Thursday, November 16, 2017

Waiting for AARP

Not sure when it happened, I got old. Chronologically, at least. I'm still ecstatically immature, but now with a trick elbow!

One perk, however, of becoming adult-y, is I've somewhat figured some shit out. At least enough to be able to do things I want to do on my dime, and not feel beholden to anyone. You know, except for my corporate overlords.

When I turned 40 I decided it was time to stop waiting for someone to show up in my life who wanted to do things with me. That it was time for me to learn to like being with myself, and to take myself out there and do the things I wanted to do.

So. Here are some things I've done.

November 2015 I took off solo to Amsterdam and Paris. It was a week of walking way too much, drinking way too much, and falling in love with traveling all over again.

Day 1, Amsterdam - I got this

Later on Day 1, Amsterdam - maybe I don't got this 😬 

JK, I totally had it all under control. Mostly. This night I had a lovely beer at my hostel, then decided to go out for another (another 6 or so, that is). Ended up at an Irish bar, watching American college football, in the Netherlands, while a rowdy group of Brits enjoyed one of their mates stag. Standing at the bar I met the father of the stag, Colin, pleasant fellow. We chatted, then some of the guys came to get him "we're moving on!", so Colin and I said our goodbyes. Then one of them said, "C'mon bird, let's go then!", aaaand off I went on a stag with the British lads. That's them, above pictured, with the stag's future wife's face taped on a blow-up doll. It was an adventure, I'll tell ya.

Day 2, Amsterdam - What is this magic?

I discover Albert Heijn (grocery), and the magic that is ham and cheese croissant dipped in hummus. Ate this near every day in AMS.

Day 3, Paris - Amazing. That's all.

Seriously, though. Got off the metro too early and ended up lost for a while, which was all good. Got a lovely view of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, and discovered my hostel was on the complete opposite side of it, in the area called Montmartre. Amazeballs. One day, I may actually write about it at length. That day is not today.

Day 4, Paris - Eiffel Tower! It's a rather stunning bit of scaffolding 😉

Day 4, Paris - Notre Dame! I may have cried. The city and it's ancient architecture is really very beautiful.

Day 5, Paris - the Catacombs. I see dead people.

I got actual, real live, childhood level butterflies for this. I was SO excited, and I thought it was awwweeesoooooome. 

Days 6 and on were back in Amsterdam where I had more amazing times that I may get into one day. If nothing more than to have something I can look back at to remember that this time, this trip convinced me that I can do anything. 

In the 2 years since this belweather adventure, I've traveled as much as my job and pocketbook allow - revisiting Amsterdam and Paris with my friend Justin (and will go back any chance I get!), Barcelona and Catalonian environs with my friends Amanda and Tiffany, and Norway with my sisters. I can't tell you how excited I am for what the future holds - I have plans that get me crazy happy. Whether or not I travel alone, or with friends or family, it's all good. I got this.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Uncomfort(able) Food

Super big fan of comfort food.  I mean, come on, I'm a hale and hearty Norge-type lady.  Meat, potatoes, sauces, cheese - uh, yes please!  So I was super excited to roll in to the Amsterdam this afternoon for a bit o'brunch and a Bloody.

Nish nish.

Here follows my uncensored (and post-eats embellished) review...

"Himalayan Cream hash was ordered.  I was pretty excited!  Potatoes, onion, egg (1 - poached), house made sausage, smoke gouda, goat cheese, and hollandaise.  God damn right!!!


The dish arrived in a take-out boat, um, ok,I'll give that one to them.  It's Sunday, it's a bar, that's a pass.   But, then there was the "hollandaise" accompanying it in all its separated and greasy glory in a 1-oz paper cup (see photo).  I'm no expert, but I'm pretty certain hollandaise should be creamy, awesome, and smothering whatever it is supposed to be served with.  Hmmm.  It's got to get better, no?


The potatoes and onion were done up right.  The poached egg was superb.  And that's where the upside ends.

