Snow Ice Cream

Today has been all about the snow.  We received nearly 2ft. worth overnight and local schools and businesses were closed and the roads were practically impassable until noon. This means of course that while I worked on endless stupid reports for work (the weather has little impact when you work from home) I was serenaded every so often with the classic “I’m bored”  from HRH.  I mean, most kids love when there’s a crap ton of snow on the ground aren’t they?  Well not HRH it seems.  She lasted approximately 10 minutes outside before she was back inside with her iPad complaining that it was too cold.  Kids today I tells ya (click HERE).  Anyway, couple that with the fact that we ran out of gasoline for the snow blower so that the entire driveway had to be cleared by hand this morning and, yeah, not an overly fun day. Anyway, after dinner this evening we tried to embrace the whole spirit of Snow Day a little more by indulging in a special treat.  After all, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade, right?  Well, when Old Man Winter gives yo snow…you make Snow Ice Cream. Yes, it’s a thing…apparently. You will need:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk (we used cream instead)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Oh, and snow…of course. First, whisk all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. After nearly 90 minutes of shoveling this morning, I left the majority of this grunt work to the kid. 1Secondly, collect approximately 8 cups of clean, fresh snow from your backyard.  Of course, I advise finding somewhere where there is little chance that it has been recently visited by any neighboring dogs or wildlife.  Think of this as a great learning opportunity to educate your child on the distinct unwholesome properties of eating yellow snow. 2Lastly, mix the the freshly collected snow into the milk mixture, and keep adding until a somewhat ice-creamy consistency is achieved. 3Lastly, mix the the freshly collected snow into the milk mixture, and keep adding until a somewhat ice-creamy consistency is achieved.  It should be fluffy and scoop-able, but not runny.  Ours kind of looked like a bowl of cottage cheese. 4Scoop it out into bowls and consume. Of course, you can flavor your snow ice cream any way you wish by adding cocoa powder instead of vanilla extract to make chocolate flavored snow, or dress your snow ice cream with sprinkles, fruit, fresh jam, or whatever it is you like to eat with your ice cream.  Have a ball!  Me?  I like my min plain and simple. 5I have so say, I was pretty impressed.  It tasted entirely like vanilla ice cream!  Delicious in fact.  However, I can’t help but be a little upset that I am only hearing of yummy revelation now.  I mean, seriously, how much money (no to mention calories) might I have saved on this particular concoction over the numerable pints of Ben & Jerry’s I’ve consumed in my past? It boggles the mind.

2014 in Review

I promise to update this blog more often this year but, in the meantime, thanks for dropping by!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Keep Calm and Color On

It’s been a long weekend.  Well, a long Saturday anyway but I have to do the same thing all over again tomorrow so I may as well say it now and get it over and done with.  I’m on Dad Duty again and it’s exhausting – like, totally exhausting – seeing as how I have to keep her entertained every single nanosecond of the entire day until either she passes out from the sheer magnificence of having so much fun or I completely flip out and, well, let’s not go there.  Anyway, it’s been a busy day.

As part of today’s busy day we visited a free family event as part of the local Santa Claus Parade celebrations.  The event included Christmas tree ornament decorating, writing letters to Santa, stringing together popcorn garlands, singing Christmas carol, games, activities, clowns, elves and what have you, so as far as nine-year-old girls go it was the bomb-diggidy.  For grown up dads…not so much.  But regardless, I do my best to put on the premise of having fun as it’s all about her at the end of the day.  If she’s happy – I’m happy.  Kinda.

So while she runs around breathless doing crafty stuff and playing party games and otherwise having the time of her life I get to stand there along the wall like a schmuck with all the other forgotten about dads.  We were like our own Island of Misfit Toys.  Fun?  Not.  Making things worse is that I have absolutely nothing in common with the local dads. I don’t hunt, I don’t fish and I don’t know a monkey wrench from a torx screw.  Shit, I can barely the make and model of my own car on a good day.  Remember, my own hobby requires my being dressed in spandex, wetsuits or tights most of the time.  So, yeah, there’s little common ground there.  Instead, I decide to waltz on over to one of the craft tables and do something I haven’t done in, maybe, thirty years…color.  Yes, with colored pencils n’ shit.

