Sunday, January 27, 2013

Castle Panic, Pizza, and The Fog

Greetings!  The above pictures is Castle Panic.  It's a board game that Lorelei received for Christmas from Daddy.  We have been playing it like mad and I think Lorelei and I are fairly obsessed with it.  In an age where games are mostly digital and require gaming systems, it's wonderful to see a resurgence of board games.  I grew up on board games, after all.  Castle Panic is premised on the players working together to defeat monsters and protect the castle.  It's a cooperative game, meaning the players work together and not against each other.  It's hours of fun.

You may have heard that the weather in Seattle is less than ideal.  The fall and winter months are dark, cold and wet.  Usually by this time, the end of January, we are seeing the days get longer and the sun makes a few appearances here and there, but it's still pretty miserable.  One thing that is kind of strange is to see the trees still with leaves on them.  It's cold, but not cold enough, I guess.  Many trees still have green leaves.  Here is one tree downtown:

We have been coping by investigating many board games (Ticket to Ride is my personal favorite), and conducting cooking experiments.  If you know us, you know that pizza is its own food group with the Shraders.  Unfortunately, good pizza is hard to come by in Seattle.  I don't know why, but they cannot get a good New York style pizza right, and nothing even comes close to Rotolo's in Columbus.  It's tragic.  We have tried many different places and have found some pizza that's passable, but it ends up being overpriced for a mediocre pie.  We decided to take matters into our own hands.

The top picture is our pizza dough rising, and the bottom one is a little piece of heaven.  Thanks to the Cooks Illustrated cookbook, we've been able to make our own pizzas from scratch, which are a thousand times better than anything we've bought out here.  Problem solved!

Of course, one thing that Seattle manages to do pretty well is beer.  Another way we've been passing the time is to explore the city a bit.  A few weeks ago we stumbled on the Georgetown Brewery.  As it turns out, it's fairly close to our house.

That is a growler.  Growlers are bottles of beer that are refillable.  Once you finish the growler of beer, you can go into pretty much any bar or specialty store or brewery and have it refilled for a reduced price.  As we are fans of the Georgetown beers, this growler idea seems like a stroke of genius.

Same growler, two hours later.

Among other activities we have to pass the time are Lorelei's Tae Kwon Do, and I've been running, hoping to do another 10k in February.  Shawn has started a new semester of school also.  Sometimes we complain about being so busy, but it's good that there is a lot going on.  January is rather bleak in Seattle, as it is a lot of places, I think.  People out here try to go away this time of year, to Mexico or, in many cases, to Hawaii.  When Shawn is out of school and doesn't have to worry about studying, we'll probably try to arrange for such a getaway in January or February.

We had this week or 10 day period of fog.  It was foggy every single day.  Pea soup fog.  I didn't see the Puget Sound for days, and I drive right over it on my way to work every morning.  It was crazy.  It wasn't Carl Sandburg's Fog, coming in on little cat feet.  No, we could watch it roll in from the Sound and it was more like a wall being slammed down.  One minute I'm looking out the window at the church across the street, and the next, BAM.  We are in the middle of a Stephen King story.  It was beyond creepy.  The meteorologists out here are generally challenged in terms of forecasting, but during the fog they just sat around on TV saying, "Yeah, that's a lot of fog.  Huh."  I kept trying to take a picture of it but there was seriously nothing to see.  Like all things, though, it finally passed and we are back to a more normal climate.

We had a nice time during the holidays.  It was just a quiet Christmas, but I took a day off and we explored. Lorelei got an American Girl doll from Santa, and then received some of the accessories from her Grandma Shrader.  It was a wild success, along with Castle Panic:

As we get through January, we head into the Birthday Season, with all of us having spring birthdays and lots of loved ones as well.  Of course, I will be preparing for the most wonderful time of the year, March Madness.  Until next time, love to all!