Thursday, December 31, 2015

All good things must come to an end. The final Orange Door post.

I've enjoyed chronicling our move to our first home.*  We've done a lot since 2007, and it's been fun to share it with you.  You can follow our continued adventures on my own blog I will tag the posts that would have appeared on this blog with OrangeDoor.

Thanks for reading and commenting on our 900-plus posts!

Here's the link to the very first post, if you would like to read from the beginning:

All of the 2007 posts on the previous platform:

Then we switched over to this address.  Here are the rest of the posts:

The first post from 2007 (on the new platform)

The first post from 2008

The first post from 2009

The first post from 2010

The first post from 2011

The first post from 2012

The first post from 2013

The first post from 2014

The first post from 2015

*The way the housing market is in Portland, it will likely be our only home.  Good think I like it so much.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

The Christmas morning mimosas.

Presents ready to go under the tree.

Christmas breakfast table is set. (See the cooked meat pie there? Mmmm-mmm!)

The tree is ready to celebrate the holiday.

Presents opened, we neatly fold the tissue paper so it is ready for next year.

After that were games of Chronology, iKnow, a nap, a walk and a ham sandwich dinner!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Mmmmm-mmm! Meat Pie!

Meat pie has returned as a Christmas morning breakfast item! Here is the meat part, waiting to be wrapped in dough!

And here it is uncooked, but ready to go in the oven!  Yay meat pie!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In which some decoration finally occurs.

Hey look!  I finally got the cards up!  Hooray!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas expectations lowered again.

Hey!  Do you know what is fun? Taking pictures of a macaroni and cheese recipe's ingredients if you have tripled them.

Do you know what isn't fun?  Burning the cheese sauce because you tripled the recipe.  Too bad this was my main gift.  Perhaps the burnt smell won't come through in the final product.  (She says hopefully...)

Christmas Prep in action.

Here are some Christmas food failures.  On the top, a pound of chili bacon peanut brittle.  Sadly, in getting the candy to the proper temperature, I burnt it. Not only did this waste $8.00 in bacon and other items, but it also meant a lot of scrubbing on my pan.

Below the failed peanut brittle is the failed fudge.  I tried a new recipe from Parade magazine and the result was a half-fudge, half undissolved sugar concoction. The nuts and the fudge floated to the top, the undissolved sugar concoction sank to the bottom.  In hindsight, I probably could have sliced off the good fudge top and saved it, but I didn't think of it in time.  Also, there was a lot of scrubbing with this pan too.

There was also a Poor Man's Toffee which was only so-so.

I was rescued from my holiday prep doldrums by this recipe from Cooks Illustrated.  They had me make chocolate cookies, bake them and place an Andes mint on the top of each cookie.

Then the mint is spread to make a delicious minty frosting.

The cookies stayed soft, the frosting stayed chocolate minty for many days. I finally took them over to my Aunt's house and left them there with the rest of the Christmas cookies, so I would stop eating them.

In which the success of one project tanks something that was working well.

The cats were intently watching something out the back door, so I went to see what they were looking at. I assumed it was a bird, as I have installed suet feeders so they can watch the birds.  The feeders hang from the beam that serves as the support beam for the upper porch. This has been a great location as only birds can access the suet feeders.

Or so I thought.  

What the cats were looking at was a squirrel perched at the top of the rolled up catio fence.  This sits on the right-hand side of the porch. I keep it rolled up there because the right side of the catio can remain attached and I need only hook up the left side when I put the catio up.

The squirrel and I looked at each other for a while, until I went to get my camera so I could document whatever he had planned.  I came back and stretched out on the floor so I could look up at the porch.

Here's what I saw:  the squirrel, having made it halfway up the side of the house via the catio fence, scurried up the corner of the porch.  He disappeared from sight briefly, but reappeared hanging from the upper porch deck.  Then he used his front paws and hauled in--paw over paw, as if he was a sailor on the high seas--the suet feeder until he could chew on the suet.

