Saturday, August 31, 2013

Utah Day 1

Took Southwest Air to Baltimore, thence to Salt Lake, no problem. Checked out a car and started driving 175 miles east towards Vernal.
Once out of SLC, the land becomes barren--rocky and uninhabited. There are trailers, mobile homes, shacks; they look desolate, like they've been placed on a patch of land purely to claim residence, not because anyone lives there. I drive by an intersection and there's no clump of houses, no store, no gas station, just a road leading off to the north. Driving on Route 40, I pass by a lake--must have been Strawberry Reservoir--and there are boats on it but no development there, no lakefront property, just raw dirt leading to the water. Apparently there aren't enough people here to need to claim every square foot, or to manicure it.
Duchesne City isn't a city, it's a small town clinging to a highway. I'm through it before I quite realize it.After that, it's up over a mountain pass, over 8000 feet.
I check into a hotel in Vernal, then go a few more blocks to The Quarry restaurant. They have 5 ounce samplers of beers for $1.50, so I try Baba Black Lager and Cutthroat Pale Ale, plus an undistinguished French dip sandwich. I conclude the desk clerk recommended this place because he drinks here.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blacksburg Redux

Gwen's furniture shipment finally arrived, and it all (barely) fit in the Honda, so I folded myself into the driver's niche and drove it up to Blacksburg. Josh and Gwen provided satay chicken, and after dinner we broke in their new Dominion set. I won that one, largely by going for provinces for a turn or two while they were still gathering gold.
On the way home, I saw a bear that had apparently wandered onto the interstate the night before and gotten hit. First time I've seen a bear like that--deer, yes, racoons, yes, but never a bear before. Must have been a shock for whoever ran into it--"driving, dark, driving, dark, fuzzy patch of slightly darker, WHAM THAT WAS A BEAR!"

Monday, August 19, 2013


We went shopping on Sunday and got a couple of things for Diana's birthday. Then on Monday, I knew she'd be at the pharmacy around lunchtime, so I left work, got two dozen roses, found her car, and left the flowers in her front seat.  Surprise #1/
Then I told her that I'd take care of dinner, and with the cold wet weather, I was thinking of Italian. Came home after work, told her to get dressy, and went to Mannino's on Pleasure House Road, which is currently the #1 rated restaurant in Virginia Beach according to Trip Advisor. Diana said the veal cannoli was superb, my lasagna was excellent, and our server Christine took good care of us. Surprise #2, and a very successful birthday.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


"Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other."
Samuel Johnson

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Having played Tetris with furniture and boxes of books while also keeping the load weight within limits, we set off on Saturday morning with Gwen and Josh in the Toyota while Diana and I took the Honda and attached trailer and trudged up the hills...The forecast was rain, rain, rain, but it didn't rain, right up until we pulled in and started unloading. Fortunately, even then it was a light sprinkling rather than a downpour, just enough to motivate us to hustle.
Met my high school classmate Paula and her daughter and went to Macado's for dinner, then drove to the farm and finished the night with Mom's lasagna.

Josh and Gwen loaded some more furniture from the old house--there was an orange salamander in the grass there--and hauled it back to Blacksburg. They are now officially Moved In.
I took the Mutt down to the field to bound around through the grass and wildflowers and wade in the creek. There's a new spring coming out from under a split rock, a few yards up from the pool.
Dinner with Mom, Diana and me, Josh and Gwen, David and Elizabeth, Jack and Julia. Gwen saw her first hummingbird.
The night was a bit cloudy but I saw a couple of Perseid meteors.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Tonight we're packing Josh and Gwen's stuff for the Historic Move To Blacksburg. Got the UHaul trailer, got the suitcases, got the boxes. Getting the boxes into the trailer is the next step.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Monster Hunter

We've gotten our copy of the Monster Hunter International RPG. I say "we" because Josh immediately grabbed it and started making notes for a campaign.

I note that one of the Navaho hero/gods is Monster Slayer.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tile Backsplash

The grout is done, most of the haze is polished off the tile, the electrical faceplates are up and the trim pieces are in and caulked. Finished, huzzah!

Saturday, August 3, 2013


In the morning I went to Echoes of Time, a vintage costume shop on North Witchduck in Virginia Beach. I'd been hoping to find a frock coat or a Victorian British uniform jacket for sale--they had some for rent, but not for sale--but I did pick up some leather gaiters and a vintage tuxedo shirt, which I think can be made to go with the Steam Gunslinger look.

In the afternoon Jon Davis came over again. Apparently someone didn't follow procedures the way the manufacturer intended, so the nuclear tests are delayed and Jon had some free time. We set up Close Action and each took three ships; Jon ended up losing 15 sections while I lost 16, earning him a marginal win. Pretty good for being the second time he'd played !

I ordered Navajo Wars and one of Gwen's favorite games Dominion.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Anzac cookies

Gwen made Anzac cookies for us tonight. One of the ingredients is golden syrup, not easily obtained here, but Gwen and Diana found some at the Highland Store.

I grabbed a couple fresh out of the oven, and they were fantastic. And then they were all gone, and I was sad. I'm not sure why Gwen doesn't make a batch every day.