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Thursday, September 27th, 2007


Here it is Thursday already.  It's been a busy week and is getting busier.  I've had two doctor's appointments - both were good news.  Cardiologist said my heart is doing much, much better, but I need to lose weight.  The kidney doctor said my kidneys are improving somewhat, but that I need to lose weight.  I see my GP tomorrow and I'm sure he'll say the same thing - lose weight.  My elbows have been sore for 3 or 4 weeks as well as my forearms.  I'll have to ask him about that.  And now for the last 3 or 4 days my hands are itching.  What the heck is that?  ⌂  May be playing with Billy Galaxy a couple of times this weekend.  I need to call him today to verify.  I think we're supposed to do a benefit on Sunday.  ⌂  It's my birthday this Saturday and we're supposed to go out to dinner with Terry and Ellyn before the Bullfrog gig.  ⌂  I've been working on the bed & breakfast website, but now need to call a firm and get prices on their B&B reservation system.  Lots to do.



Monday, September 24th, 2007


Chili Fest XIV was a lot of fun.  Heck, it's always a fun gathering - a celebration of chili, food, brew, live music, and especially friends.  It was a rather small fest this year - only about 65 people.  Some years we've had over 110.  I think smaller may be better.  Had lots of good chili, lots of deserts and other delicious food.  The music was good - thanks to all the musicians that played.  Next year's fest will be the 15th.  I guess that quite a few chili fests.  I told our daughter that this year's may be the last and she said "No, Dad, keep it going - it's too much fun."  So, ok, we'll keep it going.   ⌂  Now I've got Zoe pawing me to get my attention so that I'll give 'em "snack" - that's the word - snack - for their 5:00 pm dinner - just a little bit of kibble, but they so look forward to it.  I'm trying to ignore her, because it's only 4:30 pm and she's got to wait.   ⌂  The batches of chili I made for the fest were pretty good, but I've been eating it for the last 2 days and I have to admit that even I'm getting a little tired of it.  Tonight it's brats on the grill.  Easy and delicious.  And off I go.



Friday, September 21st, 2007


5:00 am:  I woke up at 4:00 am to find that I couldn't move my legs.  It was Zoe who had come up on the bed sometime at night and laid down between my legs.  Not comfortable.  I got up and pulled her off the bed and went back to sleep.  That lasted until 4:30 am when she put her front paws up on the bed and licked my face until I woke up.  She and Mollie both wanted to go out and then eat breakfast.  Lots to do today in preparation for Chili Fest tomorrow . . .

12:15 pm:  I've been doing a little cleaning - big cleaning a little later this afternoon.  Now I've got to get the lawn mowed.

1:35 pm:  Finished mowing the lawn.  Now for the big cleaning.  Can't wait.

8:05 pm:  Did some cleaning.  We're now waiting for our daughter to arrive home.  She's flying in from Tulsa and we can't wait to see her.  I'm sure Zoe can't wait either!  Zoe was our daughter's dog, but now is ours as she just doesn't have the space to keep her.



Thursday, September 20th, 2007 

7:50 am:  I may do a few posts today and tomorrow.  Lots to do between today and Saturday in preparation for Chili Fest XIV.  What you ask?  I've got to make chili and that involves smoking the meat, dicing the onions, garlic, tomatoes, etc.  It's actually quite a bit of work considering I've got 20 lbs of meat to cook.  I also have cleaning to do as well as cutting the lawn.  And away I go . . .

12:10 pm:  I've smoked the brisket and have the pork on to smoke.  I've browned the hamburger and cut up some of the brisket so far.  Dogs are very attentive!

3:50 pm:  I've pretty much finished the large batch of chili.  I'm starting on the 2nd one that goes in the smaller pot.  This is taking a long time.

5:20 pm:  The chili is done.  Well, it still has to simmer a little bit, but it's basically done.  19.75 lbs of meat.  That's quite a large batch of chili.  Now it's time for a nice, cold beer.

9:25 pm:  Relaxed, had a couple of beers and, of course, a little chili for dinner.  Had to taste a bowl of red.  Had a bowl out of the big pot and I must say it's got a kick to it.  I only used two habaneros and one jalapeno pepper.  Hope it's not too hot for the folks at Chili Fest.  I dont' know about the small pot yet as far as heat.  I only used on habanero pepper in that pot.  Both pots still need to simmer for a couple of hours yet.  Need to meld those flavors together.



