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I used to get a lot of inadvertent phone calls. My last name starts with an A., so in my friends' flip phone contact lists, I was often the first entry. There was a pause on that, but in the last week, I've started getting inadvertent phone calls and texts.

One of those -- yesterday afternoon while walking with M., -- was straightforwardly from my sister. I got to hear whatever was going on in the background of her life until I hung up. This morning, I noticed that I had a phone call AND VOICEMAIL from an unrecognized phone number (one not in my contact list and therefore listed as a number, not a name). At 1 a.m. in the morning (this is why I have DND turned on -- don't worry, if you really need to reach me and you know me, you can blast right through that with two phone calls in quick succession. Altho if you _do_ reach me during my DND period of the day and I decide I didn't like that, I will then specifically DND your numbers so that will stop working. Use your powers for good.).

I have also been receiving text messages from the same phone number. I pretty rapidly tracked it back to a group SMS from my sister-in-law. It wasn't my sister-in-law inadvertently contacting me tho. THAT would have showed up with her name. It was one of the other people she had texted pictures of her kids to (graduation and 8th grade completion photos. Gorgeous kids, we just saw them and they are every bit as sweet and smart as they are gorgeous. Sister-in-law and her husband make beautiful people). Specifically, the person contacting us is my husband's sister's husband's mother. My sister-in-law's mother-in-law.

Now, I'm a Certain Kind of Person. I'm the kind of person who will do _your_ genealogy for free, and tell you funny stories about your great-great-great something or other. You would _think_ I would already have my sister-in-law's mother-in-law in my contact list. And I have met her, and my husband worked with her to get a copy of one of her sculptures (metal) (Dancing Miriam -- it was a wedding gift from my husband), and I have one of her small oil paintings hanging not ten feet from me in my kitchen as I write this. And yet, I had no contact information for her.

I have contact information for her now! :-) All I need is a snail mail address, and she's gonna start getting our annual holiday card. This is what happens if you butt dial me in 2017.
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I had two sitters today. I walked with M. in the afternoon (Thursday morning she has another regular activity). I got a long walk as well. I had a lovely phone conversation with J. I wasn't expecting this -- it's going to be tricky during the summer because of kids, but so far, so good.

A. had play therapy. Her new Lammily doll and a few outfits had arrived, so I sent them with her and the sitter to play therapy. Everyone likes the new doll, and apparently that (and another smaller doll) enabled some really good conversations about power, jealousy and control, as well as travel and things like when will her body start changing. Who knew dolls could be so empowering!

Generally speaking, I think criticisms of Barbie tend to miss all the wonderful things that Barbie brought to little girls over the decades: an ability to imagine oneself in any number of careers, vs. the preceding toy (baby doll) which firmly invoked "get married and have babies and nurture". However, Lammily doll in hand, I now feel a lot of what I _wasn't_ letting myself feel about the awful proportions of Barbie that set people off (honestly, I do not care about all the pink. A. loves pink. I'm not prepared to argue). I had not felt that way when encountering other Barbie doll replacements, but Lammily is _very_ satisfying. So, yay! Hopefully it will thrive in the world of commerce and kids' toys, which is a very challenging arena.

Once a year, we have a photographer (the same photographer for 8 years now, I think) come to the house and take pictures of the kids. She came and took pictures, which is always fun, and I'm looking forward to sharing those pictures as we do annually at the holidays.

It was a busy day and I was quite tired at the end of it, having cleaned the kitchen, run roomba in most of the downstairs, and cleaned three bathrooms. None of it done particularly well, nevertheless, it was a lot of work on top of everything else.

ETA: T. went to see Transformers: the Last Knight and is now pronouncing all of his vowels really weird, probably because he is attempting to sound like Anthony Hopkins. He is not succeeding, altho it is a little humorous.

