Best snack for Family Book Group

The bar code is obscuring the full title, but we read I am Princess X for Family Book Group. Danielle came up with this most excellent snack item.

She also posted many images of Princess X around the room, sneaking them into normal displays.  This was very fitting to the story, and was a delightful bonus.

Librarians are so fun.

Filmspotting Massacre Theater Prize

My favorite film podcast Filmspotting has a regular feature in which the two hosts perform a scene from a movie and people write in guessing the movie. As the two hosts are terrible actors, this can be a very hard game.  I’m not very good at it, and rarely enter.  Thus, I was quite happy to hear my name read as the ultimate winner when they massacred Crazy Stupid Love.

My prize was this t-shirt with their logo.  Thanks, Filmspotting.

Poetry Reading at Shut Up and Eat

My friend C. came to town to participate in an open poetry reading and I got to accompany her. The location was the restaurant Shut Up and Eat.  I had a very good fried egg sandwich on a biscuit and settled back to hear some poetry.

David Cooke came to read his poems and also show his poetry boxes he has for sale.  He also read the poem “the New Colossus,” a poem which I have memorized.  For unknown reasons, he left off the last line.

I had this guy pegged as a poet even when he was standing in line for food.  He had the bulging notebook and taut mannerisms that pointed to a lot of thoughtful writing time.  Before everyone got started, he flipped through his notebook, reading this and that.  He also knew David Cooke left off the last line of “the New Colossus.”  What he did not do was read any poetry aloud.  Odd.

My friend going over her poem.  This picture also includes my phone, and the post-it note where I wrote down the bus transit times.

Another woman was taking pictures for a write-up of the event .


This woman was the organizer.  She read also.


A bevy of poems to choose from.

My friend’s poem went over well, and I enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed several other poems read aloud.  It was a great way to spend an evening.

I am owsam

One of the fun things about being an “expert” at The Emerson School, is the thank you note that arrives in the mail after your informative talk.I was tasked with discussing why we use pickling salt instead of normal salt when pickling.  I imparted that knowledge (additives such as anti-caking agents and/or iodine cloud the liquid and can discolor the items being pickled) and assisted the class in making refrigerator pickles.  For my troubles, I got this very owsam thank you note.

Of note in Vanity Fair March 2017

Among the things I learned about the Director of the FBI, James Comey, is that he is very tall.  So much so that this picture of him and Attorney General Loretta Lynch had me very confused.  It turned out they were both standing, but I wasn’t sure on first viewing.

From a very interesting article of interviews about 1967 and the radical change in women’s fashion comes this great quote from Grace Slick about how someone is always standing on the outside of women’s fashion.  In this case, women who didn’t have straight hair. (Also, that’s a not-very-nice comment about Janis Joplin)

And this picture of Judy Collins taken during the photo shoot for her album Wildflowers.  I find her upper lip hair to be very prominent in this picture.  In looking images of the album cover online, that seems not to be as much of the case, but possibly because the images are smaller.

On the Truck-o-Pats at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

I learned about the Truck-o-Pats from my friend Maureen.  She attended the neighborhood St. Patrick’s Day parade two years ago and was very excited to discover there was a Truck-o-Pats.  As was I. I couldn’t go last year, but this year the stars aligned.  Here are pictures from the day.

Motorcycle cops, a whole line.  I learned that the police that guide this march have double duty. In the morning, they work the Shamrock Run downtown, then head to Northeast for this parade.  This way, the parade gets the police for free.

The arrival of the Truck-o-Pats.  The vetting process to join was not difficult, Maureen asked around, we found the Pat in charge and I introduced myself.

Note my favorite detail on the truck:  green chrysanthemums in the windshield wipers, which were then extended out and turned on so they waved.

Parade participants begin to assemble.

This truck had no sign, so I’m not sure who they were affiliated with.

The parade organizer rallies the parade participants.  He has awesome pants.

The woman I suspect of being his wife also was nicely attired.

Some parade watchers.

The bagpipes are piping.

Footage is being captured.

Thus guy, who I’m a sure is not actually a zombie, stands in front of the Irish Wolfhounds.

The unidentified truck of kids watches the parade begin.

Here was a group of marchers.  I’m also not sure what their affiliation was.  They may have been festively dressed families.

And now the Truck-o-Pats is in the parade.  This is the home of the parade’s organizer, who makes good use of his yard for advertising.  He originally started this parade to lure his father-in-law over from Ireland for a visit.

Festive front porch parade viewing.

There was discussion if this priest was a dude dressed a priest, or an actual priest.  Either way, he was quite tall.

This firefighter walked behind the Truck-o-Pats in the parade.  He was ridiculously good looking in a way the camera did not capture.

Post parade, the Irish Mammies assemble for a photo.
And here I am in the Truck-o-Pats.

