Thursday, February 26, 2009

Homes . . . and the memories they evoke . . . . .

When we see a picture (or pen and ink drawing) of homes that we remember, they each bring back memories of our lives. ■ The home on the top left is my Aunt Liz and Uncle Bill's home. I spent many, many days and hours over there. The memories are sweet and heartfelt. It was my Aunt Liz's funeral we attended today. I'll miss her. ■ The home below that was my Aunt Mary and Uncle George's home in Park Ridge. I can't tell you how many hours I spent there. ■ The home on the top right was my home from birth to 8th grade. It wasn't a large house, but it was filled with so many great memories . . . ■ And the home on the bottom right was the house my parents designed and built my freshman year in high school. It's a beautiful home. Tons of leaves to rake as we had nothing but oak trees. It was a great home. ■ I think my gout is back. It started yesterday and it got worse today. It's in a funny place - the right foot bottom-front-just kind of behind my toes. I think it's gout. I guess I'll give it another day to make sure. And then again, maybe not.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm sure you're asking "what is this a picture of?" It's a hemastat. A hemastat is usually a medical instrument used for holding/clamping tissues, etc. It can also be used as a heatsink in soldering. My across-the-street neighbor, Jac, gave me a pair to use in soldering. Thanks, Jac. Now I've got to get busy on that guitar so I can solder the pickups back in. ■ I've got to finish the drawing for my daughter in the next day, or so. I've been working on it on and off for awhile. ■ I'm supposed to be off on Wednesdays, but the store I work at is hosting a girl scout troop for a tour of the store and I'm needed to help out for a couple of hours. ■ And band practice tomorrow night. We need it to work on some new songs. ■ Time for bed.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Of turkey, headlights, dogs and soup . . . . . . .

It was a relaxing day. Slept late (always a nice thing!); made a short trip to AutoZone to get a headlight bulb for Holly's car. Luckily I have a great neighbor, Jac, who's very gifted when it comes to cars as I'm lost with anything mechanical. Jac kindly put the bulb in for me. Thanks, Jac. I do appreciate it. ■ We had a couple of turkeys in the freezer, so I fired up the grill and cooked one of them. It was very good. We'll make soup out of the considerable remains. In fact we really wanted the turkey for soup and most likely turkey enchiladas. Holly's going to make her "regular" turkey soup and I'm going to make a batch with turkey and sausage. And maybe a hot pepper, or two. Heck, maybe I should make it a hot & sour turkey-sausage soup. We'll see what happens. ■ And of course I had to include a picture of our dogs as they take a nap before actually going to bed. What a life!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Received an email tonight when we got home - my aunt Liz passed away. My family is small and I only had my Aunt Mary, Aunt Jean, and my Aunt Liz. She wasn't my biological aunt, but she and her family were as close to our family as you can get. There are tears in my eyes as I try to write this. Got to stop for tonight.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ah, that's nice . . . . . .

It's been a couple of cold days here. My feet are cold. Maybe tomorrow I'll wear my Uggs to work. They're warm. We're also supposed to get snow tomorrow. Just what I've been waiting for! ■ Had the pickups taken out of my project guitar today. Now I can start on the refinishing work. I will post some pictures of the progress. ■ Time for bed. I've got to work at the guitar store tomorrow. ■

Dogs . . . . . gotta love 'em . . . . . . . .

Dogs. Yes, I'm a dog lover. I grew up with airdales and Holly and I have had dogs for years. We've been married for roughly 38+ years and we've had dogs for probably 30 of those years. ■ Mollie, the dog you see in the picture, is, I think, 12 years old. I call her my "eternal puppy." Why? Because it doesn't matter how old she is, when she looks at you she looks like a puppy. She's defiantly not puppy-sized, but she's so sweet and gentle. In this picture she's "nunking" on a stuffed bear - (yes, it seems we have some fasination with bears!) This "nunking" is something she hasn't done since Maizy, our last dog, passed away. ■ I haven't had time to work on my new guitar. I have to work Saturday, so it looks like I'll have a little less time to work on it this weekend than I had planned. I promise some progress pictures as I work on it. ■ It's late. Time for bed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

wnos, dloc, dna Kalo.

Doluc uoy daer eht tsop eitlt? Thought so. Or, maybe not. You'll figure it out. ■ Went to the Kalo Foundation meeting tonight. If was held at a place called "If an Elephant Can Paint" in Edison Park, Illinois. An interesting place. Here's their website URL: ■ The Kalo Foundation has a lot of irons in the fire. I wish I could be geographically closer to help more as the physical distance prohibits that. ■ And we have more snow. It started before I left for Edison Park and continuted for a couple of hours. Not much accumulation, but it sure made for a very slippery drive back home. ■ And the picture for today's blog - that's Zoe standing outside wanting to come in. I used my fisheye lens on my iphone camera for that. ■

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ribs . . . . . continued . . . . . . . .

