Not something I would have thought about other wise…
So… My J-O-B has made us an offer that is very hard to refuse: a two year stint in the south of France and they will fly us home 3 times a year. We get to keep our house and I get to come back to my job in Seattle when that period ends. THE SOUTH OF FRANCE!! Warm weather, amazing wine, spectacular cheese, lavender, honey, the French vacation plan. We would be living outside of Toulouse – the third largest city in France. It sits at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains, is an hour from the coast, has one of the 10 best Saturday markets in Europe (so says the interwebs), and has more sunshine in 6 weeks of summer than Seattle has all year. We are so freaking doing this!
There is some red tape that we have to cut through, namely a work permit. Since around 27% of the French population under 30 is out of work, getting a permit right now, even in the aerospace field, is tres difficile. Fingers crossed. If this happens, then The Nana will move into La Maison du Talley, pay the utilities, and keep the zombie horde away. Visualize a sweet grandmother rocking away on the front porch with a shotgun across her lap. Add a Marlboro hanging from the corner of her mouth and you will have an accurate picture of The Nana.
I will miss my shop and my yard for those two years, but I will plug the hole in my heart with Cote du Rhone, Comte, a day trip or 6 to the Mediterranean coast, weekends in Paris/Rome, sunshine, and a yearly vacation to Morocco. I will be taking a chest of hand tools and am planning on making some small detailed pieces while there. I also plan on scouring the flea markets over that two year period for planes, chisels, and joinery tools.
Stamps-With-Foot is not concerned about logistics or housing or much of anything other than “How is Brodie going to handle that long flight?!” She feels that we will be taking Brodie back to ancestral homeland and has spent some amount of time talking to the dog about this possibility – trying to get him psyched about the proposition…
Tags: Brodie, Cheese, Delusions of Adequacy, Expat, food, Foodie, France, French, House, J-O-B, Laurel, Move, movers, Moving to France, Nesting, Road Trip, Shop, Stamps-With-Foot, Tools, Toulouse, travel, Wine, Yard
I did not have serious time off on my recent trip to China, but I did have an afternoon to visit the markets in Beijing and sample some of the local street food – also not sample some… I picked up a few little somethings in the market stalls for everyone and spent a whopping $50 in doing so. It was one of those experiences that you have to be immersed in as the sights, smells, the crush of people, sounds, Etc…. can’t be accurately described.
In my on-going project to build the finest glamping/campaign furniture kit in the Pacific Northwest, I have added a custom box for holding all of our cast iron and campfire cooking gear. It all started out with a wooden box I picked up at a garage sale that was full of a cast iron camp set that had been used once. We have added a square fry pan, pot lifters, trivets, stand-off, roasting sticks, a grill, bacon press, a 12″ lid, and corn-shaped bread pan. I had thought about including all of it in my camp kitchen, but it would have made the unit so heavy that I would have needed a winch to get it off and on to my truck bed.
The box that it came with was just a roughly tacked together crate, but it had potential. I spent a couple of hours adding trim, remaking the lid, adding reinforcement, and painting it a deep red. To Finish it off I added brass pipe handles and brass closures. It is still not light, but one person can carry and move it. The “new” box holds all the aforementioned gear, looks snazzy, and doubles as a seat for around the campfire.
A little piece of my childhood is dying: Hostess has filed for bankruptcy, fired all the bakers and drivers, and is liquidating all its assets. Sad news. That means that Twinkies will be no more . I don’t eat them anymore because of my advanced age, but I remember them with great fondness. In addition to Twinkies, Hostess made Wonder Bread, Ding-Dongs and Ho Ho’s for the past 82 years. My Marvel Super Heroes/The Fall Guy lunchboxes in elementary had either a foil wrapped Ding-Dong or individual Twinkie inside a couple times a week. I always ate them first or used them like cash, trading for other teeth-destroying snacks across the lunch table.
I have read that there will be a run on the stores and people are snapping Hostess products up and hording them like doomsday preppers. I wonder what the “last Twinkie” will be listed for someday on Ebay?
