November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving

We had the pleasure of being invited to the Boy family Thanksgiving.  In order to attend, we had to break our 5 year or so commitment of not travelling on this particular holiday.  One too many times spent stranded in uncomfortable places on DS's part has left a sour taste in his mouth.  Luckily, David's parents are only a few hours away, and in the direction of least traffic.  The drive was pleasant, and even included several tunnels through mountains, which never fail to enthuse my 5-year-old self.

The menu was planned out weeks, maybe months, in advance.  We all shared a Google spreadsheet, adding and editing and leaving comments until we were all excited and drooling.  In the end, this is what we ate:
2 turkeys (1 made by DS using Alton Brown's recipe)
1 smoked ham
baked mac 'n' cheese (again, Alton Brown)
green beans (grown in Tennessee by a family member as far as I could tell)
homemade rolls
stuffing
2 kinds of sweet potatoes
4 kinds of cranberry relish
homemade creamed corn
roasted brussel sprouts
cranberry citrus salad
mashed potatoes
pumpkin pie
cherry/rhubarb pie
a Colombian ice cream thing that was awesome
pumpkin pie/apple pie/pecan pie/dulce de leche with fig truffles
hot apple cider the whole trip
homemade cappuccinos

Are you drooling yet?  It was divine.  I thought it was entirely too much food, but there were so many of us that we managed to put a good dent in it.  We even had some to take home, which helped ease our sadness at not having an entire turkey in our own fridge like usual.

Here is a small selection of photos.  I'm sad to say that I didn't get one of the whole food spread, but that's okay.


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*Written 2/14/11 and backposted

November 17, 2010

A Wedding in Baltimore

We had the very great pleasure of attending a wedding in Baltimore.  Micah was a high school friend of DS, and though I haven't seen much of him, I've always had the impression that he and his family were, well, family.  So you can imagine how happy we are to only be 1.5 hours from him now.  This means a lot more now that the wedding has occurred, and he's no longer frantically preparing for it.

The cathedral where the wedding was held, and I do mean cathedral in the strictest sense of the word, was absolutely gorgeous.  Having catholic family, but not being raised catholic myself, I did my best to keep DS and myself in check throughout the ceremony and not embarrass ourselves.  At the reception I discovered I probably should have given all his friends a quick primer as they were confused, but no one did anything strange.  All standing and sitting went as expected.

The reception was held on the top floor of the Admiral Fell Inn.  There was an open bar.  I can tell you I danced.  A lot.  Not necessarily on the dance floor.  Apparently I felt the need to encourage everyone else to dance by whipping my head around a lot.  My neck has never been so sore.  It took 3 days to recover.

In all honesty, my night should have ended with the reception, but instead we all headed over to the Greene Turtle to watch the South Carolina football game.  Where there were more drinks.  And my husband decided to enjoy the company of his long lost friends and let me be as I went back to the bar.  *sigh*  At some point I was handed a J├Ągerbomb...  The next 36 hours were trying, let's put it that way.

For your enjoyment, here are a collection of photos of the beautiful church, and the parts of the ceremony DS and I managed to capture before things got too crazy.  We can't wait until Micah and Anne start visiting.

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November 10, 2010

Downtown SLC

With the actual reason for visit being a conference DS had to attend, I didn't have a whole lot to do starting Monday.  Except look at the snow, and walk through rain and sleet without a jacket looking for a lost phone.  Joy.  Tuesday turned out to be much more hospitable as far as the weather was concerned.  So I ventured out to see the town.  The only other time I'd been here, it had been dark and we were only interested in seeing the Christmas lights in Temple Square.

I decided to walk up to the Salt Palace convention center, where I'd experienced a really beautiful art installation while DS was getting his conference badge.  Outside the building there is a set of 12 windmills, and each one is connected to a wooden tubular bell inside the entrance.  As the windmill turns, it causes bell to strike.  Each windmill sort of does its own thing, so the music made is random.  I walked into this space, not even really in the building yet, just part of the entrance, and stood there with my mouth open.  I spun around a few times, looking at all the bells, the way the light played in the space.  DS was waiting for me, wondering what the heck was wrong with me.  I'm telling you, conference halls and locations are wasted on the people that use them.  For real.

I also wandered over to Temple Square to see the area in the light and the splendor of fall.  I had nearly made it out of there when I was caught by two Sisters who wanted to talk to me.  I think I could have gotten away, but they lured me in with the promise of seeing the inside of the Tabernacle.  With my love of historical architecture, I agreed to follow against my better judgement.  I will say without any reservation that they were more than nice, and didn't bring up religion in the sense of getting me more of it until I'd hung around and seemed interested for too long.  My mistake.  At the same time, they were nice in a way that made it really hard for me to just walk away or be rude, and so I felt trapped.  I ended up using a text from DS as an excuse to go because we had a "lunch date."  Which was mostly true.  He had texted me, and I still hadn't had lunch at 3pm.  And I honestly don't regret seeing that building, but remind me to never be Mormon.

In conclusion, if you ever get a chance to visit Salt Lake City, I highly recommend it.  It's beautiful, the people are nice, the food is delicious.  If you go at Christmas, check out the lights in Temple Square.  Just be wary of lingering too long in one spot in the square unless you're looking for advice on converting, or you're actually Mormon.

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November 07, 2010

Hiking Shoreline Trail

It was an absolutely beautiful day.  The kind of day that insists you go out and enjoy it.  There was some talk of climbing Mount Olympus, but as I had not packed any active gear and have not exactly been keeping up with my exercise, I pushed for something a little easier.  Thus, we hiked Shoreline Trail instead.    This is actually part of what will be a 280 mile trail system that follows the historical shoreline of Lake Bonneville, a massive lake that once covered most of the state of Utah.

The fall colors were gorgeous, and the hills were covered in long grasses and plants that made it all look like a blanket of suede.  Lovely.

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November 06, 2010

Triassic

The last time DS went climbing in Salt Lake City, he and Mike went to this place known as Triassic.  There was a particular climb that he was unable to finish, and it gnawed at him.  So during this trip we made an effort to tackle that particular beast.  I honestly can't say whether he was successful, because I was playing with Swiss and Kuro or reading most of the time.  I can say that he did finish some of the things that he climbed.  I can also say that I really should have taken more pictures of the scenery, but it was strangely beautiful for the middle of nowhere.

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November 05, 2010

Kuro and Swiss

Our friends in Salt Lake City just got a new puppy named Swiss, and I spent some time photographing him with his big brother Kuro.  Are these some handsome dogs, or are these some handsome dogs?