And you thought I'd post another picture of ribs? I didn't take any other rib pictures. Maybe next time. ■ So now we take off from whence we ended . . . . . so, I had purchased some ribs from Sam's Club - pork ribs to be somewhat exact. The rib expert - Terry - had told us that we must take the "skin/membrane" off in order to properly cook and eat ribs. And he's right. He told Holly the secret to getting the membrane off and she's been doing it ever since. I've never done it, so I can't tell you how, but I can tell you that you must remove it. ■■■ Step 1 is to remover the membrane. ■■■ Step 2: Season the ribs with both Adobo (a Mexican spice found in most grocery stores - and with coarse ground black pepper. It's a good, simple spice combination with which to begin. ■■■ Step 3: This assumes that you're going to cook your ribs on a charcoal grill. Put your coals to once side of the grill. We're going to cook these with indirect heat. If you have hickory chips (or substitute your favorite wood) so much the better. ■■■ Step 4: Now put your ribs on the grill - but not over the coals. Put the cover on the grill - we're going to slow cook the ribs for a couple of hours. ■■■ Step 5: Basting - after the ribs have been slowly cooking for about a half hour to 45 minutes baste the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce. Put the cover back on and let them slowly cook for another couple of hours. ■■■ Watch your heat! Thist is supposed to be a slow cooking process. Try and keep the heat at 300º, or so. Too much heat and you'll dry them out. Too little heat, or time, and they won't be done. ■■■ Above all remember that cooking isn't a science (although someone told me that baking was/is) and it, just like anything, takes experience. ■■■ Oh, and Step 5: eat. ■■■■ And I almost forgot - I had those ribs for lunch today. Still delicious. Mmm . . . . .

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ribs - and how I came to cook them.

Ribs. (That's a photo of the ones I did Sunday night - and they were delicious.) My very first attempt at cooking ribs goes back to 1982 when Mike Royko, the Chicago columnist, started his ribfest. I've always loved ribs, but up until then I'd never tried to cook them. After reading about the ribfest I thought I'd try my hand at it. In talking to several people at work some had said that they'd parboil the ribs first and then finish them off in the oven. Some would start them in the oven and finish then on the grill. Cooking times varied from 60 minutes to several hours. ■ Not knowing much about ribs, or their preparation, my "recipe" was up in the air. And to be frank, I really don't remember a whole lot about my first batch other than: 1) I didn't parboil them, 2) I did cook them on the grill, 3) they were terrible. ■ It wasn't until we moved to this home that I even tried it again. I know my first attempt in this house was to try and smoke the ribs in my new smoker. That would put the time frame around 1990, or so. I used a dry rub and they came out "ok", but not something that was worth repeating. ■ Another few years goes flies by and I'm reintroduced to ribs by one of our friends - Terry. He does make fantastic ribs. In fact so good that I'm not ready to try my hand at them at that time. ■ Flash forward to a couple or so years ago and now I'm ready. I saw ribs at our local Sam's Club and decided to try my hand at making some decent ones. I think I've succeeded. My recipe for this success? That'll have to wait until tomorrow. It's after midnight and I need to get to bed. ■

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guitars, soldering, and ???

Ok, I've finally posted some pictures of my new Tele. Tele is short for "Telecaster" - a guitar made famous by Fender and a favorite axe used by many musicians. ■ My "tele" is not made by Fender, but by Stagg. It's an inexpensive copy, but still appears to be made well. (as I'm typing this my fingers and feet are very cold. I think it's a sign of old age. I'm not old, am I?) At any rate I've removed the pickguard and bridge, but I've left the plate and innerds that control the switching of the pickups and tone and volume. I looked at the soldering and decided that it was too complex for me today. I'm going to "relic" the guitar without changing the pickups right now. I'd like to hear how it sounds with the stock set. And, ok, I looked at all of the wires that either needed to be desoldered, or not, and it looks very confusing. That's the real reason for not taking the stock pickups out. ■ Stay tuned for updates. ■ We had ribs on the grill tonight. Holly said they were excellent - and I have to agree. They were very, very good. ■ I almost forgot -- the gig on Saturday night was very good. I'm still not satisifid with my tone, but that's an ongoing internal battle - and probably a "battle" that every musician tangles with. ■

Friday, February 13, 2009

No picture! What's going on?

