It’s Got Skulls On It

There is something about me, the way I dress, the way I speak, the way I act that seems to push people in certain directions when interacting with me, especially if they do not know me…say in a customer service roll. I don’t mind, but I do find the interactions difficult to slog through or circumvent.

On our epic road trip to quilting stores around Michigan to collect rows for the Row by Row event. Row by Row, as we learned from Barb who stumbled upon the event, is a yearly event held by quilting/yarn/etc. all stores. Each store has a pattern for a row for a quilt. Each row is unique to that store. Collect 8 or 9 rows, make the full quilt and return to one of the stores to win a prize. Some stores have patterns for kids to do.

We do not quilt. We do like to travel to places around Michigan. Even better places we have not been. Thus, we made a list of places with patterns we liked, there is an online resource with images of rows from most of the shops, and headed out. Awesome thing happened, at each store the people were more than happy to answer our questions, offer suggestions, and in general talk to us.

Even better or more awesome, we found the occasional place in a new town to do something or to look at. We even found ourselves misplaced by the map ap and the kids knew what to do. ūüôā Most awesome of all at one shop, on display glow in the dark cloth one with skulls and one with candy skulls. I love glow in the dark stuff. I collect glow in the dark stuff.

I do not care what the thing is, if it glows I must have. I have skulls, brains, dogs, cats, stars, planets, a jellyfish, two sex toys (a vibrator and a giant glow in the dark dong), magazine covers, patches, and so on. I don’t care. Thus when I saw these cloths, I had to have. They woman behind the counter assumed that I only wanted the things because of the skulls. She was adamant that because of the skulls I was purchasing them.

Our kids stifled their giggles. Barb watched. I, in my desert cammies, sriracha shirt, and button festooned militaryish vest, attempted to explain to her that I could care less about the skulls, only the glow in the dark part. The look in her eyes said, “Sure.”

Three stores, down the coast, and back around to Grand Rapids for the return trip, we stopped for sushi or all of us other than our boy stopped for sushi, he had dumplings. We were already planning another trip to different stores for different patterns, there is one with Amish buggies I want, when we saw much to our surprise right next door to the sushi place a quilt shop with their row in the window. Not a bad trip.


Tipping the Scales For A Great New Year

I believe that what you do on New Years Eve and New Years Day will be a reflection of what you do for the year. Given the rather…shall we say topsy turvy nature of the previous year and my generally superstitious nature, I wanted to start this year off with as much of a push towards good and fun things happening as I possibly could without having to pay the price for a goat or virgin or virgin goat to sacrifice although with the cost of sacrificing a goat we get to eat the goat, with a virgin…what do you do with virgins anyways?

[one hundred words deleted] and that is what you could do with a virgin.

Here are a few highlights:

after watching the Today Show I made a slow cooker hot chocolate; a ton of ingredients are required, the results are great, until the leftovers sit too long at which point you have a thick sludge, so if you make it drink all of it

Keanu is a hilarious movie and I am not a cat fan.

Exploding Kittens is a great card game just make sure you are not using the NSFW version or you may have some explaining to do…not that we explained much, just wrapped up the game and kicked the kids off to do their own thing.

Cards Against Humanity is still on my so-so list. If I am drunk, I like the game. If I am sober, I have better things to do. I liked the game, read what you want from that.

New Years sushi continues to get better each year. This year, instead of press ganging the children to fan the rice with paper plates, bits of cardboard, and a towel (the towel was an improvement over the time paper was “used”)¬†I took care of the process with a dollar store¬†fan. Amazing what one fan can do, technology is great.

While waiting for Barb to get off work and people to arrive I made several rolls, something I do not normally get to do. This was the last year for chicken finger rolls as the person I make them for finally announced he did not like them after all; no great loss as nobody else enjoyed them that much. Personally, I think switching from fried chicken to chicken fingers was the problem. Meanwhile, in an effort to up my display game, I planned to make a caterpillar roll with slices of avocado draped over the top of the roll; did you know it takes a whole avocado to do that? I had one avocado and lost a quarter of that to an unruly pit.

Undeterred by the avocado, I broke out the rice¬†crispy’s (ies) to make faux crunch rolls. Yes, rice crispy’s (ies). Except, I didn’t have a topping because I forgot I was out of mayo. When life hands you sushi, rice crispy’s (ies), and a desire to experiment you put them inside rolls and create an inside out crunch roll. Reviews were mixed, mostly add more rice crispy’s (ies).

