August 29, 2007
Beautiful Day! Spent most of it at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Another reason to be very proud to live in Minnesota. I could live there all fall if they'd let me...ahhhh
The UNFAIR! tie in of the day, said to Jesse and Andrew when then started bickering over the fairness of who got what rock toward the end of our entirely pleasant day:
"You two wouldn't know FAIR if it bit you in the butts!"
On to the pictures:
August 26, 2007
So we spent the night before the fair opened in the emergency room, and then we spent the second day of the fair at the doctors office. Scott came home from work Friday morning WORSE than he had been before he went to the ER.
We called the ENT we had been referred to and got in late morning. Scott's problem (peritonsular abscess) was easily determined by the specialist and after a painful but quick in-office procedure, we went home and he slept blissfully for over 7 hours! He got up, ate, slept a couple more hours, then went to work.
I heard him come in Saturday morning and I wondered how he was doing. All I heard as I lay in bed was he and Andrew gibbering away. I came stumbling out to hear that he had been to the Farmer's Market in our neighborhood already and that he wanted to go out for breakfast at Perkins! Waa?!?!? This after working 8 hours overnight! He never is that chipper in the morning!
We gladly celebrated with breakfast and got the added bonus of seeing our niece Liana who works at this brand new Perkins.
What is UNFAIR! is that every medical problem can't be so easily remedied. I mean how rare is it that you call and get an appointment at a convenient time that same day, go to the doctor with a problem, he immediately understands what the problem is and says, "Let's fix it right now and you'll instantly be better"? I mean that just doesn't happen very often! I know because even the doctor was giddy when he found out what it was. He loves fixing things so fast for someone in pain!
So, all is well, and it was so nice to just hang out with Scott yesterday evening, listening to country music, he writing, me scrapbooking. So nice to have my man back!
August 23, 2007
Rain, chili cheese fries and local music. Waking up before I'm ready. Taking Andrew to his next place to be until my shift is over. Its turning out to be a pretty typical 1st day at the State Fair for me, except the part where I'm NOT at the State Fair.
The cafeteria at the hospital where my bro is doing his PT, OT and ST had a State Fair celebration today, complete with all the junk food you care to pay for and a live jazz band.
The only thing missing is the $100 an hour I would typically be pulling in right now. That and the fact that I don't need to get up tomorrow and do the whole thing over again.
August 22, 2007
So, in twenty minutes it will be the first day of the Minnesota State Fair, and the first time in three years that we will NOT be there at our Squngee booth.
So, I'm intending to post every day with some UNFAIR! posts...a walk down memory lane along with speculation about all things State Fairish.
Scott thought we'd start the UNFAIR! posts off with a bang, by dragging his family to the Emergency Room at Fairview Southdale Hospital for a night of fun and pacing. Several holes and a little nasal cocaine later, and we are all back home safe and sound. Turns out when Scott says he has a bad sore throat, he means he has a BAD SORE THROAT. Diagnosis: pharyngitis, which is a doctors way of saying, "Hey dude, you have a bad ass sore throat." Treatment? Lotsa drugs and see a doctor in two days. As if you could get an appointment with a doctor in two days time, like they were some sort of drive up McDoctors or something. Heh.
So yah, more fun at Fairview Southdale, will this summer ever end?!?!?
Imagine if we still did have a State Fair booth and we were starting out tomorrow with our head sales guy fresh out of the ER? May, wouldn't THAT have been a riot.
August 21, 2007
Sigh. The ONLY thing wrong with not being wealthy is the difficulty in traveling when one is "older".
I'm reading a great book by Donna Leon, Blood from a Stone. Donna is one of my favorite authors, one of the few accepted "outsiders" in the tight knit society of Venice. She was born in New Jersey (gee, wonder why Venice seemed appealing?) and lived in Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iran and China before settling in Venice. Ms. Leon writes celebrated mysteries.
Ms. Leon's main character, Commissario Brunetti is a big fan of Grappa. So I decided since I can't travel to Venice just now, I'll read some Donna Leon and sip some Grappa. I also picked up some Moscato D'Asti, a light bubbly white wine from Northern Italy, which I'm sure the Commisario also enjoys. While they chill, I'll tell you a little bit about both.
Grappa is a uniquely Italian drink. Traditionally, made from pomace, the discarded grape seeds, stalks, and stems that are a by-product of the winemaking process, Grappa has been around since the Middle Ages. For generations, Italians have sipped this "firewater" after meals and even added a little to their morning espresso, to "correct" it.
