Wednesday, July 6, 2011

july 4th weekend, 2011

This weekend has been pretty tumultuous, but mostly due to recent events. Let's start at the beginning though, and work our way through.

My long weekend started on Saturday, which more or less started out by going to our local municipal pool. Taylor has been swimming laps on a daily basis, so I joined her to hang out and cool off in the pool. By the way, leaving your iPhone out in the sun for 40 mins will apparently cause it to go into emergency temperature control mode, so don't do that.

After swimming, we went to Amber's birthday BBQ at her place. Amber is one of my used-to-be coworkers (sadly, laid off), and she was having a weekend-long "Amberganza". They did a whole bunch of stuff, but we opted only for the BBQ portion. Later that night, I have no idea what we did. My memory is awesome. I think we jammed (we alternated between drummer/singer) for a good portion of the night.

The following day was the third weekly "Sunday Fun-day" that Justin and Ellen co-founded. It involves relaxing, drinking beverages, and watching movies. I joined them for part of it, where we attempted to watch Haggards, one of the worst movies I've been told to watch in recent memories. We watched about 15 minutes of it before we switched to Hackers, a classic. While watching, I attempted round two of my pickling adventure.

My first pickling experiment used the following recipe:
-1 tbsp fresh dill
-1 tbsp peppercorns
-1 tbsp sugar
-2 jalapeno peppers
-Half water, half vinegar brine
-Stuff the jar with cucumbers and okra

The pickling process itself went off without much of a hitch, but the pickles ended up a bit too sweet and not really spicy at all. I changed things around a bit for round two:
-3 tbsp fresh dill
-2 tbsp peppercorns
-1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
-Half/half vinegar/water

I think I may have put way too much cayenne pepper. It didn't look like a lot in the scoop, but once I added it to the brine the whole thing turned red. Uh oh. It's all settled down at the bottom of the jar now. I'll let you know how those taste next weekend.

That night, Taylor and I went to HEB and got some supplies to grill. We grilled up two half pound burgers and topped them off with cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, mushrooms, and BBQ sauce. The burgers were pretty good. Since the patties themselves were fairly thick and I'm not an experienced burger-griller (I do chicken tenders and steaks mostly on the grill), I decided to play it safe with the meat thermometer. Well, I don't think that thermometer was working well enough. It was registering between 120 and 180 throughout the burger, even after I took it off. I was worried that portions would be undercooked (since a burger isn't "brown" unless it's 160ish), but it was brown all-throughout. I wanted to get a nice pink in the middle, but maybe next time. We used an 80/20 ground chuck, and it was still juicy despite being well done. That night, we watched a couple episodes of Game of Thrones, a new show on HBO. It's pretty good.

July 4th was relatively mild for us. We hung out for most of the day, and then went to Erin's (our kickball friend) party that evening, where we had even more grilled food (hotdogs). We did some chatting, but only ended up staying a couple hours.

However, we found out about an unfortunate event that happened Sunday night. Kelcey's brother, Kevin, was seriously hurt at their lake house. He was swinging on some trapeze thing at the top part of their dock when the cable snapped and sent him flying back into the dock, hitting his head hard on the concrete (knocking him unconscious) and sliding into the water where he sank immediately. The lake water is only about 10-15' at their dock, but it is very murky and the visibility is terrible. His friends found him after about 4 minutes and luckily one of the friends knew CPR and administered it. A helicopter aired him to the hospital where they induced hypothermia and a medical coma to force his body to pump most of the oxygen to his brain. They started bringing his temperature back up slowly a couple nights ago, and last night they took him off the paralytic (to induce a coma). Happily, he awoke an hour later, was responsive, and recognized himself and his family. That's the latest word I've heard, and I hope to hear more good news in the future.

Keep Kevin and the Fraser family in your thoughts and prayers. You can find more information at the medical journal his family is keeping at

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