Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Cooking for the Pramas Party

Unbeknownst to Pramas, I was plotting his birthday party for a couple of months before it happened. It all started with me beguiling him into agreeing to put our Belize money into a patio. I wasted no time in getting that started because my secret plan was to have it done in time for a birthday barbecue. Fortune favored me on that and I was able to get a company to come out and do the patio in pavers for what it would have cost me for a concrete pour (taking advantage of a company that had just the right number of pavers left over from a bigger job). Then, I got a great deal on a grill during a Memorial Day sale and was able to do a lot of landscaping improvements while Chris was away at Enfilade and Book Expo.

Luckily for me, Chris is used to my compulsion to make sure all guests are well fed and while he did think I was going a little overboard for a barbecue with half a dozen people, he put up very little resistence, even getting the extra chairs out of the attic "just to be safe".

Even though I was expecting up to a dozen more people to show up, we had plenty of guests, including friends from San Francisco and Vancouver, BC who made it over. The surprise kept rolling as people kept arriving over the first three hours of the party.

I didn't get as far into the last minute cooking as I'd wanted because I misplaced my big pasta bowl which was the only bowl that would fit the pesto pasta dish I'd made and left me running around with things half completed when people started arriving in numbers. I managed to get out some chips, Pramas's famous hummus, fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, cherries, strawberries... I still have a pineapple left, which I might try grilling up for game night), Salada de palmito, where I substituted fig-balsamic vinegar instead of using red wine vinegar, pesto pasta, a full spread of cheese and salumi salami with some of Mark Bittman's Parmesan cream crackers and Smitten Kitchen's rosemary flatbread, a couple of different types of tofu on skewers for our vegetarian guests, North Carolina-style Pulled Pork, hamburgers and sausages from Columbia City's own Bob's Quality Meats on buns from Columbia City Bakery. (I also couldn't resist a loaf of their whiskey cake with espresso glaze, which we never even got around to slicing.) I also baked two Guinness Chocolate Cakes. Believe it or not, I had originally intended to have another salad (Avocado and Belgian endive), fresh salsa (Salsa Criolla), and chicken satays with homemade peanut sauce and some homemade ice cream but I flat ran out of time on those. Game night should certainly benefit from remainders this week!

It's taken me a couple of days to feel recovered after the last push on getting the house, yard, and food set up to my liking for the party but I'm definitely feeling in the swing of cooking again if nothing else.

Labels: , , ,


A Good Party

Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
The cocktail party went well. The Laphroaig is long gone, as is the Bombay Sapphire. Somehow managed to end the night with surplus Tomolives.

I was modest in my spread (didn't even get around to making the tiropitas, as I was waiting to have them fresh and hot once people were here). Several kinds of cheese, some smoked salmon, salmon mousse, Stan!'s salmon deviled eggs, plain deviled eggs, Swedish meatballs, baked brie (brie with apricot jam and almonds spread over the top then wrapped in puff pastry), cheese straws (homemade from leftover puff pastry), cranberry salsa over cream cheese (Wolf and Shelly remembered this from my 2005 pre-Thanksgiving party), pheasant pate (store bought), numerous cookies, crackers and other snacks. Booze aplenty was available as well as Dry Soda (in lavender and lemon grass), O Organics pomegranate soda (wicked good, I'm currently hooked) and the usual assortment of beers, wine, and soda pops. Oh, and calcium water, which we didn't even crack.

Kate was allowed to stay up until after 1:am playing drums for Rock Band with the crew.

Smashing success!

Labels: ,


Operation Half-Birthday: Success

Cake close up
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Because Kate's actual birthday fell during the Great Windpocalypse of '06, causing days of power outages across the city and so on, it's fair to say her birthday was kind of a bust. I promised her that we'd do a "make up" party and yesterday was the day.

