Sunday, March 31, 2013


Why is this photo so blurry?
Here's the delicious spread.
And a close-up of the beautiful Peeps centerpiece.

Easter prep

In a moment of extreme anal-retention, I was weighing the cupcakes so I could bring the biggest ones to Easter Dinner.  It developed into this visual, showing the distribution of cupcakes in weight by grams.
Making the frosting.
And done.  These are the Mississippi Mud Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting and let me tell you, they are tremendous.  I think this is my favorite recipe thus far in the book.

For a tiny investment of time, you get 24 cupcakes (enough for Easter and staff meeting the next day) and the magic of creating your own marshmallow frosting.   It's rather amazing when whipped egg whites and sugar syrup come together to create marshmallow topping.  And then, the topping is fun to mound on the cupcakes.  This recipe alone was worth the price of the book.

Last of the 2012 potatoes

These are a mishmash of potatoes I dug out of the ground while planting this year's crop.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Improvement on Compost Thingies.

You may recall that last year I built some structures to make compost.  They worked all right and I did get some fine compost.  However, they looked a little more down-market than I would like. The slats of wood fell in on each other and the entire thing looked rather messy.  I had an idea to perk up the situation.

I do appreciate the irony of wanting a compost pile to look neat and tidy.  But I recently saw a picture of a beautiful French Potager Garden and its anal tidiness is something I aspire to.  You can laugh as you look at the spent hay and weed that is currently serving a "ground cover" in  the backyard.  I have French Potager aspirations and a slattern's work ethic.

At any rate, let us look at my improvement.  Here's the before shot.  You might recall that I used cedar fencing, cut each board in half and then used the staple gun to attach the chicken wire to the fencing.
Enter the wooden stake.  Notice that pointy end?  So did I.
I pre-drilled three holes in each stake and then used some leftover screws to sandwich the chicken wire between the cedar fencing and the wooden steak.  Voila!  I can pound the stake into the ground thus (hopefully) keeping my compost bin upright and also the chicken wire is more sturdily attached to the structure.
I didn't have time to set up the bins again, but here is how I stored them after I finished my work.
Those stakes went right into the ground.
And then I got distracted by the blooms almost bursting on the cherry tree.
And the clover and walking onions.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Matt Goes to GameStorm

What is GameStorm?  A whole lotta gaming, of all types, though Matt went for the board games.  I didn't see him for several days.  Here's a list of what he played.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soaking Pool

Matt declined to join me for the fun. concert, but he did meet me at the hotel.  Post-concert, we headed down to the soaking pool, which was heavenly, and a great way to wind down after show.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Let us check in with the backyard(s).

It's mid-March.  What's been happening in the yards?

Here's the backyard vantage point I see every day while writing.
The weedy mess that is Emilia and Ryan's yard.  The froth of green mid-picture comes from the packets of old collard seeds I planted late last summer.
Here's a closeup.
Is it a rain garden or a place to grow dandelions?
On the right is the mustard I planted as a cover crop.  It was a great deal. I ate more than my money's worth of mustard last fall, it held the space all winter and I've been eating it again before it starts to flower.

On the left is a huge patch of weeds to deal with.
Leo's backyard.  This year I'm going with two long rows divided into four-foot squares.  Hence the bamboo.
I've already planted one section.  This will be turnips, spinach and cilantro.
I think all the apple trees came through the winter, though they are still so slight they don't show up in this vantage point.
Here's one, growing up his guides.  I've also finally put the copper tags on each tree.
This fella is still too short to reach his first guide.
As is this guy.
I've got some Asian greens starts going and some mustard planted.

This year I'm trying a new way to mark what I plant.  I'm writing on cottage cheese lids in sharpie and setting them halfway down in the soil.  I've got a good supply of lids, which can't be recycled in the regular recycling, so I figured why not give them a second life as plant markers?  We shall see if the sharpie holds up.

Shamrock Run

The lines for the bathrooms are long, but they give me my focus for the day: pictures of socks and tutus.

I'm not really sure how running in tutus became a thing, but there were a lot of tutus out there.  And also a few boxer shorts and other skirt-like objects.

Fun socks make more sense to me.  There were a lot of them on display too.
Matt before stripping down.
Matt after stripping down.
And they are off.
This year, I immediately hiked over to the finish line because I knew Matt would finish quickly.  On the way, I encountered these incredibly cute gnomes, who agreed to have their picture taken.
The lack of protection for the cable on the grass amused me.
I was so early to the finish line, they hadn't yet blocked it off.  It was still a crossing point.
I enjoyed watching the race officials.
This guy in the green hat struck me as a particularly cute Leprechaun.
We were right next to Mill Ends Park, the worlds smallest park.
Waiting for the first finishers.
Don't they look like a bunch of runners?
I was much closer to the actual finish line this year, and I learned two things.  People crossing the finish line will mostly do one of two things after they are officially over the line: spit, or stop their watches.  Also, if you are very near the finish line, you might get to see someone finish and then lean over and puke five times, as I did.  I've made a mental note for next time as to how close I really want to be to the finish line.
Matt finishes.  He did well.  His per/mile time was 7:45 and that was with two times having to wait for the trains.

This picture is recreated.  This is because I was distracted by other finishers doing a set of burpees right in front of me.  Matt saw me as he was passing me and I made him go back so I could get the shot.

Friday, March 1, 2013

NWCTC Antony and Cleopatra

It's Matt, posing for yet another series of too-dim photos before a show at our favorite local theater company. That's Northwest Classical Theatre Company, for those of you not in the know.
And, lest you be afraid that this production has no bed in it as so many others have, fear not!  Here is a bed!
It was a quite nice bed.  I wouldn't have minded it myself.  The production began with a rather graphic sex scene (no nudity, but a good amount of simulation) that made me glad that my mythical church-going grandmother was not sitting next to me.  After that, the bed was transformed into a forum of sorts, as well as other settings in the play.

Kevin Connell was a very good Marc Antony and I'm glad I saved reading the bios of the actors until intermission as I learned the Mr. Connell is a Jesuit and that got me wondering about Jesuits and simulated sex scenes.  This is a kind of wondering that I'm glad didn't happen when the play was just starting.

Marilyn Stacy was a bawdy Cleopatra, diving in with gusto to her character's many moods and whims.  I also really enjoyed Victoria Blake as Charmain and Clara-Liis Hillier as Iras.  They both brought a lot to the ladies in waiting.

Costume design was fabulous and the voyeur in me enjoyed seeing how many Roman skirts I got to peer up during the production   All the actors seemed to be wearing the same grey boxer briefs, so those must have been figured into the costume from the start.