Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Too much awesome.

Courtesy of Joel McHale and The Soup, I am pleased to present this video.

Ummm...that is the OPPOSITE of news.

For some reason, the instructor for my aqua aerobics class didn't show up this morning, so, I had to find something else to do, meaning I ended up on an elliptical machine in the 'Cardio Theater' for 40 minutes. 

My machine was located between two TV's...one of them showing ESPN News, and the other tuned to CNN.  Since I hadn't planned on jumping on a machine, I didn't have my ear buds, so I was stuck trying to read the closed captioning and banners scrolling across the screen. 

Except, nothing ever scrolled on CNN...they had one story on the screen the whole time...the announcement that Mitt Romney has decided he is NOT going to run for President in 2016. 

For over 40 minutes...40 STRAIGHT minutes...that was the only banner on CNN. 

Really?  40 minutes focused on a 'negative news' story? 

I focused most of my attention on ESPN News. 


Maybe there is hope.

Sometimes, in the locker room at the gym, you hear some really strange conversations.  Things like two totally naked men talking about how much getting a new fence installed should cost.  I'm not sure how old you have to be to feel that standing around naked is the right time to have that conversation, but I know that the answer is not 'almost 40', because I don't have conversations while standing around naked.

Any today I heard a couple of young kids having a conversation that somewhat warmed my heart.  At first glance, I thought the kids might have been like 5 years old, but they were probably more like 13-14. 

Kid 1: Did you Obama is going to give us free college! 

Kid 2: That would be cool...college costs like 50K a year!

Kid 3: Yeah, but it's not free.

Kid 1: What do you mean?  It said on the news that it would be free.

Kid 3: It's going to be paid for with taxes...that isn't free.

Kid 2: But I don't pay taxes, so....yeah.

Kid 3: Not now, but you will pay taxes like that someday.

If it wouldn't have been really creepy for a stranger to approach a teenage boy in the locker room and give him a high-five, I would have done so. 

Nice to see that at least some of the younger generation get's it.


Well, now I wish I had gone!

Over the weekend, my wife and kids went to a 'Family Expo' at the local convention center.  I passed on going, since I had to stay home and clean the chicken coop, which is kind of like the cliché 'I need to wash my hair excuse' that women always used to give in movies when they were asked out on a date.

While the 'Family Expo' was your expected collection of dentists, orthodontist, chiropractors, and doctor's clinics, and dance studios, and the Boys and Girls Club, and insurance companies, and a home safety booth run by the Fire Department., and there were plenty of freebies to be found(pretty sure they came home with a 2-year supply of free toothbrushes and chapstick)....I didn't know the Reptile Guy was going to be there, letting people pose!

Talk about jealous!


My wife said that that baby alligator was as snuggly as any cat she had every gotten to hold, and she would be WAY more likely to let me get a baby gator now than a ferret. 


Difficulty Level: Expert

I like to think I do my fair share of chores around the house...certainly a larger percentage than most of the other husbands in my peer group seem to do. 

This morning, while folding clothes, I noticed that as my wife seems to be less of my wife every day, and more of my older daughter every day...it's getting tougher and tougher to tell their shirts apart. 

Luckily, because I'm actually, you know...helping to fold clothes, the women folk don't hold this against me.  They will just go put something that doesn't belong to them on the other ones bed.

I'm here to tell to you though...the day I can't tell their undies apart I am D-U-N done.


And it's still in the wrapper.

So...if you are someone who thinks that sports are dumb, and getting emotionally wrapped up in what is a essentially a (multi-BILLION dollar) kids game, than this post isn't for you. 

I am a New England Patriots fan.  I have been a New England Patriots fan for a while, and I came by it honestly.  I was born just outside of Boston, lived in Rhode Island for several years as a kid, and then spend 6 years in Connecticut for the Navy...so it's three-times reinforced.  I remember cheering for Steve Grogan, Irving Fryar, and Mosi Tatupu.  I remember booing for Tony Eason, and thinking that the season was over back when Drew Bledsoe went down, and a young kid named Tom Brady came into the game.

