Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sprecher

Yesterday we toured the Sprcher Brewery in Milwaukee. We were amazed at how small it is - they produce less than 10,000 barrels of beer each year. The tour was fun, and we got more drink tickets than we could use, and between us, easilty tasted all 10 beers on tap.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Voluntary Insanity

Ha ha. I tricked my family into participating in the maddness that is after-Thanksgiving shopping today. They would say that they tricked me, but it's all a matter of perspective. Last night I tried to get them to agree to leave the house at 4:40 am. They balked at the idea (rightly so - what lunatic goes out of their way to leave the comfort of their warm bed after a day of eating too much, just to fight other people to give away their money?). My intelligent family prefered to avoid the malls altogether. I countered with an exuberantly enthusiasic proposition of leaving the house at 6am. They relucantly agreed, although I could tell Meredith (quite possibly the world's most non-morning person) was going to back out on me. In stepped Kyle, who used some reverse psychology behind my back to get them wanting to go at five. I don't know how he did it. He's a genius. But they didn't tell me this of course, so I set my alarm for 6 and woke much earlier to a giggling Mom, Meredith, and Ewan, dressed and eager to hit the stores, laughing at me for being the one to hold up the show. Wonders never cease. We hit a couple of stores and spent the $10 gift cards we got for running the gauntlet. Sears made it so hard to find the one and only entrance where they handed these out, that I started to get the feeling they might next year escalate the exersize to a scavenger hunt that needs to be completed. In the end, I got a picture of Mer, smiling before 6am. Save this picture. We may never see another!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ornaments and Adornments

I went to Milwaukee because Meredith is in town this weekend, and we all stopped at the Milwaukee Art Museum (the one with the non-flapping wings - I really think they should FLAP!) to see an exibition of mostly wearable art. I was thinking about Lauren, since the show was in the space Lauren and Eric were married, and it was a wonderful surprise to see Mr. and Mrs. Newton there with a booth of her jewelry. I'm not biased when I say that her work was by far the most beautiful jewelry there. It was fun to see them. It seemed like their booth was busy, so hopefully they sold a lot!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thanksgiving Armageddon

Despite enormous challenges, I served 10 people a Thanks- giving meal yesterday. What started out as mere (and I say mere now, but yesterday it was dire, indeed) piecrust rolling problems escalated in all-out disaster of epic proportions when at 9:30am, the oven failed to turn on. I had a turkey, stuffing, beans, and 2 pies all waiting in the wings to take their cue in a strictly-timed choreography of baking times and temperatures. Not a second of oven time was unscripted from 10 until 2. Of course that would be the ideal time for our oven to die. I sank to the floor with my mouth as open as the stone-cold oven. Thank goodness I had Kyle there to keep his wits about him and diagnose the problem as an ailing ignitor. While I rushed to get a replacement, Kyle tore the oven apart. I sprinted to deliver the new ignitor like a heart for a waiting transplant recipient. Kyle swore some, threw a screwdriver, prodded the wires, and eventually, stepped aside as the oven roared to life with an orange glow more beautiful than any sunset. I am truly in love with this amazing man! Now we were cooking with GAS, baby! After the morning drama, things ran relatively smoothly, albiet 2 hours behind schedule. Our guests were quite understanding, or maybe I just ignored their growly stomachs by consuming extra Stella (my favorite!), which Charlene and Ford so graciously provided. I've never cooked a turkey before, so Brienne helped me out in the kitchen with making the "au jus" sort of according to the recipe, but with way more giggling. All in all, I thought dinner was good, and my pies, while not as good as mom's, were not shabby. I could maybe do this again. Provided I have a year to recover first.

Elastic perspective

To celebrate Kyle's thesis defense, we saw the Ruberband dance group in Madison on Friday night. They were really incredible. Their dances were a mix of breakdance, ballet, hiphop and modern dance. I recognized some martial arts forms thrown in as well. The coolest thing was that some of the most hiphop/breakdance pieces were performed to classical music. Not at all what I expected, and most were very interesting. Kyle wouldn't be first in line to buy tickets to a second show, but he was a good sport and I think he may have even liked a couple of the pieces. He thought, despite their fast-paced, complex moves, they were so good they made everything look too easy. I didn't think it looked easy at all. Possibly because I can't even touch my toes. There was a talk-back session after the show which made me feel a lot better about my lack of dance knowledge. I had the feeling I wasn't fully understanding the full story behind some of the dances, but the dancers themselves admitted they were depicting relationships between people more than full story lines. Pretty cool. And Kyle actually said he'd like to continue to expand his horizons, perhaps with classical ballet next time. I'm pretty lucky to have a willing victim-oops- date.

Success!!

Congratulations to Kyle on successfully completing his thesis defense this Friday. He's still got one class to finish up this semester, but the bulk of the work is behind him now. (As is the bulk of the proof-reading I have to do - Thank God!) Here's a before and after picture from Friday. I am sure you can tell which is which.

PEO on my birthday

My birthday was busy on Tuesday evening, when mom and grandma drove out to visit and attend my PEO meeting. Silly me, I had volunteered to co-hostess and do the program that night (about my trip to Turkey), which was a lot of work in an already crazy-hectic week. I managed to find a good excuse to not have to bake anything by ordering an assortment of Turkish food on-line. (I think some of my PEO sisters were shy about the unfamiliar cookies, halva, and Turkish delight, but my co-workers were thrilled and devoured the leftovers!) Our president Carol found a chapter guest book that hadn't been used in decades for the 3 visitors that night to sign. Amazingly, grandma had already signed the book in 1982, when she visited Chapter AY as State Organizer! It was a lot of fun, and maybe the only time our chapter will have 4 sisters who serve(d) on the state board attend on the same night!

Bluegrass

Kyle and I had a date Monday evening to see Old School Freight Train (bluegrass/jazz/latin/pop mix) and David Grisman (mandolin). OSFT really rocked, and their enthusiasm was incredible. We had great seats in the 3rd row, so we enjoyed watching them interact with each other. Although I like Grisman's music and he was the name that led me to buy the tickets, his ego was quite off-putting. The younger band was much more humble, clearly having a grand time, and just as talented. We'd definitely go see OSFT again.

Geissler Thanksgiving

The holdays began early this year. Geissler Thanksgiving was last weekend in Madison. I definitely found a friend in Clint's girlfriend Brienne. We talked the boys into stopping at a bar for drinks before the day-long event, and then ducked out for a few hours to meet Bocko and Michelle after the Badger game. Luckily, however, we did not miss the ever-important visit from the demon-St. Nick the Geisslers call Nicholaus. This year, there were actually two devils who came to make the children cry. What a heart-warming family tradition. As you can see from the picture, Brienne was not intimidated by their scariness, and held her own when asked to name 5 things she liked about Clint. Cliff had fun decorating a gingerbread house with the little ones. Matthew had requested especially that Cliff get to participate because "he's my cousin, too!".