Stealing cookies

Daily Photo

Another one from a while ago, but it just cracks me up. I love this photo.



I found a recipe I wanted to try in one of the many magazines I receive every month. I wanted to try it mainly to see if it would work well for communal dinner, where you have about an hour to prepare food, and you're feeding the masses, but they don't all come at once. Food requirements are: can make lots easily, can be made in parallel, can be eaten over the course of an hour or two. Sometimes we make it right, sometimes we don't.

The recipe, for lamb meatball gyros, would work for everyone but Martha, so it's not a complete meal for everyone. If it could be made easily, however, we could work around Martha's requirements.

Okay, so, to start, I needed the ingredients, and a broiler.

Who would think a broiler would be an issue? Ours has been our for a couple years now, just waiting for the kitchen remodel to force the replacement of the oven and, hey, broiler. Email to Kris and Andy, will you be my taste testers, and, oh, by the way, can we use your oven, Andy?

Andy's response was along the lines of, "Free food? Sure! But, uh, how do you cook anything in your house? No microwave? No broiler?"

Um, stovetop?

At least until that goes out, too.

So, yay, broiler taken care of, off to purchase fixings. Since we were going to be at Andy's house, and the dogs were going stir crazy from no walks because of Annie's back, I decided to take the dogs along with me to store and then to Andy's. The girls and I have come to an understanding of where in the car they are allowed to be, and that would be in the far back, away from the back seats and definitely away from the front seats.

Because arbitrary boundaries are easy for beagles to follow, right?

So, into the car I lifted both of them, and off we went to Whole Foods. I tragically took the freeway, which, at 5:00 PM is a crappy decision. We sloughed through the traffic, arrived at Whole Foods, and, aw crap. I looked at the seat next to me. I looked in my bookbag. I looked in my central console. I looked in under my stuff. I looked in the bag of games I brought with me. I looked in my bookbag again.

I left my wallet at home.


Back home I drove and, because this whole adventure had taken too long, I decided to head to Nob Hill for groceries instead. Why did I decide to go to Nob Hill for groceries? That place is nothing but disappointments. I went in, could barely find the ground lamb, and the pita bread? I spent 40 minutes looking for pita bread. You'd think pita bread would be in the bread section, right? Nope. Maybe the pita bread would be in the gourmet food section, eh? Nope. The bakery section? Nope. The deli section? Maybe. If you ask, they'll pull them out of the freezer for you.

Or you can luck into the last two package of pita breads in the store.

The dogs barely survived being left alone in car.

So, we dashed off to Andy's house to make dinner. We arrived barely before six, just barely enough time to plant what would be the worst gag gift ever. Too bad it matched his calendar, which we had picked out last week when looking for a calendar to replace last year's Bond James Bond calendar. It also matched his walls, so, as far as gag gifts go, I picked a loser.

As far as switch plates go, I picked a winner!

The lamb gyros were quite easy to make. Cutting up the veggies took the longest time, but that could easily be parallelized by giving two or three people the task of chopping. Making the gyro balls was quick: 5 minutes to cut and mix, maybe 5 minutes to shape the balls and 8 minutes to cook.

Waiting for Kris to arrive took the longest at 15 minutes.

Taste testing was the important issue, though. After assembling the gyros and trying one out, Andy gave them a "delectable" rating: his highest food rating.

We have a winner for next week's communal dinner. Yay!

The full story


A month or so ago, I was looking for switch plates for the main bedroom in the house. I like a particular style of switch plates, purchased from a craft-fair vendor years go. We came across the same vendor in subsequent years, and purchased another few for the main bathroom. We haven't been able to find the vendor since, years since, but I had kept hoping we would. Hoping so much, that I bought hideous temporary switch plates for the room to ensure I keep looking - seeing them every day was painful. Eye-painful.

So, I found the website, I looked for the style I like. I looked around at various switch plate styles, coming across a striped style that was humourous and, in a jam, could work in the main bedroom.

Andy IM'd me just as I realized the style wasn't in stock in the size I needed. First thing I did was IM him the style, complaining it was out of stock.

kitt: Discountinued.
kitt: Bah.
andy: you need this?
andy: why does this exist?
andy: who wants this?
kitt: Better watch it - I may buy you switch plate covers...
kitt: once I've run out of places to put them in my house.

The very next thing I did was look for the most entertaining switch plate I could find, intending on sneaking it up when he wasn't looking.

It arrived yesterday, so, when I went to make dinner, I snuck the switch plate on his wall before he arrived home, wondering how long it would be up before he noticed.

Answer: seven minutes.

"There's a chicken on my wall."

"Yes, yes, there is."

"It matches. I think I like it."



"But... but... it's a gag gift."


Worst gag gift ever


In place:

Close up:

He likes it.

