Usually, by this time of year we are engulfed in fairly persistent clouds, snow, and uncomfortably cold weather. This year the weather has remained sunny, tolerably warm for the most part, and dry with the exception of a few errant storms. The nice weather has allowed us to keep a lot of projects running down at the railroad and the paving company long past when we usually do. I've also been able to finish painting the outside of the house (at least the sides you can see!)
I'm not sure if this picture does the color justice, but it is..... fantastic. The more I look at it the more I like it. With the new windows and the painted casements I think it looks great! I may even get more of the back painted if the weather holds. The house is progressing. I've got insulation going in next week, and most of the electrical boxes are installed and ready for wiring. As things come together I'm glad the house isn't any bigger than it is.
Some of you may have noticed that there was no Nevada Day post this year. Never fear! It was only due to the fact that I was much too busy throwing a 150th Nevada Day party.
Yes, it's true. The Great State of Nevada turned 150 years old this year. Sorry, there are no pictures of the party, but we did have a good time. There were games, Nevada shaped cookies, prizes, etc... Celebrations were had across the state.
I began listening to CarTalk when the NPR station from Southern Nevada put a repeater in the rural county where I live. It was about the time I started high school. I was usually at the bike shop where I worked on Saturday mornings and I would listen to the show while I adjusted derailleurs and fixed flat tires. I enjoyed the technical talk, no doubt, but listening to two guys laughing hysterically and just thoroughly enjoying themselves was a great way to start a Saturday. It made me feel good even if I was at work. Seeing the outpouring over Tom's death, it's apparent I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Tom and Ray haven't been broadcasting any new shows for a couple of years now, but I still find myself tuning in for the reruns on Saturday morning.
Last month I went into Utah for my cousin's wedding. It's always fun getting together with family. The wedding was such great party with live music, good food, and even goats, but just to be sure my other cousin and I brought our own party just in case.
Really good party.
Also, last month I got to go to Chicago and visit a good friend. However, the day I picked to travel just happened to be the same day that some wacko decided to torch a flight control center in Illinois. I had a quick layover in Denver that morning, but it soon became apparent that my flight from Denver to Chicago was not going to be happening. If you were watching the news that day you know what happened. Thousands of flights canceled, the national air travel network went to shambles, and most importantly I was stranded in Denver. After a few hours on the phone (PS: smart phones are the BEST thing ever!) with my travel concierge and the airline I decided that come hell or high water I was going to Chicago. So I hopped a bus to downtown Denver and caught the train!
Give me a break, I think this is my first "selfie".
Anyway, the Amtrak customer service was top notch. The station in Denver was awesome with so many good things to eat. The train was sparsely populated and spacious with fully reclining seats with foot rests. It was quite an adventure. The train trip ended up taking a little over 20 hours, but it still got me to Chicago half a day sooner than airline said they could even get me on a plan out of Denver. Nebraska was odd, but Iowa surprisingly scenic. There was a power outlet at my seat so I spent a good portion of the trip finishing the new Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts. People watching on the train was always a good way to spend some time. Plus, since the train was later than scheduled getting into Chicago I got a $100 travel voucher for future travel with them. And I will definitely be trying it again.
Once I FINALLY got to Chicago, I met up with my friend and we ate...
In addition to expanding our waistlines, we took in the sights, walked around Chicago, tried riding the "L", and we went to the Museum of Science and Industry where we toured the German U-Boat. They had this picture on the wall which I thought was funny.
It was a good, albeit an abbreviated, trip. Even coming back they still hadn't worked out all the air traffic problems so I got into SLC over seven hours late. It was nice to have a trip, but it was also nice to get back to my car and back to Nevada.
For the past month or so we've been constructing a flood control project in the Lincoln County city of Caliente. Over the past few days the remnants of hurricane Norbert have been dumping copious amounts of rain on us here out west. Very fortunately for us the storms didn't dump much rain on our project in Caliente. However, trying to get home from the project correlation meeting proved to be quite tedious as all North and Southbound traffic from the I15 had been detoured down US93, a winding two lane road.
I haven't ever seen so many semi trucks on a two lane road. As the title states it took me the better part of 3 hours to traverse the 16 miles from Caliente to Y Junction. I'll still take that over a flash flood washing through our construction site. The detour was due to extreme flooding washing out large chunks of I15 as well as boulders and debris being washed onto the roadway. Union Pacific's tracks must have also met with flooding as a good number of trains were backed up in the yard in Caliente. Never a dull moment!
School has started and nights are getting cooler (and by extension some of the days are cooler too). Some of the first high school home games were this weekend. My youngest brother has left the football team for the futebol (soccer) team. The midday games down in a county park are much more enjoyable than the JV football games sitting on hard, aluminum bleachers. Out of my duty as a Bobcat alumnus I still attend the varsity football games. The one this weekend against Battle Mountain was pretty sad. We did win our first game (away) of the season which is more than we won last year. We'll see how the season goes. I still enjoy watching the soccer games more. On the BYU front, Max Hall is a cocain user and a shoplifter (are we really surprised), and we won against the Longhorns last night. Love the Fall.
