Saturday, March 29, 2014

Assembly of the IKEA Kitchen…..With Fish and Chips on the side.

DSC_4165  So the big project for today DSC_4169was to assemble the final pieces of the kitchen and call that room good.   Or at the very least,  “mostly” finished.  The final parts to this puzzle are the kitchen table and the two red benches that Cheryl selected to go with it.   Add in the Rolley Cart for me to cut and cook with and the final picture would be complete. DSC_4172

First:    Clean the floor.   This is a bitter lesson we learned the hard way when we assembled our anniversary table.  We had a EVER so Small of a pebble on the carpet.   The result:  A HUGE!  HUGE!    Scratch across the very top middle of the table.   DSC_4176Ruined RUINED it  for EVER!   With that lesson fresh in our head…..Cheryl vacuums the floor. 

Next: Since the kitchen is the largest room to assemble things in,  AND it is the only room with the most current floor space;   We decide to assemble the benches first.   DSC_4179Solid wood construction,  the screws are a bit more of a challenge to go in compared to the other shelving units.   In the end,  Everything works out  pretty painless with no scratches or hiccups to mention.DSC_4182   

Then the table…..Even easier than the benches,  it consists of a top and 4 legs.   EASY!   The hardest thing about it was getting it out of the box and …DISPITE my BEST EFFORTS,  ( see story above)  we ALMOST had a repeat with a stray screw on the carpet rug as I was about to slide it to a better position.  Luckily, Cheryls “Eagle Eye”  Caught the near fatal flaw and warned me in time.  DSC_4183 She was nice enough to remind me about how dense I can be.   I guess i would rather hear it from her than have to live with ANOTHER RUINED TABLE TOP!   Perhaps I am my own worst critic.  I HATE that even after taking all those precautions,  a stray screw or piece of cat little can still mess up your item randomly. DSC_4188


 DSC_4195 In the end, It all worked out!   The benches and table fit nicely inside the designated area.  I did have my doubts at first.   I thought the set would be too large for the small section and we would be having to cram it into the corner more.   As it turns out,  everything fits together nicely.DSC_4198


   After lunch,  we worked on the rolley cart.  It was a little more of a challenge and I managed to cut myself in the process,  but in the end,  DSC_4199it fits in its designated space perfectly as well.  I even used it to cook out first meal in the new Kitchen. DSC_4201

Which brings me to the last part.   FOOD!  What better way to check out the arrangement than to actually cook something and eat in the finished room?   It’s a great way to get a “feel” for things while enjoying the flavors and conversation with that special someone.     DSC_4204Tonight,  we had Deep fried Beer Battered Halibut with Calamari, Shrimp, and French Fries.  With dessert being a blueberry tart ( also from IKEA!) and beer.  Speaking of beer!   In addition to the usual Honey Brown and Sapporo, we tried that two hearted ale once again.   Ironically, the fried foods brought out the different notes in the flavor MORE than the cheese and fruits the previous night.  The Aroma was still awesome but you could actually taste the Pineapple and Pear flavors that were only hinted by the smells.  DSC_4208 I guess it goes to show that foods DO make a difference when drinking special beers.  I wonder how it would taste with a hotdog or pizza?DSC_4202  No matter, As mentioned in the previous posting, it IS STILL a GOOD beer.   I now at least know what to have it with to enjoy it to the fullest. DSC_4126   Or at least a little more than simply by its self. DSC_4207 

Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far.   It was a really nice day here in Iowa today.  Cheryl and I walked the long loop with just our summer jackets on.   I hope we continue to get these pleasant days in the future with no wind to mess things up.  Here’s to a brighter future!   Enjoy!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Beer Score 100! Two Hearted Ale Review….

DSC_4125 Well,  There are things that were good. DSC_4126  First:   The bottle label!   Anything with a cool trout on it has to be good right?   Look at eh cool water color style!   I love these kinds of paintings and a beer that incorporates art with their label MUST also incorporate it in the brewing process. Right? 

Next,  The aroma!   Yes the smell of the beer as it is opened is important.   Not only as it is first opened, but also if it can maintain that smell through out the process of enjoyment. Fruity-smells   This beer was pretty cool in its flowery sweet smell.  cfe66dd6ccc632eabf6331e28782f5ac Wonderful!   It actually did not smell much like”beer” as you would think.  Well,  The traditional beer smell that is.  A hint of the bitters as the scent touches your nose.  This was sweet fruity with a mix of a fresh cut clover field  with wild flowers in the back ground.    ( CLOVER!   Not hay or grass!   Clover smells sweet when it is cut!) 

DSC_4140 Then there is the color.   A nice pale yellow with a misty sediment.  I personally like a amber, clear color to my beer, but I usually do not think much about it if it tastes good.  For Pale Ales,  perhaps this is the gold standard.  Just not really my preference.visit-jackson-mi-pure-michigan

Location.   Exotic locations HAVE to be part of the selling process.   We have all heard “head for the Rockies!”  Well,  Michigan is knows for it’s clear spring fed rivers and streams that are pure enough and cold enough for some of the best trout fishing in America.  Take that water ( or at least suggest that it is used in the brewing process) and add it to the beer and you are bound to get those “purists” who only want the “Finest hops, water, barley, Etc..”  Michigan is such a place.  As a side note…after moving to Iowa,  I now respect the Michigan waters much better.   It’s funny how you take things for granted when you grow up in the middle of the best tasting water.   Iowa water is brackish and not the best tasting.   We try not to drink this water from the tap as I’m afraid I’ll get a kidney stone or some other problem from drinking it.   Starting with good water has to be important,  even if water can be purified and distilled ANYWHERE!

