Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday Early Snow

The end of this week will mark the one year anniversary of my mother's death. I didn't feel like spending it in the city, and certainly didn't want to deal with office folk throughout the week, so I asked my employers if I could work remotely, which they graciously granted me permission to do. My plan was to return to S.'s house, which is where I spent a good number of days after departing the south and returning northerly after Mom's funeral. My initial plan was to arrive Saturday, but there was all this talk of 'snow' so I decided it probably made more sense to leave Friday evening, which I did. Though I stopped briefly to get myself some wine, I didn't make a proper grocery run because I figured I'd have plenty of time before the snow to do so on Saturday morning (my priorities in action). This turned out only kind of true. When I got out of bed around 9 it was already snowing, and though I'm sure I could have safely made it the 10-ish miles to the grocery store and back without disaster striking...I decided that maybe I didn't want to, and that I had enough weird things to eat to last me. Here's what it looked like within an hour of me waking up when I took my first snow walk. Well, actually this photograph of the pumpkin patch was taken inside.

It was seriously coming down and didn't really seem like it had any intention of letting up. As the day went on, and the snow kept falling, lights flickered and flashed until eventually regular electricity conked out entirely. Thankfully for me, S. has a generator, which has seen me through the last two days and hopefully will see me through until the power is restored.
Just a little snow.
It didn't feel quite wintery, so I didn't wear a jacket but I did wear a hat.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Darts c/o McCrossen's III

This past week's darts match was once again held at McCrossen's. We played a team from Kensington. They had lots to say about the set-up of the McCrossen's dart board, the prices of McCrossen's drinks, and the tendency of many customers and employees to walk by players as they were shooting (hard to avoid, as the bathrooms are all near the board). While I have no official role in the team (past 'unofficial drunken mascot') nor at the bar, their litany of complaints (some really is a tight space if you have a team of 10 people and when they first arrived there was nowhere for them/us to sit), I did take their early criticisms to heart. Or something. Not to heart. Basically in my head I believed conflict was a'brewing, so I drank heavily and tried to stay out of its way. At one point I really thought about just sitting under the table by the board and building a temporary fort...but I didn't do that. The end result was actually no large conflict, and me becoming very drunk. Though I still managed to have my 'moment of zen' by hitting an outshot just after the opposite team started making cracks about women, and how they throw. I don't know what LW is reacting to in this photo, but I like it.
This guy's nickname was Shorty. He and I had a conversation later about all the other nicknames he has 'upstate.' But I forget them now.
I did envy the other team their matching shirts.
K. shooting. I believe he and I had some kind of conversation about how one of the opposite team's member's flights were a confederate flag motif. Ugh.
Bunch a dudes playing darts.

Not sure what this is about, but I like it.
The older gentleman to the right was quite the flirt. I don't know why it is that I'm fine with men over 60 calling me sweetheart or hon (he was 83), but men under that age calling any woman they don't actually know either of those things raises my near non-existent feminist hackles.
I think this was after we won, which we did.
K. probably telling T. a number of things we could do to improve something.
Fist bumping it out. If I were fist bumping, I would be blowing that shit up.
Drunky McDrunkerpants (me, not LW).
I wore my boots, but you can't see them.
L. and K. talking about one thing or another.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Looking Up, Down, And All Around

After brunch I returned to the house, put on S.'s feet fortresses and took a little walk in the woods. I forgot my zoom lens, so I didn't even attempt to take photographs of birds. Though I think I saw a heron and a Kingfisher.
S. said that there wasn't any great beautiful moment for foliage this year, which made me feel better than if I had missed it by a week. Leaves were still on trees and it was in the mid sixties temperature-wise. I'm actually back out in the country today and it is snowing. So I'm extra glad I made it out last weekend when the weather was more fall-like than winter.

Who doesn't like a stream?

There were a few buzzards circling about and a whole murder of crows in a tree I couldn't quite see but could certainly hear without trying.
I love this big open field. Such a sense of scale to travel from one side to the other.
Stone barn.
P-u-r-t-y. Purty.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brunch c/o Bolete and S.

