| 11.21.2006 | Apple Pickin' Fools

While my parents were in town visiting at the end of October we made a trek to Oak Glen to try our hands at some good, old fashioned apple picking.

Who knew they even grew apples here in southern California? Apparently they do - and lots of them.

We stopped at Riley's Farm to pick ourselves some winesaps, double red delicious and granny smith apples. (Great Washington Post article about why red delicious apples aren't really very, well, delicious, anymore.)

The delight on the faces of Emma and Henry was well worth the 1.5 hour drive through the uglies of Riverside County. Who knew that apples grew on trees? And that you could pick them yourself? The farm gave us the tools and we supplied the labor.

Emma rode on Granpa Northcutt's shoulders and we picked ourselves a peck or two of apples. (I think this might be considered a modern American Gothic.)

We left Oak Glen tired but happy, sticky from apple juice and excited about the many pies to come.

@ 9:10 PM by TNorthcutt | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

| 11.18.2006 | Orange County Auto Show

Emma enjoyed the Auto Show so much last year we just had to go back. Henry was old enough to participate this year and, much like his sister, he was nearly apoplectic with joy.

Henry was especially enamored of the trucks while Emma tended to gravitate towards the luxury brands. Check out that look of nirvana while sitting at the wheel of the Caddy!

I'm a little bit afraid of what the future holds when she finally does turn 16. I have a feeling that "pink Honda" she keeps asking for today will have morphed into something beyond my means once she's had a little more exposure.

@ 8:56 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 11.17.2006 | Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

I've said a few times that I think I'm going to go straight to Hell for photos I've taken. Here's another entry that falls into the "straight-to-Hell" category.

Henry was in a whiny mood the other week, pitching fits whenever he didn't get his way. After a few of these episodes in one day I'd had enough. So, as he screamed and cried, I calmly sat right in front of him and captured the moment on "film."

I couldn't tell if the presence of a giant, unfeeling camera in his face helped or hurt the situation but I have to say that I think the pictures turned out great so I really don't care!

@ 10:05 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (1)

| 11.15.2006 | Taste of Newport

We went to the Taste of Newport a few weeks ago with Katie and Spiff. It's a big food and music festival held in Newport Beach.

We went to sample the wares of local restaurants like Agora Churrascaria, Clayton Shurley's, Wildfish and others. As an added bonus The Go-Go's were performing! Being the huge Belinda Carlisle fan that she is, Marla couldn't pass it up.

It was a little late for the kiddies but you can see that they were enjoying themselves, too. It was fun introducing them to music we first listened to 25 years ago when, like Emma, we were just four years old, too.

OK, we were 8 in 1981 when Beauty and the Beat came out, but still!

@ 10:04 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 11.14.2006 | Party People

We went to a spate of birthday parties in the past few months. (Henry has one coming up, himself!) One of the more recent parties was Cars-themed, which Emma loved.

The unquestioned hit of the party was the cotton candy. All of the kids gorged themselves on the brightly-colored treat. Afterward, their veins coursing with sugar, the children burned themselves out on the playground.

A few observations from this photo set:

  1. Emma can swing frighteningly high these days.
    I can understand now how my parents felt when Paul and I did fun things (read: stupid) like running across the tops of the monkey bars or leaping from the swing at apex.
  2. Henry's cracked tooth is kinda cute in a twisted-sort-of way.
  3. Henry isn't really poking the dog in the eye. Honest!

@ 11:06 AM by TNorthcutt | Comments (0)

| 11.12.2006 | Greetings from Norway

Greetings from Norway! As I write this it's 29 degrees, a light snow is falling and at high noon the sun is barely above the horizon. I've just come in from a brisk walk where I got wear my scarf for the first time in years...

OK, OK. You caught me. I'm really back home in Orange County where it is sunny, 70 and I'm sitting in my underwear drinking a cup of coffee. But I was in Norway and Sweden the week before Thanksgiving and I will regail you with tales of fabulous sights, decadent pleasures and exotic food.

I'm lying again. I mostly saw the insides of conference rooms for 7 to 9 hours a day and then went back to my hotel to collapse in an exhausted heap.

The one thing I wasn't lying about was the exotic food. In Norway I sampled lutefisk and akvavit, both very traditional Norwegian food and drink. Lutefisk is infamous around the globe for having among the most disgusting preparations known to man.

I'll leave it to another to describe the preparation of lutefisk. My humble words won't do it justice.

To make lutefisk, catch yourself a cod. Take out the bones, skin it, salt it, and hang it out to dry for several weeks until it hardens and smells like a dumpster. Then, bring it inside and soak it in lye for several days.

