Archive for January, 2014

(Part 1 of 2)
photo-2I used an outhouse for the first time. In fact, I used it three times on a recent four-day ice fishing trip with college friends in northern Minnesota. The temperature was right around zero the entire time. On my final trip to the outhouse (and if there’s a god in heaven, my final trip to ANY outhouse) the temperature was 11-below zero.

Survived a toilet seat at 11-blow zero felt like surviving Chernobyl. Or Auschwitz. Okay, that’s overstated. But trust me, it was simply horrific.

Said outhouse and adjoining property is owned by the father of a college friend of mine. He finally succeeded in coercing me to leave the 80-degree weather of my hometown and spend a weekend watching a bobber in a 6-inch hole cut in a frozen lake.

Remote only begins to describe this place. If you’ve ever seen “The Shining,” it’s like that, without the opulent hotel or Jack Nicholson with an ax.

In case you want to visit, here are the directions: Work your way to the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, exit the highway, and head back into the tall pines. Stay on an icy two-lane road for about 12 miles. Then, make a right-hand turn onto a very narrow, snow-packed road for another five miles and pray another vehicle doesn’t come the opposite direction (which it won’t because no one in their right mind is back here). Finally, park your four-wheel-drive vehicle at a clearing, mount a snowmobile with all your belongings and supplies, and skirt through the woods another quarter mile to the cabin.

Let’s just say it’s not a place to have a heart attack.

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IMG_2507“Uncle J, how can you not know where everything is in our kitchen?” my adorable little niece said as I asked, for about the twentieth time, where something was in my sister’s cabinets.

It’s custom in our family that I make a complicated/challenging/gluten-infused dessert on Christmas Eve, often requiring hours of work. My family insists I do this every year, I suspect, in order to keep me out of the living room where I’m bound to offend somebody. Or where I might roll over the dog’s tail in the rocking chair.

For me, I participate in the annual tradition as a test to confirm I can still follow directions.

I’ve made some pretty impressive desserts in my sister’s kitchen, if I do say so. But I’m sorry, little Miss Rememberpants, I don’t recall where your mother stores the food processor. Or the cream of tartar. Or the spring-form pans. Or the brandy. Wait, that’s a lie. I know where she keeps the brandy.

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