Monday, October 27, 2014

A Donut Quest and a Germaphobe's Nightmare ...

This past weekend, given that rare conjunction--gorgeous weather and an empty calendar--I set out to find something fun for Arizona and I to do, and came up with a visit to a local cider mill. From the website, it seemed to check all the necessary boxes:

Cool history for Arizona ... It has one of the country's oldest steam-powered cider presses still in use. Check.

Cool machinery for Arizona ... Ditto, with demos at 11, 1 and 3. Check.

Something for me ... Can you say freshly baked apple cider donuts?? CHECK! And I'm into old, cool stuff with demos, too. 

The morning began with a power outage that foiled our bacon-and-egg plans, but we're nothing if not flexible. We discussed breaking out the camp stove or sparking up the fire pit ... then we said "screw it" and went out for breakfast. Thus fortified, we did some chores and then headed over for the late demo and to score some donuts, the mention of which had earned a raised eyebrow from my beloved.

Arizona: Apple cider donuts? I didn't know there was such a thing.

Me: You'll love them. And if you don't, I'll eat yours. (No, autocorrect, I didn't mean 'I'll eat you.' That's a very different blog post, thankyouverymuch!)

Upon turning onto the proper road, we came upon cars parked on both sides of the and pedestrians jamming the road. Goodness. This was more of a thing than I had realized! We did some maneuvering, wedged the Roo into a safe-seeming spot despite my suckitude when it comes to parallel parking, and flung ourselves into what turned out to be a cider demo, free wine tasting, free hard cider tasting, a farmer's market with goat products, honey, and all sorts of other local stuff, a live band, and an incredible-smelling building with huge lines for the donuts. Wheee!

The cider-pressing demo rocked so hard that I didn't take any pictures, I was too busy watching (old stuff is cool!), but once we got in the donut line, we had time to look around, listen to some music, get to know our neighbors in line, and generally check things out. And I saw a couple of things I thought were pretty funny. For one, here's the line for the free wine tasting:

The railing on the left is the start of a twenty-foot ramp leading up to the wine booth. Decent line, right? Well, here's the back half of the donut line we were standing in. There were this many people again between us and getting into the bakery.

And there was another, similar line on the other side of the building!

Once we got closer, we were funneled between huge crates of these babies:

Which is cool, right? Hey, it's a cider mill. Why not buy some apples while you're there? And at sixty cents a pound, can you say bargain? Except that the slow-moving line gave us plenty of opportunity to watch every child between us and the bakery (the ones that had been playing in the driveway gravel and licking kettle corn residue off their fingers) reach in, pick up the apples, show each other the squishy spots, maybe toss them around, and then, when a line-glazed parental unit did a "put that back!" drop them in the nearest crate and scamper off. 

Me: Can I borrow your phone?

Arizona: Sure. Why?

Me: I want to get a picture of this. (My dumbphone sort of has a camera, but I can't actually email myself the resulting photos. Fortunately, hubby has a real phone.)

Arizona: Again, why?

Me (snapping away): Because this is a germaphobe's nightmare. Kind of like those ball pits at Chucky Cheese. Just think of all the people who have touched these apples, and where their hands have been! Kinda makes you want to wear a hazmat suit, maybe use a black light.

Arizona (looking suddenly jaundiced): Do those apples go into the cider, do you think?

Me: It's pasteurized.

Arizona: What about those worm holes? Can you get parasites from apples?

Me: Note to self--Don't joke to hubby about contaminants the day after watching a Monsters Inside Me marathon, especially when Ebola is in the news.

The donuts, by the way, were the bomb. As was the hot mulled cider. And Arizona is sold on both of them, cooties and all!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Are you a 'Weener?

Last year plus a couple of weeks, it went like this:

Me: Okay, I'm going to head out and do a bread-eggs-milk run.

Arizona: You want company?

Me: Your call. I know you've had a long day. But if you stay here, remember that tonight it's okay if people knock on our door wearing masks. 