I always want to include a picture . . . . but not for tonight's blog entry. ■ Holly and I have been listening to music all night. She's still downstairs listening to some Peter, Paul & Mary. Not me - I'm upstairs and ready for bed. ■ Tomorrow I start on my Tele conversion. And pictures - yes, I promise I'll post some pictures. ■

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Teeth, gout, and guitars . . . . . . .

Seems like a lot going on lately. Work was especially busy today - a lot of people in for lessons and perusing the guitars in the store. ■ I had 2 doctor's appointments on Tuesday. One for the dentist as I have an aching tooth and the other for the rheumatologist - yes, yet another doctor to add to my list. I was referred to him for my gout. The long and short of it is that he needs to draw a sample of blood/tissue (???) from the area that is having a gout attack - and in order to do that I have to have a gout attack. Towards that end he's had me stop taking allopurinol - which helps to prevent gout. Now I just have to wait until a gout attack hits me again. ■ The picture in this post is similar to the guitar that I'm working on. I will take a picture this weekend so that you can see the thing before I dissamble it. ■ Bullfrog has a gig this weekend - on Valentine's Day. It should be fun. ■

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cold . . . my feet are cold . . . . . . .

I'm cold. My right foot is cold. Why is it always my right foot that gets cold? I'm going to bed in a few minutes. Maybe my foot will warm up in bed. ■ Did a lot a cooking tonight. First I cooked/smoked chicken breasts; then I smoked some salmon; and finally I did some burgers on the grill. Needless to say we have a lot of food for this week. ■ And I'm still cold. ■ I sat in the family room this afternoon/tonight and played my new Tele. It's the guitar I just bought and am going to "relic." I'll post pictures of it as I start the project. It should be a fun project to work on. ■ And I'm still cold and getting colder. Goodnight. . . . . . . . .

Friday, February 6, 2009

"Big girls don't cry . . . . . . . "

We've been listening to some old music tonight. Franke Valli and the Four Seasons, Iron Butterfly, The Rightous Brothers, Three Dog Night, . . . . . and I guess I could go on and on . . . but I won't. ■ I think I'm going to join the Chamber of Commerce in Cary. It'll be great to meet new people and maybe it'll even help my pen and ink business. ■ Time for bed and for new posts tomorrow . .. . . ... . . . . .

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gout . . . need I say more?

No pictures for this post. I think I've got another gout attack and the pictures I looked at on the net are too gross to post. I haven't looked at my foot, but I sure hope it doesn't look like the pics I found posted. ■ So, I'm on a cane again and limping around. This time it's in the big toe on my left foot, or at least that's where it's centered. ■ I'll see how I feel in the morning. If it's gout it won't go away. It'll just be worse. ■ The guitar project: I really can't wait to start it. I will post some pictures - both here on my blog, and probably on a separate website/page. It should be cool!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Smokin' . . . . .

Salmon. I know the picture is poorly drawn, but tonight I looked and there's only 1 small piece of smoked salmon left. I still have enough ingredients left to brine and smoke another fillet. I think maybe I'll do that tomorrow - well, at least get the salmon and brine it. I can smoke it on Thursday. ■ It's supposed to warm up this weekend - like in the 40's. We all could use a little warmth. It's been a cold winter so far. ■ I'm going to start a new project with a guitar I bought yesterday. More on that in upcoming posts. ■

Monday, February 2, 2009

. . of cabbages and kings . . . nope, bacon . . . . . .

As many of you know I'm a grill and smoke aficionado - not fanatic - but I do love to grill and smoke food. Our daughter emailed me that one of her "loop" friends had made the front page in the NY Times dining and wine section I, obviously, had to check it out. Without saying anymore, I'll give you the URL so that you too can see what I'm talking about -
■ Our daughter texted me (is that now a new word?) that they now have power. They've been without electricity since last Wednesday. ■ And the cold continues here - it's 8º now as I write this. Too cold for me. And I think it's supposed to be colder tomorrow. ■

A good party . . . . . . a vet appt. for Mollie . . . .

I made an appointment at our vet's office for Mollie for tomorrow morning at 9:15. Now I just have to figure out how to get her in my car. Her back legs just don't work very well anymore. ■ I've been chatting with our daughter via google, and she just said that she got a text message that their power may be back on. They've been without power since last Wednesday! ■ We went to a superbowl party yesterday. Had a great time. I smoke some salmon to bring and it was all gone long before we left. Those are a few of the pictures I took - the bottom right one being of our drummer, Charlie, with the 3D glasses on. ■ Back to work. ■