Phfrankie's Phfabulous Sun Dried Tomatoes

My dear friend Phfrankie Bondo shared some of his home grown creations last summer. One was a shallow mason jar of sun dried tomatoes in olive oil.

Now for a California fella this is normal fare. Being that I'm southern and all, sun dried tomatoes are a bit out of the norm.

I set the jar in the pantry and forgot about them. Until last night.

Good heavens they are good. Perfect in the salad.


St. Croix

Much later than usual, St. Croix is booked. First class airfare, fancy remote parking, my favorite villa.

A night dive is scheduled.

Five weeks and I'll be transferred back to greenery and spring like weather. Warm blue water, and night skies that rival a planetarium.

Sipping beers during the day and driving on the left hand side of the road. I've been going for 13 years. I hope many more.


This is an amazing picture of galaxies. Unthinkable time and space.

I've had two amazing dogs named Galaxy that both died before the age of six.

I love the word Galaxy, and the name for a happy, smart dog. But I'll never name another dog Galaxy.


These are not Hot Dogs

Bananas are not Hot Dogs


Carrots are not Hot Dogs


Things I Have Witnessed

I actually knew a person who was hit by a bus and died.

I actually knew someone who was a double murderer and was put to death by the state.

I saw a Saturn V rocket launch in person.

I once played with two lion cubs.

I saw a total eclipse of the sun. 100%.

I have been shot at and heard the bullets go by.

I know a wealthy man who gets someone to change his bed linens daily because he likes fresh sheets.



Old Family Photo

Circa 1925

My mother sitting on her fathers lap looking at her baby sister. Mom is now 91.


The Gym

Been doing weight training now twice a week for 10 months.

Today I did 10 X 3 presses at 90 pounds.

20 X 3 butterflies at 30 pounds

12 X 3 leg lifts at 60 pounds.

20 X 3 dips (my body weight)

10 X 3 biceps lifts 20 pounds each arm

10 X 3 over head lifts 30 pounds

8 X 3 inclined presses at 60 pounds

10 X 3 not sure what to call it at 30 pounds each arm

20 X 3 side lifts at 30 pounds

That was a workout. About 30 minutes non stop.


Big Doings Today

The paint over of the Extreme Tailgate sticker has been corrected. A new sticker was applied this morning. It missed two games but we won anyway.

The Jeep was winterized (put the roof on) and given a good wash.


I Am Thankful For

Glide dental floss. Superb.

The fact that I don't do much Christmas decorating.

Indoor plumbing. And my bidet.

My football team is 11-0 and a swell bunch of guys.

Prilosec. Otherwise I would digest myself in stomach acid.

Dogs. I love them all.

The love and companionship of my spouse. She makes me laugh.


Old Sparky


I finally flipped over the Weber Ranch to reveal the born on date. EE is 1999.

16 years and going strong.


Turkey of my Friends








My New Love

Someone left two big cans of Stella Artois at the first tailgate of the season. It's not unusual to end up with a handful of Natural Light or Bud Light. I usually just toss them because each one of the aforementioned is undrinkable to me.

But the Stella Artois had me intrigued.

Three ten packs later my taste testing is almost done. I love the lightness of the beer, yet it has a pronounced hop flavor....not too strong however. Gotta say this will be a regular for me along with Ultra and regular Michelob beer.

Happy American Thanksgiving everyone.


I Love Dreams

I dreamed I was in a generic Caribbean beach bar. The bar tender recommended Peter Pan beer in a white and red bottle.

They 17 cents each and the minimum was six.

I said no thanks but she insisted it was the best beer ever. "It tastes like what ever you want it to taste."

It was the best beer ever. Perfect taste, temp, and foam.

Happy November

Me, in another life, with my cousins. 1961ish. Wow!



I'm headed to Durham today for a couple of birthday celebrations. My mother is 91 today and very much with it.

My old childhood/college buddy is turning 60. Thank God we haven't aged a bit.



September...any September

September sucks for me. People and animals I love die in September. My father died in September. My wife died in September but came back after 45 minutes of effort. I've lost jobs in September. It's not a warm, fuzzy month.

See these two fine dogs? Both were named Galaxy and both died at 5 ½ years old. Both became ill in September.

Needless to say...the name Galaxy is retired.


Actual Vacation

Not since 2012 have I had a relaxing vacation away from it all. I am attempting one now. Just me and the Mrs and 4 dogs. Sleeping late, eating whenever, is heaven. No office calls, nothing. I'm living on two bars...AT&T bars.