A. went to Nara in the morning and early afternoon.
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The kids went off with their sitters. It's a beautiful day. R. went to work early. The sitters showed up around 10. But the kids were really agreeable and easy to deal with. A. caught up on new episodes of Doc McStuffins and Powerpuff Girls. We all had breakfast. I made blondies and did some laundry. I also went through the paper that came back from this trip (receipts, brochures, ticket stubs, etc.) and rather than shove them all into the gargantuan travel file, I actually took pictures of them, threw them away and put the pictures in an album on Flickr with the ride photos and cell phone pictures I took on the trip. I like the result so much I'm now eying the travel folder and thinking about maybe doing that with the enormous backlog of paper from previous trips. Way better than having 3 ring binders full of this stuff, imo, and a lot easier to do / less time consuming than I had expected it to be. Oh, and I downloaded the ride photos, obviously.

I'm going to scrounge up some lunch and then probably head out on another longer walk by myself. I have a phone call scheduled in about an hour.

Last night I ordered a bunch of stuff I'd delayed ordering because of the trip (clothes for A., replacement baby aspirin and zyrtec for me). This morning I ordered T. some replacement Croc slides because his are cracked pretty severely. I have been trying to order replacement pink crocs for A., but am having trouble finding the right size and color. Then I remembered there were some pink / purple glitter crocs in her closet and got them out and realized they are the right size. So that's cool.

I did indeed get the longer walk. The Echo Show arrived, so that was fun to set up. A canvasser with Mass Saves came by. Even tho we had had an assessment done back in 2009 or 2010 or thereabouts, they apparently want to do this about every 5 years. I'm not going to complain. I have a hard time imagining what they might find, but I guess that's why they do the assessment.

Alexa now has (for about a month or two) the ability to connect with the Apple calendar. So that's kind of cool. That is the first time I've set up an app specific password for Apple, also.

I'm going to have to figure out a place to relocate the main Amazon Echo. I put the Show next to my recliner. I already had a small problem in the upstairs hall where the Dot and the Echo sometimes both could hear me. Problems of abundance, I guess? Or at least the problems associated with really liking gadgetry.
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We drove home from Hershey. We stopped in Easton to go to Crayola Experience, which R.'s brother-in-law J. had suggested. The kids had fun. It is sort of a highly-branded, inexpensive, craft oriented children's museum. If you could convince your kids to NOT always want ice cream or the more expensive things in the shop, it'd be a kind of cool place to take a preschooler. There are water tables, coloring places, modeling clay stations, painting, little climbing structures, etc. My kids are a little old for it, but had a good time.

We had lunch at the McDonald's in Easton. I tried the "signature" recipe with beef, pico and guac. I had to send the first one back to get it without cheese and ranch (I told them -- but it doesn't show up right on the ticket and I don't know if the young man at the register did it wrong or if they haven't figured out how to accommodate on this item or what). It was tasty. The pico makes a nice replacement for the usual onion etc., and I love guac.

Once we got to Massachusetts, the thunderstorms hit in earnest, so we stopped for dinner in Auburn to try to wait out some of the worst of the storms + Worcester rush hour traffic. When we got home, unpacking went super fast. T. was incredibly helpful and didn't do anything to interrupt getting through that task. We got some of the laundry done; the sheets and towels can wait for tomorrow.

ETA: T. pulled a canine out in the van on the trip home. I wrapped it up in a piece of paper and stored it in the little display case when we got home. Not too many more of those to go for him. He warned us it was about to happen and then he told me when it had, so he could hand me the tooth for safekeeping. What a difference a few years make.

It was a really fun trip. Getting to see family was especially nice. I had been sure we would hang out with my sister and her family (this was a Cape Cod replacement and we've done this trip before) but I was less sure of the NJ side trip and as long as that wasn't scheduled I'd been reluctant to make plans with R.'s aunt in Harrisburg. Nevertheless, it all worked out.
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On Monday, we started out riding Comet. Then A. and I rode Trailblazer. We met up with T. and R. accidentally and the kids rode Wild Mouse together. I bought a photo pass for the day (probably should have bought the 3 day pass on the first day but whatever), and got the one with both kids. T. rode it a second time and I got that photo. A. and I stood in line for a while for Laff Trakks. After that, we were supposed to meet everyone else at the Aqua Theater to see a Seals and Sea Lions show but A. was not going for it. We went to Subway and had an instant replay of the previous day's lunch (with only one cookie this time instead of two). She wanted caramel corn on her way out of the park and was pacing herself. We rode Coal Cracker and got that photo. Then we went to Chocolate World and did the 4D show with my sister's family and bought some souvenirs.