And you know what?  It was totally calming…relaxing…enjoyable even.  Sure I was sitting there at a table with half a dozen strange little girls giving me the leary eyeball, but who cares? There was something entirely hypnotic and strangely therapeutic about it.  Turns out I dig me some coloring.  A grease fire could have broken out and I wouldn’t have cared in the slightest.  Mrs. Santa herself could have been performing a Tijuana-style donkey show with Rudolph at the coffee counter and I wouldn’t have given two ginger snaps.  I was in sweet, heavenly bliss.

And so it went for the next hour or so…

My masterpiece

My masterpiece

“Can I get my face painted?”

“Sure.  Hey, you over there…pass me the Poppy Red.” 

Keep coloring…

“Can I have some more candy?”

“Whatever. Do you see the Periwinkle Blue anywhere?”

Keep coloring…

“That strange man over there with the funny sideburns wants to know if I can go eat cookies in his van.”

“Knock yourself out.”

Keep coloring…

“I’m bored.  Can we go now?”

“Shh.  Can’t you see I’m coloring?”

Vinyl Education

I had a bit of a dilemma this afternoon in that I had promised to be on “Dad Duty” so Kelly could sleep, yet there was a local Record Fair going on that also really wanted to attend; what to do…what to do.  Oh for those long ago days went the world was my oyster and I was a slave to no man’s (or woman’s for that matter) schedule.  Dammit.

*sigh*

Anyway, I casually mentioned it to the child to gauge her interest level, which I assumed would be somewhere between watching a Jean Claude Van Damme movie and, say, having flaming hot bamboo rods inserted under her finger nails and, really, who would blame her?  She’s nine years old.  But her response sealed the deal:  “What’s a record?”

Oh.  My.  Gawd.

That’s it.  Pack up your shit.  We’re going!

DSCF2157

Nice choice…

I figured if anything it would be a great time to bond together over some dusty vinyl and begin her education in the cool, hip world of records.  On the car drive there I explained the in’s and out’s of shopping for vinyl such how they smell, feel, ultimately how they work and, no, they’re not like a frisbee.  That kind of thing.  I detailed for her how to handle them with care, how to seek out things alphabetically and how to simply appreciate the little things like the unique and funky album cover art and the silly names of lesser known bands and artists.  By the time she got there she was rarin’ to go and I simply turned her loose with the promise that if she found something that she loved – for whatever reason – she could have it.  Price pending, of course.  I’m no Daddy Warbucks.

So as I flipped and browsed through the stacks of records looking for treasures she wandered off to look for some Pink Floyd which she has recently developed an interest for (yay for me!).  Every now and again I checked on her to see what she was up to and noticed that she was getting into it…like, really into it…going around from vendor to vendor exploring.  Eventually she came rushing back absolutely flushed with excitement over something she had found.

“I found a Red Knuckles!”, she practically screamed so that nearly every pony-tailed vinyl geek in the place could hear.

I couldn’t believe my ears.

“Who?” 

I had to be sure I’d heard her correctly.

“Red Knuckles!”

Yup, that’s what I thought she said.  Now for those of you rubes who do not know who Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers are, well, you’re a schmuck but I’ll educate you anyway.  Red Knuckles is the pseudo alias of band members from Hot Rize, who perform as a Western swing band complete with stage names, between sets of their own shows.  HRH‘s only familiarity with them is that I happened to play a Hot Rize concert in the car months ago where they also performed the Red Knuckles schtick.

A proud moment indeed!

A proud moment indeed!

“Are you sure?”, I asked hesitantly.  I will admit here that while I’m a fan of Hot Rize, I did not know that they also had albums out as their aliases.  Huh.

“Yes I’m sure!  Come see!”  She was absolutely giddy.

So of course I allowed myself to be dragged over by the hand to check it out and – low and behold – there it was.  Her cheeks had flushed red with excitement and she had a proud, beaming smile that spread over her entire face.  I swear, my small heart grew three sizes in that moment. I think I might even have shed a tear.  What’ya know?  She pays attention.

“Is that what you want?”, I asked.

The answer was a complete no-brainer and my record collection has now become our record collection, of which Red Knuckles is now a part.  And I couldn’t be happier.  Now, if I could only explain her new interest in Ozzy Osbourne…

God help me.

