Monday, August 11, 2014

Summertime [And the Livin' is Easy]

[Uh, it's August? Already? Wasn't it June, like, yesterday? I'm pretty sure we were all just starting to enjoy our summers ... and then I turn around to find that the stores are threatening us with Back to School Sales. Say, wha ... ?!?!?]
Hi. My name's Stephanie. And you may think I've forgotten about this little corner of the interwebs.

On the contrary, I assure you.

You see, life here with Mr. Dude and Little Guy is just as nerdy as ever ... I just have seasons where I'm paying more attention to the "wife" part of my title than to the "almost nerdy" writer half.

Here's our rundown of summertime shenanigans:

Visiting CA: Um, this one makes me feel old. My high school class had its ten (10!) year reunion, so we took the opportunity to visit grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other random relatives. [Actually, I'm fairly certain that all of my relatives are random, so perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we visited various other relatives? I digress ... ] Highlight of the trip: Nana and Papa taught him to walk from Point A at one end of the house to Point B on the other end of the house. Prior to the trip, he had only been taking a few steps here or there. I'm still undecided as to whether I want to thank them for teaching him such a skill, or if I miss my baby who crawled everywhere ...

[Playing with a Mickey Mouse fire engine at his great-grandparents' house that my sisters and I played with when we were little. Vintage toys FTW.]
Family Reunion: Every year, Mr. Dude's family gets together for a family reunion. The location changes based on which one of the siblings is planning it. Constant themes: There is always way too much food [because everyone in that family can cook, bake or both]. There is always a hilarious game made up by the hosts that we all play together. The weekend always seems too short. And this year, we got to watch our son bask in the attention of a multitude of cousins - he was absolutely fascinated by watching them on the swings, the see-saw and running around on the grass. Running around after them made for one tuckered-out Little Guy.

Southern Oregon: We city slickers visited Mr. Dude's aunt and uncle on their ridiculous-number-of-acres ranch for a weekend full of hiking, tractors, learning to drywall, and waaaaaayyyyyy too much food. [You'll notice that's a theme of life in general, I suppose, since I keep on mentioning it ...] We also played an old-school game called Therapy and Jeff Foxworthy's You Might be a Redneck If ... Both ... were ... uh ... interesting ways to get to know your family better. And it's kind of scary how good Mr. Dude's family is at being rednecks when they want to ...

[Mr. Dude's uncle took Little Guy out for a ride on the tractor.
Cutest. Thing. Ever.]
Housing Projects: This one has kept us the most busy. Something about homeownership creating its own massive "to do" list? Anyone else have that issue? In Mr. Dude's world, though, the most exciting thing has been making our walls look like Swiss cheese. And by that, I mean we had an electrician come and replace all of our 1916 home's knob and tube wiring with modern-day electricity. Let's hear it for the 21st Century! And insulation!

No, really. Let's hear it for insulation! You can't have insulation in walls with knob and tube wiring because the wires are exposed [yup, it's that old] and would catch fire if they ran alongside insulation. So heating our home without turning it into giant bonfire is ... um ... fun. Oh, and it helps that all of Mr. Dude's electronics won't short out every outlet in the house when he tries to run them all at once. It's the little things in life, people.

[Swiss Cheese. Because we must needs feed the electronics.]
What shenanigans have you and yours been up to this summer? Anyone else bringing their house into the 21st Century? Or discovering you married into a family full of red necks?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Double Pi Day Shenanigans

[Food Day Friday ... where I show you what I've been tinkering with in the kitchen. Mr. Dude gets a lot of air time on here about some of the projects he's working on or the things he's reading or thinking about. But rest assured, my entire life does not revolve around Mr. Dude's nerdiness - so here's to the foodies!]

Can I please do some lamenting right now?

Food is really important at Casa de Larsen. Or at least to me. We tend to have a busy schedule, but we somehow usually find time to make and eat great meals as a family and with friends.

