Pirate Halloween Fun

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friends of ours spend weeks working on their pirate theme display for their front yard for Halloween and this year they asked Tate to play a part for the display. They wanted him to come over, dress up as a pirate and film some cute little jokes that would be projected as part of the Halloween extravaganza. So, Friday night we headed out to their house, had some yummy tiki drinks and filmed Tate doing his pirate gig. He did a great job and created a character all his own. I was also able to give Cap'n Sal the apron that I had embroidered with pirate goodness to her. I had spent quite a while on this apron and it turned out so awesome and she loved it!

The next night, we headed back to their place for their Halloween party and Mark was still setting up the last of the decorations including the projection of pirate Tate, but Sal was already in her pirate gear, so I made sure to get a picture of her in her pirate gear wearing the pirate apron. So much piraty goodness I just couldn't handle it. We had such a fun time hanging out watching everything come to life in the front yard. There are pirate skeletons everywhere, treasure chests, cannons, talking skeletons, the house is on fire, there are multiple fog machines, fireflies in the trees and the skeleton ship captain is in front of a stormy sea. Finally later in the evening, pirate Tate came to life and we saw him projected onto a screen and could hear his silly pirate jokes, it was so awesome to see it come to life. I told them this is what happens when you have a pirate that is also an IT/AV geek. Wonderful things come to life. The rest of the evening was filled with fun conversation, a super strong zombie drink, and good old fashioned fun. Thanks Mark and Sal for a wonderful pirate experience and adding Tate into your amazing Halloween display.

Just Pulled it Outta My A$$

Thursday, October 21, 2010

With the Fall weather finally starting to settle in a bit here, I've been craving comfort food and what is one of the best Fall/Winter comfort foods? Yes, that's right kids, soup. I decided yesterday would be a great time to make some soup, but with our pantry on the bare side, I wasn't too sure what to make. I did remember that we had some left over butternut squash in the freezer from last year's pumpkin picking fest and they had been lovingly roasted by me and properly portioned into bags, so I had husband pull a couple bags out of the freezer so they would be thawed out by the time I got home.

Life has had it's ups and downs lately, and yesterday was definitely a down. It could be that the full moon is coming and since I'm so emotionally connected to the cycle of the moon, I could be feeling the affects, but whatever it is, I was cranky yesterday. I guess it also doesn't help that I have somehow lost my friend at work. She stopped talking to me over the last few months making working in the same department somewhat awkward and stressful so that didn't help my mood either and by the time I got home I just wanted to crawl into bed with a bottle of wine. But there was soup to make.

Husband had the day off and had ended it by making some breads (banana, cranberry, nectarine - not sure about this one??) so as he finished up I got to work on my soup. I knew I wanted a smooth pureed soup with lots of bold roasty caramel flavors and knew I had little to work with. I cut up the squash and threw it in the pot with some butter and let it go to town in there, then I threw in some left over turkey stock and a container of veggie stock and let it come to a boil. While I was waiting for the soup to boil, I sliced up a couple red onions (because that's all we had) really fine and put them in a pan with more butter and let them sauté until they were caramelized like you would for French onion soup. When the soup had come to a boil and everything was coming along nicely, I got out my handy-dandy stick blender and pureed the soup down to it's creamy goodness. I love that stick blender, it really is the best and makes soups like this a snap. Once the soup was the consistency I wanted it, I put it back on the stove and added my seasoning; 21 seasoning salute from Trader Joes, garlic powder, lots of pepper. That was it, nothing else because I knew the punch was coming with the onions. Speaking of onions, they were browning up nicely and smelling fabulous. Finally reaching their caramel color goodness, I put the onions in the pot of soup, did some final seasoning and let it sit and simmer for about 20 minutes to make sure all that onion flavor just melted into the soup.

I served it simply with a little parmesean on top and it was heaven. Just what I had wanted and had envisioned, creamy, caramel, a little burnt, touch of pepper and just plain good. I love it when a plan comes together and what you pull out of your brain actually works the way you had thought it would. It doesn't happen too often, but I'm finding the more I cook and understand how ingredients work and change under manipulation, the better it gets. By the end of the evening after a satisfying bowl of my soup I was feeling much better. The cranky-ness had left the building to be replaced with the satisfied feeling of a job well done and an idea come to life. So to all of you, I say, keep trying those ideas and if it doesn't turn out like you wanted, try again and keep cooking!

First Anniversary Fun

Monday, October 18, 2010

This weekend marked the first anniversary for my husband and I.  People normally think we've been married longer than we have by the way we are together and I take that as a complement to our relationship.  We are open and honest with each other, but also make sure to take into account the other's feelings when decisions are made.  Everything about our relationship has come naturally to us (with some bumps in the road) and we recognize what a gift something like this is.

Being on a tight budget we didn't really get a honeymoon in the traditional sense and this was no different.  As members of a wine club at Jodar Winery up at Apple Hill, we have found little day trips up there bring a lot of joy, fun and some form of escape from the valley.  When they announced they were going to have a pasta dinner paired with their wines the weekend of our anniversary I thought that was perfect and so did hubby!  We got married at a winery, so why not celebrate the anniversary at one too!

