People, things seem to be falling rapidly apart ’round here. 90% of the folks I know are in a supremely peevish mood, cold-induced rage simmering just below the surface, manifesting as fatigue, stress, emotional ups and downs, frustration, blah! Shoulders are hunched, brows are furrowed, we’re all just so flipping cold. Even the kids have started bad-mouthing snow.
Found out yesterday that one of the main water treatment plants in our area malfunctioned so we’re on a super-fun, extremely time-efficient Boil Water Alert. Presently, I am literally boiling water and letting it cool so that we can bathe and sip. Jesus h, people. Am I in the nation’s capital, or am I making that shit up?
I threw the first pot of roiling water onto the ice sheet that is our deck. Slip-and-sliding down the stairs is the last thing I need, not least because I cut the bejesus out of my right thumb on Sunday night (washing knives, thought the blade was down, it was up) and feel down a half hand. Thumbs are exceedingly useful things and I miss mine being fully functional. I felt better watching all that damn ice disappear but then realized what an utter waste of time any more of that process would be. I need this damn water for us, yo, so we’re not drinking poopy water.
For pete’s sakes.
To make matters more fun, the kids have no school tomorrow. Surely you jest, Em? Alas no. It’s a conference day. I can’t wait for more inside togetherness. Truly, it’ll be swell.
I have, on a positive(?) note, rediscovered my passion for 1,000 piece puzzles that I originally rediscovered last July when I had effing pneumonia. Jack and I wrapped up Gum Wrappers on Tuesday, and today I am expecting delivery of both Playing Cards and Puzzles. A puzzle of puzzles. Who am I? Em-i-nerd?
Winter is really driving me to new and greater lengths. Of what, I’m not totally sure.
Husband got home so late last night that I was already asleep. Boo hiss new somuchlonger work hours. Miss that guy. Also, he threw my enormous mound of lovingly sorted recycling into the regular garbage can this morning just before the truck arrived which really busted my chops. Come on, man!
But I’d like to give a shout out to my little Ol who has been “dwy” at night three nights running. You’re a champ, Shamrock.
And, since issuing a 25₵ fine for being awakened prior to 6:15am, we’ve slept peacefully until at least 6:16. Swear y’all, get a fine jar of your own and you can wipe out craptastic behaviors in.a.flash. Haven’t heard butthole since putting that jar out. It’s like Elf on the Shelf but less creepy and all year long!
In a further attempt to ignore winter, I made the most beautiful grapefruit jelly. Ruby red juice, a healthy splash of St. Germain and some juniper berries for an element of mystery. This jelly reminds me of a jewel; it glows from within and tastes as radiantly. Recipe will be posted in Jams soon!
After getting the boys off to school this morning (two hour delay is pesty but SO much better than a cancellation), I got busy making King Cakes for the Mardi Gras party I’m throwing for Ol’s PK class tomorrow. I’ve got the beads, some masks, feathers, music and now these beauties. Did this for Jack’s class when he was in PK and enjoyed it as much then as I know I will tomorrow.
King Cakes rising
King Cakes just out of the oven
This recipe is from Southern Living, and I liked the generous amount of yeasty, relative lack of sugar and the inclusion of sour cream in the dough. Can’t wait to taste!
Thanks for all the interest in the Crispy Brussels sprouts dish I’ve been making since being knocked off my chair at Blue Duck Tavern last Thursday. Recipe is now posted in Sides, and you can also click here. Don’t wince when you see the amount of olive oil called for. It’s what makes these puppies crispy. Also, don’t be shy about your salt and pecorino use. The salt brightens the entire dish immeasurably and the pecorino is clutch!
As perhaps are you, we are snowed in again. Yesterday’s rain gave way to an overnight freeze which this morning changed hats and has blanketed us with more o’ the white stuff. Lots of it. We knew yesterday school would be cancelled but I admit that when I woke up this morning and realized that anew, I suffered a brief meltdown. Pity party? Check. Now over it? As best I can be.
The boys and I watched lots of old home movies and looked at countless pictures from birthdays and fun times past. It was an hour’s trip down memory lane and was delightful. Now they’re watching…wait for it…Star Wars. Revenge of the Sith. Again. Whatever. They’re in the basement, and I’m in the kitchen. I decided that the best way to give winter the middle finger salute would be to make a pie that screams SPRING!
Southern Cal rhubarb and Mexican strawberries I couldn’t pass up at the market a few days back? Yes, thank you, good purchase. Into a pie went they. I just pulled this baby out of the oven and can’t wait to enjoy it later.
strawberry rhubarb pie
strawberry rhubarb pie
I thought this year’s Oscars show was the best in some time. Ellen was terrific, Lupita looked gorgeous, Jared Leto gave a lovely speech, Matthew gave such a Matthew one. The pizza delivery was a hoot, and the selfie shot turned out great. Did y’all see it?
