Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Gathering

We've just returned from The Gathering of the Knapp Clan in honor of John's 90th birthday. We spent a few days at Lake Yawkey, enjoying lots of food and, more importantly, the whole fam-damily. We got to see siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and in-laws, depending on where on the family tree you're growing.

Here's John, the man of the hour, with his kids. We all got matching T-shirts to commemorate the day.

The babies were cute, of course, and I got to hold this gorgeous little one as he chucked all over the pickleball court. (No photos of that, unfortunately.) I forgot just how much one tiny tummy can hold. It was fun to be around babies again, all such darling and intelligent and sweet-tempered things.

We played in the remarkably clean lake, and Sarah got buried in sand. Sand castles were placed strategically over her body parts. I lamented there was no plastic crab to put in one particular spot. Here are her toes. We chicks spent Saturday morning celebrating Sarah's bridal shower while the guys ate a monster breakfast at Paul Bunyan's. I'm glad I'm a girl.

The visit was busy and brief, which is the way family get-togethers should be. Until we meet again....

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Grass Jelly Drink

I finally got together with the family to taste my Grass Jelly Drink. The kids think I'm nuts. Eric wouldn't try it, either. I must say, it looked pretty nasty. It came out of the can as a dark water, like you get when you mix all the Easter dyes together when you're finished coloring your eggs.

I flashed back to the time I barfed on my parents' bedroom floor when I was nine. That color looked familiar...

It tasted like flat pop. If it weren't for those chunky gel bits, I bet you could call it energy tea and people would drink it without another thought. Like most gross things, it sounds much more appealing in French: boisson aux gelees d'herbe.

The ingredients were pretty simple: water, grass jelly (whatever the hell that is), cane sugar, corn starch, and honey. I suppose, since there's cane sugar in it, it's not technically vegetarian, so I have an excuse never to drink it again. But as I say, it's not so horrible. Not so good, either. But I could drink it. Maybe just strain it first.

Mmm. Grass Jelly Drink. Good to the last drop--er, chunk.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. We've made it 14 years. Yep, two seven-year-itches under our marital knots. So to all of you who said I was too young or he was too old--well, you had our best interests at heart, so thanks. But--nya-nya-na-nya-nya!!!

Eric spent the morning with Kayleigh in Milwaukee at Apple Camp. I spent the morning with Kelsey bowling (I'm still sore--man, I can't handle those balls the way I used to). Eric spent the afternoon & evening working the IT open house at work. I spent the afternoon watching Ice Age: The Meltdown at the cheap seats and the evening at Borders with the kids. Eric joined us eventually and we had some expensive treats, all four of us on an anniversary date.

Today was just a day. Went to the bank. Went to work. Went to my mom's. Came home. Oh! We went through a car wash on the way home. Kelsey's been bursting to go through a car wash, and today was the day. Woodman's, $3. It's adequate. You get what you pay for.

Also cheap at Woodman's right now are the one-pound boxes of Whitman's Samplers, only $2.99. They expire next week. (That means their sell-bys are next week, for those of you in other parts of the world.) Eat quick. That's not a problem here.

Tomorrow we go up to Eric's sister's for a family reunion, birthday party, and bridal shower. My, they are an organized bunch. Eric's dad is turning 90. Way to go, John! May we all live so long and so well.

I don't know if I'll have internet access while I'm away, so my random thoughts may not grace cyberspace again until next week. Take such care, everyone.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's academic

Gonna get me a education
I registered for school today. I'm not in a program, so I had to wait until open registration, which often makes for lots of busy signals over the phone and transfers to different departments. Today it also consisted of talking to real people--in person. Whoa.

I haven't taken the requisite course (English 1) to get into my Intro to Mass Communication class. I figure since I've already had Advanced Comp, three semesters of creative writing, two semesters of lit, and being the editor of the paper, English 1 is probably not necessary. And the English advisor on duty at the time ("He's the one sitting by the sign that says 'English Advisor.'" --yeah, thanks; I thought so) agreed, so I can stop feeling quite so arrogant.

So, I'm all set to take a history class--I honestly thought I'd make it through college without ever taking a history class--and my mass comm class.

Back to the subject of food...
As I drove home from school/work today, there was a flavor posted on the Michael's Frozen Custard sign which I'd never seen before: Kahlua fudge. So after dinner, we had to go there. Kahlua fudge was good. It was a lot like the cappuccino almond fudge, except it didn't have any almonds. I think I like the almonds. (Do you still have your nuts on your desk, M?)

I gave the grass jelly drink can a shake tonight. It sounds really revolting. Tomorrow before dinner, I'll pop it open and have a suck. Do people really consume grass jelly drink? Or did some marketing genius in the Philippines come up with some drunken bet with a buddy that he could get Americans to drink gelled grass?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sweet Jackfruit

I've just returned home from the grocery store. I usually hate grocery shopping, but today seemed OK. My kids were with me; they were very pleasant and only asked for about 4000 Calories of chocolate each. I was moderately indulgent.

I love the ethnic food aisle, as it's called. Soy sauce and taco shells don't seem very ethnic to me, but there they are--along with the aloe juice, basil seed drink, and Rice-A-Roni. Go figure. Earlier this year I saw a can of glop that was really disgusting but fascinating, as well: Grass Jelly Drink. There it was again today. For 49 cents, I thought it would be an excellent entertainment value. So I bought it, and to go along with it, I bought a jar of Tasty Joy brand Sweet Jackfruit.

I tried the jackfruit first thing. It felt sort of like a canned apricot, kind of soft and squishy. But it was a bit stringy, too, like a mango or a pineapple. It was ridiculously sweet; if they were peaches, they'd be the heavy syrup kind. It tasted sort of peachy, sort of mango-y. The pieces were about the size of pineapple chunks, but sliced much thinner. I couldn't manage to actually chew them into anything smaller than they already were, and they got slimier and goopier, so I pulled a French abortion and spat them into the sink.

I'm waiting until my grass jelly drink gets cold in the fridge before I try it. Somehow, I think cold grass jelly would go down better than warm.

None of my family will try my ethnic gastronomic curiosities. Wimps. When it comes to imports, they don't venture much beyond Toblerone. Last month, however, I bought a tin of Spotted Dick at an import store, and they did try that, I must admit. It was like a very wet, sicky-sweet muffin in a can. It wasn't bad.

But if I'm honest, I'll take the chocolate over Spotted Dick or Sweet Jackfruit any day. The jury's still out on the grass jelly drink.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hijacking the blogwagon

After much nagging from family, I've finally (finally!) started a blog. Hi.