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November 03, 2010

Favorite Toys

Felix's favorite toys are always either what we call "fluff balls" or "sparkle balls."  Basically, small balls of either rabbit fur died bright colors or fake "fur" that sparkles.  She will bat those things around the house for hours.  I especially love when she "hunts."  She will chase down one of these fur balls, carry it around in her mouth, and cry very loudly like she's hurt or something.  It use to scare me a bit, but now look over to DS when I hear it and say something like, "someone just caught something good."

Winston's favorite toy has always been his mouse.  And he has always wanted DS to play fetch with him.  That's it.  No other toys, no other games.

When we moved to Philadelphia, the cats came without their stuff, as all of that was trundling along in the moving truck.  We got them a few new things to hold them over in this strange new place.  Felix got fluff ball on an elastic string attached to a stick.  At this point, we only had an air mattress, a few clothes, and our laptops, so I figured this was a great time to play with her.  (She is normally very content playing by herself.)  Winston got a rather large mouse covered in rabbit fur and some feathers sticking out with its tail. Little did I know that these two toys, meant to be mere placeholders until their real stuff showed up, would end up being the things they couldn't live without.

Now Felix trots through the house carrying that red fluff ball like usual, except now there's a long plastic stick trailing along behind her.  It took us a while to realize that this was why some of the side tables in the living room would be in the middle of the floor when we woke up.  Turns out she's getting the stick stuck in there and just pulling it all along behind her.  Sometimes she wakes us up because we have wooden floors, and there's a step in the hallway, and she just clatters through there in the middle of the on her way to bring me her kill.  Where I use to wake up to a small collection of toys on the floor beside the bed, now I wake up to this stick and its fluff ball.

Winston, on the other hand, gave up playing fetch for a long time.  He flips this new mouse up in the air, and then bats it back down and kicks it around like a soccer ball.  He will do this by himself for at least 20 min at at time, several times a day.  It usually ends with him getting it stuck under the couch.  Apparently the best part of this game is almost losing it, and then wrangling it back from the depths.  Recently we discovered he'll still play fetch if he has to weave through all the living room furniture to chase the thing down.  He still hasn't looked at his old favorites though.

Perhaps that plane ride was more traumatic than we thought...  Their personalities do seem to be slightly altered.  Winston even snuggles all the time now.  In my lap.  It's crazy.

November 02, 2010

Attempts

I have been struggling my way through cooking dinner every night.  I started easy.  You can't really mess up frozen chicken tenders and frozen fries that you just throw in the oven.  Or spaghetti...

Now I'm attempting things like lamb kebobs..  I'm scared guys.  This morning I had a broiled brown sugar grapefruit that was so nasty I couldn't finish it.  I should have known going into it, because I hate grapefruit.  But this magazine I have has all these recipes for meals that will keep you feeling full all day and eating a reasonable number of calories, so I thought 'what the hell.'  Luckily, the almond butter and honey toast I had with it was delicious.  Not sure what I'm going to do with that other grapefruit I bought.  See a bad play maybe....

So like I said, tonight I'm trying 'Greek Lamb Kebob', which involves lamb, on a kebob.  And also some sort of salad base thing with cooked barley, tomatoes, red onion (nope, not doing that part, blech), mint, parsley, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.  Except I forgot to buy barley.  Hell, I'm not completely sure what barley is.  I'm assuming some sort of leaf or grain?  It's in beer after all.  But I don't have it, and I've already started the kebobs, so we'll have steamed kale.  Hopefully that's not nasty, otherwise this will be a whole day of nasty.

UPDATE:  Turns out steamed kale tastes nearly the same, but not quite as good, as steamed broccoli.  A little bitter maybe.  I can live with that, though it's not high on my 'oh man, that sounds delicious!' list.

October 24, 2010

Random Bit of Info

These popsicles I referred to 2 years ago?  Yeah, there are still some in my freezer from that very same box.  Turns out 200 of them take longer to go through than you would think.

October 23, 2010

Retirement

Admittedly, some days I have more trouble adjusting to my retirement than others.  It's strange not working while your husband does.  It leaves you feeling sort of worthless, like you don't contribute anything to this life you share.  I mean, I don't even have kids to care for, and my craft business isn't going anywhere because I can't figure out the PA laws.  These problems aren't constant though.  I've been making an effort to cook dinner everyday.  This is a major step for me, and it sort of rubs in that housewifey feeling I don't particularly like.  But at the same time, it's something DS hates doing, and it's one less thing he has to worry about after a long day at work.  I have to admit that it feels good to make something tasty.  Most nights though, I'm just putting Tyson chicken strips in the oven or something.  Baby steps people.

What I have been doing more of is baking.  It's awesome.  I'll sometimes get on a kick, and DS will have to ask me to stop because he can't stop eating cookies and he feels sick.  Ha!  We didn't do gifts for our anniversary, but I did make him some peanut butter cookies.  (He ended up getting a little something from Naked Chocolate for me, which was DELICIOUS.)  I had some decorative sugars in the cupboard in fall colors, and thought they'd be fun to use since peanut butter cookies have to be rolled in sugar anyway.  Check it.



October 21, 2010

4 Years of Awesome



Happy Anniversary dearest.  Thank you for making life wonderful, and the opposite of being in jail, or caged, or tied down, or any of the other things people seem to associate with marriage.  I cannot imagine a better second half.  <3

October 20, 2010

Twilight

October 19, 2010

Weekend in Aiken

DS and I managed to find some last minute plane tickets to South Carolina to celebrate his mom's birthday over the weekend.  It had been a long time since I was able to go with him, and we spent a lot of time at his sister's house playing with the kids.  They were so much fun, and the little one cried when we left.  <3

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October 12, 2010

Party in NY

Friday, October 8th, was Sam of NY's (not Sam of Santa Barbara) birthday.  DS and I fought 3+ hours of rush hour traffic to get to Brooklyn in time for dinner.  It was totally worth it!  DS, Sam, Matt and I took the subway to Manhattan so we could go to the Barrel.  It was a beautiful little tapas place.  The food was delicious, if a bit overpriced.  There were many many people there, all of whom I had never before met.  There were also many many drinks.  I tried to remember the names of everyone I managed to photograph (it was very dim, and people were moving a LOT), but there is a bit of fuzziness.  This was seriously a wonderful time.  We all just kept randomly ordering items off the tapas menu, so that food just kept appearing.  And then quickly disappearing.  They also had quite the list of original mixed drinks, including something with basil infused vodka that had me swooning.

