a guilty pleasure. I have a fascination with the Discovery Channel's "A Haunting". I make time to watch it. As a skeptic, it is interesting to watch the show with a soci/psych eye and provide the non-supernatural explanation. For example, a teenage boy with a poltergeist was today's show. First, kids rebel and for no good reason. In this episode, a mother takes her kids to a cemetery and the kid is grabbed by the shadow people. Ok. A tip to parents: don't take your kids to cemeteries at night. Well, the kid gets home, starts feeling weird, can't talk to mom, step dad is a non-entity, heavy metal is soundtrack and school is alienating. Welcome to teenage years for too many boys. But, mom orders an exorcism after the kid get scratches. Self-injury for attention? Are exorcisms as easy to get as donuts? Every time there is a Catholic in trouble in this show, a priest is more than willing to pull out the exorcist kit. Its like me with a new guitar effect...let's see what this does? In short, these show illustrate how family counseling is underutilized today. A common thread in these stories is: new home, new parents/blended families, dad is out of the picture, and group hysteria. One story (from the late 70s/early 80s) was a near copy of the Amityville story. Since I was a fan of "Sightings", I will probably stick with this. The "Sightings" fascination was several years ago and it was the only thing on at 2AM.
It is not raining here and my ankle feels better so Ellis and I are going for a walk today. He is at a lost for ball playing this morning as he destroyed his soccer ball last night. I can't get him a new one until Thursday.
Neale is at an election. I have to do some online grading and then those sections are done. I have my last class of the semester tonight. Tomorrow, I will have my traditional classes done.
I have a dentist appointment on Friday. Neale's tooth is still sensitive after using the special toothpaste for two weeks.
The pot pie did not turn out well. The recipe called for too much liquid. I had to go to a fall back and have French toast, which was good because the bread was getting stale.
"...It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man. --Jack Handey..."
Neale was working with her iPod so it forced me to grade earlier than I expected. But, that turned out well as I am done. There is a winter storm watch here. Ice pellets, rain, and thunder. Oh bother. My Achilles is better and Ellis would really like a walk. Not going to happen.
I cleaned the house and watched some football too. Neale is currently out tanning and shopping for ear rings that go with her green outfits. Yeah, I don't understand that either.
Last night, we watched "The Italian Job" and Neale was enjoying "The West Wing" Season One.
The pizza turned out well. It was a straight NY crust. I found yet another recipe for deep dish crust as I have not perfected my recipe for that. I like how the cook measures by weight when baking, which is a good sign they know alittle something about the product. I should weigh more during baking. I topped mine with homemade pizza sauce, veg salami, and a mozz/cheddar/parm cheese blend. Neale did a white pizza
with the same cheese but added goat and feta.
It is rainy here and my Achilles is still sore. So, I am inside grading. Neale is out having lunch with Debbie and finding us Christmas cards.
I racked my Wee Heavy to secondary last night. I did not get a chance to taste it. I will rack the Winter Warmer to secondary today and tomorrow I am brewing a bitters. I found something new to brew called cyser. I have made mead and I have made cider so combining the two seems like a good idea. My most recent cider is coming up on four months in primary. In February, I will rack that to secondary and add potassium sorbate to stop any fermentation.
I bottled my Goose Egg ale last night. I am racking the Wee Heavy to secondary tonight. Since a carboy has opened up, I will make a bitters. First, to use up some various grains. Second, the last two brews have been heavy ales and I could use something simple.
Neale liked the Rice Krispies treats. Her cold is better thanks to medical science.
I started a pizza sauce in the crock pot. I am feeling like homemade pizza.
This morning I did the spider walk down the back stairs to the patio. Ice almost got me. I was going out with Ellis and to feel the bird feeders.
I have to leave for a haircut. I should walk Ellis if the weather stays nice.
I came into work early to help with a association (union) election. The ballots were in my office and I had to sign people in. It was people from my liberal arts department. Since my end of the hall is the "quiet end" and I socialize outside of my office in other people's offices, it was the first time some people had seen my humble space. I am buying a couch for next fall and maybe a TV. I am going back to MWFs but I will have classes on TTHs.
Since I have been here for 6 hours, I have accomplished quite a bit. I have a few piles gone. With one week to go, I am in good shape. The exams are sorted so I am focusing on student presentations.
My oatmeal cookies turned out well. The secret recipe was the one from the lid of Quaker 1-minute oatmeal. I used currants and I rehydrated them in hot water for 10 minutes. Neale took some to work and people that normally do not like oatmeal cookies (er...Neale) liked them. They stayed moist.
I installed Neale's Sirius car kit last night and she was pleased.
"...In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. ~ William Blake..."
