Juanito Told Lupe

It’s nice to have one food you are so good at making, you become “known” for it. People expect it whenever they come over for dinner. They ask for the recipe but, if it truly is “your thing,” they can never duplicate it. For me, that is guacamole.

(Side note: I was walking through the Camas farmer’s market yesterday and saw a sign for “Fresh Guak.” That k just about killed me. Once an editor, always an editor, I suppose.)

I’ve been making this guacamole for the better part of a decade now, and have it perfected. I stumbled upon a recipe from Who Song & Larry’s, a local Mexican food joint, in the newspaper one time. I was a big fan of their guacamole – which they make fresh for you, table-side, while singing an outlandish guacamole song to the tune of “Woolly Bully.” You can only imagine. The lyrics go like this:

Well, Juanito told Lupe

About a thing he saw

It was green and squishy

And they ate it all.

Guacamole!!

Guacamole.

Guacamole (squish, squish), guacamole (squish, squish), guacamole.

There’s more, but I trust you get the picture. There is a video clip on YouTube if you’re that inclined to hear the rest. Corny song aside, I really liked Who Songs’ guacamole, so I saved the recipe and made it. It was pretty, pretty good, as Larry David would say, but I gradually modified it over the years. Today, I’ve achieved avocado perfection. Juanito and Lupe would be proud. So I make it for potlucks and parties and dinner get-togethers when we have people over. In true rock ‘n roll fashion I’ve even made it on the road, at other people’s houses, though thankfully nobody was waving a lighter in my face while I was dicing up onions.

Not mine. But eerily similar. Green, chunky…what a coincidence!

And I’m happy to do it. I could probably make it in my sleep at this point. I’d share the recipe, but because it’s “my thing,” you won’t be able to duplicate it. Trust me.

Tara’s thing is deviled eggs, by the way. What’s yours?


Speaking of Larry David, I finished watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” over the weekend and now I kind of don’t know what to do with myself. Eight seasons worth, 10 episodes per season. That means I just completed 80 episodes of Curb (though I’m not sure if you’d call it “binge watching” as this was spread out over a few months’ time…is there an official equation for determining what constitutes a binge watch?), and as predicted by all who encouraged me to watch, loved it. Like, freakin’ loved it (because, hi mom!). Almost without exception, it’s brilliant and hilarious and sarcastic and dark. All positive factors in a sitcom. I’m on the fence as to whether it’s better than Seinfeld. I mostly find the idea ludicrous and sacrilegious, but then I think about Denise Handicapped and the awkwardly inappropriate question of whether a Chinese baby has a predilection for chopsticks and the prostitute Larry hired simply to take advantage of the carpool lane and the idea doesn’t seem so farfetched at all. I’d say both series are close – it’s almost a toss-up for me – so if you’re a Seinfeld fan looking for something similar but have never checked out Curb, I highly recommend you do so.

Now.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

(Other than to finish my blog post, of course.)


(And leave a comment.)


Did anybody take advantage of Prime Day on 7/11?

Up until this year, I knew nothing about it. I was never an Amazon Prime member, so why would I? But I am now (the ability to maybe-binge watch 80 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm alone was worth the price), so I actually started paying attention this time around.

I ended up buying a brand new Kindle Fire 7 tablet for an impossible-to-resist price of $20. It was marked down from $50 to $30 that one day only, and ordering through Alexa would give you a $10 Amazon credit, so I jumped all over that. And I had no desire for a tablet before that day, but I gotta admit, it’s nice to have around. I gave my old MacBook to Audrey at the beginning of the year, reasoning that I could always bring my work laptop home if I needed to do something. (Like writing a blog post at 6:30 p.m.). It’s worked out fine, but it is nice to have a tablet with a screen that’s big and easy to read. So, good job, Prime Day! You have made me a convert!

And to think the previous most exciting thing to ever happen to me on 7/11 was a free Slurpee…

Tara also bought a tent on Prime Day. She got a lightning deal that saved her $40. Great timing, as we have a camping trip coming up the end of next week. It’s quite a haul, five hours away and north of Mount Rainier, but we’ve got a great spot right next to the river and are looking forward to a couple of days spent hiking, exploring, and kicking back in front of the campfire with a cocktail in our hands and not a worry on our minds.