After we finally scarfed down cheesecake and tiramisu, and paid our (OMGSERIOUSLY) bill, we all careened off to the nearest bar with room for us all.  It ended up being a new place called Queen Vic, which was meant to look like a little English Pub.  This led to Sam and I drunkenly explaining to each other what English pubs really look like (Sam) and random tidbits about Queen Victoria (me).  Did you know that English pubs have carpet?  I can't imagine how horrible that would be to clean.  She tells me it's because it's so cold all the time.

Anyway, what I'm saying is, our friends have cool friends, and Manhattan is apparently an excellent, though expensive, place to celebrate.

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October 11, 2010

Wookie



I wish I could say that I took this, but alas, I did not.  This is Wookie, Matt and Sam's lovable cat, and Sam took this with DS's new lens.  Wookie showed up one day, looking disheveled, and decided to stay.  All he wants is love.  All love all the time.  It's so different than my cats.  We curled up together on the futon bed while I recovered from a bit of drinking the night before for Sam's birthday.  Isn't he so handsome?  He is one of the many treats that await us when we visit our friends in New York.

October 03, 2010

Pretty Kitties

My mom got DS a new lens for his camera for his birthday.  I am predictably taking photos of the cats with it.

Winston makes doing laundry difficult.  2 years away from a dryer and he still has forgotten how much he loves being in one.

Felix continues to be sweet and loving.  Plus the new food change has her coat even more silky and shiny.

September 30, 2010

Not too Shabby

Life around here has been pretty mellow.  A lack of immediate friends will do that.  Also, DS has been scarce because teaching has swallowed him whole.  I'm just happy if he's home by 7 and not completely catatonic.  It's a good thing those notes he's making can be used in future classes...

So I've been celebrating little things.  Why not?  Tuesday was DS's birthday.  I didn't give myself time to make him a treat, (and honestly, after the birthday cupcakes I made myself which were so nasty that we threw them all away, that's probably a good thing) so I picked him up a little cake and two of his favorite ice cream flavors.  Well.. I'm guessing he'll love that Baked Apple Dumpling.  He does love apple pie like crazy.


He got all kinds of sweet presents, including a new lens and flash for his fancy pants camera.  I'm told he took cool pictures at Maker Faire, but I have yet to see them (see above).


My most recent sewing triumph is this new cushion for the window seat.  It's corduroy, so it's super soft.  I even put a zipper on one end in case it needs washing.  Felix has claimed it, which is to be expected.


She's a little confused at my coming near and not loving her...

I love this set up, because it's the perfect length for me to stretch out and lean back against the pillow and read books.  And thanks to a helpful tip on Facebook from a family friend, I picked up some shelf liner to keep the cushion from sliding.  And also the couch (thank god, for real; hardwood floors are slippery), and the craft station table top.  Finding that in the grocery was way easier than dragging myself to someplace like walmart...

September 28, 2010

Six Flags Great Adventure

DS and I spent the weekend with our friends Matt and Sam.  The Matt who married us.  They live in NY, which had its first Maker Faire.  It seemed smaller than the SF one we went to last year, and DS and I got there late in the afternoon so we didn't have a lot of time.  Still though, it was cool to go, and ARC Attack was AWESOME!  I recommend finding some video of the dudes themselves, because it was so cool.  Though maybe you've heard of them?  Apparently they were on America's Got Talent?  I have no idea, I don't watch TV...

Anyway, we had a lovely dinner, delicious chocolates, and good conversation.  Then on Sunday we drove Sam out to Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ.  It's been at least six years since I've ridden a roller coaster.  I have a serious fear of heights.  Well, not so much of heights, but of falling.  If I think I'm safe, I have no problem whatsoever being high in the air.  Roller coasters were something that took me some years of concerted effort to be comfortable with, to trust that they wouldn't kill me and accept the fear so I could enjoy the adrenaline rush.  It's a skill that requires practice to maintain, and so I was excited about Six Flags, but also horrified...

There were six of us altogether, and we split a Flash Pass so we wouldn't have to wait in line.  (so worth it!)  We started off with the Batman coaster, which looked about on par with the types of coasters I really enjoyed back in the day.  I've looked up some point of view videos on YouTube for you to ride along.



Not too high, not too fast.  Easy peasy.  Also, shoulder harnesses, which are an important part of me feeling safe.  So then they all insisted we do Nitro, which is the second highest coaster in the park, with the first downhill going past vertical.  Yowza.  According to Wikipedia, you can see Philadelphia on a clear night from up there.  There aren't even shoulder harnesses.  I was freaking out.  I closed my eyes for the lift hill, because contemplating falling to my death is less forceful when I can't see it laid out before me.  Surprising myself, I opened my eyes as we crested the hill and let go.  It was exhilarating.  Watch.



That horizontal helix is just the right length so that you just start to feel your vision fading, then those little snake hills would have me giggling from the blood still stuck in my head.  Probably not good for you to do all the time, but several times a day once a year seems like a good plan.

Other notable experiences:

 El Toro, which I think is supposed to make you feel like you're riding a bull. And as such, there's little to hold on to, and I was lifting out of my seat quite a bit.  Also, those rails always freak me out, which is oddly one of the reasons I love wooden coasters so much.  And hooray for banked turns!  That's something wooden coasters have seriously needed.

Kingda Ka gave me a panic attack just looking at it.  DS loved it, and I sat and tried not to think about him failing to come back to me...

Superman would probably be a lot of fun for me, except that the cars invert you so you face the ground like you're flying.  Staring straight down at the ground as I plummet towards it was a little too much for me visually.  Though with my eyes closed, it didn't feel all that crazy movement-wise.

Bizarro is actually a fun coaster, but it has this music that plays right in your ears the whole time that's loud and static-y and completely annoying.

Skull Mountain reminded me of Kentucky Kingdom's old Starchaser, and as such had me laughing through the whole thing.  Also, they put a giant foam jack-o-lantern at the bottom with a spotlight on it.  SCARY!

After at least six hours of this, we were exhausted.  DS and I made the short trip home (about an hour, and some of that was because we took a wrong turn; though we ended up getting home toll free because of that wrong turn, so I was happy) on our own.  We made a frozen pizza, checked the interwebs, and then crashed as the pitiful hour of 8:30.  Even me people.  Me who is currently up at 3am.  I slept 14 hours last night!

This was my third separate theme park, the first two being Kentucky Kingdom and King's Island.  I have to say it was a lot of fun.  Sometimes terrifying, but overall, fun.

September 24, 2010

Apartment Tour!

I kept thinking I would do this when everything was neat and pretty.  Then I realized that would probably never happen, at least not up to my expectations.  So here it is!  The apartment in all its glory, and mess, and lived-in-ness.  Enjoy.