Sunday night, after my New England Patriots took apart the Colts, I was feeling pretty high on life.  While I have a few Patriots t-shirts, I don't have an official NFL licensed Patriots jersey, and my wife, who is amazing, told me to go ahead and celebrate the Patriots going to the Super Bowl by spending $100+ on an official Patriots jersey.

The toughest part was picking which players name to get on the back of the jersey.  I didn't want the glamor boy quarterback, because that isn't me, and it's tough picking a running back that will actually get reliable playing time in the Patriots system.  I quickly narrowed it down to Julian Edelman(WR) and two defensive players: Vince Wilfork, and Rob Ninkovich.  As cool as Edelman is, he weighs less than do, so...can't wear a players jersey you are bigger than.  With big Vince listed at 326, but probably weighing more, there is zero chance that I will ever weigh more than him...but in the end, I went with Rob Ninkovich.  Ninkovich reminds me of the kind players that stocked the roster when we won those three Super Bowls back in the early 2000's....nothing flashy, his numbers on paper don't stick out...but he makes the plays when a play needs to be made. 

At least....I thought that was the toughest part, because when I woke up Monday, things had changed.  That's when a story had broke that the Patriots were accused of using footballs that were underinflated by the rules of the league.  With the story being initially reported by a Indianapolis sportswriter, it felt like a case of sour grapes, and was initially easy to laugh off.  Then Tuesday night, the word came out that yup...at half-time, 11 of 12 balls the Patriots were using were up to 2 psi below the required 12.5-13.5 pressure range.  This could have made them easier to grip, catch and throw in nasty conditions. 

Not much has developed since then.  The balls are inspected and approved by NFL officials 2 hours prior to the game, and then ? until they are used to play the game.  But...there are questions, in my mind at least, about how in depth this inspection is, because other NFL players talk about personalizing their footballs to a high degree, and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers said that he likes to overinflate the balls, and said that sometimes the officials remove the air, and sometimes they don't.

And that is where I start getting a headache.  As anyone who follows football knows, back in 2007, the Patriots were accused of filming other teams practices to steal signals(Spygate) and punished for it.  Since then, they have had a reputation as a team who is always looking for an advantage, and due to their success, a lot of people are waiting to laugh at them, take pleasure in their failures, and assume the worst of them.

To those people, it's obvious that the Patriots provided satisfactory footballs to the officials before the game, and then some how, as the request of QB Tom Brady, bled air out of those footballs before game time. Tom Brady, for his part, at a press conference, denied altering the pressure of footballs yesterday. 

It's possible, looking at what he REALLY said semantically, that he was telling the truth.  What I believe is that the NFL has a rule about doing pre-game inspections on footballs...and it is poorly and inconsistently enforced.  The Patriots recognized that, and I think they have been using balls at this pressure for...a while. 

Is that good?  NO!  But...to me...playing loose with a rule that is seldom enforced is different than the other side's story....that someone actively went and Mission Impossible'd air out of 11 footballs after the officials inspected them. 

Call it rationalization because I'm a Patriots fan...call it pragmatics...to me, while both of those scenarios end up with footballs being underinflated...one path to that destination is much more heinous than the other. 

Either way...the Patriots should be punished. After Spygate, they can't do something just because 'everyone else is doing it.'  They need to be not just better than everyone else, but cleaner.  So, go ahead NFL...fine them, and take away draft picks.  Now...if they have evidence(not even burden of proof, jury type evidence...the Patriots are already WAY guilty in the court of public opinion) that someone associated with the Patriots deliberately removed air from properly inspected footballs just prior to game time....then while it pains me to say so...throw the book at them.  If it means you suspend our coach and suspend Tom Brady for the Super Bowl...then do it. 

My only request is do it soon...before the Super Bowl.  I would rather lose the Super Bowl at this point because we are playing with our back-up rookie QB, than win the Super Bowl, and have a huge asterisk next to it when the NFL comes out in a month, and decides to suspend Brady for the first 6 games of next season. 

Anyway...for now, my Rob Ninkovich jersey sits in it's plastic wrapper, in case I decide to send it back in for a refund.


Wouldn't be prudent.

So, while we don't live in Seattle, as Patriot's fans, we are very much deep in enemy territory. 

My wife has already received a few invitations from friends to join them for Super Bowl Parties...but so far, we have turned the invitations down. 

I just don't think it would be a good idea for me to go the home of a Seahawks fan while they are playing the Patriots.  Either they would be poor winners and I would sit in the corner pouting, or I would be a poor winner and I would celebrate too loudly at their house. 

Either way, I would not be making my wife proud of me. 



Robert Heinlein once wrote: 'Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.'

Now...I love my kids, and it requires no delusion to enjoy my life with them...but his referencing mom's is just one example of this being a very true statement. 

I don't like onions, and haven't since I was a kid.  Whether it's flavor, or the texture(they make a strange noise when you find one in meatloaf)...I just don't like them. 

However....a lot of recipe's call for them.  A LOT...and there are ways to use them other than dicing them and putting them in meatloaf.  I have been known to use the smallest holes on a box grater to create onion 'pulp' for some applications...get the flavor without the crunch(not a fan of celery either). 

Recently though, I've discovered shallots...and in my mind, because they have cloves, they are closer to garlic than onions!(Even if Wikipedia says differently...sometimes people lie on there).  Now, shallot's have completely replaced onions in my kitchen...and I can even use them diced!


Some good frou-frou.

Late last year, a new French Cuisine restaurant opened in Richland.  As much as I like eating tasty things, I don't really consider myself to be a 'foodie', and I'm one of those folks who consider French cooking to be very foo-fooey. Still, the new restaurant, Lepice Spice Kitchen, has gotten really good reviews, and so, I decided to take my wife there for a 'brunch date' this morning.

What a smart choice on my part.  Brunch was FANTASTIC.

My wife and I started with a shared appetizer...quinoa cakes, which were served with a citrus butter glaze.  I've never had quinoa cakes.  As near as I could tell, it was quinoa, ground up and almost baked to a corn bread consistency, then pan seared to give it some crust before plating.  It's not the kind of thing I thought I would like...but I did.

For our entrees, my wife had the Cod Benedict. 

I ordered the croquet-madame(which I didn't realize was essentially a grilled cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top).  If I had known that, I am not sure I would have ordered it, just because there were other tasty sounding things on the menu.  I'm glad I didn't know.

At  home, if I do fried eggs, I usually break the yolk and cook it through(to go on a breakfast sandwich), so I was a bit daunted by this sunny-side up egg staring at me...but it was AMAZING...like butta'.  That egg didn't come from any store...it came from chickens WAY more spoiled than mine are.  I was also blown away by the size of my sandwich...I'm not going to say I left there filling stuffed...but I did not leave hungry either. Much larger serving than I had allowed myself to think we were going to get at a fancy French place.

As good as my wife's Egg's Benedict was, and my grilled ham/cheese with fried egg was, my wife and I both agreed that the best thing we ate there were the hash browns that came with our brunch...Truffle-Parmesan Hash Browns.  I CAN NOT remember ever eating better hash browns in my life...they won in both the taste and texture categories. 

My wife has already asked that we come back to try their dinner for our anniversary.  They do an 8-course dinner special for a reasonable sounding price...if you account for the fact that it's 8-courses and comes with wine.  The only thing people have warned me about the dinner is time.  I have been told not to go if I can't afford to sit at the table for three hours enjoy a break in between each course.

Code Name: Wet Blanket

Now...before I go into full on 'curmudgeon' rant mode, a disclaimer.  There are times when climbing the stairs from my laundry room to the living room with a full basket of clothes to fold does me in.  I am not, in anyway, running down the physical accomplishment of the parties involved in this story I am about to tell to 'Get Off My Lawn'. 

So, earlier this week, two gentleman, in a feat of great physical endurance, became the first climbers to complete a 'free climb' up the face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.  They made it to the top, and much champagne was opened to celebrate this historic event.  I just question how historic an event it really was.

'Free Climbing', in this case, implies that these gentleman made it to the top without using ropes, piton's and hammers to help them gain vertical advantage...and that is true for this climb.  However...they did have a support crew with them that, that was driving ropes and piton's that they used as a safety harness to catch them if they fell...which they did, dozen's of times. 

I mean...so, dying during this attempt would have had this labeled a tragedy, instead of 'historic'. But...does getting an endless string of do-overs really count? 

Once again...not running down what these guys did.  They lived on the side of a cliff for 19 days. Their hands looked like hamburger when they made it to the top, because you have to essentially wait for your skin to freeze so it was hard enough to resist tearing on the rock.  They are studs...and completed one of their life's goals. 

For the record...they did hike back down.


What a let down.

While I don't have any of the toys to support a hard-core stargazing habit, I am bit of an astronomy buff.  When meteor showers are expected, I will fill a thermos with coffee(or hot cocoa/peppermint schnapps) I will drive half-an-hour out into the desert to find some optimal night sky conditions.

Since mid-December, I have been looking forward to an opportunity to step outside and take a look at Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2.  Technically, based off absolute magnitude, it should have been visible to the naked eye since about December 20th...but the moon did not cooperate, rising early and swelling to full through early January, flooding most of the night sky with poisonous light.

Now, for the last week, we have been continuously overcast, quite unusual for Eastern Washington...until today.  Today, we had beautiful blue skies(51 degrees)....and the clear skies carried over into the evening, letting me head out with my binoculars, and spotting scope(no real telescope for me!).

After weeks of looking at pictures, tonight was very anticlimactic. 

Very tough to measure up to photo from www.skyandtelescope.com
That is NOT what I saw tonight. What I saw was much more of greenish 'blur' in the sky.  I imagined I could see it with my naked eyes...but I could certainly see it with my binoculars.  As I described it to my wife, it looked kind of like a fuzzy green pac-man ghost, laying on its side.  My description failed to motivate my wife to go stand in the cold, crisp evening air. 

I might need to put a telescope on my gift list for this year...

Happy (belated) Birthday.

I guess I should have done this earlier in the week, but I don't think Mr. Croce will mind.

James Joseph Croce was born in South Philadelphia, January 10th, 1943, and I have to think that anyone over the age of 20 has to have heard one of his songs at one point. 

The amazing thing is that all of his songs were released over an 19 month period between April of 1972 and December of 1973, with the last album coming out after his very untimely death in a plane crash, September 20th, 1973.

He only had two #1 hits(Leroy Brown being one of them), and one of those was posthumous, along with a handful of other songs that charted...so it is tough to figure out what his ceiling might have been.  Even mid-way through 1973, he was burning out being away from his family on tour(a tour of mostly college campuses and folks festivals...no arena's or comfy motorhome's here).  A letter he wrote before his death(and arrived with his wife after the crash), told her that he was thinking of getting out of the music business to write short stories.  From a 100% cynical standpoint, evidence certainly points to his untimely death getting his name and music out there.  If he had lived, we he have at some point because America's Gordon Lightfoot(not that that would be bad)?

His other number song was 'Time in a Bottle'...and many folks have pointed out is sadly prophetic nature.  As I creep up to 40, and look at my life, it's a song which means much more than it did to me 25 years ago when I used to swipe my dad's Jim Croce cassette(Photographs and Memories: His Greatest Hits). 


The truth hurts.

There is a world of difference between looking in the mirror and realizing you are fat and out of shape, and actually going to the gym and having it proved to you. 

Last week, I tried a spin class with a co-worker, and was humbled.  Tonight, that same co-worker invited me to a 'body pump' class...and, humbled doesn't being to describe.  The theme of this class was high rep, low weight work, moving rapidly from motion to motion.  If you had told me by the end of the class I would have to decrease from 5 pound weights to 2.5 pound weights for doing shoulder presses, I would have called you a liar.

