Catching Up

The calendar is catching up to the weather, in fact. On Tuesday into Wednesday, we’re due for “wintery mix,” which sounds much nicer than it really is. But 30’s and 40’s for December are just fine. It’s the teens and 20’s that make us cranky, here in Chez Bilbrez.

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I’ve got the week “off” – burning some unused hours before I lose them to policy, come the end of the calendar year. Primary focus: finish building Marcia’s rolling cabinet, which is do-able, methinks. Here’s the carcass, much progress:

Marcia's Rolling Cabinet Carcass

Marcia’s Rolling Cabinet Carcass

In the last two days, I’ve got finish on all of the drawers and the body of the carcass. This afternoon, I made the face frame components and attached them. Tomorrow, I’ll sand the face frame and apply finish coats of urethane to the whole thing. Then I can get the hardware attached, and start working on the top and the drawer fronts.

Also on tap for the week: the house needs a deep cleaning, and the basement floor continues to need my attention. We’d like that to be done by the time Marcia’s recovered from her right knee replacement (surgery scheduled for January).

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Maj. Wardell B. Turner, 48, of Nanticoke, Maryland, died on Nov. 24, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Joseph W. Riley, 27, of Grove City, Ohio, died on Nov. 24, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his vehicle with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.

Winter is … What? Over 70 degrees tomorrow?

Yeah. This week we spent a significant amount of time at or below freezing, including a couple of mornings around 20°F. But according to the various forecasts, tomorrow it’s supposed to get up to 73°F. But two days later we’re back down to the deep freeze, with potential snow/sleet on Wednesday. Very weird.

I spent most of this weekend working in the woodshop on drawers and carcass for a rolling storage cabinet for Marcia, to use in her quilting space:

New cabinet for Marcia

New cabinet for Marcia

Most of today was spent laying out and pre-drilling holes for the drawer mounting hardware. Then I’ll finish the drawer bodies and the carcass in an off white. The drawer fronts and trim on the cabinet body (as well as the cabinet top) are going to be made from the pine shelving that I got from Jolene’s yarn shop a few years back.

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DoD has reported no new casualties in the last week.

Five Down, Seven To Go

Months, that is. The year, it flies by too quickly. We’re approaching the heat and humidity of the year, sadly. The upside of the unpleasant months is fresh veggies out of the garden. Soon, soon:

Garden - Late May 2014

Garden – Late May 2014

Things are going well … I cleaned house yesterday. No, really. With a car wash mitt and a few buckets of soapy water, I cleaned everything I could reach on the front of the house. Doing it that way was a pain in the ass, and frankly exhausting, but the method did a much more consistent job of cleaning than using a pressure washer to draw pictures in the dirt and oxidized paint. Originally I was just after the trim and gutters (off-white and white) to spruce things up. But it became quickly clear that everything needed attention. I’m very happy with the results. After I finished that up, I weeded out the garden beds.

Today, shopping, laundry, restructuring the garage entrance to the shed, and mowing. Of the four tasks, only the third is mildly interesting. The shed floor is about 14″ up from the level of the garage, and when we moved in, it was configured as one 14″ step. I move assorted wheeled equipment in and out of there, and it made sense to me early on to construct a short, steep ramp there. It was bolted to the ledger, and I used tapcon screws to attach the ramp to the concrete floor. Sturdy. In addition, at the shed back door, leading to the back yard, there is a concrete step.)

The problem with the ramp is that it is (errr, was) adjacent to Marcia’s driver-side door, which means the ramp has been rarely, but painfully in the way for her. A few years ago, I built a portable ramp, and started moving some gear in and out through the back as well. Eventually (this year), I figured that I could use that ramp when needed on the garage side as well. So today I deconstructed the 11 year old ramp, and re-used the materials to make a single step there, splitting the 14″ difference. That step will support the portable ramp as necessary, and Marcia now has more/better maneuvering room when entering and exiting her car.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Jacob H. Wykstra, 21, of Thornton, Colorado, who died on May 28, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained as a result of an aircraft accident.

Dreaming of a White St. Paddy’s Day

Echoes of Bing Crosby chasing around my head as I look outside:

House in gray and white

House in gray and white

Very pretty, though

Very pretty, though

A downside is that there’s a couple more inches of the stuff headed our way, so I’ll be waiting to clear the driveway and sidewalks until mid-afternoon. And I’ll just have to assume that the snow peas are happy as clams in a snow-covered planting bed.

