Friday, August 28, 2015

the sky, the cat

it's the end of summer. the furin are packed away, the neighborhood brats will be back in school soon and i have a date with some cardboard boxes that need filling. 




Saturday, August 22, 2015

as outdoorsy as i get

since i grew up in appalachia in the ass end of nowhere, i consider long amounts of time spent outdoors that are not related to gardening, animal husbandry, food or cash crop cultivation a children's activity. oh yes, i have hiked as in "packed in supplies for a week, repel down a cliff to get to a river that you ford and then set up camp" kind of hiking. i have also lived in tents for months at a time. but that was in college so, yes, kids' stuff.

now that i have given up childish things, yard work is pretty much the only time i spend outside and i cannot wait to stop doing that. to misquote richard ayoade, "i like indoors. it's where i live."

here're some pictures from the great backyard.






but, as stated, i'm much more into the indoors stuff. like finishing the becherovka so we don't have to move it, for example.


i'm making serious headway. it would go faster if i didn't go outside.

Friday, August 14, 2015

crazy busy

i don't know what has happened to this month. i just know that i have been really busy. last week we had fences put in, gutters fixed and the back deck refurbed. since there's finally some semblance of privacy, we've been outside a bit more lately. this little guy hangs out with us sometimes.


kim came over for a "bucket party". we grilled out and had a lot of beer and cider.


i have been painting. jesus christ, how i have been painting. it's nice to see progress though.


i have also been packing and making piles to donate, recycle or trash. found two furies. one of them is online and it is really goofy.


also made a quick trip to seattle to see leff's doc. HOORAY HE DOES NOT HAVE CANCER (cannot emphasize how awesome that is.) while there, i picked up a pack of the weirdo southern biscuits and gravy chips.


eh, they taste like a chemical gravy pack. i wasn't expecting more than that.

time to get back to packing!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

a hand mask and a donut

we've been doing tons of work on the house and are going to accomplish *even more* by the end of the week but that is boring and i am *so* fucking tired of thinking about house shit. SO fucking tired of it. that means you get a post about hand masks and a donut.

i picked up this hand mask at daiso during the natsu matsuri festival about two weeks ago. so forward thinking of me as my hands were rough from scrabbling in the yard.


just as described on the back of the package,


the gloves are attached.


and they have handy labels.


fits like...um, a glove


these were fantastic!! 20 minutes after wearing them, my hands are super soft. i will be picking up a few more of these the next time i'm in the international district.

the other nice thing this past week was a cheap ass donut.


if you want me to be honest with you, i will admit to preferring these over the heavy cakeyness of top pot, etc. krispy kreme came late to this region and you can tell.

this conbini donut was close to being hot now though so no complaints.

Monday, July 27, 2015

dagashi!!

remember way back in the precambian era say, oh, july 2nd, when i mentioned that leff had snagged us a bag full of dagashi? we finally finished the bag! 


just a refresher, dagashi stores are similar to british penny candy stores.  or, uh, the really inexpensive section of the bodega here in the u.s. you know, the place where you can buy sweet tart rolls, those weird individually wrapped caramels with a milky white swirl or those plastic fruits with flavored powdered sugar inside.

yeah, you're on the same page now.

anyway, our bag of dagashi came from an online retailer and, WOW, every single item was delicious!


one nice thing about dagashi is that there are savory as well as sweet items. we had two savory sticks in our package. the first that we tried was corn potage flavored.


both sticks were hollow


and absolutely AMAZING! the corn potage had a corn chowder flavor (naturally). so! good!

here is the second stick which was cheese flavored. very mild! it tasted like a grown up version of cheetos.


one of the more "out there" items was a blue flavored jelly,


i like how it glowed when held up to the light.


and also the baseball markings (stitching!) that were part of the mold. sadly, you can't see that here.



one of the more super delicious sweets was this hot chocolate flavored marshmallow.