If he likes it, it's not a good gag gift.

The full story.

Costco run


Went to Costco with Andy and Doyle after heading to a movie this afternoon. Going to Costco at 5:45 is not what I would consider going at an optimal time. If i have to wait in line, I'm not there at a particularly good time.

Doyle had said he wanted to go, so I didn't feel too guilty. Okay, that's not quite true. I felt a little awkward dragging Andy to Costco, too, since he hadn't agreed to go before we all carpooled to the movies. However, carpool we did, so he was along for the ride.

By the way, lower your expectations of National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Lower. Loooowwwwerrrrr. Lllllooooooowwwwwweeeeerrrrrrr. Okay, now, remember the suspension of disbelief might be difficult with this one, and go see it. Maybe. As a matinee. At a $2 theatre.

So, yeah, Costco. Off we went. We parked near the front door, which I never do. I usually park over by the Krispy Kreme where the tasty Hot Fresh Now donuts are, then load up on carbs at said Krispy Kreme before hoofing across the parking lot to Costco.

Neither Andy nor Doyle wanted any of the delicious sugar covered fat bombs, so I parked close.

Did I mention I forgot my camera again? I really need to stop that, because you might have seen a video of Andy's spectacular shopping cart ride into the Costco if I actually had my camera. Instead, you'll have to imagine it. This is what you should imagine: some crazy woman pushing a cart at a quick speed, with some slender man hanging off the side of the cart, barely leaning to keep it from tipping over completely to the left, while another man with a booming voice calls out to the woman to push off and just let go already. Which she does. Not that the man on the cart can actually steer the cart. So, she lets go, and the cart goes rolling, and the man on the cart needs to keep it both upright, and straight, lest the looming SUV to the left become a target.

No cars were injured in the filming of this escapade.

Once in the store, I made a straight line for the books, er, the laundry detergent, passing through a big stack of doggie beds on my way. Oooooooo! My dogs love these doggie beds! I thought, as I chucked a green one into the cart.

"Do you need that?" Andy, my corporeal conscience, asked.

"The dogs love them!" I answered.

"Don't you already have two of them?"

"Well, yes."

"Are you getting a third dog?"

"Well, no. Not unless I can convince Kris to get a 9" pocket beagle."


I put the dog bed back.

At top speed, losing Doyle and Andy about three times with my mad dash through the store, I managed to fill up my cart with toliet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent and shaving gel - all items we needed, all items on my list, no items not on my list. I was as quick as I could be and as efficient, too, leaving Andy to wait for a few minutes in line as I retrieved the last item on my list. He was remarkably patient, given I think (I project) he dislikes being around crowds of people as much as I do.

Yeah, early morning probably would have been better, but not nearly as much fun.

Or as inexpensive. I saved $20 by not buying that bed.

And spent it on the $41 roll of stamps. Can't even buy stamps in low numbers these days at Costco.

In Excel first

andy: I think I need to write a program to calculate Dudo odds
kitt: real men calculate those odds in their heads
andy: after doing the calculations in excel the first time

The Orange meal, part 2


This morning, we had the Orange Meal, Part 2. We invited Andy over for pumpkin waffles before the usual dog Saturday morning dog hike. He walked in with a huge weighted bag, a hefty machine and the question, "Have you ever had carrot juice?"

Oh, my, no we hadn't.

While I was mixing the waffle ingredients together, Andy washed the carrots and oranges and started juicing them in the juicer he had brought over.

I was surprised at the amount of pulp that came out of carrots. I can't say I had ever considered carrots for their pulp or fiber, though I realize they have a lot of both. More in retrospect I realize this.

Andy also juiced a bunch of oranges. He suggested we mix them. Although the carrot juice was quite tasty, the orange juice mixed in sweetened it a bit, making it REALLY tasty.

Though, if you let it sit too long, the various parts separated. A good swirl and they were all remixed and just as tasty.

Eventually, the waffles were done. The recipe we're using makes enough batter for 20 waffles, which is twice the batter most of the recipes I usually use. Our waffle maker (Thanks Jen and Bharat!) hasn't failed to entertain any waffle guest, as it makes barnyard shaped waffles: cow, barn, pig and chicken (maybe a rooster). I never quite put enough batter in the barn well, though, causing my barns to be blocks on sticks. I'll get it eventually, though.

Because we have so many waffles, we're able to share with all house guests. Even the small(ish), furry ones.

After breakfast, Andy installed the programmable thermostat Mark and Megan had given us LAST winter. Nothing like losing an item on the task list. Fortunately, I knew what box to look in, and Andy was able to actually find the thermostat (and instructions!). When he was done, he even checked our furnance filter.

Did I mention how much we love Andy?

Not Blue.


Okay, so, there were other parts of today's hike that weren't about Blue (no, really!).