Obviously, as you can see, the hollandaise gave off an unmistakable aura of "ish, don't think so" (again, please reference the photo), so a curry mayo was hastily ordered up in its stead - which may have been a horrible mistake, had I not mixed it 40/60 with some table ketchup.  Its absolute late of sweetness and overpowering curry-powder-from-a-vat would have destroyed any flavor that may have existed without the Mack truck power sweetness of the tomato/sugar mix I added.  The union was passable, at best.


The goat's cheese was plasticky and the Gouda was no where to be found.  (I'm panicking, spirit is flagging).  When finally I made my way to some of the "house made sausage" I was disappointed to find it to be nondescript chunks with an absolute lack of taste.  Totally forgettable.  (And my soul is now crushed).

Typically this is where the booze would pick up the slack.  All Hail Bloody Mary!!!  Alas, not so much.  While a decent vodka was used, the mix was a bit too heavy on Sriracha, and the accoutrements were wholly pedestrian and included a frozen 1/2 pickle spear (frozen.  FROZEN!) and a super depressed, wilted olive.  I have nothing more to say on the matter.

All in all, don't bother, unless you are super stoned, too hungover to care, or lack any tastebuds - then it's ok."

And, honestly folks, this is coming from someone who thinks a Taco Bell Doritos Loco taco is haute cuisine.

In other news - THIS (see below) is what hollandaise SHOULD look like.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Prefer to Call Them The Periwinkles.

This is my favorite time of the year - Autumn. Yet, it brings a significant case of the blues.

Being less than a month departed from the annual "family" reunion I so cherish, I find myself yearning for my friends and the unique closeness we cultivate over the course of 3, 4, 5 days or so. This year's installment of the reunion brought new friends and new opportunities for awesomeness to come. I also learned how to properly winterize a wood burning sauna, good to know. Good to know.

This past weekend saw my bad self traveling to Duluth to hang out with one of those new friends, meet a host of new and interesting souls, take in some awesome live music, party and lodge in a mansion, and witness my first arrest made to a harmonica accompinament (which was comical, to say the least). I also had my first taste of Northern Waters Smokehaus food - I die. Shared a Cajun Finn and Sitka Sushi sandwich with a friend, both phenomenal. Go to Duluth, eat there, take some home - just beware the touristas who know not the ways of proper road laws.

My little northern excursion filled my post-reunion void, for the time being, but I see myself making many more trips up to the Port City for friends, fun, and some biking. There may even be photos. Maybe.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well, shit...

Harumph. That's really all there is to say about it all, at this point, anyhoo. I've been busy being broken by 'The Man', being a student, attempting to be a homeowner, and failing miserably at being a social animal - which is directly correlated to being broken by 'The Man' (shakes fist in a general northerly direction).

My biggest goals this season:
  • Help my bff Cari birth what I can only hope is not another 10 pounder. Her due date is any minute now (except this weekend - NO babies this weekend!);
  • Get through summer classes without going postal;
  • Caulk some windows and the bathtub (ummm... let's turn the water heater down from 380 degrees F, shall we?);
  • Go somewhere fun for a few days and hang with friends - do not have to be simultaneous;
  • Camp. At least once this season for fuck's sake!;
  • Rebuild a motorcycle and have some good eats with my friend Tyler. Shooting stuff will likely also be on the agenda for the 2 of us;
  • and, not least, and probably most urgent - get over myself.

So. There ya go. My enthralling catalogue of summer to-dos.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Soooooooooo Cute.

Hey, Tiger!
Hank - 4 months (late 2/2009)

Gimme Some Sugar!

Spring is knocking. You can feel it. The days grow warmer, even as the nights retreat in to the memory of winter's frigid grasp. This warm/cold cycle can mean only one thing - sugaring season! For me, sugaring season means tapping the 2 very large maple trees in our back yard.

My neighbor kindly borrowed me his handy dandy cordless drill, fitted with a 1/2" bit. I gathered up all the items needed to get my journey to maple syrup started, and hit the back yard. First, I chose fairly clear areas on the bole of the tree, about 3' up. Then, began drilling on an even plane, and once past the bark layers angled the drill upwards slightly. Assembled the bit, and using a heavy plastic mallet, drove the bits in to the 1-1/2" deep holes. There! Ready for action, almost.

