The Plan’s the Thing*

Recently I got a great bit of news – my buddy Grammy is coming to town – woo hoo!  I knew plans were in the works for a Spring visit but no dates had been set.  Until now!  Yes!

And I get to entertain her for a day while Chef Vivi caters some lucky bride’s wedding!  How cool is that?

So I’m putting on my thinking cap and attempting to come up with suitable amusements.  Here’s a draft agenda:

Morning-ish:  Pick up Grammy at ferry

Next:  Hmm.  We could do the typical touristy stuff; I know Grammy enjoyed the Pike Place Market and wished she could spend more time there.  I love visiting it too so we could easily spend a few hours there.  Mmm, love me some of those fresh made donut holes! 

Then, who’s up for sushi?  You can’t see me but I’m making a face.  Not to worry though, my daughter K assures me even I will like Blue Fin Sushi.  She’s been trying to get me there FOR FREAKIN’ EVER.  If Grammy doesn’t mind a little extra company I’d really like K to join us for the day.  I foresee a LOT of laughter and carrying on!

Finally?  Grammy is a crafty wench who loves DIY stuff and repurposing projects.  See here.   And also here.  I think we may have to find a thrift store or three.  Grammy raved about the Bremerton Goodwill which she visited multiple times with Chef Vivi on her last trip.  I was thinking maybe we could check out the Seattle Goodwill before we take her back to the ferry.  It’s one of the larger stores and I’ve never been there (at least I don’t remember being there) so it’s a bit of a mystery whether it’s as nice as Bremerton.  Worth the risk?  Perhaps.

The other iffy touristy thing I might include would be visiting the Space Needle.  When Grammy and Hubs were here last July they went whale watching, visited the Seattle Aquarium and as I mentioned earlier, the Market.  I don’t know whether the Needle has any attraction for Grammy but I’ll put it out there just in case.  Or we could Ride the Ducks! 

So there you have it folks – the first draft of our Plan of Amusements.  Grammy?  Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Additions?  Can’t wait to see you my friend!

*with apologies to Leverage (Season 5 finale) and William Shakespeare.

Holiday Highlights

Irony:  True or false?  When you bring a white elephant gift to the party and your Ex ends up with it. 

This year Hanukkah began December 8th and continued until December 16.  While we don’t officially celebrate it in our home (Hubs is Jewish but I am not) we have brought out his family menorahs and lit the candles in the past.  I love the tradition of it, the history. 

Is it odd that the only person who wished Hubs a Happy Hanukkah was the (step – shh, we don’t say step in our house) daughter? 

I managed to survive the whole family deal ALCOHOL FREE!  Although not by choice I must point out.  They just weren’t serving any.  Probably a good thing.

More irony:  My white elephant gift was two personal size bottles of white zin!  If I could have gotten away with it, I would have cracked those puppies open and it wouldn’t have been alcohol free!  But I was a good girl and now they’re waiting for me at home.  Something to look forward to!

All in all it was a relatively good holiday.  No blood was shed, and only a few tears were.  But that’s a post for another day.  So?  How was your holiday?

😀

Doom and Gloom

Tomorrow is December 21, 2012.  The date is notable for a couple of reasons.  Most important to me personally is that if my father-in-law hadn’t passed earlier this year, it would be my in-laws’ 50-something wedding anniversary.  Wow!  It was encouraging just to know them and see that some couples can make it work.  I still miss him. 

The other event of note which is, hmm…how to put this…anticipated (?) tomorrow is

THE END OF THE WORLD!

gloomy forecast

Other viewpoints are that 12/21/12 will usher in a time of spiritual transformation.  Pfft.  Not that I wouldn’t support such a change but seriously, do you see the materialistic society we’ve become transforming for the better?  I suppose there’s always hope, otherwise why are we here?

As for the various cataclysmic events predicted, the experts on all things (snort!) Wikipedia said, “… astronomers have rejected the various proposed doomsday scenarios as pseudoscience.”  Awww, no Zombie Apocalypse?

Cheer up pal

© Dan Piraro, All Rights Reserved

Duuuude! 

As you can figure out ’cause you’re smart like that, I’m posting this today just in case.  But I fully expect to be here tomorrow, whether or not you see a post from me.  So don’t worry!

