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Been a while...

Wow, when it says, 'last entry 7 weeks ago' i guess its time to make a post...

So I'm in the heat of tax season now I guess. We are getting ready to enter the peak portion of our season. I'm looking forward to it. I don't remember much of last years peak season, and I think that's really just because we were so busy. I just remember it went by much faster than I had expected.

It was a long set up this year. The Wal-Marts were the worst of things last year as, 1. I didn't have a clue about what I was doing, and 2. we were setting them up in the middle of the night and getting back home at obscenely wee hours of the morning. This year we were moved from our prior spots in WM to a spot up front, so they let us get away with doing a good bit of our setup during the day. It was SO much better that way. I still had to set up two new store fronts from scratch though, and that was a learning experience. Should that ever happen again I think I'll have a much better idea of how to go about doing it in an efficient manner, but its still an awful lot of work regardless.

I have had a new addition to the household! No, Liz didn't have a baby...we have a new fish tank! We are now officially obsessed with fish I think. We already had a 55 gal tank that we have a few different types of cichlid as well as pristella tetras. The new tank is a 90 gal and we've gone from HOT (hang on tank) filters to a sump filter on that one. Its a whole new world of aquarium geekiness. The current idea is to move all the fish from the 55 gal to the 90 and start the 55 over with a different kind of cichlid called Discus. They are SO neat looking! The down side is they are relatively difficult to care for and require very carefully met water needs. A revers osmosis filter is in my future, I can feel it. The up side, besides their innate beauty, is that if we can get a mating pair we can sell the fry. They are a fairly expensive fish (smaller ones go for upwards of $50, and adults can sometimes sell for hundreds!) so selling the fry would help ultimately subsidize my aquarium hobby. Liz likes that idea I think, especially since I'd really like to get into marine aquariums at some point.

Hrm...I'm sure there are lots of other things to include in here but I've got calls pouring in from all over about things to fix or tax questions so I'm going to close. L8rs all...

What a week...

So some of you may have heard already about my little spill last Sunday. In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone and do something nice for my sister - something I would have greatly enjoyed - I took Cyndi's motorcycle out for a ride. It'd been months since it had been ridden so it certainly needed it. Wouldn't ya know, I got less than two blocks from her house and layed it over! In an accident that was nearly identical to her ex-boyfriend Nathan's to boot. I had stopped at a stop sign at the corner of Geyer and Essex and was planning on making a left hand turn. My blinker was on. I came to a complete stop at the same time as a car across from me did. The woman waved me on. I put the bike in gear and began rolling forward, accelerating gently and leaning a little into the turn - nothing unusual. I was about halfway through the turn when the back tire washed out from under me, taking the rest of the bike with it on a collision course with the curb. I thank the Lord I wasn't going faster; I wasn't hurt in the abrupt landing. Just a little road rash, nothing serious.

That was Sunday. Monday seemed to go pretty well and without incident or accident. Tuesday on the other hand was quite different. I really don't care to go into details, but suffice it to say - take care of your traffic tickets in a timely fashion!

The week was redeemed somewhat however by an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I won't lie, I was expecting it to be rather terrible. Liz knows that I struggle at times around her family. I'm pleased to report though that, in spite of a dry turkey, the day was rather enjoyable.

Friday contained a pleasant surprise in that I was allowed to leave work early. Liz and I tried out the new Olive Garden in Fenton. While I didn't really enjoy the entrée I ordered, everything else seemed to be great. I don't know why I even order new things there. All I really want is zuppa Toscana and a mountain of bread sticks.

Saturday went well. I got a good store of firewood split and in place for the next couple weeks. We had our local congratulation's set of missionaries over for dinner. I cobbled together a device that I can use to siphon the fish tanks out to clean them, and then with the turning of a knob you can fill it right back up. No more messing around with filling fice gallon buckets in the tub, carrying them down the stairs, and trying to fill the tank without spilling it all over the floor. Yay!

Now its Sunday again, and my Mother's birthday to boot. 29 again, not sure how many times that makes. She was giddy this morning over her gift from my father - an iTouch. I get to teach her how to play with it this afternoon.

I hope all of you had a great Turkey day and were able to give thanks to whatever deity or universal foorce you believe in. As for me, I give thanks to God for my health, my family, my friends. I give thanks to Him for the patience to deal with a job that is at time quite trying. I give thanks for the Holy Spirit and the guidance I receive from him. I wish all could understand just how greatful I am for these things.

Have a great week all - try not to get run over by the shopping crowds.

Fire n' Food...

I love Good Eats. Alton Brown really knows his stuff. Of course...he *is* payed to know his stuff...but at least he does his job well. Somehow he really works well with the way I learn. I like to see how things are done, but I also like to know the why of how it works.