If I were to leave the tap open like this, all the precious sap would drain on to the ground around the tree, and likely result in very, very, very hyper squirrles. Imagine a dripping faucet, but instead of water, the leak is of weak soda. Now imagine your (or your friend's) children drinking this... all day long. Insanity. That's what squirrels do in the Spring, and it is pretty humorous to watch them tweak out. Neither here nor there, I'm not going to give those rat bastards a chance to pilfer the sweetness that will be transformed in to the best maple syrup I've ever had!

So, on go the bags.

The sap isn't flowing right now, but I'm not worried. Last year it took almost 2 weeks before the sap started, but when it did, I was harvesting 5+ gallons a day off 2 taps and yielded around 60 gallons. This year I have 4 taps and am hoping for 100 gallons or more. As I have silver maples, it takes a bit more volume to yield syrup than, say, a sugar maple. From last year's production, it looks to be about 50 gallons sap to 1 gallon finished product... but, my recall may be a bit skewed, it has been a year already. I believe the typical sugar maple yield is 30:1.

Shortly I expect to come home after work to sap gorged bladders. Awesome! In about a month or so I will be setting up the sugar shack in my garage. Last year it took aaallll day to boil down my yield. This year, if I get as much as I want, it's going to take the entire weekend. I may have to make a party of it and get some helpers. I may try my hand at maple candies, or maple sugar. Lots of options! Last year I made some maple cream and it was awesome.

It's pretty labor intensive, but the education you receive is priceless. Although I have a degree in Forestry, tapping and harvesting has taught me things about my trees and the environment that I could never get from a book. And, not that I had any shortage of it before I started doing this, I have a greater respect for the processes of the natural world. It is a rewarding endeavor, and I'm excited for this year's offering!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Never Trust a Leo Bastard

If you see the words "I will write on my blog more often!", know that I am lying. My intentions are honarable, but my follow through is pitiful. So, then - please do not think I am lazy (ok, I am), or don't love you (I do!), I am just, uh, just... meh (it's a word, you know).

I have always had an aversion to writing for others to read. It's the tiny perfectionist troll that lives deep in side me, just off to the left of my pancreas. It often kicks me in the spleen, keeping me up at night. It's quite bothersome.

Anyhow. All sorts of stuff going on. My friend Brian is getting married next week - BHO and I are heading to Las Vegas for that. It will be the first time in 21 years that I will spend more than 12 hours there - I lived there for a few months, way back in the day. The Saturday of our stay, I get to hang out with one of my old roommates that I haven't seen since I lived there! How awesome is that!

And in other old friend news: a few weeks ago I hung out with my childhood BFF, Anneke! I haven't seen her since we were about 9! Her brother, Jon, and sister, Chandre, were also there - it was sooooo cool. I hope to hang out with her again, soon.

Had a couple parties at the house: Lord of the Rings Marathon! and Hot Tub 2009! LOTR was great, lots of folks showed up and we all had an exellent time. Hot Tub went off well, too. Weather warmed up considerably for the 2 days we had the tub in our garage, and there was plenty of food and beer and companionship of friends to be had! BHo and I will reflect upon the Hot Tub success, and with our co-host Dave Micko, look in to the possibility of hosting another next year. The movie marathon is a for sure for next year, and the series of choice: ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy!

May brings Maibock! 'Nuff said.

June brings the wedding of my BFF Steve, in Fairbanks, Alaska. I am SO there! And uncontainably excited about the trip. It's going to be expensive, but what the heck, he's my buddy, and he is sooo in love. His fiancee, Violet, is sweet as can be, and terribly in love with Steve. Although I have not met her in person, I can see it in her posts on Facebook (yeah - Facebook... ubiquitous, isn't it?). Neither here nor there - my friend has found his life partner and they are right there, and I am beaming with pride and excitement for his (and Vi's) happiness!

But, between here, there, and everywhere, there will be much work. My primary job is out of control with need for overtime, and I am still at REI (awesome!) - lots of hours. Although it limits my down time, that is a good thing in this time of economic crisis. And, considering my mechanic just told me my truck now needs repairs with costs that exceed what I paid for it. Not awesome. And the house needs lots of work, but what homeowner doesn't know that headache!