In 2013 is was my back. Out for the entire summer recovering. I was just well enough to go to St Croix with a large group who didn't get along. It was a stressful time. Miserable.

Last year was another summer recovering from back surgery. Then a hurried trip to the island that wasn't very relaxing. Had I forgotten the art of vacationing? Where is my cocky swag? Always worry swirling in my mind.

This summer a sick dog kept us home. We nursed Galaxy all summer and she finally died in spite of our efforts to save her. Another summer without our usual travels.

Then we got a call. A spot opened at the campground at Southport. We jumped on it, found a house sitter and too off. We hadn't used the RV for two years.

So here I sit, boxers and tee shirt in a trailer, with no one to answer to, and happy as a lark.

I need to recharge.



Our sweet baby died on her on this morning. She was 5.



I'm on the Next Mars Mission

At least my name will be etched on the lander. How cool is that?


Game One Preview - The Slider

As it happened, the NFL scheduled The Houston Texans as our 2015 home opener. In keeping with a food theme for our occasional opponents, my thoughts naturally turned to beef.

Last year we discovered that sliders of any type make for great finger food. They are good, easy to build, Easy to handle and multi task, and pair well with a wing and beer. We had pulled pork sliders, pulled beef sliders, meatball sliders, and traditional hamburger sliders. This year expect the addition of chicken and pork tenderloin sliders.

Sliders lend themselves to indulgence because one is only dealing with a few bites. So pile on the cheese, grilled onions, rich sauces, and veggies.

We were fortunate to be gifted 228 Angus Beef, whole muscle from the short rib and chuck sliders from Bang Bang Burgers. They were immediately frozen and are waiting for September 20.

Last night I was able to observe the owner Of Bang Bang making the perfect beef sliders from a batch of previously frozen patties.

Just a bit of kosher salt and course ground black pepper season each side as they cook on a medium heat griddle. When they sweat, it's time to turn. Salt and pepper again and add cheese.

Meanwhile, the Kings Hawaiian rolls are lightly toasted on each side.

In just moments I had perfection in my hand. It needed nothing else. Great taste, moist, beef and cheese cooked medium. Just the slightest pink in the middle.

I hoovered up a second slider to confirm my previous thoughts. I can't wait until September 20.


My Friend is Missing

Guy Garman is a competitive man. Today he attempted the world record depth scuba diving. 1200 feet. He hasn't been seen since 6 AM this morning.

His Tanks for the Dive


MOD is Maximum Operating Depth

I'm sick thinking of the possibilities.


Sexual Deviants of Summer

Jared Fogle - the Subway guy likes little girls. Bummer.

Bill Cosby - he likes pudding.....pudding his dick where it doesn't belong. Drug induced forced sex is criminal.

Bruce Jenner - threw his dick away. Now she's happy. Okay.

The U.S. Supreme Court - any hole goes under the law. Okay.

Me? Give me time to adjust please.

Happy August Y'all

So excited that fall is approaching. I used to be able to I actually enjoyed heat in the 90s. Not so much anymore. I sleep better on cool nights. It's the lack of sunlight that throws me into a crud come winter time.

Football is so near and I like that. Opening week for college and the next week pro ball opens. I love those two weeks. For about three years I'd go to St. Croix on college opening week. Then I'd return for the Super Bowl.

But alas I haven't travels much in the last two years. Maybe we can get some RV time in this fall.

Goals vs Reality

Back in December I came up with some goals for next seasons tailgate. So, how did I do?

Replace the canopy over the tailgate bar with a straight leg 12X12. Results? Done. I got a super deal on a close out and now we have a much better shade.

Fix and stiffen suspension on the trailer. Results? Done. Just today I installed helper leaf springs. The ride should be better.

Upgrade and add more hold down fasteners. Results? Done. We live by bungee cords and tie downs. I have about anywhere to tie down most anything.

Branding. Results? Done. The Logo is on every stool top and on all three bar tops. One has to look good.

Burners for chaffing dishes. Results? Done. I constructed double wide chafing holders that maximize the existing propane burners and we have increased capicity 25%.

The bar to finish and new bar. Results? I added a third bar, and bar height table plus added coats of spar urethane. It looks awesome.

Draft beer on the bar. Results? A work in progress. Still looking at options.

Reduce number of full blown tailgates. Results? Done. No preseason and six regular season tailgates lets me pour more effort into each and every one. The show will go on for the other two tailgates and we have the playoffs covered.


I love smoking meats. Pulled pork, chicken or sausages smoked usually lends a great flavor.

Recently I've been on a pecan wood kick. It's milder than hickory but has that great taste.