But yeah...after 40 minutes of pushups and lunges, and more pushups, and squats, and dead lifts, and then more push-ups and lunges...to keep going, I had to decrease weights. 


The even more sobering thing was after the class, when I had to go down the stairs to locker room...I had to cling to the handrail on the stairs like a 90-year old man to keep from falling down the stairs, my legs were that shaky.

Next week will be better.

I hope.

Next time, just let it go.

Let's say, hypothetically, that while you are reorganizing the freezer, you find a package of venison back strap in the bottom of one of the drawers. 

From the way it is vacuum sealed, you recognize that this venison is not from last season, but rather, the season before, meaning it's been in the freezer...oh...26 months. 

Let's also say that the package is as nicely vacuum sealed as it was when it went into the freezer, and the meat inside shows no signs of freezer burn, and when thawed and opened, it smells like it should smell.

All those things being hypothetically true...and adding in the fact that due to a lack of success hunting last calendar year, there is not going to be any more venison in the house for at least 9 more months...

It's still okay to throw it out.  Take my word for...because I didn't throw it out.  I cooked it, and ate it all myself(because my wife wouldn't let me give it to the kids, because she is smarter than I am). 

I'm not going to go into too much detail....but things were pretty rough in my gut for a day or so.  Is it possible that I got a stomach bug somewhere else, and it's just a coincidence my 'gastric distress' hit 2 hours after I ate 26 month old venison? 

Sure...anything is possible...but next time...I'm going to let it go. 



Sorry...between the NFL Divisional Playoff Round and the National Championship game tonight, I have been quite distracted by the pretty colors running back and forth across my T.V. screen....and now, I can't blog while watch football...bad mojo.  It took every bit of positive energy I could muster up to drag my Patriots past the Raven's on Saturday. 

As much as the Northwesterner in me wants to see Oregon win the National Championship game...I'm hardly emotionally invested.  Rest assured...if the Patriots somehow lose to the Colt's this weekend, or can't pull off a win in the Superbowl...I will get downright pouty. 


Render unto Ceasar...

Two weeks ago, we sold one of our cars, a 2004 Impreza that just wasn't getting used.  Our Mazda got better mileage than the Subaru, and, well....I just flat out enjoy driving the F-150 more than I liked driving the Subaru.  It was too low to the ground, and...yeah, loud, and shaky, and just no fun to drive. 

So it sat, and we paid insurance on it.  And then I got a quote on new tires for my F-150, and decided that the easiest way to pay for those new tires was to sell the Subaru. 

I hate negotiating.  I hate negotiating for a better price when I am buying something, and I hate someone trying to get me to lower my asking price on something(probably one of the things that killed me the most when we were trying to sell our last house...I hate getting low-balled).  Instead I just talked to the wife and we decided on a price that we felt was fair, going as low as I would be willing to take.  I mentally decided that anyone who tried to offer a lower price was just going to be ignored.

I needn't have worried...as soon as I spread the word at work, I three people show immediate interest, wanting to know what was wrong with the car.  I was truthful...nothing major wrong(2nd head gasket, 2nd transmission, front bumper black, rest of car red)...I just wanted new truck tires more than I wanted a drive-way ornament. Hind-sight being 20-20, I probably could have safely asked for $300-400 more....but oh well...no negotiating. 

Everything was fine, dude came and looked at it, paid me cash on the barrelhead, and drove away happy.

Until he went to the DMV, to re-register the car, where the fine folks working in the office told him that I had not charged him enough, and they were going to tax him for the blue book value, since he and I were obviously attempting to de-fraud The Man.  Unless he had me fill out a form explaining why I charged him so little. 

I did it for him, but...damn...soooooo annoying.  Especially because I'm fairly certain that the extra tax money they wanted(and still might get) is not going to cost as much as properly routing that piece of paper I had to fill out will cost. 


The times, they are a changing.

I'm getting older.  I'm not quite yet 40, but sometimes it's the mileage, not the years. This was driven home to me yesterday, as I finally got a chance to sit down and start circling things and making notes as I flipped through the Territorial Seed Company catalogue that arrived in the mail earlier this week. 

