30 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: The End

And here we are once again at the end of our month-long blogging adventure. This particular seemed particularly challenging, due mostly to the extremely un-seasonable weather. But I still had fun. As per usual, I will be going with my traditional wrap up post, links to my favorite posts over the years

NaBloPoMo 2014
Saturday in St. Paul
Oakies and other stories
TJ and Cats
Eight Months Ago Today

NaBloPoMo 2013
Answers, Part One
Answers, Part Two
Rock Band with the P-Ster
Thanksgiving Wrap-up

NaBloPoMo 2012
Pannekoekun Huis
70 Years!
1996 Ford Taurus
New House: Part 6A

NaBloPoMo 2011
Day 1: Leaves!
Calvin the Video Star
Cat Ownership 2.0
Dance Your Cares Away

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 - The blog post that started it all.

In other news, I did at least one bloggable thing today. Mom and I have, for the last several years, had tickets to the local series of traveling Broadway shows. Today was one of our events, so I hopped on the train to head downtown. On my way there, I passed the construction site for the new Vikings football stadium:

Taken from the light rail, sorry if it's blurry. It's going to be huge.
We enjoyed the showing of "Irving Berlin's White Christmas" very much.

We have great seats.
We even had time for our traditional post-show cocktail. A good time was had by all. And now, a quiet evening hiding from the cold and reading some John Sandford with a cat on my lap. Seems about right. P.S. - They have decided that they like the tree:


29 November 2014

Small Business Saturday

In the spirit of my general abhorrence of Black Friday related shopping (note: this does not apply if you find yourself legitimately needing to purchase something the Friday after Thanksgiving. My abhorrence is reserved only for the crazy unnecessary sales and lines, etc.) I decided instead to participate in Small Business Saturday today. We have several excellent local business at a small retail node about 10 blocks from here, so I took Felix out for a spin to check things out.

First stop:

In addition to shoes, they have all sorts of outdoor gear. A really great store.
I found some nice gloves (my previous gloves were slippery and thus can't be worn while driving. A problem in winter), some Smartwool socks, and these:

Full disclosure: I am now a person that owns a pair of Uggs. 
My Sorel boots, while really marvelous for MN winters, are sometimes simply too much boot for certain occasions. I was looking for something that didn't scream WINTER BOOT but that would also be warm and walkable on ice. These are lined with wool and have excellent treads on the bottom, so they fit the bill, and I felt good for having found something to buy on my Small Business Saturday quest.

Also in the neighborhood is Oxendale's Market, a local, independently owned grocery store. So I picked up some essentials before heading back home to EMSA (who was watching very important college football) and the cats. Lucy likes the box my new boots came in:

Yes, dad, I know - no cats on the table.
One more day to go! I think we can do this.

28 November 2014

250

It seems fitting that I would reach my 250th post during the NaPloBoMo marathon. And here we are, according to my main blogger page. I searched back through the archives so I could provide some links to my previous milestones.

Post 100
Post 200

One post about the weather, and the other part of last year's blogging marathon. That seems appropriate. We Minnesotans do love to discuss the weather.

In other news, I spent the day thoroughly avoiding any and all Black Friday related shopping madness. No thank you. I may participate in Small Business Saturday tomorrow but today was spent with more productive pursuits, like laundry, and this:

Purchased on super clearance at Target in January.

No assembly instructions included.

But we managed.

I do think we'll need a few more lights though - they don't go all the way to the bottom.

The cats aren't quite sure what to think.
This is the first year we've had a tree - we've been listening to Christmas music all afternoon as we got the tree set-up. I wanted to get it set up plenty early so that the cats have a chance to get used to it. It's been very cheery and way, way better than dealing with a bunch of crabby shoppers. Happy Post-Thanksgiving all.

27 November 2014

Thanksgiving x 2

Andy and I once again made the (perhaps insane) decision to participate in two Thanksgiving celebrations this year. Apparently we didn't learn anything from our experience doing this last year... First up were the festivities at Gzmoohoo's. As one of the designated helpers, I had a few tasks to fulfill:

Assistant Table Setter.

Preparer of the Old Family Recipe.

Master Relish Tray Arranger

Bird Photographer
After an excellent meal and conversation with my side of the family (including some very good pie prepared by the P-Ster), we headed over to Brad and Lily's house for the celebration with Andy's family.

Plate #2. All excellent as well.

We also played some games after dinner.

