30 November 2011

Dance Your Cares Away...

... worries for another day. So here it is, the last day of our yearly epic blogging adventure. I hope everyone had fun - thanks to all my family members for playing along with me. It's always neat to see what we come up with to fill the space for 30 days in a row. As Santini said recently, we are not all lucky enough to have a kitten as an endless source of inspiration/blog material.

I normally end this whole NaBloPoMo thing with a summary post of sorts. However, since Blogger was acting up yesterday, I am going to skip it and recreate yesterday's intended post instead.

In my Muppet post a few days ago, I apparently got a key detail wrong about the reason we have Fraggle Rock on tape in the first place. I'll let him explain, for those of you that don't obsessively read my comments:
Fraggle Rock was on in the morning while you and your mother were still in bed. I had to get up earlier than either of you in order to make it to work early enough so that I would be off in time to pick you up at Pat's within the time frame that was what Pat wanted.

Every day I got out of bed, turned on the TV to HBO, started the VCR and went about the business of preparing for work. I would come up from taking my shower usually as the Fraggle Rock episode was wrapping up.

Dance your cares away,
Worries for another day,
Let the music play,
Down at Fraggle Rock.
Down at Fraggle Rock.
So I guess my dad is more awesome than I thought. And it also turns out that my (and my mom's) sleeping in habits began at an early age. Good to know. I decided it would be appropriate to post a video of the Fraggle Rock intro to follow up. Turns out, YouTube had more than I bargained for. Here, in its' entirety, is the very first episode of Fraggle Rock:



I don't expect you to watch the whole thing, but you should maybe at least listen to the theme song. It's a classic.

That brings to an end this years' NaBloPoMo. I think it has re-energized my enthusiasm for blogging like I thought it would - expect slightly more frequent posts from now on, although nothing like daily posts. After all, I'm sure you'll all want to know how Calvin is doing. Here he is, one more time for November:


Taken during a brief pause in his nightly crazy cat performance. Still cute. :-)

29 November 2011

Blogger Technical Issues

Blogger seems to be having some issues this evening - I have twice composed a great post, only to have it lost before I could hit post. So instead, I offer just this for tonight, a picture of Calvin:

And I guess it's not such a bad one of me, either. 

My great post will have to wait until tomorrow, the last day of NaBloPoMo. Seems fitting. Right now, some local news and bedtime seems more pressing.

28 November 2011

Cat Ownership Vol. 3

A final tip for this month of blogging: Toys can (and do) come in all shapes and sizes - paper bags, felt covered mice, the greatest cat toy ever (seriously, those plastic things are awesome)... but never, ever underestimate the appeal of a bright red dot:

video

We love our kitten, can you tell?

27 November 2011

A Muppet Movie

When I was a kid, there were two puppet-themed entertainment options that were a huge part of my TV watching repertoire. The first was, of course, Fraggle Rock - we had most of the episodes on tape, since it was on during nap time. I watched them over and over again. So, when the DVDs came out last year, I was SO excited to have access to them again (my VCR has long since stopped working, and what's the point of getting a new one?).

The second puppet-related thing was The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Mahattan. They were both the kind of movie that I could watch over and over again, particularly if I was home sick from school. The adventures of Kermit and his gang never failed to entertain. So, when I heard they were making a new Muppet movie, I was pretty darn excited. Then I heard it was going to involve an actor I really like, and one of the guys from Flight of the Concords. Where do I sign-up? All this to say that Andy and I went to see the movie today. It did not disappoint, not one bit. I expected to like it because of the nostalgia factor, but Andy and I decided it was actually good on it's own merits. Yay! Here's the trailer for everyone to enjoy:



*Sigh* I still really love the Muppets. More clips available here on YouTube if you want to check it out.

Calvin was happy to see us when we got home. He's been so spoiled the past 5 days - his people have been here ALL the time.

26 November 2011

Charles Elvecrog

Today was another day with the family but, unfortunately this time, for not very happy reasons. My grandpa's younger brother Charlie was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few months ago and the prognosis was not good.  Fortunately, my mom was able to take my grandpa Bud up to Aitkin to visit Charlie back in October.  It was really good that they got to do that. We were all sad to hear of his passing about a week ago. Great Uncle Charlie came along on every single one of our camping trips when I was a kid - he could make the best S'Mores marshmallows I've ever seen, and he treated us all like his own grandkids. I have nothing but fond memories of him and Elaine and their massive camper. And aside from the unhappy occasion, it was nice to see a part of the family today that we just don't get to see very often. Goodbye Charlie, may you rest in peace.

