The Boy really surprised me this Father’s Day. Part one of the surprise is that he actually remembered the day, although that may be thanks to Kat. The next part of the surprise is how nice a gift he got me. It was relevant and not cheap (Calphalon bakeware to replace some of the cheaper things banging around in the kitchen). Finally, we were at the local media store (books are such a small part of their stock) and he ran off to buy a t-shirt. He used that t-shirt to wrap the pans! Not only generous, but ingenious as well. And the shirt was Doctor Who themed, so bonus points there.
All around, I could not have asked for a better recognition that I’ve got some sort of place in his heart. Maybe this parenting stuff is working after all.
I was thinking about playlists (formerly known as mixtapes) the other day and decided to make one that involves songs which evoke a particular location or event. Since this set of criteria is so loose as to allow a playlist of thousands of songs, I set myself some rather arbitrary limits. It had to fit on a standard audio CD (74 minutes) and each song had to be specific to a particular location/time and only one song per location/time. So, although high school is four years long, it gets one song. I went to Korea three times for a total of four years, so that’s three songs (one per trip). I also decided that any trip of less than two months didn’t count. So, no song for BNCOC or CEWIOC or business trips. Here’s the 57 minutes I ended up with; commentary follows:
|Doug E Fresh||La Di Da Di|
|Living Colour||Cult of Personality|
|Violent Femmes||Blister in the Sun|
|Faith No More||Epic|
|Ministry||Everyday Is Halloween|
|Divinyls||I Touch Myself|
|Ace of Base||The Sign|
|Soundgarden||Black Hole Sun|
|Los Del Rio||Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)|
|Smash Mouth||Walkin’ On The Sun|
|Transplants||Diamonds and Guns|
|Evanescence||Bring Me To Life|
|The Waterboys||When Will We Be Married?|
Yesterday marked three years since Kat and I got married. It’s been a pretty damned good three years, and shows no evidence of that changing. For ineffable reasons, the lovely lady decided to celebrate our anniversary by going camping. This surprised me, as I’m pretty sure I’ve spoken before about the relative ambivalence toward anything which resembled going back to a tactical Army mode.
Fortunately, she was smart enough to rent a cabin with air conditioning and a refrigerator and bed. Calling this “camping” may be a bit of a misnomer, but it was a great evening. Kat got to sit around a campfire for the first time in her life, as well as make her first s’more. We saw a porcupine shuffling across a field, were serenaded by mockingbirds, and went on a 2.5 mile hike. I also discovered that match-light charcoal is a much better fire base than crumpled paper and small twigs leading to larger twigs blah blah blah. Sure, it’s cheating – so are matches to some purists. 🙂
We exchanged gifts, which comprised a rather large number of books for me. Yay for books! And now I’m spending the day chilling at home, ready for Year Four. I love you, Kat!
After finding great success with the BLT & watermelon salad last week, I decided to go old skool, back to my days in the land of the not-quite-right. Like gang jung, some things may be better left in the memory.
Pulled out the kochujang and tri-tip last night, and produced a meal of bulgogi, be kimchi, and pa jun (I hate Romanized Korean – it’s always just a little off). Alex, the boy who claims to love spicy food, found the kimchi too spicy to consider seconds. Kat declared the tri-tip to be a wonderful cut of meat and it should in the future be served with some potatoes and maybe a side of green beans. She also found the pa jun to be not her style – something about steak and eggs not being cool with her or something.
I guess that’s the end of Korean side dishes; the bulgogi was a hit, of course.
Kat and Alex both agree – this is the best meal so far in 2011. Sage, shallots, and butternut squash in crispy wontons, all sprinkled with parmesan and toasted walnuts. I have no problem backing this determination, and combined with the return of the In-N-Out burgers just one week ago, I think I may have peaked too early this year.
I’m not sure what it says that my darling bride requested, as her romantic V-Day meal this year, In-N-Out double double animal style with onion rings. They turned out really well, especially the gooey grilled onions on the burgers. I really need to get a deep fryer to handle the massive temperature problems with my stovetop to avoid the burnt onion rings. *sigh*
All that being said, it’s great to share a night on the couch, watching our favorite sitcoms, sated and full of grilled meat products. It’s been nearly 4 years since Kat came into my life, and I’m thrilled to be able to say we still have the most conflict-free and loving relationship I’ve ever seen or heard of. I can’t imagine life without her. If this is too much sweetness for you, you’re a cynical blackhearted bastard.
Love and light, all.
[Ed: in case it’s not obvious from the “posted by” tag, this is written by Kat. Gary does not speak of himself in the third person frequently.]
