Andy’s Orchard
Saturday June 30th 2018, 9:10 am
Filed under: Family,Food

Yesterday, the chocolate, today, the peaches!



Oh most definitely
Thursday June 28th 2018, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

A quick trip home for both work and the holiday.

She had two requests: Timothy Adams for chocolate and Andy’s for peaches.

Yes. Yes I think we can definitely do those.



Would you could you in a box? Would you could you with a fox? Would you eat them here or there? Would you eat them anywhere?
Thursday June 14th 2018, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends

The weekly veggie box came.

He saw the bag and asked, Chips? (Why would they sell…? You’re not a corn chip fan, why did you…) He was about to reach for some. I headed him off, shaking my head.

Crickets.

??!

Only later did I see the word Chirps at the top, but yeah, those are chips made from a high protein source that happens to be, um, bird-friendly, other ingredients aside. One bug per chip.

The Imperfect Produce people were trying to close them out because they were getting close to their sell-by date and during the brief weekly glance at the offerings I’d thought, well that sounds curious.

And then spent the week wondering whether that was really such a good idea. It’s easy to be adventuresome when the adventure’s far away. Now that they’re here I…I…

I find that I just do not seem to want to open that bag.

It is safe to say I don’t think he’s in a rush to, either.

We’re going to a potluck dinner next week where I’m sure they could be the talk of the night. Better bring a chocolate torte–no, two! And peaches from Andy’s!–to make sure they forgive us.

“You know what bugs me about you guys?”

*crickets*

The puns, they await. We may never live this down….



Between a rock and a melted place
Tuesday May 29th 2018, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

So USGS’s geologists were open to questions.

Leading to the BBC’s best-ever headline: Don’t Toast Marshmallows on Hawaii volcano, says US government.

On the other hand, if you want to go to London with 499 of your closest friends (at the minimum), then you can have basaltic rock melted into your own personal steak-charring lava. With, afterwards, (honeymoon story alert) marshmallows.



You dim sum you lose some you win some
Monday May 28th 2018, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life,Lupus

We decided to go out to lunch. She picked out the (allergy-friendly) place. I hadn’t had dim sum in years–I was looking forward to this.

The food was very good, the place fairly formal and even in a long skirt I felt a tad underdressed. Quite a few of the patrons were on the older side, but not all.

There was a dad who picked up his adorable little girl of about 18 months a time or two and walked the aisle with her to keep her from becoming too restless.

There was another family in a corner in the other direction with a daughter of about nine and a boy of about two and I confess to wincing inwardly as he waved his chopstick with enthusiasm. His was blue. When he wanted to jump and down on his seat waving that baton his parents watched him carefully and finally put a stop to it.

Dim sum is not a fast meal, which was fine with us; we wanted time to catch up on things.

Back to the first family: the third time it was the mom that got up with her. By that point I had a bright-striped red/green/blue/white parrot at the ready. It had the most perfect face. (Chosen over the ones shown here.)

It was hard to tell which one of them was more delighted but it was clearly a great success.

It was a goodly while later and the other family’s dishes were still coming out but that little boy was quite done eating. I asked the maitre d’ as he was going by: was it okay to ask him to give these to those two kids over there?

The green and yellow lizard and the banana-eating monkey swooped and giggled in his hands, imagination going full tilt, his parents playing with him, his big sister putting down her phone game to watch him with a grin and their meal transformed. They turned towards our table and we said, Happy Birthday!

And then went back to our conversation so as to try not to intrude overly.

But here’s the thing. The staff were in the middle of lunch rush in a busy downtown location running full tilt on a holiday and were clearly stressed. But now there were smiles all around where there hadn’t been before. At all.

The first family headed out, the little one back in her daddy’s arms. They paused just before our table and she waved bye-bye and thank you so enthusiastically with her whole arm waving side to side as far as she could go that it wiggled her all over, the parrot held out at the ends of her fingertips to show us her new toy, the parents grateful for older couples who remember how cute toddlers are.

Been there!

We were done and headed out.