No doubt Tara will want me to make guacamole.

I’ll offer her a trade if she brings deviled eggs…

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I’m Not a Robot

I think it’s weird whenever I come across one of those CAPTCHAs designed to thwart spam and I am asked to check a box stating that I’m not a robot. Because inevitably I click the box and a few seconds later, my comment has posted. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the process is so easy, but should the process really be so easy? Robots are supposed to be a million times smarter than humans, right? If a robot has the ability to solve a complex quadratic equation in nanoseconds, don’t you think he’d be artificially intelligent enough to check the box indicating he wasn’t a robot in order to bypass the system and spam the shit out of somebody? I’m pretty sure it would be easy enough to program “subterfuge” into his operating system.

Is it really wise to rely on the honor system when it comes to network security, folks?

But what do I know. I’m just a human.


Apparently, I am now in the wholesale egg distribution business.

Now that we found an egg guy who will deliver, I decided to let the entire office in on the opportunity and sent out a company-wide email yesterday. I told my coworkers we found a local guy, his eggs are great, and we’d be placing a regular order with him every two weeks. Anybody interested on getting in on the action could pay us $4 a dozen in advance. We got orders for 10 dozen this first go-around, which isn’t terrible. I actually thought there’d be more takers – I mean, who can resist farm fresh eggs, delivered for free to your workplace?

Maybe they just aren’t aware of how much better fresh eggs are compared to what you can buy in the grocery store. Oh, well. They’ll come around.

And if they do, I might need to consider a new line of work. Deb said we should be charging $5 a dozen and splitting the extra dollar as profit for our hard work in engineering this whole thing, collecting the money, placing the order, etc. It IS quite a bit of effort – I started a spreadsheet, for crying out loud! – but I’m too damn nice to try to actually profit from this. I just like the idea of supporting a local farmer.

A couple of friends expressed concern over the fact that he’s got “hundreds of chickens” and were afraid he might be cooping them up to mass produce, but that is not the case. Our egg guy promises they are, and I quote,

Farm fresh free range eggs from hens of many different breeds, so there is a good mix of colored eggs. The chickens are fed produce, germinated grain from local farmers, germinated sunflower seeds, egg and oyster shells, alfalfa hay and mealworms that I raise.

It doesn’t get any more humane or organic than that, folks.

We’re going to schedule our next delivery for the end of this week. Good thing too, as Tara and I already used up our last couple of dozen.


So, my parents are in Florida for a few weeks.

My parents have a nice gas grill. We live in an apartment complex that does not allow grills. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Tonight, we are taking advantage of their grill to cook us up some nice ribeye steaks. And we’ll take advantage of their empty sunroom to eat them in.

Might even take advantage of the chilled bottle of wine in their fridge, too. If there is one.

Mom and dad, you have been warned.

The Agony and the Egg-stacy

I feel like an extra in a Portlandia sketch, because I’ve got my own egg guy now.

This all began last week when a coworker arrived with a carton of farm fresh eggs. She said she had a supplier and might be able to hook us up, too. I was immediately interested, because fresh eggs are, shell we say, quite divine. So when she told me that her egg person did not have enough to go around, I figured that was it, my dreams had flown the coop and I was destined to continue purchasing my eggs from the grocery store like just another commoner. I did learn an important life lesson, though: don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Why, yes. I am breaking out the egg puns in earnest. What can I say? They crack me up.

Just when I thought all hope was lost, Deb said she found somebody on Craigslist who could get us farm fresh eggs. Best of all, he delivered, as long as we ordered a minimum of five dozen. He charges a mere $4 a dozen. Granted, this is more expensive than what you’ll pay in the grocery store, but about half the cost of what they charge at the farmer’s market, and the quality is far superior. I have to admit, I never would have thought to look for something like that on Craigslist! I was so proud of my coworker’s ingenuity I wanted to give her a standing ovation. I scrambled to find additional people who were interested, a task that went over easy. Before long we had a commitment for eight dozen eggs. The guy showed up at our office two days later, and I have been enjoying farm fresh eggs ever since. They are, dare I say it, eggcellent.

We are planning on opening this up to the whole office and making it a regular thing. Our egg guy has lots of chickens and can easily meet our demand. We’re thinking a delivery every two weeks should be sufficient.

