Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What did he do this time...

1st clue:

2nd clue:

3rd clue:

And no the answer isn't knock the house down...

Lisa is getting into some larger and more interesting pieces of knitting that need to be blocked (laid out and given form) in a flat manner, so I built a blocking frame for her. This particular one is six feet on any run and can be set up in two inch increments to fit about any rectangular or right triangle piece.

Since I know there are a few knitters (and/or people who know and love knitters) out there that read this from time to time, these things are really not that hard to make. 

The wood is standard 1x2 size. A good straight grain hard wood would be best but some soft woods will work (be careful of any wood that might react badly to wet yarn! (in this case react badly means thing like stain the knitting...)). Drill pilot holes for the nails that are small enough that the nails will grip well but large enough that you're not splitting the wood (remember that you're putting a lot of nails in line so a split down the middle is a real possibility if you don't pilot hole).  The pilot holes also help you nails run relatively straight with no muss or fuss. The holes in this one are two inches apart.

The nails are actually the hard part... ordinary home center nails are not acceptable... the basic steel ones tend to rust and the galvanized ones are galvanized. Galvanization means the nails are coated with zinc. So, instead of rusting they flake off zinc and then rust. You can try them if you want but I avoid galvanized metal whenever possible because it will flake off if you work it enough; and since I tend to heat metal in the shop, zinc is a bad thing (it tends to vaporize and go places you don't want (like your lungs!)). The nails I recommend are stainless steel (10dx3" in this case) they are available on line, or for those of you near the coast try a good boat shop.

The sections will be tied together in what ever size Lisa needs on a project by project basis (adjustable is a good thing here).

In other news we survived stake conference last week, not sure everyone did though (in the leadership meeting the visiting general authority challenged the stake to have thirty prospective elders ready to be ordained by our next stake conference... I think leaders from a couple of wards started having heart palpitations...). Our ward's choir sang for the adult session on Saturday night and our bishop gave the first talk of that session (again people from a couple other wards suffering heart palpitations because their egos are dependent on themselves being better than our ward!)

For those wondering about how our ward got featured in conference,  wondering about Lisa or I or our projects or any other related questions I submit this by way of answer (and for those who don't have any of those questions just enjoy the video...)

That's it for today...
See you next week

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why does it never go smooth?

Well to  answer my own question sometimes it does go smooth. Those are the times I suspect I'm walking into an ambush...

Once again working on the house. Today I got to play locksmith and replace the handle mechanism on the screen door. Part of the mechanism managed to break so that there was no way to open it from the outside and opening it from the inside was a bit of a trick. But now we have a brand new handle and lock set and a screen door that actually locks! Definitely will help with air flow this spring... and I got to play outside with metal objects in freezing temps... bonus!

The writing continues...
Making progress on my novella, and developing a minor level of fame (notoriety?) doing it... mostly among the people who work at the Carls Jr that's one of my favorite writing spots (diet Dr Pepper on tap... Just wish they hadn't taken the chili fries off the menu (just today...  :(    ). My biggest (according to my interest) non fiction project is going to take longer than I thought, but I want it to be GOOD! (more about that latter).

Anticipating Lisa will be presenting at another conference this spring (up in Washington state this time...) and she is continuing to work on her Dissertation.

This weekend is our stake conference and the stake president has asked our ward to provide the choir for the adult section Saturday night. So, Lisa will be playing piano in stake conference. As for me... I wish I knew whose butt I burned...I'm going to be talking in the clerk training for the leadership meeting. On the one hand it's pretty cool. On the other hand... why me? On the other other hand considering my big favorite non fiction project is a book on record keeping it makes sense!!!

I'm also working on the never ending project of fixing our ward list, training new leaders, and generally annoying cocky people who assume they must know more than I do because I'm 'just the clerk'.

Relating to a couple of those things... a chance for you guys to rant! If you have had questions/ideas/frustrations about records or record keeping... or good or bad experiences being or dealing with clerks or secretaries in your church organizations I'd love to hear about them! Most of the people who read this know how to get a message to Lisa or myself, so if you don't want to post it as a comment then email us... as with many of my projects this is about helping people to learn, grow and get better.

Well, that's it for today.

Till next time...
My mind does not wander...
It just goes on self guided voyages of discovery!

Monday, January 12, 2015

New year new posts...

Ok, so the holidays kinda wiped us out on posting for a little while, but we're back.