My smoker is a Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 inch bullet smoker. This season I am completing all possible upgrades to tighten things up and extend capacity.

I have new thermometers, thermometer sensor ports, stainless steel fire door with new latch, new stainless large capicity fire ring, fire felt seals on all joints, and a stainless steel stacker ring for more capicity.


I'm On A Mission

Beef brisket. Another frontier. I've never cooked one, heck I've only eaten beef brisket a few times. Brisket is Texas barbecue. We are pork people here in North Carolina.

Yet there is a lure for me. A goal. And the Houston Texans are coming to town in September.

This means a trial run of a $50 piece of beef, then another for the game. 12 to 15 hours of smoking and finally the cutting.

I've even reading a book on this to avoid failure. Wish me luck.


A Great Summer Day

I took off Friday as I usually do in the summer. I had lists of outdoor chores but quickly abandoned all hope when confronted with the wall of humidity and heat.

Deciding then to do more Tailgate prep would allow me short burst of outside exposure followed by indoor stuff.

Grill Cleaning Weber Ranch

A little burnout allowed the grease settle and the grill got a complete scrubbing.

New Weber Ranch Handles

I added handled to the stainless steel grill top. It will be much easier to handle.

Weber Ranch Kettle

Four coats of paint Of high temp flat black on the Weber Ranch.

Mobile Tailgate Bar

The bar fully extended. Isn't it pretty? Now just add the canopy, stools, and TV. A beer tap is not out of the question.


The Rhythm of my Summer

It has been a long strange trip. Stay tuned.



My back Yard

Good times here. I've managed to build a nice court yard for us with pavers, gravel, and my screen room. Add two grills and a smoker and I'm in heaven. The dogs love it too.



What Have I Been Doing?


Birthday Eve

I can't believe tomorrow that I'll be 59. Fortunately I feel about as good as I have in 5 years.

It was exactly one year ago that I had surgery on my neck. The recovery is about 100%. No pain, just a bit of numbness in my left hand on occasion.

Back in February I hired a trainer and he has made a world of difference.


Sometimes the stresses of life weigh down. Worries about work, sick pets, health, what the future holds. 

Then, when you possess a mind like mine, all that stress dissolves with a dream.

I was in England, in a large bakery and tea shop. I don't know if they have such things. The place was full of very mature women.  I was being ignored as a bothersome American. 

So, what did I do? Why I grabbed a wooden spoon and floated around the high ceilings like a witch on a broom making scary noises. 

That got their attention. 


Lately I've been having dreams where I walk about in public minus pants. Any pants. Naked to the world.

What the hell is that about?


My computer is fixed. My juices can flow. I must get back to the routine. I have missed posting my blog.

Perfect Hotdogs

Pictures work. Text works. The hotdogs look damn good.

Im so ready.

Hello People's

All my blog stuff is still broken. I just twisting in the wind here. Can't post pictures.

I had a great dive last weekend and can't post pictures.

I had a fantastic hot dog yesterday and can't post pictures.

Imagine cool dive pictures and hot dogs if you will.

West Coast Swing

Soon come Golden State. 

Not Quite Prime Time

I spoke too soon on things getting the blog fixed so I'll blog the way my ancestors did....with a computer.

Friday I head to the NC coast for some diving on Saturday. This will be the first big boy NC diving that I done in over two years. 

They don't call the NC coast The Graveyard of the Atlantic for nothing. The currents are big, storms come out of nowhere, and sands and conditions shift unpredictably. 

We will go out 20 miles and dive two wrecks in about 90 of water. The first is The Hyde. It was a WWII era dredge equipped with guns that was sunk in 1988 for a ref project. 

The second was The Gill, torpedoed by the Germans in WWII. 

Both should be interesting.

I have been to The Hyde once before but never saw it. The visibility was zero so I just felt up the Hyde. 

Good Lord

Okay, so here is the deal. I have been perfectly willing and able to post my blog here, but my iPad software of choice crapped out on me back in March. No worries I thought, they'll fix it.

They did fix it and broke it worse.

Then I turned to my Mac and the entire computer was corrupt. 

Today I got my computer back and it is operational. So, I'm blogging old school for now on a computer.

For those who hung around, thanks. 


Happy April Fool

Well, I gave up waiting for a bug fix on my trusted until two weeks ago Blogpress app. So I'm updating the blog the old fashioned way.....with a computer. The picture below is just a test to see if it renders properly.
Off The Wall - St. Croix, VI

© 2015 wReggie’s I’m Always Mentally on Vacation.