So. There you go. Not real earth shattering issues. Nothing crazy or terribly funny to report. I have had some weird dreams, but can't remember enough to relay - ooh, except my dream that Gerard Butler (a la "300", mmmm... King Leonidas!) was my paramour, and it was AWESOME. I promise I will write on my blog more often! DISCLAIMER: See first paragraph of today's blog!

Peace and chicken grease.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ah, Amore...

I am in love.

In love with a little man I outweigh by a good 130 pounds...
... whose greatest interests are my best friend's boob, and pooping his pants...
... who will undoubtedly grow up thinking I am his mom's crazy friend...
... who exceeded all of our expectations for what love could feel like.

Congratulations, Cari and Nature. You have created perfection, and unconditional love.

And he's clearly way ahead of his time, having voted and all within a week of birth.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Because We Must

Hey there! How's it going?
Do anything new recently?

Me? Well, let's see... got a "promotion" of sorts at REI, they've put me in the camping department *yay*; threw the awesomest baby shower ever, if you were there, you know; did some really informative and interesting (really) vendor clinics; celebrated 1 year at REI and realized during my supervisor review that this company REALLY gets the meaning of 'merit increase' (unlike my other job); worked, worked, worked; enjoyed our yard and had what may be the last 'TV on the air conditioner back yard relaxo' session.
Oh yeah, and got to help my bff give birth to an Easter ham that she named Henry Carl. Born 10/29/08 at 5:20am, coming in at 10 lbs 2 ozs and 22 inches, with a 15 inch head. Yeah... epic.

Cute lil' bugger, isn't he?

Anyhoo. The real reason I visit today is because it's Election Day. Whatever your stance, you MUST go to the polls today to effect whatever change you feel is necessary. This is an election of MASSIVE importance - make your voice count!

And, if that is not enough to convince you that your little tiny vote doesn't matter, please read today's post on the following link:

Thank you. Vote your conscience.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Color Me Lame - in other news, my dreams!

I am lame. Lamy Lamerson, as my friends Paula and Pam would say. I've just pissed away my summer, accomplishing nothing in particular, and have neglected to update my blog for the whopping 2 people who ever bothered to read it (haha, if I'm lucky!). So, here I am, tail between my legs, begging for your mercy and pleading for you to come back!!!

I promise to visit more often and update you all on my adventures and/or escapades - real and/or imagined.

So. Here we go. I have dreams, often, and in full color. They are always entertaining, often mildly disturbing, and always - ALWAYS - more incomprehensible than watching The Big Lebowski tripping ballz on 2 very potent 'Special' brownies, (true story).

I wish I could remember them better. I keep a notepad by my bed, so I can write them down when I wake up, but then I forget to and their vividness fades as the day(s) wear on. But, I can summerize a couple of them for you! Yay, partial lucidity ROCKS!

Last night/this morning, I had a dream that Samsung and Aztec (not a real brand, but hey, dammit, it's MY dream) 60" tv's were exploding and killing people. It was awful, severely burned and twisted bodies everywhere I looked, dismembered limbs strewn about, cries of fear and excruciating pain... one of the more somber and fucked up dreams. Who knew tv was such a killer. Maybe my subconscious was trying to drive home the fact that I sit on my ass way too much in front of the boob tube.

Hmmm... anyone know a world class dream interpreter? I think I need professional help.

Another dream - oldie but goodie. This one is from a couple of years ago, but man, it sticks with me like a bad case of the clap. Uh, yeah... Anyhoo... It's a little disjointed, because it's been so long, but, here we go: I was in one of those big vanilla mega malls, and happened upon an arcade. I love arcades. I'm a child of the '80's, I may as well have suckled at the grainy teat of the Atari 2600 for all it matters, but I digress.