Fellow Star Wars obsessees…do you find yourself with too few light sabers at your disposal? Do you wish for both more and a better variety? Do you long for personalized hilts a la your favorite characters?
Though I never thought I would be the one to share this information with you, I am here to say that with basic trips to pool and hardware stores, you can, in one afternoon, have an enormous selection of sabers at your disposal.
Version 1: The Simple Saber
Needs for 1-2 sabers: a swim noodle in your preferred saber laser color; aluminum tape (or silver Duck/duct tape though the aluminum tape is preferable); black Duck/duct tape; a sharp knife; scissors.
standard swim noodles
One standard swim noodle will yield two single sabers or one double, a la Darth Maul.
If you plan to make two, measure the noodle and, using your sharp knife carefully, slice it crosswise at the midpoint. Using the aluminum tape, tightly wrap one end of each noodle half. This is the hilt foundation. Then, using your scissors to cut strips, knobs and such, either recreate your favorite character’s hilt or make up your own.
If you are making a double-sided saber, do not cut your noodle. Instead, keep it whole and follow the above instructions regarding aluminum and black tape use but placing the hilt at the noodle midpoint.
Oliver with a Double-Sided Saber, hilt design his own
The Simple Saber is great for kids (and their parents) who want to engage in full battle with no worry of injury. Swim noodles really can’t do much damage, so kids can beat the crap out of each other in battle and you don’t need to be too concerned. This was a GREAT birthday party activity and take-away (made one for each guest).
Version 2: The More Complex Swim Noodle Saber – PVC Hilt
*This does not make a double-sided saber.
Needs for 1 single saber: a swim noodle in your preferred saber laser color; aluminum tape (or silver Duck/duct tape though the aluminum tape is preferable); black Duck/duct tape; a sharp knife; scissors, matte black plastic-compatible spray paint; 1 two-foot section of 1/2″ PVC pipe; one two-foot section of 1″ PVC pipe; one 1″ PVC pipe cap; one 2″ threaded female PVC to barbed adapter; PVC cement; grinder or some other way to shave down the 1/2″ PVC cap to fit inside the 1″ pipe.
As for the Simple Saber, slice your noodle in half at the midpoint. Cut the 1/2″ PVC pipe in half. Cut the 1″ PVC pipe in an 8″ section. The 1/2″ PVC will just barely fit into the core of the noodle; this is good because you don’t want the noodle flying off during battle. Grind the 1/2″ PVC cap down until it can just barely fit inside the 1″ PVC pipe (the starting exterior dimension of a 1/2″ PVC cap is more than 1″). Attach the cap to the 1/2 pipe with the cement and then apply more cement to the outside of the cap and insert it into the 1″ PVC pipe. Now you’ll have the two pipes aligned exactly coaxially.
coaxially aligned pipes
Then add some additional cement to the barbed adapter and position it over the the end of the 1″ pipe to make the to of the hilt. Finally, cement the bottom cap in place. After two hours, the cement should be cured. Spray paint with plastic-compatible paint. You don’t need to paint the length of pipe that fits into the noodle.
Mace Windu Simple Saber (done with aluminum tape and black and gold Duck tape); alongside PVC hilt (usually we would not put an already-hilted noodle saber onto a PVC hilt)
The PVC hilt just fits
The Saber with PVC hilt version is great because you can switch saber laser colors based on who you’re pretending to be. For example, Mace Windu has a purple saber while Darth Vader’s is red. Luke had both green and blue sabers. Yoda’s is green. And so forth.
Version 3: The Most Complex Hilt, No Laser (Yet) *This is an artful approach for fans who simply want to wear an awesome yet retracted saber on their belt. We’ve not yet attached a laser.
Needs: 1 one-inch wooden dowel; sandpaper; hacksaw; aluminum tape (or silver Duck/duct tape though the aluminum tape is preferable); black Duck/duct tape; scissors; matte black spray paint; short silver screw with large top; red Sharpie; clear spray lacquer.
Carefully research the hilt you wish to copy, unless you are creating your own. Jack wanted Qui-Gon Jinn’s hilt, and this picture guided his and Tom’s carpentry and subsequent paint/tape additions.
Qui-Gon Jinn’s light saber hilt
Using a hacksaw and drill, Tom cut away sections from the dowel by first drilling holes and then cutting down with the hacksaw to meet the edges of the drilled holes. Jack then smoothed them out with sandpaper. They screwed in a screw, colored the top with red Sharpie and later coated it with lacquer because Sharpie rubs off of metal after a while. The red screw was Jack’s idea; stylistically, I love it!
Qui-Gon’s hilt crafted from a wooden dowel, adorned with carefully trimmed aluminum tape and a screw colored red
Jack/Qui-Gon at the ready
You can’t see it here, but Tom attached a piece of a plastic bottle (the plastic top of the spray paint) as a clip so that Jack can hang the hilt from his belt.