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Here’s the laptop pedestal I built and finished over the weekend. It’s designed to sit on top of a regular desk, to be a stylish standing desktop for laptop and mouse. It can also move down to floor level, and be a foot-rest or stool. But mostly it’s a standing desk. Someone I know needs this (not me!)…

Standing desk

Standing desk

 

Pictures or It Didn’t Happen

Some of you may not have heard Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra singing Pictures (or It Didn’t Happen), off of the most excellent and awesome album, Theatre is Evil. I will say that, although I love this song, it isn’t my favorite song off the album. But the song is appropriate for this post…

Bowie Snow Day, 3 March 2014

Bowie Snow Day, 3 March 2014

So I got the first coat of spar urethane onto the birdhouse this morning:

Birdhouse in progress

Birdhouse in progress

And Lexi continues to relax in one of her accustomed spots. I think that she’s waiting for sun that isn’t going to appear today:

Lexi relaxing

Lexi relaxing

The snow continues to fall, we’re up to about two inches so far, atop a layer of sleet and ice. So, overall I think a good call to make it a snow day. It’s supposed to drop to the single digits tonight, yay?

OMG Moar Wintar!!

There’s a bit of rain on the ground … about a tenth of an inch since noon. The temperatures are in the mid-to-high 30’s (F). So of course OPM has already called it for tomorrow: CLOSED. Now, depending on how reliable you regard our weather forecasting establishment to be, that might be a good move. Others believe, too: BJs was crowded early this morning, when I was there for the weekly shopping. Evidently, for some folks, a winter storm is actually Ragnarok.

I did a lot of small projects this weekend, and I’ve spent some time diving into Ansible as an alternative to Puppet for systems configuration management. It looks interesting, and a lot less programmatic in implementation. I don’t know quite enough about either to make an informed choice, yet. But soon, soon.

I also built a birdhouse for the backyard, out of shop scraps. I’ve applied some walnut stain to most of the outer surfaces. I’m going to get a bit of white paint on the roof, then apply spar urethane over the whole project. I’ll put it out in a couple of weeks (and a picture of it up, at that time).

Oh, hey. One of the people I follow on Twitter noted that they weren’t watching the Academy Awards. Those are on? Um, okay. Break a leg, film people.

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DoD announced no new casualties in this last week, yay! Ciao!

Pre-cooling

While the West is unseasonably warm and horribly dry, we’re hovering around normal on precipitation here in this back yard – .28″ measured for 2014 to date. But the temps we’ve got coming are something else again. Today was a summer-ish 38° F, with some rain to knock down most of the snow, more’s the pity. It was pretty outside, but not so much, now. Day after tomorrow, we should be around 0-2° F over night, with a high around 12° or so. That’s cold, baby! And dicey driving on roads slick with snow-melt that stopped melting. After that, oddly, we’ll be back up into the 40’s for a few days.

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I’ve been working on a small project. Here’s a piece of it in progress:

Working with wood

Working with wood

It’s nothing to do with a Buffy remake, if that’s what you’re thinking.

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Coffee – For these two weeks, we’re drinking a Guatemala Huehuetenango – Tono Sanchez. It’s roasted to City+, about halfway between first and second crack. Delicious!

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Our condolences to the family, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Jacob M. Hess, 22, of Spokane, Washington, died on Jan. 1, 2014, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
  • Sgt. First Class William K. Lacey, 38, of Laurel, Florida, died on Jan. 4, 2014, in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when the enemy attacked his unit with rocket propelled grenades.

Nearly So

Paul guessed that the pictured object was a vertical file holder. Ye..ess, depending on what you’re filing. What I’m filing with it:

Cutting board holder

Cutting board holder

Pushed back to the edge of the counter, the holder keeps the boards from using too much counterspace, while still easily available for use. I made these two boards to replace two bamboo boards that cracked. We’ve also moved our two large boards (including the one made by Marcia’s dad many moons ago) up off the counter and above the fridge. We don’t need those too often.

We hope y’all had a nice holiday (if you celebrate). I’m celebrating by taking the upcoming week mostly off – I’ve got a couple of work tasks during the time, but only a couple at this time. The balance of the time is taken with house cleaning and other indoor chores. For example, I’m pivoting my *NIX system over to the Illumos-backed OpenIndiana distribution. I’ll have some Linux running as virtual machines, but this Solaris fork is going to be an interesting and useful platform for me. Today I’m migrating data onto it from backup disks.

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I’m happy to relay that DoD reported no US Military casualties during the last week. That’s definitely something to be thankful for! Ciao!

 

What is it?

What is it?

What is it?

What is it? What would *you* use it for? No, NOT for skinning a cat… It’s almost certainly more boring than you can imagine.

Now, here’s Lexi, curled up on as much girly afghan as she can find:

Lexi on the girly afghan

Lexi on the girly afghan

And for Jen, who hasn’t seen Lexi in a while:

Lexi in a winter jacket

Lexi in a winter jacket

This mutt LOVES crawling up inside our coats when the weather starts getting cold!