No kitty sitting


Okay, for the first weekend in three, Doyle and Shirley aren't heading out of town, and I'm not heading up to play with their kitties. I'm somewhat saddened by this, as they are *awesome* kitties and wow, do I love that kitty time. Well, that and their hammock.

I'm sure you're saddened by this, too, so, to cheer you up, Beaker:

A bite of heaven


Shirley stopped by today. She's in the middle of week two of three weeks between end of school and beginning of real life. I'm more than a little frustrated that the project I'm on has me working 10+ billable hours a week, which translates into about 12-14 hours of actual working, given I can't bill some of the research hours.

With Shirley here, and Kris coming home mid-day to work, we had a house full with six beings all moving and working and breathing and living in the house today. The girls spent most of the day underfoot and expecting to be fed, instead of their usual sleeping. I sear, that Bella is sometimes incredibly hard to resist in her cuteness.

Shirley brought over premade cookie dough, enough for six cookies. For the record, even though I didn't take any picture, it was three cookies of pure heaven into my belly.

Shirley's awesome


When Shirley came over for my birthday dinner last month, she brought over some dee-lish-us peanut butter cookies. She also brought over the extra cookie dough, which I left in the fridge and rediscovered a few days ago. I have to say, having freshly baked peanut butter cookies is a wonderful treat. Even better, being able to have a single cookie, without having the temptation of eating a dozen of them.


Hungry for Obama dinner


Last night, Shirley and I hosted a "Hungry for Obama" dinner. Think "grassroots fundraising meets communal dinner" and you have the basic idea of the HfO dinners. A host invites people over and feeds them. The guests donate to the Obama campaign, then pledge to host their own dinner, sort of a viral fundraising concept.

Shirley came over around 5, and we started: Shirley as the lead chef and I as her sous.

Now, I know my kitchen is small. Someday soon, I'd like to fix that by opening up the wall between the kitchen and the livingroom and pushing out the front door to the front of the house where it belongs and not the porch cave that it's in now. That someday comes closer every time something else fails in that room. The lights burnt out a month ago, prompting a livingroom light to be moved into the kitchen. The dishwasher started making horrible noises a week ago. The broiler on the oven failed years ago. A few other problems keep growing. At some point, I'm just going to insist that the kitchen be fixed and be fixed NOW. I warned Kris that it would happen, so he's a least somewhat prepared for it.


Unfortunately, that kitchen remodel hasn't happened yet, and Shirley and I did the small kitchen dance. The small kitchen dance with lots of countertop rearranging.

Shirley had planned on eight tapas dishes. She was quite organized with the whole dinner, bringing over food items (three bags and a box) and some bowls and the like. She didn't bring much equipment ("I know your kitchen is well stocked," she commented), but the spices she had covered.

Shirley had written down the recipes, by hand, which means you know she reviewed each and every line of the recipe.

The food was amazing. Shirley made a potato and egg Spanish omelette (yum!), a lentil stew, hot hot hot salsa to go with some pita breads, amazing shrimp, croistinis, meatballs, cucumber yogurt dip, and an orange and onion fruit salad. The food was, of course, fabulous.

Well, except the croisitinis. They didn't exactly turn out well. As Shirley said, "What's a dinner party without a disaster?"

Chris was helping out in the kitchen, because, you know, two chefs in a small kitchen isn't enough, you need THREE chefs in a small kitchen to do the small-kitchen ballet. I think he was cooking meatballs, but it might have been the omelette, when we all started smelling a burning smell. We checked the burners, as one had been turned on incorrectly earlier in the cooking process, and we wondered if that was it. No, wasn't it, what was it?




Of course, that whole "what's a dinner party without a disaster?" question wasn't quite done with us yet. While everyone was happily eating, I stepped into the kitchen to do a little clean up.

And walked straight into a puddle that reached to the fridge.

What the?

Six beach towels, four hand towels and a lot of sponge wringing later, I discovered the source of the leak. A pipe under the sink had burst.

I turned off all of the water generating sources, which included the dishwasher which was running, and the faucet which wasn't. I mopped up the mess as best I could, and was about to leave the kitchen with everything from under the sink sitting on the countertops when Chris walked into the kitchen. After I told him what happened, he asked me for duct tape. Several pieces later and I didn't have to immediately worry about the kitchen flooding.

