June 2020 Part I

Click on the text here or the cake above for more photos…

Two unusual cases to start today — one, photos taken last month but not available until recently: Chilkat’s headshots for Aladdin; and two, the photos mentioned in the last month when Chilkat released butterflies in the yard.

Chilkoot’s birthday is coming up. When we asked him what theme he wanted, he said, “Ummm….basketball!” But…he has never watched or played basketball as far as I (or KrisDi) know. Eventually he settled on frogs. Not basketball. He claims he loves frogs and his nickname for his sister is “Froggy.” Some frogs arrived in preparation for the party, and the kids made them a bus and a hospital.

KrisDi’s work hosted a socially distant drive-through barbecue. KrisDi made about a hundred cupcakes, the other managers made other stuff, and they all stood out in the sun with masks on, recording and sharing little videos of them saying cheesy lines, and handing individually packaged food out to employees who drove through. Krisdi took the kids with her, they wore their little masks and helped hand stuff out. If I remember correctly, they liked the smoked chicken. KrisDi brought some food back for me; it was actually pretty darn good.

The two main stories for today’s post are Chilkat’s Aladdin performance and KrisDi’s birthday celebration.

For KrisDi’s birthday, because the Washington Brewers’ Festival was cancelled due to Covid-19 (a traditional birthday activity), I decided to create her own private beer festival: Shelter In Place Beer Festival 2020. I made a logo, I had it printed on sample glasses, I got blank wooden tokens and had the logo turned into a rubber stamp to un-blankify them (ittook two tries, first rubber stamp was too big), and I made four tickets (two adults and two kids). I bought 7 root beers and 19 exotic beers on www.craftshack.com. The kids helped us make pretzel necklaces.

After I bought the beers from CraftShack, we found out Untappd was holding a “virtual beer festival”, for which they were selling and shipping a box of 11 beers and hosting two streaming sessions with the brewers or other interesting representatives on the same weekend I planned to surprise KrisDi with SIP Fest. And she was interested, and I didn’t want to disappoint her…so that turned into 30 beers, ranging up to the mid-teens in ABV and 750ml in volume. No problem, right? We took Monday and Tuesday off.

All told: Monday the 10th and Tuesday the 11th, Chilkat recorded her parts for Aladdin. Friday the 14th was the first “performance”; it was also opening day for SIP Fest. Saturday was the second performance, and the second day of SIP Fest, and the first session of Untappd virtual beer festival, and the day I started her cake. Sunday was more Untappd, more cake making, and more SIP Fest. Monday was completion of the cake, and continued SIP Fest, and KrisDi got the stomach flu. Tuesday was KrisDi’s birthday, serving of the cake and presentation of cards and whatnot, and the day I made pretzels for her because her stomach was crappy. So, there was a lot going on.

Let’s break it down by activity.

Aladdin

I think I’d mentioned before that Covid-19 destroyed the possibility of having in-person rehearsals; eventually it destroyed the possibility of having on-stage performance as well. The kids had already been rehearsing 2-3 sessions of 1-3 hours per week via Zoom, and they decided to record the parts and stream them as a video.

For the recording, KrisDi helped Chilkat with makeup, we set up a little stage downstairs with an iPhone on a jury-rigged stand. Chilkat stayed downstairs and did her part (and came upstairs upset and crying once when the camera responded too slowly to record her line), while KrisDi, Chilkoot, and I huddled upstairs in a room and tried to be quiet.

Because of Disney licensing, they couldn’t just record it and distribute DVDs to the families, they had to make it a one-time-performance of some sort with a limited number of viewers. They did the recordings and played them over zoom and allowed each family to invite two other locations to each of the two showings, one on Friday and one on Saturday. For the Friday showing, Krisdi’s parents came to our house to watch it, my older brother and niece watched it in Guam, and my mom watched it from her house. On Saturday, P Dubs and T Dog came to our house, Dad watched it in Florida, and E Dubs’ family watched it in Gig Harbor. For both of them, video lagged audio something horrible, though at least audio remained fairly stable throughout the whole production.

I’m very proud of Chilkat. It was hard, and took a lot of time and effort, and she was frustrated fairly often, but she stuck with it and completed it. By the end, she had mixed feelings about it being over. I’m glad she did it. I wish it had turned out to be a normal theater experience, but I think overall it was good for her to endure and survive the adverse situation. Also, although I’m not totally happy with how it all turned out, I think the director worked her ass off and did the best she could in a shitty situation, and I appreciate that.

Birthday Food

As mentioned, I made some foods for KrisDi’s birthday. She asked for a Lemon Bavarian Cream cake with six layers and 34 steps. It took me three days to make it (it would probably take KrisDi an hour and a half). Generally I’m pleased with how it turned out, although the bavarian cream is lumpy and the cake is maybe a touch dry.

Once KrisDi started feeling sick on Monday, I heated up some leftover frozen turkey broth from previous turkey dinners for her, and made her a batch of pretzels from scratch (first time I’ve cooked with dough that required rising).

Beer Festival(s)

SIP Fest was fun. Lots of interesting beer, and no worries about driving or sunburn or anything else. Generally we ordered food delivered (at the real beer festival we would have just eaten at the food trucks). We never ran out of tokens, because no one was seriously collecting them and we could just re-use them anyway. Once KrisDi got sick, we stopped going through those interesting beers and I started falling back on my more standard IPAs. Finally, the last beer of the extra-long weekend, on her birthday, KrisDi felt good enough to drink another beer, and we had a bottle of Cantillo Gueuze, which will always be special to us.

In the midst of all the madness, we had the two Untappd tasting sessions, which were less targeted to KrisDi’s or my tastes. They included lagers and a tripel. It was (in my opinion) pretty nice. I liked listening to brewers talk about the beer they make, why they make it and why they like it, how they got started, where names came from, etc. Session 1 and session 2. Session 1 overlapped with the Aladdin production, so we had to stop at a certain point, watch the production, and then watch the streaming recording of the rest of the Untappd session.

Finally, by the end of the weekend, after some augmentation of our beer selection by P Dubs, we had an embarrassingly impressive lineup of empties.

Miscellaneous stuff

  • I managed to actually catch a shot of a goldfinch in the greenbelt behind our house.
  • One of KrisDi’s cutting boards, assembled by gluing fairly small pieces of bamboo together, came apart. I rigged together a complicated clamping contraption and tried to apply new glue. It stays together (barely), but should probably never be used for food again.
  • A cute duckling in the pond along the path behind our neighborhood.
  • I spent a bunch of time sanding this dowel so the kids could operate the Playfort’s “latch” again. I had to remove something like .030″ for it to work, after water made it swell a little.
snaotheus

Posted by snaotheus

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wordsmith

Wow! I think you had a busier month sheltering than you normally do when you’re out and about!

Thanks for including me in the Aladdin production. It was fun to watch, and I’m really proud of Chilkat for sticking with it, too. Talk about adverse circumstances. Her next theater experience should (one hopes) be a LOT more fun and rewarding.

Well done on the cake. The butterflies are beautiful. The purple flowers are (I think) either lavender or a relative. And yes, that’s an embarrassingly large collection of empties, although I admire your ingenuity in creating your own. It felt weird not to be in the park watching you all get smashed on Fathers’ Day, too.

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