Jambalaya

jambalayaI love Cajun food. Every three weeks I am left fending for myself for a week, and Marie Callender’s pot pies are getting old. On the weekends I will cook up a batch of dirty rice, or Gumbo. Last weekend, my selection was Jambalaya – rice, Andouille sausage, shrimp and lots of Cajun spices.  Not likely the best choice for my arteries, but oh, so delicious!

Storm

storm damageAs I left for work the other evening, the wind began to kick up.  In the distance an unsurpassed light show entertained me on my drive. Not so much lighting streaks as bursts of light every few seconds, coming from all directions.

About five miles from home, as I merged onto the Loop 202, the wind gusts kicked in with a fury. Temporary road maintenance signs on flexible posts were bent horizontally, and my truck was buffeted by the intense gusts.

Pulling into my driveway the next morning, I was greeted by this sight.  After working all night, I had work to do before getting the chance to unwind and relax.

Back at the easel

desert sunset I have returned to the easel after a prolonged leave of absence.

My absence was due to a number of mitigating factors – working the night shift which was when I traditionally paint; a studio so full of clutter that I get distracted and claustrophobic; a multitude of projects around the house; sheer laziness and ennui.

With construction of the storage shed almost complete – I still have to install a window and shelves along one wall – I was able to de-clutter the studio. It is still a mess, but at least my work area is clean.

I wasn’t in the mood to rush into a complex work – so opted for a local scene. Loose brush strokes, heavy application of paint, and reckless abandonment.

Right to carry

right to carryArizona is one of three states that allows concealed carry of a handgun without a CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) permit. Alaska and Vermont also have such laws.

Arizona is the only populated state with such laws – Phoenix, AZ is the most populated state capital and the sixth most populous city in the country.

Arizona is a shall-issue state – if you meet the legal requirements and apply for a CCW, one will be issued.  But, a CCW is not required of any legal resident that desires to carry. Read more

Inexpensive lighting solution

cheap security lightingOur new shed has no electricity, and I didn’t feel like running a line to the new structure. It is, after all, a free-standing, non-permanent, unattached shed.

We didn’t want anything too overpowering – the shed is in a dark corner of the yard, but it is close to the living room window.  During the spring and fall, the insulated curtains are open to allow daylight in. I also didn’t want motion detection, because the only thing more annoying than bright lights shining in the window would be bright lights that continually turned on and off every time one of the animals wandered too close. Read more

Windows 10, and other crap

IMG_20141213_163935I installed Windows 10 a few weeks ago. My laptop came packaged with Windows 8, which I updated to 8.1. I never really cared for Windows 8, and installed apps to create a more Windows 7 environment – basically a functioning Start menu.

Widows 8 always puzzled me – I could not understand why Microsloth would insist on forcing an OS designed for phones and tablets on users of desktops and laptops. The lack of a touch screen hampered usability. Read more

Shedding

shedI have been remiss in my obligations to keep this blog somewhat current. The main reason is that there is nothing worthy to report.

The shed now has a roof, and a fresh coat of paint. Monsoon is officially upon us in the East Valley, and we had our first taste this past weekend. The downpour, while not up to “monsoon” standards, was nonetheless steady and heavy. I sat under the ramada and enjoyed a glass of Glenmorangie scotch and a cheap cigar, and the light show over the mountains. Read more

Happy Independence Day

Desert DeerA few weeks ago we were visiting a friend in Gold Canyon, and were treated to this view from his living room. Two very good size deer came grazing. That was a nice way to end a good day.  We drove to Globe and Miami for lunch, went thrift shopping in Superior, and enjoyed a nice afternoon out.

lumberSince then, I have been working on constructing the new shed.

We bought a kit from Home Depot which included everything except the paint, shingles and decking. All of the pieces were pre-cut.

The nice thing about the kit is that all of the wood was dry – it can be extremely difficult finding wood that is not soaking wet at any of  the big box home improvement centers.

The bad thing about the kit is that a lot of the lumber was twisted – when hand-picking, you can sort through the bad stuff.  That said, I was able to use all of the lumber, and the finished product is quite stable.

building trussesThe instructions were clear-cut and very well written. They provided directions and materials for making templates, such as the one here to build four sets of roof trusses.

Liz’s nephew Mike came over for the July 4th weekend – I had a paid holiday – and we had the walls and trusses up before the heat made us stop on Friday.

ready for shingles and paintOn Saturday, We installed the roof and the doors, and caulked all of the seams. Unlike Friday, we had no cloud cover, and so no respite from the sun. We called it a day by noon, and relaxed with cold drinks under the veranda.

We decided to enjoy the fireworks Apache Junction style, Liz and Mike sat in ladders in the back yard and I sat on the roof of the house. Then this morning, bright and early, Mike and I installed the drip edge and the rood felt. All that is left is to shingle and paint – and of course build shelves for the inside so that I can begin moving clutter from the studio to its new home.

Building a shed in 100 degree heat

TIMG_8430he kit arrived via truck a couple weeks ago – a 4′ x 8′ cardboard box that weighed 500 lbs. Pre-cut lumber with everything necessary to build a shed, with the exception of flooring, and roof materials (shingles, felt, drip edge) and nails. Read more

Buck Knives

Buck 501 If a person receives bad customer service from a business, I think the rule of thumb is they would tell 7 times as many people compared to if they received good customer service. It’s human nature to complain and share the misery.  If you go shopping and find everything you need without a hitch, where’s the story in that? Read more