30 November 2010

National Blog Posting Month: A Retrospective

So in this, my 4th year of NaBloPoMo, I am pretty proud of the fact that I didn't have to resort to some sort of Internet meme to keep the posts coming. Granted, not all of them were stellar, but I think I succeeded in getting actual content out there for each of the past 30 days. Even if it was just some random photos.

Since this is the last day, I think a sort of summary of this year and all past NaBloPoMos is called for. So here are links to my favorite posts from this year and from years past:


NaBloPoMo 2010:
Turkey Day
Stuffed Squash
Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
Beauty of Fall

NaBloPoMo 2009:
Turkey Day, Part 2
Old Friends
Day 5 - A YouTube Clip
Moon in the Morning

NaBloPoMo 2008:
Pasta Carbonara
A Day in the Life
Yes We Did
88 Years Young

NaBloPoMo 2007:
Les Aventures de Domo-Kun
Sunday in France
A 10 Hour Day
A Month of Posts - Day 1


To be fair, I stole those last two groups from the retrospective post I did last year. They are still my favorites from those two years, so I'm going to let it stand. One more post tomorrow (my 100th!) and I'll be done with blogging for a while. Happy December, all!

29 November 2010

Out & About with the Grandparents

My grandpa had a bunch of routine check-up appointments at the VA hospital today (it's an annual thing, apparently), which my mom was kind enough to chauffeur him to. Since they were going to be back around dinner time, I decided that I'd meet them + my grandma for some dinner after I got done with work. We headed to Kimson, a local Vietnamese restaurant that my grandma particularly enjoys. Here are my dinner companions:


After dinner we headed on over to G & G's house for a few rousing rounds of Bananagrams.


Have you played this game at all? It is sort of like Scrabble, except each player is working independently and creating their own matrix of words. I won quite a few rounds, and here are two examples:



It was a lovely evening with family. I don't see my grandparents enough - I should really head over there more often. They are the only grandparents I've ever known, after all, and they unfortunately won't be around forever.

So tomorrow is the last day of this NaBloPoMo nonsense... Is everyone excited? I may have to go one day over because this post marks my 98th for this blog. For the fellow number enthusiasts in the family, you can see why it would be hard to stop

28 November 2010

End of a Long Weekend: Lazy Sunday

It's the end of a four day weekend and I have to admit, I was not motivated to do much of anything today either. It's kinda cold and windy outside and it just seemed like a better idea to sit at home and relax. That's what weekends are for, right? Here are the two most pressing things I had to do today:


I have not quite finished the crossword yet, but it's getting there. Just a few pesky clues left. I may have to resort to Google.

In the meantime, this was lunch:


Quiche with broccoli, bacon, onions, and plenty of cheese. Super delicious, and it will make excellent leftovers for lunches this week. Yum. And for the first time since Thursday, I have not yet eaten any leftover turkey. I thought about putting some in the quiche but just didn't quite get there. I think I'll skip it for dinner too - I deserve a day off from leftovers.

This week promises to be busy as most of the people I work with worldwide did not realize that Thursday and Friday were not work days for me. So I should have a nice backlog of things to take care of when I get in to the office tomorrow. But for now, I am going to continue to be lazy and take full advantage of the rest of the weekend.

27 November 2010

JBAB

It's getting to be the end of National Blog Posting Month and, as with every year I do this, I am finally struggling with finding fun and exciting blog content. It's the weekend after turkey day, not much is going on, and there's a bunch of snow on the ground, so outdoor activities are few and far between. I went to the gym today and that's the most exciting thing so far. Not really very bloggable, particularly as I think they'd frown on my taking pictures at the gym. So I have decided to share some random photos from the last month or two that didn't make it on to the blog, for whatever reason. In roughly chronological order, here goes...

Andy and I went the season opener for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Basketball is actually his favorite sport, so it seems a shame not to mention it. Here are two photos from the game; pretty nice seats, I thought:



Here's one from the driving lessons with Kelsey. We passed that lady walking her dog approximately 6 times. I think she finally noticed after a while that it was the same car. I wonder what she thought we were doing?


Another outdoors shot; here's Andy on our walk that involved all of those stairs. He LOVES that jacket. He picked it up at a random rummage sale at Har Mar Mall a year or two ago.


Finally, some previously neglected Thanksgiving shots. The first is to prove to Nancy that I am not afraid to touch the turkey - I was rubbing olive oil on the outside of it just before putting it in the oven. The second shows Kelsey preparing the excellent relish tray. It's a multi-generational effort now, as you can see.



That's all I've got for today. Andy and I are off shortly to meet his parents for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis. It's called Masa and it's an upscale but authentic Mexican restaurant. Should be yummy!

26 November 2010

MN Wild

Did today feel like Saturday to anyone else? Just me then? Ok. In any case, it was nice to have another day off work. Long weekends should come around more often.

After a morning trip to the gym to try and work off some of that turkey and pie from yesterday, Andy and I headed to the Xcel Center to see the MN Wild play the Nashville Predators (side note: Nashville has a hockey team? What?). We got some free tickets courtesy of his dad. Here's the view:

Pre-warm ups.

The two teams warming up before the game.

Let's Play Hockey!

The Wild were winning extremely convincingly after two periods, and the hockey was kind of boring, so we begged off after only two periods. But it was super fun to see hockey live - it is way more faced paced in real life relative to what it looks like on TV. The rest of the day has been devoted to not going shopping and eating some more leftovers. An excellent non-work day, as extra days off go.

Finally, I've posted the rest of my thanksgiving photos on Flickr. You can find them here.

