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Boofore and After

October 31, 2014

Big night on A Street.

Here’s our candy bowl all stuffed and ready for the waves (upon waves, upon waves) of costumed kiddos:

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And here is our bowl at the end of the night:

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Ha. Tricked ya. We didn’t get (but one pair of) trick or treaters tonight. That is about our annual average.

More candy for us!

Our kitchen window display…

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Boo.

A certain future Olympic swimmer and her mouse friend.

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C & P… buddies on a long-ago pre-Halloween trip to the Farmer’s Market.

The Agony of Defeat

October 29, 2014

And you thought yesterday’s picture of meatloaf in the oven was un-blog-worthy… how about gin rummy scoresheets?

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After four days of gin rummy with my mom (between store runs, a few meals out, beach walks and World Series games) I find myself even further behind than what you see on the scoresheet above (which is two days old). The current score, after some 49 hands: I’ve won one game, my mom’s won eleven (a game is made up of many hands). “I” trouncing “K”has been the trend for at least six months. I am starting to conclude her winning streak is not attributable to luck.

I feel like a Kansas City Royal facing Madison Bumgarner–totally dominated, out-played and shut out.  [Hangs head.]

I have one more day to turn this around.

Loafin’ Around

October 28, 2014

Hey, it was either this or another shot of the beach.

Sorry about this.

But if you ever want a good recipe for meatloaf, try Biba’s meatloaf, Bologna-style. I made it for dinner tonight and our small crowd seemed to like it a lot. Biba calls it “Polpettone alla Bolognese,” so there you are. Fancy.

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If I had to guess, I think the thing that makes this better than the other 4852 very dry meatloafs (meatloaves?) I’ve made in my life is the generous use of oil, milk, wine, chopped tomatoes, and eggs. It’s got other things in it, too, that make it taste great, but all the liquid & fat stuff really make it moist (and, actually, it swims in this amazing rich broth).

Anyway. Biba’s meatloaf. Ping me if you want the recipe.

Visiting mom in the southland. Our daily trip to the beach.

Mom has been very unstable on her feet, so no walking today, and maybe not this entire trip, but we did settle ourselves for a good long time on this bench at about Avenue F.

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And looked at this. I wish I could bottle that air and release it in Davis as needed.

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And a very intense conversation was had.  Aging and the details around it…

It’s good that we had such a lovely thing to look at.

Parents as Peter

October 26, 2014

For the I-don’t-know-what straight year, maybe the tenth?, we went to a great neighborhood Halloween party last night. These guys make Halloween–not my favorite holiday–something to really look forward to, even on a night when the local team is playing in the World Series, even when Halloween is no longer about your darling son in a darling costume (sniff).

Lisa, Ted and their two daughters completely remake the interior of their house. They take everything normal out of their living room and family room and replace with horror and Halloween-themed stuff. They keep the house dark, lit just enough to see with pumpkin and skeleton lights that are strung throughout and candelabras with drippy candles on most table tops. There’s a spooky soundtrack, ghoulish decor everywhere and webs spanning all the corners. The pictures are cool… they replace all their family photos with famous monster types, and pictures on the wall are all crooked. They do it up, and do it well. Totally Halloween.

I could never capture the enormity of this in a single picture, but here’s an example anyway:

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The best part is the food. For starters, it’s everywhere. Cauldrons overflow with chips and nuts on corner tables, but the stars are the three long banquet tables, a kitchen table and one long counter top full of food that must take days to prepare (a lot of it Halloween-themed: skeleton, ghost and witch-finger cookies; gummy worms all over eyeball cake balls; carmel apples; popcorn balls… and then a lot is just great food: flaky, hot stuffed things; bacon-wrapped, sweet chewy things; a cheese table that’s amazing; wonderful wines; a nothing-but pizza table). And that’s just the inside. Outside there’s a bar with more cauldrons of snacky things, and drinks. Believe me, I know inside and out the food layout, they repeat it with careful exactness every year (they are entertainment pros). I even know where I’m going to start and what I’m going to avoid in favor of my favorites.

Serious party eater.

Their haunted house, set up in their garage and different each year, while the main go-to event, is almost an afterthought compared to the overwhelm of everything else. The parents both come from theatrical background (no, really?) and the kids lean that way, too, so the haunted house is always unusual and sophisticated.  This year, it had a seventies disco theme. Hard to explain, but clever.  Not quite as elaborate and creepy as some years, but a delight, and we got to go through it this time with our plucky and eccentric 80-something neighbor Dick, in full Pope regalia.

So speaking of costumes, Jim and I both went as Peter. Peter was a little mortified, but in the end agreeable.

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I think it’s cool that all of us fit into each other’s clothes. Hee.

I’m suffering a bit today (more than a bit) for all that I drank (wine, beer, root beer, ginger ale) and ate (utterly un-listable). But lots of good conversation with neighbors and many, many laughs.

Puddles of Relief

October 25, 2014

This is good.

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