In the corner was this giant red metal box, with a black curtain across what I presumed to be the entry point. Kind of looked like a photo booth, but it was a 'game'. I peeked behind the curtain, and just about shit my pants. Somehow, and only the darkest recesses of my brain knows how, the creator of this 'box' had figured out how to cram 4 different midway rides in to this relatively small contraption and stuff it in the corner of an arcade. I recall a ride similar to the Zipper, and one like the Octopus (of course, depends upon what midway you are at, these names may differ), and I think there was a roller coaster. Mildly amused, and probably more than a bit in shock, I stepped back and eyed the box with disdain... wtf? How did they do that??? Then, I noticed it. Shiny surfaces glinting in the harsh glow of Galaga, Frogger, and Burger Time (gawd, I LOVED that game), and pieces of paper?! - money, money, mo money. The coin/dollar slot was busted on this machine, coins and bills were right there, bursting forth from their holds like DD's crammed in to a B-cup. So, I helped myself, I stuffed my pockets - all of them - to capacity and slinked out of the arcade. Had anyone noticed my heist? Am I a bad person? I wonder if there's an Orange Julius around here?

I find my way to the mezzanine of the super-giganto-mall and am confident I have just pulled off a great and daring feat. I shuffle about the corridors of the mall, lazily ambling to and fro; strolling, sauntering, meandering - I am one slick cat.

Then I notice him. Them, really. Men in black. Like the Secret Service, or FBI, or those hipster wannabes you run in to at the Independent on Thursday nights. In any case, they are quite unsettling. I think they're watching me - wait, me? No way. I just ripped off some dinky little arcade, for, like, $40 or something. Not like it's a federal offense. Is it? Oh shit, maybe it is. Damn it... I am sorry, but a Strawberry Sensation Smoothie is NOT worth this.

So, like in the movies, I start walking faster, peek over my shoulder and discover they are walking faster, AND converging upon ME. Oh God, they are after me. A little faster... they're surrounding me!! Then, it's too late. I hadn't noticed the one behind me, until he was right next to me. His right hand on my shoulder, and left thumb up my butt, saying, "Ma'am, you're going to have to come with us."

Seriously. What the hell is that about?

Monday, December 31, 2007

Great inspiration for more persperation

Hidey ho, girls and boys. It be the New Year, yaaarrrrrr. And it's time to think resolutions - the ones that I really have my heart and mind set to, and the ones that won't last through the week... you all what I'm talking about, you do it yourselves.

This year my resolutions are (the ones I will keep, maybe):

* take guitar lessons (and maybe some fiddle lessons, too?!)
* paint and carpet our upstairs
* travel more
* start, (and maybe complete?!!!?) the Superior Hiking Trail
* increase my level of fitness

...I'm sure I'll add a couple thousand more things throughout the year, but then, those won't be 'New Years' resolutions.

So - on to the etymology of the title of this blog. For about 4 or so months, I've been following the blog of one of the most interesting persons I've 'known', (and I know a LOT of interesting folks!). Her name is Catra Corbett, and she lives out in Fremont, CA. I came across her blog one day while Googling the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) - another trail I'm intersted in, along with the American Discovery Trail, and the Appalachian Trail. Anyhoo - she was attempting a thru hike of the PCT, but injured her knee and had to drop her quest (see her blog Catra's PCT Adventure). Turns out, she has another blog for her 'normal' life, Dirt Diva. And I have to say, she inspires me to get out there and push myself to my limits... which begat my final resolution, increase my level of fitness.
Catra - inspiration

Catra is an ultra-runner, and for her recent 43rd bday, she celebrated by completing a 43 HOUR run through the Ohlone Trail network, south of San Francisco, over 100 miles of running! She regularly does crossfit workouts, sometimes multiple times a day - and then will go for a leisurely 20-mile run! Amazing. And, have I mentioned, she's gorgeous - and totally smokin' hot. And I'm not talking in the 'for a 43 year old' hot, I mean overall, for whatever age... As I'm rocking towards my mid-30's, her exploits inspire me, I am excited to see what is possible in my own life!
Catra, and my sister Linda (who is also 43), are 2 examples of women who attack life head-on, and won't take shit lying down. I know I have that potential - but I haven't fully embraced it. I still find myself making excuses for why I 'can't' do something, or put things off, self-sabotage... but I'm getting better every day, and I'm ok with getting better.
So, to all those who inspire me, particularly the women who inspire me - my sisters, my mother, my grandmother, my girlfriends, and those unique individuals like Catra Corbett (oh, oh!! and another adventuring friend of mine, Celeste Ametrine) - thank you. I harvest a wealth of knowledge from you all, and am lucky enough to see that class, bravery, ballsiness, and femininity can co-exist, all wrapped up in the beauty that are the women I love.
Happy New Year 2008.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gravy is God

What is your favorite food group???