Tomorrow, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an event of truly epic proportions that we can NOT attend and we can NOT do anything about, no matter how hard we try.

And it makes my little foodie heart so very sad.

Double Pi Day.

Ask any nerd, he'll say 3/14 is Pi Day, and pi day means pie. Ask any nerd who wants seconds, he'll just say multiply by 2. 6/28 is Double Pie Day. Double the pi, double the pie.

On June 28, come out to our place for some pie. Hors d'oeuvres will be provided, and don't worry about coming late—we'll have a fire out on the deck for some s'more pies.

Also—don't trust your pie buying or baking, abilities? Come with a bottle of wine, and we'll hook you up just the same. We'd rather have two buck chuck than a five dollar pie anyway.

Party starts at 6:30pm, pie judging at 8pm. Blood sugar testing available upon request.

Sigh … doesn’t that just sound heavenly?

I mean, nerdy implications aside, a get-together with friends that just features PIE?!?!?!

My mouth started salivating just from typing that.

And then my long time friend who majored in math reminded me that Tau is the proper term for 2π.

Potato, potahto. I just want the pi[e].

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

LOTR + Strawberries = Saturday Night Fun

Last weekend, Mr. Dude's mom called me up and invited me to go strawberry picking.

Mr. Dude was out with his own dad to celebrate Father's Day [something about a brewery tour and a viewing of Godzilla, neither of which I was interested in], and Little Guy and I were about ready to go on a run.

But strawberry picking?

I posed the question on that social network the all-knowing audience [aka, "Facebook"]
Exercise Option: Do you think I'll choose my normal run with a stop at a park to let Little Guy play, or going to pick strawberries with my mother in law where Little Guy can play in the mud with us?

I'll give you a hint: I'm a foodie who hates running, and a mom who doesn't mind dirt.
Bonus points if you got the right answer before I show you this:
Grandma had a fabulous time with Little Guy, showing him how to find the strawberries and pull them off the plants. I'm pretty sure her plan was to get time in with her grandson whilst her daughter-in-law did most of the picking.
Cute baby in a strawberry basket in the middle of a field. Ridiculously cute? I think so.

Also, there was a lot of dirt. C'est la vie. 

Once we got home, though, the real work began. Washing, slicing, sorting and freezing two whole flats of strawberries is no picnic, people! It called for a marathon of something to entertain my brain.

[Fellowship to the Rescue!!!]

It was rather odd to be slicing something so sweet and yummy whilst Ring Wraiths attacked poor Frodo at Weathertop, or whilst nine members of the Fellowship fought off hordes of angry goblins and a cave troll down in the Mines of Moria. But it was nice to have the distraction.

Mr. Dude came home from time with his dad and paused the movie to tell me about his day. I think he may live in the meme-world a little too often, because he stopped it right here:

["So I walk in the door and Steph had this going. It seems I paused it at EXACTLY the right moment. One does not simply pause a 3 hr movie at the opportune time."]

Seriously?!?! How does he do that?!?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

White and Nerdy ... Strikes Again

All in favor of Weird Al videos, say, "Aye!"


Mr. Dude appreciates that I appreciate Weird Al. Of course, Mr. Dude has been listening to Weird Al's CDs since forever, whereas I just point out the fact that Al did most of a college education at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, near where I grew up.

It's not what you know, but who you know, people.

Or who's famous from your hometown.

But I digress.

Our favorite Weird Al video is "White and Nerdy".

Let's just say it's spot on for how I think of Mr. Dude, except that he's not quite that awkward.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, you should probably watch it, too. It'll make your day.

Why am I thinking of this?

Two reasons:

1. Mr. Dude sent me a new "Epic Rap Battles of History" video to watch, with Weird Al making a cameo as Sir Isaac Newton. Internet gold, I tell you. [And whist you're at it, go ahead and just watch everything in that series. Again, it'll make your day. And take up a lot of your time that you could be using on, you know, useful things in life. But again, I digress ... ]

2. I've been sitting on my own treasure trove of internet gold with footage of Mr. Dude and one of his fellow nerds attempting to play DDR. I'm not sure if the game had them attempting to do the same steps or not because I couldn't actually see the screen, but I'm pretty sure that makes it even better. So allow me to help you meet your laugh quota for the week:

God bless the nerds!

