Musings from Target Field

 

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Here are some of our baseball observations from today’s game:
1. The only good thing about Butera is his walk up song
2. When it begins to rain and you are sitting safely under the overhang, watching the entire lower section begin flailing about putting on jackets, hoods, and ponchos is kind of amazing
3.  Michael Cuddyer just seems like a great guy. I would be his friend. And I’d like to see him do magic tricks. Maybe at the next rain delay?
4. Plouffe seems confused today about where Morneau and first base are actually located. I’d say Valencia should help him out, but Danny Boy is struggling today as well.
5. Three pitchers are hanging out in the corner of the dugout and have spent about 72% of the game looking at something in the stands. Now they’ve invited a fourth friend to join them. As a result we have lost interest in the game and mostly want to know what the are so intently watching, because it sure isn’t baseball
6. What would you say is proper meandering vendor etiquette?  Because so far today we have had one vendor ask us each individually if we would like a soft pretzel and another block the entire aisle with his dance moves while another man stands awkwardly close behind him.  I think perhaps I would write a jingle to merrily sing as I hawked my wares.
7. I would like to see some more creative fun facts. Things like: what is your most embarrassing baseball memory, who was your childhood crush, how do you spend the off season, what song was the first dance at your wedding, favorite animal, favorite Minnesota lake, best away stadium to play at, really anything that isn’t a baseball stat I could have read on Wikipedia. I set the bar low.
8. Someone just proposed. She said yes. I think I would say no, just because it is a baseball stadium proposal. Unless it was a player at home plate after scoring the winning run via grand slam. Then I would consider a “yes”
9. We are concerned about one of the announcers. I am fairly certain that one of them is having a severe allergic reaction where his tongue is swelling up.  He has lost the ability to pronounce words.
10. They just started “rally time” according to the big screens. It is the 7th inning. I asked if it was a bit early for rally time and my sister pointed out we need to get a lead quick, before our relievers come in.
11. Gardy just visited the mound. Because I am an expert lip reader, I will fill you in on their convo.  Pavano: “I know I have thrown over 100 pitches, but please, we can not let the bullpen come in.” Butera: “I know I am not the best catcher, but l do so much better with someone who knows how throw the ball.”  Gardy: “alright, sounds like a 2-1 vote. Majority wins. You can stay.”
12: I am thinking I should have some babies, because I have seen a lot of adorable Twins children’s apparel today.
13. This little boy traveled far away from his dad, climbing over chairs, meeting new people. “What’s your name?” was his opening line
14. We lost, but at least we went down fighting. That in itself is a victory in comparison to a month ago.

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Easy As Pie

Or easier than pie.  Because honestly, making a pie from scratch doesn’t sound all that easy.

The caramel-related-recipes were not for the faint of heart.  This recipe definitely is though.  (I use the word recipe loosely)

S’mores Bars: so easy your pet chinchilla could make them.

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie Mix
  • Graham Crackers
  • Butter
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • A hobby to do while you are twiddling your thumbs
Step 1: Crush your graham crackers.  (You can choose to skip this step by purchasing pre-crushed graham crackers.  If this is your plan, I would recommend shopping somewhere other than Target)
 Step 2: Mix your crumbs with Betty’s mix.  Then mix in some melted butter.  Congratulations! You have now done 98% of the work involved in this recipe.
Step 3: Press this into a pan and bake it in the oven.
Step 4: Enjoy a hobby while this bakes.  Personally, I chose to wash a few dishes that I’d said, “No thank you” to earlier in the week, and then sat and gazed admiringly at my new Twins-meets-Caribou travel mug that my Awesome friend Brooke gave me.  You can chose to do the same, or find your own hobby. 
Step 5: Take the pan out of the oven.  Sprinkle on some chocolate chips.  Go back to enjoying your hobby for 3-5 minutes while these melt on their own.

"I'm melting!"

Step 6: Spread out the chocolate.

"I melted!"

Step 7: Sprinkle on the mini marshmallows.  Put them in the oven on broil.  For like 30 seconds. Done.

