Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dale's Birthday Present

For Dale's birthday (yes, back in October), I lovingly made a slideshow of old photos with the hopes of embarrassing him greatly as my contribution to the thorough roasting that several friends gave him.

Judy and Jerry, Dale's parents, secretly provided the pictures with enough info to make a lovely (and very effective) show. Though some of the captions didn't come through at his party, we had a lot of laughs at Dale's expense, but he enjoyed them too. So to share these pictures with Judy, Jerry, and others who would like to see them, I'm finally posting everything here.

Oh, the pictures are organized in memory of Dale's hair...

"Oh Behave! A Tribute to the Early Years of Dale's Hair"

"A long, long, LONG time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (called Virginia)... Dale found his first hair hero..."

"Excited about his first den meeting, Dale is disappointed at the lack of chicks in Boy Scouts."

"Macaulay Culkin?"

"The Patriotic Big Hair Phase" Interestingly, he seems most excited about some sort of hair product...

After obtaining appropriate styling tools, Dale begins the quest of which he had been dreaming: Getting Dates. Though he seems to have started with a more traditional approach, Dale soon realizes that he'll have to dress more creatively to get girls.
"May I Have this Dance?"

Wow! That's a lot of creativity!

The Footloose Period: After the smashing gray tux and multi-scarf ensemble went out of style, Dale decided that "bass player" should be his new look. He tapped several of his closest friends to form a band--The Diff'rents--and to experiment with varying degrees of undress. Note: With close study, one can see the genesis of many of Dale's Mardi Gras costumes.

Dale's hair goes to the prom...

Skipping a few hundred years or so...

Rest In Peace, Hair. You are gone, but not forgotten...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crazy Candy

So last night, for a variety of reasons I probably shouldn't go into, I needed something chocolate. [Sidebar - I'm refusing to believe that this new sweet tooth is proof that I'm getting more and more like my mother. I'm freaked out at my fairly recent cravings for sweets, and am somewhat ashamed to admit I could probably replace a meal per day with just dessert. I'm blaming this on random lady hormones, because no matter how much I love my mom, I don't want to turn into her. Not yet.] {Sidebar #2 - When my sister and I were little, we would often tell my mother that we wanted to be just like her when we grew up (we've always adored her), except we didn't want to smoke cigarettes. Our passive-aggressiveness as pre-adolescents was impressive in retrospect, and perhaps even more remarkable is my mother's refusal to stop smoking. I mean, wouldn't two precious little girls with matching long permed hair tied back with giant bows who say things like that convince you to stop smoking? Heart of steel, that woman.} Remembering the caramel and chocolate swirl chips I picked up a few weeks ago at a wonderful discount grocery store, I decided to whip up some chocolate chip cookies. But the butter wasn't soft and I had only self-rising flour. Then I thought brownies might be a viable option since Brandon always made brownies by melting the butter in the brownie baking dish; therefore, I would not have to let the butter soften. But the brownie recipes I found were too complicated (unlike Brandon's mom's never-fail recipe that I did not have).

As my brain raced from ingredient to ingredient in the pantry trying to tie in refrigerator items, I decided I had the stuff to make some sort of candy similar to what my friends call "Those Cornflake Peanut Butter Things." But not having enough peanut butter or cornflakes, I took the opportunity to create. 'Cause that's what cooking really is, right?

While all this was going on in my head, Dale was putting away dishes in the kitchen and offering affirmative yummy noises when I suggested cookies or brownies. I didn't verbalize my candy-making thoughts, but I did notice that he left the room and went to play WoW (his default activity) when I clanged a large non-stick pot on the stove and poured the remainder of a bottle of corn syrup into it with the focused enthusiasm of Igor with specific orders. In went marshmallows, some cocoa powder, about half a bag of the caramel chocolate swirl chips, and about half a bag of corn chex cereal. Having measured none of these ingredients, I commented, "I kind of feel like a crazy person right now," referring to the seemingly random sugary-stuff-in-a-pot that I was compiling. As I stirred and threw in more marshmallows to contrast with the shiny chocolateness of what used to be healthy cereal, Dale replied, "I wasn't going to say anything..." He understands me. Isn't that great.

I had a good giggle at myself and at Dale's reaction then spooned the "crazy candy" onto some wax paper. A few minutes of drying time produced delicious sticky choco-liciousness that tasted mostly like cocoa krispies (unintentionally so, but one of my favorites). All in all, the crazy candy worked out well, and Dale joined in the tasting fun, while playing WoW of course. Since I'm still planning on running the half-marathon this Sunday, I'm pretending that the candy is good "fuel." That works, right?