No swimming because everyone but us went to the water park. K. and B. went swimming later anyway, but A. wasn't really interested in doing anything but playing Roblox at that point. We had Chinese takeout for dinner; I made the kids burgers and T. ate his but A. had filled up on caramel corn.

R. did some laundry while waiting for the food to arrive and while I was feeding the kids dinner.
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On Sunday, we were going to go to Laff Trakks during the first hour, but they only open Founders Way and the Hollow and Laff Trakks is way deep in Midway. Oh well. We rode the Comet several times and had a ton of fun. Then we lined up for Laff Trakks and rode it a couple times. After that, we split up (all 8 of us went on Laff Trakks, altho T. and R. went on Skyrush while the rest of us did Comet -- even my sister rode once!).

My sister's family and I had lunch at Subway and La Famiglia. They got a pizza and some subs. I got A. a cheese sub and bacon, and I had a veggie delite. She didn't eat her roll so I wound up having it later in the cabin with pb & j because a 6 inch veggie delite with no cheese is a little light on calories even if you have mayo.

Since R.'s family went to the water park, we did not go swimming.

A.'s food obsession of the day was a cookie s'more. Those things are enormous. She didn't even eat a fifth of it, but I did manage to get the rest back to the cabin fridge for later.

I bought A. and my nieces the $19 game voucher booklet. A. played many different midway type games. Obviously, these are mostly unwinnable (except the ones that give crap prizes that you then trade up for slightly better crap prizes). But I mostly was focused on having her play, lose, say thank you and walk away with the knowledge that she'd get to play LOTS of different games during the day. I did NOT want to reinforce an already terrible cycle she's in with arcades and her sitter where she throws temper tantrums if she can't stay long enough to accumulate tickets for a crap prize that I could have bought on Amazon for a lot less money. I am reasonably certain that this is actually a huge emotional regulation task I've taken on, but given the problems some adults have with gambling addiction, I think it is worth it. Probably.

A. and I went to Chocolate World when we were feeling the sun and did the tour. There was a really long line, but it was okay.

R.'s aunt came up from Harrisburg to visit. She had come up in 2014 as well. It's always a pleasure to see her. She got a divinity degree a while back, and officiated at our wedding, which was really sweet.

R. (my sister) did taco night. This turned out to work really well, since we'd debugged the food issues ahead of time. Three of the kids had quesadillas. R. (husband) had some of the costco rotisserie chicken. I brought cilantro, fresh tomatoes and a can of Bush's black beans (low sodium). My sister had guacamole and two kinds of salsa. And we had a ton of fresh romaine. So the person with gluten issues had a salad. My husband got to avoid allium. I easily avoided milk products (there is some whey in the taco seasoning my sister uses so I had the chicken and beans). There were even gluten free corn chips -- I had brought flour tortillas so that was no go for the gluten free person. Since tacos are assembled one at a time, it was easy enough for people to get what they wanted and avoid what they shouldn't be eating. No one went hungry. Burgers would have been trickier for gluten free, but we probably would have just put together a salad and chicken plate for my husband's aunt and it would have been fine. Again, last minute on family visit planning but it worked out great.
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Because we were staying at an associated camping facility, we got one hour early entry. I had not bought tickets, because I had been very uncertain about the family visit timing. In the event, I just bought three day tickets and figured if we needed a fourth day we'd just buy it later.

We did the kids' rides first with my sister's family, while R. and T. went on Skyrush and Comet. Then we wandered around and did some more stuff like Trailblazer, which had been closed for refurbishment in 2014. I love that ride. It isn't a kiddie coaster but more like a junior coaster.

A. wanted to buy lots of food things so after we did the shortest of the Triple Tower (new for 2017), I gave in and bought her Dippin Dots. While she was eating them, I went into Gourmet Grille, which was poor planning from a food allergy perspective. I bought the carrots, celery and hummus, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So I had lunch and A. sort of ate a little lunch. We also bought some popcorn. We left in the early afternoon because it was crowded, our feet hurt and we had done enough rides for the day.