Step 8: Have tornadoes come through town so that you can’t head out to the BBQ and share them with all your friends as planned.

Step 9: Enjoy your bar while waiting out severe weather.

Step 10: Back up plan: bring them to work and feed them to your coworkers.  You will probably get responses similar to these:

  • Where are these bars I am hearing about?  Everyone is walking around just looking so happy!
  • OH Yum!  Thanks for sharing!
  • God bless you!
  • They are yummy, I highly recommend them!
  • mmmmmmm
  • As the great Usher would say, ‘O M G’
There you have it!  10 easy steps to baking success!  (and let’s be honest, it took me a lot of work to stretch a 3 step baking task into 10 steps.)
If you want to hear how Betty recommends to make them, click here for the actual recipe
P.S. You are welcome for sharing pictures of the baking process.  It is a confusing recipe, and helpful to see what you are meant to do for each step along the way…
P.P.S Shout-out to my mom for steering me in the right direction (that direction would be towards this recipe)

Don’t lick the bus, and say no to drugs

As I’m sure you figured out from the title of this post, we went on a field trip yesterday… 🙂

Yes, these are just two of the nuggets of wisdom I was able to dole out today.  These kiddos sure are lucky to have such an insightful teacher.

Our field trip was to a park preserve 45 minutes from school.  In past years, we’ve gone to a park that is 4-5 blocks away from school and had naturalists lead us in a pond study during our freshwater unit.  This year, due to extenuating park circumstances (read: a long story not worth explaining here) we ended up at an alternate location.  With lots of nature (some might say too much nature… more on that later) and no nature guides.

As the bus rolled in to the park, I turned around just in time to see a kid take a big slobbery lick of the seat in front of him.  The bus driver had small amounts of disbelief in her eyes when she heard me give the instruction, “don’t lick the bus!”

Then when we were in line for the bathrooms pre-adventures, Student A said Student B told him that she drank beer at home. I of course said, “No she didn’t.  You have to be 21 to drink beer.”  (although in all reality, who knows what has happened in her home) and Student A followed up with, “How old are you?”  I answered, and he said, “so you drink beer.”  At this point, I am thinking, “Why are we talking about this??? Make it stop!”  but said aloud, “No, I don’t like the way it tastes.  I would rather drink water, or juice, or diet coke.”  Naturally he informed all his friends that I like to drink water and juice and not beer.  (Seriously – get me out of this conversation!)  I steered them away from this topic after having them practice saying, “No Thank You” if someone offers them beer.  Perhaps I should become a DARE officer??

Moving right along with our field trip, I put on my metaphorical naturalist hat, and taught the children really insightful things about nature, including gems like: look at the different sizes of leaves on these plants.  Isn’t that interesting??”  And, “maybe if we walk really quietly, we will see a squirrel in the woods.  Do squirrels need freshwater to live?”  “Let’s write in our journals about all the living and non-living things we see in the lake!”

We also handed out paper cups and told them we were going to pretend that we lived in a country where they did not have very much clean freshwater, and that we needed to walk really far to get water to drink.  I was a bit melodramatic when discussing the level of thirst I was experiencing on our search for freshwater.  I offered them the opportunity to scoop up some nastified puddle water instead, but none took me up on it.  (don’t worry – I wouldn’t have actually let them drink it)

One highlight is when I see a boy flailing and shrieking and did I mention flailing??  Turns out he walked into a spider’s web and couldn’t get it off.  Gross.  Being Nature Girl for the day, I told him to stop, look in my eyes, and I told him he’d be fine.  And showed him how to calmly brush it off, while I stood at a safe distance.  Then, like a cheerleader, I excitedly thanked him because we were looking for a spider web for our scavenger hunt, and now we could mark it off!  HOORAY!  (I don’t think he bought it, but the other kids caught my wave of enthusiasm)

The non-highlight is the sheer magnitude of ticks that we picked off children’s clothes, skin, and hair.  YIKES!  Dad, you would be proud of me.  Your bug-phobic daughter calmly picked off ticks from children.  I know – you can hardly believe it.  I must be growing up.  (let’s be honest though – if they were bees, I would have been out of there…)

All in all – I’d count it a success.

