Sunday, July 25, 2010

Brew Time

In celebration of my 42nd birthday and Oregon's Brewer's Festival this weekend I've started my new hobby. I'm making home brewed beer. Yum!

For years I've got to reap the rewards of my neighbor's beers that they make and have been itching to do my own. For my birthday I picked up all of the supplies needed and started today.

This is the pot of wort coming to a boil. The process is relatively easy. As the guy at the supply store said "If you can boil water, you can make beer." Simple as that. So far I've found that he is mostly correct. Timing, temperature and most importantly sanitation are also part of the mix. Three weeks from today I'll find out how well I followed the procedures required to make a delicious home brewed Pale Ale.

This jug containing five gallons of beer now sits in our hall closet fermenting until it's ready. In my garage I've got about 60 empty bottles ready to be filled with the beer. Eventually I'd like to keg it and put a refrigerator under my counter in an unused space we have in the corner to tap from. For now I'm satisfied to just learn the process and gain more skill in the art of brewing.

After tasting a good percent of the beer on tap at the Oregon Brewers Festival I know that there are plenty of recipes and varieties of beers to make. I started with the Pale Ale because it is the beer style I am most familiar with taste wise so I'll be a better judge of how well I did. Next on the menu will be either a Pilsner or a Hefewiezen. I'm going to save the IPA for the fall or winter.

Until then... bottoms up.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


A month ago Brianna and I joined Alex in Taekwondo. This week we earned our yellow belts. We had to perform everything we've learned so far in front of the Master and then finished by breaking a board with our bare hand.

After watching Alex for a year I thought I'd have a leg up and it would be easier, it is not. First, I come from a line of inflexible people. TKD requires a bit of flexibility to do it well and I can't even touch my toes on a good day. Second, they make it look so easy, it is not. By the time we are done with our stretching and warm-ups I am a pool of sweat. Holding stances and positions for long periods at my age is trying on the old bod. Lastly, I am a fairly coordinated person. I mean, I can walk and chew gum at the same time. Or at least I thought my coordination was good. This form of exercise will only improve it I know but it takes all the concentration I've got to get my feet and hands to do what they are supposed to do at the moment they are to do it.

My favorite part of TKD so far is that I am doing it with my kids. We are having fun with it and I think it will only help to strengthen our already strong bond.

In about a year Kathi will never have to feel unprotected when we go somewhere as a family. She'll have her own ass-whooping entourage with her every step of the way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Forty two is half of eighty four and twice that of twenty one.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy 7/11

Today is July 11th, now forever known as 7/11.

In celebration of 7/11, 7-Eleven stores are giving away Slurpees! We partook in this celebration. As avid Slurpee lovers we couldn't resist taking part of the free 7.11 oz of delectable Slurpee goodness. I grabbed the traditional Coke flavor and the kids both got the banana flavor.

Mmmm... Slurpees!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Things That Make You Go "Awwwe!"

Our little birds, so far unnamed, are out and about already. Walking on day one. Oh, they grow up so fast.
I worked a little magic to get Henry away from the nest to get the picture above. Look at the little biddies all cuddled together.

This one wandered off by itself for a bit and I tried to get a picture of it standing but as soon as I approached is squatted. Once they do they are very hard to see. But check out its leg. They are all leg.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get one of them walking to show you.

Killdeer Babies

Today Henry and Margret's eggs hatched. We now have killdeer babies running around our shrubbery. Within the first hours these little critters are up on their feet running around. Not far, but still up and about.

There is still one egg that is unhatched. Henry is a bit protective of the nest as you can see in the picture below. Before the hatching if you approached he'd run away and Margret would do her injured wing dance. Now that they've hatched he tries to look as scary as possible while Margret still plays injured.

If you look to the left of Henry's tail you can see the heads of two of the babies.

Here you can see the unhatched egg under Henry's left wind (on your right) surrounded by its siblings.

This has been fun for us to watch. I'll see if I can get better pictures of the new ones later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"The history of rapid prototyping technology dates back to 80’s years of the 20th century." This is a sentence from a blog post I was reading today at work. It bugged me so much that I stopped reading the post because I could not longer focus on the content with that swimming in my head.

Is someone trying to sound smart or pompous? I think so. A normal person, even a slightly abnormal person, would have just said "back to the 1980's."

I, being born in the eighth year of the 60's of the 20th century, was not wowed into thinking that this guy or gal was so brilliant that they were going to teach me anything about prototyping of the rapid kind. So, I, being myself, one of reason and freedom, decided to re-Google my search to find other formed wording of materials in the web strings of the internets to satisfy my interest on the subject of the afore mentioned topic


Thursday, July 01, 2010


We have a new family starting here at work. A killdeer has made its home in our front yard, we've named her Margret. Most days she is alone sitting on her nest but on occasion her mate shows up to help, his name is Henry.

Before Margret showed up I didn't even know killdeers existed. What I've learned about them this week has been fun and interesting. Click on the link above if you want to learn more about them.

I'm amused by the way she runs around the parking lot. As of today I've not seen her fly. She's got these long, stick-like legs that move her swiftly across the asphalt.

Here's Margret in her nest. You can see the eggs under her as she gets up to run (I'll explain in a minute).

Here is a shot of her eggs after she ran away. Aren't they pretty? Their camouflage is very effective, they just look like stones.

Here is where Margret ran to. That's here in the middle of our parking lot playing lame. This is the other funny thing about this bird. To protect her eggs she runs about 10 - 20 feet away from the nest and pretends to have a broken wing. Such the drama queen she is. I believe this is further proof of God's sense of humor. It really is funny to see it in person.

Here is the closest shot I could get of her during her dramatic moment. "Oh me, oh my, look at poor little me with my broken wing. Come eat me instead of my kids, I'm hurt and easy to catch. Oh me, oh my." The key to this tactic is that as soon as you approach her to take a bite she stands up and runs a little further away leading you away from her young ones. "Sucker!" Clever bird.

When Henry is around he stays at the nest and postures in an intimidating fashion while Margret runs off for her dramatic moment. We haven't seen him much and when he's around it is hard to tell them apart.

At some point in God's creation process he gave these birds the instinct to play out this role during the care of their eggs. I know in nature it is a serious way for her to protect her young from predators but to me it is just so funny to watch. She has no idea that I'm no threat to her young and actually look forward to seeing them hatch yet she carries on with the drama as if I'm going to steal her eggs. To be honest I've gone out there a couple of time just to see her do her thing. It amuses me.