As a result of the trip to Aitkin, not much else happened today that was bloggable/photograph-worthy. It's a long drive there and back. Andy and Calvin were waiting for me when I got home:

Cute as always. :-)

25 November 2011

Friday, really?

I haven't been to work in so long (well, comparatively) that today felt like Sunday. And yet, it's apparently only Friday? I'll take it.

Our first trip outside of the house was over to Grand Ave to stop by the Potter's Pasties food truck. It was their official last day out on the streets and, since I hadn't tried them yet, I'm glad we caught them. SUPER yummy. From there, we were off to J & J Recycling to get rid of our surplus microwave. This is much harder to do for Ramsey County residents than it was when I was a resident of Hennepin County. For one, in Hennepin County, they'll take most things for free. Unlike today where we had to pay them $10 to take our used microwave. Oh well - there were at least quite a few super adorable junkyard kittens. Andy even went over to pet them before we got back in the car to leave. It was pretty endearing, even if the guy loading the dumpster onto his truck probably thought we were nuts.

Then, just like we did last year, Andy and I had tickets (thanks to Andy's dad) to the post-Thanksgiving Minnesota Wild game. Our opponents this year were the Edmonton Oilers, which means I got to sing along with both the Canadian and US National Anthems. "Oh, Canada...." It was fun. Here's a photo of the game, just as it began:


Unfortunately for MN sports fans, this year the Wild were not victorious - they fell to the Oilers 5-2. But there were a lot of Edmonton fans in attendance, so good for them.

And now it's only 7:30 and it feels like it should be bed time. It's been a weird day, and there are still two more days of weekend left. Calvin is probably excited to have us both home for that long. 

This is perhaps not as adorable as the picture my dad posted today, but I've done my best. 

24 November 2011

A Warm Thanksgiving

Today in the Saintly City we almost hit a record high temp for this particular day in November. As a comparison, here is what it looked like last year on Thanksgiving:


This year was definitely an improvement at least in terms of weather, even if the P.S. Ter could not join us. We thought fondly of her over in Norway (NORWAY!). The Thanksgiving prep started yesterday, with Mom and I making the traditional family cranberry bread:



Then today we headed over to Jim's house, where two other chefs were hard at work:


That's a seriously good looking turkey. The beans were also quite excellent.

We ate, we went for a walk, we came back and had some pie... A perfect Thanksgiving, all in all. The weather was just an added bonus.

I think Calvin missed me while I was gone though...

Then again, maybe not...

23 November 2011

Plumbing Repairs

The toilet in our bathroom had been flushing/filling really slowly and the water would sometimes run for up to 15 minutes before stopping, and then randomly start up again later. After putting up with this for a few weeks, we finally broke down and called our apartment management people. I can officially say that today is a GREAT day to be a renter:

This looks like it would have been mighty expensive if we'd needed to pay for it ourselves.

The guy got here at 8:45ish or so. I left to go have lunch with my mom and Andy called at 12:30 or so to report that it was finally fixed. It only took two trips to the hardware store and quite a bit of sawing. Did I mention that it's a good day to be a renter?

Calvin spent the time the repair guy was here in the living room, mostly looking just like this:

He's so adorable. :-)

22 November 2011

Cat Ownership 2.0

Tip #4: Invest in a good piece of cat furniture:

We got ours at Purrniture in St. Paul. Calvin is a fan. He evens takes naps on it occasionally.

Tip #5: When a cat is napping on you and you need to get up (to use the bathroom, for example), do not be afraid to move the cat to any available surface. The cat will more than likely go immediately back to sleep:

Even if that surface happens to be a glass table. :-)

21 November 2011

Cat Ownership 101

First rule of cat-ownership: When coming in the front door of the apartment, watch out for the cat. He will be sitting in this chair, excited to see you and wanting to escape into the unknown lands of the hallway:


Second rule of cat-ownership: Don't leave your shoes out by the door. Shoelaces are one of his favorite toys, and I prefer mine un-shredded:


Final rule: Don't pretend to know what they are thinking. Here he is, pretending not to care that I'm sitting in his favorite chair. Don't worry, he's about to attack my feet:

20 November 2011

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

So remember all that pontificating I did yesterday about being happy I had gone to the Farmer's Market one last time before the snow fell? That turned out to be very apropos. About an hour or two after I posted, the snow arrived. Fortunately, I was at the mall with my Michigan coworker, and man do they do their decorations right:


They've got two of those giant trees in the rotunda there. Super awesome. Bill was suitably impressed by the mall - we walked through what is now Nickelodean Universe and every once and a while he'd exclaim "There's a roller coaster IN THE MALL! Who thinks of that?" It was pretty fun to experience with a newby. I take all that stuff for granted. But really, he's right - who puts a roller coaster (much less THREE of them) in a mall?