Arizona (stiffening): Why is that?

Me: You know. Halloween? 

Arizona: That's tonight? 

Me: Mmm-hmm.

Arizona: Is there candy?

Me: A dozen or so Kit-Kats, by the door. (Between the ski-slope driveway and relative lack of kidlets in the neighborhood, ours is *not* a prime trick-or-treating house.) Save me one, okay?

Arizona (salutes): Got it. Don't eat all the Kit-Kats, and don't pepper spray the neighbors.

Me: Words to live by. I think I'll go embroider it on a towel.

It's true--we're not big Halloweeners. In fact, I'd say we're not all that big on most 'official' holidays, as Arizona would far rather give gifts when the mood strikes him, rather than being told it's time to buy-buy-buy! Granted, this hasn't yet translated to him randomly deciding to dress up as a pirate on a given Thursday for his own version of Halloween, but a girl can hope, can't she? 

Me, I just go with the flow for the most part, and put my foot down now and then when it's important to me. Like with our 'I don't care what you call it, but I'm decorating a tree and you're getting presents whether you like it or not' on December 25. And I know that when the day comes that I get an itch to dress up and do the Halloween thing, he'll be a sweetie and play along (especially if I tell him that we're dressing up as zombie mountain bikers). 

So how about you? Are you partying this year? Dressing up? Dressing up your house and expecting an onslaught of goblins and ghouls? Or are you going to eat all the Kit Kats and guard the perimeter like a certain someone?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lumpy White Tights and Other Misheard Lyrics

Arizona (singing to himself as he putters around, collecting mountain bike parts off the living room floor): I been through the desert on a horse with no name, it felt good to be out on the range ...

Me (slaps own forehead): Oh, wow. That makes so much more sense!

Arizona: 'Scuse me?

Me: My whole life, I thought the line was "it felt good to be out of the rain."

Arizona: Why would he be out of the rain if he's riding his horse?

Me: Because he's in the desert?

Arizona: It rains in the desert, you know. Sometimes.

Me: Maybe it's the dry season. Or he had an umbrella. But, yeah, that's why "out on the range" makes oodles more sense. Kind of like the lumpy white tights.

Arizona (pauses, like he's pretty sure he's going to regret asking): What lumpy white tights?

Me: You remember Def Leppard, right? 

(Arizona and I are only a couple of years apart in age, and share many of our musical likes. Hair bands of the 80s are not one of them. Doc Jess = headbanger. Arizona = not so much. He also doesn't share my antipathy for the B-52s, while I don't act like I have a brain tumor when the radio plays Hotel California or Heard it Through the Grapevine.)

Arizona: *nods*

Me: Well they've got this song, Love Bites, that starts off with a whispered line that darn sure sounds like the lead singer is saying, "If you have lumpy white tights ... Watch out! Love ... Bites ..."

Arizona: Lumpy white tights? That's ... oddly specific.

Me: No kidding. And it was like he was inside my head, or saw the pictures from my fifth grade band concert or something. And he was singing just for me. Hey. I was thirteen, okay? Anyway, I sang it that way for the longest time, until one day I was studying the insert that came with my copy of the tape--the way you do when you're a squealing fangirl--and came across the actual lyrics. It was supposed to be "If you have love in your sights, watch out. Love bites."

Arizona: Meh. Boring.

Me: I know, right? At least the lumpy white tights make a girl think for a minute. Kind of like riding through the desert on a nameless horse, carrying an umbrella.

So what about you, ReaderFriends? What's your favorite misheard lyric?

Monday, October 6, 2014

That OMG Moment ... (aka Apple Rapture)

... when you realize that you've become your mother. Yeah, I just had one of those. 

Mind you, the Scallion (She is called thus because I often wear Many Layers that I successively peel out of or put back on to keep my reptilian body temp about right. So Arizona calls me the Onion, and my maternal unit, being smaller and skinnier than I, yet having the same tendency, is therefore the Scallion.) is an extremely cool person, practically a force of nature. I want to be parts of her when I grow up. Just maybe not *exactly* like her. 