One of my first experiences abroad was a trip to Scotland were I ate at a pub in Glasgow the first night that had deep fried Twinkies and deep fried Snickers Bars on the menu for desert. I ordered both and had a beer/sugar hangover the next day that was epic. Still wouldn’t trade the memory of that night for any amount of coin.
It has been a sweet summer in our small garden. Stamps-With-Foot has really stepped up and has been planting, weeding, watering, picking fruit, staking dahlias and has even once turned the compost and added chicken manure. I have been both shocked and impressed. She even talked me into having some corn planted in the raised boxes this year. She bought the starts, planted them, made sure they were well hydrated and is now about to harvest 15+ ears of yellow sweet corn. Her squash has been prolific and we will have more soybeans this fall than we will know what to do with. Happily surprised at my bride’s greening thumb…
So far this season, we have harvested 25 heads of garlic, 10 sweet yellow onions, 30+ yellow and green squash, a few Roma tomatoes (still very early in the season), 4+pints of raspberries (late summer crop just starting), 3 pints of wonderfully sweet blackberries, figs, apricots, 1 apple (more to come), a gallon+ of cherries, spinach, 5 beets, more Swiss and rainbow chard than I care to remember, 2 pints of small strawberries, a pint-ish of blueberries, and we have supplied three households with rosemary, sage, pineapple sage, thyme, basil, Thai basil, Moroccan mint, and spearmint. We have been trading produce with some other members of our family for eggs and with two sets of neighbors for veggies and flowers. Stamps-With-Foot mentioned the other day that she felt like Marie Antoinette with her little Austrian Hobby farm in the shadow of Versailles.
The amazing amount of flowers (except for the lavender and roses) have all been cared for by my sweet wife and a neighbor from across the street. Both front and back yards have been perfumed since early spring.
Tags: Apple Trees, Apples, Bees, Berries, Blackberries, Corn, Delusions of Adequacy, Flower Box, flowers, food, Fruit, Green Thumb, Laurel, Lavander, Photography, Raspberries, Roses, Stamps-With-Foot, Veggies, Yard
Below are the things that I find are present for me today:
1. More time with my children.
2. I want to stick to my new diet and workout schedule and not fall off the wagon and back into the cookie/café Mocha/lethargic/big-belly abyss.
3. For my wife to finish some long ago promised sewing tasks for me.
4. More book shelf space at home. We read more and more on our kindles and have sold many, if not most, of the paperbacks that have filled our lives for years and we are still completely out of space for our books. There are stacks on the floor in both of our home offices, to-read piles on each night-stand, fiction and history filing the living room book case, literature lined up on the basement hutch, cookbooks on the bottom shelf of the china hutch, and single volumes littered across the normally unoccupied spaces of our small home. We more shelves, not less books!
5. A finished kitchen
6. Painted lawn furniture
7. Filson Medium Travel bag. My son and I went to the Filson factory store and I fell into love/lust over this piece of luggage. I know that sounds weird, but I fly a LOT – I am a Platinum SkyTeam frequent flier member and a Gold OneWorld member. Quality, attractive, roomy, useful luggage is a necessity.
8. A cigarbox electric Ukulele for playing blues with a slide.
9. A proper car camping/glamping kitchen set up.
10. A few books: Passions:The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson; The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook; Paris Between the Wars 1919-1939: Art, Life & Culture; Ernest Hemmingway bio and a two books of his letters (1&2), etc…
11. A Truck bed full of wooden wine/port crates/boxes for a couple of open projects at home.
12. To give Heifer International a menagerie of animals. That is my charity goal for the year. I want to save, gather, raise, find as much cash as possible to give to Heifer International by the end of 2012 for the purchase of bees, goats, cows, water buffalo, chickens, trees, training and hope. It will provide animals and knowledge that will change lives for the good. I will add a link or a tab on my front page to a fund status page/counter and update it as the gift grows.