When my sister's family came back, A. and I joined my nieces and their father in the pool while my sister did some laundry next to the pool and chatted with us. They were very tired and had gotten a lot of sun, so I said let's do burger nite at my cabin. We had planned two nights cooking and one night takeout; this was my night to cook. It turned out really well, even tho we didn't have a grill and cooked the burgers (bubba burgers -- costco burgers are slightly better, but bubba burgers are great) in a pan.

I didn't buy T. and R. a photo pass. I probably should have. Oh well.
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Friday New Jersey McDonald's applebees arrive after dark

On Friday, we drove to New Jersey. We stopped at a McDonald's in Connecticut for lunch. I think we've stopped at that same McDonald's on a few previous trips -- it's in a mall in Southbury, IIRC. Then we drove to New Jersey, where we visited R.'s sister, brother-in-law, niece (who just graduated. Congratulations!), nephew (who just finished 8th grade, also Congratulations!) and mother. The kids swam in the pool. We all hung out and chatted and had a pleasant time. Because we are on very different dinner schedules (we eat early at 5 and they eat very late), we left to go to Applebee's in Union before continuing on to Hershey Campingresort. We haven't been to Hershey for 3 years. Once again, we met my sister and her family. It's a much shorter driver for her. We did this in lieu of a trip to Cape Cod this year, because of other planned travel and not wanting to have a completely overwhelming summer.

We got in after dark, but my sister had already checked us into our cabin, so we just unloaded, made beds and slept in them.
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I ran roomba in the kitchen and front hall, upstairs hall, T.'s room and the two upstairs bathrooms. I also did some cleaning in the kitchen. A. only had a half day, her last day of the regular school year. Both kids will start their summer programs after July 4th is over. We've got a little time between now and then, and we're starting to make some plans. We're very excited we're going to go see Despicable Me 3 on June 30.

A. had a play date at Nara. The sitter told the folks there she thought I had a pass. I don't think I have a pass. But the town thinks I have a pass. I'm super confused about this, but they got the right walkitout (there's another one in town with the same name) because they gave my address. I should probably call town hall and try to figure out what happened. Because I never received a pass and I honestly don't think I bought one this year. Altho I have bought in previous years (at least one, maybe two) where I never used it one single time. So, karma?

R. and I went out for sushi.

I was so tired after yesterday's walks that today I did the short walk with M. and later with R. and that was it. I'm optimistic that if I keep consolidating more walks on some days and use the days in between as rest days, I'll build up a bit more stamina.

ETA: I took a look at the 2015 entry summarizing a summer of walking. I had it in my mind that I had had some 7 mile days, but it looks like I never had 7 miles on the road days back then. Yesterday was over 25K steps, 13.13 miles total, 7 road miles (3 + 1 + 3). Getting to this point by the end of June is better than I've done in at least 9 years, possibly closer to 12. I feel bad that 7 miles on the flat wipes me out as bad as this did, but I'm older now. Here's hoping that by this time next year, I'll be looking back going, gee, 7 miles? I can do the 3 mile loop three times in a day, no problem. That's the point at which I started doing more serious hiking in Seattle (when I could loop Green Lake 3 times in a day without really feeling it, so I figured it was time to add hills).
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Today was T.'s half day. I did the long walk by myself. I did the short walk with M. I ate lunch at home (chicken salad -- still eating the leftovers, but they are going to need to be finished soon or they will go bad). We stopped at Starbucks, where T. is now getting an apple juice box instead of hot chocolate and I am getting iced tea. We went to gymnastics -- next lesson will be the last one before the break, which might be short or might be long. T. wants to do some day camps there rather than try to continue his lesson in the summer which often doesn't work out anyway.

I had a great phone call with my sister while doing the long walk a second time. So I got 7 miles on the road today! To be clear: I don't run. I walk. And not very fast. But it was nice to have a not too hot, not buggy, not too humid day.
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After school, we waited for T.'s sitter to arrive and turned A. over to her. Then T. and I went to Subway to get him a lunch for his next day's outing. After briefly returning home to pop that in the fridge, we went to Paparazzi's in Concord (that doesn't look right. Hmmm.) and I had a pizza and T. had a grilled cheese. They list their vermouth and they have bulleit rye, so I had a really nice rye manhattan with a twist, because I called the vermouth and the whisky. Yum. If only they had Luxardo's. I'm going to turn into that person who brings her own cherries when she goes out drinking. I can see this in my future.