And that's what he did.  He just kept eating the suet while I took a bunch of pictures.  I realized that the quick depletion of suet was not due to the starlings, but instead probably squirrels.

Sentinel and I watched (Antares had slunk away) for some time.  I was disgusted at the squirrel's ingenuity, Sentinel was interested in eating the squirrel.

Eventually there was no suet left, so the squirrel made his way down to the ground and started eating the large chunks of suet that had dropped from above.  He continued this despite my rearing up and standing full height.

Disgusted, I eventually let Sentinel outside to scare the squirrel and his buddy off.  Sentinel hopped outside, both squirrels took off, and I herded Sentinel back inside while I set up the catio as a reward for the cats' vigilance.  If they hadn't stared so intently, it might have taken me some time to figure out that squirrels were eating my suet.
As it is, I will have to relocate my feeders.  I'm thinking maybe the middle of the deck ceiling will work.  They would have to be ninja squirrels to stay upside down for that long.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Or: we see a movie with a whole bunch of other people.

We got to see ALL of the Twenty (now called First Look, but even more annoying than when it was the Twenty).  (The Twenty is a way for stupid Regal Theaters to make us watch destracting ads before the movie instead of talking.  Back in the day there were featurettes interspersed with ads.  Now there are just longer ads and shorter ads.) 

This was my establishing shot to show you the full theater. As you can see, it didn't work.  But I did catch a good screen shot.  (double pun!)

Here is our "before" self portrait.  This is the point where I thought it would be fun to watch it with 10 or so ten-year-old boys sitting next to us.  I figured we would get instant feedback from one-half of the target audience.
And feedback we did get.  Those boys talked through every thing that wasn't an action scene.  At one point, one of them was throwing things into the audience.  I said something and the woman in front of them said something, but no adult-in-charge appeared.  I spent a lot of time blocking them out.

Other than that, it was very fun to see this opening weekend in a nearly-full theater.

Xmas prep

I had a carefully planned out schedule of easy steps to a prepared Christmas.  It was a really good plan.  I didn't follow any of it and now have a lot of catching up to do.

To the left of the stove:  the non perishables.

To the right of the stove: the perishables.  

Phew.  Shopping is over.  Now I only have to make everything.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Passport page completed: SW Portland and Suburbs

The plan was to combine a viewing of Tuba Christmas (I've never been!) with walking around downtown and completing our Downtown McMenamins Passport page.  However, there was a lot of rain.  A. Lot. Of. Rain. and I'd been soaking wet due to bike commuting several times this week already. So we changed plans.  Sorry Tuba Christmas.  Hopefully next year will be the year.

I discovered a great new site ( that calculates the best trip order for multiple addresses. This comes in handy as we attempt to finish passport pages with multiple locations in parts of town with which I am not familiar.

First (after there was a bit of a wrong turn due to me not correctly reading Google Map directions.  We got the car washed at the turn around spot, so we didn't entirely waste time.) we went to the Raleigh Hills Pub.

Next was the Greenway Pub.  This is the part of McMenamin's territory that has locations in strip malls. 

There was a Little Ceaser's next to the Greenway Pub and we got a snack to tide us over.  I could tell it was going to be a long afternoon of rainy driving and I needed something to settle my stomach.

Next was a trip to Sherwood for the Sherwood Pub.

Then a drive through the country to get to I-5.

Have I mentioned it was a rainy day.  So much rain!

The Wilsonville Old Church and Pub was in the parking lot of a strip mall, not in the strip mall itself. It also is located in both the building in the front and that Old Church in the background.  The stained glass in the windows was pretty, though I neglected to take a picture.

John Barlycorns (also in Tigard) was our next destination.  This was the prettiest stop on our passport page.

Our last stop was the Fulton Pub.

It's a tiny little place tucked in Johns Landing off of Macadam.  We stopped to eat here.

I liked the chalk drawings above our booth, including this sleeping cat.