Tags: Bees, Book Lust, Books, Coffee, cookies, Delusions of Adequacy, Diet, e-books, Exercise, food, frequent flier, gift, Glamping, Heifer International, Kindle, Kitchen remodel, Laurel, Luggage, need more book shelves, Port, project, Santa-like body fat, self-preservation, Sewing, SkyMiles, The Blues, The Kids, The Kinder, Thursdays, travel, ukulele, Wine, Working Out
New Juice: Not yummy…
Old Juice: Yummy.
I sent the above note to Starbucks via their online comment engine. I only wish that I could have pasted in a Mr. Yuck face with my comment… The ladies and gents at that little coffee company up the road from me recently removed the Naked Brand of juices from their cooling case and replaced them with a line of there own juices. The new ones suck. Starbucks bought a company in 2011 that makes juice, so it is a natural that they would move the sister product into their own stores. I get vertical integration, but as stated the new stuff verges on craptastic – water, almost plastic tasting,and makes me want to scrape my tongue
Al least the Starbucks in Barnes&Noble and at the airport haven’t made the switch.
What I want Thursday - August 11th, 2011:
Today is National Chocolate Chips Day! Damn!! Why didn’t I get some warning on this?! I should already be well into my Chips Ahoy!-induced sugar coma – Face smeared with melted chips, shirt littered with crumbs, one shoe just gone, right hand clutching a batter encrusted beater, left hand resting on on an empty milk carton, and face etched with a smile…
The Original Tollhouse Cookie Recipe in below – Just like Mom makes!
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION:
PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.
FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
After 100+ days of rain, spring is finally here. I only really know that because my lapin cherry tree and the ornamentals on the block are in full blossom. Hopefully, all the hard work done in the rain and mud till now is about to start paying off.
Prep has been the theme for the past few months. I spent some quality time killing yard moss, reseeding in the front and back yards, adding weed and feed, conducting property-wide dandelion genocide, planting 70+ bulbs, and getting the soil in the garden bed ready for the tomatoes, carrots, onions and garlic. In addition to finishing the raised beds and converting the cat litter-filled pond into a flower planter for my wife, I have cut all the trash trees, vines, and blackberries from my south fence. My neighbor on that side keeps his home and yard in the Miss Havisham fashion. I have taken three loads of branches/leaves/vines to the dump and I can now see from one end of our property to the other. So far this year his pine tree has delivered three 5-gallon buckets worth of pinecones in my front yard and I have had to clean my gutters three times. I have a sneaking suspicion that the particular pine tree in question is not long for this world… There is a holly tree of some relation that is not looking all that well either...
I finally got a great espalier apple tree in the ground, two columnar apples to flank it, and an additional cherry (a glacier) up front. There is now a fig for Laurel, a dwarf Helena apricot from Dave&Sarah, a Satsuma, and an Improved Meyer lemon – all in containers so we can hot-house them this winter. For the side yard, there are two huckleberries in bloom – ready to plant. The last rose bush (a J&P Radiant Perfume) has been planted on the back fence and irrigation lines have been run to the roses, garden boxes, raspberries, and fruit trees.
The Apricot and citrus trees will stay in containers so that I can
move them into a hot-house when the temperature drop in the fall.
The multiple weird cold snaps this year have been decidedly unhealthy for my strawberry pots, but the kitchen herbs planted last spring are doing well. The orange-mint has taken over a rectangular container and the rosemary is starting to bloom tiny baby-blue flowers. The two sunshine blueberries in pots are covered in small white blossoms and the grass in front and back is thick, healthy, and Ireland green – I can’t wait to string up the hammock and snooze gently swinging above my lawn. Although I still have dandelion farms on either side there have been very few that have dared to peak up in the grand lawn of Le Maison Du Talley this year. Their appearance has been followed with swift and forceful retribution. Speaking of the weed farms adjacent to me: It seems that someone sprayed them in the middle of the night with Scott’s liquid death. Now all the yellow-orange flowers that they were cultivating seem to be shriveling up. I think it was the gnomes. -I have a couple of English garden gnomes that are leftist lawn militants. The local dogs give our place a wide berth – narry a singe poop on the parking strip this year and there is a racoon living over at Miss Havisham’s and they are preparing to hunt safari-style…
The second of three loads of branches taken to the dump in the last month. My neighbor loves me so much that he shares his trees and yard waste with me…
CRAP!! I have a body fat percentage hovering just under the Santa-level after a Thanksgiving and Christmas season filled with glutoney and sloth (I am looking at knocking the 5 other ones off as well…). I am working semi-hard at the gym to rid myself of my marine-mammal worthy blubber, but that got shot in the foot yesterday with the arrival of my first six boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. Jenny Craig here I come… So far, I have purchased six boxes from a guy,s kid at work, my wife picked up four boxes from one of her employees, and we have four more on the way from a 12-year old family member. Fourteen boxes of yummy, baked, CRACK!