Almost at the door, seeing the sun outside, I realized I’d left my new hat behind and was suddenly acutely aware of the time I’d done that and in just a few steps away from a restaurant it had been grabbed and vanished and was never seen again–just as today’s maitre d’ came rushing towards us with this one to try to catch us in time, glad to be able to give back.



Lava pie
Thursday May 24th 2018, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

The surgeon said to him afterwards, x-ray in hand, Did you know you broke your back? Apparently some time ago. Compression fracture.

Him: I what??

Me: So are you still 6’8″?

Him: As far as I can tell. (I took that as, doorways are still too low.)

To my astonishment he had me drive him in to work today.

I wanted him to have something to come home to to really cheer him on, then: thus this offering towards the mythical Pele of Hawaii. Photos of the first fissure opening up and after all heat broke loose. (Note that that top crust ended up really thin after I dropped half of it on the floor, which was clean but not that clean so I massaged what remained into whatever it could manage.)

Multi-berry pie, and it seems to have helped a little.



Early start
Saturday May 19th 2018, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Lupus

We read silly books, we played, we cheered.

Or rather he did, at least during the games. Since I can’t be out in the sun our daughter took me to her favorite dessert place downtown, and after we got back, the big screen got set up to show me some of the boys’ best moves so I could see them in action, too and their daddy could brag on them.

A little later, I pointed out the pretty orange flowers in the tree to Maddy and how the petals were falling on their swingset.

She did a double take at my audacity and corrected me: “Those. Aren’t. Flowers.”

I laughed. For that I had to step outside a moment with her, sun or no sun. “Yes they are!” I held her up high so she could see a cluster from quite close.

Nothing doing. Trees don’t have them. “They’re not flowers. And–they’re BLUE!” and she ran off giggling.

The logic of a three-year-old.

She might figure out now how the jacaranda trees are all purple right now. (In San Diego. Ours haven’t quite yet.)

When the last flight home for the day was coming right up, I explained to her mid-romp that we were going home to our house now.

She looked up at me, stunned, her face begging, WHAT?! NO!!

We got caught up in saying goodbye to Hudson and Parker and hugs and then we were off in their aunt’s car for the airport.

I only later realized I’d forgotten this time to promise them that we would come back. The boys are old enough to take that for granted but their little sister needed that reassurance.

But we will. I promise.



Raspberry cupcakes
Monday May 07th 2018, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life

I was short about a teaspoon’s worth of butter and added about that much extra sour cream in tradeoff and they didn’t rise as high as last week’s. Which is fine.

This time, I made homemade lemon curd via my Meyer tree rather than opening a jar of the stuff from Trader Joe’s.

And again, I took four of the finished cupcakes, with a raspberry on top just like in the pictures, over to our friends Phyl and Lee after they affirmed that yes, they would love to taste-test this version, too.

Lee’s brother fell and died of a head injury last month and that was the last thing anyone expected. Coming for dinner that night, yes. But…

I cannot bring him back. But by golly I can make really good raspberry cupcakes to let them know we’re thinking about them, thanks to my daughter Sam’s heads-up on that recipe.

We do what we can.



He’ll help you with that
Tuesday May 01st 2018, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

It needed to be snugged up a bit on that velcro but I snapped the picture first: he was holding still and I figured, get’em while you can.

A toolkit for a little boy’s first birthday definitely made his daddy’s day and his. If you’re ever looking for well-designed, engaging, well-made washable fabric toys and books for little ones (the sea creatures is my favorite of the latter), I highly recommend that company’s.

My son-in-law said that the secured board across the fireplace instantly cured the kid of wanting to climb inside and splash in the ashes. Lost all interest. That’s okay, he can make messes in lots of other ways.

Like maybe take a cotton hammer to one of these cupcakes that our daughter made: not terribly sweet and oh so good. And I’m not usually much of a cupcake fan. Raspberries and lemon curd and mascarpone? Yes please. I begged the recipe and made a trip out tonight for the ingredients.



Walked in the door tonight and threw in the first load of laundry
Monday April 30th 2018, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

Five wonderful days.

Every one-year-old needs a picture of them in a high chair making a total mess of their cake. Mathias did not want to give up his carrot at first for this triangular stripey food his mommy had baked but with enough coaxing (here, she said, taste this) decided to humor her.

