Thursday, May 31, 2012


Stream of consciousness summary of the last three months.

March: Toby got an M1A. Marissa started teaching English online with Open English.

April: Marissa turned 24. The Callahans come to visit :)

May: Toby gets authorized to sign off on his own documentation at work. The Monteiros come to visit!! Marissa performed an improvised salsa with one of her teammates at the Northwest Folklife Festival.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February: a new home!

We are officially in the new house.

The move felt like it took a long time, but there was remarkably little griping. Almost all of the boxes have been unpacked. Things are still all over the place because we haven't finished figuring out where everything belongs. I want everything to have its own designated space that makes sense for its use. This takes time. When the house and all of the objects that must be ordered out of chaos are threatening my sanity, I step outside into our backyard.

Today it was sunny and I walked around barefoot so I could feel the grass (my feet have been so delighted recently because they also get to feel the bass line of whatever music I'm listening to now that I don't have to worry about bothering downstairs neighbors).

It's a quiet neighborhood. Our next-door neighbor, Dean, introduced himself and said that many of the houses on this cul-de-sac are occupied by people who have been around a long time, 20 years or more. He told us the house had been empty for 6 or 7 months before we got here. We've noticed a lot of things in the house that need fixing. Engineer Gorilla wants to get right on that.

Toby's schedule is changing for the month of February. He's going on second shift, which means working from about 2PM to 11PM.

I'm practicing with the salsa performance team in Fremont for 2.5 hours every Sunday. The workouts are great and I can tell that my upper back and shoulders are already getting stronger.

The next few weeks promise to be exciting, what with all the house-warming we have to do. Pictures and posts to follow. MWAH!
I'm imagining a hammock between those trees.

Friday, January 20, 2012

We're in The South, y'all

Charleston, SC. Toby's been working here since January 10. I'm so glad I took a trip to see him. Seattle drivers have no idea what to do when it snows, and then when the snow freezes they have to close down streets otherwise everyone would crash down the hills. But here in Charleston? I got to leave my coat at the hotel and lay out in the sun.

The Charleston Tea Garden, the only working tea plantation in all of North America. Apparently tea plants are these rows of shrubs. They've got some machine that trims off the new shoots in the summer periodically.

Angel Oak Tree. According to legend it's over 1500 years old. According to science, about 400 years old.

The Gwillah hides behind the largest living thing we've ever seen.

Waterfront Park in Charleston at dusk

Palm trees in January, ahhhhh

Unpictured highlights: an albino squirrel, the beach, quaint brick buildings with bright white mortar, enormous plates of authentic pit-cooked barbecued pork, shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, southern accents, 70 degree sunshine.

We'll see you back in Seattle, y'all.

Jedburg Pinopolis & Ashley Phosphate

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January: Gray and Snowy

Um, I thought it didn't snow here? Someone definitely told me that.

It totally does.
Toby is in South Carolina missing out on all this. I was in Nevada for the 4th Annual Reno Bachata Festival dancing with world champions and thought I was spared the snow that everyone was facebooking about. Nope! Weathermen are predicting 3-7 inches of snow tomorrow.
Also, I found these tracks in the parking lot next to my car. Anybody know what they came from?


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Blogging on the go

Get this. I don't even need to be at a computer to post now. So this is why everybody calls it the Jesus phone. Tobes and I are at Jaydee's house making smoked sausage. See below for photographic evidence.

Switched Sanitizers, news

So for brewing I used to use iodine. We had a couple of tragic sanitation failures, traced it back to over-inebriation and expired iodine. Early brewing with iodine ... last year ... led to some getting into beer, killing the yeast and making it undrinkable.

I was also using isopropanol as a sanitizer, but not only does it make the missus ill on the merest whiff, it's fantastically flammable.

I've been using StarSan for the last few weeks (both sanitizing sausage equipment before use and for brewing) and I'm a big fan. It's some sort of organic acid, so when you pour beer on top of it, it's rapidly diluted and rendered harmless to the yeast. It hasn't attacked any surface I've sprayed it on, and unlike iodine, you don't have to keep adding it to airlocks (it doesn't go bad once mixed).

Today I have made about 3lbs of kielbasa (american style emulsified sausage mildly spiced, but I added toasted caraway seeds). We are headed over to Jaydee's house to smoke the sausage (he's got a propane smoker), fix my ABS system (got a new sensor), and probably drink beer and play video games. Incidentally, if you ever want to level up your meatcraft, this is the book I get all of my recipes and guidance from. Best present ever.

I intend to hot smoke the sausage until done (meat thermometer is crucial) and then incorporate it in some kind of yukon potato fry-up.

I'm working overtime tomorrow then flying to South Carolina for two weeks on Tuesday. I think Marissa is flying out to spend a weekend there in the middle.