« May 2020 | Main

June 29, 2020

Quarantine and the unknown

We had considered replacing the X5 once the warranty was up. In the end, we decided to put it off, partly due to all the uncertainty about everything. We knew it would be costly to maintain, but we own the vehicle and that straight six diesel engine is known for longevity. The kids and I set off on a mad dash to Vermont in the X5.

We left a week earlier than normal, knowing we would be expected to quarantine. We packed a giant cooler of food, for the road trip, and quarantine. It's not a great time to be travelling. We knew that much. But we had the plan worked out to get to VT without dealing without human contact.

bmw 35d engine malfunction

But that all came to an abrupt halt in rural central Virginia. We have AAA+ (100 mile towing), they towed the X5 to BMW of Charlottesville.  

public oyster charlottesville va  

If you have to be stuck somewhere, Charlottesville is a lovely place.

bmw of charlottesville va 

I secured a rental and we left town with all we could fit in it.  

popo chinese grandma 

We detoured to Popo's house (Kat's Mom). She was more than a little surprised and SO happy. She had no idea we were coming. I had to knock on the door and hope she would answer.

h-mart gaithersburg  


Gongon (Chinese Grandpa) has been in rehab for a couple months. The facility does not allow visitors inside due to covid19. But... we found that if you walk down a path to the side of the facility, we could wave to him through a window. He was also surprised and excited to see us, even though separated by glass. He's ready to go home. It was a great adventure.

We had spread good cheer to the grandparents, but the news from the BMW shop was not inspiring us to hang around any longer. The timing chain broke, pistons hit valves. Timing chains almost never break. But it did, so we made the final leg of our pilgrimage in the rental.

road trip cheeteo sandwich  

The rental had less room than the X5 and luggage rack. We had to pack things tightly. We soon realized we could not access our cooler, and all the road trip sandwich fillings we had brought along. We could've pulled over, unpacked everything just to access the sliced chicken and cheese etc. But we had a long day ahead of us already. We decided to make our lunch with what we could reach. I enjoyed a Whole Foods Queso and Cheeto sandwich.  

vermont near rutland  

Green Mountain State!

vt rt 15 

vermont rt 15

Vermont quarantine living room 

It's not a bad place to quarantine.  

facetime with the wife and equilibreum ipa  

Kat is still in Austin and we have a lot of puzzles to solve. But I have quarantine time to sit around and think, and think, and mull the past four months over a hundred times or more. What more could go wrong?  

June 22, 2020

Cerwin Vega sings again

Kat and I attended the final day of an estate sale last week. 

The large house was well concealed down an unmarked gravel road. It had been the home of a mad scientist type electrical engineer amateur radio operator. Each room was filled with switches, wires and piles of old radios. Also, no central heat or air. Wood burning stoves were the source of heat.  

phoenix house austin  


Switches and meters on all the walls... 


The last day of an estate sale is bargain day. They will often apply extreme discounts to get rid of stuff.

I found some vintage quack medicine and dentistry tools. I also rescued these old Cerwin Vega speakers.  

cerwin vega resotration  

My father's day project was to replace the red rubber foam ring around the woofers.  

cerwin vega refoam red rubber foam ring 

I hooked them up to my tube amp and started the Thorens turntable... they sound great! 

art corner 

For my birthday, the daughter made me a watercolor painting. The rooster on the bottom right. It is based on the rooster that lives on the family farm in Beaver Crossing Nebraska. I have several 8x10 frames, and mat board. But I needed a piece of glass cut.


The glass cutting station at our local hardware store has been closed. I found an 8x10 frame at the estate sale. I brought that home to harvest the glass. The rooster painting has been waiting for two months, for an 8x10 glass.

caroline wright artist solongo monkhooroi art 

The sexy Italian chair corner now features artwork by Caroline Wright, Solongo Monkhooroi, Rose Saenz and the Daughter.  

catnip cat weed 

I enjoy an IPA at 6 PM most days. I've started to share my daily Happy Hour with the cats. Mr. Kreamer is especially enthusiastic about catnip.  

June 16, 2020

Wall of Sound replaced by Red Italian

My collection of vintage Hi-Fi speakers had become too great to store at the top of the stairs. It just was not a good look. I moved them down to the garage and replaced them with this sexy red Italian. 

vintage hi-fi speaker collection 

red italian chair

menards shirt for runza night nebraska

We improved our Runza skills. I always wear my Menards shirt when I make Runza. 

kreamer the caat high on catnip 

I've been giving Mr Kreamer a bit of catnip for HH. He goes a bit wild. I'm an enabler. 

texas red wine  

Almost 100F out, but we managed to enjoy another night of patio wines.  


Porsche 928 

I've never owned a Porsche 928. It's the sort of thing that keeps one up at night.  

sculpture by paul schuster austin tx artist

I installed some solar LED landscape lighting for the sculpture above. The new iPhone 11pro is crazy good at night photography.  

sculptor paul schuster austin tx 

paul schuster austin tx art sculpture metal 

rudys bbq brisket  

Rudy's brisket for lunch yesterday was a nice treat.  