It continued to snow through the early evening yesterday - the roads got really slick and this is what I woke up to this morning:




Can I once again note how HAPPY I am that the new apartment has a garage? It's already 100% worth it after only one snow fall. :-) It seemed like a good day to sit inside and do not much of anything. So that's what I did - I finished the newest Sandford book, got lots of laundry done, and spent some serious quality time with the cat napping on my lap. An almost perfect winter Sunday. 


P.S. - We got Calvin his Christmas present at Target today. Don't tell him - it's going to be a surprise: 

19 November 2011

St. Paul Farmer's Market


One of the things I really like about living in St. Paul is the Downtown St. Paul Farmer's Market. Andy and I go fairly often - we just walk down a few blocks to catch a bus that takes us right there. It's a great Saturday morning activity. Today we ventured out for probably the last time before the snow falls. As you can see, everyone was bundled up appropriately:


In addition to the somewhat limited selection of fruits (mostly just apples) and vegetables (potatoes... lots of potatoes), there were also a lot of holiday-themed home decorations for sale. These were my favorite:


Granted, we can't really ever have those in our house - Calvin would have a field day, and a lot of the stuff in those decorations is not good for cats.

It was chilly but it was nice to see that quite a few of the vendors were still around. The market even runs in the winter, although it's mostly just meat, cheese, and eggs at that point.


I don't know if I'll be brave enough to go once there is snow on the ground, but I was glad to get in one last trip before it really is winter time.

And now, cute kitten photo of the day:

Calvin and I, enjoying some quiet time. I am almost finished with the most recent Sandford, and Calvin wanted a nap.

18 November 2011

Happy Hour

At work, we have a colleague from our factory in Michigan visiting us over the weekend - I picked him up at the airport this morning. He is one of the friendliest, most enthusiastic people I work with, so it's been fun to see him. We had a happy hour after work with our department, which turned into dinner, which turned into just sitting around chatting about all sorts of stuff. All this to say: I just got home and don't have a lot of bloggable material this evening. Instead, I offer you yet another adorable Calvin photo. He really does love sitting in the sink:

I think it's because it puts him almost at the same level as us. Plus, the faucet is FASCINATING. He likes to try and catch the drips as they fall. It's hilariously cute.

17 November 2011

Our Chosen Local Liquor Store

Or Party Store, for those of you reading this from Michigan. When we moved into this apartment, after we had found places for all the furniture etc, one of our next steps was to decide which liquor store in the vicinity was going to be "our" liquor store. Andy is a bit of a beer snob, you see, so not just any liquor store would do. They had to have a good beer selection. This is where we ended up:

Photo courtesy of Flickr user EC Leatherberry.

It is at the intersection of University Ave and Raymond. As has been reported elsewhere in our family blogosphere, that intersection has been severely disrupted by light rail construction, which you can see in this photo. That was part of the reason Andy decided to start going there - he is all about supporting Light Rail adjacent businesses so that they are still around when the (totally awesome) train is up and running. Another reason we like it? There is a US Bank across the street and the good people at Sharret's go there and get $2  bills to give people as change, just as a matter of course. I am perhaps more amused by this than Andy is. Plus, you know, they do have a good beer selection. But mostly, I am going for the $2 bills. I've been collecting them since I was a kid. 

We went tonight (no good photo opportunities) because it is Beaujolais Nouveau release day! We bought some, to be enjoyed semi-pretentiously sometime this weekend. Should be fun!