Fart Big! Dream Big!

Turn your back for two seconds and this is what will appear on your driveway written in bright neon-colored sidewalk chalk:

A regular Picasso

A regular Picasso

Yeah.  Chew on that  for a moment.  Where do you think she picked up this particular brain dropping?  I mean, ‘smel your farts‘ I get, but ‘Fart Big!  Dream Big!‘?

What the hell?

Sure, I already know farts are funny but, geez, do we have to announce it to the world?  Personally – all childhood innocence aside – I sure hope HRH will strive to accomplish greater things in this life and aspire to more than simply letting rip with the perfect fart.  Just sayin’…

God help me.

Bob the Fly

It seems that HRH has now adopted herself a new pet she’s named Bob; ‘Bob the Fly’ to be exact.  Yes, she’s taken to a fly that’s been buzzing around inside my car for the past week.  Every time she jumps in the backseat of the car to go somewhere she hunts him out to ‘make sure he’s okay’.  Seriously, a fly? 

I will  pause here for a moment to mention that I think ‘Bob the Fly’  would, however, be an awesome name for a band in the same vein as ‘Young the Giant’, ‘Cage the Elephant’  or ‘Cuff the Duke.  But I digress…

Personally, while I think this whole pet fly business is a bit cute, it’s also pretty freakin’ strange. On the one hand I appreciate that she has a genuine love and respect for all of God’s creatures (save bees and ticks maybe) but then there’s that, well, rather ‘creepy’ Wednesday Adams vibe to it.  I mean, first it’s naming a fly in the car before it potentially snowballs into her becoming that wacko with flies on a leash and threatening to poison the water supply in ‘Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil’.  It’s certainly a slippery slope.

And, seriously, if she ever starts crazy-gluing thread to the backs of flies so she can take them for a walk around the neighborhood, my ass is outta there!  Sorry Kelly but I’m not living with crazy ‘Queen of the Flies’  girl.

Pause again quickly to note that ‘Queen of the Flies’  is not as cool a band name as ‘Bob the Fly’.

However, the way it is now is pretty harmless in the grand scheme of things I guess; she’s just being a typical imaginative nine-year-old…weird as it may be.  I keep telling myself that anyway.  So Bob continues to buzz around my back seat refusing to fly out any of the windows and she therefore has a travel companion to amuse her for long car drives into the city leaving me largely to my coffee and tunes.  It’s a classic win-win.

Who am I to judge anyway?

God help me.

“I Forgot…”

I have learned to be afraid of two specific words in HRH’s vocabulary – more so than any others. They’re even worse than the dreaded “What if…”  (click HERE).  These two words would strike fear into the hearts of even the most patient and nurturing of step fathers such as myself. 

Those two words are: “I forgot…” 

It’s doesn’t matter what words follow those two preceding words but, let me assure you, they’re definitely not going to be favorable.  Be afraid my friends, be afraid.

I experienced just these two very words only this morning approximately 20 minutes into our commute into the city; her to the day camp; me to work. Usually, these two words might be preceded by another two words, “Oh no!” – just as she did today – so maybe those might be the two most feared words but, hey, I digress…when strung together they’re the Devil’s Quartet of the nine-year-old vernacular.

And there they were, echoing excitedly from the backseat:

“Oh no! I forgot…”

Wait for it…

…my lunch!”

*facepalm*

Now I could have dealt with just about anything at that point like a forgotten water bottle, her YMCA membership card, a sweater, a pair of shoes perhaps, but a lunch isn’t something you can take lightly; specifically her lunch. Sure, I could just pull over at Subway and grab her half sandwich but then I’d just be that dad: the guy who sent his kid to camp with half a meatball sub. Sorry, can’t do it. 

So I did what I had to do and turned around to make for home.  I will admit to trying to mentally calculate how long she might be expected to go without food but I quickly gave that up as I have no mind for numbers.  So what choice did I have?  Frustrating, right; infuriating even?

But here’s the thing: you can’t even really get mad at her. Shit, when I was nine-years-old, if it didn’t have anything to directly do with either my penis, or maybe my G.I. Joe’s, then the chances were very good that I wasn’t even aware of it, much less remembering it. And with her mind already completely overloaded with ponies, princesses, leftover pancakes, and whathaveyou, well, who could blame her? 