Having completed our passport page we both received a growler and a gift card to fill the growler.  Being people who don't drink much beer, the growlers have already gone elsewhere.  Matt filled one with M&Ms and gave it away as a White Elephant gift.  I set mine outside with a "free" sign.  We both still have our gift cards.  We can spend them on things that are not beer.

Here is our completed page:

Note that we didn't go to the Hillsdale Pub this time because that was where we visited on Matt's birthday so he could get his birthday stamp.

A new helper comes to live with us.

Leaving my current job for my new job meant an end to free printing.  For years I've forwarded documents to myself and printed them at school. I barely made it two months before I broke down and bought us this printer.  This is a black and white wireless laser printer which I'm quite excited about mostly because it's not an inkjet printer.  I loathe inkjet printers, both professionally (I used to have to order all the replacement ink at school) and personally.  Hopefully this laser printer will serve us well.

I printed a note for Matt using the new printer. It encouraged him to set up his computers to print to this printer also.  Because printing wirelessly is almost as cool as Channing Tatum.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Z to A games: King of Tokyo, Guillotine, Flux

Another date night where we opted to stay in.  We only only have one game that begins with "k" it seems: King of Tokyo which is a dice rolling game (with a little bit of card enhancing).  I handily defeated Matt with this pumpkin guy.

We have no games that begin with "h", "i",  [actually we have iKnow, which isn't a 2 player game] or "j" so our next game was Guillotine, which is one of my favorites.  It's a card game where you attempt to execute the most nobles by collecting their cards.  It's pretty fast to learn and has a lot of variation due to strategy, though it's also possible to enjoy ambling through the game.  (You aren't going to win if you amble, though.) This game was recommended to me by Dan, who was in my teaching cohort in graduate school.  We used to have two copies, from before we moved in together when we each had our own.

 Sadly, Matt handily defeated me.

Guillotine is our only "g" game and so that brought us to Flux.  We're getting close to the end of our game tour, though I think we need to loop back around and catch the games that have been acquired since we began our quest.

Flux is a card game where the rules and the goals are constantly changing.  I really enjoy the fast-paced nature of Flux and how variable it is.  Matt beat me, though.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Date at the Portland Community College Sylvania Campus Theater.

Matt picked out a surprise date for us, a theatrical production based on Stan Sakai's samurai comic.  He was very excited about the surprise.

Our tickets.  The ticket machine wasn't quite working.  We were at the 7pm show on 11/13.

There were refreshments for sale including these cookies.  Many people asked about the price and the person selling kept repeating the same thing over and over again.  "The Usagi Yojimbo cookies are three dollars, or we have the yin-yang for $2.00."   

I had some popcorn.  Matt went for one of the yin-yang.  It was two dollars, in case you didn't know.

I enjoyed the play.  I find masks off-putting in theater, and so there was that.  The masks were nicely constructed though.  I appreciated their craftsmanship.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Z to A games: Letters from Whitechapel

We've made it to the letter "L" in our quest to play all of our games.  In this game, one person is Jack the Ripper, who attempts to travel from a murder back to his base before the detectives discover him.  The other person plays the detectives searching for him.  Ideally you play this with six people total so five people can be a detective, but it's just us, so Matt played all five detectives.
I'm happy to report I WON this game.  And very handily too.  It did get a bit dodgy there in a few places, but I succeeded in my tasks.  I guess I make a great Victorian-era serial killer.

Cat update.

Sentinel was in the way as I stripped the sheets for washing, so I constructed a tent for him.  He enjoyed it.

Antares says hello too.  He's taking a break from his heated pad, which is where he spends all his time.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pizza making week 2

Skills have improved.  No holes, though the one on the front left did get a bit "french browned". *  I hope to make pizza making a regular occurrence.

*That's my dad's polite term for "a bit burnt".

Sunday, October 11, 2015

First round of pizza making.

There was a recipe published in the paper, so I gave it a whirl. I had the pizza stone already. The recipe makes four supposedly 12-14 inch pizza, but mine top out at 10 or so inches.  I've got skills to develop.  Including stretching the dough so holes don't form.

This pizza had a minor leak.  The other three turned out okay.