10:37 PM Friday, January 1, 2021
New Year. Same as the old year so far. Last month bought more things to get better sound for the garage home theater. Got to use it once or twice. Got my Q Stoves Q-FLAME Q05C Outdoor Wood Pellet Patio Heater. Seems to work ok. Only really tried it out once so far. Takes a little tweaking to get the heat up, definitely not light and forget. Definitely not as much smoke as a fire table, that's for sure. Didn't have smokey smelling clothes at all. Been going to Menards a lot. I like that store. No idea why. But easy to go to when I have to wait to pick up Lucy after dropping her off at swimming. Got a Christmas tree. Setup the LEGO Winter Village with train underneath. Got a USB Adapter for the lighting sets so it's hooked up to the same Lutron Lamp controller as the tree lights. Tracy got into decorating a bit, did the outdoor planters, added some additional lighting to the front tree/bushes. Did not sign up for the Winter Wonderland walk though. Did have our first possible confirmed exposure during the group walk (at least Tracy and Lucy did) through one of the Blaine dads. Not sure what to do, we found out maybe 6 days after the possible exposure, and we were all feeling fine and showing no symptoms. Ideally we'd all get tested to be sure, but wasn't going to happen. Been getting a lot of Tea Ninja (usually every Saturday after Lucy's swim practice). Got some taro powder to make at home. Made the taro tea I think, but haven't tried making a slushie yet. Hung up all the foam dart blasters on pegboard. Almost need more pegboard already. Almost bought Airpods Max on release day (just by checking available stock for pick up). Actually purchased the silver but then cancelled my order because I second guessed my color choice. So been checking daily since then for Space Gray availability for pick up. Christmas was good, Zoomed with the Argaos, FaceTimed with the Abandos. Jackson's presents were mostly digital. The new iMac pretty much stays booted in Windows. So many games available. Lucy's coolest present was a LEGO Mindstorms Robot thingie which is pretty impressive. It's cool. There's coding and everything. She successfully presented on getting a Leopard Gecko, so started getting the infrastructure for that. Actually watched Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul close to release days. Tracy got me a clear ice block kit, which works ok. Rang in the new year with The Princess Bride and some board games. Kids actually stayed up until midnight.
7:41 AM Saturday, January 30, 2021
Keep on, keeping on. Typing this from the iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2020), booted into macOS for the first time in a. while. It's a really nice machine. It continues to just stay booted in Windows though. So much gaming available. Although the Xbox Series Wireless controller issues are annoying, and that seems to be Windows's fault, which makes me tempted to get a console, since those should at least be more reliable? Finally getting some snow up in here. Looks like winter. Again, my proposal of shifting the calendar a couple months so it's cold and snowing in December instead of Jan/Feb should be taken seriously. Although I wonder if such a shift makes sense for seasonal weather around. the globe, and not just in Chicago. Otherwise, not much has changed yet. I did nuke and pave all my devices a couple weeks ago. I had added some additional regex rules to my Pi-Holes to block ads from the News.app, but I was too aggressive. Safari stopped syncing iCloud tabs. Took a bit to figure that out, after some help on micro.blog. But kinda nice to start fresh. Finished watching New Girl and the most recent season of Cobra Kai, and started up Kim's Convenience from the beginning. Did a bunch of network hardware upgrades. All rack mounted devices now. Was also able to setup Let's Encrypt for the Unifi Controller. Added benefit, should make it easier to keep up the same on this site. Speaking of which, I renewed this domain for another 10 years. Had it since July 1998. Crazy. Got myself an early birthday present when AirPods Max were available for pickup a couple weeks ago. They're amazing. So yeah, it's been an expensive January. Made a Peanut Butter Layer Cake for a friend's birthday. It was amazing. Probably my favorite thing I've made yet. Planning on making the Pancake Layer Cake for my birthday. Had to order some special supplies from a place called Modernist Pantry. They have supplies for molecular gastronomy. Tempted. Trying to keep the Memex updated more. Trying to exercise more, simple Plank Workouts and the harder Sterling K. Brown Pyramid Workout. Got a new work from home setup with a Cora Standing Desk Adapter and Roost Laptop Stand. It's setup at the end of the kitchen table and I spend most of the time standing, but easy to bring it down for dinner or when I get tired.
9:56 PM Sunday, February 28, 2021
Big news is the kids are going back to school this week. When they go back on Thursday, it'll have been roughly 11 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days since they last were physically in school. It's hybrid learning, with half of those that opted in go on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the others go in on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays everyone is remote. Non in school days are remote from 8-11am and asynchronous (on their own) in the afternoons (like last spring). With any huge changeover like this, I'm sure this first week is going to be a little bit, or probably a whole lot crazy. I have no idea what Thursdays and Fridays will be like without kids in the house. It's gonna be so quiet. Another month has come and gone. Snow piled up and is gradually leaving. Makes me happy because cars should be closer to the curb now and make driving not so difficult. Diet's been a little all over the place. Lost a few pounds when I tried fasting for a day or two. Of course, I'm starting to gain some of it back, so going to try it again. The Pancake Layer Cake I made for my birthday was ok. It's different. Don't have to make it again. Made a White Layer Cake for Sonya. I think it was pretty good. Found a use for all those egg whites leftover from the pancake cake. Been keeping up with the pyramid workout and plank workout. Feeling better. Tried not spending as much money this month, mostly succeeded. I think. Planning on getting a cargo box for the roof relatively soon. Hopefully they'll be in stock still and the run on them hasn't started yet.