😀

Not a review

My downfall when it comes to food has always been carbs.  And fat.  I dream in carbs sometimes.  Luscious wide egg noodles bathing in rich alfredo sauce; the aroma of bread still warm from the oven, melted butter soaking into its squashy goodness (bread doesn’t slice well when it’s warm, just so you know).  Mmm.  Alright, I don’t really dream about carbs and fat, but boy wouldn’t that be fab?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I baked my own bread.  No it wasn’t really all that long ago or that far away, but it sure seems like it.  It has been a long time since I made bread all by my lonesome from beginning to end.  One year for Christmas I was given a breadmaker and I’ve used it ever since.  Later, while wandering in downtown Poulsbo I found an entire book filled with recipes designed specifically for breakmakers.  It was on the clearance table.  I had to take it home, didn’t I?  One of the recipes was this scrumptious apricot bread that I’d like to make again now that I’m remembering it. 

Alas, life gets in the way and I rarely bake nowadays.  Of course I could blame it on not having anywhere to put the breadmaker (it currently resides on top of my fridge) but that’s an excuse.  If I really wanted to bake I could find room for it for the time it takes to bake a loaf. 

When my daughter described the bagels her boss sometimes brings to work I was practically drooling.  Imagine with me if you will:

Bagels – Cinnamon Crunch, Sweet Onion & Poppyseed, Cherry Vanilla and Pumpkin Pie (with hazelnut, New York Style Cheesecake, honey walnut or blueberry cream cheese!)

Oh my!

Specialty Bread – Holiday Bread (sweet egg dough mixed with honey, golden raisins, whole cranberries and chocolate chips – filled with chunky apple filling…baked with crumb topping!!!!)

More Specialty Breads – Tomato Basil (original sourdough with tomatoes, basil and streusel topping)
Chocolate Pecan Babka (sweet egg bread marbled with semi-sweet flavored chocolate filling and toasted pecans)
Asiago Cheese (zesty Asiago cheese blended with original sourdough starter)

[Surreptiously wipes chin.]

What is this place you might ask.  Well I might just tell you.  If you ask me very nicely. 😀

Panera Bread

Yes indeedy, Panera Bread.  Did you know that Panera Bread has a program they call “Operation Dough-nation”?  At the end of the day any unsold bread is donated to local hunger relief agencies.  Also, if you make a cash donation in one of their bakery-cafes they match a portion of that and donate it locally for hunger relief.  Nice corporate attitude!

But I can’t call this a review – I’ve never gone there and I’ve never tried their bread or bagels or pastries. 😦  My daughter though loves them and highly recommends them.  Thank goodness the closest one is in the next town!  If they were any closer they’d know me by name and I’d be as big as a house!

If you check them out let me know?  And once I actually try some of their yummy sounding goodies I’ll be sure to update this to a real review!

bread

Holiday Madness

Last night was the firm’s holiday bash, the first one I’ve stayed after work for.  In past years the firm held the winter fete at a downtown hotel and everyone glammed up some.  But back in those days I lived across the Sound and one way it was more than 2 hours.  After that commute and working all day I was not inclined to stay late for free finger food and alcohol.  And I never had the budget to stay overnight in a Seattle hotel.

My first foray into after hours socializing was fun.  Hey, the free Cabernet was excellent!  I had at least four glasses. 😀  Hard to tell for certain, as at least one time a wandering waiter refilled my glass before it was completely empty.  Besides, I wasn’t really counting.  IT WAS FREE!

The finger foods and hot appetizers were okay.  They had jicama!  And yes WordPress that is the correct spelling, so there!  I love jicama!  Plus there were other crudites, several kinds of cheese, crackers, and bruschetta – yum!  I could have eaten just the crunchy, garlicky toast rounds all by themselves!  The hot appetizers which were being circulated by waiters included a mini Yorkshire pudding (I think that’s what they called it).  It was a tiny slice of rare roast beef curled up on a dab of horseradish creme balanced on a round base that tasted sort of like bread or maybe a muffin?  Tasty!  The crab cakes were so-so; a lot of breading not so much crab but they were better than the fig stuff.  I still don’t know what exactly those were.  The texture of the round base was bread-like but in a different way than the Yorkshire pudding base.  They were flatter, slightly bigger around with a softer texture.  And they were smeared with fig something or other and some kind of cheese I think.  Hey, it was hard to hear in there and the wait staff weren’t all that loud when they spoke!