From the red token on my purse from the Winchester museum to my entire left arm commemorating our honeymoon (and in many incarnations in between), I have never wanted to celebrate a relationship so fanatically. The funny bit is, I don’t need reminders of the good times. They are all good times. My behavior simply demonstrates my constant joy. To prove his awesomeness even further, he is making one of my favorite meals tonight: an In-n-Out Double Double animal style with onion rings. Nothing says love like an In-n-Out animal burger. I love you! Go Bearcat! CAn2!
You’ve surely heard the phrase, “he/she ruined x for me,” usually in some pejorative food context. For instance, many people are loathe to partake of asparagus or pork chops, because of some long ago culinary disaster. In our house, the phrase has a more upbeat meaning, however. Kat keeps telling me that I’ve made it impossible for her to enjoy various dining establishments, due to her preference for some new meal I’ve pulled out of a cookbook. So far, this has included steakhouses (at least for steaks) and any place that serves ribs. This week, she added another one: Wienerschnitzel. This is problematic for me, as the silly A-frame hut is my go-to destination whenever I don’t feel like making any effort at a meal. They are conveniently located, and I inhale their fries as well as the bbq bacon hot dog (or chili cheese dog).
What caused the dear lady to declare Wienerschnitzel off-limits? The Circus Dog, found in an old issue of Cuisine at Home magazine. Starting with Boar’s Head frankfurters (the only ones I can find in this misbegotten burg that have actual casings), wrapped in parcooked bacon, grilled to perfection, placed in a broiled cheese-lined bun and topped with a honey-mustard cole slaw, they have now been declared the perfect hot dog.
Guess I’ll have to sneak my hot fast food dogs unDER the radar from now on. *sigh*
This has been a great Christmas morning. I got five new books, Alex seems to like his new skates, Kat and I have been having a blast with her Buckyballs, and breakfast was awesome. Kat found a great recipe for salmon hash and asparagus. Served with a fried egg atop the pile, with mimosas (and faux-mosa for the boy) on the side…such decadence!
We wish you and yours a great Christmas and a great new year!
In previous installments of “Gary cooks whatever Kenji does,” we’ve tried the Double-Double Animal Style and some sliders. The latest was the patty melt. I’m a big fan of patty melts, so making them at home with two kinds of cheese seemed like a winner of a plan. They were yummy, and the onions ended up so caramelized they stuck in my teeth like the halloween candy we’re noshing on this week.
In a stunning upset, the sliders remain as Kat’s #2 choice of the three, while the Double-Double of course reigns supreme. The Boy and I both prefer patty melts over sliders, but agree with Judge #1 that In-N-Out rocks, even in clone form.
Maybe I’ll try that Roast Beef Poboy next, that looks like an interesting sandwich…
As much as I’d like to think Gary and I have been married for 10 years, it has only been 2. 2 years of his recipes out of Cuisine magazine, gifts for no reason, always opening my car door first, paying for my tattoos, taking care of my every whimsy and never saying no. Okay- he did discourage my lip piercing which my piercer forbade me to get and refused to do anyway. Whatever.
At the risk of his old flames or wannabes reading this, I can say without a pause that your loss is my gain. Gary, or G-fly as I often refer to him (you’ve heard him rap, right?) is the best human I’ve ever met. Best friend, best lover, best driver, best travel companion and in a couple years, best roommate to have in California. 2 down and a lifetime of anniversaries to go….. Go Bearcat!
Following the success of the faux Double-Double, last night we attempted to duplicate Kenji Lopez-Alt’s slider recipe. OK, recipe may be overstating things, how about method instead? I thought it odd to make fried burgers last time; you can imagine how difficult it was to get past the concept of steamed burgers. And, 1.2 pounds of meat to make a dozen burgers? That can’t be right.
Anyway, they turned out quite like the sliders you may love or hate – oniony, cheesy, moist, and a little messy with a pretty high bun-to-meat ratio. Although sliders were Kat’s idea, she found them to be not as much to her liking as the In-N-Out style burgers – I wholeheartedly agree. Alex, on the other hand, ate four of them. The sliders do have the benefit of being much easier to make, with far fewer ingredients to juggle (making your own secret sauce, slicing tomatoes, leafing lettuce – none of those are needed for sliders). But, the D-D have the benefit of being quite a bit tastier. Sliders are a bit of a one-note song, while a nice Double-Double Animal Style is a near-symphony of ground meat goodness.
Next on my burger hit parade? Maybe patty melts. I love me some patty melt…
My first draft of the San Angelo State Park trails, in KML format. Open in Google Maps or Google Earth – it is nifty. All ready for some autumn hiking and geocaching with my baby.