Never a dull moment around here, folks.


Tara and I have new neighbors in our apartment complex. And these neighbors have dogs. Let’s just say things are off to a rocky start.

I’ve never been much of a dog person to begin with. I just prefer the no-fuss nature of cats (though I will admit I’ve known some pretty cool dogs in my day – Sadie, Lily, and Hank come to mind). Regardless, I’m a live-and-let live type of guy for the most part.

But not when your dogs bark constantly, as in incessantly, as in nonstop for hours at a time. Which these dogs do, every single moment that the humans next door are gone. Which is most evenings until 8:50 p.m.

Things got so bad, I finally broke down and called the management office to complain. They were actually sympathetic and told me they’d already received other complaints, so they were going to talk to these people and let them know if they can’t control the barking they will either have to get rid of the dogs or get rid of themselves. I was satisfied with this response.

A little while later, we were coming home from the grocery store and ran into the neighbors. First time we’d met them since they moved on. Immediately, the guy goes, “I’m sorry about our barking dogs!”

Now, I could have said, “Oh, it’s okay. No big deal.” But it is NOT okay and it is a big deal. I wasn’t about to let him off the hook that easily! I might have been graded a C- on social graces, but I’m pretty sure I got an A on Telling It Like It Is 101. To his credit, that made him apologize more. I still didn’t let him off the hook – trust me, his dogs are really annoying – but I respect him for admitting they are a problem rather than getting defensive about it. The sad thing is, he seems like a nice enough guy. I really hope they can get those pups under control. Seems like their bark is worse than his bite.

Oh, you thought I only did egg puns?

No such luck…

A Feast for the Eyes

Lately, whenever we go out to eat, Tara cringes. Because it usually ends up being a party of three: me, her, and my camera. Like many people, I’m sort-of obsessed with photographing my food. This would probably be okay with my wife if I did so subtly – a quick snapshot with my phone, say – but for some reason, she gets embarrassed when I drag out the Nikon. Doubly so if I use the flash.

Admittedly, I try not to go to such extremes. I don’t want to annoy my fellow diners or draw attention to the fact that I am taking pics of my food. But even without the flash, it’s kind of hard not to notice the guy with the big red camera pointed at his plate. In my defense, I say this: food is art, and should be appreciated by both the eyes and the mouth.

There are downsides to photographing food, aside from attracting the ire of the other restaurant patrons. It takes time to position the plate just so, focus the lens, remove unnecessary items (took me a long time to start paying attention to things like straws in glasses and Stevia packets on the table). So by the time I am able to actually dig into my food, it is no longer piping hot.

Here’s the thing, though: food represents memories. I can take a look at a plate and instantly conjure up where I was and what I was doing at the exact moment I took the photo. If I were to stroll down this foodie version of Memory Lane, for instance, I would recall…

The amazing crab-stuffed salmon from the first Valentine’s Day Tara and I spent together.
My first bacon maple bar from Voodoo Doughnut.
Our annual visits to The Bite of Oregon, a foodie’s dream.
The 2-lb. burger from Big Jud’s in Boise. It was large enough for four of us to share.
The best thing about Fresno.
That time we ate snails during our celebration of national food holidays in 2013.
The first time we tried oysters. To our surprise, we loved them.
Celebrating our honeymoon at Elway’s Steakhouse in Denver.
An artfully arranged plate of snacks during an anniversary trip to the Oregon coast.

I think you get the point.

Some foods photograph better than others. Split pea soup, no matter how good it tastes, inevitably ends up looking pale and disgusting. But a hearty bowl of ramen? Much more appealing.

Or a great sandwich.

Even something simple like pork rinds.

I have love for cocktails, too.

And an entire gallery of Bloody Mary pics.

Last night, we met up with our foodie friend Kara to take advantage of Portland Dining Month. Naturally, I brought along my camera. And naturally, I embarrassed Tara.

Lumpia from Clyde Common.

But damn, was it good. And again, I say: art on a plate.

Beef tongue Spam Musubi from SuperBite.

How ’bout you? Do you take the time to photograph your food, snicker at those busting out their cameras or phones, or do you not care because you are too busy diving right in?