Getting SO close to pouring concrete on the garage now. Hoping that the weather will hold just a little bit longer. It was so very cold today, but its supposed to warm up later on this week, which is encouraging. Dan's boss Chris was ever so kind enough to come down with his bobcat and help get some of the extra rock out of the garage floor area. I wish he could have stuck around a little longer as the grade of the floor is perfect, just 180 degrees off. (insert semi scottish accent here) I'm all a kilter, n' not th'right direction! (end obnoxious accent)

I also have to mention how much I love my fireplace. Not only do I love the smell of a fire, but the cheap heat is invaluable. Its nice to look over and see the coals and logs flicker and flame. Its oddly soothing. Perhaps that's why I like to bbq so much - I get to play with fire, and I get to eat. Whats not to love?

I can haz soop

'Tis the season - for soup! I love soup. I *adore* soup. And autumn just seems like the best time of year for a good soup kick off.

I've been trying out some new things soup wise this year too. I've discovered that my smoked turkey leftovers are tremendously  well suited to soup. I've also tried making stock out of the carcase after picking it clean, and that works out really well too. Boil it down for some thick and smokey turkey soup, or use it in other creative ways, like flavoring your rice, or making some killer chicken and dumplings.

I've been wanting to try some new things in soups too. I've never played with asparagus in sour. I've only dabbled with leeks. Beets intrigue me. So does broccoli. I know, I know, people have been using broccoli for generations in soup, but I've never played in that playground.

Beyond soup, I've finally started entering the wild world of Chinese cooking, albeit somewhat Americanized. I've been making a sweet-n-sour chicken for a couple of months now that is seriously good. I still need to work out getting the sauce to thicken up the way I want, but I always have trouble with sauces, so this is not surprising. I really wish I had the time available to go to take a class just on sauces. One of the things I've always loved best about food is sauces. You can take all the same main ingredients and switch up sauces and have totally different and amazing meals. This, my friends, is a skill I do not yet have. 

Its too bad I can't make a living in food without completely sacrificing the ability to have normal work hours and a semi normal work week.

So while HTML is totally a breeze to learn (thus far) it is such a hassle to write. SO time consuming to get it all written. I really haven't gotten into any of the tough stuff yet though, or the other elements of web development. Things are coming along though, and soon enough I think I'll have at least something up on my new site other than the "under construction" page.

Other news, the Apple Butter Festival is in Kimmswick this weekend. I've been several times before, and each year is enjoyable. Looking forward to going again.

Fat and Happy...

I'm sitting on the couch in my father-in-law's living room - Content. We went out to this little Mexican restaurant here in Moberly, MO called El Vacero's for dinner, and it was great. Loved it. Liz and Kent are watching the Mizzou x Oklahoma State game. I'm surfing the net. Well...sort of.

I've embarked on a new adventure lately. I'm teaching myself HTML. Its really quite interesting. I finally decided to go ahead and make my own website, and I want to be able to design it. There are really a lot of influences here pushing me in that direction. One is just plain curiosity. I've always wondered how to go about doing it, but I had never taken the time to persue it. As anyone who reads this probably knows, I do IT style work for a living. I basically keep all the devices you might typically find in an office environment that use electricity up and running. As I do this, I continually learn more and more about computers and networks and how to build/design/maintain simple ones. But that leads me to wanting to know more about the bigger stuff. I don't typically deal with anything you wouldn't find in a typical home. Mostly just standard PCs. But a lot of the world is run on servers, using server operating systems, and doing things I know absolutely nothing about. But I want to. I always liked computer growing up, but I always thought of them as a hobby, and not as a career choice. There is something to be said for capitalizing on your strengths though, and if I have a talent for them I ought to develope it. You never know what may come of following such a path. Sooooo, where does that fit in with a website? Weeeeeeelll, I think I'm going to follow a bit of inspiration. I'm going to embark into the wide realm of Entrepreneurship and try my hand at fixing peoples computing problems in a residential environment. I'm not quitting my day job by any means, but I'm hoping to get a little experience with this and find out if I like it, and if (more importantly) people like me.
One of the ways I'm hoping to be able to win people over is by mentioning that I have my own website (people seem to respect that) and that I designed it. Heck, I may even get into web design if I take to this HTML stuff.
Most importantly though, I think its important to get as much work experience as you can in this kind of economy. For all I know my job could evaporate in 5 weeks. Its just the nature of small business. While its not likely, its wise to prepare for possibilities. Some day I want to work for myself and I'm going to need to know how to run a business. The time to learn how to do that is not when all your hopes, dreams, life, and family are riding on your success. Its when you don't rely completely on it that you should take the opportunity to develop a new revenue stream.
Happily enough, I can report that things at works have been looking up. I normally don't quite seem to get along with my boss, but we've managed to get along pretty much all week. Its really, really nice. I've been trying to approach him differently with questions and suggestions, and it seems to be working. Maybe I can survive another tax season after all. It certainly wouldn't hurt my resume to stay in one place for a while. And so long as I can use my time there to learn, and have a steady paycheck, I suppose I can take a little stress now and then. (as if tax season was just a 'little' stress...)

