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.