Take, for example, apples.

This past weekend was one of those "ermagherd, winter's coming" fall weekends when native New Englanders are genetically programmed to start lining their nests. For Arizona and I, who are constantly waging war against our kW/hr reading on the electric bill (alas, our Little House In The Trees is a bummer for solar conversion because it's, well, In The Trees), this entailed shoring up the caulking and weatherstripping around our doors and packing away our two small window AC units. Which meant *removing* the weatherstripping we had used to airtight them four months ago.

Weatherstripping ... sigh. You can't get the stuff to stick when and where you want, and when you finally do, it's in the place where you're going to want to peel it off six months later while preserving as much of your wood finish as possible. Amiright?

Enter DocJess, a wallpaper scraper, a butter knife, a bottle of nail polish remover (in the house expressly for such purposes, as I can't remember the last time my nails saw polish), and a whole lot of contortionism (no Autocorrect, I don't mean 'a whole lot of contortionists', though that would've been entertaining). And let's just say that after a couple of hours of painstaking, finger-cramping work, getting out of the house and doing a different chore sounded really good to me. 

Me: What do you say we blow this popsicle stand and go get some supplies? We're running pretty low.

Arizona (makes face): On a Sunday? Yuck. Let's just eat what's here and go shopping some night this week.

As an up-until-recent-years lifelong bachelor who's been through some lean times, he's often perfectly content to subsist on whatever his environment provides, until the kitchen looks like it's been stripped by locusts and dinner consists of microwave popcorn and a mustard sandwich, hold the bread. Whereupon, he'll go hunting, slay a mammoth, and load up his cave for the next round. Me? Not so much. I want what I want in the food department, especially when I'm feeling a little put-upon by chores.

Me: I'll just run down the street, then, and pick up a few things to hold us over a couple of days.

Since Arizona (bless his father and general life view for this one) believes that Real Men Go Grocery Shopping With Their Wives, he grumbled only a little and said, "I'll get my shoes."

Me: We can buy beers.

Arizona (perks up): I'll drive.

So we went down the street to the expensive market where we don't do our big shopping (because, yanno, expensive), and we did the sort of supply run I usually associate with blizzards. You know--milk, bread, eggs, beer. (We've got batteries stockpiled.) 

Arizona: All set?

Me: Just need to a quick run through the fruit section. 

And by 'quick,' I mean twice the time it took us to do the rest of the store. Because ... APPLES! 

You see, apple season in New England is a wonderful time, when the selection of apples expands from the year-round Mac-red-delicious-golden-delicious sameness to offer new and interesting names. Gala! Braeburn! Fuji! 

Now, fifteen years ago, when I lived up in Massachusetts nearer to the Scallion, there was a neighborhood orchard that offered all these beauties (and more) fresh off the tree. Me? I lived on pizza, Dunkin' Donuts and Lean Pockets, and when my maternal unit waxed enthusiastic about the different apple flavors and her efforts to uncover the formula for a Perfect Pie (was it three Galas to Two Braeburns or the other way around?), I would nod and smile, and think, "Dude, they're just apples."

Mind you, I was more than happy to taste test, because she makes a killer pie. But apples were apples to me. Until yesterday, when I found myself jumping up and down in the Expensive Market and whooping, "HONEYCRISPS!!!"

Arizona: Dude, they're just apples. Aren't they?

Which they are, of course. But they're super yummy, too. What's more, they mean that the good parts of fall are here--like pies, gorgeous days, pretty leaves and dubious cornstalk decor. And we'd better remember to enjoy them, because pretty soon the world is going to be cold and white here, and the honeycrisps are going to be gone. 

So, dear ReaderFriends, enjoy the moment, eat an apple (or the seasonal indulgence of your choice), and remember to look around yourself and find something that makes you smile. The big things in life are important, but it's the little things that set the mood. I wish you a happy one today :)