And now, the reason we're all here - the cute kitten picture of the day:

16 November 2011

New Hair Cut

Around about the time I was 6 years old, the woman who had been cutting my hair my whole life up to that point, as well as my mom's hair, left the salon and moved away. We were forced to find someone else to cut our hair. My dad, a patron of the same salon, suggested to my mom that we try his stylist, a new-ish girl named Terri.  We owe dad for that suggestion - I went to get my hair cut today, and it was Terri as usual, as it has been for the last 22 years. I think since I was 6 only maybe 3 hair cuts have not been done by her, and one of them was while I was living in France. Needless to say, I have complete faith in her at this point. Plus, it's kind of fun to chat with someone who has known me my whole life, and who knows my parents. We always have lots of stories to share. It's amazing how much our lives have changed since then. I wonder if I make her feel old? She must be at least in her 40s at this point, but she certainly doesn't look it.

So here is the result of today's hair cut (with Calvin, as a blog post is not complete without a cat photo):


Nothing too radically different, just a bit of a trim. But it was nice to catch up with Terri, with a bonus pre-hair cut stop over at Chez GZMoohoo. TOPWLT was not present, but I left her a little something for when she gets home. All in all, an excellent work-night evening.

15 November 2011

CICB: In Concert

It is Tuesday, and that does mean I had the band today. However, this particular Tuesday was special:


Andy was nice enough to take some video. The image quality is not great (too dark, it was inevitable), but the sound is good. This is us playing "Chanteys."

video

I even had more than one fan! My friend Jill and her husband Andrej also came to see us play. I thought it went very well.

And now, Calvin photo of the day. I understand there were some complaints yesterday.

He's trying his best to be a hunter. I don't think he'd know what to do with a real mouse.


14 November 2011

Flickr: All Time Most Viewed

I find myself extremely uninspired today for some reason so, though it seems a bit early in November for a photo montage, I present to you today my 3 All-Time Most Viewed photos from my Flickr site:




The mini golf photo was the front runner for quite some time, only to be unseated by the Sahara Casino after it closed. The popularity of the mini-golf photo continues to perplex me.

13 November 2011

Yoga

Andy and I joined a new gym when we moved to St. Paul, and I have been enjoying going to the yoga class on Saturday's at 11. So yesterday, that is exactly what I did. It was a good class as always and it seems like I'm making progress. However, it seems I went a little too far - about 2 hours later, my back started to hurt. It still does, unfortunately, so we went to the doctor today. I've got some muscle relaxants and pain killers, so I should be all right. Note to self: don't over do it at yoga. Ouch.

Since that trip to urgent care took up most of my afternoon, I am just not going to have much blog-able material today. Mom did come over for a lovely lunch (and to drop off a heating pad) but it was not a particularly photogenic moment. So instead, yet another video of Calvin - this time with musical accompaniment!

video

I'm telling you, YouTube stardom is obviously not too far away. Andy and I are formulating a plan.

12 November 2011

91 Years Young

My uncle Jim (of the non-Miller variety) has decided that, once you reach 90, you deserve a birthday party every year. So we all gathered at his place today to celebrate the 91st birthday of my beloved Grandpa Bud. Even two of the three cousins that live out of town made the trip to MN for the party. Here I am with the birthday guy:


And of course, there was cake:


And some presents:


It was great to see everyone and the food was super delicious! Happy Birthday, Grandpa. I hope we have another great party next year. :-)

11 November 2011

Calvin the Video Star

I am not going to have very much bloggable material today - it's a day off of work and, after about 1 or so, I probably won't be home again until late. With that in mind, I am presenting a Calvin video today as my blog post:

video

He really, really likes that scratching post. He'll be a YouTube star in no time.

10 November 2011

Bicycle Storage

Since two of my cohorts in this blogging experiment spent some time recently talking about their bicycle storage systems/arrangement and what have you, it is apparently an entirely bloggable subject. Woo! One more thing I can talk about to get through this whole entire month of blogging thing... I brought this on myself, really.

First, our gear (with some bonus kitten-related paraphernalia):

We started out with two of these but our gear required more storage space.

And now, the bikes:

The two nice ones are inside posing as decorations.

And the other 3 not-as-nice ones are in the garage. I love our garage.

Our neighbor has taken on a more restrained approach:


And now, gratuitous kitten photo of the day:

09 November 2011

Adventures in Cohabitation

In an effort to not have one person do all the cooking, all the time, Andy and I sort of have a system for who cooks dinner. On my two late nights, Mon-Tues, it's up to Andy to get some food on the table. I usually then make something on Wed-Thurs, then the weekends just sort of work themselves out. Today I was supposed to go out with a friend who cancelled at the last minute, so I arrived home and had to plan something (and entertain the cat, of course). Here's what I ended up with:





I think it was all a success. Calvin wanted to help too: