Moon Dust – an Evertoon

I recently worked with Evertoon, who makes an app to create your own animated cartoons.  Its a blast!

Here is the link to my cartoon, Moon Dust by Kris K

If you have an Apple device, such as iPhone or iPad, you too can create your own cartoon fun,  http://www.evertoon.com/iphone?src=upkk160201.

Wrangling on Hopped up Beer

The new Mexican restaurant a few miles away sent us a coupon.  Beer, tacos and burrito special.  Everything looked delicious until we got to the cashier and our beer.  I inquired as to what they had on tap.  The cashier pointed to the taps and most had IPA or pale ale on them.  One tap did not say IPA and the name had an umlaut over the u so I took a chance.  It turned out to be my style, light and mellow without that bitter taste.

In the craft beer world, IPA is rocking it.  At the local Oktoberfest, at least half of the beers are IPA.  This is bad news for me.  A German beer and dark beer lover, give me a Hefeweizen or a porter.  I never met an IPA I like.

Dark beer didn’t survive the journey to India and traditional Indian beer didn’t mesh with British tastes.  Not to mention, rice beer attracts elephants who make really poor drinking buddies.  The British invented IPA, India Pale Ale,  to avoid missing their beer when out of town. Hopping a beer up on hops preserves it on long voyages to India, turns out.

According to beer connoisseurs, IPA hops up the taste of beer.  For them flavor and taste are separate considerations for good beer.  I fail to appreciate how making a beverage not sweet in the first place more bitter produces more taste.  I favor another approach to taste.

I vote for old, more traditional ingredients.  For me, I buy that beer brewed with yarrow and sage or cinnamon and clove.  Indulge in the excitement of a 3000 year old beer recipe from ancient Egypt.  Tag me as a beer explorer, a re-inventor, not into recent beer inventions, like within the last 300 years.

 

 

 

 

Bright Colors Attract Worms

My agent grumbled for over a year about my head shots.  In December, I noticed some head shots I liked on Facebook and I booked a session.  I chose new shots with my agent’s help and uploaded a new pic to Facebook.

Headshot Smiling in Green 3

Everyone liked it, some a bit too much.

I received a message from some guy from Gambia I apparently accepted as a friend because he was friends with another Facebook friend.  The conversation progressed like this.  Gambia guy asked how I was.  I said fine.  Gambia guy gushed how wonderful that was, how interesting his country was and how I should visit Gambia.  I ignored him and stopped replying.  Mostly because I don’t like to chat and certainly have no interest in traveling to a country where its hot and humid as Hades with bugs the size of dinosaurs.   Gambia guy tried again in a couple days, exact repeat of above conversation, like the first conversation never existed.  So, either he’s automated his spam or he’s a bit dense.  He’s gone away for now and I hope he stays there.

I received another message from a guy on the see coast of France who said he used to live in California. Within hours of the Gambia guy’s message.  I figured I wouldn’t hold poor spelling against him and replied with a Hi, I’m fine.  See coast of France guy asks me when we can chat.  I inform him I do not like to chat.  He’s taken aback.  He asks me how my night is and I tell him I’m working.  The next day, I get the how is your night question again.  Now, I’m thinking he cannot spell or read.  He moves on to how old I am which I tell him and he informs me I still look young and beautiful.  Now, I believe he cannot see very well either.  He moves on to “are you married with kids”, to which I reply “No, I have a partner and two dogs”.  He then insists I need the love of a husband, not a boyfriend.  Pissed, I leave the conversation and so does he.

Yes, I should know better than to indulge these creepy friends.  I know I should unfriend them.  The conversations are just so darn amusing.  And my choice of new head-shot is confirmed as attention getting.  May it attract as many directors and producers as it has worms.

Best Use Of

Hub Cap Decoration

The boys and I came across this on our walk yesterday.  We walk by weekly but never on this side of the street.

This gets my nomination for the best use of a lost or discarded item in the neighborhood.  Its art on the fence and its quite fetching, in my book.