25 November 2010

Turkey Day

As promised, my dad put me fully in charge of the turkey today. He was acting solely in a mentoring capacity. Here now, a photo montage.









So I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?  It certainly tasted good, but I'm the cook so I'm not supposed to pass the final judgement. I'll leave that up to my readers who were in attendance. Speaking of, here's a few more photos:




Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. I am thankful for each and every one of my wonderful family and friends. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Try not to go too crazy out shopping tomorrow.

24 November 2010

Thanksgiving Prep

My company decided to close our office today at 1:00pm, a welcome early start to the long Thanksgiving weekend. Plus, it meant I could drive over to my parents' house well before the snow storm started. And in a perfect twist of fate, the first snow flakes started to fall just as I walked in their door.

Tonight's activities were dedicated to prep for the big meal tomorrow. First, my dad made some pies:


Then my mom and I started the annual cranberry bread making ritual. Mom chopped cranberries while I assembled the rest of the ingredients. You can find the recipe here, and some photos below.






Did I mention that we make a double batch for Turkey Day? We love having lots left over to snack on for a few days. It just gets better with time.

Coming up tomorrow: I will be in charge of the turkey. We'll see how that goes. Wish me luck!

23 November 2010

Baby Shower

I'm getting to be that age where all of my friends are getting married and starting families. First Sha, followed by Jill, and then Jenny. Oh right, and Maren and Anne of $. And my cousin Sarah... Anyway, you get the point. Now my former coworker and friend Becky is about to have a baby. I went to her shower over the weekend - here are some photo highlights.

We all took turns guessing how big Becky's belly is/was by measuring out a piece of streamer and then trying it out. I was only off by a couple of inches, but not close enough to win the prize.

Mom-to-be and her cake. It was super yummy! 
The lovely guests. It was pretty fun, and I even won a few of the games. :-)

She's due around Christmas and I know she'll make a wonderful mom. Congrats, Becky!

22 November 2010

Winter in MN: What Not to Do

Greetings, dear readers! Is everyone having a lovely Monday? Is it raining and freezing cold where you live? Well, it is here. On that note, can anyone guess what this is a photo of:


Hint: When I parked my car at work this morning, it was misting lightly. It did let up at some point during the day, but it never really got up above freezing. Then it snowed for a while. The sun never came out. Need another hint? Here's another photo with my library card for scale:


Some of you may be saying to yourselves, gee whatever that is looks familiar but I can't quite place it. 


Get it yet?


Still struggling? 


Give up?


Here's yet another hint: It perfectly matches Chad. That should help a lot.


Ok, last chance...


Here you go:



Yep, that is indeed the door handle off the front driver's side door of my car. 

It was so wet and cold all day today that my doors had frozen shut when I left work this evening. Apparently I pulled just slightly too hard on the handle and pop, it came right off in my hand.  Fortunately, the locks were not frozen, so I could still unlock the rest of the doors. I much more carefully tried the rest of them. Front passenger: no go. Back passenger: no go. Finally, finally, the back driver's side door opened and I clambered through and forced the front driver's side door open from the inside. Ugh.

I have an appointment tomorrow morning at the Toyota dealership to get this fixed. No joke, the service guy laughed at me a little when I told him what the problem was. I think I probably deserved that. Hopefully this isn't one of those seemingly small car maintenance things that costs a bunch of money to fix. I don't need that before I've even started my Christmas shopping. Note to self: be more careful trying to open car doors when it's possible they may be frozen shut.

21 November 2010

20 November 2010

Photo Quiz

For anyone that is interested, the new Harry Potter movie was absolutely fantastic. I was holding my breath in parts of it, much to the amusement of my friends sitting nearby. However, it won't make much sense unless you're a fan. Which I am, and I plan to go see it at least one more time in theaters. And then wait impatiently for Part 2 to come out in July. The only flaw in the movie plan? Since it started at 10:30, I did not get to sleep last night until 2:00am. I think I'm getting to be not quite young enough to stay up that late on a day when I wake up at 6:30am.

Today has been a little rough as a result of all that sleep deprivation. However, Maren, Jake, and I rewarded ourselves for our HP dedication by meeting Andy for brunch this morning. Here's what was left of my tex-mex plate after I absolutely, positively could not eat anymore:


And here's Andy, looking somewhat scruffy. Which he claims is by my request, but I'm pretty sure that's not actually true. Maybe he's decided to put in a last ditch effort towards Movember?


In any case, Brunch was fantastic and left me not really needing to eat anything else until dinner. Which was sort of the plan. :-)

Also relevant to yesterday's post: Here, in order, are the answers to yesterday's photo quiz:

Chicago Skyline, July 2009. A trip with Andy.
Cows! At the U of MN St. Paul Campus
Howard, a penguin I won at the MN State Fair in 2009
The Great Leaf Pile, 2009
Montreal, Old Town, April 2009. Another trip with Andy.
Mt. Zion National Park, Utah. Part of my trip to Las Vegas, January 2010
Target Field, my first game. April 2010
Lake Harriet Spritual Community weirdness.
The Great Leaf Pile, 2010
Sunrise over Lake Harriet, October 2010
Grandpa's 90th Bday Party, November 2010

How'd you do?

19 November 2010

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part 1

I was about to leave to meet some friends for drinks before our showing of HP7 at 10:30 and realized I had almost forgotten to blog! Horrors! So, since I am extremely pressed for time, I present a highlight reel of photos featured on this blog since it's inception:












Bonus points to any of my readers who can identify all of the photos.