Oh wait. I think I like this. I do. (Ditches the carrot.)

Plus a random airport picture, just because I’d never seen a plane with a bumper sticker before.



Blessed are the Meeks
Monday April 09th 2018, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Food

For they shall inherit the earth. And what the earth hath wrought, and leave us all better off for it.

Avocado honey? You know that label had to be green, right?

And I had to try it out. It was just too Californian, too different.

It is somehow not as cloyingly sweet as many; more–grown-up, for lack of a better description, and on one of the warmest days we’ve had in awhile it runs easily.

But that variety is not listed on the Meeks page. Whether that means the quantities they were able to produce were too small or that they just haven’t updated their website in awhile, I don’t know (although the line about the 2013/2014 season being upcoming might be a give-away) but I’m thinking I want to go back to Milk Pail and stock up while I can. You never know. I’m always looking for the perfect honey, and this is seriously good stuff.

(Runs and gets a fourth spoonful to try just to make sure. Or was it the fifth.)



We didn’t have any reservations
Thursday April 05th 2018, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

So. Monday when our seriously-jet-lagged daughter woke up we offered to take her out to dinner for her birthday a day early (since her old friend wanted to do so the day of.) We asked her where she’d like to go.

The first place she mentioned was Rangoon Ruby. Which is a great place, and dairy-allergy-friendly. Sounds good!

Somehow to my complete surprise we ended up somewhere else altogether that I would not have thought of for her at all, on the other side of town. But it worked out fine. Even if the waiter tried to surprise her with birthday cake and suddenly realized as he was putting it down that she couldn’t touch it and he handed it to us instead with profuse apologies and embarrassment. Oops. But he called himself on it, and that was the important part.

We’d already had dessert so I’d thought it was safe to joke about the outdoor heater making a great birthday candle, but no, they were trying to do that one extra thing because hey, birthdays. I told the guy he’d just given us a funny story–it was all good.

I was reading the local news today and was, for the second time this week, suddenly speechless. At the time we were sitting down eating that dinner in that other restaurant that night, someone showed up for his shift at Rangoon Ruby.

After, on his commute in, he’d shot at a complete stranger in the car next to him at a light, unprovoked. (Missed him, damaged his car.) Who then gave chase, trying to get his license plate for the cops. The guy then shot a 65-year-old woman carrying her groceries (she needs surgery but she lived.) The first victim stopped and ran to her aid. Next he hit a teen on a bicycle (it was wrecked but the kid’s okay) and nearly took out someone else next to him and the guy, no surprise at this point, took off.

He ditched the car downtown, causing a lockdown at a restaurant there, and then casually walked into the one where he worked.

And said, Man, there were a bunch of crazy people chasing me out there.



Love your dear ones
Sunday March 18th 2018, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

The friend I knitted the purple for was wearing an outfit today that would look smashing with the butterscotch cowl, and she definitely thought so, too. Got that one right even when I got that one wrong.

Eli loved his new teal-green hat and the vote of thanks and confidence in his mango-tree-caretaking it conveyed.

Which was as far as I got. I was all ready to tell the expectant mom she could shrink the baby hat for a few minutes in the dryer while the baby was small, let it air dry as the baby got bigger and the superwash treatment would shrink or stretch the fit accordingly. But those came home.

Last Tuesday we got a phone call close to dinner time: my friend Karen (this friend), my visiting teacher in Mormon-speak, had a big dinner ready to set out and she was suddenly in need of people to feed it to and would we like to come? There was no way she by herself could plow through all this.

Hey, love to. A few others showed up at her spur of the moment call and a grand time was had by all and we should do this again, definitely. May I just add, and that was the biggest lasagna pan I have ever seen.

Her daughter-in-law is the one I just knitted the butter cowl and baby hat for.

Karen had a heart attack two days ago and her family was not in church. Any protest of mine that she is way too young for this, well… She is recuperating.

Someone definitely needs me to bring them a good dinner. My pans may be smaller but I’ve got two ovens at the ready and all the love in the world.