Well, off to start another chapter in HTML For Dummies. lol...Hope you all have a good night too.

runnin' right along

first I want to issue a congratulations: three cheers and glad tidings to Dan and Laura! May the trials you encounter be but ropes that more tightly bind you together. May they help to cultivate your love. May your years together be fruitful and plentiful. you both are my dear friends and my heart is full of gladness at your union.

yet another week passes. I really cannot believe how fast this week went. I had some lower back problems most of this week and last, and I was worried that I would not be able to get past it for this weekend. I found a chiropractor that apparently is able to work miracles, because after a mere two visits I was able to sit and walk without pain. how thankful I am for that.

another thing this week that was really great was a leadership seminar I had the opportunity to attend n friday. I have had aspirations of leadership/management for some time without really knowing how to go about it or where to start. I went to the seminar full of trepidation that this was to be a dry and boring day. how pleasantly surprised I was that it was highly engaging and informational. whether or not I will be able to make use of the newfound knowledge in my current job is yet to be seen as I am looking around for better oportunities, but I know I will put them to use in my life as it rolls along.

the most wonderful season of the year

is not autumn. at least not for me. it never has been a favorite really. long before the onset of tax season ruined the season of waining sunlight and temperatures, there was the start of school to look forward to at the end of summer. I never really looked forward to school every year. it has always been a melancholy time of year. the days get shorter, the nights get cooler, and it tends to rain a lot.

ahh well, enough whining. so much has been going on. the garage project continues too plod forth slowly. we may even be able to pour concrete before the year is out. the rough in for the wash tub's plumbing is now done. I need to talk to ameren ue to see if they need to inspect the electrical conduit that i've put in before I bury it. I need to talk with hillsboro's inspectors as well about the same thing. after that the concrete will pretty much be the next step.

work is moving on. I have a business trip to dallas at the end of the month. this one ought to be more interesting than the irs forum in chicago was. we're going to be covering voip, backups servers and support for our software as windows starts to get closer to making changes to its products. plus - its dallas, tx... 'dere be bbq down 'dere!

speaking of bbq... i'm happy to report that i'm getting better! I guess I have some level of insecurity when it comes to my bbq. when I cook 'normal' dishes (y'all realise that's a pretty subjective outlook with me, right?) I know for the most part that its good. i've cooked it before, practiced it, and know what its supposed to taste like since by and large I grew up with it. but bbq is a totally different beast altogether. if you travel the country you can see it evident that bbq is highly regional. more than that, individual tastes differ greatly even in one local. so what I like is by no means guaranteed to be liked by others.

there are so many kinds of bbq too. this can also be pretty regional. texans love their brisket, memphans crave pork ribs. some place do poultry, beef ribs, or even lamb. st. louisans seem to like their ribs and chicken. while I like chicken a great many ways, bbq doesn't rate high among them. however, you get between me and a bbq turkey and you are likely to lose a limb.

I suppose that's where my bbq turkey 'mastery', if you will, began. I never really liked ribs growing up, mostly because my mother, the incredible cook that she is, can't bbq. I've grown more fond of them lately now that I know what they are supposed to be like. originally I only making ribs because other people liked them so well. slowly i've become a bit of a convert though. I have to say though, i've gotten much better at making them, but there is still a ton of room for improvement. the newest addition is brisket. that one i've hit a home run I think. in fact, i've been given the opportunity and privilege of sharing my brisket at a wedding soon.

not sure why i've felt the need to ramble so long, but hey - no one forced you to read it...
Can I say just how tired I am of politicians? I've been reading and listening and researching a lot in my spare time. I've been outlining and planning this wonderful, vituperative post detailing with agonizing length the things that are wrong, inconsistent, and just plain annoying...but I've nearly burnt myself out (their goal?). But really, I think I've just come to realize what politics has really become. I've had a bit of an epiphany tonight. Politics is really just welfare for the rich. They get paid to stand around and talk. All they do is bitch and moan about whatever, and in order to get there they brown nose. Sound familiar? If it doesn't try working in some way, shape, or form with our country's illustrious Welfare State. All the same principles and behaviors involved, just on a different scale. 

How can you tell if a fish is rabid?

Can a fish even have rabies? If it foams at the mouth it would have to sit awful still for you to even be able to see it.

In other news, I'm that much closer to having a garage! I'm very excited by this. I have all the preparations done for the electrical, telephone, and cable to be switched over when we get to that point. Its now time to have the excavator come in again and dig the center of the garage floor area down to the proper depth. Then comes more gravel, and *gasp* the pouring of the concrete. That will be a rather momentous time. At that point we'll be able to really start building our walls, and we'll be able to have the rest of the driveway and the sidewalk taken out and preped for pouring. The walls aren't going to be that tough to put up, and I'm sure that once we get started on it we'll only be about a month away from being done with the whole project. There is still some debate about roofing options, so we'll see how that's going to come together.

Had to teach today in church. Its such an awkward thing to have to do. There you are trying to teach something to a bunch of people that have already heard it before for the most part, and who probably know it better than you do...How do you keep their attention, much less deliver it in a way that gets the point across without making a fool of one's self? /sigh

Writer's Block: Perfect Sandwich

Gotta start out with some good home made Rye bread. After that, some red pepper mayo, several slices of my apple cherry smoked turkey, two thin slices of home grown, vine ripened tomatoes, a slice of havarti cheese, romaine to top it off, and an ice cold glass of whole milk on the side.