We went down to El Segundo for Christmas and had a pretty good trip. We did not: blow our car up , blow our bank accounts, blow up at each other, or any other problems of that sort. We did get to: see my Mom and Bill, See Lisa's parents and some of the sibs/in-laws/nieces-nephews/other relations, dig some tourmalines (separate upcoming post (have to get Lisa to download the pics...)), pick a pearl (6.75 mm pink from a place at the Redondo Pier), run around in a Japanese grocery store (with attending Okinawa flashbacks), make pancakes for dinner, and other adventures that may come up as part of future posts.

Christmas stuff is actually still up here at the house as both of us had to jump back into "real" life almost immediately on arrival back home.

We did get a request this week that I wanted to respond to... One of the sister in laws asked about sourdough starter...

As part of our Christmas adventures we took some starter and made biscuits and gravy, and pancakes at Lisa's parents house, and I'm guessing that it went over because we got asked to make more pancakes (BTW I set a personal pancake record for number of people served in one meal... 12).  The portion of old Sudden Death that went with us died (due to some unwanted flies trying to get a bite); however, Sudden Death lives! I kept some in the refrigerator up here and it weathered the two weeks just fine. It would be sad to loose old SD as he's the longest lasting starter I've ever had (not really a big achievement some of the serious starters are old enough to collect social security!), but it would not be a disaster as they aren't really that hard to start...

There are basically two ways to start a starter: (other than buying one...)

1 the 'wild capture' method:

Basically put some water, flour, and sugar in a bowl. Mix well, and wait for what ever local yeast buggies happen to be in the area to start growing. Um no thank you... I've seen enough technicolor mold and other less than desirable buggies and I prefer a more consistent, dependable method.

2 the 'mix it your self' method:

In this method you start with the same basic mix of flour, water and sugar.

I use the following:
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 tablespoon of sugar

Put it in a bowl that's at least double or triple the volume you're starting with (trust me give it too small a container and it will try to escape!). Wake up a teaspoon (or packet) of active dry yeast in a little warm water (that's warm not hot (we want to wake the little beasties up not make soup!)) and mix it in.

Note: Use non expired (by markings on container or just plain dead) active dry yeast. Don't fool with rapid rising yeast, yeast protein or any other 'modified' yeast products. You want a good strong yeast not a modified yeast or yeast derivative...

Now you cover your mix  with a towel, paper towel or similar covering that will allow the mix to breath and let it sit overnight.

The next day you can use your starter for whatever fun recipes you find (there are even a couple on the blog here...). Try to save a quarter cup of starter to keep it going... you really can keep one going for a long time.

Your starter will be happiest living on  a room temperature kitchen counter. Generally it is best to feed it regularly (like every 12 hours if it's on the counter) and use it regularly (it tends to build up pretty fast so you have to use it or throw some out on a regular basis). Most reasonable people will tell you to either use it or discard down to a 1/4 cup and feed it a quarter cup each of flour and water at each feeding (when you're going to use it soon (4-12 hours in the future say...) you can feed it more to build up).

You can also keep it in the refrigerator and feed it once a week. If you do this there are a couple things to be aware of...
1) let it warm up a couple hours before you try to use it in a recipe;
2) cover it but let it breath (starter releases CO2 if you put a tight lid on it you're building a bomb...); 3) when it stays in the refrigerator starter will generate a liquid, this is normal. The liquid is actually an alcohol product that comes from the yeast only partially breaking down its food. Opinions very as to whether you should stir the liquid in or drain it off, (I usually drain it off) but if you want to avoid it all together keep your starter on the counter! BTW if the liquid is black that really creeps me out and makes me wary of your starter (you may have some unpleasant bugs going there...time to start again).

The last thing about starter... a starter that sticks around should really have a name. The name is up to you, but it should have one.

Lisa's book chapter is coming along. So are my novella and novel. Yes... the novella was supposed to be out last month but that didn't happen. I decided some stuff needed to be added; it turns out it's really hard to write in a moving car (or at your in-laws kitchen table with family running around); and for some strange reason my writing partner insists on working on her doctorate and sleeping! It will be out this year though (before November) and the novel will be out late this year or next year. I also have some non fiction stuff coming up but more on that later...

I'll tell you more about the characters in the stories I'm working on in later posts (probably most of that will go on on my writing blog (I'll put up a link here when that happens)). In the mean time I found a fan video for the Avengers that resonates with me. I'm not writing an Avengers story (I create my own characters thanks!) but with the song I can place one of my characters in the place of just about every character in the video:

And no, I am not being derivative... I'm just saying that if my characters were superheros I know which one of these guys each of my characters would be.

Well, that's it for today... one of us will be writing here again next week.