She’s got a lot going on in there already.

God help me.

Midnight Soul

From time to time, HRH  gets stuck in these, well, let’s call them ‘trends’, where she will gravitate to something specific as a means of amusing herself. There have been endless pictures of me as a princess (well, this it seems is an ongoing fascination), then it was elastic bracelets, that stupid Fox song (and before that, Baby Shark) and, lately, it’s been Shark Week. But, now, there’s also something even more interesting and confusing:

Midnight Soul.

No, this is not some 70’s style funk band, nor is it the name of a fancy late night restaurant somewhere and I sure as shit hope it has nothing to do with this:

…because that would be just downright weird!

But, no, apparently it’s just two random words that keep appearing over and over again in our house in little girl handwriting. It’s written in big, bold yellow chalk letters on our driveway; it’s scribbled on little notes she leaves at my desk; and it’s scrawled across her blackboard downstairs. Beats me what it means, it’s just there.

So I inquired with her yesterday as to where these words, term, phrase (or whatever it is) might have originated, fully expecting it to be in some way related to Katie Perry, or something equally stupid and kid-centric. But I was wrong on both accounts.  In fact, she told me she didn’t “get it from anywhere”, but rather she simply thought it while looking at the clouds in the sky.

It just came to me”, she said.

Clearly she’s back on the ‘No More Tears’, right? 

I decided to press a little further.  “But what’s it mean?”, I asked.

“I dunno. It just sounds cool”, she answered.

Okay then.  Fair enough. 

Midnight Soul‘ it is. 

I think it’s high time I get this a child a journal of her own; Lord knows what other completely random and odd thoughts are firing through that brain pan of hers.

God help me.

Megalodon, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I can only take so much kids programming.  Sure, HRH  loves it (as any 9-year-old would I expect) and it should be all about her enjoyment really but, still, I need to be able to retain some sanity during our TV cuddle time too.  There has to be some happy medium.  Otherwise, I’m at risk to pulling a ‘Here’s Johnny!’  through the bathroom door one morning after being subjected to too much ‘Jesse’  the night before.

Thankfully, I have found a suitable alternative: Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives.

Shark Week to the rescue!

This particular program is the latest in a series of ‘docufictions’  (or ‘mockumentary‘ if you prefer) that are being aired on the Discovery Channel.  The story, with only short disclaimers at the beginning and ending indicating that it is fictional, revolves around the loss of a pleasure boat and crew off the coast of South Africa and an ensuing investigation that points to an attack by a member of the species Megalodon, a gi-normous prehistoric shark thought to be long extinct.  Its format is that of a documentary that includes accounts of “professionals” in various fields related to Megalodon – but she doesn’t know that.  For all she knows, Megalodon is alive and well and simply laying in wait for her the next time she decides to go swimming.  It’s brilliant.

Sure Wil Wheaton wasn’t too happy about it (click HERE) but, last I heard, poor Wesley Crusher doesn’t also have to entertain a rambunctious 9-year-old day after day.  Besides, who gives a shit what Wil Wheaton thinks anyway?

But, hey, it doesn’t stop with monster sharks either, there are whole series of new docufictions currently being aired too, like ‘Titanoboa: Monster Snake’ (which may, or may not have actually existed), and ‘Mermaids: The Body Found.  What kid wouldn’t be interested in humungous sharks, snakes and shit?  And Mermaids?  Well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

From my perspective, it’s cute to see her so tuned in on pins and needles, totally transfixed on the events unfolding on the television peeking out from the safety of her security blanket.  Of course, truth is always stranger than fiction, so when she goes to Google these things afterwards there are entire websites dedicated to these beasts which then lend themselves to perpetrating the myth.  Sooner or later she’ll eventually realize that what she’s seen on TV isn’t actually true but, in the meantime, it sure beats ‘The Wizards of Waverly Place’.  Isn’t learning fun?

God help me.

The King

This picture was waiting for me on the drivers seat this morning:

The King

By Jove, I think she’s finally beginning to get it.

I’m not sure where she got the tuxedo idea from but the rest is pretty accurate.

God help me.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 614 other followers