Remember the night we broke the windows in this old house? 

Busy day yesterday. In the early morning I watched the second half of "It's a Wonderful Life" that I'd started earlier Friday before bed. I know it's almost cliché, but I love that movie.

I took the kids to Hampshire Hills in the morning and to Cafe on the Oval for a big brunch afterwards. Lots of laundry to do when we got home and I paid for CBear's spring semester at NHTI and bought the textbooks she'll need. ($$$)

We wrapped it up at St. Patricks. 4pm was the Youth Mass and Abby played her clarinet with the youth band. After Mass they had a teen night in the church hall. We had pasta & meatballs. The kids made Christmas cards, decorated cookies, did a Yankee Swap, and had some time for prayer and reflection.

In a strange twist I ended up with the gift I had bought for the Yankee Swap. When we got home I did more laundry while watching a sentimental Christmas romance movie on the ION channel: "Golden Christmas 3". If I didn't already have five children from a very happy marriage, I'd say watching a movie like that is almost a Man Card revoking event.

Posted
AuthorScott Bilik
CategoriesPosts
Tagsdaily

I just finished up from cleaning up after dinner. Tim and I are downstairs: he's using my ChromeBook because it's so power efficient, especially when watching videos. Tonight he's studying CSS. I've got Michelle's ancient netbook. I'd given it it's weekly software updates earlier in the day and wanted to try to use it to write tonight. The funny thing is that the netbook's screen is small enough that SquareSpace shows me the mobile phone version of the site.

It's been a busy week, as it often is, but especially as Christmas approaches. I got to Mass most mornings except Tuesday when I had to go to an IEP meeting for Michael. I got to Body Step classes Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, Thursday afternoon (and hopefully tomorrow morning with the family). I had an Opus Dei Circle Monday night, CCD classes Tuesday night, the Twins' winter chorus concert Wednesday night, and Abby's winter concert band last night. This is the first evening where I feel like I can sit by the wood stove, relax, read, write, and tinker.

Work has been a bit nicer than usual. I'm in a phase of refinement and polishing what we've built, rather than the rush to "get it working" by some tight deadline. When you're pushed for time you often feel as though "if I had more time, I'd love to..." and now I have a bit of that. I've been speeding things up, making them more accurate, analyzing coverage reports, considering enhancements for derivative products, etc.

Ramen.jpg

After Mass this morning I was having eggs and pork pie at Cafe on the Oval, sitting at the counter next to my friend Paul. Somehow in the course of conversation we got onto the topic of Ramen Noodles. I mentioned that while I've had them before, I'd never actually made them. It's not that they're difficult, but even with all of the cooking I've been adjusting to lately, I'd not made simple Ramen Noodles. They're only slightly more difficult than Instant Oatmeal. How did I ever get through engineering college and grad school without doing so?! Well, keep in mind college students didn't usually have microwave ovens back then. Remember kids, we didn't have Google, Wikipedia, or Internet either.

So today as I was working from home, I thought, "Sure, why not?" I knew we had some in the cupboards from when Michelle did grocery shopping. Holy cow! We had 15 packages of Ramen! How on earth did Michelle maintain such an enviably low blood pressure?! Maybe Michelle just stocked up to assure herself that I would have emergency food when all else failed. In her last months of life she knew my utter lack of cooking ability.

We've been blessed with two brought meals this week. Between what we made and what was brought over, I decided tonight we should work on reducing the leftovers building up. Claire tends to get annoyed by too many leftovers anyway. I think tomorrow I'm going to try to make a barbecue beef roast. I've done traditional pork pot roast with veggies before and thought this should be similar. We'll see.

Posted
AuthorScott Bilik
CategoriesPosts
Tagsdaily
2 CommentsPost a comment

Beetle got its snow tires

I finally brought my daily driver home with its new snow tire + rims combination. The first appointment got cancelled and the second one didn't work because of a misunderstanding.

Unlike my first time (8 years ago) in doing a snow tires + rims combination with my then new Jetta, this time I didn't get cheap albeit durable black steel rims but spent the extra for a nice set of alloys. Black steel rims just looked too cheap. Dare I say ghetto? We jokingly called them the Birth Control Rims because no teen guy could ever get a girl pregnant driving a car with them.

Various ways to NHTI

Various ways to NHTI

Doing a bit more research than I did back then, I opted to downsize my original equipment 17 inch rims to 15 inch rims but increase the sidewall height of the tire by an  inch all around. Now that it's back in the garage, the tires look like those from the minivan! At the same time I went for a narrower width tire. It will hurt handling on normal conditions but improve the car's ability to cut through the snow as you're putting more weight on less surface area.

This Friday I go through the same routine but with the red Jetta so that Claire will have snow tires for those long drives to and from NHTI this winter. Much of it is curvy back roads through New Boston and Weare, NH.

My mechanic also plugged a pair of holes that I got in my all season tires over the holiday break. Evidently I ran over one of those electrical staples. I won't know until next spring, but it should hold. Still... you can imagine how I felt Monday morning seeing a flat tire when they've only got about 2K miles on them.

Posted
AuthorScott Bilik
CategoriesPosts
Tagsdaily

Happy New Year! For the Catholic Church this 1st Sunday of Advent is the start of a new liturgical year. Break out the purple and the pink. Christmas is coming!

Alas the kids' five day weekend comes to a close tonight. Tomorrow the boys start their second trimester. The girls just finished what is starting to become a pattern for them: wrapping up their Sunday nights with a little sister-bonding with an episode of Carrie Diaries via Netflix before heading to bed and before Claire heads back up to NHTI for the week.

Busy day today. Morning Mass with the whole crew. Breakfast at Donut Fresh. I made a new hybrid recipe by combining two slow cooker chicken noodle/chicken vegetable recipes together. In the end the kids really enjoyed it. Good comfort food on days like today when we still have the Thanksgiving snow on the ground reminding us that winter is around the corner.

Abby joined me as we dropped off our guest up in Manchester and stopped at Panera before heading back. I had lots of "one off" bills to take care of today. I paid for next year's lawn, tree, and shrub treatments. I renewed my IEEE membership for another year. I made a donation to SHARE. I bought six round trip plane tickets for Chicago. I reserved a rental van for that trip. Ordered a new DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem since Comcast is pressuring me to upgrade. And monthly bills for my credit card and mobile provider. Why yes, my wallet does feel lighter!

In between calls to family back in the midwest, I also prep'd for this week's CCD. I also need to cram for the upcoming RCIA. I made a quick trip to the grocer to buy a few things for tomorrow's turkey soup. I've spared the kids a few days, but now it's time to finish off those turkey leftovers!!

I'm kind of looking forward to tomorrow's commute. "My" car (all 4 are technically mine) usually sits in the garage all weekend as I tend to use the van then. Last week I finished Scott Hahn's Joy to the World during my commutes. A great read/listen to get one in the Advent spirit! Tomorrow I should start Patrick Madrid's Why Be Catholic? Hopefully it's a calm week at work with just design refinements to do. I may take Thursday off because that morning I need to head up to NHTI. Claire Bear will give me a full mouth x-ray set as part of her classes. I also hope to get my snow tires installed after the two recent deferrals. As Bullwinkle would say, "this time for sure!".

Click to see at Amazon

Click to see at Amazon

Click to see at Amazon

Click to see at Amazon

Posted
AuthorScott Bilik
CategoriesPosts
Tagsdaily