Posted on : 2:03 PM | By : Jennifer

Originally uploaded by derrick_smith



Posted on : 8:21 AM | By : Jennifer

Originally uploaded by derrick_smith

The Mints Have Moved


Posted on : 3:14 PM | By : Jennifer

Hi everyone.  Just wanted to let you know that my blog has moved to a new locale.  Please come see me at strayjuniormint for good times and sticky purses.

Thanks for checking in!

Rumplestiltskin was NOT a leprechaun


Posted on : 4:06 PM | By : Jennifer

Was he? I say no, Derrick says yes. Who will you side with on this one, the English major or the engineer? (I'm counting on you, my three faithful readers...)

This little tiff aside, we had a happy St. Patty's Day here. We don't usually do much for this holiday (when you don't drink, your options are pretty limited), but the girls really got into it and asked if we could do a special dinner and family night for it. So we cooked up some:

Corned Beef and Cabbage

It tasted better than it looks--honest. It was actually delicious.

Irish Soda Bread

Okay, I forgot to take a pic of my loaf, so I snatched this off
Google Images. Same idea, though--we even did the X on top
(I know you're impressed.)

and for dessert,
Rachael's Rainbow Cookies

Those are clouds with gold dust on them, in case you couldn't tell.

I was proud of her efforts, as making these turned out to be quite a process:

Each layer had to be colored, rolled, then flattened and
rolled around the previous layer. Lots of work--we're not French, you know!
(Did you know? We do sometimes give off that aura with our sophistication and charm.
A lot of people ask.)

Applying the "clouds." We had so much fun making these,
and they were geeeoood! Pure butter and sugar--how could they not be?

Rache then took us on a wild and crazy treasure hunt (Ethan was in heaven, flying through the house) and we all settled down to hear her lesson on the history of St. Patrick's Day. Derrick and I were shocked to learn that it had anything to do with Christianity. I guess a lot of people know that. Where have we been? (Oh yeah, graduating from Kennewick High.)

There were prizes for Ethan and treats for everybody, except Dad

who then tried to steal Ethan's.
Ethan wasn't havin' any of it.

At the end of the evening, we were surprised with a visit from a mysterious leprechaun who asked not to appear on this blog. Suffice it to say she wore a long green coat with sparkly gold shoes, threw gifts from her big black shoulder bag, and had a LOT of blush on. We never knew leprechauns could be girls, but she told us, oh yes, they can. I will respect her wishes and not post her picture here in order to protect the anonymity she'll need to do more leprechauning in the future. Suffice it to say, she was blonde, little, and cute. And so funny. Unbelievably funny for an eight-year old.

We had a lot of fun tonight, without a lot of planning or shopping or stressing. My kind of holiday.

And so Happy St. Patrick's Day and a shimmy shimmy shamrock to you all!
(Five bonus points if you can recite the rest of that handslap. One clue: eenie weenie pepsadeenie...)

Follow the Yellow (or red) Brick Road


Posted on : 11:50 PM | By : Jennifer

So here I am, precisely thirty-two hours after my last post, the dreamy escape to Portland already safely tucked into the past.  I was so excited for this little getaway that I actually got nervous as we drove out of town, because everyone knows that when a couple is that happy to leave town--and everything seems perfectly right with the world--they end up dying in a tragic car accident, leaving their children orphans to be raised by an indifferent distant relative.  That, however, did not happen.  And I'm glad, because one more day on this earth meant that I got to go to Voodoo Doughnuts.

I had not heard of Voodoo Doughnuts until 10 am this morning, when we finally rolled our already-chubby-but-soon-to-be-chubbier buns out of bed.  My husband mentioned that he'd heard Voodoo served the "ultimate" doughnuts and was something of a Portland landmark, so we made our way across the cheery red-bricked downtown streets, enjoying the crisp March weather.  We rounded the corner of 3rd Avenue and there it was:

From the outside, the shop looked small, "funky" (Portland's euphemism for old and dirty), and was swarming with long-haired middle-aged men who obviously didn't quite make it to San Francisco, and unadorned young women who were trying dutifully to look unattractive.  (I don't know why these Portland girls insist on unattractiveness, I just know that they do.  I guess at the very least, their poor/plain look is on purpose, which is more than I can say for my own.)

