Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cookie Season

This February was not a good month for door-to-door cookie sales. There was basically one Saturday where it was feasible. For the past three years, our house has turned into cookie central for a troop and the cookie convoy came in on Thursday. Instead of breaking down the cookies that my daughters sold looking for any trends, I took a look at the troop sales. Turns out it was pretty easy since the troop ordered 101 cases of cookies, so each case is damn close to 1%. I suppose it is slightly unofficial since there will be some supplemental cookies coming in for a booth sale and the troop also ordered 2 cases of a new gluten free cookie that aren't in yet. With those minor details in mind, here is an extremely scientific analysis showing exactly how the entire country feels about which Girl Scout Cookies are better than others.

1. Thin Mints - 31 cases
The Thin Mints reign supreme again this year. People love these cookies. I've always been so-so on them. But in moving 31 cases of them, I think Thin Mints may deliver the most bang for your buck. All the cases have 12 boxes of cookies in them, and the Thin Mints felt the heaviest.

2. Samoas - 26 cases
Always a bridesmaid, never a the bride. These are may favorite Girl Scout cookies. While several Girl Scout Cookies are eaten by the sleeve, these are eaten by the box.

3. Tagalongs - 16 cases
A solid showing for Tagalongs. I've always thought these cookies aren't anything special. If you are looking for peanut butter in your Girl Scout cookies, go with Do-Si-Dos.

4. Trefoils - 10 cases
These shortbread cookies have a loyal following. The people that like them, love them. 

5. Do-si-dos - 9 cases
These are pretty good. A guy I work with loves them. He got 4 boxes.

6. Rah Rah Raisin - 5 cases
These are new to the show and I haven't had any...yet. They replace Dulce de Leche cookies which I thought were pretty bad. I'm told they were good dipped in coffee. I never tried that, and I guess I'll never get the chance.

7. Savannah Smiles - 4 cases
I don't get these. Like the Dulce de Leche cookies, after tasting one, I wouldn't buy a box of these. That said, the people that do like these, love them and probably want to hit me for bad mouthing their beloved Savannah Smiles.

Well, there you have it. I think I deserve a patch for putting this list together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

So Stupid

Every now and then, I do something pretty stupid and wind up hurting myself. The last good one was a few years ago. I was in a rush, a drill was involved, and I did a very nice job cutting up my left thumb. At the time of the drill incident, it hurt. It stung. It bled. It looked ugly.

I went to an urgent care. They looked at my thumb. Cleaned it with stuff doctors use to clean cuts. In the end, they basically covered my thumb in Neosporin and put on a fancy band aid. One day this past February, one of my kids was home sick. So after I cleared the driveway (because it seemed like I had to clear the driveway everyday in February), I went with shovel in hand to knock down a few icicles. A few came down easily and I moved onto a fairly big icicle. I hit it with the snow shovel. Nothing. Hit it a little harder. Nothing. I took a good wind up and hit it again. It came down. But in hitting it hard, the shovel went a little further than I had anticipated. As the icicle was coming down,  it grazed my right ring finger and cut it.

At first glance, I knew it was a fairly deep cut, but it was nothing like the drill incident. It looked like I had done something stupid with a knife - which also happened once during a moment of complete stupidity. I washed the cut out, put a little pressure on it and the bleeding almost instantly stopped. I figured Neosporin and a band aid then I sat down on the couch and watched The Price Is Right with my daughter (because of course that's what you watch when you're home sick). The cut healed pretty well, took a little while but it was just an annoyance. After 3 weeks, the cut was gone but there was still a little bit of swelling. Then I noticed that the tip of that ring finger wouldn’t straighten out. Sadly, I really only noticed this when stretching out pizza dough. If it wasn’t for making pizza, I wouldn’t have given it another thought.

I went to a doctor. I was basically instantly diagnosed with a torn ‘terminal tendon.’ The fix is to keep the front halt of the finger in a splint to immobilize the knuckle. For a minimum of 6 weeks. Maybe 10. I have 3 of these little plastic splints to cycle through. So the big nasty cut that hurt and looked gross is basically a boo-boo that needed a kiss, and the minor looking, almost pain free cut required xrays and a splint.

Dammit. If I had just put the pair of gloves I was wearing back on, this is barely a bump. So stupid. On the plus side, I can still make pizza with the splint on, so I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Shared Experience

There is something great about a shared experience. That may be why I like cooking so much. After all, the most common shared experience is a meal. In the local curling world, there is another shared experience and for a lot of people, it happened last weekend. The Sir Francis Dykes Bonspiel. This curling tournament is commonly referred to as The Dykes as in:

"You haven't been to The Dykes? You should definitely try to go."

The Dykes is a men's 5 and Under, meaning that all of the players have a maximum of 5 years curling experience making it a pretty level playing field. This year's tournament was the 76th so a lot of curlers in the Northeast have been. I believe the Schenectady curling club sent 5 teams. Albany sent teams too. In all, 20 Northeast curling clubs sent 56 teams. When I curled in the bonspiel, there were 30-something teams. The event just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

One of my favorite things about The Dykes is that it is a tournament of firsts. For many curlers this will be the first time curling in a tournament, first time traveling to curl, first time playing on ice that isn't their club (it is surprising how easily you get comfortable with your clubs surroundings), first time drinking with a team kitty (a kitty is when everyone chips in $20, drinks until the money is gone and then repeats as necessary) and the first time playing in front of a crowd. There were 56, four-man teams and only 8 played at a time. That leaves 192 people (plus other spectators) with nothing better to do than drink and watch the games.

A lot of clubs have added web cameras so they can stream some tournament games. It was fun checking in on the Schenectady teams over the weekend. One team made it the The D event finals, the Sinnett Cup. I have good memories of this event, because I once played in it. This particular match wasn't being streamed online, but the Schenectady Curling twitter account was sending out a shot-by-shot call of the game. I was cleaning some of the house and taking frequent breaks to see what was going on in the game. It came down to the last shot, and it didn't go Schenectady's way, but it was a great effort.

Every fall, curlers that have been to the tournament encourage newer curlers with their stories about The Dykes, encouraging them to check it out. This week, the participating curlers will return with stories of this years adventures. For some, this was their last trip to The Dykes as they aged out this year. Others still have trips left. I bet they are already making plans for next year. And the newest curlers, future curlers that will begin playing for the first time in the fall, well they haven't even heard of The Dykes....yet.