Excuse me while I go clean up the Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. that just spewed out of my mouth while I was laughing so hard ... 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta ... Opa!

[Food Day Friday ... where I show you what I've been tinkering with in the kitchen. Mr. Dude gets a lot of air time on here about some of the projects he's working on or the things he's reading or thinking about. But rest assured, my entire life does not revolve around Mr. Dude's nerdiness - so here's to the foodies!]
Ever since the arrival of Little Guy, Mr. Dude and I have found that date nights at home are easy-peasy: no finding a babysitter, no prepping Little Guy to be with said babysitter, no rushing to get out the door on time to wherever we have reservations or tickets for ... not to say that we don't get out at all - it's just our M.O. to have "date night in". Heck, after our standard college $10 coffee date for so many years, eating a nice meal and sharing a bottle of wine feels extravagant!

On my selfish side, "date night in" gives me the chance to make food that's a little more elaborate or time-consuming. Sometimes it's more expensive than how we'd eat for the rest of the week. Usually it just requires a little more concentration to be sure I'm following the recipe as I should be.

That's difficult to do if you've got a munchkin attached to your jeans as you try to move around the kitchen.

Did we mention that Little Guy likes to be wherever we are? It can make simple house chores take at least 100 x as long as they should. Good thing he's cute!

But I digress ...

Where were we? Oh yeah. Date night.

This recipe isn't really difficult so much as it just feels fancy. Pair it with a good red, plate it well, and you feel like you're at happy hour at a nice neighborhood restaurant.

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta

Coastal Living July 2004
Yield: 2 Dozen [feeds 4-6]

1/3 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 pound small fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
1 French baguette, cut diagonally into 1/4 inch-thick slices

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté shrimp and garlic 3 to 4 minutes until shrimp are cooked.
  2. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.
  3. Combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in shrimp. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Place bread slices on a baking sheet; brush bread with remaining olive oil. Bake at 375º for 8 minutes. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture onto each bread slice.
[Steph's Notes]
  1. I used the shrimp from Trader Joe's - no peeling or deveining! And I didn't have time to chill them in the fridge since I started dinner prep so late, so they sat in a bowl in the freezer whilst I prepped the veggies and bread. 
  2. Small sugar plum tomatoes took a little more work to de-seed, but were easier to dice into smaller pieces. And they had more flavor than large plum tomatoes, in my opinion. 
  3. Trader Joe's crumbled feta with herbs mixed in meant that I didn't worry about not having "Greek seasoning" on hand. Most companies use some combination of garlic, onion, oregano, mint, thyme and/or lemon. I'm cheap, so I buy all of those separately and then combine them as I need to. 
  4. We were both full after 3 of these [I put a very large heaping spoonful on our baguette slices], and the leftovers lasted for a couple of days. Bonus: we used a slice of toasted Dave's Killer bread when we ran out of baguette slices, and it was super tasty! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Computer Thief ... Or, Why It's Helpful to Have Lots of Browsers

[We interrupt this broadcast to tell you about this awesomeness in a jar: Trader Joe's Lemon Curd. Put it on toast and enjoy with a cup of Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Or drizzle over plain yogurt, then toss in some sliced almonds and dried cranberries. Better yet, put it on top of ice cream. Trust me, you'll be glad you spent the $3.99, and I'm not even getting paid to tell you that.] 
Look at me. The post hasn't even started and I'm already digressing.

If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that I'm somewhat addicted to having lots of internet browser tabs open. As a visual processor, it's just how I function, okay? I know that the browser tab's inherent "to do" item is completed when the tab is closed. Until then, it stays open. Deal with it.