Andy shows me that we're here! Yay, the beach!

We found a really big tire on the beach:

Bella was very puppy-dog on the beach, with her ears flapping in the wind:

A very happy Bella:

Annie found a dead seal on the beach, and showed it to me just before she rolled all over it.

Poof! New beagle!

All in all, a good day:

Confuse 'em


Andy IM'd this morning and asked if we were interested in taking the dogs to the park. Go outside and play? Uh, yes? Kris had plans at noon, so wanted only to go to the local park. We went off to the park, three people, four dogs in tow.

I expected each dog to do his usual thing: Bella would sniff everything along the perimeter; Annie would run run run, then sniff along the perimeter, waiting for a lapse in our awareness to make her escape; Blue would chase the disc as long as Andy threw it; and Shadow would alternate between playing defense on Blue and hovering near one of the people for a quick snuggle.

To my surprise, Bella came out to play with us, chasing one of us when someone was running around, and dodging us when one of us was chasing her. She artfully zipped among the three of us, swerving in and out, juking one way and dashing the other when we made to cut her off. Bella pretended to be a 2 year old dog, and endeared her little heart to us.

Shadow also surprised me by chasing me down, nipping at my legs and herding me back to the pack when I tried to run down Annie, who had "wandered" away. When I turned on him and started chasing him, Andy and Kris joined in, turning the herder into the herdee.

When we were done, Andy asked if I was interested in heading to Ft. Funston, confuse the dogs by giving them not one, but TWO outings. I was up for it, so off we went. Although the trip was billed as a "fool the dogs and go on a hike," in reality it was, "display how inaccurate Kitt's timing is with her new camera."

Andy asked if I could take a picture of Blue mid-air. Sure! So, throughout the hike, I took pictures of Blue. Note, I didn't say I "took pictures of Blue mid-air." No, that would have required good timing on my part. instead, I managed an off-frame picture of Blue:

A distant shot of Blue:

A close shot of Blue:

Blue chasing birds in the surf:

Blue eating sand:

Way after a catch:

Just a little after the catch:

Waaaaaay before the catch to compensate:

And so far before the catch, Blue was still spinning:

But, you know, you take enough pictures, ONE of them is bound to be good, right?

Of course, there's the shot of Andy, to prove he was there, too:

Of my dogs, well, I have a lot of pictures of their butts:

The Orange meal


In Florida, I asked Andy if he wanted to host communal dinner this week. He enthusiastically said yes, so I volunteered his house and his hot tub for the group. In honor of the Orange Box and the new console games Andy had received when we were all gone, I proposed the meal to be The Orange Meal™. I offered salmon and sweet potatoes, and asked everyone else to bring something orange to the meal. Suggestions were pumpkin pie, butternut squash soup, pumpkin ice cream (mmmmmmmm.....), and the like.

Last time Andy hosted, he had an elaborate (but incredibly tasty) meal that kept him in the kitchen the whole evening cooking. What fun is that (read: none)? This time, we agreed to keep each portion someone cooks small, and encourage everyone to bring something tasty.

I grilled whisky marinade salmon. Humorously enough, I bought six pounds of Salmon since we expected around 14 people, one of who was Tyler, so six pounds didn't seem too unreasonable. It was my first time grilling salmon on a grill outside. Kris kept having to answer questions like, "What happens if the skin sticks to the grill?" and "Is the salmon suppose to catch on fire?"

Warren brought some amazing pumpkin soup with onions and corn. Steffi brought some also amazing dessert from Sugar Butter Flour. mmmmmmm.... pumpkin cheesecake. Goodness, how I love fall. Andy made squash and a green (!!!) salad with hints of orange. Crystal's orange salad had some token green in it. The potatoes I was making were late in coming, but still managed to be eaten.

As soon as the first guests arrived, we were off and playing Guitar Hero again. Portal is a single player game, but well, Guitar Hero is good for both players and fans, provided the players actually act out what's being performed on screen. Kris kept dressing as a scantily-clad bass player with big hair. I wonder if he's trying to tell me something.

The goal of this whole endeavour has to be to see if we can get everybody's poop orange tomorrow. Because that would be entertainingly funny.

Update: Gah! Almost forgot one of the most entertaining parts of the evening. As Crystal and Nick were getting ready for the hot tub, Nick spied Andy's yearbooks in the guest room closet. As I entered the bathroom to change into my "swimsuit," I heard Nick ask, "Should we look?" When I exited, the two of them were furiously flipping through the two yearbooks, my year and Andy's year, trying to find our pictures. I found them, and managed to show them to Crystal and Nick before Andy surprised us from behind, none of us had noticed his arrival. "Uh, I don't think Kris wants those out."

Yeah, neither Kris nor my mom.