Discolor Online

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


Table for 15

Table for 15
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Last night we had the pleasure of dinner with some friends of Chris's from high school. Elizabeth and Geoff live in Seattle with their blended family (her son and daughter plus his three sons). Elizabeth's sister was in visiting from Boston and another Boston to Seattle transplant plus the Lindroos-Pramas-Freins brought the party up to six adults and nine kids (mostly boys).

Dinner was a gigantic feast of Dungeness crab, cooked in perhaps the biggest pot I've ever seen in a home kitchen, plus corn, cornbread, a summer salad packed with seasonal vegetables, slabs of watermelon, and plum tarts with ice cream.

Very few of the kids had eaten crab before and Geoff was enthusiastic about introducing them to a real crab feast. Kate, a burgeoning near-vegetarian, was a little queasy about the crab but gamely tried it and then filled up on corn bread and watermelon (which is what I would have predicted). She's trying to expand her food horizons and challenge her palate but she has a hard time with fish and "sea bugs".

As the night crept on and the adults lingered first over wine and then over dessert and coffee, the youngest children started to drop in place, curling up with pillows and under chairs to stay close to the action until they just couldn't keep their eyes open any longer. Meanwhile, several of the boys (including at times both dads) stepped over to an adjoining room that was packed with musical instruments and began jamming. They were FANTASTIC. I tried to get some video of the moment but my phone video was too dark and really couldn't capture the energy and skill of the group. At one point Geoff and his step-daughter were swing dancing while the boys jammed but I was too slow to capture the moment with my phoen (and didn't have my real cameras with me). Kate, an only child, the oldest child there and a girl out-numbered, played a card game with some of the younger kids and then stuck close to the adults as has always been her way.

It was glorious chaos and good for the soul. I had a marvelous time.

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And summer disappeared again...

Rained this morning and was cloudy depressing until early afternoon so we weren't able to have bunny play time outside or go bike riding. I thought about trying to hit the Ballard Seafood Festival on our way out of town but decided to give it a pass to be sure I wasn't late meeting up with Mark. Instead I took Kate shopping at the JC Penney's 70%-off sale that's going on now, with an eye toward early fall school clothes.

Improvised some enchiladas from a recipe in Southern Living (involved Cajun seasoning, which I just so happened to have in the cupboard). Beef instead of chicken because that's what I had on hand. Swiss chard in a white sauce with cheddar instead of spinach in a white sauce with Velveeta, again because that's what we had. Just took them out of the oven a minute ago, so I haven't had a chance to actually eat them but I hope they turn out. My cooking experiments lately have been disappointing, nothing worth posting about. I could do with some successes.

Discovered Kate has at least one visible cavity on one of her permanent front teeth (behind, near the gum line, in one of those really hard places for kids to remember to brush) and asked Mark to please take her in to have it looked at right away. We'll see how that goes... last time she had a cavity at his house he waited and in the end I had to handle it anyway (and with my severe dentist phobia, too). Kate's a very healthy kid in all other respects but her teeth have been a weakness. She's finally about to lose the last of the four silver crowns she's had on her baby teeth for all these years and I'd really hoped her permanent teeth might fare a bit better.

I hope the forecast for tomorrow and Tuesday holds. Having summer in bits and pieces like this is driving me insane. I'm seriously thinking about getting myself a SAD lamp or something. The lack of sustained summer and the sunshine that usually goes with it reminds me of the winter when we had those three straight months of rain. Bad for my brain.

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Lovely Day

I spent the day with Kate. She's been with her dad since July 3rd (granted, it was after a three month disruption in visitations) and while it's been nice to be footloose and relatively free in July it was also wonderful to have her back home for the weekend. Tomorrow will be a short day because her dad needs to exchange her early because he has something to do in the evening. Meanwhile, today was lovely.

