Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Updates galore

Well, it has been a while again, but here I am to post an update.

The bermuda grass is still there, but some of it is dead.  The zoysia around it has yellowed, but I think it is still alive.  Which is more than I can say of my queen palm in the back yard. It was a door nail, so I took my sawzall and cut the top off.  Now I have a stump sticking out of the ground at about 4 feet. 

My garden is faring really well this year.  I have tomatoes (multiple varieties), basil, sage, oregano, thyme, cilantro, and dill.  I have also planted three different kinds of strawberries that are doing awesome.  I like to watch the kids look for the strawberries.  Katie also wanted to plant some corn.  I told her I didn't think it was a good idea and that I had no where to put it.  So, we ended up planting some corn in a planter, and we have some decent stalks showing up.  I am going to transplant it next weekend to the spot near the dead palm tree stump and see what happens.

City Council election was last weekend.  Hoerner got ousted, and Angie Terrell and Kurt Otten got voted in.  Lets see how things go from here.  We all went up to Oakies for an election party last Sat night.  I had a blast, but I was also coming from our Derby De Mayo party, where I made mint juleps with a margarita chaser.  In addition, I made fresh tuna ceviche, shrimp and chorizo, chips and queso, and a crock pot full of carnitas.  I also made a garlic onion tortilla cake, but forgot to take it out of the refrigerator to serve.  Guess what we had on Sunday??  Anyways, lots of neighbors and friends showed up to watch.  Katie won the money on the horse race.  Marlina had Mothers Day with her mom last Sunday and I had a day with the kids.  I got my first sunburn of the year as we went to the pool.  It has reached 90 degrees during the day.  Summer is here.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Spring clean up

Well, the tree sale is complete.  It seems like the whole island liked the idea.  I am not against it, I just wanted to know why the City should subsidize private citizens' landscaping.

Anyways, spring clean up is underway.  I have got the lawn starting to look better.  Kate and I managed to plant some herbs and flowers.  Sprinkler system is working.  I even put down the spring fertilizer and herbicide.  Next week is mosquito repellent and trying to kill the gosh dern Bermuda grass that is threatening my Zoysia.  I hope I can kill it this time without killing the zoysia.  I will post before and after photos this time.

Old friend comes to town this week with new girl.  This ought to be fun.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Basketball and Trees

Ok, so last night concluded basketball season for Luke.  Last season, his team didn't win a game.  And Luke didn't score until the last game of the season when he hit a jump shot.  This season his team, The Legends, won several games after starting the season 0-3.  I don't know the final record of the team, but they managed to win quite a few, really improved on both offense and defense, and Luke scored quite a few baskets.

Last night, the Legends were facing another team in the second round of the playoffs.  Yes, that means they won their first round game.  Luke's team did well, but fell one point short in the end.  Luke did great with a sweet move along the baseline but couldn't convert as his shot missed his target.  He ended the game with one point as he swished a free throw that was the result of him getting fouled on shot in the paint.  It was really neat to see the team progress as a unit, and Luke personally progress.  Last season, many tears were shed after the losses kept mounting up.  This year, he dealt with the losses better, but last night, it took a little while and a McDonald's meal for him to open up about the game.  I did hear a bunch of "The referee was on the take", but I don't think he will remember that opinion for very long  Anyways, great season Legends.  Bring on baseball season.

Latest event on the island to draw some ire; trees.  Let me preface this by saying I didn't attend City Council meeting, I was at the Legends game.  However, it appears that the City Council voted to purchase several trees at wholesale prices, then sell them to the residents of CLS at half of the wholesale cost.  I know our area got hit by Harvey, and the freezes, but I have some questions about this.  1.  Where did the money to buy the trees come from?  2. Where does the revenue from the tree sales go?  3.  The City is ok taking a loss on this?  4. Why are we subsidizing peoples lawns anyway?  5. There are multiple people who bitched about the Oakies deal because it didn't make financial sense are now jumping at the chance to purchase trees at a discount.  I realize that one is the EDC and one is the City.  But, the EDC money comes from taxes that are paid for by the shops, and the other gets its money by taxing the residents. 

I intend on asking our councilmen these questions.  Perhaps I have my facts wrong, but I got them from a reliable source, Facebook.  Anyways, just drama on the island.  Its not like I shot anyone at IHOP.  IHOP Shooting

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Super Bowl party

Well, what a game?  The game was a mere backdrop to the party that we hosted however.  On Saturday, M and I made a list of the groceries we needed and then decided to do the Clicklist from Kroger so that I would not be tempted to spend an extra $100 in the store while browsing.  I made two boxes of brownies on Sat night to get a head start.  It was then that I started receiving the RSVP's.

On Sunday morning, I woke up and cooked breakfast for the kids.  After that, we all cleaned the house as a family.  This was my favorite part of the day.  We all chipped in and it was nice to see the family working together to get stuff done.

After that, it was time to start cooking.  First up was the burger sliders.  I made approx. 35 sliders, knowing that we would eat some for lunch.  After that, came the smokies in BBQ sauce (as usual, in the football shaped crockpot).  First issue, no bbq sauce.  No problem, I made some from scratch.  Turned out beautifully.  Next up, mini corn dog muffins.  The verdict came back on these that I needed to add a bit more PAM to the muffin tin so that they come out easier.  Following those, I made taco dip with biscuit dippers..
This turned out fantastic.  It was really easy to make also.  The dip was better on tortilla chips, but the biscuit dippers made it look great.

Next it was time to make the Philly cheese steaks.  The Eagles were playing in the big game, so it was only natural that we have cheesesteaks.  I can normally make a pretty good one, but this time it was for a crowd so I chose sliders.  These turned out fair.  The peppers could have been cooked a bit longer as I like mine soft and these still had quite a bit of crunch.  But, by then, guests had started arriving and I needed to mingle.

