Archive for September, 2010
With fall comes fresh-pressed apple cider. One of the markets near where I work was selling unpasteurized (no sulfides added or anything) apple cider (be sure to drink it within 4 days!) so John and I decided to pick up a couple of gallons to use them to try making some hard cider. The afternoon I was going to swing by and pick up the cider, I emailed John to ask if there was anything else that I should get. He replied that we would need brown sugar to feed the yeast. Now, he said in the email that 3 pounds of sugar should be enough. Enough for the whole 5 gallon batch, is what he meant. But my end-of-the-workday addled brain somehow translated that to mean that we would need to have 3 pounds of brown sugar per gallon of cider. And of course I threw the receipt away as I walked out of the store, so I can’t return the extra 12 pounds of brown sugar that we don’t need. We will never need to buy brown sugar again.
What I found amusing while I was walking around the market with my 5 gallons of unpasteurized cider in my cart was how many market employees stopped me to make sure that I knew that the cider was unpasteurized and wouldn’t “keep”. Yes, thank you, I know, that’s why I am getting it.
The cider is fermenting away in one of the glass carboys right now. We will see how it turns out in a month or so.
All of the photos from the wedding can be found here, on my flickr site
One of the many family photos – Sabrina and Ted with Carole and Howard. Isn't that a gorgeous dress?
It is still summer here in Dayton – hot and dry – despite the occasional fall smell to the air and the small piles of dead leaves that some of the neighbors have started to rake to the curb. The dead leaves are mostly just dead from the drought, though. There is some color change happening, but not much, not yet.
Ann Arbor, on the other hand, is pretty deep in the grip of fall. When we were there for Ted (John’s brother) and Sabrina’s wedding it was chilly (in the 60s) and rainy. Neither of us had really packed for chilly and rainy. We had packed for hot and dry. The first thing we did after getting there (after checking into the hotel so that I could change into the one pair of jeans that I had packed) was to go to the mall so that I could buy a sweater. (We went back to that same mall during a rainstorm the next morning so that John could buy a fleece.)
When we left Ann Arbor after the weekend, it was about 60 degrees. When we got back home to Dayton three hours of driving later, it was in the low 90s. 30 degrees of difference. Three hours driving due south. That’s about 10 degrees difference per hour driven/70-ish miles traveled. I find it impressive that the difference is so marked. Though shouldn’t be too surprised as it is the sort of thing that makes it possible for John and I to comfortably camp in the Smoky Mountains at the close of October.
With spectacular timing, the weekend of the wedding was also the weekend of the first UM football home game. I think that John and I were the only two people in our hotel who were no only not there for the game, but who had no interest in the game at all. Seriously, when we stepped out of the elevator on Saturday morning, the hotel lobby was awash in a sea of blue and gold shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, ball caps, blankets, and more. Seeing all of the football crazed people and the students partying (open container laws be dammed) on the front porches and yards of their houses was odd. You don’t see behavior like that in Dayton. Or maybe that sort of thing is in Dayton, but just not where we live… Eh. It made me glad that I am no longer a student and no longer have to deal with that kind of crazyness.
Besides the wedding (the obvious highlight of the weekend), the trip to Ann Arbor ended up being, for John and myself, a test to see how many of our favorite old restaurants and watering holes we could visit… a quest to eat our way across Ann Arbor. We managed to hit Amer’s Deli, the Arbor Brewing Company, The Blue Nile, The Broken Egg, the Flim Flam Diner, Café Felix, the Jolly Pumpkin, and The Black Pearl. (Upon special request I stole one of the Café Felix drink menus.) Not bad for a quick trip. We missed a lot of the “big” restaurants that we liked (like Café Zola, Grizzley Peak, The Earle, Dolche Vita, and the Southwestern Café, to name a few) because most of our big meals were part of the whole wedding experience package. We also skipped a lot of the pubs near campus (like Ashley’s) because frankly I couldn’t stand the thought of trying to wedge myself in on a game weekend. I wanted to eat lunch at Zingerman’s Deli, but when we walked past in on Friday, the lunch line was out the door, so we passed right on by. We bemoaned the fact that Dayton doesn’t have the same richness of independent pubs and restaurants that Ann Arbor has.
We also stopped in a lot of secondhand bookstores. And art galleries. And we found a very awesome robot store where I couldn’t help but buy a bunch of neat little trinkets and toys.
The day of the wedding was also my Mom’s birthday (I will never forget their anniversary!) and International “Talk like a Pirate” Day. No jokes, however, were made, though the groom was made aware of the humorous convergences. Arrr…
The wedding itself? Beautiful. They got married and had the reception in the Michigan Union.
I hung out with the women-folk before the ceremony, and John hung out with Ted. I got to lace Sabrina into her dress (it had a full corset back) and was informed that people got some good pictures of the procedure. Hopefully, I will get to see some of those pictures.
During the ceremony itself, I manned the video recorder, so I have no actual still photos of the ceremony. Thankfully, the ceremony was pretty short. We forgot the tripod for the recorder and I had to hold it up and as steady as possible myself. Even the lightest recorder gets heavy after a while…
I got to put down the recorder (they only wanted the ceremony videotaped) and got to pick up my camera for the rest of the evening – from the group photos during the hors d’oeuvres hour, through dinner (some of the best wedding dinner food that I have even eaten – I had the steak and it was tender and juicy), through the cake cutting, and dessert, and first dance, and mingling – and I think that I got some good shots.
