Ghost Chili Report

So, Kurt gave me some ghost chilies when last I was at home.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but I had a co-worker who was interested in taking them.  Here is his first report on the ghost chili experience:

You’ll be happy to know that your first pepper (the small one) was split between two people tonight. I wore latex gloves while I cut it open, removed the one seed and stem, and used a chopper to mince it into tiny tiny pieces. I used one jar of cheese salsa, one half jar of mild tomato salsa, and prepared to add the chile. But before I did, we had to have a taste of it raw. We each took a tiny piece on a toothpick, and WOW, that tiny piece burned wherever it touched. I then added the minced chile to the salsa, heated it, and left it to stew covered while our two families ate dinner. After dinner we shared the salsa with chips. It was just about the hottest salsa I have ever had, but it was manageable. The whole thing got a taste of the spice from the time it stewed, but the little surprises throughout that burned our lips or caught in the back of our throat really let us know that we were eating something unusually mighty. We both said repeatedly that it surpassed our expectations, because it was powerfully spicy but not overpowering. A perfect use for the first chile.

The plan it to make the larger chile into some shish kebobs on Labor day. Part two will follow next week.

Moving Again

It seems I can never stay in one place for too long.  My current house, on 95th Street in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood, was the longest I’ve lived in a single place since I moved out of the house in 1998.  Ever since then, I did not live in a single place for longer than a year, and some places as short as three months (Bellingham and my first place in Seattle).

The house has had its ups and downs.  It’s a good location, has a sweet yard, and we hosted some fun parties here.  Plus, I had my own private bathroom the entire time I lived here.  On the downside, we were broken into twice, and it’s located on a major road with a poor sidewalk.

Our new house is still in Wedgwood, but closer to shops, grocery stores, a library, and bus stops to downtown and the university.  We move in next week.  I’ve already arranged to cancel our utilities accounts and transfer the cable over to the new place.  All that’s left to do is pack up, move, and clean the old place.

While I’m not crazy about moving, the new place is going to be in a better location, and it’s a cool house.

A vacation is just what I need.

It is not because I have sooo much work to do around here and I need a break.  It is because I was in Germany for 18 months and I missed the beauty that is only to be found in the big open spaces of the USA.  More specifically the national parks.  But I need to find my National Park Passport which has date stamps in it from Hawaii to Florida.  I can’t find it in the disarray that has become my life.  Woe is me!  That isn’t too big of a problem is it?  I just need to unpack some boxes.  I know I will find it, someday.

It would have been easier if…

…we had packed up what we needed in our bedroom and moved it downstairs in a suitcase.  I had a hard time finding anything but painting clothes when I needed to go somewhere “dressy” last night.  I did find something reasonably decent (even though they were mission clothes which I am sick and tired of). 

It is hard to live in the midst of a work zone and still function.  We are having another family gathering this weekend, sans Mark, we’ll see how that goes.  I am depending on my good children to pick up the slack food wise.  So if any of you have good ideas on food you want to contribute to the days festivities let me know.  I may be making homemade ice cream, just sounds good (peach?) 

Next time we do this I will be better prepared.  After we finish the basement there will be no next time, but I can change my mind, right?  I just keep getting these great ideas…

Everything must go!

That is what you feel like when you have to empty a room.  We have a painter coming in tomorrow.  She will be painting the living room and dining room for us (cathedral ceilings, no I don’t want Dale teetering on a ladder).  So today we had to move the rest of the furniture out.  There wasn’t much really, a few lamps a chair, a small table, the china cabinet and a very large fish tank.  It turns out the fish tank holds enough water for a toddler to swim in, really! 

Kurt said he would come by tonight to move it for us (it is his tank after all).  Well he did come by…to get his fishing pole and tackle box (I’m sorry, I’ll be back at eight to help you).  By the way if anybody knows where his pole is he would like to get it back.  So after catching 24 crawdads he came over and they are moving the tank.  I had taken all my china and crystal out of the china cabinet so it was easy to move.  All of the contents are living on my kitchen counter for a few days.  If I don’t love it, it is not going back in the china cabinet, so I have a few days to think about what must go.

We have received word that the carpet is on the way and my new bedroom window treatment is finished and on the way.  This thing is coming together.  We have decided that we are going to take a break between the upstairs and downstairs and go on a short trip, probably to Crater Lake in Oregon, we’ve never been there.  We also plan on seeing what Bend looks like in the early fall. 

Phase two will be a lot of work.  We have to move a lot of stuff around downstairs.  You know what I said…everything must go!

Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

Recently I was asked to work in the Cub Scout program, and although not excited about it, I agreed.  In my first outing as a den leader I went to Cub Scout day camp.  In past years I have gone with my Cub Scout aged sons to nearby Boy Scout “Camp Thunder-bird”, which is our local area established camp.  The camp for Cubs was called Camp Akela.  The boys looked forward to their week long (yes, it was a whole week) adventure in the woods of western Washington.  It was great, and the week sped by.  Camp Akela is gone, alas, and so is our fun filled week in the wild.  This year’s day camp for Cubs, “Washjam 2009” was a total waste of time for the boys.  We spent more time waiting in line for lame events that had nothing to do with building scout spirit or teaching scouting skills.  Okay, they had one thing, knot tying.  The rest of it were just lines with activities meant to entertain.  THEY HAD A BOUNCE HOUSE!  The boys lamented because they didn’t bring money to buy SNOWCONES (snowcones, at day camp?).

It was not well organized beginning with the roads not being marked well, and different directions from different Washjam personel to not enough activites for the number of kids (hence the long lines) and  unhelpful staff.  Please don’t make me do this again.  It didn’t help that we got lost while on foot and had to hoof it though knee high wet grass.  Or that the bus we wanted to take drove off empty with our tired legs running along behind waving our tired arms in the air to no avail. 