Yay Chris!

Of course, that's one more disaster in the kitchen, which leads Kris and I just one more step on our way to a desperately needing a new kitchen.

Programming or pie? Pie or programming?


Shirley stopped by this afternoon. She was on her way home from volunteering at the Full Circle Farm and was hoping for some apples from my trees. I had not 10 minutes before receiving her call to see if I was home, been walking among the trees and thinking that I wasn't going to be able to eat all of these apples before either they spoiled or the mice managed to nibble just enough out of each one to make it unappetizing to even me - I who am just as likely to cut out the bad part and eat the apply anyway as I am to hand it to the dog to eat.

So, I enthusiastically invited her over, even though I forgot to unlock the door, and helped her pick apples after she arrived. I forced a couple pears into her bags before she could resist too much, as Kris hasn't been eating them, and I can't stand them. Admittedly, I'm a little annoyed that he hasn't been eating the pears, since I planted that tree for him in the first place. Not annoyed enough to remove the tree, though, as I learned the lesson of "plant what you'll eat" only last year, and the tree went in three years ago.

Shirley let me know that she was cooking this afternoon with the apples. She was planning some apple walnut zucchini tasty thing. I had intended to head up to the City for today's Super Happy Dev House, but, well, Shirley's cooking declaration inspired me to also cook with apples. I stayed home instead and made a couple apples pies, listening to book four (of which, oh, good lord, the first 20% is the gory, painfully dull details of Bella's wedding. Do I really need to read a book about some 18 year old's marriage to a vampire? Really?).

So, today was a happy, lazy day of cleaning up crap, doing laundry, and baking apple pies.

I really like the William Sonoma Pie and Tart book, circa 2004, which has a pie crust recipe that both tastes great AND doesn't need to be refrigerated for a while after rolling out. Though, I am annoyed that the apple pie recipe says "pile apples high in bottom crust," as I always end up with a 6" gap between the pie crust and the baked down filling.

At one point, I ended up with excess crust, so I rolled it out, doused it with some of the cinnamon and sugar juices from the apples. I put it into the toaster oven at 350° and waited to see what would happen. Shirley had commented recently to me (possibly in the four hours of driving to the Good Life event) that she wanted to make homemade poptarts. I figured I could use this extra crust as a test, and mentioned it to Kris:

"You might be having homemade poptarts."

He looked up at me.

"They might be APPLE poptarts," I continued.

"With appropriate levels of whipped cream and sugar?"

Man after my own heart.

The second pie is for Megan, who had brought over a pie for a communal dinner months and months ago, and left the pie dish with me. I think they had just started packing up their house in anticipation of the tear down, and wasn't going to need the pie dish for a while.

One of these days I'm going to make a pie in every tin and plate I own. All eight of them. No, wait, nine of them.

Better make one or two savory, or I'll be in a world of hurt.

Talk like a pirate day


I keep forgetting this every year. Fortunately, my team doesn't.

Shirley had the best pirate talk:

Arr, methinks what that scurvy Smith meant t'say is how has none of ye
worthless bilge rats said nothin about this yet? Avast me hearties! Tis
International Talk Like A Pirate day!

On Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 3:35 PM, Kyle Smith wrote:

> How has nobody said anything about this yet? Come on people. It's
> International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

I love my friends


I love my friends. Not only because they're all good people (that's a necessary requirement, so if I like you, you know you're a good person), but because they're funny, insightful, supporting and caring.

They're also really smart! And articulate! And adventurous (omg, are they that). I'm pretty sure I'm not seeing all my friends through my rose-colored friend-loving glasses. Or, if I am, it's because both Jessica and Mom are looking through the same glasses: both have commented on my circle of friends being the most awesomest. They may have left off the "EVAR" part, but that was understood.

My friends are also creative. Did I mention creative? I mean, check this out, my Christmas present from Shirley:

A custom, hand-knitted cover for my Nokia phone. You know, the really expensive one the company bought me out of spite for Mike's iPhone? You remember, the one that doubles as a bluetooth modem so that, if I have a phone signal, I have Intarweb™. Yeah, that one.