7:54 AM Monday, March 22, 2021
Found out last week I'm eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine in the most recent phase (1B+). So I've started checking availability sites. Haven't quite escalated to checking pharmacies or suburban locations. But apparently I have an underlying condition, so that's kinda cool? Weather's been warming up, so actually been spending time outside. Back to stooping as well. At least when it's sunny. Not sure if I'm expecting another snow before summer or not. Kids are in hybrid learning. Different. Thursdays and Fridays are so quiet now. It's crazy. Hoping it's good for them to be around other kids in school again. I think Jackson's doing well with it. Haven't made a cake in a month or so. Got a couple coming up though. Doing pretty well keeping up with my home workouts. And staying hydrated. Next health issue to tackle is my irregular sleep schedule. Need to get more regular with that. Did get a cargo box, a Rhino-Rack Zenith Cargo Box 400L. Easy enough to get on and off. Need to find a storage place in the garage for that one though. Trying to burn through the rest of my wood pellets from the winter. I didn't keep them airtight, so they aren't the best anymore. But still keep things warm I think. Last week for HelloFresh. Going to try out Blue Apron next. Did another Power Red blood donation, still no Covid-19 antibodies. I failed to complete the February 2021 Photoblogging Challenge. So I'm trying to complete it on my own. Got to reach April 8 to make it.
4:33 PM Monday, April 26, 2021
Got my 2nd shot of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last Thursday. Ended up taking a sick day on Friday as I didn't sleep that well and felt pretty achy (like the flu). But that only lasted a day. So now just waiting a couple weeks until I should be fully vaccinated. Yay. Only thing that really changes I think is hanging out with other vaccinated people indoors without masks. Just in time for summer. Went to a house in Austinburg, Ohio for Spring Break with the Cases. Once I arrived, didn't leave the grounds until the trip was over. We let the vaccinated ones out to get food and supplies. But fun, relaxing, and they brought a new toy: Oculus Quest 2. Tried it out once for like 15 minutes, and then I knew I had to get one. So we do. And it's amazing. Aside from having to create a Facebook account for it, and of course spending on accessories and games, but a lot of fun. Now trying to evangelize, because it really is amazing. It's like the future. Like the Metaverse or the Oasis or the Matrix. Seriously cool. Also on the trip we did a Zoom magic show with Justin Willman (from Netflix's Magic for Humans). Pretty cool. Still working on the 30 day Micro.blog photoblogging challenge. I think I'm 4 days out from completing. Fingers crossed. Been ordering a bunch of Steingold's lately. Good stuff there. Keep getting the bagel and lox. One recent weekend we did 3 orders in 5 days (dinner, then a couple days off, then lunch then breakfast). Soccer's started again for Jackson. Getting conflicts with Lucy's swim practice, so have to bike instead of choosing to bike. Also got one of those garage storage pulley systems to hang the cargo box for the car. Gets it off the floor, but it hangs pretty low, so not the greatest. Thinking maybe one of those hanging shelves would be better? Ordered one to see. If not, the shelf could be useful for storing the patio couch cushions when it's raining. Finally got Jackson to use headphones for remote schooling, so it's much quieter when he's home M-W.
9:11 PM Monday, June 14, 2021
Chicago's open again. Phase V. It's definitely weird being fully vaccinated and having things seem back to normal. We went to a party last month, and we hosted a small party last weekend, all maskless. We even went to the Old Town Art Fair on Sunday, and it was like nothing happened. Super crowded. Crazy. Will be nice when the kids can finally get vaccinated too. Gotta recap May since I forgot to post my monthly update. Finally setup standing playdates with Hudson for Jackson on in school days (Thursdays and Fridays). His parents and us alternate which place they go to, so only 1 parent has to pick them both up. Lucy had a pretty low key birthday. Made her a Milk Bar carrot layer cake which was pretty good, and got Publican delivered. She really liked the steak. Trying to keep up with home workouts. Added in an oblique workout, along with the pyramid workout and plank workout. Finally finished The Maze Runner series. Jackson plays in the AYSO Region 418 Spring season with his same team. He likes it. He even tried out and made Northwinds SC, the AYSO Region 418 travel team (not sure which level). That was a bit of a surprise, since he hasn't been playing for that long. Started making cocktail mixers. Made a Rhubarb cocktail that's been a favorite (brought it to the party). Made a couple batches for friends (at cost) for their Memorial day plans. Maybe a side business? Also got a bottle cutter, trying to make vases for Tracy's plants. Not quite as easy as it looks. Not quite even all the time. Finally ordered food from Cho Sun Ok Restaurant, the korean BBQ place on Lincoln that always has a line out the door (found out because they're tiny on the inside, not that many tables). It's good. Had the car serviced (couple of recall services), ended up taking too long so I got a rental (Forester) for the day. Big car, but same cockpit, so the UI felt small. Went on our first camping trip of the year, and first time at Buckhorn State Park in Wisconsin, just north of the Dells. Delayed it by a