NNWM/6: The Color of Peanut Butter

I have no idea what inspired me to make a big pot of homemade gumbo this evening.

The short answer is: I was craving it. But I don’t know why, because I have zero ties to New Orleans. In fact, Louisiana is one of the few states I have never visited. It’s not like my mom cooked gumbo every Sunday while I was growing up. Or ever. It’s just one of those dishes that I feel like making every couple of years, usually after enough time has passed that I forget how time-consuming the whole process is.

It’s all about the roux. Making it takes patience and an unerring commitment to stirring constantly for at least 45 minutes. The recipe I was using today told me it’d be done after 20 minutes, but THEY LIED. I have never had a good roux take less than three quarters of an hour, and today was no exception. I remember once it took me 90 nonstop minutes. I’m kinda surprised I didn’t end up with a torn rotator cuff that time. Cooking can be dangerous, kids.

The roux is supposed to be the color of peanut butter, but you have to cook it over very low heat so it doesn’t burn, which translates to what feels like a million years. At one point I actually grabbed a jar of Skippy from the cupboard and held it up to the pot I was stirringstirringstirring to compare the color, and deemed it “close enough.”

FWIW, the gumbo turned out delicious. Which means I’ll be ready to make it again in another 24 to 36 months.

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Word Count Today: 1,059.
Total Word Count: 16,293.

Cooking as Poetry

Cooking is like a poem.

There’s a certain rhythm and grace to the prep work. Chopping, slicing, and dicing; the alternating short and long cuts a sort of iambic pentameter in the kitchen. Baking is precision and rhyme, but all else – that which does not demand perfection – is loose, free-form.

These ideas came to me Sunday evening as I prepared dinner. We’d invited my parents over for honey-glazed salmon with a browned butter and lime sauce, a recipe I first discovered last year and one that has converted a couple of salmon-averse individuals (including my own wife, no less) into fans, at least of this one dish. To wit: it’s really good.

I found myself lost in thought during the preparation, enjoying the sense of purpose these repetitive tasks brought me. There is an undeniable pride and joy that accompanies the act of creating a dish from scratch,  an age-old satisfaction in providing sustenance. Feeding others harkens back to a tribe mentality old as the dawn of man.

Damn. How much wine did I drink, anyway?!

But seriously. I’ve always loved cooking, which explains why I was anything but the typical bachelor following my divorce. Microwave burritos and take-out pizza were never my thing; even during those kid-free weeks when it was just me (and later, just me and the cat), I found myself slaving away in the kitchen, regardless of how tired I was or how busy my work day had been. Taking the easy route wasn’t ever an option for me, at least not one that I ever seriously considered. I never really thought about the reasons why I chose to create complex meals for myself every night; only in retrospect did this seem like an awful lot of unnecessary work for a party of one when a PB&J sandwich or a bowl of Top Ramen would have sufficed. But yesterday, I realized for the first time what cooking really meant to me.

Focus.

Determination.

A sense of purpose.

Above all else, a blank canvas waiting to be filled.

All of which pretty much sum up everything lacking in my life at the time.

Oh, and for the record? The salmon last night was excellent. And that sums up my life these days.

Don’t Get Murdered

A few weeks ago, I stopped into my local State Farm office to steal a cup of coffee. You might recall me talking about it here. But that was merely the tip of the iceberg. Immediately afterwards, I started plotting something even more daring. What would happen if I walked past somebody dining outdoors at the restaurant around the corner, I wondered, and grabbed a tater tot off their plate? I decided that I absolutely, positively had to do this. Call me a daredevil. A prankster. A student of human nature.

I make really weird bucket lists, I know.

Because it’s easy to talk yourself out of doing something unless there is accountability, I told a whole bunch of coworkers about my plan. Even though they had witnessed me pilfering coffee firsthand, not a single one believed I would actually steal somebody’s food right off their plate. Which made me want to do it that much more.

Every day, multiple times a day, I walk around the block to stretch my legs. I go right past this restaurant, so I had plenty of time to scope things out and formulate a plan. I approached the task with the seriousness of a runner preparing for his first marathon, and considered myself “in training” for the big event. Because the weather has been so ridiculously warm this past month, there were frequently diners sitting at the outdoor tables – but for one reason or another, the situation was never ideal. Their tables were empty, or a busboy was clearing their plates, or they were eating something difficult to grab, like soup. Or they looked like they might murder me. [My one hard-and fast rule: don’t get murdered.]

