A few weeks ago, I bought a really nice Crumpler camera bag off Craigslist to take better care of my gear. I’d been bumping it around on my shoulder like my old D70, which is dented and scarred, and after one frightening near-drop situation I decided it would be wise to protect my investment. This evening I answered an ad for a Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, and Finley and I drive out to Randallstown and met a nice man in a CVS parking lot to look it over. It’s a replacement for the kit lenses that came with our cameras (Nikon 18-55 f/5.6); it’s a faster pro-level lens so it’ll last much longer than cheaper plastic and add more flexibility to our bag. My strategy is to keep my eye out for good used gear to build up our DX collection until the time when we’re ready to invest in a full-frame kit.
I’m writing this as I sip on a Texas Bock I brewed from an Austin Homebrew recipe; I’m very pleased with the flavor and the color. It worked out to be about 4.5% ABV, and it’s smooth with a hint of caramel that I like very much. It’s lighter than the IPAs I’ve been brewing which makes it more of a session instead of a sipping beer; I tend to have half a glass of IPA after dinner while I can drink a pint of this and not feel intoxicated. It’s also a friendly beer; the Belgian IPA I brewed in the spring guaranteed a dull next-morning headache while this has none. I have to try and squeeze some time in in the next week to brew the Belgian Dubbel I’ve got to be ready in time for Thanksgiving.
I picked up a pair of Grade 5 bolts for my steering wheel puller yesterday, along with 3′ of 3/8 fuel line and a rattlecan of International Red farm implement paint while I was there. Hopefully I can get some time this weekend to replace the wheel. The fuel line is for my Hydroboost setup and the paint is for the new engine, if and when I can get it here.
Jeez, where do I start?
Our weekend really started on Thursday, when we were invited to the neighbors’ house for pizza and playtime with the kids; Poor Jen was suffering a migraine so Finn and I walked over and played hard until the sun was down and the mosquitos flew. I woke up Friday morning feeling a little worse for wear, but rallied to make it into work with the top down in the Scout in sunny 80° weather. The evening was a little more laid back, spending some quality time across the street at the playground with the kids.
Saturday I was invited to go fishing out on the Bay, so I dragged myself out of bed and made it outside by 7 A.M. to pile into a crewcab pickup and head to Sandy Point. There we put the boat in the water and trolled out under the bridge to catch spots for live bait. Our initial casting area was OK but when we hit another, better spot further south, we caught baitfish as fast as we could bait our lines. Then we headed to the mouth of the Eastern Bay to use the spots on live lines for rockfish. Obviously the spot we chose was the correct one, because we joined a fleet of other fishing boats anchored in the same area looking for the same fish.
My neighbor caught an undersized rockfish within about 10 minutes, and I was close behind with what would have been a keeper about five minutes later. But I let the line go slack for a minute while I tried to negotiate getting it into the boat, and it dropped off the line and swam away. The rest of the afternoon was less climactic; we sat, cast lines, drank some beer, and called it a day at about 3.
That evening we were invited to another neigbors’ house for some dinner and a bonfire, so we rallied Finn, picked up some beer and dessert, and stayed until all three kids were dozing on the couch. Somewhere in there we sampled strawberry s’mores (pink marshmallows) over the fire, which were surprisingly delicious.
Sunday morning came a little too early, but we put an appearance in at church and then got to work clearing out our bedroom in preparation for some plaster repair, a new area carpet, and new furniture. I got the walls patched, primed and painted before we hit the road for Sunday dinner with another family; again, we adults talked over some wine and Hors d’oeuvres while the kids ran in circles around the house and tired themselves out. Our hostess Sue was kind enough to have baked a birthday cake for Jen on top of a wonderful gourmet meal, so we got to celebrate twice in two weeks.
It occurs to me this foggy Monday morning how blessed we are to have so many great, generous friends. I’m exhausted but I can’t imagine a better summer weekend. Thank you everyone!