Fourteen boxes is a bunch all by itself, but when you add the frozen cookie dough that I just bought from another coworker’s kid, the three chocolate bars I was wrestled into purchasing from the 12-year old Girl Scout’s sister, and the 5-10 boxes that I will get pressured into buying outside of my local grocery store, my future begins to become clear: I am going to turn into a fvckin’ Weeble Wooble…
Stepping up on my soapbox now: The little girls that stand with their mom outside Safeway are velociraptors! Evidenced by the fact that they hunt their quarry in packs, are relentless, and unflinching: They huddle as a would-be victim steps out of a car, then all break rank before their unwitting mark nears. One, the cutest and most doe-eyed of the pack, will step right in front of you with a box in her small, outstretched hands and ask you to “Please” buy some of their crack. While one fumbles with the “No Thank you, I am trying to be good” answer, two of her “sisters” move in from opposing oblique angles and simultaneously cut off a possible escape and present you with another box of baked love-handles to be. You will end up walking around the store with a minimum of two boxes in your cart, getting the sad also-violated nod from the other addicts who have fallen for their Late Cretaceous Period-inspired snack-trap.
Stepping off my soapbox and returning to my box of Samoas…
On a trip to the UK just before Christmas, I had an early morning bid’ness meeting near Cardiff, Wales and stopped on the way back to London in the pedestrian town of Castle Combs – pronounced “Cwms” – for lunch. A co-worker suggested the stop and once a again, “Peculiar travel suggestions are like dancing lessons from God”
I ate a fantastic meat pie and had a ½ pint of local cider at The White Hart. The place, staff, and food were all top-notch! It was a nice little lull in the midst of a hectic, pressure-filled trip.
Castle Combs is a time capsule of 15th century buildings, streets & houses and seems to be a popular place for filming. It was used a location for the 1967 film Doctor Dolittle, an episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the 2010 version of The Wolfman, and for the coming Steven Spielberg production War Horse. Who would have thunk it?
I have spent something like 40 total hours of labor over the entire summer and spent ~$250 to build the most over complicated raised garden bed boxes within a four mile radius. I have obsessed over the design & materials, changed the layout and location no more than 4 times and used child labor (my 9-year old son) during construction. We now have Garden Boxes that can support the weight of our entire house and my wife mentioned that I might need an intervention.
It all started when we decided to grow some veggies and I didn’t want to use treated lumber from Home Depot. I considered landscape bricks, but the total project cost would be over $700 for three 8X3X2’ beds. I wanted to use 3-inch thick cypress beams, as that particular wood is rot proof for 50+ years, but that type of wood is outrageously expensive here in the Pacific Northwest ~$1000 for the needed lengths. I considered redwood, but it was also too pricy to be left out in the yard, half covered with dirt. The predicament was solved for me when I happened upon a bunch of 4”X10”X8’ fir beams that were end cuts from a beam roof construction project in the neighborhood. As they were “scrap” I picked them up for a song.
In addition to the boxes, there will be an espalier apple tree and two columnar apples on that side of the yard. I wanted the garden boxes to mesh with that plan and still be functional, pretty, and to fit in with the style of our house & yard. To help with that goal, I decided to lap joint the corners of the boxes and use hardwood dowels to both keep the joints together and as homage to the period craftsmanship of our home. I know I have OCD. Since I was already using dowels, I wanted to marry the planks together (see drawing) so that the whole structure would be stronger and resist and bowing in the middle as the dirt pressed on the sides of the beds. I felt it might also be nice to add replaceable cedar top rails to shed water and to take the brunt of any abuse. I may have over-thought the concept and might have been better off just using concrete cinder blocks…
The finished product with espalier apple trees cartooned in.