The newbie
Monday March 12th 2018, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

So the recipes both said 4 c water or broth to one 2-2.5 lb corned beef in your standard 6 qt Instant Pot.

The meat was a 3.5+ lb, thanks, Costco. The machine was an IP Mini, 3 qt. I did get the whole slab in there–but there was no way on earth that much broth was following after.

Pours in the second cup of broth, slowly, carefully, right to the tippy top of that Max line on the inside. Oh, you’re not supposed to actually fill up to that? (Then why is it there?) Too late. I consider. I could just throw it in the oven and let it take its standard three hours. Nah, don’t have the time, I need it in two.

(Hits presets. Machine says 1:00. Adds 30 for it to cook 90 minutes. Wait, did I do that right?)

Comes back 40 minutes later and I guess I cooked it for one minute and it’s been warming for 39. Joy. Or was it actually cooking and I only saw the Warming button because it’s on anyway when the cooking’s going, but there’s no steam venting out. Resets the whole thing to start over from scratch. Confirmed by pot being unable to get back to countdown right away even though I didn’t open it. 90? Make it 110. Still no idea if I’m way overcooking it but undercooked could be far worse. Adds twenty minutes yet again to be on the safe side: that was a big roast.

Since there was no room for the veggies, they simmer in the rest of the broth on the stove. They come out palid, no surprise, because all the spices are in the Instant Pot. Checks spice cabinet. Nope. Not combining that with that.

Comes back when the time is finally about up anyway wondering if something is burning? Uses oven mitt to do an Instant Release to stop it because that sure beats wrecking all that food after all this wait and oh right I forget just how much of a mess that makes and I quickly throw the mitt half over it and the boiling geyser that ensues anyway makes every knife in the block on the counter next to it a greasy dripping mess, and how do you get beef fat out of the holes down inside that wood? And why did I leave it there?

Waits for the pin to drop. Pin drops. Lid willing to come off now.

Slices and scoops and serves dinner to a very very very patient husband at 7:45 who did not even look for snacks while all this was going on.

The surprise? It’s about perfect. And the cabbage and potatoes didn’t soak up fat and salt like they do in the traditional version, they’re much better. Pour grease off broth and broth over veggies for flavoring on top of meat as desired. Done.



Anne B
Friday March 09th 2018, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Knit

Now that was a fun evening!

Back in ’09 when I was ill enough that my survival was no sure thing, Anne decided to make me a get-well afghan and asked if anyone wanted to contribute squares to it. She got so many squares offered up that she pieced them together into two of them.

I love them, I love every person for being part of that, and her for the whole thing. She’d never even met me.

Turns out Anne had a business trip that was bringing her to California, and she asked on FB if anyone knew anything she should see while she was in–my town. I answered, Yes! ME!

I had wanted to meet her for so long. So long.

We made tentative plans, business trips being what they are, and then this afternoon some time opened up for later on if I didn’t mind potential work interruptions as we visited. No problem. I have knitting. I would pick up Richard, drop him off at home, and we could have the evening to ourselves.

Except that he got stuck at work till close to the time we were supposed to meet and she said hey, bring him along too, then.

Two afghans. There was nothing I could knit that could match that. I looked through some of her pictures to get a sense of what colors she might like and chose a circular scarf and a thick warm Malabrigo Mecha hat, thinking, what Canadian knitter doesn’t already have a closetful of hats? And yet it felt important, so I put it in my purse with the other and when dinner was over I showed her the ziploc and asked her her choice of colors without saying what the two things were. Color is everything.

She was quite delighted that what she picked out was a hat: she had had one ready to go for the trip and had accidentally left it home. She was going to need one and now she had one!

The place we’d stopped at mostly caters to the lunch crowd, and Richard asked them to kick us out any time they wanted to close down. When he asked again after we’d finished eating, they apologetically went, yeah…

So we adjourned to Timothy Adams. Hot chocolate and truffles to top off the evening with more time to chat, Adams himself welcoming us at the door.

I can’t tell you how good it feels that we finally got to meet and that I finally got to thank her in person. Here’s hoping life brings her back this way again soon. Anne is just the best.