Monday, November 19, 2012

11/19/12 Kitty Warning

I got home today and it was pretty quiet....until Zorro started meowing insistently. He'll make a pathetic little mew from time to time, but never this consistent. He wouldn't quit! I had no idea what was wrong.

I was puzzled why Meow-stache wasn't around, but she hides a lot these days, so I didn't think much of it. Usually she follows me around when the kids aren't home, but who knows with a cat. Special as she is to me, really, she's just a cat.

After spending the evening working and taking care of office things, I finally did a thorough check of downstairs, then went upstairs. I checked around, and then discovered....Katrina's door was closed. This door has a tendency to shut itself unless it's completely open, and then the tiniest nudge can put it into a position to swing shut.

I opened Katrina's door, and was met immediately with a horrific stench, and then a black-and-white streak zooming out past me downstairs. Meow-stache was stuck in there!

Oh my gosh, I felt terrible. She'd pooped on the floor and rug, peed on Katrina's bed (which thankfully still has a night-training protector on it), and obviously was hungry. She was probably trapped in there all day!

I did a hasty but thorough cleanup, and then went to make up with my new friend, who forgave me immediately with purrs and rubs. Meantime, I swore to myself that I'd find a way to fix this troublesome door, that has had a tendency to close itself since we first moved in here.

The thing that really freaked me out later was remembering that Zorro had made such a big fuss when first I got home. He was clearly trying to tell me that something was wrong, but being a cat and all, wasn't very articulate. I'll be sure to take him seriously next time!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

11/18/12 Pie Playdate

What happens when two moms and bakers (bake-stresses??) get chatting in email about the finer points of pastry-making, from cold butter, shortening, tools, and pre-baking the shells? Why, what else, besides a Pie Playdate!

S. has some serious credentials, having been trained in a British home-ec class, and with a deep cake-decorating background, and being known for making beautiful pies. We're talking about a San Francisco Giants Pumpkin-Carving Contest winner after all! So I was psyched to get some professional-level guidance!

First, the fillings. I had some wonderful help with this too. Katrina measured all the spices for a pumpkin pie, measured the heavy cream, cracked the eggs, and mixed it all together. "You only made the pastry!" she declared later.

I lost count of how many pie crusts we made, but it was quite a few. Some were butter-only, some with shortening, some with the fabulous ingredient of vodka. The end-results was that the vodka pastries came out the best (flakiest) in the end, but were the hardest to work with.

S. is also very creative about form factor, making pies that looked like muffins and loafs! I stuck to ordinary 9" circular things. It turned out that the best test of pie crusts were so-called "railroad cookies," which are simply leftover dough rolled out, and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

In the end, we had a whole lot of pies made -- and more than met our objective of exploring the best way to make them! Chris Kimball, here we are!

Oh yeah, meantime, our children? We'd planned to park them in front of the TV with some Indiana Jones movies, but they had so much fun playing outdoors with balls and bats (S's son is a serious baseball player; Julian had no idea what hit him!), they ended up walking to a nearby park and doing plain old normal KID-things together.

That regrettably included a conspiracy to conceal a broken glass bottle, run over deliberately by a bicycle, with one kid getting cut trying to hide the evidence and clandestinely securing a band-aid. But that's still healthier than zoning out in front of a screen on a gorgeous afternoon, right?

All in all, a fabulous and productive day!