Then we drove down to the Seaport and parked in the EDIC garage on drydock. No cash -- cards only. Interesting! I made a point of memorizing where I parked and a good thing too, because we saw other people later who had forgotten. We went to Blue Hills Bank Pavilion to see Gallant and John Legend. It poured down rain during the concert, but there is a big tent so I didn't even notice anything at all until we left and the ground was wet.

If you like John Legend at all, you should try to see one of his shows. There are a variety of reasons (it's a good show and his music is pleasant; production is excellent and Legend and his dancers are highly attractive), but the most compelling reason to go see him in concert is the audience. That is the classiest audience possible that is still really fun. It was fantastic -- great vibe, people all sat during the quiet songs and got up and danced when that made sense. People took pictures but were not annoying about it. It felt really safe. People on either side of us chatted before and between sets and after, but not in an intrusive way. When we saw them on the way to the garage after, we continued chatting and it wasn't awkward. It was more like a party where you don't know anyone but everyone is really nice and you're super happy to meet people. I have no idea why this show was like this -- other shows are great, but not in this way -- but it was a wonderful experience.
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I had a cold for a couple days, and have been rereading some books I first read about 20 years ago. I reread _Say No to Joe_ (just about the only Foster I reread any more, altho sometimes I reread _Jamie_ after rereading this one) every year or so. It's difficult to explain why. The book is by no means perfect -- there are a bunch of sections I desperately want to edit. It's the first in the Visitation series and it crosses two characters -- Joe and Luna -- over from the Winston brothers series. Obviously, I love the sense of humor. Foster's humor can be somewhat erratic, but it feels exactly right to me in this book. But I think the real reason I love this book is because it feels a lot like a Heyer novel: a heroine with some dependents who are not her biological children, the man she asks to help her out, and the relationship they all build together.

Thinking about other books I liked a lot from this point in my reading history, I decided I'd take another look at Dara Joy, but not the Matrix of Destiny books (and not _Ritual of Proof_. Or at least, not just yet.). _High Energy_ is very much _not_ a Heyer like novel; it turns out to be a really weird take on a JAK novel. Heroine is a journalist for a small paper (screams JAK, doesn't it?) run by a family member (grandfather, here; in JAK it would be a non-biological relative who takes on a familial/mentor like role for the heroine) who is trying to keep the kooky heroine out of trouble that the heroine is determined to dig into. There's a meet-cute (that's not very JAK like), and then the hero uses We're Working On This Project Together as an excuse to accelerate the relationship while the heroine persists in deluding herself that it isn't really a relationship. Basically, he enables her denial for his own purposes.

Like a JAK novel, they share a bunch of interests/preferences. Unlike a JAK novel, those preferences include terrible old horror/sf movies.

Not sure what I'll be reading next. _High Energy_ is set in Western Massachusetts, which let me tell you is a drastically different experience after living out here for a decade plus. I hadn't moved here yet when I read it the first time, and none of the place names meant much to me then.

ETA: I got _High Energy_ through kindleUnlimited; I may poke around and see what other blasts from the past I might find there. I forgot to mention. There's an interesting thread going on over at Dear Author about romance novels and security, as an explanation for numerous trends in romance novels but especially tycoon/millionaire/billionaire novels over the years. Argument comes down to, it's over the top rich now maybe as a result of income inequality increasing, but romance novels have always offered security in one form or another, it's just that the more middle class manifestations aren't very compelling any more. _High Energy_ is a really good example of Wealthy Hero offering security in numerous forms to the heroine: financial security, physical security, emotional security. He's depicted as nurturing her while she is ill, giving her orgasms for the first time in her life (yeah, this was a Thing back in the day. Also showed up in some JAK -- fortunately, this is a much more rare Thing in romance now), and then the climax of the book is him protecting her against the con artist they've been investigating. Sort of.
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R. got a bike ride. I had hoped to go pick up the tile in Natick but we didn't get around to it. My regular Friday phone call with K. was rescheduled to Sunday. I used some of the excess fresh herbs from the roast chicken two days ago and made herb bread with some of the hard red. I need to use up the hard red so I can justify buying Turkey Red (a different hard red, and I've finally found a source!). I'll be making bread for the foreseeable future. It turned out well. I just made a blob (I suppose this is called something, but I don't know what -- maybe a boule?).

