Archive for December, 2017

The Quiet Before the Storm

It is Tuesday evening December 19.  This Friday, most of our kids and grandchildren join us for Christmas.  The missing couple show up the next morning.  15 of us in all.

Our responsibility is the first few dinners, including the Turkey on Christmas Day.  And trying to keep a group, that ranges from our youngest grandson Mason who is 15 to our oldest child James, (well let us not mention how old he is because that would make me feel even older), entertained with activities and great meals, is a challenge.

I have spent the last week cleaning my workshop in preparation for a group Escape room activity.  I have been given a test from my very experienced Escape Room kids that I must have magnetonic and Laser effects as well as supernatural visions in my room or they will be disappointed.  I am going to challenge them with using their observation and memory skills to escape.

With 15 people staying for a week or more, expecting to be fed and entertained, we have had a busy week.

Last Friday I baked a very nice salmon for Pat.  Because we live here in paradise, we can buy a slab of freshly caught salmon at a good price.  Actually not as cheap as it used to be because the fishermen realize that they can ship these fish to New York and make so much more money.  But still relatively affordable.  We purchased a 500 gram filet of Sockeye  salmon.  I baked in a light sauce wrapped in foil, and we could barely eat half.

Tonight, after returning from our shopping trip to Costco and Superstore, buying all the stuff we will need for the next week, I decided to prepare a Salmon Casserole for the bride using the leftovers.  This is not the boring salmon casserole that those of us grew up with based on canned salmon.  This was delicious with more cheese and cream than they would ever have used.  And, as it is on the buildup to the holiday season, not a diet dish.

Pat and I were able to quietly enjoy this meal, listening to Christmas music, knowing that we have done all the shopping.  Still have to buy some beer.

Gifts are purchased and we are ready for the deluge (and looking forward to it).  Pat, of course, is still vacuuming and cleaning daily in case the daughters point out dust bunnies to her… but I am ready.


My Christmas Preparation

Christmas is just racing towards us.  We are hosting the family this year and it is time to get prepared.

Pat and I went out and bought a fresh cut Douglas Fir tree from a farm north of us.  Damn those plastic expensive fake trees cannot hold a candle to this one I am sure.  We are holding off mounting and decorating the tree until many of the kids show up on Dec 22.  We have been attending parties and sing a longs at several of our friend’s homes over the last two weeks where their homes are fully decorated and you can just see Patty twitching to get at it.

Part of the Christmas time with the kids and grand kids will be an escape room from my workshop.  So yesterday I reached a point on the model I am building (a 1798 British Frigate similar to The Diana that Kelly and Dave now own) where I could this is a good point to take a break.  Set it to one side and prepare.

A big part of this is to absolutely clean the workshop from sawdust and whatever.  After all the Escape Teams will be wandering around the basement looking for clues.

But I hit a delay.  Recently Pat and I (on Black Friday) purchased a new 55″ super dupper extra high quality TV to replace the tiny 46″ UHD we currently have in the great room.  Problem is the old TV and the swiveling  bracket we paid so much for 9 years ago is too heavy for Pat and I to manage so we are planning to have the younger guys do this for us when they show up.  We are going to move the 46″ into the den to replace this archaic 34″ that we have there.

Another Problem.  We do not want to use the heavy wall mounted bracket that we paid so much for years ago and just want the TV to sit on its stand.  Now here is the rub.  I apparently threw out the mounting base for the 46″ years ago as it was taking space up in the basement.

So I went on-line to see if I could purchase a base.  Yes you can but $184 US plus $60 shipping.  My clean up was delayed as I had to build a base and mount from stuff in my workshop.  I hope it works.

Christmas Lights

Pat and I were driving up to a tree farm to pick the Christmas Tree for our holiday.  Now normally we have a wonderful false tree that is gorgeous, but with the kids coming, we went searching for the perfect real tree.  Selected a very nice White Fir.  Anyway that is not the reason for this blog.

Today was gorgeous.  After 3 days of fog so heavy no plane could land at the airport, even driving to our dining out evening a couple of nights ago was dangerous.  Today was gorgeous.  8°C with no wind and blue skies and the mountains looking like a post card.  A great day to go pick a tree, but I did have an issue.

As we were driving home we saw several homes where the owners were hanging their outdoor Christmas Lights, taking advantage of the great day.  I was very upset.

As we all know, to get into the spirit of Christmas, you must hang your lights outdoors on a cold rainy day in late November, like I did.  Otherwise, you are taking the easy way, and what is the point of that?

Granted I no longer pursue the Chevy Chase version of exterior lights, and I do not have access to my children to assist (unlike a couple of years ago), but given the fact that most of our neighbours are either Asian or living in their winter homes in Palm Desert, our house is not bad for our street.   (Photo 1)

As we spend many of our evenings in the great room, looking into the back yard, I spend a fair bit of my resources on lighting the back yard.  (Photo 2)

The New Part

Guess which part this is for my model of the Themis?                         Well actually that would be easy, it is the rudder.

I have done rudders in the past but this time I really think I did a good job on the pintles (the little pins on which the rudder rotates)  I also cut the brass brackets by hand.  In some of my previous models I thought they were a bit too clunky.   Eventually they will be painted black because in real life they would have been made of iron not brass.

Granted the entire rudder took me 4 hours and it is not even mounted yet.  Good thing I do not do this to make money.

The rudder shaft is boxwood while the rudder is Swiss Pear.  I use boxwood because at this scale it is very strong even cut into thin pieces.  I have to add blocks (pulleys) at the end and pins to hold the line to the ship’s wheel.

You may wonder why I am adding a rudder when there is still so much to go on the hull, but it has to be mounted early so I can feed the lines up through the deck beams in the year ahead so that I can eventually wrap it around the ship wheel and make the rudder work.  Years of experience have taught me that there are things that have to be done in an order.

A Neil Young song

I try to keep my subject neutral because,  well my blog is in the great internet and people searching can find it although I intend this for the family.

Last night Neil Young did a concert in some obscure town Omemee broadcast on CTV.  Watched a bit of it but I was never really a Neil Young fan, but some good music.

Now we have a Sonos system that accesses thousands of songs that we use to put on music for our evening and dining experience.

So tonight, as we were preparing dinner, I played the song Southern Man by Neil Young followed by Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd where they refer to Neil Young.  I always thought it was about some political position he had taken.  Never matched his song to this but check it out.

Still not a big fan of Neil but he did have a few good cuts.