Sunday, June 28, 2015

Culinary Adventures 2015

Alison should be waking up about now at Auntie Jen and Uncle Peter's lake house. If she's lucky, it'll be a dog kiss that will bring her out of her slumber.

She was done with us the minute we got into the car to drive her to the airport, seething with all the fervor she wore when she was two and learning to master tasks like tying her shoes or putting on her own ketchup. "I can DO this!" she'd insist as the ketchup poured over the plate and the string refused to stay snug.

So we left her there at the gate where she still had 30 minutes left til boarding. Kisses and hugs, sure, but she was ready to be doing it on her own.

She even dutifully checked in along the way and we have a sweet shot of her and Nicodemus, both too sleepy to do much than nudge each other. (Thanks, Jen.)

So,  childless, we set off on our annual quest to try new restaurants.

For lunch it was The North End BBQ at 1250 E. 86th Street.  We'd been meaning to get there but we always think of it late. It's smallish and fills up fast. Now we know why.

It's a contender for best fries in town. I had a salad and collard greens -- an odd combination but the waitress said it was vinegar-y and that made me think of my grandma's spinach, so I had to try it. Jeff had a pulled pork sandwich and jalepeno fries with a Taxman Blonde Abbey Ale.

Still struggling with that extra 10 pounds, I stuck to tea and water, but sampled his.

Every bit, including the service,  was stupendous. They play a lot of Johnny Cash, too.

At one point, Jeff asked me if I would come back. Through my veggies, I mumbled, "I'd come back tonight."

We got out of there for about $40 and will be back for dinner with Alison, who's a huge rib fan.

Dinner last night was intended to be a walk into Broad Ripple or SoBro. Instead, Team Jasheway came over with all sorts of cheese and sausage -- chorizo with something extra and elk with blueberry -- so we pulled out all our leftovers and just grazed all night.

Jeff made mojitos for Kirsten and me but he and Duane sampled craft beers and ended with Sazeracs. Oh, and the chocolate shake with Skinny chocolate espresso syrup,  Hershey's syrup, Crave chocolate liquer, creme de cacao, coconut rum, chocolate ice cream and skim milk.

For leftovers and "what do we have in the fridge" it kind of rivaled our lunch.

Today we're trekking to Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. If I don't show up at work it's because we're still lost somewhere in there. I'm confident we'll eventually eat our way out.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Hey, Dad. What's a clitoris?"

Yes, that was a real question Alison asked her father last week at the Pride Parade.

The question is a fabulous illustration of their relationship. The answer is what makes Jeff Reed a great dad, a great partner and an all around terrific person.

Some dads would shudder, start dripping sweat, look desperately around for the first female they could find and shove the kid in that general direction stuttering something like, "Uh, hey, I think I smell smoke. And I think you're mother's calling. Better go find her."

But much like the Grinch on Christmas Day surrounded by Whoovillians, Jeff Reed's heart grew three sizes. And he answered her.  "Huh," she said. "OK."

And that was that. 

I feel compelled, on behalf of all fun-loving women, to interject here that if you you are in a relationship with a female and don't know the answer to Alison's question, you should stop reading this missive and get yourself to the interwebs right now. Your partner will thank you.

Does what inspired Alison to ask the question matter?  Not really. Sure, we were surrounded by a fairly provocative crowd, but it was a joyful gathering and a great demonstration of a bunch of silly, happy people just pleased to be able to showcase their true selves. We should all be so free more often.

Alison, like every kid, has been asking questions for years that could drive a more traditional adult figure screaming in another direction. But we've always tried to hit them straight on, explaining as well as we could in age-appropriate words. It's not always been as easy as we hope our delivery has been.

She asked me what "the c-word" was once when I was driving and I almost wrecked the car as I wracked my brain coming up with that answer. Jeff has occasionally been surprised when she made references to things he didn't know she knew about. 

And yes, some of our friends and family think we should be more circumspect. 

As she gets older, the appropriateness is shifting, of course. But it's always been a philosophy that's worked for us.

In any event, it's Father's Day and Jeff is wallowing in the idea that even in her teen years, Alison will turn to him as easily as she turns to me for answers about body parts or boys. As he should. 

Ali presented him with a breakfast she'd made after forcing him to stay in bed to consume it.  "That girl is not a leader; she's just bossy," he fake-complained. I was just grateful he had pants on when she came in.

After he was allowed to emerge, she showered him with gifts, including a card she'd tailored with a drawing of him that included a bit of the salt she sees in his pepper-colored hair.  It's been a good morning and the day promises to just get more fun.