I had bought a dry aged rib eye when I bought the chicken on Tuesday, so we had that for dinner. I made summer pickle with the greenhouse baby cukes I saw at Roche. We had salad, the herb bread, a summer squash, leftover root vegetables from the roast chicken, fried tomato, and mushrooms. It was extremely yum. I took a picture and posted it on facebook because honestly, that was a fair amount of work even ignoring the peanut butter brownies A. talked me into making before we cooked the dinner. She didn't like the peanut butter brownies very much. I like them way too much, so it's just as well I was full before I had the first one.

Ran roomba downstairs because there were crumbs everywhere. Did some laundry. Took a nap. I did walk with M., and we hung out for a bit. I'm hoping this cold doesn't get too serious. Colds are annoying. Colds on top of allergies doubly so. My face kind of hurts. :(

ETA: If you are keeping track, there is one 3x3 brownie leftover from the regular brownies, most of a single layer cake from a box mix, and all but 2 peanut butter brownies from a 9x13 pan of peanut butter brownies. There are a couple of events tomorrow that we will be attending (G.'s bday in Chelmsford and F.'s bday here in Acton). I'm thinking I may package up some of these delicious baked goodies and inflict them on someone else's waistline.

ETAYA: R. posted a picture on facebook of what used to be a spackled ding in our downstairs hallway. Welcome to our house, I guess! After some discussion, I said, just bring the right can of paint up and I'll do it. He put some painter's tape over the baseboard in case I was sloppy. I put a rag towel on the floor for a similar reason. Two dings have now been completely hidden. We have to now track down the less obvious ones in the house so I can get those. Apparently, I've had a more productive day than I realized.
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I used yesterday's roasted chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches. Yum.

I had a lovely phone convo, possibly the last regular one for a while, with J. Our kids are all getting out of school and thus schedule will be very disrupted for a while.

A. had a playdate. They girls all swam in the pool for about an hour. A. really didn't want to leave.

After that, we returned to the house, for play therapy. A. wanted to make a cake, so I got out a box. It turned out okay, altho not as good as what I make. What do you expect from an allergy friendly cake, tho, especially one trying to remove milk AND eggs?

The sitter took A. away after that, and R. and I had dinner at Rapscallion. I had the mussels app and the hummous plate app. He had the salmon, which had a couscous side with, unfortunately for him, entirely too many red onions.
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Today is T.'s half day. I walked by myself. I walked with M. I prepped the veg for chicken in a bundt pan, then realized I had too much veg. Fortunately, last night R. dug up a Beer Can Chicken Stand he'd had sitting around for 20 years or thereabouts. And we have Sierra Nevada in cans in the fridge.

So after taking T. to Starbucks, where the temperature dictated me getting an iced tea instead of a coffee, and then gymnastics, where I happily perused my copy of _Catalogues and Counters_ and played Farmville 2: Country Escape, I stuck a pan of bacon in the oven and finished assembling the beer can chicken.

The first and perhaps most important step of beer can chicken is, you have to do something with half of the beer. They suggest pouring it out. I feel that if you are tempted to pour beer down the drain, you shouldn't be cooking with beer that bad. I drank half that Sierra Nevada, and I must say it improved the afternoon.

After that, the veg was tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. I pushed some of the fennel into the other end of the chicken along with some fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage -- honestly, I haven't done anything this culinary in so long I had almost forgotten I knew how). I put the chicken on the beer can (which I'd already placed in the stand) and then tried to put the whole thing in the oven.

Oh, right. Bird is taller in that position.

So the top rack went below the bacon, the bacon moved down and the bird went onto where the bacon had been cooking. Here's hoping that if A. objects to the smell of beer can chicken, the bacon will overwhelm it. Fingers crossed. [ETA: corrected when / went word-o; A. was completely fine with the smell of the cooking chicken. She thought it looked like a person and wanted to watch YouTube videos of people doing the chicken dance. She has an odd sense of humor.]