16177 Then there is taste.  Here, I have to disagree with the 100 score point.   Then again, I’m not sure what the parameters are for such a beer as this.  First, I would describe this as a “Hoppy  Beer” thCAK5NYIA Think citrus, mostly grapefruit to me, and you will have the most obvious note in the flavor.   As for other notes,  I guess a yeasty bread flavor was present, but the grapefruit note pretty much dominated all others.   It is unfortunate, because I usually can appreciate hoppy beers for what they are.   Depending on the circumstances, I might order one with a meal just to see how it fairs with a dinner.   grapefruit- But, again..unfortunately,  hoppy beers are beginning to all taste alike.   This beer,  In my humble opinion,   tasted too much like other “hoppy” beers we have had previously.   Does that make it “bad”?   Not at all.  But I doubt I would purchase a case of this and urge all of my friends to try it.   I hate being negative, and this review is not meant to be that….  It was a good beer.  But  undistinguishable.  DSC_4132 I guess that is a possibility if you add too many hops,  or if you let one note overtake all the other flavors you are trying to cultivate.   Somehow the Aroma survived!  And hinted at a VERY interesting beer before your first sip.  But that first sip pretty  much can only be summed up it a heavy citrus note. Namely:  Hops!

DSC_4133 It’s too bad because I believe the score of 100 led me to have high expectations.   And usually perfection can never be achieved. For what it is worth,   If you like hoppy beer,   with a STRONG citrus flavor and a WONDERFUL aroma blend.  Then this is possibly a beer better than 100 to you.  Taste is such a subjective thing anyway.   DSC_4139 As for me,  I enjoyed the two previous beers better.  It is probably like comparing apples to oranges….or in this case…Grapefruit.  Each one is good and everyone had their preferences.  So,  IF you still want to try a beer with a score of 100, by all means give this one a try.   You may like it better than me.   At the very least you will enjoy the other things about it.   And, for what it is, it probably IS the top of its class.  It is not a “bad” beer, just not my favorite.

  As for tomorrow, DSC_4141 Looks like we will have some more IKEA furniture assembly in our future.  We received our table and benches in the mail today, but they arrived too late for us to assemble them today.  DSC_4142So…Something I can look forward to tomorrow and possibly another blog posting.   Until then,  Enjoy!   And get out there to sample those beers to see what school of thought you fall under.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Origami Beetles

DSC_4087I just finished and posted a couple of beetles on the shop.   insects are fun but I’m never very good at diversity.  I like butterflies and beetles mostly.  I just can’t seem to get other insets to turn out how I would like them.  Besides I have limited myself to cardstock for the time being, and there is only so much you can fold with that thick paper.DSC_4110 

But it is all good  I like folding them and I enjoy the random path many of them lead me down.  For instance, Today I attempted an origami mantis pattern from Michael Lafosse.   However the paper was too thick and I ended up with another insect that looks like a beetle.  I did a Bing search and decided that it looked the most like a 10 stripped June Bug.   Most of my insects don’t really look like anything specific anyway.  But I still want to show them off from time to time.  canstock9267371

In the mean time,  Cheryl and I will be trying a …Brace yourself!   Beer that scored 100!   That is 100!  One  Zero Zero!   Hundred!   Where is this utopian elixir from?   Comstock Michigan!   That is right,  from the  very state we fled and vowed never to go back.  ( well,  “vowed” is a little strong.   More like said we didn’t want to go back there, but we have been back there several times now.)  It is tough to stay away from a place when you have relatives living there.  

Anyway,  I’ll post my report on the “Mother of All Brews” after we sample it tonight.  For now, enjoy the pics of the Bugs! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Abbey Ale From Ommegang Brewing! So, How Does a 97 Beer Taste ????