And then, today happened.

I walked past the restaurant, and there were two separate tables with diners eating tater tots. I still wasn’t 100% sure I was going to do it, but then a coworker wanted to grab coffee. I told her that sounded good, but we had to walk past the restaurant so I could steal a tater tot. Naturally, she did not believe I was going to do this.

Hey, Sarah: told ya so!

We walked by, and the same two pairs of diners were still there. The first ones were paying their check, and the tots were gone. Dammit. But the second pair were still there. Deep in conversation, laughing and taking sips of water. Right there, in between them, a half-full plate of tater tots beckoned.

It’s now or never, I thought.

Previously, when I’d planned this out, I figured my safest bet would be to grab a tater tot and run. Because, remember: don’t get murdered. But in the heat of the moment, I threw sense and logic out the door. Instead, I was amazingly calm. I stopped in my tracks, casually reached over, snatched a tater tot from their plate, and held it up for them to see, acknowledging the fact that it was, indeed, right there clutched between my fingers  and not on their plate, where it belonged. I even grabbed it with my left hand, which I feel should earn me bonus points.

“Thank you,” I said politely. Then I turned and strolled away.

The looks on their faces were priceless. They stared at me, wide-eyed, caught between anger, amusement, and amazement. I think they were trying to decide whether to yell at me or burst out laughing. In fact, they never did say a word, just stared at me as I walked away with their stolen tot.

I mean, what do you say in a situation like that? If it had been me, I probably would have laughed.

Sarah, my coworker who witnessed the whole incident, was astounded by my bravado. “I never thought you’d actually do it!” she said.

“I told you I would,” I replied. And that sums me up in a nutshell. If I put my mind to something, you can take it to the bank that I am going to go through with it. My word is gold. I try not to worry what other people think, and I am not afraid to step outside my comfort zone. Even at the risk of public humiliation. I rarely back away from a dare. I’m like Marty McFly in Back To The Future. Call me “chicken” and I’ll do my very best to prove you wrong.

I figure I did those diners a favor. Now they have a great story to tell their friends and family. You’ll never believe what happened one time when we went out to lunch! We were eating tater tots when a stranger walked by and grabbed one right off our plate. Can you believe the nerve of that guy?! They’ll get mileage out of the retelling for years to come.

You’re welcome, strangers.

As for me, I’m feeling pretty immortal these days.

When I got back to the office, after showing the tater tot to my disbelieving coworkers, I ate it. It turned out to be a sweet potato tater tot, which I’d never had before. It tasted extra delicious.

And best of all, I did not get murdered.

The infamous stolen tot.
The infamous stolen tot.

Make it Snap-E!

The camaraderie with friends this past weekend was nice. We caught an amazing sunset Friday night. Enjoyed some great food and tasty beverages. Soaked our cares away in a hot tub. But the best part about our weekend getaway to Ocean Park, Washington?

I found Snap-E-Tom in a local grocery store and picked up a few cans!

snap-e-tom

OK, “a few” might be an understatement. I think 39 is a perfectly reasonable number considering this stuff is harder to find than a Muslin woman wearing a Trump 2016 button. You might remember my obsession with this product; it dates back to last summer in Park City, when I picked up a can in a grocery store on a whim. One sip and I was hooked. Unfortunately, I didn’t take that sip until after we’d gotten back home; otherwise I’d have loaded up the trunk in Utah ’cause, as great as Portland is, they are not a Snap-E-Tom-friendly town. And yet, there’s Pabst Blue Ribbon up the wazoo. Further proof that injustice runs rampant in the world.

We were able to find Snap-E-Tom in Ely over New Year’s, but Ridley’s only had 13 cans on the shelf. Naturally, I bought them all, but have been hoarding them like crazy ever since [see: Muslim woman, PBR, injustice].

What’s so great about Snap-E-Tom, you might be wondering. It’s sort of like V-8, right? And that shit’s a dime a dozen. Well, yes, it is sort of like V-8…only a bajillion times better. Must be all the sodium. It’s got a great little kick, too. I heart the stuff [but you already knew that].