Here are the exact steps to take in building raised garden boxes just like ours:
Buy lumber – get great deal
Bring home and cover with tarp
Let sit for a month
Measure and layout each joint with son’s help
Let son drop board on your shin
Try REALLY hard not to say curse words
By son ice cream.
Limp for a couple of days
Carefully cut all end notches with son
Tell him no when he wants to run the circle saw
Tel him no when he asks again every 10 minutes
Lit it all sit for 2 more weeks
Find really expensive combination square your son left in the grass
Smile because you love him anyway
Drill all dowel holes in the middle of the individual sections with spade bit
Let sit for a week in rain because you forgot to tarp it
Assembly all sections dry for 1st box
Realize that the pieces are now warped and twisted more than a bit
Say a LOT of curse words
Hand-fit each joint with a mallet and chisel
Cuss some more
Purchase ¾” X 2’ auger bit
Assemble 1st box with glue and dowels
Get HUGE splinter in palm
Say hurtful, mean things to the lumber & loudly question the legitimacy of its parentage
Cry a little while digging the jagged hunk of wood out with utility knife
Use Super Glue creatively as first aid supply
Spend a full hour getting 1st box square using one hand
Call it a night
Make sure the thing didn’t move while you were sleeping
Drill corners for dowels
Almost burn up drill
Look at sky and count to ten
Run out of waterproof wood glue
Say dirty words all the way to Home Depot
Buy bigger drill, glue, and more dowels
Apply glue and hammer in dowels with wooden mallet
Look over to see puppy chewing on your hat
Say the F-word
Retrieve soggy hat
Clamp box up with 8 huge pipe clamps
Let joints dry/sit for a week
Construct next two boxes with minimal dirty words
Let sit a further week
Ask 15 year old daughter if she wants to help
She will look at you like you are insane for the mere suggestion
Try not to break her phone when she returns to texting
Look up and count to twenty – repeat
Spread out boxes in yard and turn over
Apply two coats of white primer to bottoms of boxes
Get paint on favorite pair of shorts
Let wife help paint over primer with green outdoor paint
Look up and notice that wife has painted halfway down the box…
Take paint brush from wife
Say sweet things to her and laugh about the extra paint coverage
Let boxes sit for two days
Finish painting bottoms green (keep ground moisture out and blends with grass)
Let sit a week
Position in yard where they should finally go
Ask visiting friend for his opinion
Take his advice (as it is better than your plan) and reposition
Let wife see
Move 3 more times to make wife happy
Move back to position friend suggested
Let sit for a week
Get married to wife a second time and almost loose mind to stress
Have house full of guests for a week
Try not to kill Ross when he makes fun of your yard
Drink lots of beer
Buy gravel and hardware cloth for box foundation
Cut sod from under box locations and move to bare patch in front yard
Wife will work hard in front planting lavender and arranging sod
Lay hardware cloth and pour gravel footings
Spend Saturday with wife finally placing boxes
Drink beer and wine until you hurt the next day in celebration of your hard work
Let sit another week
Cut top rail on table saw
Decide to really complicate things by adding hardwood splines to top rail joint
Devise special spline jig for table saw
Cut last rail too short
DO NOT throw anything, close eyes and count to ten
Revert to cussing
Trip to Home Depot for extra cedar
Re-rip and re-miter last rail
Glue joints of rail and try not to glue rail to box
Wait 3 days and cut away spline waste
Find “cute” little ceramic tiles from the 1920’s that wife will love for boxes
Spend 2 nights in shop making custom cedar frames for the tiles
Add corner splines to match boxes just because
Measure twice to find box center
Attach tiles to front of the boxes with proper outdoor screws
Coat top rails with food-safe clear coat
Wait 2 days
Apply another coat and repeat
Show wife your handy-work and wait for her to swoon
Point out the joint details and all the thought that went into the build
Wait for batting of eyelashes and the swoon…
Mention the period tiles and their perfect symmetry
Forgive me, but I am going to rant a little here… Yesterday, the New York Times reported (also picked up by CNN) that the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the United States FDA to “officially” re-label high-fructose corn syrup as “corn sugar.” Thinking that the name change will improve the image of the “much maligned sweetener.” Yeah, and Stalin was a cute teddy bear with a heart of gold… Oh! Corn Sugar, well that is a different story, pour some more of that on my snowcone! Mmmm, coffee with Corn Sugar is just like coffee with REAL sugar… Fvck that.
