Tag Archives: WTF yo?

RONCO!

Late-night infomercials are fun to watch…until that 3-month, $13.33 price tag starts to sound like a pretty good deal…

Observations

  • The RONCO guy is the new Dick Clark – he hasn’t aged a day!
  • Did you know that the cleaver is a real man’s knife? Apparently it is.
  • If your knives need to able to cut through shoe leather, you need cooking classes not a better knife.

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Day three: No, seriously. Where the #@%$ is the– Oh, there it is.

All right. Day three. We were serious now. We’d had it confirmed that the maps were useless. We’d been told that the pioneer cemetery up by the Sunsinger was off the path behind the statue – the one we’d looked down but hadn’t chosen because it hadn’t had a map – and that the pioneer cemetery at the south end of the park couldn’t actually be reached from within the park, it had to be driven to from one of the country roads that borders the park there.

We were sure this was going to be a quick trip. We’d head out to the Sunsinger, duck down the correct path (finally!), see the cemetery, and drive around to the other one. And luck seemed to be with us – the road to the Sunsinger was open the whole way, saving us the time of walking from the Centaur to the Sunsinger to start our path. It’d be quick – an hour tops, right?

Wrong! We walked down the path to the point where it split into two directions. The guy Dad talked to hadn’t said anything about choosing a direction, so we went to the left for a little bit. It seemed to be heading back into the park after a while so we turned back and went back to the Sunsinger path and then took the right trail. That ended at a house. So we decided to go back the other way and follow the left path further on. We figured we’d covered every trail that was anywhere near where the map showed the cemetery to be except for this one and therefore, through sheer process of elimination, we were bound to find it this time.

It met up with the path that goes off to the right from the Sunsinger, the one we’d taken on day two, so we turned right and went on to the next fork in the road and then headed left again. Unfortunately, there was still no cemetery. We’d found a path that met up with the river, followed it for a bit, and then headed back to the Centaur. And this time we weren’t parked at the Centaur, so we’d have to walk all the way back to the Sunsinger to the car.

But there was a little old man sitting by the Centaur and as we passed Dad asked him if he knew where the pioneer cemetery was. His reply? “Up towards the Sunsinger. Walk along the road and look east and you’ll see the headstones.” We sort of scoffed to ourselves – how could the cemetery been there? We’d walked circles around the area and seen nothing – but we had to walk that way anyway to get back to the car, so we’d keep our eyes open.

We found what seemed to be a trail head with four concrete trail markers so we started down that and it turned out to be the little ravine we’d seen from the bottom on the path we’d been on during day 2, so we headed back to the road, walked a little bit further and there, clear as day, right where the map said it should be (that was the most galling part), was the pioneer cemetery.

This one is the smaller of the two, with only about 8 graves or so, and the stones are harder to read. This one, for an infant son who died in 1850, is the easiest to read of the group. So after a look around there, it was back to the car to see if we could get to the other one – the one that couldn’t be reached from inside the park.

We did. This one was a bit bigger, with maybe 20 graves that seem to have weathered the years a bit more successfully though they’re only about 30 years younger than the stones at the other cemetery. It seemed to be three or four families all buried in rows here complete with headstones and footstones. I think the most interesting set was that of John West who lived to be in his 70s and outlived his entire family, including a daughter (aged 30, I think), a son (aged 20), and three wives, two of whom were named Hannah.

So it took us three days and god knows how much walking and I’m definitely embarrassed by how easily the terrible map and useless trailer markers confused us, but we finally achieved our goal (and managed to get a bit of exercise along the way, too, which always helps, especially this time of year). And, of course, hopefully now we’ll remember where they both are if we ever want to go back again.

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Day two: Where the HELL is the pioneer cemetery?!

On our second day out, we decided to go searching for the cemetery that was up by the Sunsinger. Our adventure started out by hitting a roadblock. Literally. The road that goes out to the Sunsinger is notoriously terrible and they had closed it off with a sign that said we were welcome to walk on past that point but that the quality of the road was too bad to allow cars through. So we parked at the Centaur and walked on down the road out to the Sunsinger because we both had it in our heads that the pioneer cemetery there was off a path to the right of the Sunsinger.

As you can see from the map, there is no path to the right of the Sunsinger. The path behind him didn’t have a map, so although we looked down it for a few minutes, we decided to head on to the path to the left. Fortunately, there was a map there and we’d lucked out! All we had to do was follow the path away from the statue, make a left and then it looked like we should run into a smaller path that led to the cemetery. Sounds easy, right?

Wrong! We walked and walked and scared some deer and walked some more and thought we saw a fox and walked and walked and walked.

About halfway down the trail, where the path to the cemetery should have been, we did see a small path-ish thing leading off to the left of the trail, but it was more of a ravine than anything and we decided that it wasn’t really a path. At any rate, we were sure we were too close to the road at that point – we figured we should be able to see the headstones if it really had been nearby and it was a pretty steep bluff above us, not very prime real estate for a cemetery, so we continued on. And eventually ended up back at the Centaur.