Fast-forward to this weekend. We rented a beach house in Ocean Park, Washington because we had friends visiting from Sacramento (hello there, Heidi and Ross!) and Oregon (yo, Chris!) and wanted to take them to the Astoria Wine, Seafood & Crab Festival. [It might actually be the Seafood, Wine & Crab Fest. Or the Crab, Seafood & Wine Fest. Or the Wine, Crab & Seafood Fest. I’m unclear on the exact order of things. Considering all the fermented grape juice vendors there, it might actually be the Wine, Wine & Wine Fest. I’d Google it but I’m feeling lazy.] In any case, we were having a grand ol’ time. The house we rented was a beautiful remodeled older place with hardwood floors, a spacious kitchen and dining room, and a hot tub. Score! We spent a good number of hours drinking, eating, listening to music, laughing, and swapping stories. Caught a magnificent sunset Friday evening. Did the whatever-it’s-called-Festival Saturday. That evening, after a dinner of braised short ribs that were to die for (Ross: recipe? Please?), Tara ran out of beer, so I walked to the local Thriftway to grab her some more. And decided, what the hell, they won’t have it, but I might as well check the beverage aisle on the off chance that this small barely-a-bend-in-the-road coastal Washington town might sell Snap-E-Tom.

Imagine my surprise when I found the stuff on the shelf. I’m embarrassed to admit this, guys, but I actually squealed. Might have uttered something like “sweet baby Jesus!” too, drawing stares from the other late-night shoppers. I didn’t even have a cart because I was just there for a six-pack of Bud Light, but I grabbed every can I could find, piled them in my arms, and made my way to the checkout stand.

“You sell Snap-E-Tom!” I said to the cashier, my voice positively oozing excitement.

“Yeah,” she replied, oddly not sharing in my jubilation.

“You don’t understand,” I continued. “This stuff is impossible to find back home!”

“Great. Paper or plastic?”

Some people just don’t appreciate their own good fortune. I staggered back to the house (all those cans of Snap-E-Tom were heavy!) and burst through the door. “You’ll never believe what I found!” I told our guests. Heidi, Ross, and Chris were about as enthused as the Thriftway cashier, but Tara at least recognized the momentousness of the occasion. She squealed, too.

And now we can stop hoarding Snap-E-Tom, because next time we are running low, I know where we can find more!

It’s just a short 5-hour round trip away…

 

It’s Kale, I Swear!

Tara and I took a walk to Chuck’s Produce yesterday to stock up on healthy snacks. For some bizarre reason that escapes me, I saw kale chips on the shelf and thought, yum! I have no idea what I was thinking, as I’d never even had kale chips before.

Hello, impulse shopper! Right? You have no idea how many weird things I have purchased over the years just because they happened to be in my line of vision when I was waiting in the checkout line. I’m the type of guy who would buy a leaf blower if I lived in the desert. And then I’d justify it by blowing all the tumbleweeds into the next yard vast tract of cactus-riddled empty space. So, yeah. Is it any wonder I suddenly had to have those kale chips?!

Let’s just say I wish I’d left them on the shelf. Even the fact that they are “lava Sriracha” flavored does not rescue these bad boys from being a taste disaster. Fresh kale is pretty bitter and bland to begin with. Freeze-drying it improves neither the flavor nor the consistency. It actually resembles a plastic tub full of weed (which, given the legality of recreational marijuana in Washington and Oregon these days, would not be an entirely ludicrous assumption…but don’t worry, mom. It’s kale, I swear). So, in case you are unclear, I am not a fan of the kale chips.

Kale

But I am a fan of Somersaults. These “crunchy nuggets baked with sunflower seeds and toasted grains” taste much better than they sound. Especially the Dutch Cocoa flavor. They’ve got just one gram of sugar and are low enough in carbs and high enough in fiber and protein (“as much as almonds with half the fat”) that I can enjoy them guilt-free. I’m also a fan of Skinny Pop popcorn, Snapea Crisps, Blue Diamond almonds, and anything with the word Kashi in it.

Hard to believe I’m the same guy who used to go to town on bacon.

