Tuesday, June 28, 2016

12 Quick Years

My oldest daughter turned 12 today. So I'm flipping though some old pictures on the computer and sipping Scotch poured from the bottle I got for Father's Day.

Twelve years ago, she fit in a basket. She's taller than a lot of adults now.

Look at those itty bitty toes. That foot fits into a cleats and plays softball now. She made some really good plays this season.

Over the past few months, there have been two occasions centered around Allison that made me overcome with emotion. The first was was a red hot rage that I didn't know I was capable of feeling - and none of it wasn't her fault. I had a whole post written about it but decided to let it go. Mostly let it go. Let's just say I wanted something done for my kid who was in orthodontic pain, was flatly told "NO" and then I almost completely lost my shit. I felt my pulse go up, my cheeks got hot, that forehead vein was probably throbbing and I was rapidly blinking in disbelief. I don't remember if I clenched a fist but I was a single deep breath away from throwing a lengthy F-bomb laden tantrum. I knew there was a parental "you mess with my kid, you mess with me" protective instinct in me, I just had no idea how quickly, and possibly out of control, it could wash over me. I still get worked up thinking about that morning.

The second, much happier emotion, was how proud I was of Allison. At the elementary school graduation ceremony last week, a few awards were given out to the 6th graders. My daughter was presented with one of the awards. No one was told about the awards before the ceremony so it was a complete surprise. There was a 6th grade picnic after graduation and other parents congratulated me on her award. I thanked them, but it was all her.

Alright, I've gone on enough. Time to go make some pizza dough for a sleepover party she's hosting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I saw something last week and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

I've never liked pizza screens. Lots of places use them but I believe their main purpose is to take some pizza making skill out of the recipe. Since the dough isn't actually on the floor of the oven, the bottom of the pizza is cooked at a lower temperature and I believe that impacts the quality of the crust. Plus, the screen leaves unattractive hash marks on the bottom of the crust, but that's less important.

I also know there are a lot of places out there that do not make their own dough. They either buy dough or par baked shells. I wouldn't have guessed that this is a big market, but I'm told I'd be surprised by how big it is. It doesn't really make sense to me because I would have thought most of the profit from a pizza would come from making the dough yourself. Flour, water and yeast are cheap.

On to what I saw...there was a gas fired dome oven. A worker was taking tortillas out of a plastic bag and placing them on a screen. The tortilla was topped and it was slid into the oven. When it was cooked, it was sliced Chicago thin style into small pieces - 9 square-ish pieces.

I didn't take any pictures or taste the tortilla pizza although I did get a pretty good look at one and skipped the piece that was offered to me from another.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the YELP reviews to see what other people thought.

Here's an oven picture from the owner. The photo caption says, "Enjoy fresh baked pizza from our authentic Wood Stone oven." Looks nice enough.

This one is from Isabella S. The caption is "'Margherita pizza' WTF????"

And another photo from Isabella S. The caption is "Thin as a tortilla."

After some service bugs, Nancy S. said the pizza "was disappointing as well. It was paper thin, almost like tortilla shell, and lacked depth and flavor." Now on the other hand, Scott S thought the "wood fired pizza was very fresh, with aromas of garlic and basil predominant. The sausage was spicy, but not overly so."

I believe this is a used, similar model of oven on Ebay. It might actually be a little bigger than the one I saw. The asking price is just under $17,000. No idea if the oven I saw was new, but I've got to believe buying that oven cost a minimum of 15 grand.

Probably cost significantly more than that delivered and installed.

It's being used as a very expensive toaster oven for tortilla pizza.

I can't wrap my head around that.

Monday, June 6, 2016


Turns out, I'm a bit selfish. I don't want a dog. Everyone else in the house does. I'm the holdout.

Which is weird, because my younger self had always wanted a dog. Really wanted a dog. I like dogs. There have even been a few dogs I'd say I loved. All of them, though, have been other people's dogs. I'm a great dog uncle. I'll play with a dog all day. Need someone to go outside and throw a ball at 11:00 on a cold, February night? I've done it....and then I went back to my dog-less life. My in-law's dog was perfect. Visit for the weekend, play with dog and then leave. No vets, no poop picking up, no getting up early to let him out. Only the fun stuff.

But I'm older now, grumpier now, and I don't want to pick up dog crap on a daily basis. Plus, I'm of the mindset that we are never here and that's not really fair to a dog. We're all gone before 8 and usually back around 5. Unless we have somewhere else to be and that seems to be the case more often than not. And there's the sleep. I don't really need a lot of it, but those precious hours of rest need to be in a row.

And even though I'm older and grumpier now, I caved a little and we fostered a puppy while the actual fosters were gone on vacation. Originally named Cilantro from a litter named The Spice Puppies, here's Charlotte.

The fosters didn't like Cilantro (can't blame them - it's a crummy dog name) and have been calling her Charlotte. Cute little bugger, right? Very friendly although she's still a puppy so she's got that teething/nippy thing that puppies do. She's even getting better with a leash and if she could, she would have absolutely followed the kids onto the school bus.

Charlotte is very good with kids and was hugely popular at the softball fields the both times we brought her there. She also likes being under things like tables or chairs. Here she is on the lower shelf of a table. I mentioned she's cute, right?

Alas, there's that sleep thing. I don't know if I read it or heard it or really even if it's true but I'm working under the assumptions that young dogs can only hold it for an hour for every month of their age. I think Charlotte is a little less than 4 months. I'd take her out around 11:30 or 12 and then we'd go to sleep. She'd usually get up before 5. Sometimes earlier. Saturday night I kept her up until 1 AM and she almost made it to 6. There was a day last week that I almost completely melted down from sleep deprivation - blurry eyed tired, headache, nauseous - I was a mess. My wife handles the early bathroom break but it was enough to wake me up and I didn't sleep right after it.

My youngest daughter promised she would do everything she could to take care of a puppy. And she did. From the second she woke up she was right there taking care of Charlotte. She took these pictures (and about 75 more).

Not sure how big Charlotte will get. The most educated guess I received was about 50 pounds. I am certain, she will be a very friendly and loyal dog wherever she ends up. It will be nicer too when she is fully trained to use a lawn instead of a carpet. And do they make glow in the dark collars? This dog is invisible at night.

The original fosters picked Charlotte up this afternoon. The house is much quieter now and it is a little weird. Nothing is lying across one of my feet sleeping as I type, which was not the case last night. I suppose you could say I miss her a little, but selfishly I doubt that will be the case as I'm snoring straight through the night.

If you would like information on adopting Charlotte (aka Cilantro), you can find information here. She'll be a good pet, and that's coming from someone that doesn't want one.