Monday, September 17th, 2007


A busy weekend.  Sat in with Billy Galaxy at Mulligan's Saloon in McHenry on Friday evening when he did his acoustic gig.  It was a lot of fun.  If we got together and practiced a little bit we'd sound better than we do right now, which isn't bad, but we'd sound better.  Saturday I sat in with my old band Bullfrog.  I'm going to play with them in October and I need the practice.  ⌂  Saturday I also trimmed some bushes - but need to trim a bunch more.  That'll either get done later, or next spring.  Sunday we went to see our friend's new grandchild - they were having an open house for the new baby --- however, we were a day late!  Somehow I had it in my mind that the open house was scheduled for Sunday at 2:00 pm, but it was actually held on Saturday.  At any rate we stopped by and a couple of beers with them and saw the new grandchild.  After that we came home and I did chicken on the grill.  Marinated it in teryaki and it didn't overcook it.  It was delicious. 



Thursday, September 13th, 2007


This picture of our dogs depicts a typical scene when I come to bed - they're already there and really don't want to get off the bed.  All stretched out, sleeping, and "oh, please, Dad, don't kick us off!"  I do kick them off although 10 minutes later Zoe, the black lab mix, ends up jumping back up on the bed and curling up to sleep at our feet.  For Mollie, the husky/golden retriever mix, it's too hot to sleep with us.  She prefers the floor.  ⌂  Got a surprise phone call from our son yesterday afternoon.  His ship has been on a humanitarian deployment to the south pacific building things and providing medical aid to the people of that area.  They pulled into Hawaii yesterday and he activated his phone and called home.  It was good to hear his voice.  We probably talked for about 30 minutes.  ⌂   I'm going out to play with Billy Galaxy on Friday night - the acoustic gig.  Saturday night I'm going to sit in with Bullfrog.  I've got a gig with them in October and I need the practice.  ⌂   And only one more week until our Chili Fest.  Lots to do before then. 



Monday, September 10th, 2007


Went to Mulligan's Friday night and played the first set with Billy Galaxy.  Played a lot of songs like Layla, Old Love, Take It Easy, Sweet Home Alabama . . . it was a lot of fun.  ⌂  It's beginning to get cooler and I've even seen a few leaves on the ground in the neighborhood.  Fall is on its way and in another couple of weeks we'll have Chili Fest XIV.  Mmmm . . love chili.  ⌂  Updated the Kalo Foundation website ( with more details on our upcoming silver exhibition in November.  ⌂  And I've been working on a website for a bed and breakfast in West Virginia for the last few days.  Lots to do on that.  ⌂  . . . and on I go . . . .



Friday, September 7th, 2007


Finally changed the strings on my resonator guitar the other day.  Hadn't changed strings on this guitar for probably 5 years.  I only use if for slide guitar, so the strings don't get dull as quickly as they do on a regular guitar where you're playing with your fingers.  The guitar sounds, as you might imagine, a bit brighter now.  ⌂  The grass hasn't grown much as we haven't had rain in a few days.  As I'm writing this it began to rain.  Now it's stopped, but looking at the satellite picture it looks like we're in for some more rain this morning.  ⌂   May go out and see/play with Billy Galaxy tonight at Mulligan's in McHenry.  It's a thought.  Always good to support your local musicians and I'm supposed to play an acoustic gig with him later this month.  Would be good to go and get some practice in with him. 



Thursday, September 6th, 2007


We got Holly's car into the shop on Tuesday morning and, as Jac had diagnosed, it was a bad fuel injector.  The shop replaced it that day and Holly was able to drive to work in it on Wednesday.  However, she noticed a very strong smell of gas.  As it turned out, one of the "O" rings with the fuel injectors had cracked.  We got that (actually all of the "O" rings) replaced this morning.  A big thanks to Rick & Lou's for taking care of us.  They're a great shop and really care about their customers.   ⌂  We've been a Nielsen family (the tv ratings folks - you know - what we watch is reflected the the ratings) for the past couple of years, but now our time with them is at an end.  Their coming in and disconnecting all of their equipment this morning.  Nice folks.  Marty, who's been the technical customer service person for me has done a fantastic job.  I'd hire him in a split second.   ⌂  Also finally received both of our new garbage/recycling containers.  The garbage one looks big enough, but the recycling one (they're the same size) I think is going to be too small for all of the recycling stuff.  We'll see.   ⌂  Lots to do today. . .



Monday, September 3rd, 2007


Our across the street neighbor is my barometer for the Cubs.  Every time they win he hangs the "W" flag out in front of his garage - no flag if they lose.  Let's hope that "W" flag hangs out there for the rest of the season!  And speaking of neighbors - we've been so blessed to have great neighbors.  Jac & Sue, our Cubs fans are some of the nicest people you'd ever hope to meet.  Sue is a baker supreme!  Delicious!  Jac in addition to being a Cubs fan also knows all about repairing cars.  He's helped us out too many times to count with our vehicles - and now even with my John Deere mower.  We toast you two!    ⌂  I smoked some salmon this morning (hope Jac & Sue liked it) - and now have restarted the grill to do a turkey on.  Love turkey on the grill.  It ought to take 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Got to check the fire in a minute.  Ok, the turkey's on!  ⌂  My wife called me awhile ago and she's got car problems.  I asked Jac to come with me, which he did.  He's diagnosed the problem in the general area of something wrong with something to do with the 3rd cylinder.  The car is running very rough and needs to be taken in to the shop to be fixed.  Another big thanks to Jac from me.  What a great neighbor!



Friday, August 31st, 2007


A beautiful, cool evening last night.  I grilled brats and hot dogs, and the buns.  Delicious.  The nights are cooling down, the days are getting shorter . . . a little taste of fall  . . . and our upcoming Chili Fest!  Can't wait for that!  Chili, live bands, great food, cold beer, and fun.   Mmmm . . . . . --- actually found some chili I made this past winter in the freezer and it's good.  Had it for breakfast this morning (how many people have chili for breakfast?  Me!!!)  ⌂  I found some old pictures - the one on the left is from the fall of 1993.  I'm the one in the middle and I was doing my 2nd live performance at an open mic in Algonquin, IL.  I think I did 3 songs, but it was a long time ago and I'm not quite sure about that.  And gee, my hair wasn't gray yet!  I wonder when that happened!  ⌂  I finished the drawing I've been working on this week and now it's on to the next one.  This one has been fun.  Lots of angles, a lot of bushes - man it's hard to do different types of bushes and trees.  Some artists are sort of minimalistic - (I know - a made up word...) and sort of just gives outlines to trees and bushes.  I'm drawing in "all" of the leaves.  It's just a different style that I have - not better, or worse - just a different style.  I have a pen and ink (that I didn't do) of one of my parent's homes in Park Ridge.  It's done with very few lines and captures the essence of the house, but, at least in my mind, doesn't capture the home.  Home and house are two different words and meanings.  A house is a structure - a home is where you live.  I hope I'm always capturing one's home and not their house when I draw.  Even though I don't live in the places I draw - there's always my love in the drawing.  Ok, enough. 



Wednesday, August 29th, 2007


These are the flags of the countries from where I've had visitors to my website.  Interesting and definitely colorful!


I'm working on finishing up a drawing and then need to start on the next one.   I've got a Kalo Foundation meeting tonight and need to run off note cards per the Foundation's request.  Went out and bought note cards last night and the price has risen from $17 to $21.  Talk about a price jump!  Looks like I'm going to have to raise my price for those.  I should check the prices of the other art supplies I use and see if those have also gone up. 



Monday, August 27th, 2007


We received an email from our son who is on a WestPac (western pacific cruise) on his ship.  He related that he is now a Shellback!  For those of you who don't know a shellback is one who has crossed the equator on a ship.  The furthest south I got when I was in the Navy was Singapore.  We wanted to dip south to cross the equator, but the powers that be said "no."  They wanted us back online in the Gulf of Tonkin, so I never got the chance to become a Shellback.  Congratulations Aaron!  ⌂  Our tv went out a week and a half ago.  We've had the thing since somewhere around 1993/94, so it's lived a long and useful life.  We now have our son's small tv up in the family room and are watching that, but it's pretty small.  We're going to have to invest in an LCD HD tv.  Not that we want to spend the money, but it's needed.  Any suggestions on brand???  ⌂  The grass grew like it was springtime last week.  I finally got it cut again on Sunday, but not as short as I'd like it as it was pretty long by then.  I'll cut it again tomorrow, or perhaps Wednesday and lower the blade a notch, or two.  ⌂  Got lots to do, so off I go . . . . .



Friday, August 24th, 2007


Yeah, rain predicted again for today.  Boy did it ever rain here yesterday afternoon!  I had taken chicken breasts out of the freezer to do on the grill, but it was raining so badly that I ended up baking them in the oven.  Now that's a first for me!  Other than a frozen pizza, I can't remember the last time I actually used the oven for anything.  Heck, I've even done pizza on the grill - just put the coals to one side, the pizza on, and put the cover on and bake it.  At any rate I cooked the chicken breast in the over for about an hour at 350 and they came out just fine - except they didn't look as good as the ones on the grill and they don't have that smokey-grilled flavor.  And grilling . . . I did a pork roast on the grill on Wednesday night - delicious!  Tender, moist, full of smokey flavor  . . . we almost finished the thing!   ⌂   Might go out and see Bullfrog tonight.  They're playing a gig pretty close to us.  Other than that this weekend will consist of cutting the grass (assuming that the rain lets up!), drawing, and website development.  And here we go . . . . . .



Thursday, August 23rd, 2007


Rain!  It seems that's all we've had for the past couple of weeks.  The grass is growing like it usually does in springtime.  I think I could cut the grass 3 times a week the way it's growing.  Unfortunately I can't as it never seems to stop raining.  Just look at the graphic below.  Sunday looks like the first day that it'll "just be cloudy."  When I let the dogs out this morning it was pouring!  When they came in the shook the water off before I could even put a towel on them to dry them off.  Not only were they still wet, but so was I.  And I still have to put the garbage out at the curb - yet another chance to get wet!   ⌂   Bullfrog my old band - (ok, it wasn't "mine", but I don't know how else to put it) has asked me to fill in for one of their gigs in October.  I'll need to sit in with them a couple of times before then to get my chops back up and try and learn some of their new songs - and for me re-learn some of the old ones which I haven't played in over a year.  ⌂   Lots to do today, so here we go . . . . .



Monday, August 20th, 2007


A busy, busy weekend - even much busier than I expected.  Didn't get the things done that I had planned on.  Sound familiar?  Doesn't it happen to all of us?   ⌂  My brother, who lives in the state of Washington, stopped in for a too-short visit.  It was great to see him.  We don't see enough of each other as we're 2,000 miles apart.  That's he and I in the picture on the left.  We're out on the patio cooking ribs and having a couple of drinks and just talking.  ⌂  The garage band that I'm part of had a gig - playing a block party on Saturday afternoon.  The gig went well and people enjoyed the music.  There was another garage band there and they sounded pretty good too.  Unfortunately it rained just about the entire time I was at the party.  This is August and we're having rain like it's springtime!  ⌂  Sunday I was beat.  Slept very poorly Saturday night and I just dragged the next day.  I even took a nap!  That's about a once-a-year occurrence for me.  I could hardly keep my eyes open all day.  ⌂  And last night we received pictures from our nephew's wedding in Mexico.  In the picture on the right is Matt, his new wife Tanya, and I'm guessing Tanya's mother and father.

We wish them the best.  ⌂  I have a new drawing to start on, so that's good.  Also have to get going on a website for the bed and breakfast in WV.  That's the next job in the line of things to do.  Gotta get busy!



Thursday, August 16th, 2007


That's me on my new John Deere after cutting my across the street neighbor's lawn - well appreciated by his son (far right) as that's his job!  ⌂  One of my best friends just lost his job with a merger of two companies.  I'm familiar with that!  ⌂  I'm behind on some stuff I've planned to do and need to catch up.  Things always take a little longer to do than you think.  ⌂  Got a garage band gig this Saturday, so at some point I've got to get the electric guitar out and do a little practicing.  Don't want to go into the gig cold.  ⌂



Tuesday, August 7th, 2007


I'm always surprised by the number of visitors to my website that I receive from overseas.  It's fun to think how close we all are in this big world of ours - just a website, or email away from one another.  You think back to "the days of yester-year" - before telephones, telegraph (and no, I'm really not quite that old!) - when communication between people, or countries took days/weeks/months . . . to now - where we can email a person immediately, or call them easily, or see news in another country immediately via the web.  It's great to see that I've had visitors from probably every state and from a lot of countries all over the world - Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany, the middle east, Thailand, Australia, Africa, etc.  Welcome to all of you!  ⌂  Had band practice on Sunday and it went well.  We'll have one more practice this coming Sunday and then play the gig (a block party) the following Saturday.  ⌂  Have a funeral to go to today.  Always a sad occasion, but the family of the deceased always appreciates the support that you give by attending.  They know that they're in your thoughts and that they have your support.  ⌂  I also have to finish a list of tasks for the website that I'm working on for the bed and breakfast in West Virginia.

Back to work!



Friday, August 3rd, 2007


This weekend's getting busy!  Started off with a few things on my plate and now I've got a bunch on there - right next to the mashed potatoes!

Starting off I've got to finish a pen and ink drawing I've been working on for the past few days . . . then I need to cut the lawn today . . . need to go shopping at Sam's for salmon as I need to smoke it for a Bullfrog Family & Friends annual party on Sunday . . . whew - and I'm not done yet . . . I've got a website I have done for an artist friend ( to redesign - probably about 20 hours worth of work  . . . and then start/continue development on a website for a bed and breakfast in West Virginia - that's a picture of it on the right. That's going to take a couple of weeks to implement.  Am I done yet?  No.  I also have garage band practice on Sunday (before the Bullfrog part) - the garage band has a gig coming up on the 18th - a block party.  The garage band played it last year without me as I was flat on my back in the hospital!  And by now you're probably wondering what that leaf is in the upper right-hand corner of this posting.  It's actually a sunflower leaf that my talented North Carolina artist friend is doing.  She's done a number of them - everything from sunflower leaves to gourd and tobacco leaves.  She tells me that it's a long process to make these.  I don't know how they're done, but they sure are beautiful.  She's been asked to sell these in an art gallery in NC.  Pretty neat!  Ok, enough for the blog today. 