New Years fried rice was the best ever.

And then the evening ended with [a few more words deleted]¬†and¬†fell blissfully asleep¬†and all was well…



I Could Have Melted Out There

101 HeatThat is a picture from our car today. Triple digits. So hot out that a friend had to apologize to our boy because she burned her fingers on her car after telling our boy that a car could not get that hot. I believe the conversation was around cooking eggs on a car, but the apology was given none-the-less. ūüôā

Apologies given what do you do when it is the second blistering hot day out and you have no air conditioning? If you are us you look for places that have air conditioning. If you are us and you live here, you know that you will be spending at least an hour in the car with the air conditioning. This is one of those times where being an hour away from everything¬†is a good thing. Two hours in an air conditioned car, sign me up…yesterday and today only.

Because Barb has to work on her birthday we celebrated her birthday yesterday and today. She wanted sushi and I found sushi in Mount Pleasant: Midori Sushi and Martini Bar. If you like sushi, avoid Midori. If you have a date that you want to impress because your date is:

  • impressed by wasteful spending
  • average sushi
  • overpriced rolls
  • bland flavors
  • rolls that look large, but are actually overstuffed with rice
  • “fancy” looking dinnerware (I have most of what they use to serve, I bought it at Meijers, just in case you want some)

Then I highly recommend Midori. The silver lining, Barb got some sushi. The gold lining, we will be taking her for better sushi later. I would make sushi, but everything I need to use is packed up. ūüė¶

Walking to Midori, hell (ha) walking anywhere, was an exercise in darting from shade to shade, standing in other people’s shadows, and praying for a stiff breeze or a torrential downpour to strike us as we walked. The craziest sight, an outdoor yoga class. Yes, outdoor yoga class. I love yoga, but as much as I love yoga and as excited as the instructor sounded over the PA system, even I would not be caught dead in this heat yogaing.

Tired of the heat we headed to Target, because surely they have air conditioning. They did, but it seemed to be struggling mightily to keep the building cool. Wandering around slowly I kept finding things we will need for the new place, such as a microwave. If I am to have a hated microwave, it will be a good one. Good as defined by powerful enough to actually “cook” stuff like the package says instead of having to multiply the time by 1.5 and hoping it all works out. Never did.

While looking at microwaves I stumbled across clearance copies of Munchkin Legends and Wizard of Oz. With most of the games packed, Munchkin has been our go-to game. Cart filled with Munchkin and another box fan, I could create a windstorm in here if I set them up right, we headed out. The cashier was excited to see us, “her people” as she kept calling us. A recent transplant from Traverse City, her and her husband play a lot of Munchkin and was excited to meet other people who played. I imagine the gamer quotient in Target lines is small. We chatted for a bit before heading out into the heat. Thankfully the car had not melted. That car ride home was bliss.

Now I sweat with fans blowing on me.


Pre-Easter Mishmash

Happy Pre-Easter. I wouldn’t remember Easter, let alone pre-Easter unless something happened. In this case, I got a yellow octopus as part of a new tradition around here. The new tradition,¬†celebrating Easter or at least the giving of candy and stuffed animals to the kids in fun and useful baskets. Apparently I am a kid. I am fine with that.

Holiday out of the way, I move on.

We finished the last three scenarios of Skulls and Shackles. We did not enjoy ourselves. The last three scenarios felt more like “screw you” than fun. The easiest way to explain this is that we did not feel challenged we felt like someone was trying to drain our resources and by doing that, we would be challenged. Okay, good idea in theory, except that the resource drain, such as a location that caused the player to bury their discard pile, were annoying and constant. If you have ever played Magic the Gathering against a Mill Deck (your opponent is trying to win not by beating you, but by causing you to discard all of your cards), then you know what I am talking about. The last three scenarios became more of a race to find and beat the villain before we were decked (MTG term :)), thus eliminating a lot of the preparation and character building we had done to that point.

But I can now say, that after three different attempts to play through Skulls and Shackles, I have done it. Moving on.

This weekend we celebrated our girl’s birthday. Her birthday was in the middle of the week, never a good time to celebrate a child’s birthday. She wanted as she always does “toys” and “sushi.” Toys was easy, in that she wanted some Lego Elves and she got some Lego Elves. Interesting to me is the Elves kits are more focused on Dragons, but not called Lego Dragons even though each kit came with a really cool dragon.