June 07, 2020

Rope Swing escape from WiFi

We had reserved camping spaces at Pedernales Falls quite a long time ago (back in December). We were lucky to have the reservations, we had sort of expected to have them cancelled. We made it in and kept to ourselves. We felt fortunate to have an airstream with our own bathroom and shower so we didn't have much to worry about.

twin falls pedernales

It's a hike in to see a glimpse of Twin Falls. It was a bit underwhelming. Our back yard waterfall in VT is about a thousand times greater. But we didn't come all this way to see Twin Falls.  

twin falls pedernales texas 

pedernales falls state park tx 

It was good to see the Pedernales Falls. But this was also not the focus of our weekend away.  

pedernales falls state park texas hill country 

pedernales state park

Soaking in the river, under the cypress trees. THIS is what we were seeking.  


The Pedernales is not as clear as the Blanco. But it still felt nice.  


rope swing pedernales falls state park texas 

Even Kat got into the swing of things.  

rope swing pedernales falls state park tx 


#1 son was unable to join for the Nebraska trip.  He was still taking his AP exams. He has done really well at school this year. We rewarded him with a new gaming laptop. He was prepared to be without WiFi this weekend. He downloaded a video and taught himself JAVA coding during his down time while we camped.

When it was time to break camp and head home, the daughter usually helps. Kat and I pretty much have our individual items we take care of. #1 son asked "What should I be doing?". I was floored. Maybe we have done something right. Pack up the camp time has historically been when the boys sort of disappear. Maybe the fresh air and sunlight was good for him.

love my weber jr grill 

We had forgotten that the Airstream propane hose attachment is broken. So we found ourselves without a stove to cook food on. This little weber grill did double duty without much hassle or effort. It boiled water for coffee, heated the skillet for eggs, roasted our potatoes... all the while using just a handful of charcoal.

pico de gallo salsa sharp like a roosters beak 

Kat made her traditional camp Pico de Gallo and a bit of Guacamole. We had such a good dinner. We also forgot the sous vide, but I managed to grill the tenderloin on the weber. We were flexible and it all worked out.  

pedernales campground shelter rv site 

hill farmstead sue ipa aged in wine barrels 

The last of the Hill Farmstead from last summer in Vermont. Sue is aged in wine bottles and it's SO good.  

fox at pedernales falls state park rv site #9 

This fox came by to check on us.  


June 01, 2020

Anger Erruption of 2020

Are you pissed off yet? We've all got so much to be pissed off about.

Have you ever been mistreated by the Police? I have. I still get angry when I recall my incident in Memphis thirty years ago. I've managed to avoid that city ever since. But I also know enough good police to realize you can't judge them all due to a really bad one. Similar thing goes for people. Have you ever been a victim of crime? I have. But I recognize that bad people come in all shapes, sizes and colors. You can't judge a whole category based on bad ones. This week has had us upset on what we all saw a bad policeman do, then we had protests that were completely understandable. Then we got angry at the looting and fires, that's bad.

"violence begets violence" -John F. Knott 1918 

"Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love...  -Martin L. King

"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." -Matthew 26:52 

I think people are just fed up with everything. I have a new lawnmower. I fueled it up and I mowed, and I mowed, and then I mowed some more.

This Virus situation has caused so much anxiety, undertainty and hopelessness. But you didn't come here to rehash the past ugly week did you? If you still come, it must be for fun pics and anecdotes on my various failures.  

eureka stair vacuum is dead again 

#2 son has a weekly chore, for which he earns $5. His duty is to vacuum the stairs. His vacuum is broken, AGAIN! I checked our Amazon order history. We have purchased six stair vacuums in six years, five Eureka and one Dirt Devil. I'm not happy about this situation. We are trying a new vac from Bissell that does not have a beater brush, but is made especially for hair. It's the hair that has killed the beater in each of the previous six vacs. Hopefully I won't have to bore you again with a vacuum failure story.  

Big Poppa the Opossum 

It's warming up here in Texas. Spring has faded and summer temps are here. Each summer, the Mastermind (local racoon boss) decides it's time to come into the house and l̶o̶o̶t̶ steal cat food. This past week I saw the Mastermind stroll by the kitchen window, in broad daylight! I usually await for the Mastermind to make his first move before I get to trapping. This year, I will NOT sit idle awaiting his home invasion. He's already made his intentions clear to me. So far I've managed to trap two Opossum. The first was small and young. Even Kat admitted it was cute. Last night I captured Big Poppa, not as cute and doesn't smell so great. I quickly release the opossum with a warning. They're not who I'm after. Opossum don't leave in a rush. They always just sit there for an hour or more before they will walk out of the trap.

Kreamer noticed the trapped opossum 

Mr. Kreamer is not sure what to make of Big Poppa.  

I still have the game cam. The fox and coyote pics are my favorite.

w est lake hills tx back yard fox  

mr fox of westlake austin texas 

coyote or fox west lake hills tx 

The one above might be the coyote. 

restaurants in texas are reopening 

Kat and I were out to run a few errands. Hunger came on fast, so we stopped at the first open restaurant we could find (most are still closed). It was odd, eating out. I ate WAY too much. Portions are too much for me. Pinthouse will open this week. But we will likely stay low for another week. ABGB has also been open. I might be into going there next week if we can fit it in.  

As spring ends, people start to leave.

wine room happy hour westlake 

The three of us got together for one last wine happy hour before we all start going in different directions. I really enjoyed the wines we had from Walt Winery.