We started by getting up early to try to go get passport stuff sorted, only to find me tearing the house apart looking for her passport and my certified copies of the divorce decree and parenting plan. To my immense frustration, I did something "smart" with my paperwork (putting it in some "safe" place I've still not uncovered) and while I eventually turned up the birth certificate, I'm just going to go buy a second certified set of copies at the courthouse tomorrow because I have NO idea where I "safely" put my others. I'm a dumbass.

Chris went off to play in his bi-weekly-ish Spirit of the Century game and Kate and I took the bus up to the SIFF Cinema where we watched Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. A little surreal to hear them talk about Baghdad and Basra (and how the people of Baghdad suffer under cruel invaders who need to be forced out) under the current conditions. Kate declared it was "better than that other one" (referring to our excursion to see Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast at the SIFF theater back in March).

On the way to and from the theater we listened to the last bit of the audio book of The Amulet of Samarkand (which we'd been listening to in the car on the way to Vancouver until Kate was no longer allowed to travel). We finished it up and I must say it was a very enjoyable book. Reader Simon Jones absolutely MAKES the audio book. He's great. I've become a big fan of certain readers in the audio book circles and I'm adding Simon Jones to my list of favorites immediately. He reads the next two books in the series as well, so I'm definitely going to be listening to the whole trilogy.

We got home just in time to pick up the Flexcar and the cake and dash off to the Family Fun Center. Kate picked out a Pirates of the Caribbean cake. Funny that the character of Will Turner was such a non-entity to her that she kept referring to the figures on the cake as "Jack Sparrow and Orlando Bloom." I have an unbelievably large amount of cake left. I may ask Chris to bring it to Flying Lab to get it out of the house!

The kids had a great time at the Fun Center, playing laser tag, dousing each other on the bumper boats (once it stopped raining), riding virtual roller coasters and eventually conning some of the parents who attended into paying for tokens so they could win tickets for a large amount of cheap plastic crap at the prize counter. Multiple kids told me the party was "awesome" and thanked us repeatedly for inviting them on their way out the door. Kate thanked me profusely as well. I warned her that I don't intend to do another big party like this before she turns 16 and for now, she's satisfied.

Today we're SIFFing it again. This afternoon Chris and I catch "Japanese psycho-thriller" Retribution and tonight the whole family is going to go TEKKONKINKREET.

Labels: , , ,


Changing like the Weather

Man, last night it was hot in the house but I could smell rain moving in. I rarely get that feeling out here, so common in the midwest, where you can smell the rain, feel the pressure change as the storms move in. Had it last night, though, and sure enough around 8:00 rain came dumping down in big fat drops. Didn't last long but it seems like the clouds and cooler weather are going to hang around for a couple of days which makes me even more glad that I spent the sunny part of the weekend the way I did.

I made time to do a smidge of gardening while the weather was nice. I had been nursing along the tomatoes and basil that I bought at the Orca plant sale and finally transplanted those to proper containers. I'm not digging up the yard this year. Instead I'm confining myself to container gardening (herbs, tomatoes, a couple of peppers that I don't think will grow, a couple of wee little sunflower starts from the Orca kids...) and a whack of random wildflowers in the side yard and the sunny side of the garage. Nice and easy.

I've mostly kicked the plague I caught while the guys were in town for our designer summit but did have a strange and irritating headache develop two nights in a row. Pramas, too, complained of headache and he never gets them so that's a sure sign that something's up. He woke with a sore throat this morning but it seems unlikely that he's just now picking up the thing Rob, Steve, and I had a week ago. I hope it's not a new infiltration of sickness. We've had a pretty good run of being healthy around here and I'd like to go back to it.