Oh, a busy weekend. On Saturday, we walked, went to Cans Film Festival, Neale did some shopping, and watched Mizzou get beat. We saw "No Country for Old Men" and it was excellent. Since the local team was in the spotlight for the first time in 47 years, it was worth watching. Sadly, for Tiger fans, they lost. As for my Buckeyes, we have a chance to redeem ourselves on the national stage. Coach Tressel says they won't change anything besides arriving later but I think we might want to practice against a spread offense and run some extra laps.
On Sunday, we walked, went to see "A Christmas Carol" at the Fox, and had a late lunch at Cyrano's. Their coffee is excellent and Neale had some tea. The menu was the cafe menu and they do not disappoint. The play was well staged, the acting done well, and it was faithful to Dickens' tale. We watch the George C. Scott film version every year.
It took about 40 mins. to install Sirius in my car. The wiring is not too bad nor is it bothersome. However, the mount to the dashboard could be stickier. I will probably have to deal with that in the future. It is a 3M product so there at least one solution I can think of. As for having the radio in the car, I heard good music I have not heard in years or I have never heard so it is an A+.
Our Sirius radios and accessories arrived yesterday. The radios come partially charged but you need a full charge to activate the radios. So, we plugged them in for 3.5 hours and were ready. After a call and some prompts we had a signal for one. But, the system went down so the other radio is not activated yet. I installed the home kit and we are getting a good signal. I also ran the home cradle kit (which charges and has a slot for the extra battery to charge) to the aux line on the home theater. We initially tried the FM wireless connection but the signal had a touch of static. It is a possibility that I will run the home antenna to the roof this weekend but rain is expected and we have plans. I will use the existing cable line as an entry point.
I will get the cars going today, at least Neale's car. As for the programming, it is great and has something for each of us. A cool feature is it remembers that last channel's programming if you jump to another one for a period of time. So, if I jump to traffic/weather (which is shared with Chicago), when I get back to channel 26 (Left of Center), 29 (punk), or 22 (first wave alternative) it picks the song back up where I left. We can listen online as well. The online stream is a budget stream and 128K CD quality is extra, which is a negative. I listen to Radio Paradise at 192K Real Stream for free. For me at home, it will a balance of Sirius, Rome, Radio Paradise, and local KDHX & NPR. In the car, Rome, NPR, KDHX, and Sirius.
Neale will listen to Sirius in the car and probably when we drive together. She does listen to here Ipod at work. But, I don't know how much streaming music she gets with phone calls being a regular occurrence. I will probably still listen to Rome, Radio Paradise, and Sirius at work. Overall, a great option that will make the radio a better option. The local STL market is mostly country, classic rock, and easy listening. The top rated station here is KEZK, which I think was instrumentals at some point. They are playing 24/7 Christmas music currently.
"...it begins with screams but never ends in silence..."
It has been a lazy day. Neale did clean out her closet though. I restrung my Washburn Idol. I broke two low E strings in the process, which was highly unusual. I watched the Rams and the Bears, which were both eventful games. I had to listen to Dan Dierdorf during the Bears game. Similar to Tim McCarver, I am not a fan of Dan's broadcasting skills.
Last night, we had dinner at Schlafly Tap Room with Krista and Ismael. We listened to some live music afterwards. Schlafly has redone their menu and offers AuraPro, which is darn good.
Thanksgiving went well. The pies were well received. I had concern because I made two "errors" in the process. First, I used two cans of pumpkin when the recipe called for two cups. It was a pumpkin pumpkin pie. But, it did not affect the reviews. Simply, if you like pumpkin, you choose pumpkin pie. Does anyone order pumpkin pie in June? No. In our culture, we eat once a year and make these demands. First, bake a large bird for hours but do not dry it out. Second, take the large squash and make it taste good. My second "error" was using two cups & a tablespoon of shortening for my apple pie crust instead of 1 cup & a tablespoon. I forgot how many tablespoons there are in a cup. However, I was mildly concerned when the cornmeal texture of the dough was passed and we ventured into a tight dough ball. It made the dough very easy to work with and it rolled out smooth. The crust was light and flaky though.
I dragged out the tree and Neale decorated it. Later, I did the outside of house. I could not gather the time for the leaves but I will by Sunday.
Neale is spending the evening with Sara. Ellis and I are hanging out. Razorbacks win!
"...You're gonna stand there, owning a fireworks stand, and tell me you don't have
no whistling bungholes, no spleen spliters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters,
hoosker doos, hoosker donts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the
scooter stick, or one single whistling kitty chaser?..."
Neale is at our nephews soccer game.
I made my Race class quiz and exam from home.
We got a timely coupon in the mail from Costco. They are discounting Sirius Stiletto 10's with car kit for $120. Online deal and we will probably take advantage of it.
"...Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got outta prison.