Especially because I had on my running shoes so I could chase down the child about to wander away into a parking lot, “but I had to go to the bathroom, and Mrs. T told me to wait…” he says.

Caramel: My Nemesis

These baking adventures gone wrong happened a while ago.  I’ve been trying to get over the emotional scarring so that I can share it with you.

Tomorrow I will bring you a happier tale from the kitchen.

Today you will learn why I will never again bake with caramel.  Or at least until I can find another occasion to make caramel buttercream frosting (God’s gift to our tastebuds).

As as happened on occasion before, I decided to do some baking one day.  A seemingly innocent decision.  I had stocked up on the needed ingredients and was ready to set to work.

Task 1: Candied Caramel Popcorn.

Task 2: Snickers Cupcakes.

Task one involved steps such as:

“in a small saucepan, make homemade caramel”

*Note to self: small saucepan seems to be secret chef code for medium sized saucepan.

This caramel was poured over this tasty mixture: popcorn, peanuts, and perhaps something else that I’m forgetting.

Then into the oven it goes.

Here is where what looked to be a simple task broke down entirely.  If you are ever baking with caramel, or anything else that has potential to drip, overflow, or bubble up uncontrollably and commandeer control of your oven  like my caramel popcorn did, do yourself a favor and line the lower tray in your oven with tin foil.  You won’t regret it.  You will however deeply regret it if you skip this step.

This photo was taken after I wised up.  After the caramel catastrophe of 2011.  After the kitchen filled with smoke.  After burnt caramel adhered itself to the bottom of my oven.  After the smoke alarm went off: beeping accompanied by the helpful female voice alerting us, “FIRE!  FIRE!  FIRE!  FIRE!”  After the oven cooled, I scrubbed the bottom of the oven and still had to bake with the fan under the microwave sucking up all the smoky air.  I also spent a fair amount of time standing on a chair and waving my apron in front of the smoke detector so that it wouldn’t feel the need to detect more smoke.

After 5 years of turning trays and mixing caramel popcorn, and wiping up sticky overflows, I set it out to cool, and topped it with Eastery things such as pastel colored M&Ms (the last bag in the state of MN on the weekend before Easter) and white chocolate drizzles.

Isn’t it pretty?

You may want to comment here, “oh, it is so pretty!  that must have been worth the blood, sweat, and tears.”  False.  The caramel sugary glue stuck itself to the wax paper and I couldn’t get it off.  I pried away the top layer of popcorn-ness, put it in some tupperware, and then threw the rest away.

I didn’t feel as though I should serve it to my friends.  So instead, I served it to my family.  It was waaaaay sugary, but served in a large orange tupperware at a Twins game it was a delightful little treat.

The popcorn pretty much soaked all the caramel right up.  To the point I felt I had to rename what the recipe called, “candied caramel popcorn.”  I call it, “Help!  My name is popcorn and I’m drowning in caramel!”  And yes, I made my entire family refer to the treat by its full name, accompanied by a high pitched voice and little flailing arms in order to have the bowl passed to them.

I’m sure somewhere out there, caramel popcorn pros would have no problem making this.  I applaud you.  I will never be you.  I need to remember that my attempts to make caramel popcorn never go well.  And just stop trying.  If you are a better carameler than me though, here is the original recipe: recipe for pure sugar and pure disaster

After this, I still needed to accomplish task 2: Snicker’s Cupcakes for my mom’s birthday.

These weren’t SO awful to make, except that I never wanted to see caramel (the main ingredient in these cupcakes) again.

I love all the cupcake recipes on Annie’s Eat’s, but for this one, I said, “I’m sorry Annie.  I know you like to make things from scratch, but if I have to make more caramel from scratch today, well, it won’t be pretty.”  So I went to the store and decided on Mrs. Richardson’s caramel.  I made this decision based solely on the name: I thought it sounded more homemade than the other options.