day, because temp at the site dropped to 35 on what would have been the first night. Used the Rhino Rack cargo box for the first time. Max speed of 70 meant I camped out in the right lane. Definitely weird to do that. Campsite had water access, so Tracy rented kayaks for us. Getting them from the rental place to the site was a little difficult since we didn't have J racks for the car, but we hacked something together so it worked. Only had to return one because Tracy and Lucy kayaked across the lake to return one. Used a sleeping bag, so didn't get too cold. Having the cargo box at the site was nice, didn't have to trek back to the car to store food and trash. Bugs weren't too bad either. I got an inflatable pillow at Cabela's on the way up, since we also had to get a fishing rod since we forgot the kids rods). Much easier packing compared to the full size pillows everyone else had. Hoping we all have smaller ones for the next trip. Instead of Arby's, stopped at Culver's on the way home. Might be the 2021 place to stop on camping trips. Best onion rings I've had in a while. Went to our Cubs game for the year. Pretty nice day for it. Moved my desk off the kitchen table and over to the kitchen desk area, which I finally cleaned and organized. Been ordering a lot from Amazon lately. The hanging shelf works well for the cushions, and worked well enough that I ordered another one for the cargo box (better than the pulley system which hangs down too low. Starting to see the appeal of Tik Tok. It's super easy to get sucked into it. Lucy's started posting (making her own pop its (which is another fad I don't understand) or of Banana our leopard gecko). For the hosted party made more cocktail mixes, including a watermelon basil for margaritas, and a blueberry/mint to go along with the blackberry/sage (which I had previously made for the camping trip), for bourbon or gin fizzes or spritzes, and the rhubarb/rosemary from before. Watched a bunch of stuff including Beartown, Girls5eva, For All Mankind Season 2. Finally watched Knives Out and Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). And just today figured out how to get the back door from sticking (the hinges have adjustment screws on them) as well as figuring out why the sliding door wasn't smooth (besides the rails being dirty, one set of rollers were rusted, so ordered a replacement set). So I guess I've been busy. Kids got a week of school left. And then summer begins. Lucy's got a couple swim camps, and she's gonna be a junior lifeguard. Jackson has a soccer camp and a week at Blaine summer camp. And we have a surprising amount of vacation planned. Should be a good summer (which hopefully won't be marred by any resurgence of COVID). Fingers crossed.
11:35 PM Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Been busy. Tried making up for the lost pandemic year, thinking it was mostly over, but guess it wasn't. Made a couple trips to Lakeside Inn with friends. Found out some of my old Magic: The Gathering cards are actually worth some money. Put up another hanging shelf in the garage for the cargo box. Much nicer in there. Did my first escape room for Elliot's birthday party. Fun. So fun we did it again when Tracy's brother and family were in town. Actually set off some big fireworks on the fourth of July. That last big one was unexpected, but pretty cool. Kids finished school, had camps over the summer. Lucy was in the Chicago Jr. Lifeguard camp, which she did on and off throughout the summer. She had a week of Stingray (her swim team) camp, and then did a sleepaway Nike Swim camp at Hillsdale College in Michigan for 5 days. Got to see and hang out with Russell and Sarah for a night. Finally. Jackson did Blaine summer camp for a couple weeks, and a P2 Soccer camp for a couple weeks. Started playing Exploding Kittens (thanks to the Brizzolara's) at Lakeside the second time around. Got our own set shortly afterwards. Went to Orlando for 10 days with Tracy's family, stayed at a couple Marriot resorts. Pretty much pool time the entire time. Didn't go to any amusement parks, except for Discovery Cove (no dolphins for us). Got our first COVID rapid test the day after we got back. All negative. Finally got around to donating blood again. Previous attempt got cancelled, so took me a while to rebook an appointment. Went camping again, and Kelley and Hudson joined us for a day. Kind of have a regular spot at Kohler-Andrae Wisconsin State Park. And then Lucy did the kids triathlon last weekend. And the kids are back in school as of yesterday. I actually went into Numerator's new office at 24 W. Washington for the first time. Finally setup the computers at my desk, and took home a bunch of my personal effects because they're moving to a hoteling desk setup. Not many people there at all. But a very nice space. Tempted to start going in more often. Also forgot how nice it was to have big monitors and lots of screen real estate. So just ordered up some to see what fits at my kitchen desk. Making a dent in the list of movies I need to watch. Oh, and I've given up coffee. It's a special occasion type of thing. So yeah, busy. Going to try and get back to a normal schedule of some sort now.
9:52 PM Thursday, September 9, 2021
I missed my Daily Dose anniversary post back on August 5th, but that just makes this blog being 21 years old. Old enough to drink. Crazy. Hard to believe I'm still writing, albeit not anywhere close to being daily, after all these years. Wonder if I'll ever get under the hood again to change anything, or if this will keep chugging along. Anyway. Happy Belated Birthday blog.