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September 14, 2010

My Husband is a Professor!


Here is the photo that will soon be adorning the faculty website!  I'm so proud. :)

Birthday update to follow soon!

September 08, 2010

PSA: Laundry

This post has some nasty images in it, so move along if you don't want to see them.  No blood and guts though, just what came out of my washer.  It is meant to serve two purposes.  
1. To let the previous tenants of my apartment know that I will punch them in the face if I ever meet them.
2. To warn the rest of you about things I've learned the hard way when it comes to washing clothes.

So you know that piece on the washer that says "Liquid bleach only"?  Yeah, they mean it when they say that.  Apparently the previous tenants didn't care, or couldn't read, because they put other things in there.  Nasty things.  Things which I discovered with my nose, because I couldn't figure out why my washer smelled like mold after using it.

I pried the little cover off the bleach thing, and to my horror, discovered the entire compartment full of moldy, caked in detergent and fabric softener.  Or maybe just fabric softener.  It had that really horrid smell that liquid softener has.  (Did I really use to like that stuff?  UGH.)



What you're looking at in that second photo is the top rim of the drum part of the washer, with mold on it.  In the bottom left corner you can see where the caked in detergent is all the way up to the rim of the bleach compartment.  GAG.

I spent over an hour today scraping that stuff out with a butter knife.  A knife I might have to trash....


Yeah, that's nasty stuff.  And just think, when you use liquid fabric softener, that crap is in your clothes.  All the time.  Maybe not moldy, granted.  I'm not sure that makes it any better.  This is why your towels smell nasty and no amount of washing them fixes it.  It's partially why you have sweat stains, but that's also due to antiperspirants in deodorant (something else we've given up, and been the happier for it).

Even if you don't agree with me on the fabric softener thing, please don't use the bleach compartment for anything other than bleach.  The drain holes it has are super tiny and clog very easily.  And you're likely to cut your hand on the metal washer casing when you clean it out, because I did twice.  If you have a mold smell in your washer that you can't seem to get out by running an empty cycle with bleach, check in there.

Winston is Angry, but we are not.

Before we left Santa Barbara, we had to take the cats in to the vet for official health certificates.  They were behind on the FCL something or other, I don't know.  It's a shot they need yearly.  So we paid the check up fees for each cat, the cost of the shots, and a small prescription of "chill out" medication, just in case.  Then we find out that for the vet to sign the piece of paper saying she looked at them was extra.  To the tune of $37 EACH.  So yeah, that wasn't a cheap trip.

So when the vet told us Winston would need oral surgery to fix his bulging gums to the tune of $700+, we were not happy.  Then she told us that we needed to do it as soon as possible.  Double not happy.

The move meant that wasn't really happening though.  We had to wait until DS's paychecks started rolling in and we were a bit more settled.  I found a vet nearby with decent reviews.  When I called to schedule the surgery, they let me know that they couldn't do it without a normal check up with them first, which was another $52.  *sigh*  The things we do for these kids...

Today we took him in for his check up, which actually went really well!  Whew!  After all that stuff that happened above, I was sort of dreading this.  Don't get me wrong, Winston yowled the whole way there, frightening the guys that work in our garage, and then growled the whole time he was being examined.  But he didn't swipe at anyone, or try to bite anyone.  He just sat there and let the vet stick her fingers in his mouth, around his lymph nodes, and over his tummy.  Well, sat there and growled, but he let her do it!  She was super nice, answered all our questions, and was really good with him.

To top it all off, their estimates for the surgery are a LOT cheaper.  We also learned that Winston is in good health, probably shouldn't eat grapes anymore, and has lost 4 ounces.  Hooray!

Monday we take him back for the surgery.  He can't eat after 9pm the night before, which is going to be hard, since when he's hungry he finds plastic somewhere and chews it loudly beside the bed at 3am.  He'll be there all day, but will thankfully be sedated.  I can't really afford to pay for some vet people to get stitches.  Oy.

Oh!  And we got the cat food Beth suggested, the Natural Balance, Green Peas and Duck.  Well, the wet is that.  The dry is Green Peas and Chicken, because the didn't have big bags of the duck.  The cats are now going on a half wet, half dry diet, at the recommendation of the vet.  They got their first can tonight, and are now sleeping happily.  Here's hoping Felix stops dropping bombs all over the apartment soon...

August 16, 2010

Slowly but Surely

We are slowly making progress on the apartment.  There are just a few boxes left, but most of the last week has gone into making sure things are in the spaces they belong.  A lot of the initial work was just getting the boxes emptied as quickly as possible.  Things went wherever there was space, and there was packing paper EVERYWHERE.  I've never seen so much paper in my life.  I kept one whole trash bag of it to use when shipping fragile items, and bags and bags of it are slowly making it to the recycle bin.

Meanwhile, Felix is finally taking to the window seat I set up.  I knew she would love it.

August 10, 2010

Current Goals

1.  Make good use of my new gym membership.  Ultimate goal: stop feeling like dog doo everyday.  Vanity goal: lose 25 lbs.  And yes, that is based on healthy weights told to me by a doctor.  For some reason people always look at me like I'm crazy when I say that.  Though, upon hearing my weight, one friend did say "Man, you're dense aren't you?" So... yeah.  I guess I am.  Progress thus far:  2 visits in 1 week.

2.  Build a standing work desk for the craft room so I don't sit on my butt all day.  Perhaps something like this.  It's going to be awesome.

3.  Make a pad for the larger than normal window sill in the living room that I've decided to make into a window seat.  Here's hoping my sewing skills, or lack thereof, are up to it.

4.  Finish unpacking and arranging this freaking apartment.  *groan*

August 09, 2010

Moving In

When we got to town, we were very excited to finally be out of the car and HOME.  Of course, we love traveling and visiting friends and family, but it can be so exhausting living out of a suitcase and juggling all the people who want to spend time with you.  Especially when you have to cram everything into such a short space because of how infrequently we're in town.  So yes, home was calling our names.

Having been here a full week now, I have compiled a list of loves, and not-so loves, regarding our new place.