Other than the oven still angrily smoking and me being in a time-crunch so I had no choice but to bake on, waving smoke away and opening windows as needed, it went pretty well.  The little cakes were filled with caramel-coated-pieces of snickers.  I felt the cupcake corer wouldn’t make a big enough hole, so I made them extra big.  I’d say this affected the stability of the cupcake, and thus made it a definite fork-required dessert.  Other than that, they were delish!  Especially the caramel buttercream frosting.

Here is the recipe.

And here is what they looked like! 

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Masked Accountants

What do you get when take dozens/hundreds/an unknown quantity of accountants and invite them to a black and white masquerade ball a’la Gossip Girl?

What I picture when I hear "Masquerade Ball" - Gossip Girl.

You get a lot of nervous accountants.

Then in response to all of the nervousness, you get a plethora of emails clarifying that masks are not required and you can wear whatever color you want.

Thus, B&W Masquerade transforms into the Spring Gala.

I would not know any of this from personal experience, but I do know it secondhand, from my sister, one of the aforementioned accountants.

Yes, as we speak as I type, she is at the PwC Prom.

I played fairy godmother and opened a hair salon for the day to transform her into Cinderella, or the Prom Queen, or the Prettiest Accountant on the Block.  I’m not really sure which title she likes best.  But I do hope she comes home with a crown.  Or without her shoe.  Actually I am not sure if she would like to come home without her shoe, because she just got fun new shoes.  They look like this.

I personally would never be able to walk in them.  I applaud her walking abilities.  And fashion sense.

In exchange for my hair styling expertise, she had a small price to pay: letting me play photographer for the day.

After all, it isn’t every day your big sister goes to the prom.  These things need to be documented.  They just grow up so fast, don’t they?  One minute they are learning to ride their bike without training wheels, and the next minute they are partying accountant-style.

the dress

the make-up

the jewels

the earrings

the hair

putting it all together

all she needs is a mask. not because of her face. but because of the original theme.

excited to gala the evening away

In opening my hair salon today, I almost got to extend my services to an additional client getting ready for the ball.  I was devastated when I got word of her cancellation and her “I can do it myself” attitude.  Then I understood that it is because she was given this as an example of my work:

Little does she know, I only give this look to 84% of my clients.  The rest walk away looking like this.

Sister, I hope that the prom is amazing.  I hope that you leave your glass slipper behind and tomorrow Prince Charming shows up at your doorstop.  I hope that no one in a mask scares you.  I hope that you got to do some math (I hear that is the sort of thing your people like to do).  I hope that the downtown library was safe from tornadoes.  And mostly I hope that your hair doesn’t fall out.  Although I’m not sure how it possible could, since I used every bobby pin you own to put it up.

Did you get crowned Prom Queen?  Was the Prom King cute?  What song did you dance to together?

Spring Cleaning

Tonight, I am spring cleaning.  The theme is throw away or give away.

Because I hate putting my full attention toward any one task, I am also watching Community (if my little bro read this, I would tell him I am now 2 discs closer to returning it) and I will share with you some cleaning highlights.  Get excited.  Who doesn’t love a good cleaning tale??

  1. Cards from my 21st birthday.  They contain cryptic messages from my friends that I no longer understand.  Cards from my 17th and 18th birthdays.  Less cryptic.  More sweet.
  2. A  TV antennae.
  3. A letter from a fourth grade student who I had in a practicum experience.  She includes such nuggets as: Do you like the color I am writing with? and Please tell me if I spelled any words wrong in this.
  4. A threatening poem for me and my roommates senior year of college:
  5. Never Sleep.  Never Eat.
    Always watch.  Always look.
    I cannot be beat.
    For what you took
    is only my grace
    so let the games begin
    I’ll be winning this race.