So, some days the top of my browser may or may not look like this:

[Pay no attention to the fact that my arrow via Microsoft Paint is horrendous. I know that. If you'd like to get me a subscription to Adobe InDesign, then I'll make pretty graphics for you. Until then, you get the cheap stuff. Or you can pretend that Little Guy was helping me with the illustrations. :D]
[Also, you know you're married to a nerd when ... you see the Lifehacker tweet and exclaim to your husband, "You can randomize your MAC address?!?!" ... because you actually know what a MAC address is and some of what it's used for ... ]
But telling Mr. Dude that I need all those tabs open to work on my projects just makes him shake his head and sigh. It also makes him require that any machine we purchase for me needs to have as much RAM as possible. [I haven't maxed out the 12G of RAM on his super computer yet ... perhaps that should be a personal goal for the summer ... ]

Anyways, whenever he needs to use my computer, he's just learned to open a new browser. Not a new window for whatever browser I had open - no, a new browser entirely.


You're surprised that we'd have Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer all on one machine?

You must not know us very well.

So while Chrome chugged along with my 46 [!] and counting tabs, Mr. Dude pulled up Firefox to start Pandora since we had friends coming over for the evening.

As I was shutting down the computer for the night [and this is where I thank whoever had the brilliant idea to make browsers capable of resuming where you left off when you turn your machine back on again - hurray for saving all the tabs!], I noticed this video was the other tab he had opened up:

Surprising? Not in the least. It's one of his favorite franchises, all kinds of previews are coming out for games with E3 going on, and he's easily distracted. So of course he was watching that while pulling up Pandora.  

I right-clicked on the video to get the link so I could share it with all of you, and I started giggling. Bonus points if you see it in under 10 seconds: 

Did you get it? Oh, c'mon!

"Stats for Nerds". 


I have no idea what stats it pulls up - I was laughing too hard to bother looking. And I have no idea if that's a standard option on the right-click menu, if that's special to Chrome, or if Mr. Dude was messing with my machine again.

To be honest? It's getting hard to tell anymore.

In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy my toast and lemon curd with Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. while the Little Guy sleeps. And who knows? Perhaps I'll get enough done so there are only 30 Chrome tabs open at the end of the day.

Hey, it could happen!

Monday, June 9, 2014


[Near Gear Mondays. Where I tell you all about the random gear that Mr. Dude - or I - may or may not own. Or gear that we may or may not plan to own. Or gear that we may or may not find interesting. You're welcome.] 
Once upon a time, a long time ago, baby gear was all about what baby actually needed

And then along came things like dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and electronic baby swings ... suddenly, people had time on their hands for more than the bare minimum. So they started coming up with things that would be cool for baby to have, which usually coincides with "things baby definitely doesn't need to have". 
[As a long time babysitter and nanny, I've seen my fair share of the ridiculous things that people could swear they "need" for their kid. Wipe warmers, anyone? But I digress.] 
There are some baby items which - admittedly - baby does not need

BUT! Mom and Dad find them cool. 

Bonus points if Dad finds them cool, because supposedly that makes Dad more interested in hanging out with baby ... or at least feeling like he has a say in some of the gear that you buy. [Let's be honest. Most dads don't care about decorating the nursery or picking out a diaper bag.]

Enter: Geek Teething Toys. 

God bless the Canadians on Etsy who designed this: 

Bonus Points: It's even made of maple. How very ... um ... Canadian of them, eh? 

Whenever Little Guy gets a Little Gal or a Littler Guy to teach about all things nerdy, I can almost guarantee you that we'll buy one as a teaching prop for him to use. You gotta equip the next generation, you know. 

Can you hear the conversation now? 
Little Guy: Here, baby. This button helps you jump and this one makes you go faster. This one helps you get the extra star ... No, no, no! You don't eat it! That will make Mario fall down and die!
Future Little Sibling: [blank stare, blink blink, continues chewing]
[Sigh. This is the part where I resign myself to my fate of always living in a house of nerds ... in case you hadn't caught on to that yet ...]