What I really like is the new TV commercial ad campaign (Laurel told me about it this morning and I spent lunch watching the ads and parodies on YouTube) promoting HFCS as a “natural ingredient” made from corn. HFCS is NOT a natural substance. It does not occur in nature. That is like saying Einsteinium or Americium are natural substances. Fvcking lobbyists. Apparently, according to the ads, it is fine to consume in moderation. Hell, I can ingest Arsenic in moderation as long as I know what that quantity is. What is the correct daily consumption amount for corn syrup? How do you calculate it?
HFCS is in everything from bread to lunch meat, coke, the honey at KFC, and something like 9 out of 10 prepackaged foods found on your grocer’s shelves. Americans are fat. HFCS is in everything… Brits and Germans are getting fat and HFCS is quickly gaining ground in their packaged food. This is not differential calculus - it is simple math: HFCS+you=lard ass. Changing the name will not make us any less fat. I quote from an industry source:
“The ingredient is a favorite of food makers for practical reasons. Compared with sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup doesn’t mask flavors, has a lower freezing point and retains moisture better, which is useful in making foods like chewy granola bars. And because the corn crop in the United States is heavily subsidized, high-fructose corn syrup is also cheap. As a result, it’s now used in so many foods, from crackers to soft drinks, that it has become one of the biggest sources of calories in the American diet.”
Cheap, easy to use, & government subsidized… There is a lot more wrong here than just a product with a bad image in need of a name change!
Why in the Hell would anyone choose to get married?! Not the commitment/loving one person forever part, the actual wedding part. The logistics of the thing are as complicated as planning an invasion of a small island country. Stressful is not the word for what this “little party for our family and friends” has become. Budget – long gone. Nerves – frayed.
My lovely wife and I have been married for almost four years and are just now getting around to having the reception. We booked the event hall just after New Years and have spent the last 7 months planning, deciding, rethinking, deciding again, spending, organizing, finding a caterer, picking a menu, herding cats, applying for permits, cake tasting, choosing the proper glasses, wedding dress alterations, finding flowers, writing checks, wine tasting, finding a new caterer, buying kegs of beer, tracking down a violinist, making invitations, finding 7 matching ties in one place, forking over the credit card, DJ – band – or iPod?, finding rooms for out of town guests, writing vows, buying gifts, soothing ruffled feathers, renting suits, keeping feuding family in their respective corners, dealing with lost bridesmaid dresses, etc, etc, etc… It never fvcking ends.
I am at the point where I want to run screaming from our cute little house – abandoning my green yard, letting my tomatoes wither and set up a tent in the mountains where I can live like a hermit until all this is over! After all the wine and beer are gone, after everything has been cleaned, and after all the guests have all flown back to their respective cities and towns, I am going to stay home every weekend for a year, read my Sunday paper, work in the shop and on my yard/garden. I am not going to plan one single fvcking event, outing, or trip. I am going to church on Sundays, yoga on Saturdays, visit a few galleries, and go see a film or three. I am not going to take on any more projects and I am going to spend my off hours reading, writing, making love, cycling, running, climbing, and building cabinets.