Loves:
1. The apartment is on the National Register of Historic Places, because it was the first lager house in the US.  This is why our building is called the Lager House.
2. Because of #1, we have giant, wood frame windows, and original exposed brick and wooden support beams.
3. We have a balcony again.
4. From my couch, when the blinds are open, I can see the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Delaware River, and some other cool buildings.
5. It's surprisingly quiet here, even though we're right next to the bridge and highway.  The only thing we really hear is when the train goes over the bridge, and I don't mind it.
6. This place is larger than our last two apartments, so I don't feel squished anymore.
7. Washer and dryer!
8. Built in HDTVs in the living room and office.
9. A/C
10. Walking distance to the subway, various DELICIOUS restaurants, a small grocery, pet supply stores, bars, a gym, and some of the more popular tourist attractions.
11. Our actual street has none of these things, so street noise is nonexistent.
12. Did I mention how good the food here is??  Because it SO IS.
13. My office has built in shelving, and a ginormous walk in closet that I don't have to share with DS.

Not-so loves:
1. Bugs.  Creepy, fast, multi-legged things that come out of nowhere and scare the crap out of me.  They seem to be few and far between, but boy do they creep me out.
2. Dirt.  Some of which I suspect is due to a prolonged vacancy, just judging by the dust and the knowledge that it was empty when we toured it a month before.  The rest was obviously from the last tenants, meaning that the place wasn't cleaned by the landlord before we moved in.  It took me 4 hours and 3 magic erasers to clean all the walls, and I'm still not done with the bathroom.
3. Somehow, this place has the same bad plumbing as our last place.  Specifically, the shower hardware was installed incorrectly so that the single knob goes left for cold water, or right for hot water.  Showers are sometimes uncomfortable...
4. It takes 3 full cycles on high heat for clothes to dry in the dryer, even if there are only 4 things in there.
5. There is evidence of water damage in multiple places.
6. There are at least 10 light bulbs either missing or burnt out throughout the apartment.  (We have a combination of track and recessed lighting.)
6. The landlord has yet to return any of our phone calls since we moved in, so we none of this is even being addressed.

That's it so far.  Today DS and I pulled out the W/D combo to check the hoses for lint.  The exhaust didn't look too bad, but the intake was completely covered.  I'm hoping laundry tomorrow goes smoother.  I at least know that the heating apparatus is functioning, so here's hoping cleaning the back helps.  All things considered, I think this place is awesome.  The things that are wrong are completely manageable, and the things that are right are SO RIGHT.

We still have boxes all over the place, because there is only so much unpacking and arranging I can handle at one time.  But we're much much closer to being done, and I will post photos once we are.  I checked to see if there was anything useable from my move in photos, but they're all close ups of various things I wanted to document for the landlord whenever we move out.

The one thing I miss the most right now are my friends.  Right now, we don't know anyone, and without me having a job, I have no immediate hopes of meeting anyone.  It's incredibly difficult to spend all day alone, and then just get a few minutes of conversation out of DS once he's home.  It's like pulling teeth.  We're both adjusting, him to a new job that's more stressful and demanding, me to an utter lack of human interaction.  I wish we could just put an ad on craigslist for friends :P  But I did join a gym today, and we have briefly met one of our neighbors, who seemed cool.  DS has even been to the local climbing gym.  With any luck, we'll have friends soon.  In the meantime, if anyone wants to visit, you have our permission.

August 03, 2010

The Move

Is it Thursday already?  We've been at our new place for over 4 days??  Wow.  Well, let me tell you about the move.  Be forewarned, there is boring narrative to follow.

The cats were taken away, and I cried like a little baby.  They looked horrified.  The movers came and boxed all our stuff in a mere 7 hours.  I guess when the things aren't yours, you aren't as tempted to spend time touching, remembering, getting sidetracked by each thing you own.  Everything just got quadruple wrapped in white paper and stuck in a box.  DONE.

At the Palace, clinking glasses with the staff as we sang What a Beautiful World.
That night we started staying at our friends, to whom we gave our big tv.  It was a wedding present, and also a way to get rid of it since the new place has built in televisions.  We were not opposed to getting the best new thing whenever we manage to get a house :)  That Friday we did just a little bit of cleaning, but nothing much since we were basically told by our landlord that he was taking the money out of our deposit to have it professionally cleaned no matter what.  I was not about to break a sweat cleaning some place for nothing.  The pick up for our things was delayed until Saturday, but went smoothly.  Though there was some muttering about just how much stuff we had, and packing the truck had to be done carefully to make sure it all fit.  I don't know what to tell them.  A guy came to estimate our belongings' volume a month ago, and it's not like we got a bunch of new stuff...

Nell and DS looking at the city and the moon.
We took our friends out to dinner at The Palace, a Louisiana inspired grill that is soooooo good.  Then we all went up to Lizard's Mouth (a rocky spot on the mountain) to see the sun set over the ocean and take photos.  After too little rest, we caught a plane to KY, where we were picked up by my mom and her husband.

Me and Sam at Lizard's Mouth.
Monday we visited my grandmother, then the four of us toured the Louisville Slugger Museum.  I'm not sure how none of them had ever been before, but I made sure that was fixed.  Back in G'Town, we took my mom out to dinner for her birthday.

Kid in front us at the Bat game, covered in cotton candy.
Tuesday we hung out with my college friend Tim and his wife, and their dog Sterling.  We grilled burgers and learned a new way to make delicious corn on the grill.  After dinner we went downtown to see the Louisville Bats play.  DS was so excited because this guy named Chapman was relief pitching, and he's supposed to be the next best thing for the Reds.

Aroldis Chapman pitching.

Wednesday we picked up Chanda and went north to see Kelly and Jon.  We enjoyed their patio, and their cats, and the booze in their fridge.  For dinner we had Olive Garden, which I hadn't been to in years and years.  Seems strange.

DS, Tim and Beth at the game.
Thursday we saw Geno, walked the dogs, and I was surprised to discover my good friend Mike had moved back next door.  My brother even graced us with his presence.  We picked up the rental car, then DS made dinner for us.  Everyone thought it was delicious, and I let them know it's because Alton Brown can do no wrong.  (Seriously, try that 40 cloves and a chicken recipe)

Chapman's pitching speed.  DS claims we saw him pitch 101.
Friday morning we piled into the car and drove to Elkins, WV to visit with DS's grandparents.  It's only the second time that I've been there, and it was nice to have more than a few hours to see the place.  We spent the rest of the weekend bouncing between his two grandmothers, and I met loads of extended family at various dinners.  Elkins is beautiful, and decidedly cooler than KY this time of year.

Elkins as seen from the Triplett place "in the holla".

Sunday morning we loaded up the car again and drove the rest of the way to Philly.  Pennsylvania looks almost exactly like the region of KY where I lived.  At least, the region we drove through did.  We mostly took back roads out of WV, then took the Turnpike the rest of the way.  Stupid tolls, and lunch at one of those little stops on Turnpike was not great.  But I guess it was better than driving through places like DC the whole way.  That would have take an hour or two longer.