John’s Mom made the cake, and used the same recipe that she did for our wedding. It was delicious.
I loved the favors that Ted and Sabrina chose – red and white wooden roses. A lot of them ended up being left on the tables afterward, so I picked up enough to make a good-sized bouquet to take home. Flowers that the cats won’t try to eat? Yes, please.
The reception ended at 9pm, and since we were already all dressed up to go out, John and I went downtown to have snacks and drinks and play cribbage at a martini bar.
It was a good weekend.
Photos to come, of course…
I have really got to get better about actually writing about stuff closer to when it actually took place.
That being said…
The family visit to Cleveland for Labor Day weekend was really nice. John and I got in fairly late Friday night and hung out for a while in the kitchen with people before deciding that it was time to crash and heading upstairs.
The main push to visit my folks for Labor Day weekend was to see relatives who live in far-flung locations like L.A. and British Columbia and who don’t come around to Cleveland very often. Mom had everyone, visitors and local family alike, over for a big barbecue dinner on Saturday. So for once John and I just hung around the house and didn’t have to drive around to see anyone. Which was quite nice for a change.
We got to spend some time with Brian and Emily’s son, my nephew Dylan. He is not quite two yet. Honestly, (and no insult intended) it was like playing with a puppy.
Before brunch on Sunday, while my Mom stayed inside and cooked, some of us went outside to visit Alice and Tolstoy in their enclosure. Alice has been in the family for almost 28 years. We have no idea how old she is, since she was an adult when I got her in the second grade (she was a gift for my First Communion.) Tolstoy has been in the family around five years. Alice is an eastern three-toed box turtle, and Tolstoy is a russian tortoise.
Sunday morning, after brunch, my folks kicked us all out. Normally they are all about encouraging us to have some more pancakes, some more fruit salad, another cup of coffee or three, and do you really have to hit the road now? This time they had to be at the airport by noon for their flight (vacation out west), so brunch was earlier then usual, and took less time then usual, and we were out the door and on the road a couple of hours earlier then our usual departure time.
We also left with more food then normal. Since my folks were going to be gone for a week, they pretty much emptied their refrigerator onto the kitchen table (leftovers from the family barbecue, fruit, cheeses, lunch meat, bread, spreads…anything that could conceivably go bad) and my brother Jeff and I (since he lives in town) divided the spoils amongst ourselves.
One of the things that my Mom offered to me to take home was a bottle of rose water. A bottle of rose water that was leftover from a Girl Scout cooking project (baklava, if I recall correctly, and why do I even remember that?) when I was eight years old. I don’t think that she had used it since, just carried it with her from the house that I grew up in to the current house when she and my Dad moved, over ten years ago now. A 25-year-old bottle of rose water. Thanks for the offer? But I am pretty sure that it is well beyond it’s best-if-used-by date by now. I declined the honor of giving it a new home. And if it is still in the pantry next time I am over, it might get poured down the drain.
Since this is the last “summer hours” day off that I have, and since John and I are going up to Cleveland to visit my folks (and far-flung relatives who are making a rare visit) I am baking my Grandma’s Sunshine Cake for the occasion. I call it the cholesterol death cake since it contains a full dozen eggs and just enough cake flour (1 cup) and other ingredients to bind it all together. Basically, it is only a half-step away from being a souffle, and once it is in the oven there is a strict “no peeking” rule until it is done and ready to take out, as it could fall if you are not careful. This rule is very hard to follow sometimes, since the cake smells wonderful while it is in the oven. It tastes pretty darn wonderful once it is out of the over as well.
Everyone has quirks. I have a ton of quirks. (Do I ever… just ask John.) The cats have quirks. (Merlin will purr while she bites you, and Percival likes to lick your feet when you have just gotten out of the shower. Maybe he likes the taste of slightly soapy water?)
And a lot of my electronics and machines have quirks.
My (admittedly ancient) iPod will occasionally randomly wipe its entire hard drive. So sometimes I will get into work, go to turn it on, and find that I have a completely empty MP3 player and no tunes to listen to as I code.
I always have to start IE twice on my work laptop before it will take. 99.9% of the time it encounters some kind of “fatal error” and crashes the first time that I try to start it. I suspect that this is caused by the fact that I have about 6 different web browsers installed on my work computer (the better to test code with, my dear) and not all of the play well with each other. However, out of all of them, IE is the only browser that has issues.
I always have to start iTunes twice on my home computer. The first time I start it, it acts like it wants to go through the whole first-time-installed setup routine. Which I always just cancel out of and double-click the shortcut again. Whereupon it starts up like normal.
My HTC smartphone has a home screen display that shows the temperature and weather where I am (based presumably on GPS) and mostly this is Dayton. Except for sometimes when the phone has a little spaz and decides to display the temperature and weather in Miami instead. (Miami, Ohio? Miami, Florida? Who knows.)
The universal remote doesn’t always turn every component of the home entertainment center (TV, tuner, DVD player) on or off when it is supposed to. (John says that this is because I have poor aim with the remote.)
But these are all just little things, and for the most part I just shrug and let them go. I don’t think that any of them are indicative of a larger problem, and it just isn’t worth my time or effort to try and figure out how to make sure that all of the electronics in my life work the way that they are supposed to 100% of the time.
I suppose that I find it comforting that my electronics are just as quirky and imperfect as I am…