When my kids and grandkids decide to get married, I am going to do my dead level best to bribe them into eloping and will give them a lump sum of cash that would have been spent on their wedding/reception as a down payment for a home.
post written on and uploaded from my iPhone
C&P on California Ave. is now my coffee shop. I have never had one before, just this or that shop that I would stop into IF I happened by. Well, the courting is over and while some may rave about Tea for Two and Hotwire, I now have a one true coffee home. When a certain Ex decides to put that hit out on me, I have a feeling that an overly muscular and black-suited gent with a thick accent will find me hunched over a book, in the faded high-backed chair, coffee in hand and ¾ eaten cookie on the table.
Not only does C&P serve great coffee, they are also purveyors of fine wine and good beer. There is live music 3+ nights a week, Mexican Coke bottles sit snugly in their fridge, the Wi-Fi is free, their croissants are both flaky and buttery, and our badass dog is always welcome. In the summer, one can sit outside on the large patio area that is raised above the sidewalk and has views of the Olympic Range and Puget Sound. Who can say ‘NO’ to setting outside on a calm sunny PacNW day, enjoying a great cup of coffee and a chocolate chip cookie? There is a sign on the door saying that C&P is a place reserved for “Service Animals Only” and apparently the fact that our puppy makes my wife so happy and is so damn cute, means he provides a service, so….
We stopped in today after a walk at the beach was aborted by a downpour and Peter (who is the “P” and his wife Cam is the “C” in the business name) poured us a great cup of Joe, BS’ed a bit, and hooked us up with a wonderful bread. He had an extra loaf because “…the local bakery guy has a thing for my wife…”
Well, we had our opening of summer BBQ with LOTS of home brew. We had all sorts of sausage, my buddy Dave’s wife is a sushi chef and she made more raw fish than 30 normal people could eat – luckily we had Daniel and Laurel who put a major dent in the sashimi.
The beer was mostly good. Daniel was the Brew-Master and the IPA beer turned out to be just as planned – I named it Hopocalypse. There was a special Double-IPA that Daniel named S&M IPA that was super-stiff. The PacNW boys seemed to like it though. My wheat beer (Between the Sheets Wheat) didn’t turn out as good, however. The taste was excellent, but we didn’t put enough sugar in during the bottling process and it was somewhat flat. A proper Weissbier should have a nice thick foamy head, my wheat had a John Waters pencil moustache sort of head. It hurt my soul a little, but there was plenty of other beer and everyone had a good time and waddled home at the end of the evening.
You know how a bear just knows it is time to hibernate and geese just know it is time to fly south for the winter? The wildebeests in Africa just know when and how to migrate across the savannah and the swallows just know that they have to fly to Capistrano. Well, I just know when Girl Scout cookie season is. I feel it in my bones. There is a scent in the air, my Spidy-sense starts humming a little, and I have a Pavlovian response to sage green – the color of their merit badge sashes. Living in Germany for two years wrenched havoc on my system during this annual cookie-lust. I would grow moody and distant as February closed, but now I am back and I can, with some guidance and moderation, enjoy this time of year once again. As a note, self-control with cookies has never an easy thing for me. My wife has to dole them out in my lunch over a two-month period and lock them in a secret location at night. I can’t be left alone with them or she will find me passed out in the kitchen floor with a quart of whole milk, 4-5 empty boxes littered around me, and the crumbs of dozens of Samoas, Thin Mints and Trefoils cascading down my chest. We all have demons and mine are cookie flavored.
All this would work like clockwork except I have been added to some super-secret watch-list available only to 8-10 year old girls and their den mothers. They must have my address details, picture, vital stats, and my feeding patterns. I get nailed by those cute innocent faces at work, at home on the weekends, and while walking into every grocery store in town. They will let other potential cookie-consumers walk by with just the ‘Would you like to buy some cookies?’ pitch. Then they see me coming from across the parking lot. They huddle, then as I near the door one will step in front of me with a box in her hands, flash me the big sad puppy eyes and ask me to “Please” buy some of their crack. Before I can stiff-arm the tike, fake right, roll left and make a break for it, one of her co-conspirators move in from an oblique angle and cuts off my escape with another box of yumminess, looking hopeful while batting her eye lashes. So far this season I have bought 9 boxes and my wife made me promises not to buy another box, but I am a weak, weak man…