We were both a little stiff still from all the walking we’d done the previous day – it was muddy both days (when is Allerton not muddy, though) and were were getting frustrated by the extraordinarily unhelpful maps and baffling trailmarkers that seemed to be using leagues or furlongs as far as we could tell – so we decided to pack it in and call it a day instead of walking down the road a bit to see if there was a path off of that that might lead to the cemetery. Dad had Rotary the next day and said he knew a few people he could ask about the cemetery’s location – frankly, we were starting to think maybe they’d let the paths grow over them (the maps in the park haven’t been updated since 2003).

Tired but determined, we headed back home to rest up for the following day’s hike and gather information so we could triumph over our adversaries. Here’s what we had walked by the end of day two looking for a cemetery.

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Day one: Where is the pioneer cemetery?

The weather here was really nice the day after Christmas, so my dad and I wandered out to Allerton park to walk around a bit. So we bundled up, packed up Dad’s camera, and headed out! We ended up at the parking lot near the bridge that’s out and, after a look at the map at the trailhead, decided we’d see if we could find the pioneer cemetery that was located near the southern edge of the park. I’d been there once years and years ago during a school field trip and hadn’t ever been able to stumble across it since then. But with the location marked on the map, we were sure we’d be there in no time.

We started out kind of slowly because we kept stopping to take pictures. Dad does pottery and likes to include grasses, leaves, and other miscellaneous plants on his pieces so he was looking for some inspiration. I was just fiddling around.

We kept coming across turnoffs that didn’t seem to be on the map – Allerton borders private property at certain places and we kept having to backtrack when we’d come across a house or take a path that was actually a driveway. At least it wasn’t too chilly of a day! We kept shedding hats and gloves as we walked further and further and the clouds got darker and darker. Eventually we hit the parking lot at the south end of the park (toward the bottom of the map that may or may not be cut off in the photo up there) and, after taking a look at the map again, decided we must be nearly on top of the pioneer cemetery at last. All we had to do was follow the trail and take every left we came to – we should be there in no time! Right?

Wrong. Eventually we knew we were heading in completely the wrong direction for the elusive pioneer cemetery, but it was starting to get late and we’d been out for about an hour and a half already so we decided to head back to the car. The problem was that we were about as far from our starting point as was possible to be. Dad suggested that we go back the way we came, but I wanted to at least finish the day having seen the river since it was clear we had missed the pioneer cemetery somewhere along the way.

You’ll notice that, despite the fact that I wanted to see the river, there are no pictures of the river. By the time we reached the point where our path met the river, we were exhausted and mostly focused on not dying before we got back to the car. Which we managed to do, three hours after we had started walking. We’d only meant to be out for an hour so we hadn’t brought any water or snacks or anything and we ended up being out over the lunch hour, so by the time we got back, we were starving! I’m always worried I’ll die in a situation like that because I’d be so embarrassed! I’m a Girl Scout, I really should know better.

So at the end of day 1, here’s what we had walked in our search for one of the pioneer cemeteries in the park (there’s another one over by the Sunsinger. Allegedly.).

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Know what puts a damper on Thanksgiving?

Food poisoning.

That was Monday. I just started eating solid food last night – until then it was just Gatorade and the occasional yogurt.

Alas, I still didn’t have the energy to be in the kitchen yesterday so we’re pushing Thanksgiving until tomorrow to give me the time in the kitchen I missed out on.

So happy Thanksgiving (if you’re celebrating) and happy birthday, Claire (the 24th, right?)!

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I am the squirrel queen!

My minions have brought me yet another offering. I’m suddenly in the mood to go to the opera…

20110504-084116.jpg

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When a young girl’s fancy turns to thoughts of…SPIDERS!

Okay. I am NOT pleased. Just last weekend, I proactively spider-bombed my apartment because it’s spring and, you know, all the bugs that have been asleep all winter are starting to wake up and plot all the ways they’ll get into my apartment and walk on me.

What did I JUST smash with a shoe on my living room wall?

A FUCKING SPIDER!

NOT PLEASED.

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Oh, what’s WRONG with me?!

I’m skipping my day on the treadmill today…in order to make a chocolate cake. Woe!

I promise I’ll get back on it tomorrow. Probably.

No, no, I totally will!

Probably.

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Oh, Julia!

I didn’t say anything when she hacked up fish heads or when she set the boiled lobster down right next to the live one (She had one that she called Bertha Behemoth that was a 20-pound lobster! It seriously looked like something from the age of the dinosaurs – it was HUGE! If I’d known 20-pound lobsters existed [and she said there are stories from the 1700s of 40-POUND LOBSTERS - can you even imagine?!], this dream would have been a LOT more disturbing.) or when she kept rubbing the chickens and not washing her hands or when she made sausages, but I can no longer stay silent.