Once in the city, we quickly realized that driving here is nowhere near as nice as walking here.  It made me very happy that we chose to live downtown so we won't need the car hardly ever.  We managed to get some keys, drag in our few belongings from the car, and set up the air mattress before dinner.

Up next: Moving in.

========================
For some reason, I only have photos of a couple of things.  I'm assuming DS has the rest on his camera.  Though I know I forgot to gets photos of me with Kel and Chanda :(

July 19, 2010

Where does the time go?

I was just searching for my photos from Mardi Gras to show a friend, and realized they are not to be found here, on flickr, or facebook.  Why didn't I upload them??  I'm sure I took some.  It occurs to me that even with my incessant back-posting, my blog is seriously lacking.  So perhaps you would like an update.

I'm counting down my last days in Santa Barbara as we speak.  The cats are being moved by an animal transport service.  They'll be picked up on Wednesday, flown to Philadelphia, then boarded until they can be delivered to us in August.  The movers come Thursday to pack all our belongings, and then will pick them up on Friday.  We'll be staying with friends here until Sunday morning so we can tie up any loose ends, like cleaning, then we're flying to KY to visit family and friends.  We'll be there for almost a week, then we'll rent a car and spend the weekend in WV visiting more family.  Finally, we're driving to our new home, which will hopefully let us in.  Getting keys isn't something that's been worked out yet... We should be in our new place by August 1, and with any luck, should have our stuff the next day.  Though that's up in the air.

We've been trying our best to fit in all the last minute things we wanted to do here.  DS took one last climbing trip to Pine Mountain this weekend.  I've been to my last book club meeting, and hosted my last BSG night.  I've already said goodbye to several people for the last time in the foreseeable future.  Sad times.  I also thought it would be a good idea to make sure only things worth keeping made it to Philadelphia, so I've been combing through my belongings to cull the crap.  I actually had medication that expired in 2004, and mascara from high school.  Oy.

Because we don't need to pack, we are happy to be avoiding the unpleasantness of the cats protesting the destruction of their world.  I'm really sad that they'll be with strangers for nearly 2 weeks though.  Though not sad enough to drive them across the country again.. seriously.  I feel almost sorry for whatever sucker is flying with them.  Still, I am cherishing things like Felix bringing me 6 balls of yarn over a couple of hours, and Winston waking me up with a full facial and complimentary ear cleaning.  It's the little things ;)

I'm not sure how much internet time we'll have after Thursday, but I'll try to update when I can.

July 06, 2010

Green Thumb

Despite having only a hanging planter in a window that gets less than 6 hours of sun a day, and two cats that seem to love eating things that make them sick, I've managed to keep my pepper plants and basil flourishing this summer.  Four of my six pepper plants are producing, and the other two are on their way.  I just need to keep Felix away from them for a bit longer.  Twice the basil has gotten so huge we've had to have basil pesto just to have a reason to cull a ton of it.  Which, by the way, is SO GOOD made with just picked basil.

Now if I just knew what those peppers were....

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June 29, 2010

Sequoia National Forest

Camping in Sequoia.. mine and DS's last ditch effort to "see California" before moving out of the state.  Happily, we did not do this one alone, but had the pleasure of being with our Battlestar viewing crew.  We stayed at the Quaking Aspens campground, whose amenities include pit toilets and a spicket.  And surprisingly, I did just fine.  Who knew?  We enjoyed a campfire each night complete with dinner, s'mores, and jiffy pop.  We slept in tents, in sleeping bags, and woke up around 7am without alarms.  We hiked and hiked and hiked until I had a blister on my heel the size of an embedded golf ball...  But truly, it was all worth it.

We hiked the 1/2 mile, paved loop of the Trail of the 100 Giants.  Ran up to the top of Dome Rock to have lunch.  Did the 4.6 mile there-and-back trail to the Needles Lookout tower (which nearly gave DS a heart attack, but he still says it was worth the view).  And finally did maybe 1/3-1/2 of the 8.6 mile Freeman Creek Trail.  This is where my feet decided they had had enough, and DS says "How are you?"  To which I replied, "Done."  And with that, we all decided to eat our lunch and then hike back out to go home.

The follow photos do not even begin to do this place justice.  Seriously.  You should definitely go if you ever get the chance.

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June 20, 2010

DS's Parents Visit

DS's parents' road trip finally brought them to us.  It was a lovely couple of days, and we celebrated with good food and wine.  We introduced them to the joys of In-N-Out Burger, west coast seafood, our cold beaches, and the mountains.  Two of the places we went were lovely, so I took some photos.  The first set is from Cold Spring Tavern, which was a stagecoach stop in the mountains just above Santa Barbara.  Now it's a tavern and restaurant.  The second set is fro Rusack Winery, where his mom did not realize I was being facetious on the way in by saying "Man, this place is a dump" until we'd been there for a bit.  Which, if you knew her, would be hilarious.  That woman is sharp and funny to boot, but this place is obviously not a dump.  I'm not really a wine person though, so mostly I just enjoyed the scenery.


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June 13, 2010

Grand Canyon

DS's parents are RV'ing across the country, from their home in South Carolina, out to us in Santa Barbara, up to Yosemite, to Mt. Rushmore, down to visit family in St. Louis, and then back home.  All in all, a VERY long trip.  Since I'm 'retired' now, I decided to drive out to meet them at the Grand Canyon.  We stayed at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, and took their train from Williams, AZ up to the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim.  We only had about three hours there, which turned out to be a bit too much as it was one of the few days it actually rains there.  I doubt their hoodie, sweater and poncho sales are ever higher...  Luckily, I had checked the weather before going and brought my own jacket.

Even without a ton of time to hike around, this was probably the most amazing thing I've ever seen.  There's just no way to describe how jaw dropping it is to walk up to the rim the first time and see the gaping hole.  I had no concept of its proportions, even after seeing it from the plane just weeks before.  It's up to 16 miles wide, 1 mile deep, and 277 miles long.  MILES!  It's just... indescribable.  I'm so glad his parents like me enough to have me stay with them all by myself :D

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June 02, 2010

Raccoon


There is a momma raccoon that lives around our building.  I can hear her sometimes at night, but other than a flicker once while DS was grilling, I've never actually seen her.  Tonight I heard her, and managed to see her running along the fence that separates the little patios for the downstairs apartments.  She was out with one of her kids.  I grabbed the camera and went out to see if I could catch her from a distance, but was surprised to find them in the tree running up the front of the apartment.  I guess she thought if she came down and walked away some, she would get me away from her kid, which she left in the tree.  I kept my distance, got a couple of shots in, and vamoosed.  I certainly don't want to run her off, nor did I want to risk rabies.  Check out that stance man.  She's like, "I don't want to, but I will eat your face if I have to."