We also have brownies that we baked last night, to console her, if necessary.

T. will be off with the sitter in about 45 minutes. I expect A. to arrive very soon.

ETA: I described beer can chicken and bundt pan chicken and the evolution of the relative snob value of beer in a can vs beer in a bottle as opposed to which is actually better for the beer. M. laughed and compared it to an SNL skit. Beer can chicken is funny in name -- but describing it is even better. I'd forgotten this originally was a rotisserie chicken on a grill hack. I'm using an oven. Which is probably stupid, but whatever.

ETAYA: I wound up letting the chicken cook a little too long, but I'd turned the temperature down earlier so it hardly mattered. The veg was a little oily but in a really good way. I made a maple mustard dipping sauce for the chicken for me. I'm looking forward to having the chicken breast in chicken salad sandwiches. Pretty much all of the chicken other than the breast has been eaten.

ETAYA still more: Despite enjoying drinking half a Sierra Nevada while prepping the bird, I sort of regret wasting the rest of the beer.


Next time, I'll use the same stand I used this time (that R. has had forever), and skip the beer. Actually, I _won't_ skip the beer. I'll drink it and recycle the can responsibly, rather than shoving it up the bird's posterior.

If you want your own Chick Can rack, apparently you can still buy them.


I'll try to remember the next time I use it, how well it does without the beer can.
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Dutch was canceled due to feeling under the weather (not me). I stepped out for a walk at 9 a.m. and ran into my neighbor R. I had been about to do the long walk, but we did the short walk together instead.

At 10 a.m. I did the same walk again with M. and then we had snack and hung out.

I had lunch at home, then went to Whole Foods to go grocery shopping.

T. had a sitter; A. and I are hanging out. She participated in helping me set up the Light Phone which arrived today. It's not quite working perfectly -- I can't seem to get anything into the speed dial. But I'm not sure how much I care. Maybe it'll work later. It is fine for receiving calls and I can dial out manually.
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The kids had school. I got a couple short walks but mostly stayed inside because it was hot. I got some laundry done and read the epilog for _Animal Vegetable Mineral_, since it was clear I wasn't going to finish the book.

J. suggested maybe I wanted to reschedule the photo session for the kids because of the heat (Red faces and cranky does not make for good photos). So instead of abbreviated time with sitters, the kids stayed out. T. went swimming at Sudbury. A. went to Wonder Woman in Lowell and then Chili's.

Meanwhile, I had dinner at home, and then went to book group. All the regulars and one new person showed up. We had a great discussion. I stopped at Idylwilde and bought strawberries from Hadley, goat cheese from Hubbardston and bread from Adams.

I also had a lovely phone conversation with my friend K.
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On Sunday, I took T. to track. I waited in the car, and when it got a little warm and the clouds went away, I moved to the passenger seat in the shade and put my umbrella up in the driver's seat to keep the sun out. It was still basically pleasant, but I was happy I wasn't the one running. T. was fine tho. He gets red in the face, but otherwise suffers no obvious ill effect from the heat or sun. I did remember to put sunblock on him, tho.

Then we went to a Joanne Fabric to look for the studs or whatever you call replaceable buttons like on tuxedo shirts. I want to use them to make DIY jibbitz. But they didn't have them either. Oh well. I noticed an H Mart, so we bought some fortune cookies for A., some ginger candy for R., some red bean mochi for R. and me. That was fun, but we couldn't buy the good stuff because it was hot and I didn't have a cooler.

Next up was Applebee's. While we were having lunch, R. texted me saying the horse for T. had been canceled due to heat.

The kitchen floor was irritatingly dirty, so after dinner later on, R. and I cleaned up and put the chairs up so we could run roomba. He even got the beacons out so I didn't have to improvise a bunch of barricades to keep roomba in the kitchen.
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It was tough getting up after a late night, but that's okay. I took T. to martial arts, where I dropped him off while I looked for parking. Hudson has its community festival today. T. and R. went later in the day again to watch the Lucky Duck race, in which he has raffle ticket 100. Which is a pretty cool number to have.

