Monday, December 29, 2014

Memoir '44: Moyland Wood Overlord

Canadians vs. Germans in the German countryside
I was happy to have a little time to spare for playing some games during the Holidays, including a large game of Memoir '44 Overlord (Moyland Wood scenario).  It looks so nice and BIG.

Christmas wrap-up, part 4: Saturday with the family

Christmas wrap-up part 3

We all have been enjoying the new soccer goals:

At a white elephant gift exchange, my friend Cindy got a Mt. Rushmore bottle provided by Chris. Chris then demonstrated how tasty was the berry wine he had put inside it:

 ...But shortly after that, Mt. Rushmore was stolen away by our friend Jim.

White elephant gift exchange

Christmas wrap-up part 2

Len shows off his smart red shoes:

 ...and the girls show off their cool new bikes:

Christmas wrap-up

At 2:30 a.m. on Christmas I told my wife to strike a pose that demonstrated how she felt, wrapping gifts until the wee hours:

Here are the girls shortly after they awakened, reading a response to the note left for Santa:

After company arrived, everyone eating and swapping presents:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

6 x 9 inch house portrait, finished yesterday

House portrait in pen and ink
Here's another I finished yesterday.  It's the last one that had a pressing due date of Christmas; now I have one to work one that is an immediate priority because it was paid for long ago, plus a couple of commissions due after the holidays.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Another pen and ink house portrait

I finished this a couple of days ago. It's 11 x 15 inches.  I did not have a chance to get a good scan of it, so this is just a mobile phone photo, so the quality isn't the best--but the details are sharp, which is good, so don't think I'm complaining about my smart phone's camera.

I found this drawing to be challenging in that the values of the grass, bricks, and roof were all very similar, so distinguishing them was difficult.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


 This dates from 11/26.

My daughters were inspired to do some baking—on their own. Early on Thanksgiving week I helped the younger girl make cream puffs for a school party, and the next day she really wanted to bake some cookies all on her own.  The only things adults did were to get the heavy mixer down for her, and help her get the hot tray out of the oven (and also remind her to clean up after herself).  The cookies did not come out in the shape they were supposed to, but they tasted great.

Immediately after that her older sister wanted to bake some brownies.  She did that all on her own, too, except for occasional requests for advice.  The brownies came out oddly low in quantity, as if there was not enough to cover the pan, even though after review neither my daughter nor I could figure out where there may have been an error.  It seems to me that the recipe was simply wrong.  At any rate, I helped her keep an eye on the brownies in the over, and they actually came out great.  Thin and cookie-like (prompting her to label them “crownies”), but delicious.

I am proud of my bakers!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Cake quality

Likelihood that a homemade cake will be good, even if a mistake is made in the recipe, or it’s burnt: 98%.  Likelihood that a cake that comes in shrinkwrap will be any good: 6%

Thursday, November 27, 2014


My first - ever from - scratch pie. It is apple. It will be tried out tomorrow.

Follow-up from 12/1/14:  This was the best apple pie I have ever had, and my favorite dessert from the holiday, although the chocolate toasted meringue creation that Pam brought from Sweet Surrender is awfully close.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Garden de-briefing

I yanked out my big tomato vines last week; they were black and wilted, drooped over their cages, looking every bit how you would expect tomatoes to look after some hard freezes.  One of them never amounted to much, and only gave me a few tomatoes. The other, next to it, was quite large and gave me many good tomatoes, even with stink bugs ravaging it.  When I pulled it (with difficulty) from the ground I was impressed by its thick, strong root system.  I don't know if it was the cultivar, or the location, or the soil, or what, but I hope I can duplicate that next year.  I wish I could remember what cultivar it was.

Early last week I finished off the last of my fried green tomatoes, and they were very good.  My first efforts at making them a few years ago were only marginally successful, but I think I'm pretty good at it now.  It sure makes a big mess, though.

I think the only things that still look green are the lavender and the sage. If I can make some time, I still intend to dig up my glad bulbs for the winter; I'm sure it's not too late, and it needs to be done, but there are always some other projects that take priority.  That's made even more difficult by the facts that it's now completely dark when I get home from work, and on the weekends lately it's been snowing or raining.