Desserts included ginger-molasses cookies, mini chocolate cupcakes with peppermint icing dollops and carrot cake whoopie pies.  I had one of each.  Seriously, only one of each.

The festivities began at 4:30 and were expected to finish up at 6:30.  I know, right?  Not much of a party.  More like a cocktail gathering, which I suppose it was.  They even had some “signature” cocktail created just for the event.  At one point, S brought one back to our table to give it a try.  Everyone else at the table had a glass of that glorious Cab and S had started with the wine too.  He sipped the signature mix and made a face as he pushed the glass away.  Back to the red for him.  Everyone else took the opportunity to taste the cocktail and no one opted to swap their wine.

There was a lot of laughter and some nostalgia for previous jobs, bosses, co-workers.  One of the partners even joined us for awhile and it was not uncomfortable.  He’s a laid back guy, plays sax in a band and we had fun talking with him.  We briefly discussed Washington legalizing marijuana, our various workloads and the attorneys we worked directly with.  Finally just before 6 the first of us slipped away to catch the last train home.  I lingered a bit more because the firm had provided taxi vouchers for anyone who wanted them so we’d all arrive home safely.  After visiting for another few minutes the group began breaking up on its own and we said good night.

Back at my desk I changed shoes, stowed stuff in my backpack and called home to let Hubs know I was going to call a taxi and head out.  He offered to meet me at our favorite eatery for dinner and since I’d been pretty conservative with the food that sounded like a good idea to me.  Down on the street a Yellow cab pulled up just as I walked outside and from past experience I knew I needed to get in in a hurry.  There’s no place for the taxis to pull out of traffic so while he’s waiting for me to get in he’s blocking other cars.  Unfortunately, I’m getting in behind the driver rather than walking around to the passenger side where the traffic is.  His seat is back and on top of that it’s a damn Prius so there’s no effin’ room in the back seat for 5’10” me!  He’s telling me to close the door and I’m responding I will as soon as I’m in.  I told him he had a very small cab and I was large.  Wow, four glasses of wine makes me outspoken, who knew?  Finally I’m in and he’s merging into traffic while asking me where I’m going.  I tell him my town and he asks my name.  I tell him my name and he says “Not S?”  I replied, “No, not S.”  Then (face palm) it occurred to me he’s there to pick up the guy at our table, S not me.  I took S’s cab!  The driver said not to worry another taxi would be there for me and S could have mine.  Hey, one was pulling away as I came out and that could have been mine with S in it already.  So I stopped worrying.

It was nice to ride home in a cab but unsettling.  I’ve never liked riding in cabs because you hand control over to someone you don’t know.  I’m okay with Hubs driving.  He’s a professional truck driver with over a million safe miles under his belt.  I don’t know this middle eastern guy from Adam.  Nice turban though.  And he talked to me which I like.  Makes me feel more comfortable.  He’d been driving a cab in the Seattle area for 21 years!  So that made me feel a bit better.  But then I started watching the meter’s progress.  Thank the good Lord the firm was paying!  When he finally stopped at the restaurant where Hubs was waiting the meter read almost $80!  With a decent tip the firm was going to get a bill for over $90!

So, thanks BigLaw.  The taxi ride was a nice touch.  And where can I find more of that Cabernet please?

Twiddling Virtually

What is it about spam?  No, not the Hormel version; the cyber version.  Am I using “cyber” correctly in this context?  Do I care?  Not even a little bit at the moment.  I’m at work and I’m bored.  Things tend to slow down during the holidays and even though I’ve had some work stuff to do I’m all caught up for now.  So I’m figuratively twiddling my thumbs.  I would have said literally but that would have been a lie.  How can you twiddle your thumbs AND type at the same time?  Can’t be done.  No. It. Can’t.  If you disagree you’ll have to prove it to me.  Video yourself doing it, post it on your blog and maybe then I’ll buy that it’s possible.  But probably not.  I’m obstinate that way.

So because I’m bored I log in to WordPress to mess around on my blog and I find 56 spam messages!  That probably isn’t a lot compared to what some of you receive but it seems like a lot to me.  Curious, I skimmed the list.  On the first page every message but one (18) was identified with the phrase lista de email or emails.  The one holdout was north face pink ribbon jacket.  Seriously. (They did all have individual email addresses but their aliases I guess? were almost all the same.)  Way to stand out!

