Monday, November 1, 2010

Band Geeks of the World...UNITE! part 2

Caitlin's marching band season is finally over, and boy did they work the butts off! The usual 8 hour band days in the summer (40 hours a week) and an intense game and competition schedule paid off. Prospect Marching Knights were Grand Champion in all of their preliminary competitions, won state, were 4th in Regionals, and 10th in the Super Regionals with 40 other top bands competing. They had a fantastic show this year. We are immensely proud of Caitlin and how hard she work and how dedicated she's been to this wacky band thing.

The clip in the following post shows just the last few minutes (the best part).

link to a news article:

Prospect Marching Nights 2010 at ISU

The Boy is the King of the World...well, Illinois Anyway

We headed west...The Boy and the Mutts in tow, to Mississippi Palisades. Most of Colin's excitement about this little day climbing trip was that he get to see Iowa. Yea, I can't explain that one either. But we managed to persuade him to be tough, and he climbed the Pinnacle, a lovely little climb to a lovely expansive view of the Mississippi River. We had perfect early fall weather and met up with a few friends. Sherpa & Otter were great crag dogs, excited to finally get out of the suburbs and on a little adventure.

Colin mustered his way up some fairly difficult climbs that none of us would have ever thought he'd do. He was quite proud of himself, but as the last photo shows, was completely tuckered out by the ride home.

The Results of Last Month's Poll are in...

and you voted for "Rent a Winnebago, tour the east coast". Mom, this is not Chicago, you can't vote 8 times. Runner-up was "Habitat for MONGOLIA!". While this sounds deliriously delightful, I suspect it will be some weird hybrid of the two...tent camping in Alabama?

Welcome To Kelly's Life, Episode 21

Prior to my Midwestern domestication, I believe that I could legitimately say that I was competent in the kitchen, and could whip up a reasonable semblance of dinner with proper advance notice. I will not say, however, that I was any sort of culinary genius, as I had been known to occasionally mistake tablespoons for teaspoons and unwittingly salt the lasagna to a point rivaling the Pacific. I can read recipes, follow them properly, and adjust them as need be or as whim dictated, and still come out with a suitable entrée much to the satisfaction of my dinner guests. Or possibly they were just polite, but I do not recall anyone hiding their food in shirtsleeves or retching in the shrubbery or looking for some poor unsuspecting house pet to take the fall.

But something odd happened when I headed to the ‘burbs of the Midwest. I gained possibly a rare and hard to find subspecies of a husband: One that cooks, rarely complains about it, and is pretty darn good at it too.

I of course blame it on the commuting. And the children (I generally blame everything on the children). I was commuting over an hour each way to work, and if the family were to wait for me to prepare their dinner, they’d be eating cereal and toothpaste. So dear husband could cook or starve, and obviously chose the former. Generally every evening I came home to a warm home-cooked meal, and my place at the table waiting for me. And I can also honestly say that I became RIDICULOUSLY spoiled and didn’t fight it one iota.

So then I became known as the “company cook”, saving my skills for the larger dinner parties, the pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinners and shindigs of that sort. I generally managed only to cook in large quantities…somehow always wondering if 18 servings of stuffing would be enough for the 6 or 7 folks having dinner that night and buying the 23 pound turkey, you know, just to be safe. Ultimately, we’d all have our allotted seconds and second seconds before being given the option of 83 different desert options and after dinner drinks. We’d then begin rolling the dinner guests out to their cars with a sleepy tryptophan induced wave goodbye. And, you know, at least 2 meals worth of leftovers stuck under their arms to induce a similar coma type effect the following evening in the comforts of their own home, while wearing their necessary stretchy pants. After they left, the children would be sent to each property line sharing neighbor to share some turkey legs and pie too. And we had leftovers for the week as well.

Possibly a slight miscalculation…but clearly not a demonstration of any sort of cooking negligence on my part, right?

As time went on, I found myself being the, well, er, the appetizer “cook”. I’d put out the brie and hummus, the chips and salsa, and the previously mentioned cooking husband would remain in the kitchen whipping up something nifty for the grill and also being the bartender, while I would entertain the guests with a quick demonstration of cold fusion and card tricks, or a dance on the table, depending on the company. The meals would be perfectly proportioned to feed only those in attendance, and not the entire eastern half of Pyongyang.

Which brings me to present day, where I recently decided to rebel against my peculiar husband and cook my own damn food, just so that I didn’t lose (and could prove) my culinary skills. I opted for a lovely crimini mushroom and muenster cheese egg scramble on 12 grain toast, with a little free range organic piggy that I’m sure was hugged daily before it’s unfortunate demise. I could be vegetarian, if only I could eat bacon. Funny thing though…organic free range bacon cooks in a flash and before I knew it, I had a couple strips of carbon and a smoke alarm causing the dogs to cower under the living room table. Chris smiled, in a gentle sort of way that said, “Oh honey, it could happen to anyone”, as I nibbled the dark brown corners off the remnants of my piggy that did not get to live up to its bacon destiny. Which is when I noticed the burnt toast smell and popped in another pair of do-over bread slices while I shooed my husband out of the kitchen, lest he bear full witness to these unfortunate goings on. “I’m just rusty”, I thought as I picked the little shells out of the frying egg. I mixed the eggs in with the mushrooms and readied myself to flip them over in one swift motion, you know, like on TV. I shimmied the pan to flip… managed to save the eggs from dumping into the open flame and watched them fall in a crumbly heap in the middle of the pan, half turned over, half still yolky from the failed attempt. Sigh. Toast and eggs are the same as an egg sandwich, it’s all going to the same place…my stomach doesn’t care what it looks like. I hear snickering from the doorway and chase Chris with a hot spatula out of my kitchen domain, as I wait for the cheese to melt into my culinary concoction. I lovingly place the hot mess onto the toast and head to the table to eat with my painfully gleeful husband.

Which is when, of course, as you all suspected, I bit down on a nice, perfectly square piece of cheese divider paper.

It’s not anyone that could cook a whole meal without noticing the WHITE PIECE OF PAPER in it. The polite snickering had most definitely ended, and Chris snorted cereal through his nose. He declared my reign in the kitchen to be most certainly over. And rightly so.

The moral:

1. Check for paper before eating anything Kelly makes.

2. Check for shells before eating anything Kelly makes.

3. I’ll be waiting for my call from Kim Jong-Il, North Korea needs to eat too.

4. Cinder piggy is not a proper outcome. Embrace your inner vegetarian.

5. Fried paper anyone? It’s just fiber…