My weekend in the country last week was a relatively low key affair. The main food event of my own making was a rather epic session of cookie baking, which somehow I made no effort to capture. Know this: for the last week my coworkers have been drowning in butterscotch pecan and chocolate chip pecan cookies. This goes for my roommate as well - but I'm not sure he's really drowning. Though this evening, as he took a cookie from one of the FOUR different containers I originally needed to contain them all, he said that I would be to blame for his weight gain. Dude generally seems to eat only peanut butter sandwiches and protein shakes, so I feel ok about it:) The one slightly social/food noteworthy element of the weekend was when S. invited me to go out to brunch with her, A. and H at Bolete. We drove together and sat down at our table while we waited for A. and H. I ordered a Bloody Mary, which was pretty tasty thought not mind blowing...though its alcohol content snuck up on me a little bit in a surprising way.
Once A. and H. arrived they set down this little plate of bread goods. I forget what it all was, though I did try a bacon/cheddar scone kind of thing.
I had done my menu research before even arriving at the joint, which I've enjoyed twice before -once with A. and M. and S. in the summer of 2009, and once with Mr. Ass last year. So I was pretty sure I was going to go with the 'Eggs Chizmar.' With no real crazy additions and no specials, that choice was not put into question. What are 'Eggs Chizmar' you ask? Well, they're two poached eggs with two fried oysters, magically tasty (but not hallucinogenic) mushrooms, bacon and mizuna on buttermilk biscuits with a nice helping of hollandaise to finish it all off.
Unlike my recent fried oyster let-down at Oyster House, this set of fried oysters still had some flavor and succulence. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the addition of mushrooms was superb. Seriously, I was a happy camper.
I may have creeped A. and H. out when just as we were all separating and going our own ways I made reference to the fact that I remember having a drink with them and M. and A. when they were first seeing each other. I think it could have creeped them out because A. and I - though we traveled together for nearly a month when we were 19/20 - don't really keep in touch. And I'm sure that neither of them have any recollection of seeing me during their very, very early moments of courtship. They have since gotten married. Nonetheless, I thought it was kind of neat to see them x years later, but maybe I could have expressed it better. In any case, I thank S. for thinking of setting up the brunch in the first place and then generously buying us brunch. She made this comment about how 'if you're the person who invites people to brunch then it's implied that you're paying.' Those are not her words verbatim, but they're awfully close. I had to chuckle and respond with 'when I ask people to brunch, I just want them to come with me not pay for them.' S. responded that with age comes great brunch maturity. Well, she didn't say that. The point is: I enjoyed my meal very much and I was glad to see A. and meet H. and thankful that S. was willing to foot the bill:)

Frozen Pizza Slightly Fancified

Last weekend I went to the country. I left after work on Friday and stopped quickly at the wine store and at the grocery store for a few things. Perhaps I could have thought out what I would want to eat, but I just kind of wandered the aisles picking up things that seemed like relatively good ideas. In the end I came out with (among other things): pepper beef jerky, a bunch of asparagus, a frozen pizza, parmesan cheese, camembert cheese and a box of ice cream sandwiches. Once at the house I became hungry and decided to pop that Tombstone pizza into the oven. But I soon worried that it wouldn't be satisfying, so I decided to up the ante a bit by adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a few globs of camembert to the mix. The end result was entirely edible if in no way uplifting.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Speck Wrapped Chicken with Sage, Ricotta and Polenta

Last Thursday or so LW and I went to McCrossen's (imagine) and had dinner. Since the place got a rather favorable review, it's been a bit busier no matter what day of the week or time. This is a good thing for the establishment though sad for those of us who got accustomed to sitting in certain spots. Heh. We can deal. I struggled to choose between a sandwich or one of the specials. In the end I went with the speck-wrapped chicken with sage and ricotta and polenta. I assumed the ricotta would have been in the polenta, but it was actually stuffed in the chicken in a nice way. As opposed to a mean way. The whole thing was delightful; the polenta rich and creamy, the chicken still moist and the sauce/gravy....mmmm. Sauce gravy. This was a good portion for the money and I took half of it home and had it for lunch a few days later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Boo, My Boots