Do you have neighborhood art created from a lost or discarded item?  Send me the picture and I’ll post it.  Along with your blog or website link.

Beady Eyed Neighborhood Syndicate

Jack helped me put out the donation last night.  He carefully fastened on the tags and laid it on the lawn.  Not where I preferred but I don’t want to nag.

The boys and I returned from our walk this morning and I noticed white items scattered around the donation bag.  I thought, gee, someone tried to use it to put their garbage in.  As the boys and I drew near, I discovered the white items were sharpies and a cloth bag.  Large holes poked in the bag and the tags ripped off immediately identified the criminals.  Yes, our black beady eyed neighborhood syndicate, the crows, left their imprint.

Its garbage day and the syndicate is on the look out for a hustle.  I chuckle.  They got a surprise.  Utilizing a small hole in the bag, the syndicate enlarged it, pulling out what appeared to be delectable items only to discover the items not so delectable, only plastic and cloth.  Pissed, they left them and moved on to unsuspecting homeowners who leave their garbage can lids slightly ajar.  The syndicate is adept at prying off those lids and going whole hog on the contents.  The owner arrives home to find their garbage strewn across the lawn, only the choice bits removed.

No one escapes our neighborhood syndicate.  Not the bald eagles pursued relentlessly by the entire syndicate till they leave the area.  Not any neighbor careless enough to forget to batten down their garbage can lid.  Not your dogs who pick up a dying member of the syndicate.   Jack, me and the boys survived stalking, dive bombing and flying objects, including a dead animal dropped on us.  You are marked for life once you annoy the syndicate.

I stuff the items back into the bag.  I move it to the driveway curb and lay it gently with the holes up so items won’t spill out when its picked  up.  The syndicate won’t bother it now, word travels fast in their ranks.  No choice morsels in that black bag.

 

 

Over the Mountains and Through the Tourist Hot Spot

Oh boy, I knew it.  I drank way too much tea before I loaded the boys in the car and took off.  I’m on the road for only 1 hour and I need to pee.  There are no public restrooms on this highway and only a few businesses on the left side of the road.  Definitely not going left because getting back on the road will take several minutes and I don’t like the dirty looks I get for using the bathroom without buying something.

Snowy Wenatchee

I notice some old rail cars by the side of the road, partially buried in snow.  I jump out, clamber over the snow berm and promptly sink up to my knees in snow.  The snow is softer than expected.   I plow on and make my way behind the rail cars.  My boots and pants below the knee are soaked but my bladder is happy so I am too.

The boys and I motor on at 50 mph. About 10 miles to the top of the pass,  slush hits the windshield, a snow and rain mix.   8 miles in, the “Chains Required” sign is lit.   Its a madhouse on the side of road with cars and semis pulled off to apply chains.  We don’t stop.  My investment in an all wheel drive sedan pays off once again.

We hit the wall of cars and the blizzard about 5 miles from the top of the pass.  We’re down to 30 mph and 1/4 mile visibility.   We’re stuck in the middle of a pack of cars behind the snow plow.  The first 3 cars take off around the snow plow and the Honda ahead of me picks up speed.  Yes!  Maybe I won’t be stuck behind this snow plow forever.  The Honda drives up right behind the plow and chickens out.  No!  You can pass the plow, just do it, I (mentally) yell.  Its no use,  the driver wusses out.

We crawl up the mountain, bumper to bumper.  My windshield wipers ice up.  Lovely, just lovely.  We crawl over the top and down the mountain, passing  a small SUV with its hazard lights flashing barely going 20 mph, the driver obviously scared spit less.

I’m startled by a light in my rear-view mirror.  Its another snowplow, bombing along on the right.  He flies by me with a stream of cars behind him.  Darn! There is no room to fit into the stream of cars.  I’m stuck behind the pokey plow.