Now, is there anything YOU'D like to know? 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pride Goeth before the Ball

Or in our case, before the ball game.  We had a super busy weekend that started with birthday shopping, then to being in a parade, parties, an art fair and finally a baseball game.

It was awesome. But so busy and full we might need an extension to the weekend.  That, or forgiveness for a sluggish Monday.


Seeing so many friends -- including Jeph Slaughter, Tim Joyce and a slew of Democratic (and even a few Libertarian) politicos at the Indy Gay Pride parade/festival.  Sure there were a few people who were a bit over the top, but the over-riding feeling at the events was just sheer happiness. Jeph walked with the Angie's List contingent in the parade and may have actually been the best ambassador for the 17-mile trek. 

It was a great day. Super fun. Maybe not 17 miles, but at least 17 miles of fun.

We split up from Ali that night for separate but equally fun birthday parties. 

We reunited Sunday to visit the Talbott Street Art Fair to see more friends, including Cindy & David Athey, and Karen Terrell and acquire more stuff.

Rain flirted with the sun, with the sun mostly winning out and nearly wiping us out at the ball field. But  the Indians prevailed and we finally got to rinse the stink off us and collapse wellbefore nightfall.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

If this is a prelude to the Summer of 2015, I'm all in

Jefff and I got a text from Alison -- the Friday before she starts high school summer school -- not to bring anything home or make plans for dinner: she was making a romantic dinner for us.

What does it say about parents who read that text in their separate offices and immediately wondered what havoc she'd wrought, what sin she'd committed and how deep her prep for softening the blow of her confession would go.

It's possible we also wondered if it would be coconut shrimp from the freezer and mac-n-cheese with cupcakes for dessert.

It's also possible that we need to stop bracing ourselves for the terrible (INSERT YEAR) to start.

We started with caprese kabobs -- she used the remnants of an earlier appetizer and put her own little twist to it. Roma tomatoes quartered, skewered with basil and mozzarella, drizzled with mozzarella and sprinkled with fresh ground pepper.

The main course was baked, Asian-style chicken with mushroom caps stuffed with garlic, bread crumbs, provolone and parsley with a side of udon noodles with sesame oil & seeds, carrot and chives.

Dessert was a peach, halved and baked with brown sugar and butter, paired with scoops of vanilla ice cream.  She would have broken out a bottle of wine but said she thought she might get arrested for dabbling in alcohol.

This is her explaining "What I've prepared for you tonight...." (She's watched "Choppped" a time or two...)

Sure, she did all this in her underwear and hadn't brushed her hair all day, but hey: did your kid make you a restaurant-quality dinner Friday night?  I didn't think so.

To reward her, we had her help us paint the first coat on our new backyard shed on Saturday. We'd been planning to hire that job out, along with some other stuff. 

It's going to be an Angie's List kind of summer for us. We've already had great success with an electrical problem and a chimney issue using my fancy AL SnapFix app. The chimney thing was so easy that Jay, who fixed it, wouldn't charge me. I felt so bad about wasting his time that I asked him what he thought about a crack in the window box out front. 

Overr the years, there's been some water seepage, may due to that or other cracks. The west corner has a bigger issue, and all told, it's  the kind of thing that can lead to really terrible issues. Plus, the brick on our house isn't made anymore, so  it'll be a fairly expensive job. I no longer feel bad about the flue thing, and we'll be seeing a lot of Jay very soon, I expect.

Given the specter of the bricks, we thought we could paint the shed ourselves. Ali was excited at first. She was looking forward to ladder work and she liked picking out the paint at the store. A few hours in, her enthusiasm had waned a bit. And I have to admit that I was wondering what I'd been thinking when Jeff and I were discussing sizes and I'd insisted that we get the biggest on because even if we didn't NEED all that space, better to have more than we need than not enough and find ourselves still not able to park in the garage.

I kept that to myselve. The shed is nearly as big as our one-car garage. Something like 16x11x12. I'll love it again once the final coat has dried, I'm sure.


We ended the first day of the project with all but the bottom wood primed or painted.  Rain will move in tonight so we'll finish up when we have a dry spell in the forecast. (We were all a little bit thrilled by that news if were honest.

So that's been out weekend. We also welcomed (long-distance) a new member of the family. Ali will meet her cousin, Nicodemus, at the end of the month when she visits Team Reed Maine. 

It's good that it's a few weeks because she apparently needs some time to rest her petting arms so they work again. And I need a few more Friday dinners.