She’s making tripe.

She has the entire stomach (all four of them!) with her on the counter and it’s sort of sloshing around and making horrible, slimy, squishy noises! I mean, I wouldn’t have it any other way, I guess, because it’s good learning-wise (not that I’m ever going to make tripe, but still…) but it’s just…SO…HORRIFYING. (She keeps calling it her ‘bathing cap’ which it does look like, but, and this is another reason why I love her, every time she says it, I get the feeling that she’s trying very hard to not actually going to plop the thing on her head – not that I think she would actually do it, but I think her sense of humor would think the idea of doing it was funny.) And apparently, tripe is the regional dish of Normandy and she’s showing us a postcard from Caen:

WHY IS IT SERVED WITH A HOOF?!?!?!?!?! DO NOT WANT! D: OMG, SHE HAS A BEEF FOOT IN HER KITCHEN TO SERVE WITH IT! AND A PIG’S FOOT!

Can you actually even buy tripe anymore?

To keep that from scarring you for life, do keep scrolling – the hypercute cupcakes in the next post should do the trick.

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I JUST KILLED A SPIDER SO BIG, I SWEAR I HEARD JENNIFER SAUNDERS LIAM NEESON SHOUT ‘RELEASE THE KRAKEN!’

GAH.

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I’M SO 80s-TASTIC!

So after conquering my first Monkees song, I set my sights on something a little bit easier.

Now I just have to get myself an awesome 80s outfit like Pat’s rockin’ in that video, find myself a sleazy girlie club owner to play my bass at, and I’m good to go!

*That was my plan, but it turns out that Pat is, to quote Kathy Griffin quoting Cher, ‘a crazy bitch.’ And by ‘crazy,’ I really mean ‘tricky.’ And by ‘Pat,’ I really mean ‘her bassist.’

Because I had the bass line down and was like ‘Yeah, I’m awesome. That’s me pretty much.’ and then out of nowhere it dives down to this growly, super-low note! What the what?! So I called up my dad and said ‘Uh, Dad, Pat Benatar is wanting me to play a note that does not seem to exist on my guitar – should I open up a wormhole and travel to another dimension in which a D is actually not lower then an E and thus not too low for me to play?’ And then he explained that often times, guitarists retune their lowest string (E) to D. Just for the hell of it (and to screw with newbie bassists). And when I say ‘for the hell of it,’ I really mean ‘to enable themselves to play lower notes than they usually can’. So I did and it totally worked.

Which was a relief – I did not want to inadvertently mess up the space-time continuum and risk coming back to a world where spiders are lobsters and have united with Dan Brown to become our overlords. Because that would NOT be cool. Not even Pat and her floozy minions could dance THAT away.**

**Sorry, I seem to have drifted off into my own head a bit far here. Please to be ignoring my ramblings…

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In which my imagination runs away with me…

Since I’m staying at my parents’ house, I have to leave super-early to drive to work. Like, it’s still dark, super-early.

The other thing you need to know for this story to make sense is that the next-door neighbors have two very big dogs.

So the other morning, I’m leaving to get in my car and in the early morning darkness, I hear an odd snuffling sound as I’m about to walk down the stairs. I paused and held my breath, like you do, so I could hear better. Sure enough, a snuffling sound coming from the dark, dark corner behind the neighbor’s garage.

Now, the first thought that went through my head was not ‘Oh, it’s one of the neighbors’ big dogs who often sleep in the garage at night.’

No.

The first thought that went through my head was…

‘Werewolves!’

And I actually ran for my car. Which is silly. What was I thinking?!

Like I could outrun a werewolf…

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It’s a bunk bed!

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Meh.

So, I’ve always known that my main weak spot when it came to my baking projects was my decorating skills. After my boring yule log and this disaster, I think it’s time to stop putting off the inevitable and sign myself up for a cake decorating class.

My dad put together a little paper model of the Sydney opera house that he found here (lots of other cool models there, too!). Using that, we made little templates for the pieces which I used to bake them. For the curved pieces, I placed the hot-from-the-oven cookies on a baking form (of some kind) that my mom had to get them to curve. Unfortunately, this also meant I could only do two at a time, so it was a bit time-consuming…

Then it was time to construct:

That wasn’t too much of a problem – my constructing skills are far superior to my decorating skills. This lack of skills led to this:

But now that I know how to do curves and provided I get my ass in gear and actually do take those cake decorating classes, I’m thinking next year…

or

or even

(and a parenthetical photograph – while I was searching for a photo of a VW Beetle, I found what is perhaps the most awesome thing EVAR – I WILL have one when I get married:

A Beetle limo?! Pure awesome, my friends.)

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Sydney Opera House, Part 1

All right, now that the complicated Christmas Eve dinner is over, I’ve gotten started on the gingerbread Sydney Opera House. We did all of the flat pieces today, so we have walls:

and bases:

So that’s the easy part done – tomorrow we start…the curved pieces!

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