Kahthunka, kahthunka, kahthunka!  Oh shoot, the road is one white mass with no lines and I ran over those bumps on the edge of the road.  Benny freaks out.  His paw presses the seat controls and the backrest goes all the way down, landing on the back seat, barely missing JJ.   Benny crawls under the canvas covering the back seat, hiding on the floor.  JJ gingerly climbs up to the front seat, takes in the situation, decides the front seat is no place for him and hustles back.  I keep my eyes on the road, what little I can see of it and ignore the doggy drama.

I’m supposed to call when I reach the Bavarian Village.  Its almost Christmas and the Bavarian Village is over flowing with holiday lights, tourists and snow.   There are no parking places, the streets piled deep with snow and cars.

As I join the parade of cars through town, Benny’s head pops out of the canvas.  He’s up for air and a look around.  I let him be.  I don’t want him commandeering those seat controls again.

Check price before saying I do

I swirl the dark berry colored liquid in my glass and take a sip.  Not bad.  The wine shop owner tells me its mostly cab and goes well with roast beef.  My mother decided on roast beef for Christmas dinner and I told her I’d bring a red wine.  My parents hate red wine.  Jack and I love red wine.

I wander away from the tasting bar and around the store.  I’m in here often, Jack and I are wine snobs.  Actually, cheap wine snobs is closer to the truth.  We belong to the store’s wine club because the owner stocks nice reds for $9 – $15.  His selection includes $100 and up red wines and $80 champagnes too.

We recently opened a French red wine we loved, and the label says Revelation.  Trouble is, I cannot remember where I bought it.   I stop and ponder the Italian wine shelf.  The Barbera I just tasted is there, in my price range.  The rhinoceros label catches my eye.  I love this label and 3 choices beckon on the shelf.  One is $20, one is $25 and one is….$128 (holy crap).   I already splurged on a bottle of French zero brut champagne.  I’m spoiled by The Drunken Cyclist’s adventures in the OhMyGod series.  http://thedrunkencyclist.com/.  Every time I narrate an episode, I want to try more champagnes.

I chose the Barbera.  I need another red so I decide on the other French red I tasted, the mostly cab.  I search for it while I’m looking for the Revelation label, but no luck on either wine.  I ask the owner and he heads for a corner of the shop I rarely visit.  He grabs a bottle and heads to the register.  I glance at the price on the case.    Oh crap, its well past $30.  I cannot bring myself to say its a bit out of my price range.  Most of his customers are like the lady who just burst through the door, announcing she must have several more bottles of Grand Cru.  That stuff starts at $50 a bottle.

Its the holidays and my parents are getting up in years so who knows how many more Christmas dinners we will have together.  Back home, I examine the Margaux, the most expensive red wine I’ve ever tasted.   I realize I’ve purchased my first Bordeaux red wine from a well known French appellation, Margaux.

Bordeaux Wine

The Revelation label turns out to come from Trader Joe’s.    I’m on the fence about whether to serve the Margaux or the Revelation at dinner.  Only one other person coming to dinner likes reds.  The Margaux feels like fine china, and I’m prone to breaking stuff.

The moral of this story is, after tasting, find wine and check price before saying “That’s good wine, I want some.”

Have a very wonderful holiday!

Socks on a Twig

JJ, Benny and I briskly stride down the trail.  Its the main walking, biking, and running trail through the city.  Running parallel to major thoroughfares, its a thin strip of forested oasis from the traffic and cars.

Clothing on a branch catches my eye.  We stop and I inspect.  Its a pair of dark patterned socks.

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We attract lost clothing, especially socks.  We’ve run into one purple sock and two pairs of black socks on parking strips, a hat on an electrical pole, a sweater on a fence and numerous gloves in the road.

I’m mystified.   Who loses socks on a trail?  You lose socks in the laundry. Its 40 degrees out, not barefoot weather.  You’re not going to voluntarily strip off your socks unless you like your feet really really cold.