Wednesday, August 1st, 2007


Here are a couple of pictures from the gig I played with my old band Bullfrog this past Sunday afternoon.  It was good sitting it for a set.  I haven't played with them for quite awhile and it was a lot of fun.  ⌂  I'm supposed to play with a garage band that we kind of put together last summer for an upcoming block party on the 18th of this month.  Unfortunately our bass player can't make the gig.  He's a surgeon in the US Navy and apparently the Navy is sending him someplace before then.  Bummer.  Trying to find a bass player to fill in is very difficult.  There are thousands of guitar players around, but few bass players and few drummers.  Playing without a bass player - well, there's no bottom end to the music.  None of that thump!  ⌂ Got a drawing that I've been working on and need to finish it today.  I also need to get over to Lowe's and pick up the stuff I need to change the oil in my John Deere.  ⌂ You're wondering who those people are in the picture on the left - Terry (standing) is Bullfrog's photographer; his wife Ellyn, and Ellyn's mother Etola.  Terry's been taking pictures of the band at gigs for probably 6 or 7 years.  That's a lot of pictures - thousands, in fact.  ⌂  Time to get to work.



Monday, July 30th, 2007


Boy, it's been a week since I last posted.  That's a long time.  Applied for a couple of jobs last week - you now fill out online applications and wait.  No personal contact these days.  What a change in job hunting for me over the "old ways".  Have to visit more company websites and fill out more applications.  ⌂  I was going to cut the grass yesterday morning, but when I went outside to do it - it was just so quiet and peaceful that I couldn't fathom starting up the riding mower and breaking that wonderful silence . . . so now I'll cut the lawn today - at least most people are at work during the week, so the noise isn't so disturbing to people.  ⌂  I sat-in with Bullfrog (my old band) yesterday afternoon.  It was fun (maybe a couple of pictures coming up from that when I receive them.)  Thanks, guys, for letting me sit-in.  ⌂  Our village is going to a "new" garbage collection system.  It's not really new, but instead of plastic (or should I say in-addition-to) bags we're going to have refuse carts.  Not such a big deal except that the price for getting rid of your garbage is really going up.  Right now it's $2.85 a bag, and on September 1st it'll go up to $3.75 a bag.  We always have at least 1 bag to put out every week, and occasionally 2 bags.  Our costs will go from about $11.40 per month to $15.00 monthly.  Yet another rise in the cost of living. . . . and life goes on . . . .



Monday, July 23rd, 2007  - Monday afternoon


Our phone line at home went out last Wednesday night with a lightening strike down the street.  Friday afternoon we lost the DSL line.  I can live without a land line, but living without a connection to the internet is very difficult.  Heck, my business depends on the internet and here I was without the ability to connect!  ⌂  The finger is coming along.  I've got a bunch of dead skin around the slice, but the finger is usable and I'm able to play guitar with it again.  Try forming chords and playing lead using only your middle finger, ring finger, and little finger.  Very difficult, but it did give those fingers a good workout.  ⌂  Got our TV back from the repair shop today.  The color seems a little off.  I guess I'll have to try and adjust it a little.  ⌂  The garage sale went pretty well.  Got rid of some "stuff" - some we sold, other stuff we gave away.  The important thing is that it's gone!



Friday, July 19th, 2007


The finger seems to be coming along.  There's a scab of dead skin with the slice in it from the cut.  It's healing, but I think I probably should have gone to the emergency room for stitches.  I just couldn't stand the thought of yet another trip to the ER.  It's always 4 hours and expensive.  Such is life.  ⌂  Garage sale tomorrow.  Last night my wife went through the basement and starting bringing stuff up to put in the sale.  I'll go down today and see what I have - the Nordic Track is one item!  I think I may have a couple of old power tools I can get rid of.  The more "stuff" we can get rid of the better. Our neighbors who just moved had a 10 yard dumpster put on their driveway so they could get rid of "stuff" that they didn't want to move.  It was full!  I'd like to avoid the same thing, although I'm not sure that will be possible.  ⌂  Also have to cut the grass today.  I've been waiting for it to grow!  We've had so little rain, but Wednesday night we finally got some.  At any rate it needs it now. 



Monday, July 16th, 2007


As I left you Saturday - I ran to Sam's Club to get more crab - got two more packages, but as it turned out the guests couldn't come, so now I've got an abundance of crab that we've frozen for future meals.  I did cook the crab, but it was too lumpy to actually form into crab cakes.  I was able to make actual "cakes" out of the crab a couple of weeks ago, so I don't know why it didn't work this time.  Plus I'd bought ingredients for making a couple of different sauces for people to use with the crab cakes and I didn't make those.    ⌂   Our daughter was in town for the weekend.  It was great to see her.  I sure wish she lived closer to us.   ⌂ A lot coming up this week that will culminate with a neighborhood garage sale.  I want to get rid of a lot of "stuff" that we have that we aren't going to use.  Hmmm . . . . time to get busy.



