Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

Because we remember.

Because we visit when we can. 

Because we need to learn their stories.

But because the stories are lost to time

we wear the reminder NOT to forget 

every day.

For our family's Army, Air Force, and Navy veterans,
lost in service
or bearing the scars for years to come.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

We Laugh, Because It's True

Monday, May 18, 2015

Retroblogging: Life is a Journey, Eat More Birthday Chips, March 18, 2015

Celebration Number 3 for Mid-March had an International Flavor, literally.

I may have mentioned that this group of colleagues is more into savory or salty than sweet.

And with that in mind ... and this ... from 2011

did we plan our team celebration in honor of Christine's birthday with an Around-the-World Exotic Chip tasting afternoon.

Decor was much more subdued than our California Beach Party, because there was no way to anticipate the flavor selection that was going to show up when six ladies purchase a random assortment of chips. (We did have some veggies, dip, cheese, and fruit to off-set all the salt. Don't worry Surgeon General. We are slightly smarter than that.)

Life is a Journey. Eat more Chips.

If you think you can't see the table for the chips, you would be right. I lost track, but I THINK there were at least two to three bags per person there. (Our standing team is seven, but flexes to 10.) Forgive me if I sound like Bubba Gump, but we had:

Potato chips
Lentil chips
Quinoa chips
Sweet Potato chips
Corn chips
Micro chips
Some sort of air chip
Green bean chips
Plantain chips
Seaweed chips

Flavors ranging from plain to sour cream and onion, guacamole to maple bacon, Worcestershire flavored to onion and garlic, and lots in between, plus odd shapes to boot. 

We were supposed to try and pick our favorites - but we ended up grabbing and gabbing ....
(That blur is Karla, blocking me from getting to the jalapeno chips! She moves fast that one.)

Gabbing about ingredients and flavors and how it was probably better that couldn't read the truly international ingredients from the Asian markets. At least the crab shapes didn't taste like crabs. Some of the other ones did. Can you spot the mystery bag?

I think poor Christine has been on a juice cleanse since the chip party. That was a LOT of salt. We kept finding half-finished bags of chips for about a week. The rest of the office had to help us out.

Are you keeping track? Yes, that was three office parties in my office in six days. Did I get much done that week? No. Did I impose a fun moratorium in my space for a bit. Yes, I did. I mean, it's called WORK. Not party.

Though, I should call it MEETINGS, not work.

So many meetings.

Or 9hour email and Reply-All free-for-alls.


Email = bane of my existence sometimes.

*I was going to name this post: Tossing Your Chips-- which while hysterically funny to me, especially in the context of a party only attended by ladies -- PROBABLY wouldn't be the best thing for future blog searches.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Retroblogging: Celebration California CEO, March 16, 2015

Mid-March was chock full of celebrations. This was celebration number 2.

For the surprise one in honor of our CEO's birthday, I thought I was SO clever to find a recipe that would pay homage to his California background. I found this recipe for an Earthquake Cake in my new-to-me Cake Mix Doctor cookbook (thank you public library sale for $2) and said to myself -- voila! Perfection.

You would think. Wouldn't you?

My first clue should have been that all of the overhead lights in my kitchen chose that weekend to burn out. Both of the large, overhead, florescent circular tubes ... BOTH. Two tubes that are so "vintage" that you have to go to a specialty store to find them. NOT your local CVS or 7Eleven.

LUCKILY, my emergency preparedness kit had a lantern in it for ... emergencies. Earthquakes = emergencies. Baking Earthquake Cakes in the dark = emergencies, right?
I SHOULD have realized that if you are making something and the name of it is something that is used to describe a natural disaster -- well. That should be a CLUE.

Even though the recipe did have directions to adapt it into cupcakes, let's just say ... My Earthquake Cake should have been called Volcano Cupcakes or Tsunami Sticky Cups, because ... oy ... my oven. Those sticky suckers needed some serious time to cool and even then I couldn't get them out of the tray. I think I am still chipping off gooey coconut from the bottom of the stove.

I took the extra batter and poured it into a regular rectangular pan for the remainder of the bake. That was somewhat better.
At least they tasted good. Sweet, but good.