"there is *no way* this is going to taste like hot chocolate!" i thought. then i was quickly proven wrong because look at this chocolatey center!!


i would love to buy a bag of these to use in real hot chocolate. oishii for sure!

when i was guessing at flavors from package clues, i thought that this might be cheese or maybe dairy flavored.


the back certainly didn't give me any clues.


i was pleasantly surprised by the milky coffee flavor! (the "co" on the cowboy's bottle must stand for "coffee"! ha!)


leff sampled the cola flavored chewing gum.


he said that this wasn't sour but that it was very cola and that the flavor lasted for a very long time. much nicer than american gum.


the last savory in our dagashi bag was a little confusing. was it taro flavored? was it made from taro roots?


i never found out (god, i should just learn kanjii already!) but these were nice. crispy and slightly tasting of  lightly buttered toast.


you know what i wish that pixie stix tasted like? yes, orange cat candies.


seriously, guys. these were addictive. so orange! so on the border between sweet and sour!


the last item we tried were these adorable stars? blossoms? sugary meteors? they were three different flavors! orange, cherry and, um, sugar.


they were like noncloying rock candy. i don't know how that was accomplished but it was incredibly enjoyable.

and so ends the dagashi bag review. i am absolutely going to try another bag in the near future!

ps-- if you'd like more info about dagashi stores, here's that great "begin japanology" episode again.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

we went to the natsu matsuri festival at uwajimaya

today leff and i went to the natsu matsuri festival at uwajimaya. i had been looking forward to this for weeks, i am not gonna' lie. (i check their events calendar religiously.) 

even though it was not very summery outside


it was still a full fledged japanese style summer festival! we had lots and lots of food from vendors. leff kicked things off with this tasty udon!


i headed straight for the ramen burger.


if you have any doubts as to whether or not this was oishii, you need to have your head examined. SOISHII!!!


i could have eaten two more! (that is a lie. it was incredibly filling but i WANTED two more because, as mentioned, OISHII LIKE CRAZY!!!!!)

another thing that you're supposed to do at summer festivals is have some shaved ice. i obliged with this matcha with mochi.



"obliged" ha! i had planned on getting kakigoori in tokyo but we ran out of time.  you had best BELIEVE i will track some down next time i'm in tokyo during the summer months!

i can't remember everything else that we ate. um,  mabo tofu, gyoza, okonomiyaki and something else? it was all INCREDIBLE! leff will have pictures, no doubt!

in addition to the natsu matsuri, there was also a small group of local artists at the kino art fair in kinokuniya. i like this idea a lot since it was something that one of the employees came up with when the store's manager asked for suggestions to get the community more involved.

at the kino art fair, i picked up one of aleeza mccant's tiny sushis.


also of note were the lovely cutouts by smallrinilady.

i tried looking for some issues of  "cooking papa" while at kinokuniya but, man, it was crowded so no dice. (it is *always* crowded there because it's a great store.) i guess i will have to make do with this cooking papa recipe that i found the other day.

you are not going to be surprised when i tell you that we ducked into uwajimaya where i picked up five pure smiles and one other brand of milk mask. you will also not be surprised when i tell you that i also went to daiso and got royal jelly, collagen, cucumber and hand masks.


(hand mask is not made from hands. it is FOR hands. also, yes, the pure smile that has a snail on it does, indeed, have some sort of snail extract. i do not question japanese face masks. i submit blindly to their awesomeness. (and i will let you know how it works.))

you probably will be surprised to learn that i didn't get a picture of the person in the kitty chan costume. but, dude. i was eating kakigoori! so much kakigoori. so much brain freeze.

let's end this post in the traditional natsu matsuri way with fireworks. they are a serious business in japan!  and they are amazing. (here's a great "begin japanology" if you'd like more info!)

Friday, July 24, 2015

we visited the bookmobile and got a pu pu platter (but not at the same time)

nothing makes me feel more like i'm on vacation (even when i'm not) than visiting small libraries. i used to do this as a kid when we'd stay someplace on holiday for longer than three days. we'd roll into town, i'd get a temporary card and i'd spend the time that i wasn't sightseeing or hanging out with other kids catching up on the latest judy blume and beverly cleary. or stephen king. 

with that in mind, you can understand why i so thoroughly enjoyed the krl bookmobile. it was like a mini vacation just steps from home!


believe it or not, i had never been to a bookmobile before. i KNOW!


i'm glad i took the time to visit though as it was entirely charming.


and there were robobookmarks!


i picked up beloved (haven't read since my african american lit course a billion years ago and have forgotten a lot of it.) and some weighty beach read thing for myself and leff snagged a few mysteries.

consensus:  we will be going back! (i will also use it to drop off books when i'm too lazy to walk to the main branch.)

nearby the bookmobile was alana lu hawaiian bbq.


we picked up their pu pu platter to go. you can't really beat roasted kalua pork, huli huli chicken and hawaiian mac salad.


yes, there is spam in the picture. i did not eat spam because i grew up eating it fried on white bread with mayo (and sometimes american cheese) several times a week. so, no. no spam for me ever. again.

i am chomping at the bit to try this huli huli chicken recipe though!