Here, look at the cover close up:

Yeah, that articulate part? Shirley has a blog, too. Actually, not one, but two!. But, sshhhhhhhhhh! We don't talk about that one.

Hi, Shirley!

Tofu House


Yeah, so, Doyle invited Kris and I out to dinner. Since we closed the office, I haven't seen him much. Which sucks, actually, as he's a really good companion, coworker and friend. He's been inviting us to events, we just haven't been going.

So, when he invited us out, even if I didn't want to go to the main event, I still wanted to go to dinner with Doyle and Shwu.

The plan was go to the Tofu House. When we arrived, Kris was immediately suspicious. We had eaten here years ago. The food was both awful and potentially very dangerous for Kris, as the soup items were made with fish broth. I vaguely recall being unable to eat my dish as the first bite burned my tongue, both with fire heat and fire hot.

After confirming the broth wasn't fish broth (plain water!), we decided to stay.

All I can say is that it was a REALLY good thing we had Shirley, Steffi, Jimmy and that Asian half of Doyle with us. Kris and I were some of the few non-Asian people in the restaurant and BY FAR the whitest. You know, the white people who can't eat spice? Yeah, that's me.

I thought about trying the "no spice" option, but I did want SOME flavor in my tofu, since I wasn't ordering a meat dish. I was entertained by the menu somewhat by still being able to sound out the Korean letters and words, even if I don't know what the hell I'm saying.

Note to self: really learn a language, okay? This half-ass knowledge of German, Korean and Spanish really sucks. Learn more than English already.

The meal ended up being just simply delicious. I'm not sure that Steffi and Jimmy knew about my current picture taking habits, but at least Doyle and Shirley were nonplussed (which, used here in the colloquial way, means "unperturbed," which is the exact opposite of the original "so surprised they don't know how to react" definition of the word - ah languages, always evolving).

I doubt Kris and I will seek the restaurant out again, but I'll definitely stop by with other friends.

Too many peanut butter cookies


Having spent most of the weekend eating the peanut butter cookies Shirley made on Friday, I didn't do so well this morning at Velocity. The workout was 3 rounds of: 20 chest passes with a semi-bouncy 10# medicine ball, 10 shuttle sprints, 20 backward over-the-head ball tosses, 10 shuttle sprints, 20 sideway tosses (each side), 10 shuttle sprints, and 20 ball slams. I managed the first round with the 12# medicine ball, but could barely lift the ball for the second round.

My last set of sprints were pathetic in speed, but fairly okay in my starts.

I did manage to finish the workout, but I think that was more due to the fact I didn't have to duck out early to shower before catching the train. Mom's picking me up from the train station.

On the way to the station, as Kris was dropping me off, I commented, "Too many cookies, not enough exercise this weekend."

"Yeah, restraint isn't exactly in your vocabulary, is it?"

When it comes to Shirley's peanut butter cookies? Absolutely not.

Mom and Shirley clean up


One of the tasks on Mom's "list of things to do when at Kitt's house" is my long time favorite: clean out the garage.

This has been on my list since, oh, forever? When Kris and I first moved in, my car went into the garage every night. I had the more expensive car at the time (come to think of it, I still do. hmph), so it made sense to park it in the garage.

Sometime between move in and now, around maybe 2 years ago, the amount of crap in the garage has become so overwhelming that there are the narrow paths through the junk piles. Many of the boxes in those piles are full of paper of some sort: blank paper, art paper, or printed paper with pages I read at some point and thought they were important enough to keep.



Shirley needed to make some money doing manual labor (ooooo, and making me peanut butter cooooooooooookies), so she came over today to help.

Mom and I needed it.

We had bags and boxes of crap to throw out. We had bags and boxes of crap to donate. And we had bags and boxes of crap to put back on the shelves. The amount in the latter category was, thankfully, less than the amount we took off the shelves, but it was still a lot of crap to put back.

One of the good things about cleaning out the garage is that the low-hanging fruit, the easy pickings, is gone. In that "gone" is a lot of crap I'm quite happy to be rid of. I'm frustrated, though, that there is still so much left. We piled all my "to go through" boxes onto one shelving unit (well, on one and a lot next to it). Kris' pile of "to go through" boxes consisted of 2 boxes, one of which was full of computer games.


Having one of everything is tough sometimes.