Grappa was originally made in Bassano del Grappa, a town of around 40,000 residents in Italy's northern Veneto region. It is from this town that Grappa gets its name. Grappa started as a by-product of the Italian winemaking trade, a rough drink made with what was available, potent enough to get the farmers through the cold winter months. It was good at warming you up, but not particularly tasty, similar to the grain alcohols of the Midwestern United States. Grappa, largely, remained a drink of the poor workmen and farmers until the 1960s.
Similar to France's brandies and Cognac, and Portugal's Sherry, Grappa is a distilled beverage. That means the mixture of grape pieces and alcohol is heated gently, allowing much of the mixture to evaporate, and leaving a potent concentration. Today's Grappa is about 40 to 45 percent alcohol. That's 80 to 90 proof. After distillation, Grappa is usually stored in glass bottles for about six months before it is distributed. The flavor profile of Grappa depends on the grape varietal used, and, generally, Grappa is potent and dry. Occasionally, a producer will add a little syrup to sweeten the lot. This sweeter Grappa is particularly popular in the American market.
The character of Grappa changed in the 1960s, thanks, largely to the efforts of one woman - Giannola Nonino. Her Nonino distillery, in Percoto Italy, has been producing Grappa since 1897. In the early 1970s, she began making Grappa from a single grape, as opposed to the customary mélange of grape leftovers. She sought to make a quality drink, one to rival the great eaux-de-vie of France. It was an uphill battle. She sold very little of her first, 1973, production. Undaunted, she offered her Grappa free to journalists, restaurateurs, and asked that it be served at important commercial and government dinners. She poured the drink herself and told her story as she filled the glasses. Slowly, in this way, the charismatic Ms. Nonino created a following.
The Nonino Distillery's first single grape Grappa was crafted from the Picolit grape. Today, over a dozen different grapes are used for single grape Grappas, called "monovitigno" Grappas, a term Ms. Nonino coined herself. In 1984, the same Nonino distillery gained government approval and began producing a higher quality Grappa made from whole fruit. They began with grapes and in the following years, produced products using cherries, pear, apricot, peach, and raspberry, among other fruits. Seeking a way to show off their new products, Nonino is also responsible for the stylish glass bottles in which Grappa today is sold, a dramatic change from the old medicinal-style bottles.
Grappa is also added to espresso to make a "Café Corretto," a popular after-dinner concoction.
In Italy they say Moscato d'Asti is the ultimate breakfast wine. Certainly, I could drink it all day, and as it is so innocently low in alcohol (typically 5.5%) it is tempting to start early. It's best after dinner, though, or at lunch, slopped into large wine glasses.
It can taste of white peaches, more often apricots, sometimes of orange-fleshed melons, and it is good when drunk alongside those fruits. It's also something of a chameleon - drinking one bottle with a mango and passion fruit tart dripping with crème patisserie, we became convinced it also had a suggestion of mango. Actually, though, it was just meshing so well with the fruit that we couldn't tell one from another.
Victoria Moore for The Guardian
When most people think of Italian wine, they think of the lush, robust reds of Tuscany or the delicate white wines of Piedmont. They don't generally think of sparkling wine…but they should. Italy produces more different kinds of sparkling wine than any other country in the world. In fact, they have been crafting spumantes (literally, sparkling wines) since Roman times, long before Dom Perignon popped his first cork. From the light, off-dry Proseccos to the classic Franciacortas, Italian sparkling wines are varied, tasty, and often quite affordable.
Unlike Champagne, most Italian sparkling wines are made using the Charmat method. Using this method, the wine's second fermentation is done in a tank instead of in the bottles, and the resulting wine is bottled young. This technique is particularly suited to crisp, low alcohol wines, such as Asti and Moscato d'Asti. Generally, sparkling wines produced this way are best consumed when young and have little staying power.
August 20, 2007
This year our family is participating in NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writers Month, where during the month of November you seek to write an entire novel, start to finish.
As a way to launch this off with Andrew, we are hosting writing workshops for kids his age, where we will help them write their first story and get it published.
This is all inspired in part by my cousins, who are older homeschooled kids who have participated in this challenge in the past.
Now I just need to figure out what my novel will be about!
August 17, 2007
From the archives of my blog, last year at this time:
Funny little man!