Sushi might have been an issue, you know dead rice cooker and all. However, we did get a new rice cooker and while the Cuckoo has been banging out the best rice of ever for a week or so now, how would it cook sushi rice? It handled sushi rice excellently. The directions violate EVERY sushi rice cooking lesson and recipe I have. Yet, the rice is great. Individual grains, little if any clumpage even after dressing is applied, and so on.

This will explain to you how we are on our second day of sushi and 7-cups of sushi rice. Part of that is I went overboard with ingredients. I love practicing my knife skills and finding new things to put into sushi that the kids may like and I want to try. Plus our standing list keeps growing with each new success.

New things this time:

  1. Red Bell Pepper
  2. Asparagus, blanched
  3. Chicken Fries…yes, you read that right. Instead of fried chicken the shape of which has made rolling difficult at times, chicken fries (the “good” ones) are uniform in shape with similar taste profile, plus kids love them


The Little Rice Cooker That Could

I am begining to hate this new keyboard’s interface with WordPress. I appologize for the late post, I have been weeping over the demise of my beloved rice cooker. After a day of cooking, she went out on a high note, one last 3 cup batch of rice. My rice cooker has been with me for a long time. So long that I know her moods like I do one of the children. There have been times where she has been all on fire to cook rice and others where she doesn’t want to put forth the effort to heat water.

The two of us have argued back and forth on sushi rice. I put in what I know and she does what she likes. Such as, undercooking sushi rice most times, leaving me with mush. On occassion she would burn the bottom of the rice, just to be spiteful. We finally came to an agreement a month ago. The agreement, less water. A lot less water than I learned and she kept telling me. 

I have asked a lot of my rice cooker. I know I have. Two cups of rice four to five times a week for many years. And until today, and other than sushi rice, she did her job like a trooper. No cook could ask for a better rice cooker…but now I have too. I don’t know if I can muster the energy necssary to find a new rice cooker. Just the thought of having to bond with another rice cooker brings a tear to my eyes.

I don’t know where rice cookers go when they die, but I know mine is truly going off to a well deserved rest.

Why Valentine’s Day is My Favorite Holiday

I have a sinus infection or funk. Either way I am having a difficult time breathing through my nose and when I blow to hard I get a small bloody nose in the one nostril which is always giving me bloody noses. Has since day one and will until day end. Strange thing about that nostril, when I blow to hard it bleeds, but when I got into fights and got smacked on the nose with a fist or foot it never bled. I guess my blood is for me. And that is why Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday… The color red.

What do you do when you have a sinus infection? If you are me, you spend a small chunk of your day making sushi. I can’t smell anything, which might be a good thing if I was working with suspect fish. I am not. I am working with rice and a wide variety of vegetables. A really fun sushi ingredient has been taking canned mango and mixing it with cream cheese. As long as the mango was drained properly the mix was a flavorful surprise. When the mango was not drained properly a nori eating mess. Today, I cut up some fresh mango and because there was so much, chopped up some and added that to cream cheese instead of the canned stuff. WAY better. Inspired I added chopped mango to chopped fake crab and cream cheese…WHOO HOO. I know what I am having in all of the rolls I create tonight.

Before and after sushi has been our alternating nightly or in this case daily games of Pathfinder Adventure Card Games. The adults and children are playing through Rise of the Runelords. The adults only are playing through Skulls and Shackles. I know, I know Skulls and Shackles again, will we ever finish it? I have hope this time because there are no children playing who get bored with the boat mechanics, only adults who are baffled about the boat mechanics. It’s not a maker or break thing, it’s an odd thing. Such as why do each of us become the captain of the ship on our turns? Or why do ships only have one hit point. I would have rather had a blank ship “character” that the players could customize with skill and power feats like characters are, thus giving us a reason to want to have a ship and more importantly keep the ship.

The nice thing about having an adults only game of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is not having to poke children into remembering a character power or to play a card. The children like the game, but they don’t pay attention to the whole game like the adults do. Focused on their turn and their character, they tend to miss out on the big picture which can be the reason why a game is lost. Which is why I have a feeling that this time, yes this time, the fourth time, Skulls and Shackles will be completed.

And those are the reasons why Valnetine’s Day is my favorite holiday. Those and that Barb’s job offer arrived in the mail today.