Close encounters of the double bass kind…

So something unintentionally hilarious just happened.

I’m baking some strawberry cupcakes for when Jillian comes over tomorrow to watch the Parks and Rec season finale and used up all the strawberries in the container, so I open up the front door to toss the container into the recycle bin. Just reaching the landing at the same time is a young blonde lady (probably a college student) with a double bass.

“Hello!” I say, brightly, being the friendly person I am (Ha! Honestly it’s because I can’t remember what my neighbors look like so I try to be blandly pleasant whenever I come across someone in the building.).

“Hello,” she says.

I toss the container into the bin, but it bounces out again. “Well, that didn’t work at all,” I mutter, leaning awkwardly further into the hall to retrieve it.

Why awkwardly, you ask? Because she seems to be wheeling the double bass toward me and now she’s very close to me. I figure she’s doing some sort of three-point turn to try to get it up to the door of one of the apartments on either side of mine. At any rate, I grab the container and drop it into the recycle bin, then pop back inside and shut the door behind me.

And I pause, thinking for a moment. I peer back out through the peephole and, sure enough, she’s standing right outside the door, looking very confused by what just happened.

I realize that if I hadn’t been in her way, she would have come on inside my apartment. After a few minutes of checking on the cupcakes, I sneak back to the peephole.

She’s still there. She’s on her phone now, so she’s clearly decided, like me, that something strange has just happened and one of us is at the wrong apartment. (As far as I can tell, it’s her.)

I text Drew, thinking maybe he knows what’s going on:

Eventually she made her way back down the stairs – I’m still not really sure what was going on, but I find the idea of the two of us standing on either side of the door, trying to figure out what just happened pretty funny!

So if you’re a blonde double bass player, I didn’t mean to slam the door in your face – I didn’t realize you thought you were expected! I hope you figured out where you were supposed to be and are having a good laugh about it with your friends!



Josephine goes for walkies!

She still hasn’t summoned enough courage to venture down the stairs, but she often makes quite the fuss about wanting to go out, so we strap her into her harness, put on her leash, and let her explore the hallway to her heart’s content. Her adventures don’t often last very long – by the time I’d gotten my camera, she was already trying to lead Drew back into the apartment (sorry about the blurry photo – I’ll try again next time!):

Also, I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with the perspective in this photo, but Drew is not that tall and the door is not so hobbit-sized…

What the %#+^€¥£ hell am I listening to?!?!

*frustrated Wookie noise accompanied by supplication of the gods hand gestures*

What is this noise?! Someone’s clearly left the lights on over at the nearby tennis courts but unless those lights are powered by their own power plant that i didn’t know was located in my backyard, it can’t be them.

It sounds more like an airplane circling endlessly but unless Willard has suddenly become an international hub, it can’t be that.

I suppose it also sounds like a helicopter but unless the LifeFlights have just started randomly patrolling, it can’t be that.

What are you, slightly fluctuating humming noise that is just loud enough to keep me awake?!?!?!


So, an attempt to fix a leaky bathroom faucet turned into replacing the sink and vanity instead. Just a tip for any of you out there who might be working on a similar project, do not – I repeat, DO NOT – glue the sink to the wall. It is unnecessary and also results in the next person having to pray it off the wall, along with a few tiles.

Not cool, previous resident. Not. Cool. Fortunately, the new sink and vanity I chose is taller than what used to be in the room, so it actually ended up covering the missing tiles.

Speaking of which, how about a hint when selecting a new sink and vanity for a very small bathroom? Be sure to measure the depth of the vanity. It fits in my bathroom, but the next time you have food poisoning, head my way because then you can throw up in the sink without having to leave the toilet.

Also? It’s very helpful if you have a handy father who can sort of jury rig things around because you have an old bathroom and Martha Stewart hasn’t taken the placement of the above valves into the design of the cabinet that will be sitting in front of them.

Also also? Pipe wrench fight!

Something’s afoot!

We’ve got at least one fire truck in the area and guys with flashlights looking for something. Two just went into our basement saying something about a boiler, an old gas line, and my building’s “heck of a chimney.”

Wonder what’s going on?

ETA: Well, it looks like the trucks and ambulances are gone, but there are still guys with flashlights talking about the boiler. Oh, sounds like someone smelled wood smoke, saw steam coming out of our building, and thought the building was on fire. Now they’re discussing bringing “the gas guy” out. Hmm, “something’s going on,” someone’s said…

ETA2: Not sure why it took them so long to come over here if this is where they thought the fire was – all the vehicles were at the end of the block at first.

ETA3: That seems to be that – apparently nothing that needed following up on. Back to sleep for me!

Happy Halloweeeeeen!

All right! After a brief delay due to technical difficulties and a migraine (WHAT?!), it’s time to post, post, post about my party! First up? The decor!

I gutted these on Saturday to roast the pumpkin seeds and then started carved one on Tuesday (kitty-bat), one on Wednesday (Grim Reaper), and the last on Friday (cute ghosts). Two of them were moldy and sunken by Saturday. Hopefully it only added to the ambience!

Next. The costumes! We had a flapper and a gangster, Katy Perry and Kitty Purry, John Denver, Kermit the Frog, Lady GaGa, Jem (side note: I was Jem when I was in…3rd grade?), the Green Lantern, a copy cat, and a Real Housewife of Tennis.