Of the 7 votes cast - GRAVY wins by a vote.... just goes to show, gravy is a universal truth. And I dig truthiness.

Anyhoo. I have found a bigger, better, and fattier calling than deep fried gravy balls, although I will still chase that dream... are you ready for...

with cream gravy dipping sauce!!!
I have never quivered with so much anticipation IN MY LIFE. I was unable to link to the video, so go see it yourself:
Cari, Nature, I will be expecting your assistance with this. When does you BOTM arrive?
**I apologize for the bland nature of this entry - I am waaaaay too preoccupied with deep fried luuuuuuuuuvvvvv to concentrate. Mmmmmm.... bacon :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Foiled again!!!

Turns out that there already exists a deep fried gravy ball - it's called bittenballen, and the Dutch are responsible (bastards).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My personal Ambrosia

So, my friend, the Mostly Honorable Princess Cari, tells me I should talk about food. It is, after all, one of my passions. Not so much creating it, but eating it - I'm reeeeeeaaaalllly good at eating. Anyhoo, I digest...

Months ago, or has it been years now?, I dreamt of the penultimate appetizer. The pinnacle of State Fair foods, if you please. A vision of deep fried lovliness that takes my breath away, and will certainly also contribute to my future diagnosis of artherosclerosis.
Deep fried **** WAIT FOR IT!!!**** gravy balls!
On a stick even, if you're into that sort of thing! Alas, I have found myself at loggerheads trying to determine the best way to deliver the gravy in ball form; gravy being inherently liquidous in nature. That, and I can just see the law suits pile up while person after person is horribly burned by lava hot gravy, fresh from the hissing oil vats... reminds me of that Seinfeld epsiode where Kramer gets the Dominicans to roll the crepes, but they roll them too tight... heh heh, good stuff.

So, on with the R&D. Anyone care to join me in this venture? If we figure it out, we'll make hundreds!!! Or tens. Maybe. I don't know. But, gravy is edging out cheese and pizza as this site's favorite food group at the time of this missive... that's got to count for something. Right?!

Oh! I also need a catchy name, or does Gravy Balls have what it takes to reel 'em in? Discuss.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In search of the Almighty Dollar

Amid all the insistance that Americans have it better today than in 'the good ol' days', comes an interesting article that lends credence to how I (and many of my peers) feel - the middle class is getting s-c-r-e-w-e-d. Our fashion challenged predecessors from the '70's had it easy-peasy compared to today's middle of the road corporate drone and/or blue collar bumpkins.

Even with the post-modern 2 income household, 'cheap' commodities supplied by foreign manufacturers, and the colossal fuck up of the century HMO's (they were supposed to make it BETTER!), our fixed expenses eat up an average of 65% of our net income compared to under 40% for our 1970's counterparts!!! And that is considering the 'typical' 1 PERSON income on the day!

If you didn't quite get the gist from my little reduction above, check out the link to the MSN article. Depressing. *sigh* I had no idea how good we had it when we were 10.

And with that, I would like to announce that I have taken a 2nd job with REI. Even though I work in mortgage, got a great deal on our house, make decent money, and do not have outrageous debts, I STILL need the additional income to warrant against foreclosure - how frustrating is that?

Still, I feel extraordinarily lucky that I have a solid job with great benefits (now I have 2 of them!). I have a beautiful home (minus the crack in the foundation, that sux), a beautiful partner (BHo, love you!), and beautiful friends (you guys rock), and my beautiful family!!! (thank you Becky) . I have my health, I am lucky enough to be able to set aside a little bit o'money for the retirement years - which, by the time we get there will have been revised to 80 years old or some ridiculous thing - and of course, Social Security will be a relic of years gone by too (thank YOU Baby Boomers!), and I still have a sense of humor, kind of.

In summation, blah blah blah. To quote the immortal Roger Waters, "Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today.But if you ask for a raise its no surprise that they're giving none away."