31 December 2010

Christmas Round-Up

As I have always done since... as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve was spent over at my mom & dad's. Mom and I went to the 5pm church service with Grandma Opal, at the church I was confirmed at as a much younger person. It's a small congregation and the Christmas Eve service is always very well done. I do like singing the Christmas hymns, especially at the end when we sing Silent Night in candlelight. That's my favorite part. We came home to the traditional christmas tapes playing, and my dad just finishing up our Christmas feast. This year it was meatloaf, as featured on the family food blog. Yum! We exchanged some gifts and a good time was had by all.

The "traditional" Nativity Scene. I arranged it thematically this year. Over there on the far right are the Men of Science.

The Christmas tree chez Miller/Elvecrog. Mom and I showed a bit of restraint with the ornaments this year. Although the sheep of course still make an appearance.

Christmas day is always slightly more eventful. The morning is spent with the Jim Miller clan chez eux. They provided a lovely brunch, seen here:

Kelsey, working hard on brunch prep. Obviously.

The brunch spread. Mmmm, bacon.

Post-brunch, the gifts were exchanged and we made a phone call to our relatives in sunny Florida. That was fun. We may also have played some Super Boggle. I was doing pretty well when we had to quit and head over to the Elvecrog get-together.


The Elvecrogs were their usual boisterous selves. Mom and I had been put in charge of food (there was a lot of stress about that, believe me), so we showed up with a big ass ham, LOTS of meatballs, and some turkey. I think the food was a hit. I spent almost all of my time working on the ridiculously difficult puzzle. As a result, I sort of forgot to take pictures of anything else...

Seriously, it was REALLY difficult.

In the days following Christmas, a normal routine has reasserted itself. One of my favorite gifts was the Le Creuset french oven that my dad got for me. Maren also got me a smaller Martha Stewart version. Here they are:

Aren't they pretty? I am anticipating many excellent cooking adventures. The first was last night, actually. I took the ham bone from Christmas (with lots of ham left on it....) and threw it in the big guy there with beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme and a bay leaf and let it cook for 90 minutes or so. I have to say, the results were super delicious:

PLENTY of leftovers. Good thing it was yummy.

And now it's New Year's Eve and our party plans may be spoiled by the rain/snow/sleet we've got going on at the moment. We will endeavor to persevere. I think 2010 has been a good year and 2011 should shape up to be one as well. Happy New Year, all!

20 December 2010

And yet more snow...

I read somewhere that this is our 6th significant snow "event" in the last 7 weeks. It sure does feel like it's snowing constantly, so I guess that makes sense. Combine that with the fact that this is my late day at work, and my evening plans became pretty self evident:

It's a perfect evening to get all of that done, now that my car is safely parked during the 3rd Minneapolis snow emergency in the space of a week and a half. Now if they can actually plow the street next to my house tonight, I'll be all set.

12 December 2010

Blizzard 2010: The Day After

I woke up this morning to clear blue skies and absolutely freezing temps. I think there was no actual temperature the first time I checked and then it got one degree COLDER. But at least it wasn't snowing anymore. After a delicious breakfast and some hot tea, I bundled up and ventured out to check out the results of the most recent snowpocalypse.

I guess that yellow VW Beetle made it out somehow. I don't see it here, so either the owner performed a miracle or the City of St. Paul towed it away. Note that the sidewalk is only cleared to the edge of Andy's building. Sidewalk shoveling is the responsibility of the adjacent home/building owners, so I don't blame them for only going that far.

So much for that path to the street that someone went to all that trouble to clear out yesterday. I can see that the snow plow made quick work of it.

No one had yet cleared a path through this drift to the street. The sidewalk just sort of... stops. I had boots, it was OK. But they'll have to get to that eventually. But I imagine that for the time being, they have more pressing concerns.

They did finally plow a path between Andy's building and the parking lot. But I can see that none of his neighbors have yet made any efforts to un-bury their cars. Not that I blame them - who wants to do that in sub-zero weather if it's not absolutely necessary?

This guy only barely made it into the parking lot before giving up. Then the plow moved in behind him and he is now thoroughly stuck and will need a team of people with shovels to get out, I think. Here's the view at the front of that car:

Another good reason why Andy's neighbors had not yet bothered to shovel out their cars. Where were they going to go, after all?

As for me, this is the view from where my car was parked for the weekend:
A little bit of snow, but absolutely nothing compared to out on the street. And here's Chad:

No snow anywhere to be seen at 3 or so this afternoon. Andy is a genius. I was all set to blog that this was the best $10 that I ever spent, but then an amazing thing happened. Andy and I drove to the exit to the parking garage and there was no attendant on duty, and the gate just opened on a sensor as soon as I drove up to it. So it turns out that parking in the ramp cost me absolutely nothing at all. Brilliant!

Parking in both of the Twin Cities continues to be a complete disaster as they deal with the sheer amount of snow and number of cars that must park on the street, so I have retreated to the suburbs where my parents have ample space in their driveway. I'll hunker down here for the night and hopefully the freeways will be clear for my drive to work around 9:00am tomorrow.

How was everyone else's weekend?

11 December 2010

December Blizzard 2010

One of the local weather guys predicted that the snowstorm we are currently in the middle of would rival the Halloween Blizzard of '91. As I park on the street and am subject to snow emergency plowing/parking rules, some advance planning was required. After many phone calls and theorizing, I took Andy's suggestion and decided to park my car in a parking ramp in downtown St. Paul and hunker down at Andy's apartment for the weekend. As it turns out, this was a brilliant plan:

Andy and I ventured out to try and go to the gym - it's across the street from his apartment. Those are our footprints you see on the far right of the second to last photo. We waded through knee high drifts to find the gym open! However, 15 minutes after we got they, they walked around telling everyone that they were closing. Oh well, points for effort, I guess? After coming back through the knee high drifts, I took some of these photos. We are now once more safely ensconced indoors. We have plenty of food, beer, wine, and movies, so I think we'll stay. I just read that they've closed the airport completely for the first time in YEARS and Metro Transit has suspended all bus service. Even if we wanted to go somewhere, I don't think we'd get far.

This post marks my 100th on blogger, according to the screen on my Dashboard page. The blizzard seemed like the perfect subject with which to mark the occasion. Good luck out there to my fellow Minnesotans - stay safe!