May 22, 2010

David and Juliana's Wedding

As expected, David and Juliana's wedding in Potomac, MD was absolutely beautiful.  The backdrop of forest was perfect, and I particularly loved the alternating greens and blues of the bridal party.  The wedding was outdoors, in both Spanish and English.  Afterwards, dinner was served and there were many speeches by friends and family.  We were lucky to have translators, though sometimes I suspect that we lost some of the turns of phrase in the process.

Because Juliana is Colombian, the cake was specially brought in from there.  Unfortunately, customs suspected it had some nefarious purpose and destroyed it.  Fortunately, it was pieced back together and the taste was unaffected.  All I knew was the cake involved alcohol.  Juliana tells me it's called ponque negro, or black cake I think.

After dinner, we headed upstairs.  There was a dance floor, a room with chocolates made by David's sister along with some coffee, and a fun photo booth.  I had quite a bit to drink, so I can't remember too much about the latter half of the night, but I can say we all had fun.

Once it was time to disperse, all the friends went down to see the honeymoon suite, which was two bunk beds pushed together and decorated.  It doesn't sound like much, but considering we were all sleeping on twin beds from a former Girl Scout camp, it was adorable and romantic.

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=======================
*Written 2/14/11 and backposted

May 09, 2010

Philadelphia, I think I love you

Last weekend, DS and I visited Philadelphia to see if I could live there.  As you noticed in the earlier post, I had strong reservations about moving to a big city.  Therefore you may be surprised to learn that I had decided we were moving there on Friday night after just arriving on Thursday.  From the moment I got there, it reminded me of living in Louisville, which I loved.  The city was lacking the crowded, dirty feel I associate with most cities of this size.  I think this has something to do with the decision to not build higher than City Hall until the late 80's, meaning there have only recently been skyscrapers.  That left a lower density, and less of a need to raze entire blocks for building new structures.  As you'll see in the photos, this left the city with lots of trees, and what seemed like entire neighborhoods intact from the Colonial Period.  It was charming, and felt a lot like walking through old villages in Europe.

We arrived on Thursday and walked around the neighborhood just to the west of the University of Pennsylvania.  Then we had dinner at sushi place called Pod, which was very mod.  There were actual "pods" with a single table for 8 or so where diners can change the color of the lights inside.  Behind the conveyor belt sushi bar there was a flat screen tv built into the wall that kept playing a cartoon about a white lion.  As far as I could tell, since there was no sound, the entire show was about the little lion cup running around with other wild animals....  We ended up spending a small fortune on sushi and dessert, but it was so delicious that I don't even care if its not reimbursed.  And as a bonus, it happened to be some sort of charity night, so 30% of our bill was donated helping people who are living with AIDS and HIV.

On Friday, DS spent most of the day in meetings with various faculty members.  I slept in, then strolled around campus a bit taking photographs.  I also discovered that the UPenn Bookstore is really just a Barnes and Noble with Penn paraphernalia, which was nice in that I was finally able to pick up a light for my nook!  (Have I mentioned I got a nook?  Because I LOVE IT!)  We were able to relax a bit, and then were picked up by a faculty member who drove us around the inner city, showing us some of the nicer places to live.  Then we had dinner with him and his wife at Alma de Cuba, a Cuban place that was so much better than I expected.  It turns out Cuban food is actually delicious when you have the resources to do it right.  Poor Cuba...

The first half of Saturday was spent with the Chair of the department, as she lives in the suburbs and was able to give us that tour.  Then we walked from the hotel on the Penn campus all the way to the Delaware River.  We were able to see the Liberty Bell, if only through the window.  Dinner was at some fancy place that was way overpriced for the quality of the food.  By this point we had probably walked several miles, so we took a taxi back.  It was at this point that I convinced DS that we were definitely moving here, so we hiked back over to the UPenn Bookstore and got ourselves some official gear to celebrate!

On Sunday it was so hot and humid that we ditched our original idea to visit the zoo, and went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art instead.  This is honestly one of the best museums I've visited in terms of shear size.  We didn't get to see all of it, but luckily we got there on a free admission day.  It was also the last day of their special exhibition on Picasso, which was interesting, though apparently Cubism is not DS's thing.  I particularly loved the Impressionists galleries, as well as the period rooms, though we had to move quickly through those areas.  I'll definitely have to visit again once we move.  And everyone is welcome to visit us once we get there, which we think should be late July.  So yeah!  My husband will be a Professor at UPenn this fall!!

Photos from the City

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Photos from the Museum
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April 27, 2010

Reviving Zoo Quest

Once upon a time, in 2005 no less, I started a side project called Zoo Quest.  Until a few months ago, it sat there, forelorn, with only the introductory post for company.  Poor Zoo Quest....  But now it boasts five whole zoo entries, including this past weekend's trip to the San Diego Zoo.  Hopefully very soon it will have all fifteen of the zoos I've visited, so keep checking!

April 23, 2010

Decisions

Perhaps you've noticed that DS and I are in the midst of deciding our future.  On Thursday we'll be visiting Philadelphia to see how well we like it.  Having gotten all of our offers on the table, I think it would take a very bad experience there for us to turn down Philadelphia at this point.  This is both disappointing and exciting at the same time.

One of the things I've always imagined having one day is a very large yard.  I'm talking acres and acres.  I'm not really joking when I say things like "I want baby goats", or "I want fresh eggs".  I take a lot of pleasure and comfort out of growing things, and having a garden full of vegetables just sounds like heaven to me.  Caring for plants and animals makes me feel calm and complete.  Not to mention the food is just so much better when it can ripen in the earth and be eaten right away.  This was a real possibility for me in Chapel Hill, but isn't looking promising for Philadelphia.  I mean, I might be able to have a small garden, but definitely no goats.

So there's that, and the fact that many of my friends here in Santa Barbara have plans to end up in North Carolina when their school paths are finished.  I have to admit that I had this whole future of fun times planned out in my head with this knowledge in mind.  Which, to be honest, was always very tentative.  One thing I've learned from tagging along behind DS is that no matter what you think your plans for the future are, the world makes its own path for you.  That's not to say that if your main goal is to end up in a specific location that you couldn't do that.  Just that making that your first priority limits all your other goals, and I've found that these things change over time.