Sounds great! Our friends from Funcom took us to one of the best lutefisk joints in Oslo, Lofoten. Spiff has an excellent write-up of the adventure.

After two days in Oslo, Norway we were off to Stockholm, Sweden to visit DICE. This was my third trip to see them, each time in a different location. As their fortunes have grown so, too, have their offices. The new ones are spectacular. Again, I'll defer to Spiff for a description.

Unlike my previous two trips I didn't even set foot outside of their offices for any sightseeing. It was cold , rainy (no snow!) and dark. (This picture from Oslo shows the position of the sun in the sky at "high noon.") You'll have to refer to earlier posts to see Swedish pictures.

My exotic treat in Stockholm was moose meatballs. Having sample reindeer on my last visit, I felt obliged to give the moose a try. (You always play second fiddle to the reindeer and it just isn't fair, is it, Mr. Moose?) The meatballs were excellent. No, they didn't taste like chicken, but rather a slighty "gamey" beef.

I returned home a week later, totally jet-lagged but ready for Thanksgiving vacation.

Or at least I was supposed to return home... More on that later.

@ 9:13 AM by TNorthcutt | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)

| 11.09.2006 | Faith Hill Concert

Marla and Emma are both big Faith Hill fans. (Witness Mississippi Girl if you need proof.) In late August the Soul2Soul II tour came to town and I sent my two girls to enjoy a night of their favorite artist.

Emma wore pink ear muffs to protect delicate ears. She stood enraptured for the entirity of Faith Hill's performance and only sat down once Tim McGraw took the stage. The first few pictures in this set are from that night.

The rest are just some miscellaneous shots from the remainder of August, most of them from when Daddy was out of town (again.)

@ 9:28 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (1)

| | Model and Musician

I swear, some days Emma is just as cute as a button. She was in rare form the day these pictures were taken. Early in the day she wanted to dress up and pose for the camera. The white straw hat put it over the top.

Later in the day she and Henry took turns making sweet music (sort of) with my guitar. I love the shot where she's so earnestly "reading" the music while strumming. I think the song was "Life is A Highway."

@ 9:19 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (1)

| 11.06.2006 | Election Day

Tomorrow is election day around the country. In California our ballot borders on the riduclous. The election guide for ballot measures alone was 191 pages long. 191 pages! That's a travesty on multiple levels.

Chief among them is that even after reading many of those pages I have no idea what I'm going to vote for or against tomorrow. Right behind that is the fact that I'm probably one of the very few who bothered to read through it. Way to go, election process!

As far as the candidates go, I made some simple rules for myself that have greatly simplified candidate selection. I'll share them with you:

  1. I'm not voting for incumbents.
    Sorry, Arnold. I'm so dissatisfied with the general state of everything that I can't bear to bring myself to re-elect any of you. Childish? Yes, but I can't think of any other way to make a statement. (And he's going to win, anyway.)
  2. I'm not voting for anyone who called me on the phone.
    Sorry, Garamendi. I've had it with using canned telephone messages. You can't tell me anything meaningful in a 60 second recording AND you've disturbed me and my family in whatever I was doing. Send me a helpful pamphlet instead or leave me a call back number if you really want to talk to me.
  3. I'm not voting for anyone who can't be bothered to write a statement.
    You lose, judges. That's right, all of fourteen of you except for Shelia Hanson and Lyle Robertson are giant losers that earn my NO vote tomorrow.
  4. I'm not voting for anyone who supports the 241 extension.
    Sorry, Jim Thor. You've been a fine mayor but anyone who supports building a little-used and too-expensive toll road through a wildlife area and state park doesn't deserve support. Save the Trestles!
    I've been in this situation before. See that parking lot in this picture? That's where my house used to be.

Whew. After all of that typing my fire has gone. How did Thomas Paine do it?

@ 8:45 PM by TNorthcutt | Comments (3)

| 11.05.2006 | Yummy Ice Cream

"Why, yes, Daddy, I would like some ice cream. How kind of you to ask!"

We made chocolate ice cream the other week and, as you can see, the kids seemed to enjoy it. It was the first time we'd attempted making chocolate and it turned out fairly well. I think that Emma and Henry would have enjoyed it either way!

We're using our electric maker more and more these days and my trusty White Mountain freezer less and less. I definitely think the hand cranking makes for better ice cream. I secretly think it's the sweat but wiser men (Alton Brown) would tell you it is the fact that you can put more air into it with your arm than a little electric motor.

Either way you can't argue with the convenience of electric nor the grins of happy, chocolate-covered children.

@ 9:53 PM by TNorthcutt | TrackBack (0) | Comments (0)