My Spring flowers out front.

nightime softball in West Philly

Last night it really felt like Spring. Softball season is here, and yesterday was a 9:00 game. Chris plays on a ‘beer leauge’ with a lot of our friends, out in West Philly. I’m not a part of the team because (a) I really hate playing softball and (b) I’m REALLY REALLY bad at it. pretty sure (a) is because of (b). But anyway. I am pretty good at keeping score. And sneezing. Apparently I have Spring allergies this year. Seems to skip every few. Full force last night. The team won (go team!) after being behind by 6 runs and playing a really great inning. Double play at first! (yeah, long-tall-Gaeson!) Home run when up at bat (double yay Gaeson!) Tie score, extra inning! Win by a run! Clearly Gaeson won MVP. Which with this team means you win a toy from “Kinky Quizzo” which most of the team goes to after the game. Leaving for work at 6AM means that I can’t really pull long nights anymore, so I bowed out before the migration to quizzo.

Tonight- more games! Pizza and Settlers of Catan with some hardcore settlers fans. The pizza should be here soon, the guys are showing up at 8:00, the windows are wide open. Hello spring!

The ongoing settlers game

This weekend, we hosted the yearly pizza party… a lot less easy prepping for it when I get home at 7 every night, but somehow we got it done. And this year we had an added bonus- it seems everyone loves Settlers of Catan! A group started playing at some point in the night, and the game pretty much went all night. Not sure who won, but I think fun was had by all. We really have the greatest group of friends. Everyone brought great toppings and some pretty awesome pizzas were made. I really look forward to this party every year, thanks everyone who came by!

 

Me and Chip (I didn't hit him in the face though)

Holy paintball batman. Never thought I’d throw on the fatigues and run around playing army in the woods. But it was really fun! (Even without the fatigues). Chris plays on a softball league with a bunch of our friends, and Mauer (the organizer of the team) decided paintball would be a fun end-of-season event for everyone. If we had over 20 people, we would be able to play on our own field, so it was come-one-come-all. I’m not on the softball team, and originally hadn’t planned on going. I still wasn’t sure when I woke up in the morning that I really wanted to go. But Chris convinced me it would be fun- and it was! It was really beautiful weather, and a fun day to run around in the woods. Only a few of us had ever actually played before, so it was a really fun group of people to go with. A few editors I’m friends with ended up going, and a bunch of Paula’s doctor friends, so I definitely wasn’t the only non-softball person there. We split up into pink and green teams (marked by an armband) at the beginning of the day, and aside from a little shifting, mostly stayed on the same teams the whole time.  My team wasn’t so great on the communication part of team-work, though.

The Great Escape (yes, they played music from the film)

We ended up losing all the larger games, although we kicked butt in the 6 on 6 (vs the 12 on 12 larger games) “Great Escape” course. Every game was some variation of capture the flag. One hit and you’re out, you hold your gun up and walk off the field. Doesn’t sound complicated, but it was surprisingly tough to figure out if you were hit or not. Sometimes they wouldn’t break, in which case you were still in. Sometimes it would hit your gun or your mask, and you wouldn’t feel it, but would be counted as out. Theoretically you could call the refs over for a paint check, but hearing anyone in the masks was tough, so they weren’t always on top of it. We played a massive game on the castle field at the very end, our two teams against another large group, with a bunch of kids. At first we joked around about feeling bad about shooting kids- but they were evil! They called us names, wouldn’t go out when hit, and consistently shot at people walking off the field. The parents were worse sports than the kids- not being very sportsmanlike examples for the children, that’s for sure. It was fun to be able to storm a castle, but next time I think we’ll stick with our group.

 

The Great Escape course was brand new, so the refs were still figuring out how to control it. You’re not supposed to shoot someone closer than 15 or 20 feet, but on a course like that, its tough to avoid. My team won the first round with lightening speed. The second round was confusing, and I don’t think anyone won (the refs stopped paying attention to the game to discuss how to judge something, and the four or so of us left couldn’t figure out who was still in the game). I did get Chip in pretty stylish fashion for that game, though, which was fun :-) I also had the Hollywood film move of the day, when I ended up one of the last people on my team, and a girl from the other team ran by me with the “bomb” to put into our base. I got her a whole bunch of times, very dramatic, and she lunged forward to throw the suitcase in the window- it would have been a fantastic death scene in a cheesy action movie. Of course, we lost anyway. Oh well. Pretty sure this will become a tradition. Next year I’m going to try to get some of my dancer girls in on the action. Yay!

 

Yeah, we're hardcore

(All photos stolen from Mauer’s facebook page…. I didn’t bring my camera up to the field, figured I’d just end up breaking it. Although I did actually take the one of the Great Escape field.)

 

Me & Jen, the beautiful bride

Oh, what a wonderfully full weekend. Where to start? Jen, one of my best friends in the whole world, (and best hiking buddy, ever) got married this weekend. (The photographer Brad Ross has some great photos up on his site, over here.) I was the maid of honor, and had a great time. I can’t wait to see more of the photos. I didn’t really get very many, too busy dancing and making sure Jen didn’t need help with anything. (She barely did, a really low-maintenance but absolutely beautiful bride!) Jen treated her bridal party to manicure/pedicures at the Spirit Spa, I think its the first time in years I’ve had my nails done. Then hair done all up, and dress-up time at the Bridewater Manor… and wedding time! It was a beautiful ceremony, and fun reception…. congrats to Jen and Andrew! (Remember the vague-ish veil photos from earlier? That’s it in the photo to the left!)