As some of you know I entered the county fair this month. Last year, my entries took a number of first place ribbons as well as the reserve grand champion ribbon. While certainly guilty of being argumentative, I am not usually very competitive which is why I've been a little surprised at the tenacity my quests for a grand champion ribbon has taken.
This year I pulled out all the stops and submitted the earlier posted about Almond Chocolate Cake from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I also submitted a blue berry pie with a butter based crust. The pie received a first place ribbon having been beaten out for the grand champion ribbon by someone's cherry pie. The cake, however, was shamed with a white, third place ribbon behind a pistachio bunt cake which got second and an apricot upside down cake which got first. To add insult to injury this saltine cracker sucking judge wrote on the back of the tag "underdone". I may have over-reacted some and had some stern words with a group of the Beta Sigma-Phi ladies (the groups that runs our county fair), but really! under done! Admittedly this was probably the wrong kind of entry for a rural county fair. Your first bite is not what you're expecting for something labeled as chocolate cake. It takes until around the third bite before you realize that no matter what this is called it is amazing. I took the cake home and ate most of it to assuage my hurt pride. In my butter and chocolate infused coma I began plotting my assault for next year.
Granted, it's been awhile since I actually put a post up here. It's been a busy summer, but at any rate here we are.
First off, I finally talked my way into a job here. It's not a full time job yet, but my work schedule has been steadily picking up. The railroad also double my hours and pay at the beginning of the summer so I've been busy. I started with Reck Bros. in time to finish up the new county swimming facility. Below is the sign that was posted as you exit the job site.
One should always be wary of children.
The house remodel is progressing. It's been hard to find time to work on it with all of the jobs going on at work, but I think I'm still making traction.
New windows got put in all the way round.
Walls have gone up, floor repairs have been made and other adjustments made (hopefully I'm almost done with that). I also got all of the old insulation removed. A new power service and breaker box was also installed. The new plumbing has been started too.
I've been trying out some exterior paint colors. I think I'm going for the darker green. More work still to do.
I also bought this:
It is that ugly in really life. It's a 1986 Tercel Wagon 4WD. It has has nearly 230,000 miles and nearly that many rattles and odd noises. It blows some blue smoke, but still gets better gas mileage than the Blazer for running around town. Not bad for a few hundred dollars (at least I think so).
We had a nice 4th of July in Ely with all of the usual events. Soon after that we had a fun Robertson family reunion camping in the Uintas over in Utah where I donated copious amounts of blood to the local mosquito population (aren't I generous).
The White Pine County Fair is coming up and I'll be submitting a chocolate almond cake and a blueberry pie with a butter based crust. Fingers crossed for the grand champion ribbon!
In other new: This--
It's called a Cherpumple. It's a three layer cake with pie baked into each layer.
Pumpkin pie baked in a spice cake
Cherry pie baked into a white cake
Apple pie baked in a yellow cake
What will they come up with next? (I may have to try this)
While I posses an irrational soft spot for both countries in last night's world cup match I was really hoping for a Brazil win and at the very least a more competitive showing by both teams rather than a massacre. Brazil may not make it through this.
(Germany on the other hand is better equipped to deal with crushing defeats).
Last week the engineering firm we've hired at the railroad came up to do their field inspection on the 33 miles of track that we are rehabbing this summer (hopefully). The weather was (surprisingly) beautiful for mid April in Northern Nevada with temps in the mid 60's and the occasional quick afternoon thunderstorm. I spent most of the time riding on top of the tool box in the back of our Hi-rail truck soaking in the sunshine. The work consisted of getting out every quarter mile to count ties and look at ballast (gravel). Consequently I didn't get much work done on the house that week, but I was back at it today. As for everything else, all quiet on the western front.
It seems best to start this post out with the picture first. Once again, Julia Child's magic book has turned me into something more than I am. My cousin and I decided to tackle one of Julia's cake recipes this weekend. Despite being horrible at reading directions and (quite frankly) crap at execution this vision turned out better than we thought was possible! This cake blows every expectation you have of chocolate cake out of the water. It's dense and smooth and the almond and rum make for a chocolate experience like you've never had before. A word on rum: I'm not sure how pirates (or anybody) drink the stuff. It smells like paint thinner. Use in a well ventilated area. The icing is basically chocolate butter, and speaking as one who is normally not a fan of frosting it is a revelation. So far we are 2 for 2 with Julia's cook book. Chocolate Almond Cake is a winner for sure.