And I went to pick her up in the rain.
But, before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train..."
Yes, my job can be stopped by a rodent. A squirrel fell onto our campus transformer and knocked out half of our power. The biggest hit being to our servers and phone equipment. So, unless I called in with the belief we were out of power, I had no way of knowing the power was out. I was curious when I got to the spot where I can begin pick up WLCA there was no signal. But, the station has been knocked off the air for other reasons. With the transformer needing to be replaced, we may not have school tomorrow so it becomes our unofficial Fall Break, which we should have.
My parents were in town over the weekend for Corgi Fun Day. We had a great time. Dinner at Sqwire's was very nice. The atmosphere was great.
I went and got an oil change. I also have them replace the antifreeze since I have not done that in four years. Since my car is about to rollover 100,000 miles, I should get a tune up too.
I went to Ace Hardware to get a few items and the clerk gave me a $20 gift card to Schnucks (groceries) since I spent over $50. Nice.
My pocket multi-tool fell out of my pocket and I believed it was at the Red Cross. I stopped by and they did have it. Overall, not a bad day.
"...Did you add up all the cards left to play to zero
And sign up with evil?..."
Dinner at Riddles was good for me. Their salad included heirloom tomatoes, which Neale was suspicious of. Neale's entree was ok. I ordered the seasonal vegetables, which were locally grown spinach, beets, turnips (a first), and broccoli. After dinner, we went to the Pageant for Modest Mouse. We normally do not go mid-week shows because I get up early on Thursdays. This time Neale had a rough day with a case and had to get up early (3AM) for an election in Alton. I do not know how she does that. I have a simple rule: nothing good happens at 3AM. Also, she was not wearing the most comfortable of shoes and seats were taken. But, the music was good. Man Man stoled the night. Modest Mouse was good. Neither of us got to see the whole MM set though. Hey, were responsible folks.
I cleaned the house, have the oven on self-clean, and coated the bottoms of the Pampepateo.
I am doing some grading, should get an oil change, and workout.
Neale bringing home pizza from a place in Soulard called Joanie's. Sean, from LCCC, claims it is better than Black Thorn and he is not prone to lying. Neale has eaten there for lunch and said the salads were great.
I return to donating platelets today. It had been over a year but I needed the break. Today, I was in the chair for 91 minutes.
After the donation, I got lunch and a coffee. I checked my email and I was informed I won a weekly contest on the local modern music station. They have a football results contest and last week I made the right picks. So, I have to pick up my $25 gift card to "Show Me's", which is a Hooters-themed bar. Our location is located on the Landing downtown.
Neale has to get up early for an election but she is joining me tonight to see Modest Mouse. We are having dinner at Riddles Penultimate.
"...Hey when she sings, when she sings when she sings like she runs
Moves like she runs..."
Neale went into work. Ellis and I would have walked but it is raining here. I cleaned the house and touched up some painting that needed to be done.
I am watching the "Big Lebrowski" on mute and streaming Radio Paradise. I will probably not do any grading today. But, I do plan to work out. If the rain stops, we will go.
I am in the mood to cook so I may make Neale a meal. I am thinking steak with a sauce. Last week, I made her a ribeye with potatoes.
My morning classes tomorrow are having a project day so I don't have to teach until 12:15 in my Race class. The project days are time set aside to work on their course, which are coming due in December.
"...My baby dont care for shows
My baby dont care for clothes
My baby just cares for me
My baby dont care for cars and races
My baby dont care for high-tone places..."
With the weather not cooperating, we are seeing a movie instead. "American Gangster" is showing in digital projection and we may get P.F. Changs afterwards. I received a P.f. Changs gift card for my birthday from brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
"...Don't walk the plank like I did
You will be dispensed with
When you've become inconvenient..."
The brewing of the Wee Heavy went well. Like all big beers, it took 15 mins. for the hot break to occur. With the large amount of malt to convert, it took patience and a lot of stirring. Neale ordered Chinese from our Webster place and we watched the "Never Ending Story". I have not seen that movie in 15 years and it was disturbing on a few levels. Some 90 Schilling made it easier.
~ 03:02 PM ~
"...a guy you got to look for..."
We did the 5K run/walk for the Peter & Paul Community Center Race for Home. We will be checking the site because Ellis finished first dog and there was a picture taken of us crossing the line. I ran the 5K and finished with my usual time of 27:40. Neale and Ellis walked it. There was security along the route because it was along the river on the TrailNet path. Nice path but there is many places for someone to hide and jump out. It was their Race for Home so they have not smoothed out the process. Our bus broke down and the buses only ran one way. There was a helicopter fly over for the TV commerical next year and the crowd was larger than in the past. So, we will probably do it again.