While Chris went down to Renton to finish up a hanging story arc in his SotC game before convention travel hell makes all of August disappear in a haze, Kate and I went to see the Harry Potter movie at the Columbia City Cinema. I'd seen it already but her dad hadn't taken her to see it yet and I knew she wanted to go. (She was very sweet and happily agreed to see The Simpsons Movie last night instead of pressing for HP.) Gorgeous day, we caught the buses without problems, enjoyed the movie (and supported the local indy theater while doing so). We lunched on Subway sandwiches out in the sunny park before again catching all of our buses and making perfectly timed connections. I even had half an hour to read the newspaper at the library while she read her latest obsession, Chibi Vampire. She finished all of book 4 today (yay reading!).

At approximately the time when gaming should have concluded, we joined everyone at Tim's for some of his homemade ice cream and brownies, plus a little Xbox 360 fun. He showed off the Xbox Live version of Carcassonne, which does indeed look swell (and which Kate enthusiastically encouraged us to buy). Upon returning home, Kate helped me make dinner. Not only did she willingly help clean and prepare the fava beans (both shucking them out of their fluff-lined pods and skinning the blanched beans) but she mashed them and prepared a vinaigrette of her own concoction, which was lovely. I marinated and George Foreman grilled some zucchini and some chicken breasts and to my utter shock Kate ate all of her (admittedly small) portion, exclaiming multiple times about how good it was, but she also asked me if I was going to finish my portion and helped finish off what I had left. Amazing! Suddenly all grown up.

I can barely keep my eyes open to write this report of the day but I wanted to get down the gist of it while it was fresh in my mind. Just a thoroughly enjoyable day all around. Tomorrow if the weather holds we're going to take a bike ride together and play with the bunnies in the yard before she has to go back to her dad's.

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Vampire Moon

Friday night Chris and I headed out to the Egyptian for a midnight showing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's musical episode (Once More with Feeling) on the big screen. That is, of course, one of my very favorite episodes and I proposed to make it a group outing but in the the likely candidates for coming out with us either had conflicts or weren't able to get tickets. The line to get in when we finally showed up was around the block and longer than any SIFF line I'd ever seen at the Egyptian.

This Buffy musical event was put on by a group that's been traveling around to do the show. It's been in New York, LA, Chicago and elsewhere since starting up in Boston in 2004. If I was a bigger geek or obsessive fan of the show (I'm merely a person who liked it, not an episode quoting uberfan) I probably would have visited the group's MySpace page and known that they were handing out goodie bags, having trivia and fan-created videos, and a bunch of other stuff before the actual show. I appreciate their enthusiasm but after being told that "this is the awesomest, this is going to be the best night of your life" about six or seven different choreographed parts of the show, I was really, really ready for it to just start. Apparently I wasn't the only one as people started chanting "START THE SHOW! START THE SHOW!!" to the organizers' surprise and irritation. I enjoyed myself much more once they just started to roll the episode. Chris and I had a pact to duck out before the credits rolled so I don't know how they ended it or if the organizers came back out to reinforce how "awesome" it was once again. The episode itself would have been enough for me, though it was fun to be out with a bunch of other enthusiastic fans (and the various girls in bunny ears were pretty cute).

On the way home Chris and I both noticed that the full moon was HUGE in the sky. Gorgeous moon shot over the Amazon building, which I always love to see. I often carry my camera with me but didn't have it that night. Found out today that it wouldn't have mattered anyway, as the huge moon is an illusion! Space.com had an article all about how the nfull moon this weekend was at its lowest point in the sky for 2007 and that makes our puny human brains perceive it as being larger than usual. Neat!

Yesterday Kate and I had a frenzy of shopping, eating, movie watching, jewelry making, and mingling. Very busy day. It's our last weekend before she goes to her dad's for the summer and I'll only have two weekends with her the rest of summer break (except for the week that we're taking to go to Minnesota at the end of August) and the weather was finally summer-like so we took full advantage. Ended out he night hanging with Ray and Christine for a little barbecue action, ate some glorious Yukon River Salmon and grilled lamb and some outstanding strawberries and cream. Starting to feel like summer is actually here.

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Passport Away


I was told flat out that I should expect "expedited" service to take at least five weeks, not the two weeks listed on the government websites. I'm not surprised. I had to insist that the guy at the office actually send the various notarized lists, forms, and statements that I painstakingly collected over the last couple of months. He started dismantling the packets of information I'd so carefully assembled: my citizenship documentation, my sworn list of addresses, corroborating documents for the sworn statements, certified copies of our parenting plan (which specifies that Kate is to travel to Canada to spend the summers with her dad), etc. I said, "I'm pretty sure they want that documentation; they asked for it on the website." Sheesh.

