Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Day, Near Philadelphia

The school where I work made the announcement last night, around ten o'clock. Closed because of the [anticipated] huge snowfall. I was happy if only because not having to get up at 6:20 made it feasible for us to watch another episode of Doc Martin, our current Netflix craze.

Woke up at a decadent 8:17 this morning and found Facebook aflame with disgruntled posts. The 14"-24" that we'd all been prepped for hadn't materialized. Himself thinks there is a base of about 5" where we are; drifting makes precision difficult.

Anyway, back to the FB groans. "The weatherman who cried blizzard" was one theme; another was complete castigation of the storm itself: "She's a flirtatious tease!" "Liar!"

I don't know about the rest of the world, but Near Philadelphia, whenever a Major Weather Event is announced, locals rush to the nearest grocery store and purchase white bread, milk, and eggs. Many add toilet paper to the list of essentials. It's the kind of thing we know is strange and silly, do it anyway, and poke fun at ourselves.

Again: "Where's my blizzard?" Apparently the public schools had a two-hour delay, the second worst nightmare of school employees (the worst being early dismissal because of bad weather). And yet again: "Liar! Liar!" Which prompted me to opine that a forecast is not synonymous with a promise.

As we broke the eggs and judiciously added the milk, I reported all of this to my Beloved (who has a FB account but is not addicted) and we reminisced about a neighbor 46 years ago when we lived in enlisted housing on the Navy Base. When the family moved in, my husband introduced himself in Navy fashion: "I'm an Illustrator/Draftsman." "Oh," replied the new guy across the sidewalk, "I'm a weather guesser."

I got out the syrup (his preferred topping) and the powdered sugar (mine). Himself had been pondering the "promise" remark and observed, "There's a continuum: Guess -- Prediction -- Forecast -- Promise." I thought him to be brilliant and served up the bacon.

That picture above is from the internet. Our french toast is all eaten.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Senor Salsa, At Last!

The rule at our house is that any time I work a twenty-four hour shift at the hospital, Himself either cooks our dinner or we go out. For months we've been tantalized by the "opening soon" promise of a Mexican place across the street from the hospital. Last night we paid it a visit. It was mobbed. Here is my experience; your mileage may vary.

  • They can't help the size of the parking lot. It was tiny when the space was "Timber." Heck, it was tiny when it was the Innflight. It's still tiny. We squeezed into the last space. It was about six o'clock of a Sunday night.
  • Once inside, again the tininess. No waiting area to speak of, small bar, and hostess on the far side of the "vestibule." A cashier's stand just inside the door appears to have no function.
  • The decor is charming. Very Mexican throughout.
  • I had a "raspberry" margarita. Strong on raspberry, weak on margarita, and lots and LOTS of ice. I won't get that again. 
  • We were told we'd have a twenty-minute wait; I don't think it was that long.
  • They've attempted to put about six too many tables in the place. It is very, very crowded and cramped. And noisy, too.
  • We were barely seated when our waiter arrived with chips and salsa. I requested a small guacamole which he brought quickly. He appeared to be a genuine Mexican person, as did most of the staff. Added credibility. He didn't call us "guys," always a plus in my book.
  • The menu is extensive. It goes on for pages and pages. Neither of us knows much about Mexican food; we just know we like it if it isn't too spicy. We both ordered the Combo where you get to pick two items from a list and they come with rice and with beans, both of which are important to us. I chose a tamal (no e) and a chicken quesadilla. Himself had a soft taco and a burrito. 
  • The food arrived very quickly but, as is so often the case, we were cautioned about the hot plates, a sure sign of extensive microwave use. Oddly, the table next to us, a party of 6, had been seated and placed their order before we sat down, and their food was just arriving as we were getting up to leave. So the service may be spotty.
  • The chips were good. The salsa was not freshly made but seemed to have come from a jar. It wasn't real spicy (another plus). The guacamole was okay; it was on the bland side. Jalapeños would have been unwelcome, but it may have needed some lemon juice or some other seasoning. The tamal was delicious. The rice was tasty but odd; it felt to me like Minute Rice dressed in a sombrero. (Speaking of sombreros, two nearby tables were celebrating birthdays and the victim was crowned with an immense sombrero during the mercifully brief song.) The beans were nice. I can't tell you how the quesadilla was because I didn't touch it. There was a staff person wandering around, offering take-home boxes. Himself liked his soft taco and his burrito. One of us will have my quesadilla for lunch today.
  • The dessert menu was enticing. I would love to have tried the tres leches cake and I know my dear companion might well have enjoyed the fried ice cream. But we were stuffed. Full. 
  • The service was fine; no problems there, guys. The din kind of got to us after a bit. 
  • The value was outstanding, and this is important since it is going to be a hospital employee spot. These folks need prompt service and low prices. Señor Salsa provided both for us. Not including the strange margarita and Himself's Corona, the bill for the two of us was $30.61. I'm a cheap date.
  • We grabbed the last two mints at the defunct cashier counter on the way out. They were great.
Will we return? Probably not for dinner any time soon. Truth be told, once we were seated we felt just a wee bit hurried. And really cramped. The noise was too much for us old people; twenty-somethings on a Friday might find it perfect. It might be a place to have lunch with girlfriends; I'd be glad to give that a try.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

In Which My Studio Becomes a Foxhole

I like to think that I don't have to jump on every single quilting bandwagon that comes across the internet. I generally don't want to make what everyone else seems to be making. Usually, if anything, I'm late to the party -- having decided to get involved with a particular popular pattern, block, or technique well after most people have moved on.

But every once in a while . . . .

Or perhaps I'm behind once again. I made my first Fancy Fox block yesterday, followed in rapid succession by nineteen more. The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman and I bought two of it last month -- one to keep and one to give.  The pattern comes in two forms: via snail mail or downloadable pdf. The instructions are clear. The illustrations are full color, explicit, and plentiful. I'm so smitten with the foxes that I went ahead and bought Elizabeth's Hazel Hedgehog pattern, too. You can buy the patterns directly from Elizabeth or from a bunch of other on-line sources. Use your Google.

The foxes are addictive. With the current baby boom in my extended world, I'm making baby quilts. The first set of twenty is made from a layer cake I had from before I took the pledge, and fabrics are perfect and gender neutral. Already I've cut strips for a "boy" version and a "girl" version.

And then it will be on to the hedgehogs!

Oh, and I solemnly swear that Elizabeth Hartman has paid me no money, fabric, patterns or other compensation of any kind. Heck, she doesn't even know I'm writing this