Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

For this Ten on Tuesday, I am directed (not really) to tell you ten things I did this weekend.  We'll see if I can think of ten.

1.  Friday pizza night was *home made* pizza night!  We had instant bread from a can, but we made sauce (OK, it was from a can, too, but it was plain tomato sauce and we added spices), added cheese (pre-grated), and meats (packaged).  Semi-home made.

2.  Cammie's soccer game.  They played this team before and although they lost to them again, it was not as devastating a loss as last time.  Their first game they lost 11-5.  This one was 3-2. 

3.  Emma had her yellow belt challenge.  It was two hours of running, jumping, punching, and kicking, and she was very sweaty at the end.  No surprise, she passed!

4.  While she was earning her belt, the other two kids sat on the edge of the sidewalk with their feet dangling into a work zone.  I saw this and thought, "Caution:  Children at Play".

5.  Celebrated the yellow belt at a sushi place just a few doors down from the studio.  Yum!

6.  Kelly went to the Sounders game where instead of the usual 36,000 attendees, there were 64,000!  Since we only have one season ticket, I stayed at home where I spent the better part of an hour trying to get on the internet, looking for a live streaming video of the game.

7. Fought with my computer for several hours when it couldn't connect to the internet.  I finally gave up and used Kelly's computer. I finally located, but it was about 90 seconds ahead of the "live" sports cast of the radio host...at least until half time, and then the timing evened out a lot better. (Sounders won!)

8.  Sewed four garments for a pair of Halloween/All Saints costumes.  Two identical skirts and two similar doublets (vests) for Elizabethan outfits.  Both girls are dressing up as St. Margaret Ward, who was tortured and hanged for helping a priest escape prison in the Tudor era, when many Catholics were not allowed to practice their faiths. 

9.  Spent a bunch of time getting ready for the Girl Scouts meeting.  I've been creating the Retro Girl Scouts booklet based on the Junior Girl Scout Handbook from 1972.  It's chock full of GS history and traditions that the new books have omitted.  I have also found some great GS clip art, stories, articles and more online that I've included.  I'm trying to decide whether or not to omit the parts about bookkeeping and troop funds since, legally, all that is in the hands of an adult treasurer.

10.  Wrote a letter to a friend who I knew was going to India. Turns out she's already there!  She's excited because now she has running water solar showers.  Talking about going green!  I asked her a bunch of questions about environmental issues in India and how things are changing (if at all).

What do you know?!  10 things!  I was thinking I was going to have to add "ate breakfast" and "slept" to the list. 

Now I'm off to the fabric store to look at patterns for Halloween costumes...for myself!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cammie had a birthday party with just a few friends.  She actually invited about 15 kids, but only four showed up.  Part of the problem is that we organized things at the last minute and many people already had plans. We didn't do anything elaborate--the kids played happily, ate pizza, ate cake & ice cream, watched TV, and opened presents.  A few of her presents arrived from relatives, including a card and check from one Gramma & Grampa, and a gift from her Grandma & Grandpa, and another from her cousin, Nate.  We'll have to be sure she writes thank you notes.

My friend, Avelyn, who built the yurt with me, made our adventure into a book!  This is an online thing you can do with Shutterfly, pasting your pictures in and adding captions, then they send it to you in a bound book.  What a cool idea!  

Ben had a fun day selling popcorn for the Cub Scouts--much more than I anticipated.  He's asked to go do some door-to-door selling in the neighborhood and do more site sales.  Who knew?  While he was out there, several people asked about his shiner.  How did he get it?  We're not sure.  He's not telling.  He was outside playing with his buddy, J, and came inside with the big, red welt on his cheek during the middle of the birthday party on Saturday.  I think it's about the size and shape of the handle of a scooter...I hope it wasn't one of the bigger kids in the neighborhood being reckless.  