    *We may have been in the middle of a prank war… it is hard to say for sure…

  6. An apology letter from a second grader that includes the poorly spelled line, “I apologize for calling you a bad, bad name.”  (I translated for you so you wouldn’t have to decifer atrocious second grade spelling) (I wish I remembered what bad, bad name he called me)
  7. A pirate themed apology letter from a friend complete with RRRRs throughout and burned edges of paper to give it that “I’m really from the age of pirates” look.
  8. The complimentary cards that came with my school pictures to give to authorities if I ever get lost.  I gave it to my roommate so she can look out for my well-being through 2012.
  9. On that note: my school pictures.  I will put them out on the year-end prize table at kindergarten.  the 5x7s usually go the fastest.
  10. Travel plans for Florida and Argentina: including pictures of Diego, so we’d recognize the guy picking us up from the airport.  Turns out we didn’t need it.  We just needed to look lost and confused.  And recognize a giant sign with an embarrassing picture of us on it
  11. An official transcript of 3 grad credits that will help me get a lane change sooner.  I’d wondered what I did with that.  Apparently I’ve had it since I lived in Maple Grove.  Glad I didn’t lose that sucker!
  12. Some books I’ve never read.  Some books I never need to read again.
  13. Did I mention dust yet?  because I probably should have had that up way higher in the list.
  14. A disposable camera from a bachelorette party 5 years ago.  I am mildly curious to see the pictures, but not curious enough to actually get it developed.
  15. My blockbuster membership card.  Does blockbuster still exist??
  16. During the course of this “cleaning” I have lost my dust rag at least 7 times.  This is not an exaggeration.  If I were exaggerating I would have said 102.
  17. An invitation to a former student’s birthday party with a special note written inside: P.S. Puts the clown starts at 6:00 Don’t be late.
  18. A letter from my BFF tourguide in Japan.  It ends with “FYI, [appendix]” and then proceeds to explain the small cell phone screen cleaner she sent as a Christmas gift.  They were all the rage in Japan.  I think I will start ending my correspondence with appendices instead of P.S.
  19. A “great effort” ribbon for the worst score at bowling.
Well, I’d have to say that my efforts, while nowhere near finished, are finished for tonight.
.
[appendix]
Things to look forward to this weekend:
a)  attempt #2 at Mother’s Day pedicures.  At this point it is looking like it will be fail #2
b)  gussying up my sister for the prom (I promise I will explain this later, because if you know my sister, you realize she is not 18).
c)  BBQ with my friends.  Including the cute baby pictured here
d)  I will probably continue cleaning at some point.  Most likely tomorrow.  And Sunday.
.
[appendix 2]
did you notice that I already am putting my new appendix resolve to work?  classy.

Weather or baseball: which is the main event?

Someday I hope that those in attendance for Twins’ games will have more interesting things going on than the weather.

Someday I hope the Twins will once again score more than 3 runs.

Someday I hope that the snow, hail, and howling winds will stay away and let the real excitement, baseball, shine.

The Twins scores haven’t been anything to talk about lately, but the extreme weather conditions have been.  A couple weeks ago, I was at Target Field when it snowed.  They made the best of it: Twinter Wonderland, Christmas carols, and T. Swift’s Back to December.  Then came the hail.  Apparently everyone and their brother was at that game, and according to their facebook updates, it seems the Twins didn’t really have a contingency plan for hail, as the initial removal efforts from the field were on the ineffectual side.

Sunday: it was the wind.  It all seemed innocent enough, until we couldn’t see the game through the hair in our face (this was not the ideal day to reintroduce my bangs to the world)

 Then came the flying trash.  I was traumatized when an airborne hot dog wrapper nearly took my face off.   I glanced over to my sister, and saw that she was at least 2.3x as traumatized as me.  Yes, turns out that hot dog wrapper had attacked her face, momentarily plastering itself to her cheek on it’s way towards me.  Yikes!  She lived in fear whenever we heard the sound of the swirling garbage around us.  (This was 92% of the time)  You never know when garbage might strike again.

Other game highlights include Trevor Plouffe picking up garbage from the field and putting it in his pocket.  Well done, good sir.

