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Monday
Jul082019

Anthrocon. Again.

For those of you who may be new here, let me just say that I've been over here saying Anthrocon is fun loooooooong before the rest of Pittsburgh figured it out. I'm not mentioning that to be all "I'm too cool for cool" or anything (... though I am. Heh.). I'm mentioning it because I happen to know a thing or two about how to indulge in fully furry fun.

(For the like one of you who is super confused right now, Pittsburgh is home to a huge furry convention every July. It's called Anthrocon and it is THE BEST.)

Like, I REALLY know how to enjoy Anthrocon without crashing into anyone else's joy. It's sort of my thing.

It's also Mila's thing.

It comes as no surprise that Anthrocon is on Mila's Top 3 Pittsburgh Things list. The girl loooooves her some furry watching. It's up there with Milkshake Factory and The Point, which is to say that Saturday was the day when Mila lived every bit of her best life. We went to the fursuit parade, grabbed milkshakes, AND walked to The Point so her inner yinzer was on full display.

She was really very happy.

The fursuit parade has been making Mila happy for all of her life. It's an easy chance to see a whole lot of different fursuits and Mila is always overjoyed when she gets a chance to give a lot of fuzzy high fives. This year was no exception. We've learned to arrive at the parade about an hour early, grab some good seats in the shade, and then chill until the fun begins. We followed that plan again this year, but then ran into a problem. Apparently yinzers have forgotten that those people who have chairs at the fursuit parade are supposed to SIT DOWN, JERKFACE. If you want a chair, you sit in that chair. Standing up means other people can't see and SIT DOWN, JERKFACE.

Ahem.

So THAT happened and Mila couldn't see anything and for a brief moment, everything was terrible. But then this guy showed up and fixed it.

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So, thank you sir.

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In the fixing it, we ended up next to a woman who was REAL excited about seeing furries. Like, more excited than Mila. It was ... WOAH. It turned out that her 14-year old daughter suits and was in the parade and this was her first year getting to watch. Yay for her? Except maybe not because let me just tell you, I am not friendly to strangers. I get completely flustered when strangers start talking at me and I just plain shut down. I don't even manage to nod like I understand what they're saying. It's more like I give them the silent treatment, which isn't meant to be mean, but certainly comes across that way. I just don't know what to do with myself, if that makes sense.

AND YET I KNOW DETAILS ABOUT THAT WOMAN'S LIFE.

I did NOTHING to encourage a conversation and yet she totally had one. A very one-sided conversation, but a conversation nonetheless. I reminded myself about 153851309482094 times that she was just excited, even as she went on and on and on explaining how to be a furry parade watcher.

Is that fursplaining? I think it's fursplaining. Definition: When a newby gushes basic information to a pro. See also: Annoying.

I took a lot of deep breaths. It's probably for the best that I freeze when strangers talk to me because there were definitely times that I wanted to say, "Do you know who you're talking to? Do I need to whip out my credentials or what?"

ANYWAY.

Possibly the most frustrating thing she did was adopt Mila. As in, SHE KEPT TOUCHING AND TALKING TO MY KID. Said kid was too distracted by unicorns in sparkly dresses to lash out like she normally would, but I totally would have let Mila destroy the woman who wouldn't stop touching her. Mostly the woman was coming from a place of trying to help. She very badly wanted Mila to have fun, so she was frantically trying to get furry attention and beckon them over to Mila for a high five. She furiously waved her arms, jumped up and down, and pointed down at Mila's little blond head over and over and over for the entire duration of the parade.

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Pro tip: A lot of the furries can't see much beyond what's directly in front of them. Waving wildly doesn't actually get their attention and if one of them is walking down the middle of the street, away from reaching hands, there's probably a reason. LET THEM BE.

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Ahem.

Mila, fortunately, was oblivious to the whole thing. I was sitting RIGHT THERE and inching Mila away from the overzealous lady as much as I could without actually ruining the kid's fun.

Alexis, though.

Alexis was seated a few feet away, mouth agape, staring at the woman and mouthing, "WHAT THE F&*K."

ALEXIS SWEARS, YOU GUYS! That's new! I mean, she mostly did it because she was appalled that someone was touching her preshhhuuuusss sister, but still. She swears! I'm so proud!

Sunday
Jul072019

Berry Chocolate Ice Cream

ALERT! ALERT! IT'S CHERRY SEASON!

I bought a ton of cherries at the farmers market last week and then even more at the grocery store today (because $1.99 per pound!), so basically I need to make all of the cherry things. At the same time, there are piles and piles of blueberries and strawberries in the fridge because, really, this is the best time of the year. This. Right here.

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Berry Chocolate Ice Cream.

It's all of the things that were sitting in the fridge thrown together into ice cream. And YESSSSS. It turned out so good.

So very good.

Berry Chocolate Ice Cream

Small handful pitted and halved cherries
Small handful blueberries
Small handful hulled sliced strawberries
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided (1 1/2 cups the first time, 3/4 cup the second time)
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

1. Start by preparing your berries. You're going to put all of the berries in a large saucepan. Place the cornstarch in the measuring cup with the water and stir gently until the cornstarch is incorporated. Pour it in with the berries. Add the 2 tablespoons of white sugar and cook them over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until you have a fun syrup and some soft berries. It takes about 15-20 minutes. Throw the berries in the fridge once they are done.

2. Place the 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a new medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk, until the sugar is fully dissolved.

3. Place the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and whisk them together. Take 1/2 cup of the warm cream and sugar mixture out of the saucepan and very slowly add it to the egg yolks. Keep whisking the whole time you're adding. Make sure you're adding the warm cream slowly because you don't want your eggs to turn into scrambled eggs.

4. Now you're going to add the eggs into your cream-filled saucepan. Keep the heat on medium and slowly add the eggs into the saucepan, whisking the whole time. Keep stirring and stirring and heat until your cream is at least 170 degrees. If you don't have a candy thermometer, place a spoon in the cream. It's done when you pull the spoon out and it stays coated with cream.

5. Remove what is soon to be ice cream from the heat.

8. Add the butter and chocolate chips. Stir until everything is melty and smooth and perfect.

9. Stir in the remainder of the heavy cream and vanilla/almond extract.

10. Refrigerate the cream mixture until cool, about two hours.

11. Pour the cooled cream mixture into your ice cream maker and turn that sucker on. Let it go until it is super thick.

12. Once you clearly have a chocolate ice cream thing happening in your ice cream maker, add in the berries. Either let your ice cream maker mix them in or use a rubber spatula. I'm not going to judge no matter which way you do it.

13. Toss the bowl in the freezer for at least two hours so that the ice cream can fully set.

14. Homemade ice cream is SO much better than the cheap store crap.

Saturday
Jul062019

Welcome Back, Anthrocon

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