Bekah and I went horseback riding today.  While my father is not the biggest fan of this activity, I'm still learning how to make the horse do what I want.  Turning in circles, walking backwards, trotting, cantering, and turning.  It's all a learning experience.  Not having done it for a while, I have some very sore parts that I haven't used much recently.  Oddly, it's my knees and my sit-bones.  Oof.

I have a ton of projects to take care of this week--I hope I actually make some progress now that the party is over.  Clearing out part of the sewing room and getting quilts on the frame is top priority!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Recipe: Chicken & Dumplings

For those of you who are not soccer fans (which probably includes all my readers), here's a recipe I tried out, modified slightly and taste-tested tonight.

Chicken & Dumplings
1 box of chicken stock (whatever that measurement is--two cans worth--low sodium tastes best, and chicken broth isn't the same as chicken stock).  I also added a couple cups of water to it, too.
A large package of fresh boneless, skinless chicken thighs (not frozen)--I think there were 12 in this package.

Get a medium/large stock pot and pour in the chicken stock.  Get it near boiling on medium and then reduce to simmer.

Throw a tablespoon of butter into a large fry pan.  Start browning the chicken.

Put some thyme, pepper, tumeric (just a smidge), and garlic into the stock pot.  Then throw in some more stuff--I used some frozen carrots for the dinner, but you can use fresh, along with onion (I used dry), and any other veggies you want (like celery, if you like that sort of thing.  I might have used peas, had I thought about it at the time).  You could probably put some potatoes in there, too, though you'll have to make sure it cooks long enough so you don't end up with bony potatoes, or parboil them before tossing them in.

Pull the chicken out of the pan and let them cool for a couple minutes.  Then, using two forks, tear it into bite-size pieces and put it into the stock pot.

Then take a couple tablespoons of flour and add some water to it, and add it to the soup to add a little thickener to it.  Then put in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of whole milk or half and half.  Let it simmer while you make the dumplings.

Dumplings!  I used Bisquick, but you can make them however you please.  2-1/4 c. mix and 2/3 c. milk.  Mix together with a fork.  When the soup is at a good simmer, drop blobs of the dumplings into the soup and let them cook through--about 15 minutes or so.

Serve.  YUM!  We had five people eating and there was some leftover, so I'd say it serves 6-8, depending on how much each person eats.  Or rather, there were 6-8 servings, but if everyone wants seconds, you better have a back up plan.  Or add more potatoes.

Leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Sounders! Sounders! Sounders!

Yes, I'm turning into a big soccer geek.  What can I say?  I've been hanging out with my hubby for a lotta years!

We got tickets to the Open Cup Final at the CLink--what they're calling Century Link Stadium--although not our usual seats.  Because it's not part of the season pass, regular attendees got an opportunity to see the game from another angle in another section, and as a bonus, they opened the Hawk's Nest, this weird wedge-shaped seating area that is normally closed.  Later in the game, it was announced that it had a record-breaking attendance of 35,600 for this Open Cup tournament, beating their count for last year's Open Cup game by 4,000.  I'm sure that if they had exceeded that number even more significantly, they would have many thousands of more seats open on the upper decks--I think the Manchester United game had upwards of 67,000 in attendance when they played at the CLink against the Sounders in a friendly game.  Of course, the Sounders have set attendance records for MLS; they have an average of nearly double or triple every other MLS team in the country--they average 36,000 at each game, where the next two teams after that average about 22,000--even in L.A. where Beckham plays.  

The tifo grew up over the "Crazy Section" at the South end of the field to mark the start of the challenge....  It wasn't as dramatic and awesome as the tifo for the Portland game, but still impressive!  Tifo is Italian for "fan" and has become a word to describe displays that the uber-fans create for their teams.  The Emerald City Supporters certainly fall into the category of uber-fans.  Maybe even crazed uber-fans.  The entire area that is covered by these enormous banners clap and sing in unison, chant, wave their scarves around, and display the most amazing civilized mayhem.  Unlike their European counterparts, these guys will be sad if the team loses, but then go have drinks with fans of the opposing team at the nearby pub afterwards without any arrests or rioting.