Folks...I was more excited to flip that seed catalogue and start thinking about my garden, than I had been to start flipping through the big pre-Christmas Victoria's Secret catalogue they send me every year for 'planning my Christmas list'.

The hell of it, as my wife continues to lose weight, I'm way more likely to end up with a lady who looks like she belongs in the Vikki's catalogue than I ever am to end up with a garden that belongs in a seed catalogue.

Guess it's all just fantasy porn of one type or another...a plant that grows both tomatoes and potatoes....talk about setting an unfair standard for other vegetables....


Just accept responsibilty.

I love my children, deeply.  I would love to protect them from everything dangerous in the world...but that isn't possible.  Sometimes, they do get hurt, either physical or emotional, and one of my responses as a parent is looking for anyone to blame for that hurt, other than myself.  Of course, one of the other responses is sometimes slipping into full on martyr mode, and accepting full blame, whether it's my fault or not.

Those are usually just an initial reaction though...given time, you usually come to accept that most accidents are just that...accidents.  Despite spending a large amount of my professional life dealing with invent investigations, and 'error traps' and corrective action development to prevent mistakes/accidents in the future...at heart, I still believe that sometimes...accidents are just that...accidents, whether they are industrial, or involving your kids.

A few year ago, during one of our rare snow/ice storms, a father took his child to one of the local schools that has a pretty sweet sledding hill.  On one of his sledding runs, the child ran into a concrete barrier, and got severely injured...had to be air-lifted to one of the major hospitals in Seattle, and still suffers from health effects of the accident today.  That's very sad...and if I was the dad who decided to bring my child to that location to go sledding, I would feel pretty lame, and in my guilt, I would be looking for someone else to help spread the blame.

However...I don't think I would try to file a TEN MILLION dollar claim against the school that happened to be built on a nice hill, which is what this family did this week

Nope.  Nope, Nope, Nope.  Maybe...just maybe, if this kid had been injured in a school mandated P.E. related sledding class...then I might be at least a little okay with this...but not in this circumstance.  Or maybe if the kid snuck off alone and hopped a poorly labeled fence...but not in this case.  Not when dad brought him sledding to this location, and I'm sure patted his youngin' on the head and said...run along and have fun.  I can picture it happen because I have seen it...and done it myself.  And then I have watched a sled take a goofy bounce, and swerve, and kids head off in unexpected directions towards unanticipated obstacles.  It's scary...but it's an accident. 

Technically it's not a lawsuit yet...the school get's two months to respond before they open themselves to be sued...but...stop.  Throw this out NOW, before it costs the taxpayers more money...and fine the lawyer who put the family up to this, and charge them for however much taxpayer money has already been spent.


So weak.

So, one of my co-workers who belongs to the same health club my wife and I joined for Christmas, convinced me to come check out a 'spin' class after work tonight.

The physical and mental scars I have picked up from a long and varied life would have you believe that I have done dumber things than take my fat, sorry ass to a spin class...I just can't think of what any of those things would be right now.

Quite the ass-kicker(if you pardon my French).  I'm not sure I've had a workout make me feel like that for...a decade, at least.  But...I didn't quit.  There were times I dialed the bike all the way down to it's minimum resistance, but I never stopped peddling. 

Doing the exercise as part of a group helped.  I never would have pushed myself that hard on a stationary bike all by myself...as did a constant reminder of how far gone I have gotten. 

As part of a spin class, you ride the bike in different positions...standing to simulate climbs, and crouching over the handlebars to simulate sprints.  Except...during the sprints, I couldn't crouch as properly as some of the other class participants, because my stupid gut hung so low, I thought I was going to make myself sick with the way my knees kept running up into it like a punching bag.

I'm not sure anyone noticed...but I did.  And it's the reason why as bad as it sucked, I will go back again.


What else is Sunday for?

The cats seemed to have the right idea today.  They took turns in the laundry basket before deciding that there might actually be room enough in there for both of them.