Of course, what would Memorial Day weekend be like without a few BBQ’s? Jen’s Dad is really one of my favorite friends’ Dads… this is why:


Jen’s Dad sets off a cannon

Sweet Pea Trellis

The rest of the weekend had some gardening, trellis building, BBQ’ing and fresh-caught-trout eating.
The trellis Eric and I build years ago fell down a season or two ago. But the sweet peas still grew, and so I set about to re-build it, to give them some support. Last time I was stuck on the idea of building it out of only natural materials- it was mostly vines, tied with bark and grasses. This go-around I had less time and less help (though mom came back and helped with the second half) so I used mostly forsythia and some cotton cord. Much easier, and probably more stable, too. It could use some more support, but we ran out of time.
Oh, and I also got to go on motorcycle ride with my Dad, which was a lot of fun. The ride ended at the clubhouse, full of awesome mustaches and tattoos… we didn’t hang around very long, but did get to see a woman win the ‘slowest rider’ competition.
The weekend ended with an impromptu BBQ back in Philly, lovely and low-key. Oh, if every weekend could be a three-day weekend….

playing with a new ap on my phone

Jon's mastery at work

Its been a while since we’ve had a real party at our house. We’ve been waiting for cold weather to have another pizza party, because having the oven on all night gets the kitchen really hot, so we end up opening all the windows. I was a little less organized with the invites this time… I forgot to invite a few people (sorry!), but the folks who came were a great group. Turned out to be quite a cross-section of friends, and seemed like everyone got along.

toppings!

We had so many toppings! Our kitchen is fair-sized, but gets crowded pretty quickly. We started out pretty organized. One area for making the pizza shape on a cutting board, one area for toppings. Of course by the end of the night, pizza making was happening all over the kitchen… but the initial organization helped out.

We bought toppings, as did many of the guests…. lots of veggies, various kinds of meats, pineapple, cheeses… I think one of the best ones was a mushroom paté that Jon made. I like the taste of mushrooms, but not the texture. The paté was awesome because it was all flavor and none of the rubbery texture. (I’m calling it a paté because I don’t remember what he called it. I think mushroom reduction is really more accurate.)

mmm... pizza

Jen and Andrew brought an extra stone this time, which was great. Last time we used cookie sheets, and they don’t have quite the same crispy effect on the crust. We made 8 times the recipe again, the pizza bianca recipe from “The Easy Way to Artisan Breads & Pastries.” I’m not sure if we had less people than before, but we definitely have more dough left over this time.

I had intended to take more photos of the party, but I mostly got shots of the pizza instead of the people. We ended the night with some games. I finally got to play apples to apples, and we played an abbreviated game of Outburst.

It was a good night.

tulips

Two awesome date nights in one week! Sunday was Shelly’s Indian dance performance. Dinner and a show, such a lovely night. I’ve been helping her with the costumes the past few weeks, (I didn’t help with anything too complicated, some dying and some seam ripping) it was really nice to see them all together. I really hope that she is nominated for a PEW fellowship this year, she’s very talented and I think she’d be perfect for it. The costumes really were beautiful. I’m amazed with what she did for the black dress- the fabric looked so strange sitting on her work table, but was just great on stage.

Tonight he picked me up from work, with a rosemary tree, some wine and some tulips. Oh, and a pumpkin cookie. :-) Dinner at my favorite sushi place ever….. awwwwwww…….. now the house smells like rosemary, and I feel festive. I know its a little early for Christmas, but its ok if its an herb tree, right?

This weekend I have quite a list of tasks, we’ll see what actually gets finished. The most complicated task will be replacing the zipper on my mid-weather coat. It was a cheap jacket, and now if I try to zip it up I get stuck in it. I hate sewing zippers, but its really a perfect coat for right-before-it-gets-cold, so its worth the headache. I also have some work on KK’s doc, some sewing, some beading, some audio editing for work, some christmas-present-making and organizing…. sheesh! But at least I have the lovely little tree to smile at when I feel overwhelmed.

Monster Cupcakes. Amazing.

Monster Cupcakes. Amazing.

Jes is amazing.


Some real cute Where-the-wild-things-are cupcakes were posted on the craft blog (here) and I re-posted the link to my FB, asking if anyone would make them for my birthday. I never actually thought that I’d see any, they looked real labor intensive. Today after class…. Jes brought out a tin full of little monster faces. She even wrapped one up in a cup so I could bike home with it for Chris. Oh, and not only are the cupcakes super cute, they’re really really good too. Awesome chocolate, with chocolate chunks, chocolate ganache frosting and marzipan details. (Which is super cool, because my mom always makes marzipan for my birthday cakes.) D. helped her with them, I bet they were fun to make. They are definitely fun to eat! (Jes also brought over some really good pickles that she made to the fish fry- I thought they were great, and I don’t even like pickles. She brought some peach jam, too. I haven’t tried it yet, but if her track record with tasty treats is anything to go by, I’m sure it’ll be jaw-dropping.)
I am so glad I have my dance girls. They really are amazing people.