Monday, June 23, 2014

Wedding Food Review, Part II

Last summer two of our nieces got married, and they seem to have started a trend. In the handful of years before that, we hadn't gone to all that many weddings, but now there seems to be a wedding bonanza going on. We just came back from our second of the year, and we have at least a couple more to go to later in the summer. I guess 2014 is the Year of Love...

OK, enough of all that mushy talk. Let's get on to the latest wedding we went to: our niece Kayt and her new husband, Jason. It was a lovely, outdoor wedding, on a lovely, sunny day, on Jason's family's lovely, picturesque farm in western Minnesota. Everything went smoothly, as far as I could tell, but, unlike the previous wedding we went to, we brought our kids to this one. If you've ever tried to pay close attention to anything in life while also trying to herd three small children, it's impossible. I am pretty sure Kayt and Jason actually did get married, but if push came to shove, I wouldn't quote me on that, if I was you. One thing is for sure: I've never been to a wedding where so many people were wearing cowboy boots. And I've been to a couple of weddings in Oklahoma, so that's saying something!

I also know that the food was really good. I am not sure if they had somebody cater it, or if they just did it themselves behind the barn, but the main course was a yummy pig roast. It was roasted to perfection, tender and juicy, and full of smokey flavors. Most people made sandwiches out of it, but some people, like the Girl, just gobbled it up by hand. "This is some delicious chicken!", she told me. Over the years I have learned that if your child is shoveling food in their mouth while thinking it's something other than what it actually is, you just let them go ahead thinking that for as long as possible. Besides, she was right - it was delicious! Even if it wasn't chicken...

The rest of the meal consisted of some tasty roasted red potatoes, some of the best baked beans I've ever had, a couple of pasta salads, and some adorable fruit skewers on wooden sticks that could have been used as weapons, if the need arose. Thankfully it didn't, but you never know...

We had to blast before the cake was served. Two of the kiddos were starting a joint meltdown at the same time, so we hustled them off to bed. That's OK, we had a great time, and were stuffed full of delicious pork or chicken, depending on your viewpoint. Congrats Kayt and Jason!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Her Final Days...

Today marks a turning point in the Wife's life. It's her last day in her 30s. Gasp! I know, right? I can't believe the dreaded Big 4-0 has sneaked up on her so quickly. I can talk about it so cavalierly because I still have a long time until I turn 40: 25 days. Believe me, I am not going to let the Wife forget that she's older than me for a single second during the next 25 days. We'll see if I make it to my birthday alive...

This sweet baby is turning the Big 4-0 tomorrow. Isn't she the cutest?
Yes, the Wife is having a big birthday tomorrow, but the amazing thing is that she doesn't seem the least bit concerned about it. I don't have any experience turning 40, because, as I said earlier, I don't turn 40 until 25 days after the Wife does. But I do have experience turning 30, which is another milestone birthday, and I remember not liking it one bit.

I did not want to turn 30 at all. In my head, which is not always the smartest place on Earth, I thought that life was going to go nowhere but downhill after I turned 30. Not that my life was all that sweet in my 20s, but for whatever reason, I thought my 30s were going to bring nothing but heartache, despair, and white whiskers. Thankfully only the whiskers materialized..

Let's just look back real quickly at what happened during my 30s, the decade I was despondent about before it happened. First of all, despite all my ineptitude, I succeeded in talking a most amazing woman into marrying me. Next we bought a house and totally gutted and renovated the entire basement. Before that I wasn't sure which end of the hammer I should be holding. Whilst that was going on, I decided to go back to college and get my degree. Shortly after that, we found out that we were going to have a baby, something that I was completely convinced was not going to happen. Then it happened again. And again. And, despite the fact that I like to write about our kids as though they are insane, all three of them are at least some of the time very good kids. We pretty much hit the jackpot with our kids. That does not mean we want any more...

Yes, my 30s have been pretty amazing. I don't know what I was worried about back when I was 29. Hopefully I won't repeat my mistake when I turn 40, 25 long days from now. If you see the Wife tonight, wish her a Happy Last Day of Your 30s. I'm sure she would love to hear it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I've Got Worms

Like every other warm-blooded American human, I learned how to fish using worms. Good ol' American earthworms. When you sit down and think about it, worms are possibly the freakiest creatures on God's green earth, but fish think they're yummy, so who am I to judge? They're slimy, wriggly, they can contort their bodies to all sorts of different lengths and thicknesses, they don't seem to have any eyes or other facial features, they live in the dirt, and when you put them on a hook, it seems like their insides are even gooier and slimier than their outsides. They're more than a little freaky, if you sit down and think about it. Not that they freak me out or anything, just that they're freaky. I think maybe, instead of sitting down and thinking about worms all day, I should stand up and not think about worms for a while. Sounds like a good idea to me...

For some reason, when I googled "large worm", several photos of Jimmy Carter were included. I will let you make your own joke. For those of you under the age of 35, Jimmy Carter is a former President of the U.S.A and peanut farmer.
From worms I graduated to minnows, leeches and even the occasional kernel of corn. Around the age of ten I got my first fly rod, and even before I learned how to cast it, I took on the snootiness that sometimes gets associated with hoity-toity flyfishermen. I would never be caught dead fishing worms again. In my 10-year-old brain, only little kids who didn't know any better, and complete rubes, fished with bait. Me, fish with worms? Never again!

I continued being an elitist snob, walking around with a stick up my butt, looking down my nose at bait fishermen, for a long time. It wasn't until my early 30s that I began to realize that it didn't really matter how anyone caught fish, as long as it was legal. Who was I to judge? I was just some jerk who knew how to expertly cast a fly rod, that's all.

That's not to say I started fishing with worms, though. Not until I had kids, at least. Once the Girl was a little over 2, I wanted to teach her how to fish, and there's no better way to learn how to fish than impaling a wriggly worm on a hook and catching some scrappy sunfish. So, that's what we did.

This spring the kids have been fishing hard. That is to say, they have wanted to go down to the lake at least three separate times to try to catch some sunnies and bass. We even ran out of worms the second time. Since I had been out of the "worm wrangling" business for almost 30 years, I didn't know where to find many worms. I dug holes all over our yard and my in-laws' yard, but mostly only found little puny worms. I was thinking we may have to go buy some worms at the local bait shop, but then the Wife just happened to turn over a pile of leaves that had been sitting in a far-off corner of our backyard (right outside our back door), and unleashed an enormous glob of huge worms that would have looked super tasty, if I was a largemouth bass.

About half of those brave worms gave their lives to help the kids catch a bunch of fish last week. But then the kids left on a road trip with their Aunt the next day. I had no other option but to go back and fish with worms myself after they left. What else was I supposed to do? Let those poor worms die in a cottage cheese tub in my fridge? No way! If you want to look down your nose at me, I fully understand.