On a lighter note, I am not going back tomorrow.  Dale is getting back from Scout Camp in Oregon and I plan on being here to greet him.  Also I went to the grand opening of Trader Joe’s after we got back.  We now have another place to buy groceries in town, and the only place that carries Mache on a regular basis.  Mache is a wonderful salad green that I love, very mild in flavor, but looks a little like watercress.

I now need to figure out how to tell the Council that the Cub Scout Day Camp was a total waste of time.  Just want my voice to be heard.  And, yes, I told a lot of people at day camp how I felt.  I hate to shepherd antsy boys in a line, hate it!

Piano Movers ‘R’ Us.

We had to move the piano yesterday.  We have a full-sized grand piano.  The idea of our moving the piano boggled my mind.  We decided last night that we’d better move it sooner rather than later since this week-end is so packed with activities.  We called over the muscle, Kurt and Leslie.  Dix came along for the fun.  As we looked at the piano we thought about when it      

 wadscn63721s moved here and remembered that the legs were removable.  So Dale got his screwdrivers out and started unscrewing things, but that wasn’t exactly working, so we looked some dscn6373 more and discovered that there were little blocks of wood that were jammed in place with a shim.  When you took out the shim the blocks moved.  When you moved the blocks you could easily (!) slide off the leg.  Well, you have to hold the piano up to slide the leg off, that was a problem.  Since I am the puniest, I got to be the one to slide the legs off while everyone else was holding up the piano.  We tipped it onto one side and then slid it on the carpet out of the living room, manuvering it around the corner and then onto a blanket for the trip across the kitchen floor.

What happens if we  take this bolt out?
What happens if we take this bolt out?

We then tipped it back onto it’s bottom and heaved it up while the legs were slid into place.  Sounds easy, but it has a cast iron sounding board and is very heavy.  Thanks to all the heavy lifters who came to help.  We will remember how to take the piano apart for the next time so moving it back will be quicker.  Oh, and I will have a better thank you treat next time.

Renovation begins in earnest.

We are now starting our home renovation.  We took off the popcorn ceiling and have called in a contractor to make an estimate for “floating” the ceiling and re-texturing it.  We also picked out new carpet for the upstairs and new paint. 
Dale is starting the painting today in a closet in the small upstairs bedroom.  He took everything out of the closet this morning.  He masked the walls and I cleaned everything.  He was looking for an old pair of shoes to paint in (we must have thrown them all away before we left on our mission) so for now he is painting in his bare feet.  Lacy and Rose are here while their mom is at the dentist and they love watching grandpa put the paint on the walls.  Lacy decided he needed a little entertainment so she has been singing to him.

An interesting show

Lacy and Rose enjoying the show!
Dale at work
   The Artist at work!

We hope the upstairs will be done by the end of next month, then we will move back upstairs and start on the basement.  The basement won’t be as hard because we don’t have popcorn ceilings to remove.  We will have to paint and re-carpet and then we will be done with the inside.  Next spring we will do something on the outside of the house and paint the fence. 

I will have to think of other projects to keep him busy after that.

Harvest Time

I love to go to the Farmers Market in Olympia this time of year.  Granted, the produce costs more than similar produce at the grocery store, but it is all local and very fresh.  If you are a locavore, you need to go to the Farmers Market. 

Dale and I went last Friday and had fun mostly looking.  As I wandered along my eyes were drawn to a table covered with boxes of berries.  I thought, yum, maybe I will buy a box of blackberries (they ripen this time of year).  When I got closer I noticed they had STRAWBERRIES.  I couldn’t believe it.  Local strawberries in August.  I was thrilled, I didn’t even ask how much, just picked up a half flat (they were dear, believe me).   Then we hit the mother lode.  Fresh local CORN.  Yes, the Rutledge family has corn at the market again.  The summer before our mission we learned that the Rutledge patriarch had passed away and they didn’t plant corn.  I guess they missed the income.  Two ears for a dollar is also dear, but the corn is worth every penny.

Have I mentioned that the Farmers Market is one of the reasons we love this place?  We also love the bike paths, the eclectic community, the green, the fact that my family lives here (and they love it too).  We also love all the weird and wonderful places to shop downtown.  Let’s hear it for Wind-Up Here (I have a really funny story about that place that I will relate at another time).  

I could go on and on, but I won’t.  We love our community, and never want to move away.

Trip to Utah

We had several lovely days in Salt Lake and the area. Marilyn and Jake were kind enough to host us in their home. We had several chats with Winifred. We spent Friday evening at Lynne’s home where we celebrated Kevin’s birthday. It was really nice with good food. I didn’t even get in any arguments with Kevin Mahaffey – in fact we got along really well.

Saturday we visited Welfare Square and had a nice tour. We wanted to go to a Farmer’s market where Kevin sells his pottery, but we didn’t have time. We visited the Berlin reunion, but there weren’t many people there. Afterwards we went with Allison and Phil to Park City and enjoyed seeing the new ski jump facilities. I have some good video’s of ski jumping, ending in a pool of water.

Sunday we went to Church in Tooele and then Marilyn, Jake and Janet and I drove to Logan. We have nice hotel rooms. That evening we went to Janet and Roys, where Jenny and family were. We had a nice dinner and a fun evening of conversation.

Today Janet and I had a shopping trip to a book store and then met the Speth’s with kids at the hotel pool. After they swam we had a lovely lunch at Micky D’s. followed by a trip to the campus for Aggie Ice Cream. Yum.

Aggie Ice Cream
Aggie Ice Cream

We’ll depart tomorrow and start towards home and should arrive there Wednesday.