Philadelphia is exciting in it's own right though.  It's a real city for starters, something that intrigues me having only briefly visited such places before.  Of course, this is both good and bad.  It has all those things about cities I love, like art museums, ballet, orchestras, theater, good places to eat.  But it comes along with things I've never had to worry too much about before, like crime and real traffic.  I have to be honest, the crime thing makes me nervous.  And also the lack of personal space...  But the rest of it sounds exciting and fun, and so I'm willing to give it a try as long as our visit doesn't go horribly awry.

This has me questioning my life goals again.  I believe a place like Philadelphia opens up the historic preservation option again, and I'm seriously unsure if I even want it.  I've been thinking a lot about what my dream job would be since the last time I posted about jobs, and I just don't know.  And if "farmer" is off the table, I'm having trouble coming up with my second choice.  Honestly, I just never thought that at nearly 30 I'd still be wondering what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I can tell you one thing for sure though.  I'm never taking another crappy job just to pay the bills.  That is one thing all of these job offers for DS can promise me, and it is the best gift I could ask for.

April 14, 2010

North Carolina: Check

I am HOME!  The flights were long, and stressful, and due to the time differences, my body felt as it were well past 2 am before I even walked through my front door.  But we made it.  And the cats survived.  And all was well.  Here is a quick and dirty run down of my impressions of the trip.  Pictures should follow when I'm recovered and not busy doing something else.

Airports:
SBA - Do NOT go through security until you have used the bathroom and eaten or anything else you need.  Because their two gates have nothing but a few seats.
LAX - Man LAX, you really disappointed me.  I mean, you were definitely not the worst airport I've ever been to, but since you're in LA, I just expected you to at least look cool.  That's sort of LA's thing, right?  Though, if I'm being honest, I would have to say that it has been my experience that is LA's lie.
O'Hare - You know I love you O'Hare.  I don't even have to keep telling you.
RDU - Oooh, your new terminal is lovely!  Those lofty, arching wooden beams are so creamy and rich, I just want to run my hands over them and whisper sweet nothings to them.  You may not be big and full of shops, but you were glistening, and open, and you fed us just fine.  Thank you.
DFW - Screw you Dallas.  Well, your Skylink is pretty cool, but the rest of you sucks.  You would think that such a uniquely shaped airport would have more going for it, but you would be wrong.  I will avoid you in the future whenever possible.

Airline:
American Airlines - I don't have any complaints, other than nearly spending the night in both Dallas and LA, but really, what airline doesn't promise to leave you stranded somewhere?  (What?  They don't promise that??  Well... they should, because it almost always happens.)  But I don't have any compliments either.  Don't be offended.  The only airline I've ever loved was KLM.

Hotel:
The Franklin - Snazzy rooms.  We had a king size bed that came with a down comforter and no less than 12 pillows, and I kid you not, half of those were down as well.  I reveled in using four at a time, while DS made fun of me and stuck to one.  I didn't accidentally bump into his sweaty sleeping self once, and it was glorious.  (Accidentally mind you, I wasn't avoiding him; but really, why do guys get so gross while they're asleep?)  There was an LCD tv on the wall, and all the fabrics in the room were luxuriously woven jacquards and patterns.  Also, I actually liked the free toiletries, which is really rare.  The breakfast service in the dining room was rather slow, but I can't say whether that was due to our timing (we got there right after a huge party), or if it is always that way.  The food was good though.

Towns:
Raleigh - I only saw your airport.. so... maybe next time?  Sorry buddy.
Durham - You have both a Kroger and an REI, which makes you infinitely better than my current locale.  So hurray!  Also, Duke Gardens was in bloom.  Lovely.
Chapel Hill - You're an odd one, because you think you're some kind of small town with your little main street and your lack of big business.  But you're no small town I've ever seen.  You're like the small town rich people made for themselves.  Like Disney's Main Street USA, all clean and stuff.  That being said, you are lovely.  I wish I was one of those rich people, so I could have one of your mansions.
Carrboro - What little I saw of you was pretty cool, though I will admit that was only two restaurants.  They were scrumptious.
Hillsborough - Now you!  I could live in you.  You remind me of what my hometown was before it exploded.  <3!  You don't have a Kroger though *tear*

Up next: Philadelphia, PA - April 29-May 2.  Anyone know anything about living around UPenn?  We are taking advice before our trip.

April 08, 2010

Photos!

A month of photos for your enjoyment, back-posted to reflect actual chronology.

SB Botanical Gardens
Figueroa Mtn
Winston and Birds
Arroyo Beach

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to throw some crap in a back pack so I can be at the airport in six hours.  See you in Chapel Hill!

April 07, 2010

Tremors

Lots of things brewing this week.  Currently DS is in Philadelphia for his last interview, and on Thursday I'll be meeting him in Chapel Hill so we can be "wooed".  We've been jokingly referring to it as our chance to "live it up on someone else's dime", but in all honesty, I don't know how much time we'll have to do that.  He'll be meeting to negotiate an offer, and we've been scheduled time with a realtor to look at houses.  Let me tell you, going through a website full of houses that you know you can't buy yet so that you can get a feel for the area is... both exciting and scary.  Also, there is a LOT of new construction for sale in Chapel Hill.  It seems like they were hit hard by the housing collapse.  Not that it helps me any, because I want an OLD house!  With acreage.  But after much hand wringing, I chose five for us to see on Saturday.

After a month of letting them gather on my camera, I finally got all the photos into my computer.  I'm hoping I have time tomorrow to go through them, clean them up, and then put them on here for your curious eyes.  But just in case the packing and the last minute errands keep me from it, I wanted to at least post this one.  Almost all of my photos of DS are of him scowling.  Maybe he thinks it's funny?  It often is. But sometimes I just want a good one, and here it is.  I had to tickle him to get it, and he was momentarily irate, but it was so worth it.


And in answer to all the wonderful notes I've been sent regarding my last post, let me just say that I have been reminded that I don't have to work when we get there.  Which means I'll be able to do things like volunteer, and take classes, and generally get a feel for what makes me happy.  It's so strange to be in that position, after years of toiling just to make ends meet.  Thank you all for being so supportive, and giving me truly helpful advice.

Yes, lots of things on the horizon.  But no earthquakes.  Sorry Mom.  I know you keep calling to ask if I'm still alive, but honestly, we've felt nothing.

April 05, 2010

SB Botanical Garden

In an attempt to "see California" before we leave sorry state, we spent Sunday at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens.  At least half of it is still trying desparately to recover from the last forest fire, but as you'll see below, lots of lovely things remain.  To my enjoyment, I even saw redwoods for the first time.  Feast your eyes on what can happen if it rains even two or three times a month!  So, you know, like once a year.

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