I have compost I need to transfer to a small raised bed I made from cinder blocks; then I can put all my leaves and other compost over into the proper compost cage.  But apart from that, and cutting back some weeds from the back fence, I'll be mostly ignoring my back yard until March or April.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Socks with no matches

There is another load of laundry to go, but still, this is a lot of unmatched socks. A LOT.

Edit:  In the process of picking these up, I found three more matches, so you can mentally subtract six socks from this photo.

Sunday, November 09, 2014


Tonight's game was Blokus. My daughters tied for first; Kim was second; I was solidly last.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

House portrait

Here is a black and white house drawing I finished this morning. It's 11 x 15 inches on smooth bristol.
House portrait in pen and ink

detail shot

Accidental snapshot

I was getting ready to take a photo when someone said something that my voice-activated phone thought was "shoot," causing it to take this photo. I sort of like the result.

Saturday night family game

I wanted so badly to play some games this weekend: X-Wing, or Wings of Glory, or Memoir '44, or Dominion.  Plans for that fell through, so I ended up playing Up the River with my wife and daughters.  It was fun, I enjoyed it, even though it's not really in the same class of games.  I did, however, get to play a couple of rounds of Pitchcar Mini with them yesterday, and that was pretty good.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

No knitting, vanishingly small sports

I think I should probably mention how much knitting I have done lately: None.

Regarding sports: Last night I saw, out of the corner of my eye, small fragments of a televised football game. I also heard someone at work mention going to a game of some sort.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Messing around (digitally)

I have never really gotten into digital art. It's not that I dislike it or disrespect it. It's more a combination of not having the technology on hand, and placing a priority on tactile real-world media.  However, I have long been envious of digital artists.

I still do not have the capability (and nothing remotely resembling expertise) for good digital artwork, but I recently downloaded a free drawing program onto my phone, and I have been having fun with it.  I doodled these last night:

It has really whetted my appetite to learn and do more.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Fried green tomatoes

On Sunday I picked a dozen green tomatoes from my back yard. I left behind ones too small or scarred. 

I made a bunch of fried tomatoes slices, and have more tomatoes for later, too. Maybe I will make some green tomatoes salsa.

Fried green tomatoes are sort of a big production,  but I have finally gotten good at it, and streamlined it.  These came out pretty tasty.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Ticket to Ride

A friendly game of Ticket to Ride with the family

We got Ticket to Ride last Christmas, but have hardly played it.  We got it out on Saturday and played a game, and I had a great time. Not just because I won, either.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Halloween post - action report

The French policeman and the wizard

We participated in the St. Matthews Halloween parade in Grandpa Len's neighborhood, then trick - or - treated there. It was quite cold and breezy. We would have been out longer were it not for the biting chill. Then we stopped at Mimi and Grandpa's new place, and on the way home we hit some pretty heavy snow showers.

Here is a pumpkin I carved Thursday night:

I took him over to my daughter's 5th grade Halloween Party on Friday morning, along with three more pumpkins for them to carve.  I think they had fun with it.  As you can tell from the photos, the boys tended to have more of a heavy-handed approach, with pumpkin destruction becoming an art of its own.

These boys are performing brain surgery on the one I carved:

The girls were more likely to aim for a more classical style of pumpkin sculpting.

 This one looked rather elegant:

In the evening we went to Len's and participated in the 65th annual St. Matthews Halloween Parade. Although it was coooooooold and breezy, and only my wife seemed to be dressed appropriately for the weather, we waited for the costume contest. My oldest daughter won a prize of $20 for her wizard getup.

costume contest

a wizard in the cold
After that, we trick-or-treated around the neighborhood.  Enthusiasm waned more quickly than it would have were it no so frigid, but the girls both still had baskets full to the top with candy.  Some people were giving out generous portions.

During the day I watched the movie "The Awakening," which had a lot of creepy parts but, as I had heard from reviews, a silly ending.

It was a good day.

Friday, October 17, 2014

House portrait finished today

Black walnut ink on Bristol paper, 9 x 16 inches. 

Pumpkin horses carved

The horses I drew last week, carved today.  They are probably not going out tonight, but maybe in the next few days.