Then there were Jell-O shots, courtesy of the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen (you can also find recipes up on their website). Apart from GaGa, though, who was definitely doing his darnedest to make sure I didn’t have leftover shots, these weren’t a big hit – they tasted good (especially the Fuzzy Navels [aka Moldy Bellybuttons]), but people stuck with more traditional drinks. So unfortunately that meant throwing away a lot of Kamikaze Eyeballs and Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkey 75‘s.

And then? The food!

Top left to right, there were *deep breath* Salted Brown Boo-tter Rice Crispy Treats; Chocolate Snake Cheesecake With Venom Glaze; Spooky Sweet Potato Samosaah! Pops; Roasted and Salted Pumpkin Children, Orange-Rosemary Betwitched Nuts, and Cilantro S’Lime Peanuts; Sugar Creepies; Vampire Pizza Bites; Poison Apple Cupcakes; Pumpkin Cookies With Brown Butter Ooze; and Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple-Marshmallow S’Cream Frosting. Not pictured are Murky Maple Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup; Yeast Coffins; Robot Devil’d Eggs; Vlad’s Caprese Skewers; and Ghoulish Goat Cheese Squares With Spine-Tingling Raspberry Chile Chutney.

Whew! It was literally a week’s-worth of cooking and baking and carving, but it was worth it. I had quite a bit of leftover food, but everyone seemed to enjoy it! After this, though, it’s potlucks. 😉

ETA: I realized I posted this in such a hurry that I didn’t even really discuss the food, so I’ll remedy that now!First the sweets:

  • The salted brown butter rice crispy treats are simple and yummy – my mom said she could taste the difference the brown butter made, though I couldn’t. Working with the food coloring was a bit of a trial – I realize now that I should have colored the butter and marshmallow mixture before adding the cereal because stirring the rice crispies (especially as the marshmallow starts to cool) is…difficult. It’s also a little tricky to spread once you’ve got that first layer in, but stick with it and it eventually will come together. I got the idea to do the black and orange Halloween layers from this – I will never have the patience to do that rainbow one (though it’s certainly a nice effect).
  • I found the chocolate cheesecake to be on the soft side and also quite too rich for me, though, others seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Note: Martha doesn’t specifically say to butter the bottom of the springform pan, so I didn’t, thinking there was enough butter in the cookie crust recipe that it wouldn’t need it. It does. Also, I should explain for those of you who didn’t click the link to Martha’s website – there’s supposed to be a snake stenciled on the top of it, hence the name. I couldn’t find powdered food coloring, so I tried sanding sugar which clearly did not work.
  • Kate liked the apple cupcakes, but they were definitely not a favorite of mine (though I admit this could be because I only managed to eat one several days after the party). The consistency of the cupcake with the chopped apple wasn’t for me and the dulce de leche had just sort of soaked into the cake instead of being a filling. That may be my fault – I cooked the dulce de leche for 3 and a half hours, but I see now I should have gone for at least four so it would have been firmer – maybe firm enough to stand up on its own with the cupcake.
  • The pumpkin cookies were good, but I think I didn’t brown my butter enough for the frosting – it just didn’t have much flavor.
  • The mini pumpkin cupcakes with what was originally intended as whoopie pie filling were good – I think people liked that they were just bite sized and easy to eat.

Oddly enough, it was the savories that went the fastest:

  • Oh, sweet potato samosa pops. These bastards nearly killed me. I doubled the recipe. MISTAKE! The filling just never ended – I ended up throwing out probably half of it because after I’d made twice the amount of pops the single recipe called for, I still had a huge amount of filling staring back at me. No matter how many teaspoons I scooped out of there, it never seemed to diminish! So don’t let the size of one sweet potato fool you – it will be enough. (Vegan)
  • The salted and roasted pumpkin seeds ended up being not crunchy enough for me – I should have roasted them longer, even though I did surpass the time called for in the recipe.
  • The orange-rosemary buttered mixed nuts are amazing and really so super simple, so if you’re looking to impress with not much effort, this should be your new go-to recipe.
  • The cilantro-lime peanut recipe actually calls for raw peanuts which are impossible to find in the market (at least around here they are). I went with roasted, unsalted peanuts, but I think maybe the roasting makes them particularly resistant to flavoring because I couldn’t really taste the cilantro or the lime here.
  • The maple garlic cauliflower soup was also a hit – only one bowl-full left at the end of the night. And it was super easy to make, too! I actually made it a week in advance and froze it. Alas, I didn’t take it out of the freezer early enough and there was much swearing and hacking at it in an attempt to get it into the slow cooker to thaw and keep warm for everyone. The yeast coffins were hot rolls – from a box as always.
  • People love deviled eggs. I thought it was just me!
  • They also love caprese salad on toothpicks. Can’t say I blame them!
  • The goat cheese squares with raspberry chile chutney were also popular, though I was afraid that the chutney would be too spicy for people – there’s an entire chipotle chile in adobo sauce in there (the chutney cooks for three hours and the chile just ends up disintegrating. A warning about the chutney – it WILL make your house smell of vinegar. Quite strongly. For three hours. Plus.

So there you have it!