Did a jogger splash through a big puddle?  For certain, if you’re a jogger in the Pacific Northwest, you will get soaked from head to foot.  I have never seen a jogger carrying anything to stow socks in.   And these aren’t sport socks.

Little Jimmy is out on his bike with Mom in tow and he joy rides through a large puddle.  Mom always has extra socks stowed away because Little Jimmy loves wet feet.  The family calls him little Jimmy duck.   Little Jimmy hurdles down the trail with his dry socks and Mom chases after him;forgetting the wet socks.  This scenario is a possibility, as they could be kid’s socks.

The good Samaritans around here, when they find clothing on the ground, hang it up on the nearest branch, pole or other lofty place.   I surmise the thought is if you hang it up high, whoever lost it is more likely to find it.  In this case, its not working.  The socks are still on the branch a week later, even more soaked as its the rainy season here.

And I’m still mystified.

Bubbling Chocolate

I eye the bubbling fountain from across the room.  I’m in charge of it tonight and it must not run dry.  The dark brown liquid oozes from the top and dribbles down the sloped slides.  My mood darkens as I realize I must clean up that dribbling ooze when the night is over.

The chocolate fountain is on loan for our party from our committee chair.  She cannot make the party due to finals.  When I arrive early to the party, I take out the fountain and begin pre-melting the chocolate.  Someone’s bored 13 year old volunteers to put the fountain together and I agree.  The pre-melt proceeds smoothly.  Getting the mostly melted chocolate into the moat is problematic.  Halfway through the process, I realize chocolate has leaped from my  hands into my hair.  More party goers are arriving so I finish the pour.  No time to wash the gooey mess from my hair.   The other committee assistant scoops up some chocolate fondue, then dribbles it onto her pants and the carpet.  This stuff is dangerously messy.Chocolate Fountain

At the end of the night, I turn off and unplug the fountain.  Tediously, I scrap the half congealed chocolate from the sides and the moat.  My sweater is various shades of brown so its impossible to tell if its spotted with chocolate.  My lily white arms are streaked with it.  The sink is chocolate brown as I rinse all the parts in hot water.

When I get home, I reek of chocolate.  If in the future I’m requested to look after a chocolate fountain I will politely decline.   Chocolate is good in moderation in a hard format.  Forget the melted format, its dangerous.

 

 

The Neighbor

Our elderly neighbor is yelling at me on this nice sunny Saturday.  I’m sure she lays in wait till I appear with my rake and extra large clippers on the back side of our property.

“You shouldn’t be doing that”, she castigates me.  “Your husband should hire someone to do that work, you will get hurt”, she continues.  I just smile, nod my head and say its too expensive to hire someone.  I enjoy cleaning up the yard.

Not to be dissuaded, she hauls their yard waste container noisily across the road to the sidewalk below our property.  “You use this, we have lots of room. You won’t have to haul it so far this way”.   Again, I smile and say thanks.

Ambush Area - back of property

Ambush area – back of property

Crap, now I have to cautiously sidle down our rock steps to the sidewalk with the rake and bundle some dead leaves into their container.  Then, schlep it back across the road to their trash area.  I must fill up our yard waste container.   We’re paying for it.  She’s making extra work for me.

I believe she’s 82 and her husband is 88.  I rarely see her husband.  She has 2 or 3 skinny black cats, one is missing an eye.  She used to live in Germany, this is her second marriage and she’s estranged from some of her family.  Her kids do visit and she likes to have dinner parties.

She ensnared me one afternoon while I was down on the sidewalk, wresting with our overgrown ivy.  I received a portion of her life story which lasted at least 30 -45 minutes.  There is something about me, maybe my honest face, which prompts people to tell me things I really do not want to know.  Being an introvert, I cannot find a way to easily disengage once they’ve caught me.

This is why I stay on top of the rock wall when I see her out and about.  It’s a safe distance.  She’s unlikely to yell more of her life story at me.  I can handle the short scolding about working too hard by smiling and waving.