Saturday, July 14th, 2007


The finger has been healing, but yesterday afternoon I accidentally pulled it open on Zoe's collar.  Back on with a Band-Aid to help keep it closed.  Hopefully a few more days will do it.  I was starting to be able to play guitar with all the fingers on my left and, but right now I'm back to three.  Bummer.  ⌂  Our daughter is in town for a day, or two and will come out and visit us tonight.  I'm planning on cooking crab cakes.  Did it once before, but I'm going to try a new recipe tonight - really not very different from the others (that all seem to be the same), but still a little different.  Wish me luck.  Whoa ---- just got a call that we're having company tonight for dinner.  I don't have enough crab for all of those people.  Got to run and see if I can't get more.  Bye!



Wednesday, July 11th, 2007


Haven't written in a week!  That's a long time.  Let's see . . . . on July 4th our next-door neighbors had a family party.  I, unfortunately, sliced the index finger on my left hand.  Didn't want to go to the emergency room (4 hours and expensive), so when the bleeding finally stopped we got it bandaged up and it's been on the mend since then.  It was pretty much impossible to type (I'm a touch typist), so I've been down to "one-finger typing" since then.  I find that I can now type reasonably well with the finger with the bandage on.  What's really been frustrating is not being able to play guitar the normal way.  I've been messing around with it using the remaining 3 fingers on my left hand, but it's very difficult and there are definitely chords that are impossible to make.  Playing lead is difficult and composing is nonexistent until I get my index finger back.   ⌂   Last Saturday our across-the-street neighbors had a Caribbean themed party.  A lot of fun and a lot of nice people.  ⌂   Sunday we drove up to Green Bay for a Mulloy family reunion.  It's part of my wife's side of her family.  Stayed in Green Bay on Sunday, Monday, and left late Tuesday morning for home.   ⌂   It's already Wednesday and lots to get done this week .... and our daughter is coming home for a short visit this weekend.  Can't wait to see her. 



Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 


The 4th of July!  The day we celebrate our country's independence and all of the freedoms that we enjoy.  May we continue to enjoy these rights and freedoms.  ⌂   Busy day today . . . going to a party thrown by our great next door neighbors.  They bought brats and burgers to grill and I've got them in my freezer.  In an hour, or so I'll have to get them out so they can defrost.  We're invited to a party in St. Charles, Il on Friday night, but already have plans to go out to a bar to hear our dear friend Billy Galaxy play.  I think I'll sit in with him for a few songs.  Should be fun.   ⌂   Saturday our across the street neighbors are having a Caribbean party.  Should be fun - frozen margaritas, wild shirts, and I've offered my grill and services to cook.   ⌂  Sunday we drive up to Green Bay for a Malloy family reunion.  A long drive, but we'll stay over at my mother-in-law's home on Sunday night.  ⌂  It finally rained a little bit last night.  Boy have we needed rain.  The grass has barely grown - and I haven't been able to use my new mower!  Soooon.



Saturday, June 30th, 2007


Haven't written a blog entry in quit a few days.  I don't know where the time has gone.  ⌂   I've got a gig today - apparently a graduation party.  I'll be playing bass for this one with our old "The Proverbial Garage Band" from last summer.  Since we haven't played together at all since last year I can't imagine what songs we'll play, or how we'll sound!  I've got to drag my PA system along with my bass amp, mic stands, a bag for all the cables and mics, bass guitar, etc.  It's a lot of stuff and most of it is down the basement.  Can't wait to start loading!  And then, of course, there's the unloading at the gig; reloading the car after the gig; and the unloading at home --- and people think that bands only work the hours that you see them on stage!  ⌂   Received an email from our nephew Matt;  he's joined the Army as a medical specialist.  He leaves for basic training in late August.  I hope we can see him before he leaves.   



Monday, June 25th, 2007


Kind of an overcast, cool, blah, weekend.  The sun finally peaked out late Sunday afternoon.  Poor weather doesn't motivate me like sunny weather does.  I wonder if I have that sunlight deficit disorder?  Hmmm.  . .