We were seated almost directly across from Kelly & the guys' group seats, but several rows back.  Being seated on the other side of the field, I could see more clearly where the guys sit in relation to the bright green Z that is set up in honor of injured player, Steve Zakuani, whose leg was broken back in April during a game against Colorado.  They take the Z away at the end of each game, so I hope that it's set up in the same place each time.  I think they're somewhere in the middle of the section, but that's just guessing based on counting the rows.

The new seats turned out to be a great blessing since we were under the roof that shields only half the stadium.  Apparently, there is a superstition that any football team that has a covered stadium will never win the Superbowl.  Unfortunately, not every team with an uncovered stadium has won; having an uncovered stadium and tens of thousands of cold, wet fans does not guarantee a winning season, so I say let's be nice to the people who pay good money to watch these guys and cover the damn thing.  Unfortunately, that usually turns a $300 million stadium into a $700 million stadium.  

The game started at 7:00 and went along with a lot of close goals--but for some reason an unusual number of the shots bounced right off the upright bars of the goal.  One of my favorite players, Harvard-educated Mike Fucito, fought hard all game and made several shots on goal but none of them ended up finding the back of the net.  At half time, the game is scoreless.  At one point in the second half, a fight ensues...two yellow cards are issued as a result.  I think it was Fucito that was pushed or tripped (besides being a little nearsighted, it's hard to see over all those 6 foot tall guys, even when I was standing on a step next to my seat on the aisle).  Everyone on the field was a little emotional and got caught up in the excitement, and migrated up the field, leaving Mike sitting on the ground, still in pain. Eventually, the game resumed and the Sounders scored two goals in the 77th minute and the 95th minute (in stoppage time).

In the end, the Sounders were again victorious, preventing any goals being scored against the indomitable Kasey Keller, and the game ended in a 2-0 win.  For the third year in a row, the Seattle team was able to take the trophy.  In the words of retiring goal keeper Kasey Keller (who is just slightly older than me), "Winning is winning.  It never gets old." They handed out commemorative t-shirts to the players (which were created prior to the game starting...I don't know what they would have done with them if they had lost...), and then began the fireworks, the celebration, ticker tape, and the third cup!  

The most beautiful sight of the day!  Five of the seven of us went out for a celebratory drink before heading home, eventually arriving home just after midnight.  It was a short night before getting up for work again, so we're hoping for an early night tonight...after karate and Cub Scouts...


Monday, October 3, 2011

Survey Monkey

I wrote a letter to my local representative recently about the lack of light rail in our county, despite having paid taxes for light rail for the last 15 years.  The rail that does exist is servicing only King county.  I get really angry about the "transportation taxes" being collected from several counties and all the money stays in Seattle to "fix" their issues.

Then I got a card in the mail from the Washington State Transportation Commission (addressed personally to me, "CURRENT RESIDENT") that asked if I wanted to participate in a survey about that very subject.  Oh, they want to hear from me!!  Some of the questions are redundant, but they were asking if I objected to increasing taxes (gas taxes in Washington are the highest in the country already), and adding tolls on busy roadways, increasing the numbers of occupants in HOV lanes and if the funds collected from a toll that should stay with that project only...duh!  There were some areas left open for comments, so I said that I thought money collected for transportation should stay in the county that they are collected in.  I had many, many more opinions.  I don't know if they'll listen.

Girl Scouts is coming along.  Today we had a full lesson in embroidery.  Unfortunately, I don't think that 90 minutes is enough time to do a silly opener AND do a project.  We really need two hours to really get into a project and get some time to practice.

As for projects...quilting, none.  Knitting, none.  Blackwork, a little.  I used up all my energy on the troop meeting today.  I'm on the tail end of a chest cold and I've arrived at the painful cough part--I've been using the inhalers to try to help with the asthma that I inevitably get with my chest colds, but it's not doing much.  I'm not sleeping as well as I would like and I've got no energy to get much done.  I need to clear off the long arm and get a couple projects done, but I'm just too tired.