Archive for December 2013

My Favorite Posts From 2013   3 comments

Here are my favorite posts from 2013. This has nothing to do with which posts were the most viewed. Here are the posts that I believe you should check out if you missed them.

Sobbing On An Airplane

Little Girl’s Wisdom

An Actual Conversation

Wild Mushroom Cobbler

Round Three: The Bowl Adventure

Traffic Jam

Maple Whisky Glazed Planked Salmon

Shrimp Boil!

Things To Do When You’re Locked Out Of The House

June 13, 1975

Being Human

The Truth About Rush Limbaugh

Beware The Mini-Bears

Pimpin’ Your Daughter

When She Calls

Posted December 31, 2013 by henrymowry in Living Life

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Upgrades Are Hell   1 comment

Velda had been using a Windows 98 computer – when she sat at her desk. Given that operating system was being orphaned by Microsoft, it was time for an upgrade.

I was having computer problems with the laptop. Consistency is an issue, and since I was getting an alarming number of blue screens … it was time for an upgrade.

The holidays are the perfect time for an upgrade.

I now have Velda’s computer 100% together, I believe. With no back up strategy in place, however … but she’s up, for now. As promised.

My computer, not so much. I have data spread across different hard drives. I have programs that won’t run. I have 4 computers running in my office and I’m trying to put the pieces back in the right places. I do know a few things:

1. I hate Windows 8.

2. It is always challenging to keep backups up to date and 100% reliable.

3. Your computer will die. If you don’t have all data backed up right NOW, then you’ll have a problem when your computer dies. Unexpectedly. Inconveniently. Totally.

4. I could be working with wood … but that is so last week!

 

Posted December 30, 2013 by henrymowry in Living Life

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I Had To Mention Cutting Boards   5 comments

I was finishing up the 2nd round of routed bowls, and I mentioned that the process used to make the bowl blanks … building up the wood by gluing together several boards to get to the bowl dimensions … was the same as used to make cutting boards.

So, of course, I was asked to make a cutting board. And another. I ended up making 5 cutting boards and 3 cheese boards. Velda’s cutting board  and cheese boards are discussed separately (link below). Here are the details on these 6x boards.

Alley and Christopher asked that their board be made in brown tones, so it is made from Walnut, Jatoba, Honey Locust, Tigerwood and Cherry. That board is 21″ long x 15-3/8″ wide x 1-1/16″ thick.

MrsMowry asked that her board be very red, so it is made from Purpleheart, Canarywood, Cherry and Hard Maple. That board is 14″ long x 12-1/4″ wide x 1-1/8″ thick.

I made two end grain cutting boards, as made famous by The Wood Whisperer. Fun project, though it’s definitely challenging to work on end grain like this. One is made from Walnut and Hard Maple; the other is Walnut and Yellowheart.

Finally, there’s a cheese board (PERFECT for the scraps that were left over!) which is 10-1/4″ long x 8-3/4″ wide and 1″ thick. The woods used are Cherry, Teak, Canarywood and Mahogany.

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The Cutting Board

 

Horseshoe Bend   Leave a comment

Horseshoe Bend, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.

Horseshoe Bend, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Photo by Greg Meland. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 12/24/13.

Done – Round 3: The Bowl Adventure   1 comment

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Round Three: The Bowl Adventure

A Day Of Finishing

I Was Working Too Hard….

Round Two: The Bowl Adventure

Football Snack Bowl

Making A Snowman

The Cutting Board   12 comments

For Christmas, I made Velda a large, long grain cutting board made of both domestic and exotic hardwoods. Here’s what I used:

Honey Locust – because as nice as she is … she definitely has thorns

Cherry – because she can be sweet

Jatoba – because sometimes I have no idea what she means

Walnut – because she’s definitely nutty

Tigerwood – because I’ve seen her angry

The cutting board measures 1′-9″ long x 1′-3-7/8″ wide x 1-1/4″ thick. That’s a very large cutting board … but that’s what she wanted. To finish, I gave it an initial coat of mineral oil, wiped it off when it was dry, and then added a Velda-made mineral oil and beeswax combination: 25% beeswax by volume. It has rubber feet so it won’t slide around; I expect it to get some use in her kitchen!

The companion small boards are made of the same woods, and are intended as cheese servers. They each measure 9-1/2″ long x 9-1/2″ wide x 7/8″ thick.

Posted December 26, 2013 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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2013: It’s A Wonderful Year   7 comments

The Mowry Christmas Newsletter

2013 began with family visitors … an uncommon occurrence for us. But this year … THIS YEAR … we had many visitors come through California. The Huberts (who get a GOLD STAR for visiting three different times!), plus Sarah, Grant, Ryan, Maria … all came to see us this year. It was a banner year for family visitors! Family is a rare and wonderful thing, and we were very fortunate to have so many visitors this year.

You know what happens when family comes to visit? Pizza!

2013 - 12

2013 - 01

Mom brought out this family heirloom during my visit. It looks like a pocket watch …

2013 - 02

… but it’s a collapsible shot glass!

January found me traveling to northern Iowa to meet with my team at Smarts Broadcast Systems … did I mention that it was northern Iowa? -2* was there to greet me! But it was a great trip, and I began my second blog, interviewing small market broadcasters. 21 have been published so far; check them out here.

