The New Grill: A Father’s Day Event


One of the things we have been contemplating getting with all the house movements and the new deck was a grill to go with it. I didn’t want anything too big, but wanted something that I could use, and hopefully I would find time to actually be home to grill.

We eventually found the right item in a Target Special: A CharBroil Classic 2 burner grill. Suggested Retail of $100 on sale for $80 with and additional 15% off. So I got it, a cover, and a grilling kit with apron, mitt and hot pad.

Of course, all my prior Propane experience has been with the 2 pound disposable cans.  This grill takes the standard 20 pounds cylinder that you use and exchange. So I spent time talking to my father-in-law about propane cylinders, how to buy, etc.  I mean, with Google and the internet, I could have learned everything I needed from the precise searches. But every so often it is better to acquire knowledge from direct human conversation, with all the nuance and massaging of information.

It was also a great excuse to spend time with mom and dad. We never have enough time with those important people in our lives, and it is true that you come to appreciate their experience and knowledge more as the years go on.

In the other generational direction, it was my offspring unit number 2 who helped me assemble the grill (perhaps more accurately I helped him, since he was more instrumental in the process) on Tuesday, and then helped me add the tank this evening after we acquired it today. I will ask him to confirm if there are any “before you use the grill” steps, or first use things to test before opening full bore.

So here are the few pictures I have of the grill and the gas cylinder acquisition.


A Blast of the Past: Ours, Fred and Judy


Today’s blast of the past photos come from Father’s Day 2012. Sort of neat to have something about Father’s Day so close to Father’s Day.

The Avondale United Methodist Church we attend has had many musical ExtravaGANzas over the years, some of them for Father’s Day. For the 2012 Father’s Day Extravaganza  Betsy and I performed a number from the classical Fred Astaire and Judy Garland movie Easter Parade (as Kevin Hershberger, the church music director, noted in the below video). So in addition to pictures, I decided to upload the video clip. Then, to make the blast a little more deeper, historical, I found this clip from the movie to add to it.

The second clip is dangerous of course, because it might encourage some people to compare us the the “greats” of Astaire and Garland. Just remember they are acting, we are singing  with a little “bit of choreography”. Now, if you want to compare, note how much better Betsy’s choreography is than mine: She is more coy, has a better stage kick, can even look better at holding her nose than I can. I may be more of the acting ham than she is, but for the nuance of the art, she has more flair and touch than I.

And of course she looks much more beautiful than Judy Garland does. (Of course we didn’t dirty up like Garland and Astaire, but still, more beautiful, for sure …)

Sabbatical Update: A rash of things


The past week plus some has been a blur — or more accurately a rash — of things. Mostly, it has been the rash of undetermined origins, that blurred and occupied the time between work shifts.

It is amazing how a severe rash can have you lying still, or in a slightly tossing state, for a couple of hours as you acclimate to the sensations coursing through your nerves. Activity can distract you from these, and lessen what you notice, but you cannot just move through it forever, and when you do, the collected exhaustion makes the resignation to immobility just that more definitive.

The fact that the doctor could only diagnose Poison Ivy by the looks, when the symptoms didn’t match, nor that anyone in our medical community was able to advise where to send a biological plant sample to confirm if it might be the actual source of the reaction, wasn’t the most comforting part of the process. Then again, so  much our medical community does, while professing to be a scientific process, is actually the work of practical artisans and craftsmen making decisions based on anectodatal evidence rather than any real scientific attempt and deducing what is going on.

That said, the week has concluded with the rash subsiding, work continuing on without any apparent interruption, and last night with the construction of a grill for our deck.

We found an excellent sale at Target for a two-burner grill for less than $80 before final discounts. It only took 3-plus hours for the son and I (actually he did more than I did) to assemble it based on the instructions.  He is much better at deciphering the diagrams than I am.  But now it is assembled and waiting for us to pick up our first canister of bottled gas for it .  Since these are the big bottles, and not the quaint two-pounders I am used to, I will need to learn an entirely new process for the gas bottles. Like where you purchase, how you exchange, etc.

So now we will see how soon I actually use it for the first time. Father’s Day? Maybe, but most likely not.

A Blast of the Past #142: (The Lost Post)


Below is the blast of the past intended for a week ago Friday, but that after it was written, disappeared for all but the uploaded pictures. I don’t even have the text to know exactly what I wrote.  It is the second time within the past week that a post has been erased by WordPress, though the other time I saw it disappear in front of my own eyes so I was able to have it rewritten at the time.  This time it disappeared after I had sent the post to be posted and seen the completed post come up on my own screen, but apparently not on the full website itself.

The post had comments about our garden efforts from 2012. I showed the below pictures of the tomato plants we received from Harris Seeds (Our preferred garden seed provider), and then a couple of pictures of a garden snake that we saw around our place.

It also cobbled in some pictures that the number two offspring took of his Lego creations, where he took his Bionicle figure sets and combined and reconfigured them into new and different creations.

Sabbatical Update: The World Turned Upside Down


Right now I don’t even know what number day today is in my self-proclaimed sabbatical year. Most of the month of May was swallowed up in changes — not to priorities — but to the ordered progression of how they would be done.

The blog posts disappeared, my reading schedule turned upside down. I did get the dog back onto a better running schedule in the mornings.

The things that did get done first were seasonal employment — jobs for the wife and daughter. Also transitional work for me.

I didn’t realize how energizing the simple assignment of work could be, nor the amount of energy it took from the other projects.

I didn’t get the master’s degree finished in May. Have the idea for it, just need to find the right online apps and research additional literature on the topic. So that is being tabled to the end of the year, most likely. Probably another semester.

So now the focus is coming  back to the job search. I am still working on deciding the field/job combination — or maybe a set of three or four — that I should look into.

I did have an interesting conversation, accidental, at Oceans of Fun that also stimulated my job search. I had a random conversation with a gentlemen at Oceans of Fun, while we were both floating around the Caribbean Cooler lazy river. I didn’t ask his name, or his company, but I realized afterwards he had a position that was something I should consider. Not that I want his type of travel, but he works for “one of about 11 small companies” that provide teaching/education classes for the EPA. He goes around on a circruit of 45 or 25 cities and teaches these classes. He said he is teaching science and he failed science in school. Getting the position required a long wait, the right connections, but not specific education that I could figure out. If I can find positions that have similar opportunities, and get on the short list, I could get a third major career underway in my lifetime.

So now to do the other homework this week for the job search.

A Blast of the Past #140 : Christmas 2011


Today’s blast of the past is going to be a catalogue of sorts. Pictures of Christmas presents. Interesting what patterns emerge in gifts for a certain year.

Nathan in the big picture is holding one of the videos we got from the Institute for Creation Research. The other video he is holding is a pilgrims progress video done in a cinematic story book. In the ethird picture he is holding the box of a Lego Hero Factory  set for Drill Dozer — one of the villains in the fire villain series.

I received a Jimmy Stewart movie collection that we haven’t managed to watch all of (and we like the films), and then a David Weber book, How Firm a Foundation, from his Safehold series.

This was also the year that we got into the Zhu Zhu pets — and had a lot of fun for about 6 months at the tail end of that craze.

Betsy in the final frame is holding up something much more enduring than the Zhu Zhu pets — The What’s in the Bible Series of videos.  We apparently got videos 4 and 5 that had just come out in what eventually was the 13-disc series.