And enjoyed a non-traditional Thanksgiving cake (there was also pie).
I think all-in-all I ate less than last year, so perhaps I did learn something that first time around. Moderation is the name of the game when dealing with two Thanksgiving meals in one day. Even the cats got into the Thanksgiving spirit:


Clearly enjoying his turkey.

26 November 2014

Thanksgiving Baking

Gzmoohoo stole my thunder a bit with his post, but then again I WAS at his house, so it only seems fair. Mom and I joined forces to prepare our usual Thanksgiving cranberry bread this evening.

Raw ingredients.

Giving the batter a final stir.
 There was also some pie-baking going on when I first arrived Chez Gzmoohoo:

Yum, pumpkin. Although it doesn't win any beauty contests, I don't think.
By the time we were all done, the house smelled like heaven and it was fair to say we had gotten a good start on tomorrow's festivities. I'll be back at Gz's tomorrow around 11 so that EMSA can watch some very important football while I help with additional prep. Seems fair. Too bad the cats can't come with us. They'll be very lonely tomorrow as we have two Thanksgiving celebrations to go to tomorrow.

Calvin front of "his" vent right after the heat turned on.
Meh, I think they'll survive.

25 November 2014

Christmas Concert Reherasal

I just returned from "the band, the" rehearsal, as I always do at this time on Tuesdays. We are the midst of prep for our annual holiday concert, this year entitled "A Calhoun Christmas." Since some of my fine readers will not be able to make it for the concert, I thought I'd search around YouTube for some of the highlights. So, without further ado...








And my personal favorite, which is also the least traditional of the line-up:


So, so good. We have other pieces, of course, but these are the ones that were the easiest to find on YouTube. Also, the rest are medleys so it's harder to pick out one thing for a clip. It's going to be a wonderful concert.

Now time for bed, where I am sure Calvin will be curling up shortly as well. Here they are on a morning as I was getting ready for work.

Yes, Lucy got cat hair all over the shirt I was planning to wear that day. This is why we have lint rollers

24 November 2014

West Wing Nostalgia

As you may have inferred from previous NaBloPoMo blog posts, the weather here has been less than ideal (wait, really?). I have therefore been spending a lot of quality time with Netflix, most notably re-watching a bunch of old West Wing episodes. Yesterday, I got to one of my favorite moments in the entire run of the show, a very minor plot in the Thanksgiving episode from Season 3, "The Indians in the Lobby." Since we are coming up on Turkey Day, I thought sharing a clip of it would be particularly apt:


I love Toby - "Zip code, Fargo, ND, right now!" said with such urgency. And the completely made up names! And his voice is familiar because he does radio commercials. Hee! It's been very nostalgic. I miss watching it with my mom every Wednesday night. We had so much fun!

Another excellent Thanksgiving moment comes from Season 2:



I do miss this show.

Now, cats!

Well, cat. Sitting on a shelf installed expressly for his use.

23 November 2014

Warmer than Average

First, let's just start out with something awesome:

That's right, TWO days above average.
So even though it was gloomy/foggy pretty much all day, I couldn't argue with the state of our front lawn at 8:30 this morning:

By the end of the day, pretty much all of that white stuff was gone. It's good to see some green.
It seems weird to have a break from winter before winter has even truly started. But I will not be a Debbie Downer - I will absolutely take a day in the upper 40s in late November. I believe it may even have gotten close to 50 in parts of the Twin Cities yesterday afternoon. Woohoo!

We had a lovely Sunday - a lazy morning, followed by lunch/brunch with my in-laws. They are great people, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Smack Shack. It sounds like a supremely silly name for a restaurant, and it is, but they have some of the absolute best seafood in town. Both of my in-laws had a Connecticut style lobster roll that looked divine (it is, I've had it before) and I enjoyed a savory bread pudding with a crab hollandaise sauce and a side salad. Just... yum! They also have a Lobster Boil for Two that Andy and I have promised ourselves we'll get some time.

While downtown, we also stopped at a new store near Smack Shack called Shinola. Shinola is based out of Detroit where they manufacture pretty much everything they sell - watches, bicycles, leather goods, etc. I believe the Minneapolis store is their only other location (EDIT: I stand corrected. They also have stores in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and London). It's a bit out of my price range but it was fun to explore. I mean, this watch is ridiculously too expensive, but it's also just cool: The Runwell.