Newegg had an entry-level ice cream maker for 25 bucks last week (refurb Cuisinart ICE-20), so of course I got one. My first attempt, a sugar-free chocolate custard-based base with peanut butter cup chunks, was really good (although apparently lacking in chunks). So, I made a few batches this weekend. The Boy and I whipped up a simple vanilla base (eggless), and made two variants. One, chocolate chips and toffee bits, is very yummy and creamy and must be kept away from me for its own safety. The other, Alex’s choice, involves toffee bits and chopped gummy bears. This may seem like a good idea, but when you freeze gummy bears they lose the gummy. So, toffee and teeth-chipping bear ice cream. Yeah, that’s all his.
Finally, to finish up the weekend, another sugar-free custard-based ice cream, with blackberry puree added. Alex tasted it and claimed it had “too much flavor up front” and I tried it both before and after it solidified in the freezer – meh. Fortunately Kat likes it, so I guess she can be secure in the knowledge that her blackberry ice cream is safe from the menfolk in the house.
Maybe a cheesecake base with strawberries next. Mmmm…
Facebook updates aside, I’ve been remiss in documenting our most recent vacation. So, here goes…
I’d been holding to a tradition of taking a “big” vacation in even years, and just short trips in Texas in odd years. Then there was the unfortunate contract recompete that led to my job being gone for six weeks, and coming back at a 15% lower salary, so we doubled up on the Texas years. This year, we finally had the cash to stumble out to the west coast again, so we did.
For several years, The Boy has wanted to take a surfing class. Kat had an abiding distrust of Disneyana, and a love of animals. I love Monterey. All these combined to produce our itinerary of San Diego, Anaheim, and Monterey.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this great book my baby got me for Xmas – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. We’ve had cheddar bread, sun-dried tomato bread, brioche sticky buns, pizza, naan… Good stuff, and not remotely difficult. Alex made a couple loaves without assistance (guidance sure, but I never touched his dough!). Here’s the most recent, a chocolate ganache-filled brioche loaf.
And so it begins continues….
My lovely bride and I have completed our first year of wedded bliss. It’s been a great year. Well, the getting laid off and burning through all our savings and putting off home improvement projects for 10 months and the car accident and the repairs we didn’t expect on the truck…not so much great there. But, we muddled through all the minutiae and trivial nonsense everyone deals with in life, together.
Some people continue to claim that our lack of major disagreements and complete lack of yelling and fighting means that we are repressing something vitally important. We contend that we just get along well. It helps that we both have the same basic view of the universe and how important some things are and how unimportant most other things are.
We’ll see how outside forces conspire to deflect our plans, but hopefully we’ll actually stay on track to our great goals of vacationing out of state, getting the hot tub installed, painting the house a less-putrid shade, and saving up for an eventual move out of West Texas. Even if things don’t work out as we plan, we’re still happy and that’s something no outside force is going to change.
Love you, pumpkin.
Kat here! Halloween will be our first anniversary. Yep- Last year on October 31st we were married in the courthouse, walked across the street and voted for Obama, and then had an amazing lunch at Peasant Village. I tell people that if I hadn’t married Gary, he would have been my best friend and I would have been secretly in love with him. I lucked out and became Mrs. Bunker.
There is a great cohesion between us. Our former marriages had similar lengths and our foolish pride kept us hanging in way beyond our former unions’ expiration dates. So we had the same wounds, the same concerns and the same longings. I’m not saying it is formulaic, but I believe it helped that we stood on the same ground when we met. Still no arguments, name-calling, raised voices or passive aggressive actions… just loads of affection, great conversation and always, always- missing each other terribly when we are apart. In our future are vacation plans to California, another cruise and moving in the next couple of years (possibly out of state!). We rock! Love rocks! Go Bearcat!
We’re spending a long weekend in Corpus Christi, concentrating on kayaking activities, but doing other touristy things as well. This morning was our introduction to kayak surfing, in an area known for relatively low surf because we’re big wimps. As I’m paddling out to hit some nice swells after a half hour or so, Kat yells, “FIN!” I turned to see a nice fin surfacing about 20 yards away. Fortunately, we recognized the fin as a dolphin relatively quickly (the constant diving and surfacing was another indicator), and then we watched and hoped there were other pod members nearby to entertain us, but to no avail.
This afternoon we watched some other dolphins at the aquarium, but even though we were quite amused by the near-constant pooing those critters were doing, they were not anywhere as memorable as the close encounter in the ocean off Padre Island.
Tomorrow is a paddling trail excursion at Port Aransas; wish us luck – there is a common recomendation to take a waterproof GPS with you. 🙂
Although I question the existence of a “date-aversary” as much as I question the existence of “Sweetest Day,” I have to point out that my bride is fabulous. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two years since we first met, as we seem to be perfectly compatible at all times. This level of consistent happiness is something I wish everyone could experience.
Remember, when people say, “relationships are hard,” they’re lying. Only bad relationships are hard.
Now, just five more months until our first anniversary. That’s paper, right? Ooh, origami!