After the race, we dropped Ellis off at home, had breakfast at Christopher's Pancake House, and went to Whole Foods. I am bottling my Honey Brown and brewing Wee Heavy. I also have to rack my Honker's Ale clone to secondary.
Our plans for tomorrow are questionable. 50% rain when I checked moments ago.
"..I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles
And the heavens open every time she smiles
And when I come to her that's where I belong
Yet I'm running to her like a river's song...."
The fruitcakes and pampepato have been made. I forgot the ground chocolate so I had to go to Schnuck's at 5PM, which is a hazard. The reason I do my grocery shopping on Thursdays is to avoid the end of the week 12-pak of Busch and bottle of wine crowd. The U-Scan line was 6 deep and one scanner was broken.
I ran two miles, worked out, and walked Ellis. Neale stopped at Mom's Deli on the way home from her happy hour.
"...I wanna live 'til I die, no more, no less...."
I am going for a run this morning. Tomorrow, we have a 5K downtown. My next 5K will be before Thanksgiving.
We are bringing dessert to Thanksgiving. I am making a caramel apple and a pumpkin pie. I will make those the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Today, I am making my fruitcake and Pampepato. I feel strange buying rum at noon on a Friday but the fruit needs it.
After the run tomorrow, I am brewing my Mind Eraser Wee Heavy and our plans for Sunday are still undetermined.
Neale is feeling "blah". It is not the flu though. Ellis and I walked.
I made another batch of mead. I also tried a new recipe for dinner. My first attempt at Chana Saag Aloo was good. I used Garam Marsala for the curry powder and cayenne instead of black pepper.
I also develop some new recipes. The next brew will be the 120/- Wee Heavy, then the Winter Warmer, Two Hearted Clone, and Lambic.
I made my first batch of protein bars. They are hardening in the fridge. It is only four ingredients: dry milk powder, natural peanut butter, whey protein powder, and oatmeal. I gave it a taste of Splenda too.
~ 11:25 AM ~
"...that's a bushel..."
I gathered some supplies for our fruitcake and Pampepato. I heard about Pampepato last fall when I was painting Bill's house. Since I have the time this year, I will give the recipe a try. On Friday, I am making the fruitcakes and the Pampepato. The fruitcakes are a one pot dish and the biggest effort comes with gathering all of the supplies. The Pampepato will be a challenge because I have never chocolate covered anything.
I took my grain inventory this morning in between sets on the Soloflex and the following three recipes are planned: 120/- Wee Heavy, Winter Warmer (split batch with one half spiced), and Two Hearted Ale clone. The new names are pending. Also, I should try a lambic this year. I will make the barley wine this winter since I have the time.
~ 07:45 AM ~
"...mr. tick tock..."
I brewed my Honkers Ale clone. It went smoothly. I am looking for new recipes now and a Wee Heavy, Winter Warmer (one half Spiced), or Two Hearted Clone is looking good. I need to take inventory of my grains.
Neale watched "Something Wicked This Way Comes" on Saturday with me. The movie is a personal favorite. She was convinced it was a horror film (like Evil Dead) but was surprised to find a good story.
We went for a walk. I stopped halfway at the track and ran 1.5 miles. It went well. Yesterday, we rode and that felt good.
Neale is going to brunch and then to the play with Debbie. I am going to Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and then starting on the leaves. I plan on brewing later. For dinner, we are doing a beer cheese soup.
Neale bought home pizza after she had her happy hour with coworkers. We wanted Black Thorn but the wait was too long. So, we went with Dewey's. I had a red sauce with black olives. Neale had the other half with her double feta white sauce. Yesterday, for brunch, I made one of my leftover egg hot dish (i.e. casserole). I had seven eggs going on two weeks, half can of diced organic tomatoes, garlic, whole chiles, three of my homegrown (basement) jalapenos, alittle arrowroot, dash of baking powder, salt & pepper, leftover takeout Italian dressing and some shredded cheese. It turned out well.
I did some grading yesterday, worked out, and walked but did not do the errands. I got caught up playing guitar. Today, we are picking up our used outdoor fireplace from Neale's coworker Kathy, who is going to California. I may get my free burrito today. Thanks Qdoba.
Tomorrow, I start practicing for next weekend's run. We are doing a 5K. Neale and Ellis will walk it. Also, we are thinking about Turkey Run.
I am watching "1408" since I am in the mood for a movie. I wanted to watch it last night but I missed the start time. I am also planning on grading later. I have a few errands, a walk with Ellis, and a workout planned. Neale is having a happy hour with her friends.
The weather has taken a turn. It is a brisk 25 degrees now.
I am going to make my own protein bars (oatmeal, prptein powder, natural peanut butter, and milk powder).
Neale is seeing a play this weekend called "Picasso at the Lapin Agile". It is written by Steve Martin.