Pretty Good!  It is no wonder that when beers score into the 90's,  they are going to be interesting at the very least.   "Good' is such a subjective term.  I mean,  if you do not like hot and spicy foods,  then there is probably nothing in the world that will get you to enjoy "Louisiana Spicy HOT Curry Chili."  ( Does anything like that even exist?)  By the same token, if you do not like dark beer,  there is a good chance you will not be impressed with a dark beer that is the top of is class. 
That being said, this beer was quite enjoyable.   And not in a "it is interesting, but I would not want to drink it everyday" kind of way.  This beer is VERY drinkable!   How would I define it?   Hmmm.   It is like a faint smell of a pleasant perfume on the air that reminds you of something....but then drifts away as if it was never there.   A gentle Zephyr that you chase but can never seem to catch.  Yet you continue to chase after it hoping you can catch it this time.
The flavor was like that:  Tough to nail down exactly, but crisp and clean enough to make me want to chase it.   Several times I thought it tasted like a smooth aftertaste of Hershey Milk chocolate.  Other times it had a gentle citric taste like 7UP.  According to the label, it had a "Malty" taste that was "rich".  I guess so.   I'm not sure what malt actually tastes like except from those days in my youth when dad would take us to a corner drug store and we would get a chocolate malt milk shake.   That should tell you something because I have not experienced that since I was in Grade School!  ( Think "Happy Days"  and "Grease")  I wonder when it was that they stopped having ice cream /shake stands in the corner drug store? 
Anyway, before I get to far off topic,   I would recommend this beer.  We were forced to buy the "wine bottle" version because they did not have the standard 4 pack we had been purchasing.   It was ok though,  we felt as if we were actually drinking a fine wine.  Although I have never had a wine that tastes that smooth and crisp and clean with hints of Chocolate and Sprite.  ( Maybe there is a wine that hits those notes, but wine can never be beer and vice versa.) 
As for the appetizers  we tried with it:   Gouda cheese, Kerry Gold cheese, pretzel chips and sesame crackers.  we also had a Rhubarb Tart that was AWESOME with the beer.   The Label suggested trying it with anything, but especially desserts.   The sweet from the rhubarb really brought out the Chocolate note, ( my opinion) perhaps because the tart was smoothly sweet instead of Sour or "tart" ( no pun intended)

So..If you are looking for a special event beer or just something to try that is new and interesting, I would recommend this beer.  So far, this brewing company had entertained Cheryl and myself  with ALL of their award winning beers.  However,  I think this is my favorite so far. 

Even though it scored lower on the scale than some of the others,  To ME...It hits the notes I like the best.   And isn't that what it is all about after all is said and done?  It's the Beer YOU like instead of the ones that the Judges think is the best.  I'm sure the score is the "How many notes and flavors can we find in this beer" instead of "this is the BEST BEER EVER!"   One man's wine is another man's swamp is all up to the individual.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Origami Africa! Again….sort of…

DSC_3950  Nothing like revisiting an old model DSC_3951 and refolding it just to see if you can remember the folds…..Or  better yet,  to see if you have improved at all over the first time you folded it.  Well,   Here are a couple of favorites…An Elephant from Robert Lang and A Rhino from David Brill.  

I actually think they turn out better and better each time I fold them.   I added them to the shop and perhaps it will unleash the creativity in me so i can fold a few other models I have been putting off for a while now.  Finding the Muse  to Fold is quite the challenge.  And…convincing one’s self to revisit a path already traveled for a different experience is sometimes a tough sell. DSC_3953 But there are always things you miss the first, second and even third time.     In fact,DSC_3985 I’ve always said and believed that you can’t really get the best results on a first time fold.   You have to fold something several times to become familiar with it enough to get the creases and shapes in the best form. 

Anyway, here they are:   One elephant and one Rhino.   Enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

And Now for Origami

DSC_3849 Finally!  I have enough stuff folded to list on the Etsy store.   I can’t tell you how challenging it is to actually fold when you have the vast world of origami at your fingertips.   ( Is that a pun?  We’ll go with it.)   you see,  Cheryl always wants to go to Iowa City for lunch…and that takes out about 2 hours in the middle of the day. DSC_3860   Not really a problem for anyone who is capable of inspiration on demand….But I’m not one of those people.  My inspiration comes like a spring flood.   ( I really should not use that as a analogy)   The moments happen and you have to be there to harness all that energy….or else it is lost and the growing season is stunted by the hot summer heat.  Anyway.   Here are some of my latest items.  

DSC_3930 The truth is I have been folding quite a bit..but I seem to be in the phase of self loathing.   You know…where you hate everything you fold.   It’s “ok”  but not worthy of listing in the shop…so  I end up giving it away at the local Bookstore or Coffee house.  OH!   That reminds me I received my Business cards today.  DSC_3907 I can’t wait to start a campaign to leave them with small origami on various tables across America!  Perhaps I can even get some people to give me a sale or request from time to time.  We shall see. 

In the mean time,  we had to spend the lions portion of the evening filling out forms for our new employer.   It’s another temporary scoring gig but this is not ACT.   Instead this is another service and I believe this is their maiden run!   Hopefully things will work out for us as we have to submit to a background check and possibly a drug screen.football_scoring_a_goal_IS098U5RB   ( Seriously?   A drug screen?   Aren’t we a little bit old for that now? )  I’m curious what they will find in my background.   Either I’m a total nobody!  ( My most likely outcome.)   Or I’m a secret spy that has carefully and deviously hidden the truth from everyone in the nation by posing as a self employed artist.  We shall see.  
Oh!  And in the mean time.   A clip of a song I have been obsessed with for the past several days.   “ Time after Time”    Clare Danes sings it for a movie I have never seen.   (Evening, I think is the name) but in my opinion,  she sings it the way it is meant to be sung.   All the great singers sing (Sinatra, Mathus, Garland, Whiting, Etc)  it as well, but they all put their own spin and art into the song….and that kind of messes it up for me.  Enjoy the simple voice of Clare Danes!


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