We are now enjoying a quiet Sunday evening at home, as one should. Lucy definitely has the right attitude:

Taken yesterday, but you get the idea.

22 November 2014

NaBloPoMo Prompts

At some point in the distant past, I must have signed up to be on some sort of NaBloPoMo mailing list. As a result, during our blogging marathon, I get an email every day with a daily prompt. Normally, I ignore them in favor of choosing my own subject. But given the ongoing Januvember situation we've got going on here, I'm having difficulty finding any blog worthy subjects. So, to the prompts!

From today's email: What is the one appliance you can't live without?

I don't think this would make a complete blog post, as really, who can wax poetic about an appliance for more than a sentence or two? In any case, from a practical perspective, I'd have to go with the refrigerator. But there is also much to be said for a really good toaster, as Gzmoohoo can attest.

Other good/intriguing questions...

What is your favorite holiday memory? (And yes, you can pick any holiday, including your birthday.)

This one is too hard for an on-the-fly blog post, but I am going to give it some thought and perhaps revisit it before the month is done. I've had many, many good holiday experiences throughout the years.

Where is the one place you would never want to go on vacation that other people seem to love?

That's a fairly easy question, although it's not a specific place so much as a vacation concept. And that concept? A cruise. I have quite a few friends who enjoy going on cruises on a somewhat regular basis but me? NO THANK YOU. Between the lack of anything interesting to see while on the boat, the constant motion sickness, and the close quarters, a cruise is just never going to appeal to me.

For more prompts, go here: http://www.blogher.com/nablopomo-november-2014-prompts

This was fun. Anyone else want to answer these questions?

Now, today's designated cat photo:

Calvin on his second favorite piece of Purrniture.

21 November 2014

Eight Months Ago Today

So, any thoughts on what the title of today's post may portend? Most of you were here on that day, so I think many of these photos will be familiar:















You wouldn't believe how long it took me to narrow down which photos to use for this post. And there are still way too many! It was a wonderful day. Happy Eight Month anniversary to my wonderful husband, Andy. I am so happy in the life we have created together. Including these two wieners:

This was immediately after we got back from our honeymoon. I think Lucy wanted to make sure we wouldn't leave again soon.

20 November 2014

A Little Summer in November

Some of my colleagues decided it would be fun to go out to lunch today, so we headed over the corporate HQ of the local florist conglomerate. By which of course I mean Bachman's. No relation to the soon-to-be former congresswoman of the same name, by the way. Anyway, the corporate HQ is also a nursery/garden center that happens to have within it a place called Patrick's Bakery and Cafe. While we enjoy the food at Patrick's it is mostly the cafe seating situation that was most appealing today:

The seating is right there in the greenhouse. It felt like summer.
We got a prime spot next to the fountain. In the summer, there are birds flying around. It's just so lovely, particularly on yet another abnormally cold day like today. I had a mini quiche and some salad and briefly felt like I might be in Paris. Perfect.

The rest of the day was decidedly uneventful, but such is life in winter on the tundra. We shall endeavor to soldier on. The cats are finding some joy in our newly purchased humidifier. Well, the box anyway:

They do love boxes.

19 November 2014

Travelogue Continues

As Tousan mentioned in his post today, it is still feeling very much like Januvember out there on the tundra. It's a bit soul-crushing, I have to say. So I thought some more historical travelogue photos would be just the ticket.

In January of 2003, I took full advantage of Gustavus' January Term offerings and took it upon myself to take a class entitled "Astronomy of the Southern Skies." Why the sudden interest in astronomy you might ask? Well, you see, this particular class was going to be offered at the University of Wollongong in Australia. To coincide with this particular trip, I also got what was (I believe) my very first digital camera. What follows are some highlights of that trip:

Kelly, Sam, me, and... Ack, I forgot his name! At the Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We had a long layover on our way to Syndey. 

The Three Sisters, in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. 

A very large radio-telescope, part of the array in Australia that helped track the moon landing.

The Sydney Opera House. As seen from...

The Sydney Harbor Bridge.

My faithful traveling companions, Kelly and Carl, at the Sydney Aquarium.

Fun side note: Carl is now a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, after getting his doctorate in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Cornell. He took this class way more seriously than the rest of us.

Penang, Malaysia, a side-trip on our way home.
All of these photos of warm places in the sunshine have definitely given me a brief respite from Januvember. Now to go cuddle with some cats, as per usual.

They like keeping me company.