Luckily, my contribution to this party was just a few treats and my space. The CEO's assistant came in and decorated it into a beach party extravaganza. I got to "enjoy" the ambiance for a while - and not being able to see out my windows.

View from my computer out into the room:  

Yes, they wrapped the windows AND the filing cabinets.

 Yes, I had to duck around lanterns all week.

 Yes, all I could smell was chocolate.

Yes, we dressed up in silly outfits. 

 Yes, we got him good.

 Yes, I think we exceeded the Fire Marshall's occupancy rating for my space.

 Yes, we like to party.

May 16, 1990: RIP Jim Henson, 25 Years

Via the Twitters

How could it be 25 years?

You are still missed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Retroblogging: Pi(e) Day 2015 March 14, 2015

Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day date format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π.

In the year 2015, Pi Day had special significance on 3/14/15 (mm/dd/yy date format) at 9:26:53 a.m. and also at p.m., with the date and time representing the first 10 digits of π. That same second also contained a precise instant corresponding to all of the digits of π.

~ Thanks wikipedia

Last year at Caramoor, I kicked off the first celebration of what we coined Pi(e) Day on March 14th, with a potluck lunch of pizza pies, quiches, homemade tarts, mini pecan pie bites, and more.

This year, we knew what to expect - and that it was going to be a BIG deal - so we decided to make it a special breakfast party. The only problem? Pi(e) Day would fall on Saturday the 14th. What a better way to make a Friday the 13th more memorable?

Set-up started the night before and we tried to make room for a variety of pies and accompaniments

My contributions were three-fold:

Pumpkin Pie Crumble Cake (more on that later)
that only I tasted -- and OMIGOSH TOO SWEET!
it was really only there as a decorative item.

and a quiche Lorraine

and did that somehow end up being the only quiche Lorraine, why yes, it did.

Luckily we had more space this year, because the offerings started to roll in, roll in, and roolllllll in.

Quiches of all types, necessitating a sampler plate or two.

My office was full of revelers, bonding over carbs, and meeting the singers-in-residence for the week.

We even had a Pi(e) Day appropriate craft learning center, courtesy of the CEO's son. 
But really, the emphasis was on the pies -- and they kept showing up.
Did you see the dough pi symbol? Fancy.
 I turned around at one point and the home-made frangipanes had appeared in a puff of powdered sugar.

It was a good thing one of my colleagues brought in her dog at the end. Pi(e) Day left a lot of crusty crumbles on the floor for Ralph to lick up.

Someone suggested that we do "Iron Chef" Caramoor or a baking competition. I not too subtly squashed that idea. There are some VERY competitive people on the staff, some of whom have owned their own catering businesses, foodies, wannabe foodies, and MORE competitive type folks, - and please, who can compete with those freak frangipanes! NOT me.

Look, I'm the girl who tried out a two new recipes for this thing. That deceptively beautiful pink pie? One bite was enough. It hadn't really set - and this group is more into savory than sweet. That was too sweet. I chucked it.

Also, the lovely pumpkin pie crumble cake (c/o the Cake Mix Doctor) - caused me FITS. Recipes that call for evaporated milk are particularly tricky. You know the expression, "measure twice, cut once?" For recipes that include cans of evaporated milk, it should be: read 25 times & sign a piece of paper that you have doubled-checked that it calls for X oz. and you are holding a can that equals those X oz. & have an independent outside source verify the same.

In this case, the cake called for a 5 oz. can. Who poured in an entire 12 oz. can into the batter?

This girl!

Did she say a few words and then try and figure out a thickening agent scenario when no stores were open at that hour and even if 7Eleven was, it wouldn't have what she needed?

You betcha.

LUCKILY, I had a small Ziploc container from my old bossman at Juilliard of all people, and I added about 7 teaspoons into the batter until I felt like it MIGHT be the right consistency and then I prayed and prayed and prayed that it would fit a) the pan and b) be edible. I also baked it a whole helluva lot longer than you'd know that recipe called for.

Sadly, that wasn't the only party OR baking adventure for work that week.

So many parties that week.