It would be cuter if I didn't feel I had to re-wash that comforter that they have been cleaning each other on. 

Still...it was a nice Sunday all around for what is the last day off around here before work/home schooling get going again for real around here tomorrow.  Yeah...I worked a few days in between Christmas and New Years, but...there was very little in the way of expected progress over those days. 

Monday, it's time to catch up.



Sooooo nice.

After some frigid weather at Thanksgiving, most of December was balmy...but now that the cold weather has come back, in we have made one major change around here that makes live more bearable.

Flannel Sheets. 

If you don't already have a set, I highly recommend you head out to the store to buy a set. 

They are AMAZING.

So, I wasn't THAT lazy...

Big college football today...and I can admit in a guilt free manner that I watched most of it...and drank some carbonated alcoholic beverage along the way. 

I wasn't just watching football though...I was prepping, taking charge and canning up 5 quarts of turkey/vegetable stock that my had been simmering overnight.

A while ago, I prepared 5 turkeys for work by cutting out their back-bones, which we then threw in the freezer along with the neck bones.  My wife needed to make room in the freezer, so she used about half of them and some left over veggies to make a stock.

It's a little(okay, a lot) cloudy...but everything I have read says that that is purely an aesthetic issue, and not something that will effect quality.  Several things lead to cloudiness...and I think we checked all the boxes on this batch.

If you let your stock go to a rolling boil...you'll get cloudiness.  We did this...it was my fault.  I didn't think that the stock was 'simmering' enough, and bumped up the temperature, and didn't bother to swing back by the pot for 30 minutes.

Also, if you add vinegar(my wife prefers apple cider vinegar) it helps leach more minerals out of the bone, but makes your stock cloudy.

And finally, adding starchy vegetables to your stock can cause cloudiness...and I know my wife put a little bit of everything she had been saving in the stock.

Like I said, it's kind of muddy looking right now, but I taste tested it before canning, and it will be fine for it's intended use...soup bases and also I like using it to cook our rice in something other than just plain water. 


Make it stop!

I'm referring to the March of Time. 

It was a good year last year...not perfect.  I didn't win the lottery, I didn't meet my resolution of being able to comfortably get my kilt to my waist line(although it's closer) and I didn't fill any of my hunting tags.

However, I did get to take the whole family on a great vacation swing through middle/southern California in May, and I got to take my older daughter out hunting for the first time, where she didn't fill any of her tags...but she still smiled.

On a personal note, to keep myself occupied, I got involved in community theater, and thoroughly enjoyed our local presentation of Les Miserable's in the spring, and getting to act/rehearse with my younger daughter in The Sound of Music. 

I also got into the local adult choir, the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, which was fun, but learning to sing in German for Brahm's and how to properly annunciate Olde English for Handel's Messiah was much more technically challenging than anything I had to go through for the musicals.
More than any of those events though...it was just a good year.  My wife and I kind of brushed on the idea on Christmas...but, man, if you ever wanted to freeze time...this would be the year to do it.  Younger Daughter is 9...old enough to be her own person, and have her own distinct personality, and entertain herself, but still wanting the occasional snuggle.  Older daughter is 12.5...young enough she hasn't developed serious teenage angst, yet old enough that we can see flashes of the amazing woman she has the potential to be.  And, yeah...mature enough we leave her alone to watch her sister without always needing to schedule a baby-sitter. 
Time is matching on.  Over the next year, the girls will continue to age at light speed.  I will keep buying lottery tickets, and not win a jackpot.  My wife and I will fall a year deeper in love, which is nice...and I will turn 40.  Much melancholy tied to that age traditionally...and I am traditional person.
Two resolutions for the year ahead. The first, a carry over, is to fit into my kilt better.  Not trying to tie the weight loss to any number...just reducing how much of the weight is carried in my mid-section.   
The second resolution is a combined one for my wife and I...we need to get our 'just in case' paperwork together...an actual will, and living wills. 
It's going to be a good year...as long as we think it will be.