In case you hadn't heard, I QUIT! It's true. After giving it some thought back in the beginning of February (right about the time I was facing the ominous onset of my 30's) I decided that it really was time to stop working for the engineering company I was working for and who's house I was living in and find something else to do. The job offered me an AMAZING amount of flexibility schedule-wise and paid the bills, but it really had no prospects for advancement or promotion. Plus, living in a house owned by my employer really put me in a pretty much constantly close proximity to work. So hence, I QUIT! I'm still working for the railroad with some pretty big projects coming up this summer and of course there is the laundromat, but currently I'm still on the search for another job. I didn't time my exit from my position with engineering company really well so my house remodel was not quite done ( well let's be honest, nowhere near done really) when I moved out of the company house at the end of February so I set my office up in my unfinished basement, scattered my stuff around between family and storage and have been staying with my Grandparents (who conveniently live right across the street from my new house) until I can move in. Here are some before and current pics of the what's been done so far.
Living Room Before:
Living Room Currently:
Anyway, you get the idea. All the wall board on the outside walls has been removed. I've removed all the old plumbing and one wall. As soon as my contractor gets back into town he's going to replace all the windows. I'll be starting on the new wiring and insulation (not looking forward to the insulation part). I've got a couple of things to clean up this week first though. I've been removing all the old carpeting tack strips and staples and I need to do a few yard work things this week while the weather is nice. Things are moving along though.
In other news: I've been helping the missionaries out some with all the spare time I've had. Took a quick trip to LA to see my brother and his family last week. Registered as candidate for public office (TV District Board Seat E). Of course the aforementioned applying for jobs. I was even able to spend some time in the garage yesterday which I don't think I've been able to do for awhile.
There really is nothing more satisfying than a clean and organized garage (I know this might not look like a clean and organized garage but I assure you it is).
For some reason that I am having trouble recalling at the moment my cousin and I decided that we needed to try making croissants from scratch this past weekend. The 24+ hour ordeal started about 5pm on Saturday and involved A LOT of butter and what seemed like more rolling of dough than is humanly conceivable.
This is what the dough looked like after about 20 hours. Lots of buttery layers. After all was said and done were they better than Pillsbury crescent rolls? Yes! Have I purchased better croissants? Probably. Nonetheless, there is a certain awe factor to serving someone a croissant you made from scratch. They were very flaky, but not as light as I thought they should be, and their appearance was more biscuit-like in color in some spots than we would have preferred. At least they weren't an unqualified disaster.
Seems like have had a few posts in mind over the last month, but true to form I can't seem to remember what they were about. It's time for a few updates though (possibly some opinions).
Back in September I bought another house.
It's currently being renovated.... by me, and I'll be honest nothing is "currently" happening. It's on the terrace directly across the street from my grandparents. Pictures of renovation to follow (if I ever get started).
I survived the holidays. I spent Thanksgiving in Oregon at my sisters. It was fun. We did a few things including the food trucks in Portland, a bookstore, the zoo and the Evergreen Air Museum.
This is the Spruce Goose. It was a cool museum. We left Oregon by way of the Columbia River Gorge. Everything was beautiful,.. and moldy. Thanksgiving dinner turned out great, and my pie crusts were flaky as hell!
After a couple of weeks of freezing weather I then went to my brother's house in LA for Christmas. The weather there was AMAZING! For Christmas eve we went to the beach and ate pizza where we spent our time playing in the surf and poking hermit crabs. Not traditional, but great all the same. We saw a few movies, visited the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center and ate a lot of great food.
For New Years I was at my other sister's house in Orem. All in all I figure I spent around 42 hours riding in the back of my parents station wagon with my 14 year old brother over the holiday. I may not sign up for that again.
This picture is my parents' new TDI Sportwagen in Ash Springs with my Wagon. Recently I went to Scottsdale, AZ for car auction week. I spent Friday and Saturday at the Gooding & Company auction and it was riot!
This a Ferrari that went for about $6 Million at the auction. After they finished selling their lots on Friday and everybody kind of left there were a few people still hanging around and really giving the remaining cars a good once over. Nobody seemed to be minding much so I TOUCHED EVERYTHING! So much better than any car museum I've been to. Really fun.
New Years Resolutions - So far I've committed to eat more bacon cheeseburgers this year.
I've managed about three a week. So I'd say that's going pretty well so far.
In other news - my stake organized a YSA branch a few weeks ago. I really wasn't planning on going, but I was asked to be the Elders Quorum President so I officially joined the island of misfit toys. It could be worse and even if it gets worse I'm only in it for another year before I graduate the YSA program without honors. Its been an experience so far.
Great movies in the last month (probably in this order):
Saving Mr. Banks
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Frozen was stupid. The only purpose that guys have in Disney movies is to kiss the girl and in this movie they aren't even good for that. In the mean time I'm still spending my time collecting quarters at the laundromat and driving around rural Nevada watching contractors work. Here's to the New Year!