The best part of the trip was being able to visit Mom & Sis in Missouri. It was great, and those opportunities are all too rare.

February saw Velda and I take a long weekend to Phoenix, to visit Uncle Bud & Aunt Connie who were doing the snowbird thing in Arizona again. Love it! We took the opportunity to do a driving tour through a couple of state parks, including visiting Sedona’s Bell Rock. Gorgeous!

2013 - 03

Another February event was our 2nd year hosting UCLA’s Dinner With 12 Strangers. Velda signed up to host with her good buddy, Debi, and they entertained a dozen students at our house. The food was great, the company was fun … and yes, they all did an 8-clap!2013 - 04

In March, Velda and I made a lifestyle change, as we stopped our gardening service, and I built an outdoor shed (woodworking project # 1), and filled it with a lawnmower and a blower. Just like a real gardener! We discovered that we enjoyed the gardening, and enjoyed having the yard and planting beds looking the way we wanted them. It just took us about 25 years to get back to that. Quick, that’s us!

The horizon from our driveway did change with the addition of our first outbuilding.

The horizon from our driveway did change with the addition of our first outbuilding.

I was on the road again in April, going to the NAB convention in Las Vegas. A highlight was going to Cabo Wabo for a free margarita … only to pronounce it swill. We haven’t completed our search for the perfect margarita yet … but it’s definitely not made with Cabo Wabo’s tequila!

Michael completed his Master of Science degree from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in June. Done with school (at least for now) … and for the first time in 27 years, no one in our family was going to school. Now, that is a big change!2013 - 10

As summer was upon us, it was time for woodworking project # 2: building Payton an ultimate set of blocks. It was only slightly out of control … only 246 pieces, after all!

Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument

Early in July, most of the Mowry family (Christopher, Ally, Payton, Lauren, Eric, Velda and I) went camping in the sequoias for the first time in many years. We got a great site in my favorite camp, Crystal Springs, and spent July 4th weekend under the big trees. Velda and I extended our vacation from there, going farther north to visit 2 more National Parks (making 4 Parks in one week!), and one of my favorite places on earth, the Muir Woods National Monument. It was great to see that wonderful place again … and enjoy the best grilled cheese sandwich on the planet.

Back from vacation, it was time to begin woodworking project # 3: the routed bowl adventure. This one just kept growing and growing, with three rounds of production taking over the garage for four months.

2013 - 11And we may have been back from vacation … but Velda proved she was crazy.

Again.

An orphan was discovered in the parking lot at her facility, and she agreed to adopt this tiny 4-week old kitten, that was soon named Walter. He’s all kitten, and now, four months later he is STILL finding new ways to terrorize the older cats and cavort around the house. That is what kittens do, yes?

In November, I took on another client and joined RAIN Enterprises as Account Manager. RAIN will stage 4 Summits next year (New York, Las Vegas, Indianapolis and Europe) … plus we have a daily newsletter that covers every facet of the developing marketplace of online audio. Check it out, www.RAINNews.com.

Velda and Alley have several products, each in many fragrances that they are now offering. They have one retail outlet ... a boutique in northern California's wine country.

Velda and Alley have several products, each in many fragrances that they are now offering. They have one retail outlet … a boutique in northern California’s wine country.

Velda and Alley decided to launch a homemade lotion business, called Mrs. M’s Handmade. What caused them to do this is unknown … but there is now a nascent lotion business in the family. Big talk about the future … a website may happen in 2014. Hopefully they’ll figure out what their actual expenses and sales have been sometime before they jump farther into the marketplace!

2013 has truly been a wonderful year … family, fun, a bit of adventure and new doors opening at the end of the year. Can’t wait to see 2014!

My official best photography of 2013 ... Payton discovering a flower's shadow on her arm.

My official best photograph of 2013 … Payton discovering a flower’s shadow on her arm.

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2012: It’s A Wonderful Year

Round Three: The Bowl Adventure   5 comments

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I Was Working Too Hard….

Round Two: The Bowl Adventure

Football Snack Bowl

Making A Snowman

Posted December 24, 2013 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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A Day Of Finishing   4 comments

And when this woodworker is finishing, that means branding, sanding, cleaning & oiling.

Posted December 23, 2013 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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Christmas 2013: Do we know who invented Santa Claus? Who really wrote the “Night Before Christmas?”   Leave a comment

Knowing what really happened can be a sobering experience!

Millard Fillmore's Bathtub

An encore post and Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub tradition from 2007

Thomas Nast invented Santa Claus? Clement C. Moore didn’t write the famous poem that starts out, “‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house . . . ?”

The murky waters of history from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub soak even our most cherished ideas and traditions.

But isn’t that part of the fun of history?

Yes, Virginia (and California, too)! Thomas Nast created the image of Santa Claus most of us in the U.S. know today. Perhaps even more significant than his campaign against the graft of Boss Tweed, Nast’s popularization of a fat, jolly elf who delivers good things to people for Christmas makes one of the great stories in commercial illustration. Nast’s cartoons, mostly for the popular news publication Harper’s Weekly, created many of the conventions of modern political cartooning and modeled the way in which…

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Posted December 22, 2013 by henrymowry in Living Life

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