Anyway, I did clean out a large portion of the garage.  Still a lot more to go.  Our old across the street neighbors just moved last week and they had a 10 yard dumpster in their driveway for a week just to throw "stuff" away that they didn't want to move.  I shutter to think of how much "stuff" we have that we won't want to move.  Over 35+ years of marriage you accumulate so much "stuff" - it goes in boxes, sits on shelves, is out-of-site ... out-of-mind --- until you have to move it.  Then it's finally time to throw it out.  I want to avoid that dumpster if I can.  There's a garage sale coming up in our subdivision, so that's a chance to get rid of some of it and make/save a little money.  If I don't sell it, or give it away I'm going to have to pay to throw it away.  Hmmm . . . . lots of free stuff, or at least low, low cost stuff going into that sale.



Thursday, June 21st, 2007


The longest day of the year - yup, that's today.  The term solstice is derived from the Latin (sol, sun; sistit, stands).   For several days before and after each solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky - its noontime elevation does not seem to change.  It's the beginning of summer!  Of course I think the beginning of summer is when the grass starts growing and I've got to cut it.  ⌂   Our across the street neighbors moved.  Yesterday was their last day here.  We said goodbye to them last night and will miss them.  ⌂  My friend Alanna emailed me and said that she had told one of her friends (hi, Sonny!) that her house was my favorite to draw - but that blog posting wasn't on this site anymore.  I started out keeping all of the blog postings, but that quickly became too complicated to keep organized and going.  I think I still have all of the previous blog postings and maybe I'll create an archive of them when I get some time.  Until then, Alanna, your home has still been my favorite to draw (that's it up on the left!).   ⌂  Made crab cakes for dinner for my wife for the first time.  They turned out pretty well.  Also made an interesting sauce for them that I got out of a magazine - teriyaki sauce, olive oil, honey, vinegar, and orange juice (squeezed from an orange).  Very tangy, interesting, and delicious.  I've got some other sauces that I want to try and make - just to add some variety to the food I prepare.  And since it's the summer solstice maybe we should have something special for dinner tonight.  After all people from around the world celebrate it - from the San Jose Mecury News:  "Solstice celebrations also take place in other countries, although most are deferred until the last weekend in June. Swedes will gather to sip spiced schnapps, Danes will light bonfires, and Balts and Finns will flock to the countryside to dance, sing and make merry under the midnight sun."    Hmmm  . . . no midnight sun here, but I guess we could "make merry" in the backyard.  How does one "make merry?"  Before I dream up some merry-making I'd better get on my feet and take the garbage out to the curb. 



Tuesday, June 19th, 2007


Got my John Deere lawn tractor yesterday morning.  Read over the manual, gassed it up and went and mowed the backyard.  It only took me about 10 minutes to mow it.  It would normally, if I didn't have to stop and rest, take me probably close to an hour to mow.  This will make mowing a lot faster and easier.  I still need the old mower to do some of the trimming around the trees and mailbox, but other than that I think I can do the whole lawn with the Deere.  You know, 10 minutes just wasn't enough time to really get the hang of using the machine.  Last night we had some rain, so that should make the grass grow and this time I'll be able to mow both the front and back yards.  A little more time in the saddle, so to speak.  I've got a doctor's appointment this morning - just a normal follow-up.  Our across the street neighbors have been getting ready to move and working nonstop for the past 5 days on it.  They've got a huge dumpster on their driveway that they've filled  I look at it and think of all of the "stuff" we must have in our house that we won't want to move and I'm sure we could fill one of those dumpsters, or more! 



Monday, June 18th, 2007


What a beautiful weekend.  Did a little work around the house; cut the front yard, but the back needs to be cut today.  I put it cutting it yesterday because my wife bought me a riding mower - it'll be delivered today.  My daughter sent us a couple of Omaha steaks and lobster tails and key lime cheese cake.  That meal last night was great - steaks, lobster tail, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob and then finishing it off with the cheese cake.  Mmmm.   ⌂   Had an appointment with the back doctor on Friday and he confirmed that I have a stress fracture in my back - he gave it a scientific name.  I've had this for 20 years and basically it's never healed because like any broken bone you'd have to have it immobile for awhile to have it mend.  I'll be going for a couple of sessions of physical therapy, but it's basically something I'm just going to have to live with.  Got to get busy.  Lots to get done this morning.



Friday, June 15th, 2007


It's another beautiful summer day.  Sunny, warm and while it's 73 degrees now, it's suppose to get up to 88 today.  Maybe I should cut the lawn this morning rather than this afternoon.  Good idea, Steve!  ⌂  I saw Rachel Ray make some crab cakes using fish the other day and now I've got a desire to try that too.  I cook salmon on the grill all the time and even smoke salmon in my smoker, but I've never tried to cook other fish and I'd like to try.  The "crab cake" idea sounds pretty easy and tasty.  Anyone have any good recipes for it?  ⌂  I've got a new drawing that I'm working on and need to finish.  Oh, here's the drawing of the building that I've been working on for the past week.  For a look at a larger copy visit the Drawing of the Week page. 