Have you ever stood in line for forty-five minutes to get a doughnut?  Neither had I, until this morning.  The real problem was that by the time we realized we were going nowhere, we'd invested ten minutes of precious wait time, and no way were we starting over somewhere else.  After fifteen minutes, the formerly friendly weather became my enemy as that cold spring wind blew straight through my hoodie into my now growling stomach.  We waited.  And waited.  About every five minutes, a couple of lucky souls would emerge from the front door with their confectioned bounties heaped in a pretty pink box that was ridiculously mismatched with the grunge vibe of the joint.  I'm thinking the color was probably an unfortunate by-product of adamant insistence on 100% recyclable, organic, sustainable materials in which to house their precious doughnuts.  Whatever the reason, those Pretty Pink Boxes did not belong at Voodoo Doughnuts.  Period.

We kept waiting, huddled together against the cold like a pair of desperate refugees.  Rather than facing death on one side and starvation on the other, however, we were instead sandwiched between some sort of alternative high school outing in front of us and a group of young local thespians behind.  We continued our slow march toward the front door as one of the "actresses" behind us began waxing poetic about religion and coffee.  All I can say about her dissertation is that never will I recover the ten minutes of my life that I spent listening to it.

The slow stream of satisfied customers continued to trickle out the front door, their faces lit up with the smug, secretive confidence of those who have been admitted to the Inner Room.  I found myself wondering if this was the expression Katie Holmes wore after Tom Cruise inducted her into the executive boardroom of the Scientology cruise ship. I thought about Tom and Katie for a long time.  Wondered how they were doing.  But then I was done thinking about them and I went back to being hungry and cold.

And so it was, after a piece time that moved more slowly than the Willamette River, we were upon the  front door.  Like Jean Val Jean before he committed his fateful crime, only a pane of glass separated Me-From-Bread.  I could smell the frying fat; I could taste the crystal sugar.  And suddenly, without fan or fare, the door was opened.  A curtain was pulled back and we were ushered into Oz.  And Oz it was, my friends.  Oz it was.

Think twenty bodies crammed into two hundred dimly lit square feet.  Think a long counter manned by two teens--a boy and girl--who were, by all appearences, apprenticing for their future roles as The Man Who Didn't Make it to San Fran and The Deliberately Unattractive Woman (see pp. 3, lines 2-3).  Think of the thick stench of cigarette smoke and body odor that surely violated codes of, if not health, at least basic personal hygiene.  But most of all, think of the doughnuts.

The menu was infinite:  bacon topped maple, coconut and caramel swirled, chocolate and banana glazed, vanilla and grape, mango and marshmallow, Butterfinger and Oreo--all filled, frosted, sprinkled, and stuffed to your liking.  After our longsuffering stint on the street, Derrick and I decided  that an even half-dozen would suit the two of us nicely.  We ordered a blueberry old-fashioned, Mexican Hot Chocolate, cinnamon cruller, raspberry-filled powdered sugar, Captain Crunch Frosted and, just to round things out, a peanut butter and chocolate concoction entitled "Dirty Old Bast*rd."  (I'm sorry to offend you with that, but so it was called, and I can only speak truths here.)

Final wait time:  47 minutes
Final bill:  $7.50
Final calorie count:

Final calorie count:

You know, I don't really see how that bit of information is relevant to the conversation at hand.  Let's move on.

We sailed out of the shop conquering heroes, pleased to see that the line was now twice as long as it had been when we were in it (we're not above relishing in others' misfortunes.)  Derrick held the Pretty Pink Box high above the heads of the trodden masses who looked up at us with hungry eyes.  I graced them with a benevolent smile that said:  "Be patient, little ones.  Your time will come.  Yes, your time will come."  And with that, we were off to Saturday Market.  In the two minutes it took to walk there, we managed to inhale all six gargantuan doughnuts.  They were geeoood.

Final favorites
Jen:         Blueberry old-fashioned 
Derrick:          Dirty Old Bast*rd. (Figures)

The real triumph of this psychodelic wanderlust was not realized in the doughnuts, however.  The real victory for me was that just by hanging around a place like that I was instantly younger, hipper, and somehow more environmentally aware.  I really can't explain it.  I just know that absorbing the verbal meanderings of said Acting Troupe took at least ten years off of each of us.  This newfound feeling of urbane coolness lifted my spirits high throughout the morning as we wandered through booths filled with ugly clothes and junky jewelry that now seemed artsy and beautiful through my newly initiated  eyes.  I wanted to shout from the lampposts across the Willamette:  In the name of all things recyclable, I am now a member of the Voodoo crowd! Never again would I be caught in a Wal-Mart.  Never again would I coupon at Walgreens.  Cloaked with this new identity, I smugly made my way downtown where I was sure my funky and fancyfree essence was palpable to each person I passed.

That is, until I stepped into Anthropologie.  My funky and fancyfree essence disintegrated the moment I stepped into Anthropologie.

But that's another post.