Next weekend is Kate's make-up birthday party (her Cinerama and sleep-over party had to be canceled because of the Windpocalypse) which I just managed to schedule in time for her half-birthday. Can't believe she's halfway to 12! My mom threw a party at the local rollerskating rink for me when I turned 12. Kate gets to bring some yet-undetermined number of friends to the Family Fun Center for bumper boats, go carts, mini golf and assorted goofiness. She's invited a bunch of nice kids and if they all come I'll be in the poorhouse by the end of the month (as Pramas' birthday is the weekend following) but Kate doesn't ask for much and I'm all too aware that I only have a couple of these celebrations left to enjoy with her. All too soon she'll be through high school and off doing her own thing, so next weekend it's mini golf and bumper boats. Not sure how the other kids/parents will respond if she chooses Guinness cake as her birthday cake but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Labels: , ,


TV Party

So I was listening to Black Flag's TV Party the other night and was overcome by the urge to have a TV party. For those unfamiliar with the song, I've linked to the lyrics but the thing that makes the song goofy and funny isn't reflected in the lyrics. After they swear they're dedicated to their favorite shows, the guys in the band yell out various popular tv shows like: That's Incredible!, Hill Street Blues, Dallas, Quincy ("Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to enter the exciting world of forensic medicine..."), Dynasty.

Checking out Wikipedia's 1982 in Television entry, it seems like we could do a 1982 TV party (making it a nice flat 25th anniversary) and pull in a lot of other great awful shows. M*A*S*H* was still on in 1982, as was Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, CHiPs, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Three's Company, Benson, Dukes of Hazzard, The Facts of Life, Trapper John, M.D., Magnum P.I., Gimme a Break!, Knight Rider, and The Fall Guy. 1982 was the last year for WKRP in Cincinnati, Fridays, Barney Miller, Mork and Mindy, and Bosom Buddies. 1982 was the Eddie Murphy/Joe Piscopo/Robin Duke era of Saturday Night Live. So much awful tv to draw from!

I presented the idea to my dinner companions on Friday and received a pretty enthusiastic response. I'm thinking it'll take some time to put something like this together but the more I think about it, the more I think it's something that just has to be done! Make it an all-day affair, like Toren's Cartoon Party, where people can come and go as they feel like it. If it's too hard to get a hold of the TV shows, we could always branch out into films from 1982, though that does stretch the "TV" part of TV Party. Still, 48 Hours? E.T. the Extra-Terristrial? First Blood (aka "Rambo")? Mazes and Monsters? Nightshift? Poltergeist? Oh yeah.

Labels: , , ,


Birthday girl!

Birthday girl!
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Since I know Mama Tynes has been waiting for an update...

We began the evening at Hales Brewery, the first couple of hours spent casually mingling and enjoying food, drinks, and conversation. I was so engaged in chatting with people (many of whom I had not seen since the wedding) I didn't stop to take many photos.

Cakes arrived safely and went over well (well enough that Rusty hugged me in delight and began quizzing me about the recipe). Leftovers were cleaned up and carted off for later and we all trooped over to the Late Night Show at the Moisture Festival.

The Moisture Festival was good fun, thanks to J&J for hosting their party amidst it! We saw guys on stilts, singers, comedians, clowns, jugglers, a cowgirl doing rope tricks, skits, trapeze artists, live music, plate spinning, generic vaudeville acts, dancers and other performance art. Frank Olivier ("THE Comedy Juggler" got top billing and performed twice, including riding a 10-foot tall unicycle while playing a tribute to Jimmy Hendrix on the guitar and juggling flaming torches. Seriously. (Video of a different performance of a similar stunt it on his website here.)

This morning we got up and met Evan, Rona, and Zoey at Cafe Flora for a little vegetarian brunch action (and to retrieve The Kate), where we had a nice time and were able to catch up like adults while Kate helped keep Zoey entertained. Kate apparently also read Zoey four stories before bed last night!

I'm functioning on less sleep and less coffee than usual and haven't been able to shake the yawns all day. I suspect the rest of the afternoon is going to be very mellow. I have to get up earlier than usual tomorrow, too, because Kate's class is leaving for a three-day class trip to Victoria and I have to get Kate to the send-off point before 8:00am. Kate's usually barely out of bed at 8:00am! Wish me luck.

Labels: , ,