We went home, got stuff for the horse show (boots, helmet, jeans) and dropped off martial arts equipment (gi, shoes, etc.) and refilled the water bottles. I took T. to the horse, and we stopped at Subway on the way, where we each got 6" subs (I got a veggie and he got ham and cheese). A. and R. met us there. A., T., T.'s riding partner A. and another kid were in group 6 together. The other kid was way better than everyone else. But everyone has improved from last year, so that's nice.

After that, I took A. home, and T. and R. went back to Hudson. After feeding her some lunch, and getting her out of her horse-y clothes, I dusted the master (again, without bothering to dust anywhere else in the house. Shows where my priorities are) and vacuumed the car. I also ate some more, because by 2 p.m. I was starving.

It's not clear who will be taking T. to Captain Underpants. I think they were planning on going ice skating after the duck race / raffle, so we won't see them for a bit.
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R. and I got out of the house pretty quick to go to Tiles Plus More in Natick. We picked out some tile for the shower renovation that, in theory, will start in the middle of July. I don't really believe contractor timelines, but we've never worked with this one before so you never really know. Figured we should probably at least have all the materials available. Sometimes another job develops a hiccup that allows things to move up and I'd sure hate to be the reason for delay.

As with pretty much every major decision (where to live, how many kids to have, house to buy, decorating that house, etc.) we had no major disagreements. He had stronger opinions than me, and I was happy with what he picked out. Fingers crossed it will look good with the rest of the bathroom, because there's no reason to be redoing anything but the shower.

M. and I headed out for a walk at 2, just in time for the only rain of the day to dump on us. Oh well. We made it to the top of the hill on Tuttle, turned around and scuttled back to my house.

We had two sitters and tickets to see the Reverend Horton Heat (with Flat Duo Jets playing a very short but excellent initial set, and Agent Orange doing a solid set after them). R. staked out a spot by the speakers to the left of the stage (stage right, to be confusing). I hung out for part of the first set, found a chair on the side for Agent Orange (they are the definition of Not Danceable), and then rejoined him right after they left the stage to stand through the set up and tune time and for all but the last song of the encore of the Rev. I had to remove one woman who attempted to perky herself in between R. and me, and I wound up having to bodily move a second woman who was tall enough to think that wasn't going to work on her. Women in particular really underestimate how committed I will be to retaining my location in a crowd. No moshing to speak of, and the few times people got excited it was enough to just reposition so they bounced off me. I didn't even wear appropriate footwear and I never took my glasses off. We're all old and even the drunk and/or younger people just aren't as prone to physical assault as we were back in the 90s. Truly, it's a better world.

The Rev limited himself to one major story, the tale of how they wound up in Seattle playing their first gig their at the Vogue, and Jimbo bleeding all over himself and getting signed by Subpop. I would say those were the days, but I wasn't going to clubs yet at that point in time so I don't feel I have a right. It really is a pleasure hearing him spin a yarn, however.

We bailed out during the encore and walked out as the encore was ending. We wound up parking not too far from where we had parked for dinner, because you really cannot park on Highland Ave anymore, and you haven't been able to park on the side streets for a long time. Dinner (before the show) was at Tony Maws Kirkland Tap and Trotter. That is a _very_ dairy-allergy friendly menu. We got the crispy fried ribs, the chicken thigh kebab, the sweet potato. Bread (three slices and it was good). Two drinks (he had the Scottish Ale; I had a rye manhattan and they do have Luxardo's; Overholt for the whisky). And we even had dessert: olive oil chocolate mousse with cocoa nibs on top. Yum. It wasn't very much food (3 ribs, a single thigh, probably one potato) but it was satisfying -- we were not hungry when we got home, altho we did each get a drink at Once.

A while back we got the tasting dinner at Craigie on Main. Tap and Trotter is really different, but equally good. The servers at Trotter are now using Toast supplied tablets / IT, so the place has been basically de-papered (the order is placed by the server on the device, and they run your card on the device, and then hand it to you to add tip and sign -- and they have good button defaults for the tip, which go up to 25%). As with other stores that let you pay on device, you have the option of an emailed receipt.

The AJR album is out and it is fine.

July 2017

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