Tuesday, June 12th, 2007


It was a beautiful weekend - temperatures were about perfect.  Cooked steak on the grill on Friday night; Saturday night I did two strangely cut turkey breasts - not like we usually get them where they look like small turkeys - these were more like huge half chickens.   They tasted fine, but were very difficult to cut and a little tough.  Won't get those again.  Sunday I did pork tenderloin on the grill and it was fantastic.  My wife made the best mashed potatoes that I've ever had!  Unbelieveable!  Mmmm.   ⌂ Last night we had a deer (doe) in our neighbor's backyard and the dogs saw it and dearly wanted to chase after it, but were good and stopped at our lot line.  We have a lot of deer running through the neighborhood.  Too many homes being built on what was once forest and farmland and now the deer have to go through our neighborhood to get from one forest to another.  ⌂   Finally finished the drawing I've been working on.  This one has people in it and people are very tough to draw.  I've working off a photo that was taken around 1910 and the details of the people aren't very distinct.  I've been practicing and practicing trying to get their "poses" correct.  With pencil it would have been easier, but pen and ink makes it really tough to do.



Friday, June 8th, 2007


And into the weekend again!  As I get older the weeks just seem to fly by.  Remember when you were a kid and the days just dragged?  Then as you got older it seems they started going faster and faster.  First it's Monday and then all of a sudden it's Friday!  Where did the time go?  Tonight my wife is doing the walk for cancer in support of one of our friends who had breast cancer and is now cancer-free.  Unfortunately her husband was just diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the prognosis is good as they caught it early during an annual physical exam.  It's very important as we get older (and getting older is better than not!) to get those annual physical exams -it's where my doctor caught my heart problem.  It looks like it's going to be a nice weekend here.  Hope you all have a great weekend.  Got to get busy on some things here, so I gotta go!



Wednesday, June 6th, 2007


The Christmas pickle:  We heard of this for the first time up in Minneapolis this weekend.  Have you ever head of the Christmas pickle?  Rumor has it that it's an old German tradition - that a pickle ornament is hidden on the Christmas tree and the person that finds it will have good luck for the next year.  People in Germany don't seem to know about it (so much for the old German tradition), but you can do your own research.  ⌂   Finished a DVD of pictures along with music of the wedding this past weekend and sent it up to the newly married couple in Minneapolis.  Hope they like it.  I also put together a video DVD of my drawings, but the quality of the

drawings as they're displayed on the TV leaves a lot to be desired.  Solid lines are dotted and so much of the "ink" is missing that the drawings look terrible.  Don't know why.  ⌂   Lots on my plate today including cutting the backyard.  Cut the front yesterday before it rained - and the back is due!  Also have a couple of errands to run and a drawing to finish and another one to start.  I also need to record.  I keep not finding the time for that.  Pretty soon I'll lose the songs I "wrote."



Monday, June 4th, 2007


We had a very busy weekend.  Up and back to Minneapolis for a wedding - congratulations Eileen and Ron!  Stopped on the way back from Minneapolis to see my niece who's in the hospital - we're very worried about you Leah.  Didn't cut the front yard on Friday (and it could have used it) - and today it rained - now I'm going to have to raise the mower so it doesn't look like I've got a hayfield.  Yesterday I put up a website for the wedding this weekend - hope you're enjoying it - and worked and finished a video CD of the wedding - hope you'll like it Eileen and Ron!  Also did a little more work on the drawing for the Methodist Campground.  It's coming along very well and should have it done in the next couple of days.  It's really been a fun building to draw.  Also got a request to do "something" for the Kalo Foundation for some type of advertisement - I need to find out more details.  I'm behind on that one, but just didn't have the time I needed for that today.  And we just found out about "The Christmas Pickle."  More on that in the next day, or so.



Friday, June 1st, 2007


Wow!  June 1st.  We've gone through the first five months of the year already!  Time flies - especially as you get older.  But it's been a fine first five months.  My back is good right now; I've had a pain on the bottom of my left foot for a week, but while it hasn't gotten any better, it hasn't gotten any worse - so I guess that's Wesley Tabernacle - Methodist Campgroundsgood.  It is, however, painful to walk on and painful to cut the lawn - too much walking on it - and I need to cut the front today.  I did finish a drawing this morning - the one with the dreaded pine trees.  The trees actually turned out well.  I've now started on a drawing of a building located at the historic Methodist Camp Grounds in Des Plaines.   This is a drawing I've been looking forward to doing for some time.  There will be a lot of effort poured into this one.  To the left is a picture of the building as it was circa 1910.  I did a quick sketch of it a couple of weeks ago just to see how it would lay out on the paper and I think it'll turn out well. 



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Pen & Ink Drawings by S.H. Randahl

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