Perhaps the best part of the game was the fact that Luke was watching upstairs cheering for the Eagles, while everyone else was watching downstairs.  M always cheers for the Pats.  Everytime the Eagles made a play, she would scream out Nooooo!!!!.  And from the upstairs, you could hear Yay!!!!!!  It was neat to see some back and forth from the two of them. Should make for a great season next year.

All in all, we had about 30 people in attendance.  Food was great.  Boult boiled some shrimp and Mrs B made cookies, SanMiguels made lobster dip and jalapeno poppers, Dave made chicken wings with two types of sauces, and Matt brought over some eggrolls that are awesome (I'm having them for lunch today!)

If you missed it, you missed a great time.  Thanks to all who came by!  BTW, it is not an annual thing.  This was just a great party.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Steppin up to the plate

Well, neighbor Amy and PBro usually have a Super Bowl party in their palapa, but they don't feel too much like partying right now due to a death in the family (and we know all too well about that as it was one year ago that Vincent passed).  Neighbor Otto sold the Tree House. And the Millers are still assholes for moving half way across the country.  I say all of this to justify that this year, the Super Bowl party is at Hogg Heaven.

At Christmas, I told Marlina that I was partied out due to the Pig Roast being in November and that I didn't want Christmas Eve to be that big of a deal because it sounded like too much work for me.  Well, I guess that feeling lasted all of a month because a few weeks ago I hadn't heard of any parties on the island.  I started to get the itch.  The chili cookoff last weekend cemented it.  I volunteered our house to host the party, but really it is just an excuse for me to try out new party recipes and cooking techniques.

Needless to say, I will be planning a menu tonight and probably spending a fortune at the HEB tomorrow.  Least it keeps me out of the bars, right?  I'll post pics on Monday.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Someone say chili?

This past weekend was the annual chili cookoff on the island.  Now, this is a non-sanctioned event, and is actually the birthday party for an island resident.  Neighbor Ben was playing his guitar and I haven't gotten the privilege of listening to him since I hosted the 3rd Mr. Pig's Nightmare.  Normally, this event is flooded by islanders who all try to out do each other and put their best chili in.  Last year, Rob Scherer won the thing (not his first time), and I asked him how much he spent on his dish.  $130 was the reply. 

I have been making chili for over 20 years now, and I never use the same formula and never follow a recipe.  This year, I decided I was going to change that.  I used a recipe that I found online from an Aggie and the reviews were undeniably great.  Friday afternoon, I went to the store and gathered everything I needed (and then some more), and my bill only came out to about $40. 
I thought about cooking on Friday night, but that thought changed after three margaritas at the taqueria.  I got up on Sat morning and began the process, following the recipe exactly.  I used a chuck roast, dicing it myself.  I made a chili puree using four different kinds of dried chilies that I had to steep and re-hydrate.  I used multiple dishes and made a horrific mess, but I was having fun.

Now, everything was in the pot and it was time to let the flavors meld and the pot simmer.  But, alas, time was not on my side.  Luke had to be at his basketball game at 1:30, the judging for the chili cookoff was scheduled for 3:00.  I wasn't going to make it, so I had to turn in my chili early and hope for the best.  I ladled the chili/soup into a crock pot, keeping the vast majority for myself.  After the basketball game (Luke's team won and he scored his first points of the season, BTW), I hustled back to hear the results.

I ended up not placing as my chili never came solidified as it should have.  It was more soup than chili.  I know how to fix that.  Remember that I kept most of the chili for me?  Well, I added a bit of corn starch to the pot when I got home, and bingo, remarkable chili!!  I spent the rest of the weekend eating Frito Pie and liked it so much, that I burned through an entire bag of Fritos. 

Anyways, the contest was fun, I met some new islanders, and got a big pot of chili left that I froze and will eat again soon.  Can't believe that the winning entry had chocolate as one of the ingredients.  Guess you never know what wins in a contest on the island.  

Friday, January 26, 2018

I'm Back!!!

Hey, it's been a long time since my last post, but I am back baby!!  I've been busy at work and just haven't made the time to blog, but it is my goal to change that in the new year.  Several times over the past year I have been sitting in my truck thinking about something would make a good blog entry only to forget about it before I could access my computer.  I used to carry my laptop around with my mobile hotspot but it proved to be too big and bulky to carry around everywhere. I now have a new iPad with a keyboard so hopefully these time won't go fruitless as much.

Quickly, something neat happened last week that I wanted to make sure I didn't forget about.  Luke and Marlina were sleeping on the couch and Kate and I were watching tv.  I ended up flipping the station to Expedition Unknown, a show about a archeologist who travels about looking for different objects of desire.  This particular episode was about a story book in the 80's called The Secret.  Evidently this author wrote a bunch of poems and commissioned an artist to paint some images, then hid some treasure boxes all around the country in different parks.  Kate became engrossed watching this show and immediately ask me when will the next show air?  I informed her that I would record the series and that we could watch it together.  Ever since then she has been telling her brother all about it. Last night, we sat down to watch it and Luke, who hadn't seen the previous episode, joined us as well.  He got sucked in also.  Then, after we watched the latest episode regarding Butch Cassidy, he hit the On Demand feature and pulled up an episode regarding Stonehenge.  I grabbed Marlina knowing her infatuation with the English/Scottish area, and asked her to watch with us.  So, there we sat, all four of us, engrossed in a tv show that wasn't animated or on Nickelodeon and was somewhat educational.  Hopefully this is a glimpse into the future.

Look for more posts in 2018!
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