Also because I’m bored, rather than immediately empty the spam folder which I haven’t done in awhile – and is probably why I have 56 – I start reading them.  I didn’t open them, I just read the snippet that WordPress lets me see from the inbox.  You would think I was some kind of blogging genius.  No, really.  Look:

claudio_nan2005 had this to say:  “yes! you did an awesome job! the blog looks great, and a belated congratulations!”  Obviously he didn’t read the post he was commenting about – Full of the Awe or he would have found a synonym for awesome, don’t you think?

cesarnozaki chimed in:  “you should publish more articles like this and you will be famous.  you have the talent to become a super star. your article is supuerb. keep it up.”  This comment was on my Sucess post.  Yeah, I should publish more posts about hanging my Christmas lights and annoying my husband.  You keep it up cesar.  Come back and compliment me some more!  Maybe read the post first though, m’kay?

Before that carlosbraga said he’d “seen some websites with very poor texts, and the attention they give to the readers is also poor.  I hope that yours will be different.”  I’ve got your different right here carlos!  Nobody asked you to come here and read my blog and fill my spam folder!

In addition, carinanabuco thanked me for my “excellent review.”  Since this comment was attached to my Recommended Reading page there’s a slim possibility it’s genuine.  Yeah, right.  And I’m a size 12!

Finally?  This gem from celo_ros:  “your texts are worthy a trophy, congratulations.”

Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Reaches for tissue) Sniff.

th[5]

 

Success! Sort of.

It didn’t rain Saturday!  Not the drenching, gushing downpour I was afraid of anyway.  It was a bit on the misty, damp side, but those are the kind of raindrops I can easily dodge.  I foraged in the shed and pulled out several strings of Christmas lights along with my wreath and some red and green tissue paper.  Yes!  Only two bulbs were burned out too! 

My brain must have been functioning okay last year because I thought ahead and packed the wreath hanger with the wreath!  How efficient was that?  I was able to hang the wreath up immediately.  But I had to make repairs to it with a twist tie.  I’m not safe to operate a glue gun or I would have done it correctly.  As it is, the twist tie is only a little noticeable and at some point I’ll get Hubs to replace that with some hot glue. 

Then we met daughter K at the train station and went to brunch.  Followed by some shopping and by the time we got home it was too dark to hang lights.  That’s the way it goes sometimes.  Especially in Seattle where the days are growing shorter much too quickly.

On Sunday it was more than a bit misty but not quite a deluge so we tried again.  We used those plastic gutter hooks and hung the first string along the front of the house.  Or I should give Hubs full credit.  He can reach the gutter from the deck without any step stool or ladder.  Picture our deck planted in the middle of the front of the mobile home, open to stairs at each end.  The mobile is without decking at both the front and back so there was no way to hang lights there without a ladder.  Which we don’t have.  So there’s a lonely string of lights along the front of the house from one end of the deck to the other and where we had more lights than we could reach to hang we brought them down and circled the window in the front. 

Before we could do any of that though we needed a way to fasten the string to the wall and Hubs’ staple gun has been MIA since we moved.  Off to Wally World we went.  We needed milk and dog food anyway.  Hubs forgot his phone and when I asked him where we should meet he said electronics.  Welllll, I forgot.  I was up by the deli near the entrance waiting for several minutes before I remembered I was supposed to meet him in the grown-up toy department.  By the time I got there he was nowhere in sight.  So I thought maybe he was still in hardware and I headed that way.  Hey, it could happen! 

I didn’t see him anywhere near hardware and I reversed course back to electronics.  Where I found him walking toward me from the grocery end of the store.  Mr. Grumpy Pants wasn’t happy about not being able to find me after we specifically agreed to meet in electronics.  Yeah, sometimes I aggravate him unintentionally.  Imagine if I was trying to drive him crazy!  We often have discussions about how surprised we are to still be together after all these years.  The usual consensus is that no one else would put up with us which is probably true. 

Back home he loaded the new staple gun and headed out front while I donned my gloves and carried another string of lights out back.  After much wrapping my tiny back porch looked quite festive.  The only down side is that when the lights are on that chasing/flashing combo I feel like I’m going to have a seizure.  I quickly changed the light pattern to the slow fade on/off.  I must be getting old or something. 

There you have it – a successful weekend.  Sort of. 

And how are your decorations coming?  🙂