It’s also hard to believe that Christmas is this week! I’ve definitely had more spirit than last year (gee, ya think?!) when, unbeknownst to me, I was suffering from health problems and days away from an ER visit/hospital stay. We are mixing up traditions this year – normally, my aunt has us over to her place on Christmas Eve for a Russian dinner and celebration, but they will be out of town so Tara and I are going to be hosting at our place instead. She did a test run last weekend and her pelmini turned out delicious, so I’m confident that we’ll be able to pull this off. The following week, we are going to Ely for New Year’s. We hadn’t planned another Nevada trip, but her grandparents are celebrating their 60th anniversary and we figured that was kinda important, you know? Not many couples make it through six decades of wedded bliss.

I’m just hoping for snow. My last two New Year’s trips to Ely were busts in the weather department; it’d be nice to see some of the white stuff this time around. Nothing exciting like that going on around here, just rain (lots of it – PDX just broke the record for wettest month ever at 13.52″ and another 10 days to go) and wind (lots of that, too – big windstorm forecast for this afternoon).

I’m a Lizard

Text conversation between me and my brother last night…

Him: Hey, is a hot dog a sandwich?
Me: Nope. But a burger is.
Him: It’s the same thing. Bread, meat, condiments.
Me: No. A hot dog bun is connected, but a burger bun has two separate sections. A top and a bottom. That’s what makes a sandwich. An open face “sandwich” is bullshit, too.
Him: What if I eat a hot dog wrapped in a bread slice?
Me: One slice or two?
Him: Just one.
Me: Not a sandwich. Unless you cut the one slice into two halves. That’s a sandwich.
Me: Wait a minute. When you go to Subway, sometimes the roll is still connected. But that’s clearly a sandwich. I may have to rethink my position.
Him: We both think sandwich.
Me: I’ve thought about it. A hot dog is totally a sandwich.
Him: Heard it on the radio. 60 percent said no sandwich.
Me: They’re wrong.
Me: Thanks for my next blog post.

Hey, at least this goes to show that I’m an open-minded guy. I can admit when I’m wrong. (It’s rare, but it does happen.)

Tara and I took a trip to Seattle last weekend to celebrate her mom’s birthday. They were content to spend the day “visiting” (Tara’s generic term for sitting around with a friend/family member and talking) in Tracy’s apartment, but I have apparently inherited my dad’s can’t-sit-still gene. Two hours in and I was itching to go out and do something. I asked Audrey if she was interested in driving downtown, and she pounced on the opportunity. She has her sights set on the University of Washington for college and wants to live in Seattle, so her enthusiasm was hardly a surprise. It was rainy, windy, and cold, but we didn’t let those things stop us. I had no plan other than finding a place to park and wandering around Pike Place Market, both of which we did. And then we decided to wander over to the Great Wheel, a fairly recent (circa 2012) tourist attraction on Pier 57 overlooking Elliott Bay. It’s a 175′ ferris wheel (tallest on the West Coast when it was built) with 42 climate controlled gondalas. It cost $13 apiece to ride, but even with the inclement weather, was totally worth it. We were up there for four revolutions (12 minutes) and took about 50 photos combined. Turned out to be a nice father/daughter bonding opportunity.

Back to reality on Monday. Work is kicking my ass. My new copywriter is doing a great job, but we are desperately in need of that third person. We had an interview today and two more scheduled this week. I’m hoping to pull the trigger soon as we can really, really use the help.

During every interview, my favorite question to ask is, “Tell me about a book you have read recently.” I think it’s a good icebreaker and tends to put the candidates at ease. And it’s interesting to me, because A. I’m always looking for book suggestions, and B. If you want to be a writer, you’d better be a reader. At least in my opinion. Fortunately, nobody has ever let me down. Sadly, no one has answered that question with No Time For Kings yet. Hey, there’s no harm in a little bit of ass kissing during an interview, know what I mean?

Future candidates, if you’re reading this post, take heed. And hop on over to Amazon already. Burn that midnight oil. You’ll impress the hell out of me if nothing else.

I kid, I kid.

In other news, it’s been cold here. I feel like I’m bundled up at my desk all day long and never really warm up. I even went so far as to turn the heat on at home the other day. I resisted as long as I could, but the constant teeth chattering were taking their toll. I can’t believe that I used to be hot all the time. I’m the complete opposite now.

In other words, I’m a lizard.

Here are a few pics from last weekend.

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