What a great parade. I plan to return next year.  And possibly bring my Aunt Pat.

Grand Lodge passport page stamped

It’s Cosmic Tripster Round Two!  We have pledged to take five years to finish this time, getting our final stamp sometime in 2021.

Today’s task was to visit Grand Lodge to get all their stamps.  We’ve stayed at Grand Lodge before (40th Birthday Vacation) and I love it.  They’ve recently renovated the Attic and opened more rooms, which I was excited to see.

Here’s the background of how the new rooms came to be named after books.  The Lavender Lady (the ghost immortalized in paint on the second floor) had a hand in the naming.

I loved these quiet nooks and crannies, perfect for curling up and reading.

The hallways are dark and cavernous, which is fun too.

All the hotel locations give you a clue and then you must go find the McMenamins thing (usually a painting or photograph).  Once found, you take a picture, then show the picture to the front desk and collect your stamp.

This month’s clue stumped us:

A quiet space, no place to go
Softly lit by the mushroom’s glow
No place to sit, not a toad stool in view
Come find me, find me all of you

(This clue is even better when read in a dramatic fashion.)

Most of the clues aren’t terribly hard.  This one was.  We started at the top and worked our way down to the bottom and nothing jumped out as the answer.  I took a second look at the clue and decided it must be on the third floor, because the rooms were new and they wanted people to know about them, hence the “come find me” repetition. So back up we went.

Two more trips the length of the hallway and we hadn’t found what we were looking for.  Thank goodness we overheard a kid say to his dad, “and here’s the other secret room…”

Secret room!!!!!!!!!!

The walls move!  There is a secret stairwell!

The stairwell is Lord of the Rings-themed and lit with blacklight.

In this terrible picture, Matt poses with Gollum, who is painted on the door that comes out on the second floor.

Okay!  That was very cool.  But it didn’t fit our clue.  From the kid’s “other” comment we knew there was a second secret room.  But we had to find it.  It was tough.  We walked up and down the hallway, pushing on the walls.

And we found it!

This was a small closet, painted with mushrooms.   It was very cool.
Having found what we were looking for we collected our last stamp and our prize.  We both chose the grab bags and were rewarded with a growler cozy, a wine glass and two postcards.This was a very fun passport page to complete.  Thanks, Grand Lodge.

Vintage Cakes: Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake

I forgot to take my traditional cake-with-Vintage-Cakes picture, but this one is more fun.

As you might guess, it was Deborah’s birthday.  I offered to make a cake.  She mentioned she liked lemon, so I found this recipe.

I’m a chocolate girl, so I never would have made this for myself.  But it is a-mazing!  The Almond cake (which introduced me to almond paste) is delicious and joins perfectly with the lemon curd on top.

This is also a fairly forgiving cake, as I put it in the wrong sized pan (9×1-inch is not quite the same as 9×2-inch) and it spilled over onto the bottom of the oven.  Turns out that aside from the extra-crispy bottom, that spillover was very tasty too.

I also didn’t put all the lemon juice called for in the lemon curd, but it was still divine.

I’ve learned from Julia Child not to tell everyone your cooking/baking mistakes, so I kept mum about my cake baking trials.  No one noticed anything amiss and the cake was very well received by all.

I’ve also learned that when you freeze a piece the lemon curd becomes something like sorbet.

Another Vintage Cakes winner!

Stave Puzzles are rad

While in Arizona, I get to put together a Stave Puzzle.  Dad and Barb know someone who knows someone in the Stave Puzzle world.  Those people lend Barb their Stave Puzzles.

Stave Puzzles are wooden puzzles that are cut by hand and have great artwork.  They are also very difficult to assemble, as they don’t come with a picture and some of the pieces are tricky.  And it just gets harder as there are fewer and fewer pieces.  Near the end of this one, there were times when I just tried every available piece to find the one that fit. And that boarder almost killed me.

Here’s a detail.  The puzzles are customizable–this one had the names of the grandchildren–and have silhouette pieces in different shapes like birds, and the traditional Stave Jester.

This one was a tiny bit easier due to the words  If you look at the bottom of this photo, you can see the name Brad spelled out as a puzzle piece.

Once we got to the castle area things got hard. Upside down and in the right corner of this puzzle, you can see the piece that says Hannah.  And the name Rod is visible on the right side of the moat.

After I came home, I suggested to my  boss that we buy a Stave Puzzle for a celebration at work, given that we usually have a jigsaw puzzle going.  Then I looked at the prices.  Crikey!  I was told they were expensive, but I had no idea. I couldn’t find this puzzle on their site, but, for example, this Peony Bouqet starts at $837.00 for a 6×9-inch version.  Based on those prices, I’m guessing I was putting together a puzzle that cost $2,500

Rich people have cool things.