We woke up Saturday morning slowly, but knowing it was going to be a special day.  Our official anniversary date wasn't until the 17th, but it didn't matter to us.  Tate begged for Eggie's for breakfast, and knowing how yummy their food is, I couldn't deny, so we hauled our behinds out of bed and got our acts in gear.  We filled our guts at Eggie's with, what else, eggs!  After breakfast, we headed over to Home Depot to exchange a toilet seat gone wrong, and ended up picking up a couple other things and actually agreeing on paint colors for the bedroom, but that's another post for another time.  After errands at the 'Po, we stopped at Thrift Town for some thrifty fun, and boy did we have some!  Tate found a vintage nut chopper that I have been wanting in pristine condition for $2, then I found a rad tiki cup for my friends Mark & Sal for a whopping $0.49, then Tate came walking up with a huge country style rooster clock that is perfect for Emiley's kitchen.  Great condition and only $8!  Yes, that's right, $8 for a normally $25-$30 clock, I <3 Thrift Town.

When we got home, we decided it would be fun to take the dogs out to Folsom Lake, so we got our stuff and loaded them into the car for an afternoon of fun. We found a nice spot with not too many people around and let the dogs loose. Buddy and Woody had a blast! They took off like a cannon getting their zoomies on running all over the place. Anytime they got a little too far, we would call them back and they would come a runnin'. Woody soon discovered the water and that was it for him, he had found his joy. He and Buddy spent a good hour playing in the water with Woody fetching sticks Tate would throw deep into the water. Woody would swim out to get them and look like a little otter coming back with his stick. He loved it! Buddy wasn't too keen on the swimming part, but liked to play in the water, and per usual, Maggie wanted no part of the water but had to voice her opinion about it the whole time by whining. I think she was upset that she didn't want to be in the water with the boys playing, but she wanted to play with them. I did catch her actually getting her toes wet toward the end of the trip and I think given enough exposure, she may someday go in voluntarily. Until then, I'm sure she will just watch from the side.

Once Woody started slowing down and showing that he was tuckered out from all the swimming, we decided to call it a day and head back home. We still had to get cleaned up and head up the hill for our dinner at the winery. The dogs all but passed out in the car on the way home they were so exhausted from their fun at the lake, so there was no hard feelings about leaving them in their kennels for the evening. I knew they would just snooze the night away and have happy doggy dreams of running and playing on a lake shore.

Our dinner at Jodar was just what we expected it to be. Wonderful. We had some good conversation with people we met there, the food was yummy and you can't say anything bad about the wine! Sue even remembered it was our anniversary and gave us an extra dessert for us with a little candle in it and our table sang us "Happy Anniversary." It was really cute and made the night a little more special. We left the winery about 9:30p to head down the hill and I was zonked. It had been a marathon of a day, but so much fun. By the time we got home, I was fast asleep within 15 minutes and had my own dreams of doggies on the lake and wine in the hills.

Sunday was our official anniversary and we had thought about heading up to Cooper Vineyards where we got married just to do something special, however, the day was dreary and rainy and called for snuggling on the couch and doing nothing what-so-ever, so that is what we did. We spent the day cuddled underneath blankets and dogs watching movies with cold air coming in from outside and loving every moment of it. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend and as I told my husband, I love him more now than I did a year ago when I said "I do."

OMG Roller Derby!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I've written a couple times about my love for roller derby.  To be honest, if I was a bit younger and lighter with knees that weren't so jacked up I'd be a skater, but my damaged body is just not up to it so I sit on the sidelines and watch in awe.  This weekend was the WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association) Western Regional  Championship held at Memorial auditorium here in Sacramento hosted by our own Sacred City Derby Girls.  Sacred placed 10th in the region and was able to be in the tournament so that made it even better, not to mention that roller derby has not been held at the Memorial Auditorium in probably 20+ years so that was pretty cool as well.  As a fan of Sacred and knowing that this historic event was going to be going on I quickly answered the call for volunteers to work the event to get in for free.  I spent Friday and Saturday getting up very early for my days off and lugging water, sodas, ice, etc. around just to be able to watch roller derby history in the making.  I found muscles I didn't know I had, sweat a ton, learned a lot about pack strategy and fell in love with some skaters that I had the honor to watch both win and lose.

Sunday was my day to stay at home and do chores that had been screaming at me to be done.  There were dishes piling up in the sink, laundry laying on the floor in the laundry room and overall messiness to be dealt with. But there was also the finals going on so I ordered the HD live stream of the tournament that day.  I hooked up my little computer to the big tv and let it play so I could be a good wife and get my chores done, but also get my derby fix for the day.  I couldn't miss Sacred battling it out against Duke City to get 9th place, and for Rat City's epic fight against Denver.  BTW, I'm now a die hard fan of Anya Heels of Rat City and want to travel to Seattle to watch her skate as much as possible.  She is amazing!  But wait!  BAD Girls are going up against Rose City Rollers to see who will go to the finals in Chicago.  In the end Bay Area takes it and are going to Nationals!!  The remaining bout was Oly Rollers vs. Rocky Mountain and it was a back and forth battle for points.  Skill against skill, pack play getting adjusted by each team often for Rocky Mountain Roller Girls to take the win against the undefeated Oly Rollers!  Talk about an historic weekend!

 B.A.D. Girls lining up against Rocky Mountain on Saturday.  They really gave it their all, but RMRG took it in the end.

During the half as the next team warms up, there were a lot of fast paced derby girls on the track.

My badge that got me back stage and anywhere else I wanted during the tournament.  I kept this bad boy as a souvenir.

In the end, the dishes were done, laundry washed and put away, bathroom cleaned and I did a whole lot of knitting on husband's scarf.  Also, I now have access to all the bouts on Sunday for the next 90 days if I want to watch any of them over again, which I just might.  Who wants to come over for a viewing party??

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