Now the waiting begins. I don't actually expect to see her passport in five weeks. As long as I get it in the next ten weeks sometime we should be okay. She can get INTO Canada, it's just getting her back that could, in theory, be a problem. Though with the easing of the passport requirements I'm hoping that having the receipt showing that we've applied and it's in process will be sufficient.

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June is too busy!

It's the last month of school for Katherine and the last month that Orca will be in their current location. They have to move out of the school by the end of the school year, which means there's a lot of activity surrounding the move taking place in addition to the usual end of the year activities. Additionally, the teachers and the PTA are really going out of their way to try and make the end of this school year a special one for all the students but for the departing 5th graders especially. In that vein we have the following social calendar:

June 8th School Play (fundraiser for next year's 6th grade trips)
June 13th 5th Grade Class Trip to Wild Waves and sleepover in the Columbia Tower
June 14th 5th Grade Breakfast after sleepover
June 18th 5th Grade Graduation
June 19th 5th Grade Luncheon
June 20th Orca Field Day
June 21st Orca End of Year Celebration

In among all the school activities, we have Kate's make-up birthday party on June 9th and Chris's birthday dinner (I'm taking him to the Herbfarm!) on the 15th, then a "thanks for watching Kate for us" brunch with our kindly Kate-sitters on June 16th. Holy crap, June's half over! I haven't even been to a single SIFF movie this year and it's not looking like there's going to be much chance for me to change that.

I've gotten the papers I needed from Kate's dad to finally make the passport application we've been needing to file since April, so we'll be doing that tomorrow. Yay!

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Busy Sunny Saturday

The weather in Seattle today was just gorgeous. In the low 80s, sunny and breezy.

This morning was the awards ceremony for the Seattle Reading Award for Highest Improvement in Reading. Katherine was one of 234 fifth graders from 58 schools across the school district to get the award. Considering Kate's struggles with reading we're very proud that she received this distinction. She received an autographed book, a personalized certificate and a handshake from former mayor Norm Rice. It was quite interesting to see how different families approached the award. Some kids were dressed to the nines in suit coats or sparkling gowns and matching heels. Some kids came wearing track suits and t-shirts. Some families arrived in large, proud, rowdy groups, other kids came with just one parent or grandparent. Norm Rice's address to the kids had the well-worn cadence of an oft-told tale and was particularly funny as he was trying to explain to the kids about his experience as a kid being quarantined after exposure to polio and how books became so important to him because those were the days "before television, before computers, before Pac-Man..." and, as the parents in the audience began to chuckle and the kids looked confused someone helped him out and he added, "...before iPods." The days before Pac-Man! It was just so adorably quaint.

After the awards ceremony we were feeling good and the weather was so delightful, we decided to walk from the awards location up to the Beacon Hill Festival at the Jefferson Community Center. We bought some hamburgers, watched some folksy entertainment, and Kate won some cheap trinkets by playing games like bean bag toss. We exhausted our tolerance for community fairs in less than an hour but undaunted, I suggested that we continue to spend the day outdoors, doing stuff.

After a brief stop at home to pack up a picnic dinner (cold fried chicken, watermelon, assorted vegetables and dip) we made our way up to Discovery Park. On our way we were pulled over by a procession of motorcycle cops on an official escort of some sort. Finally it was revealed to be a small funeral procession of some sort. "Maybe it was Norm Maleng," I suggested. Rounding the corner, once we were allowed to go on our way, we saw a sign at a local gas station had been changed to read "In Honor of Norm Maleng".

We had a lovely picnic dinner at Discovery Park and walked the trails, looked out over the Puget Sound and generally wore ourselves out. Home now to cocoon for the rest of the evening, maybe read, maybe catch up on TiVo. I may even flirt with danger and treat myself to some coffee and a piece of the strawberry rhubarb tart I baked yesterday.

This is what summer weekends should be like!

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