Sunday, February 27, 2011

Peter’s birthday raclette

I always try to keep my promises – and a few days ago I promised that I’d post pictures of Peter’s birthday raclette dinner.  Today at 10:03 AM Peter turned 24. 

(Yes, I have vivid memories of that day, 24 years ago… but that’s another post!)

I’d never “done” raclette before, but I knew that it basically consists of “broiling” individual little pans of food.  Kind of a healthy form of fondue… only different.  My impression was that it was about as easy a celebratory dinner could get – just put out a bunch of food and start cookin’.


Not so fast.  Before you can start cookin’, you have to start prepin’!


If you’re the birthday boy, your only job is to make martinis using your new martini shaker and glasses…


…and offering them to our guests – in this case, your sister and her beloved.


Pretty soon, the kitchen looks like this…


But at that point, who cares?

Setting the table for raclette is no small feat!  We should have expanded the table because we kept putting more…


and more…


and more…


and more food out!


Finally, after the kitchen is an absolute disaster and you’ve chopped up FAR too much food for even a an army, it’s time to sit down and EAT!


(Do you notice that Aleks is missing?  We sure did!  He had an event at his fraternity that he absolutely couldn’t miss --being VP of the house and all -- so we had to celebrate without him.)

At this point, it’s time to place the food you like into your own little frying pan…


…cover it with cheese, and slide it into the raclette to cook!


When the cheese is melted and bubbly, you slide the whole thing out onto your waiting baguette.  YUM!



It’s all a little messy, but so much fun!  Dinner is not rushed and it can take an hour or more as you each create, and cook, and chat.


After dinner, Shasta and her friend Grace (Elisabeth’s Danny’s HUUUUGE dog!)  offer to help clean up.


Then Grace shows off her new trick – or rather Elisabeth’s and Danny’s new trick?!

(I promised you there’d be a video…)

And then, it’s BIRTHDAY time!  Kat made Peter a birthday cake!  Peter refuses to be sung to because he hates a big ol’ fanfare.


But everyone likes THIS part:


Happy birthday, Peter!  I love you!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Winter Wonderland!

(And I only say that because I can work at home.  If I couldn’t work at home I’d be cursing these snowflakes and fretting about frozen roads for the morning commute.)

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Look what the FedEx guy just delivered!  (I had to remind him, as he made his way down our snowy driveway, not to slip.  “Watch those steps!  They’ll get you!”)


I knew right away what had arrived…


When Elisabeth arrived home from Germany in 2005, she mentioned “doing Raclette” and how much fun it is.  (“Better than fondue… or at least healthier!”)  And when Peter arrived home last week, he sang the same praises.  So I ordered a set.  And it arrived today.


Peter’s birthday is on Sunday.  Guess how our family will be celebrating?


Yes, there will be photos.  And maybe even a video.  But first we need to read up.


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Sunday, February 20, 2011

A well-rounded obsession

Shasta adores her tennis balls. 


She’s dotes on them…


…dreams about them…


…and is completely and totally obsessed by them.


She seems to have been born loving them.


But --

As we discovered today, the tennis ball doesn’t have to be round…


And it doesn’t have to be smooth…


It doesn’t even have to actually BE a tennis ball at all.


It just has to believe that it’s a tennis ball.IMG_0046

Yeah, it’s kinda warped.  I agree.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Our damaging contribution to the SeaTac parking garage

To those of you who head to SeaTac International Airport as often as we do (or more), you might have noticed this damage to the SeaTac Parking Garage entry kiosk:


I’d like to claim responsibility for this damage, which occurred in about 1997, and remains to this day – in spite of the massive renovations that have been made to the airport since then.

Our fault.  Our bad.

See, back then we had a big ol’ Ford F-150 passenger van (because we had four young kids and a big dog)… and on top of that big ol’ honkin’ van we carried a big ol’ honkin’ car top carrier.  I can’t remember why we had headed to the airport with the carrier on the car, but I DO remember the god-awful sound it made as we (may I point out that Tom was at the wheel?) attempted to pass under that lip.

We couldn’t back up, so we (and by “we,” I mean Tom) just had to go forward… and listen as the metal tore away, cracked, and bent.

So next time you head here…


…and you see this


…think of us – and that god-awful sound.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Abby’s amblin’!

No, she’s not my grandchild (duh!), but I adore her as if she were!  Look what she did today!

(My kids should be grateful that my devotion to Abby keeps me from pressuring them to get going on the grandkid stuff!)

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My memory-filled home office

This is my home office, where I work somewhere between two and five days a week.


Although 99% of my time in this room is spent sitting in that chair, staring at that screen (and an extended screen), and pounding on that keyboard, I’ve surrounded myself with memories.

Come with me on a tour, won’t you?  (That’s actually done by standing in the middle of this teeny-tiny room and just having a look around.)

There are two bulletin boards in my home office.  One holds important work documents.  This is the other one:


In addition to lots of photos of my birth family, there’s an edelweiss flower from Mom’s homeland, Bavaria, along with a nametag that she probably wore when she was on the Ski Patrol in California.  There’s also a photo of Dad and his new wife, Lou, whom I adore.  And there are the programs from the memorial services, both for Mom and for my dear friend Kristin.

These two photos sit on the window sill:


That’s Mom and me when I was in high school and Dad and me when I was in college.

Under the bulletin board with all the family photos and memorabilia are these paintings by Dad…


…of the house I lived in from the time I was in eighth grade until I went away to college in Santa Barbara.  That little house is no longer there.  Some gazillionaire bought it, razed it, and built this:


At least the pool is still there, but they even made massive changes to it.


I love what they did, but it doesn’t change the fact that my childhood home is gone from everywhere but my memory.  (And maybe that’s the most important place for it to remain.)

This circular object hanging on my office wall…


…is the hat box Elisabeth made me for Mother’s Day while she was away at college.  She made simple black and white copies of pictures of me throughout my life and ModgePodged them onto the hat box.  I love this gift!

And then there’s the photo gift from Mom, given to me two Christmases before she died.


That’s her and Dad, and me with my now-51-year-old baby brother, Chris.

Right next to the door is a candle given to me by Elisabeth, sitting on a gift from the staff of the Mumbai-based office of the Microsoft agency I used to work for.  They gave Tom and me this silver piece for our 25th wedding anniversary.  I adored these people, and as much as I hated working every single evening for two solid years, they made it bearable and, at times, even wonderful.


And now, I’ve played too long in this office filled with memories.  Time to get to work!

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