For the last month or so I've been getting really serious about my desire for new boots. In the past my boot search has generally focused on boots that can repel snow and water and whatnot, but this time my search was a little different. I wanted a pair of leather cowboy-ish boots. This took me on a terrifying journey across internet borders and South Street Philadelphia. But after a long search and then some serious dilly dallying I finally made the order via Zappo's and two days later...Voila! Right to the office door. That was last Thursday, and I've pretty much been wearing them everywhere ever since. I even went to the courthouse last Friday (about a mile walk one way) and back with nary a foot complaint. I'm telling you. I love these boots. I told L. yesterday that whenever I walk into a room where I have left my boots, I find myself smiling and at least once have actually said hello to them. It's like a new relationship, only without all that emotional pressure. Or something.
Ariat. I flirted with the Frye brand but while I had moments where spending $300 on a pair of boots that would probably last a good long time seemed reasonable, I kept feeling like I'm more of a $200 boot person (these were $169.90 or something like that). So instead of the one pair of Fryes I had my eye on, I went with these Ariat boots. My first pair of proper riding boots a million years ago were Ariats. They were a pretty new brand back then. So comfortable. LW says I still 'have' an ankle, which is good, I guess. I foresee this being the winter of tights. Lots and lots of tights. Though I do need to do a little research. Like, should I be spraying the boots with some sort of protecting sealant or something?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Darts c/o Shamrock Pub

In our fourth week of play, it was once again time to explore new places in Philadelphia. This time it was in south Philly at Shamrock Pub. It's beer by the bottle and cash only, and when we walked in I realized that it was also a pretty exclusively 'dudes' bar. At no point during the night could you count the women in the establishment on more than four fingers while the men were nearing 30 or so. Very community/neighborhood spot and I'm not sure what it would have been like to walk into the joint without the premise of darts. Probably not that bad. The bartender (one of the women) was nice. There were chips of a variety of kinds on plates along the bar, which I would nibble from time to time before getting weirded out because I read something at some point about how food of this kind generally is covered in people germs.
The scene. We played on the lower board while a large number of dudes in all forms of casual wear played on the upper board and watched the Flyer's game.
K., A. and LW. powowwing about one thing or another. This was a pretty make it or break it match; three of the team's players couldn't come, and two came in so close to the wire that LW began thinking she'd have to put me in all sorts of crazy games. In the end I played more than usual, but not quite as much as might have been the case if P. and A. hadn't shown up. This is good for the team, as I would not have contributed positively to the outcome of those hypothetical games.
That said, I will take a moment to toot my own horn as far as 'cc does one good thing for the team per game...maybe.' In this edition I managed to end/win a game with a double 20 outshot. I think it's fair to say that we were all pleased with the outcome, myself very much included. I've taken this dangerous stance of 'not caring,' which is all fine and good unless your other team members start to hate you. And then when I do have these minute moments of success I feel myself on the precipice of 'caring' and that, my friends, just cannot happen. I don't know why, other than because I'm very stubborn. Though the pub doesn't have a kitchen, there was hot beef in a crock pot, which A. said was from a local Italian market deli of some repute. A. also shared with me the following. He actually worded it like he was writing the blog, but I've forgotten his language so here we go: This place may have been some inspirational part of the puzzle as far as the bar in It's Always Sunny. It is also Mummers central on New Years after the Mummers have done their parading uptown, they all congregate around this bar and its intersection. Supposedly on that day you can't even walk into the place it's so deep in people. LW was a champion of champion town and brought sandwiches from the crock pot for everyone. This was good because I was scared of all the young men circling its environs. They wouldn't have bothered me at all, but I am a crazy person, so let's move on.
At some point teammate J. took my camera and took some shots. Regrettably most of them are a little blurry, but here he captured LW and I having a moment of some kind.
Figuring it all out.
Serious times.
Look at my new shoes. They are for serious.
Team minus LW and J. and one of the Ks. There are two. The other K. showed up immediately after getting off of a plane.
A different view.
K. doing his thing.
We won in the end. LW won her singles 501 by being totally in the zone. Good darts all around. What?


Last Friday I was all nestled in bed and ready to spend my evening watching copious episodes of Felicity on Netflix streaming when LW called me all pumped to go to Center City and play some darts. Her enthusiasm was such that suddenly I was putting on real clothes and make up and going with her. Here is the evening in reverse, according to the photographs LW took with my camera phone. BMo and I talking about something.
The conclusion? Two thumbs up.
One of LW's dart buddies tried to tell me how I could improve my dart throwing technique. I was not the most willing of students. Though I have started to throw sideways instead of head-on.
P. our fellow dart teammate caught in LW's camera crosshairs.
I hold darts like they're a bouquet and I'm walking down the aisle. Not at all true.
It looks like I'm really trying to figure something out here, but it's doubtful.
The evening was a long one and ended with me deciding that the bouncer was very cute and wanting to tell him so --- but still having the common sense to realize that was a bad idea, so simply going home instead. LW has a few other photos from this evening that she took with her real camera but this was all I have on hand, except for the beer I drank with lemons. The beers, rather.