And then, there is this:

You are probably thinking, why are all those people on the field?  Are they part of a new strategy of the Twins?  Put dozens of people on the field and hope it will improve our fielding??  (ahem, Delmon Young, who just watched the ball instead of running towards it).  No.  They are the Emergency Garbage Clean Team (EGCT, for short)  Chasing down flying debris.

Twins, if you want my advice: let’s start small.  Let’s take the spotlight away from Mother Nature and aim for 4 runs at the next game.

Never give up.  Never surrender.

Lower Your Expectations

You will be sad to hear that my most quotable student is in Africa for the next three weeks.  I know.  I’m not sure what I’ll do without my daily dose of ridiculousness from her either.  It is going to be tough, but we can get through this quote-drought together.

Here is a conversation from yesterday with a different student:

Student: Miss K, do you remember when you said you were like a Grandma?  That was so silly.

Teacher: Yes, that was silly (and I only vaguely remember this.  I have no context for how it came up.)

Student: Yeah, that was so silly.  Grandmas are big and strong and carry heavy things.

Teacher thinks: WHAT?!  THAT is how I am different from a Grandma????  ouch.

I will try to encourage the rest of the class to step up their game in the absence of Student A, but I make no promises.

A sorrowful saga, with a mediocre ending.

Once upon a time, I had cute bangs, like this:I didn’t know what I had.  I didn’t realize how good life was.  All I needed was a hairdryer and a brush, and I had not a care in the world.

Then, the year of the bad haircuts hit.  It started out slow… an uneven cut with a lack of style and slightly awful bangs.  Nothing an emergency trip to a different salon couldn’t fix.  Then a few months later the guy didn’t hardly cut my bangs because he thought the length was quite ideal.  It was ideal for 2 more days, and then they began to look long and scraggily.  Hence why I originally went in for the haircut.

Needless to say, next time I went in for a haircut, my bangs were almost to the floor.  They were so long!  Getting my bangs to look nice again was pretty much the reason I went in for that next haircut.  The guy who saved my hair last time had moved on to a new salon, so I just took  the first available person. Mistake numero uno.

During the pre-cut chat, I heavily emphasized how I wanted my bangs treated with extreme care to go back to their carefree days.  Stylist Boy assured me that he would cut slow and careful and we could discuss as he went.

FALSE.

What started out slow and easy ended in a giant and drastic chop of the scissors.

After which he said, “a little shorter??”

I said, “Um, I think they are laying kind of funny right now.  Maybe when I dry them the right way, they will be the right length.”

He tried re-drying them.

It only got worse.

I was embarrassed to stand in line to pay for my haircut.

I looked like this: 

They poofed outward and hung awkwardly to the side.  They were thicker than before and uneven.  And might I add, extremely short.  I’ve had a lot of bangs cut, and I know the right technique.  If anything, I’d describe his strategy as the opposite of right.

To say the least, I was not pleased.

There was nothing that could be done.  It is like the scene in Friends after Monica gets a horrible haircut from Phoebe.

Rachel: How is she?
Phoebe: It’s too soon to tell. She’s resting, which is a good sign.
Ross: How’s the hair?
Phoebe: I’m not gonna lie to you, Ross. It doesn’t look good. I put a clip on one side, which seems to have stopped the curling.
Joey: Well, can we see her?
Phoebe: Your hair looks too good, I think it would upset her. Ross, why don’t you come on in.

Enter: The bobby pin.

During the course of the next five weeks, I perfected the bangs twist, braid, and poof.

Sometimes I would attempt to wear them down and my roommate would come in for a consult.  Once I thought it was close.  She got a magazine to wave in front of my face as if a sudden gust of wind came up.  The hair did not pass the test.  Back went the bobby pin.

Then one day, a month and a half later, I was getting ready for a wedding and out of the blue, I went to pin the offending hair back, when I realized it might look okay down.

So this weekend, my bangs made their big debut back into the world.

They are a mere shadow of their former glory, but I’m glad to have them back on my face.