Weekend Update, end of August 2012

This past week I attended An Event Apart, a major web design conference in Chicago, which was pretty awesome. I learned a lot of cool stuff especially about mobile-friendly design that I now need time to go over before I forget or lose track of it. It was held at the Westin just north of the Chicago River, which is a cool spot for walking around and site-seeing. Stephanie went along with and spent the time I was in sessions walking around and visiting museums and site-seeing. It was really cool to have her along because it made the social stuff like going out to dinner and seeing stuff a lot more pleasant. Plus she was willing to drive in Chicago traffic, which is both brave and very nice of her, because Chicago traffic is incredibly difficult.

Here are a few photos I took with my iPhone – more to come when I edit.

In other news only tangentially related, I realized when I was updating my photo on one of our internal company websites how different I look now than I did a few years ago. I don’t quite remember when the older photo on the right was taken; I suspect it was 2008 or so.

Me on 8-30-2012 Large Compare

Bit of a change, isn’t it? I know physically my clothes are looser and I can tell I have a lot more muscle than I did before, but I don’t always realize since I see myself every day how different I look.

Continue ReadingWeekend Update, end of August 2012

We totally put this flag on the mailbox

We totally put this flag on the mailbox

We did a bunch of cleaning and repair work at the rental house over the weekend. We had thought we were done, but the property manager came back with a big fat list of stuff they wanted done before they would agree to list the house. So back over there we went to knock out a bunch of them. One of them was putting a new flag on the mail box because the last renters ripped it off. Who does that, really? How odd.

Continue ReadingWe totally put this flag on the mailbox

Weekend Update – My Fair Lady, Roller Derby and Canasta

Stephanie and I went with our friend Elizabeth to Bloomington, Ind. this weekend to visit Joe and see My Fair Lady performed by the Cardinal Stage Company at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. I’ve never seen the show onstage; I’ve only seen the movie musical and that was when I was young, so I didn’t have full recollection of the storyline. But my mom had the album (she had albums of almost every movie musical in existence) so I knew the words to the songs by heart. (And I’m still humming the tunes today. Sorry to those around me.)

It was a really great performance – for a regional production on a small stage, it was phenomenal. Cardinal really puts on a professional performance; the choreography was fantastic, stage design was clever and costumes were spot on. Chloe Sabin as Eliza was delightful. Chris Vettel played Higgins so well that I disliked him exactly the way I should, because the character is basically a jerk wad. The fellow who played Alfred Doolittle, Mike Price, is apparently a Cardinal regular and stole the spotlight in every scene he was in.

I didn’t realize that George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion had a different ending – SPOILER ALERT – in his play Eliza ends up with Freddie, rather than Higgins, and he was adamant that Eliza and Henry weren’t right for each other. I rather agree with him. Higgins was a pretty big douche and didn’t deserve her, no matter how accustomed to her face he became. Liking the girl does not actually get you the girl, Sir; you have to treat her well, too, and even then there are no guarantees. (So much stalking could be prevented if we could just teach this simple concept to anxious young males.)

After the play we went to a Bleeding Hearts Roller Derby bout – it was a charity event/scrimmage where the team competed with themselves as “Heroes” vs. “Villains” – Of the Heroes, my favorites were the Ambiguously Gay Duo. Also popular with me: when the Villains chanted “E-V-I-L what’s that spell? EVIL, EVIL EVIL!!!” And here’s another SPOILER ALERT – the Villains won. By a lot. Joe suggested this is a metaphor for real life. I mainly wondered how the villains planned to remove the Old Tymey Villain Mustaches they drew on their faces with Sharpie Markers. I wonder (and suspect it’s true) whether it’s better to practice villainy these days without the tell-tale mustache. I wonder if there is such a thing as “Old Tymey Sharpie Mustache remover”? I wonder if I practiced Heroism with an Old Tymey Villain Mustache, would that be an adequate disguise? Would it be ironic, and by extension, (shudder) hipster-ish? I wonder if I wonder way too much about mustaches and villainy? The probable answer to all of these questions is “Probably.”

After dinner, we spent the evening at Joe’s, where Elizabeth and Joe and Stephanie taught me how to play canasta. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this card game. But I will try. If I bore the pants off of you – well, hey, no pants, right?!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about. I enjoyed canasta more than say, euchre, because canasta is, as Elizabeth pointed out, a blend of skill and luck. Euchre often depends on solely on the deal – if you don’t have a good hand, there’s nothing you can do. If you have a decent hand, you can maybe parlay that into something better (look, I totally used the word parlay in a sentence!!) but often that still depends on what your neighbors are dealt, and if they screw up. In euchre, having been dealt a good hand is the only sure way to take a trick. (Possibly another metaphor for real life?) Double-deck bid euchre tends to break that up and allow for more strategy, which is why I like it better.

Canasta is like double-deck bid euchre in that there are lots of cards (2 or 3 decks, depending on the number playing) and lots of room for strategy, and it has the bonus of being like rummy in that you collect sets. These guys play the game by “Elizabeth Rules” which is basically how she was taught to play; your rules may vary. The goal in each round is to go out (no cards left in your hand) after making two “canastas” – a collection of 7 cards of the same face value. A canasta with wild cards (2s or jokers) is a black canasta, a canasta without is a higher-valued “natural” or “red” canasta. You add up points for your canastas and for the cards you had on the table, subtract what you have in your hand, and the first to get to 5,000 points wins. Also there are some complex things you do with threes, but I’m already getting tedious aren’t I? Anyway, I really enjoyed the game, although I came in dead last. And I’ll probably be babbling about it again sometime in the future after I can rope people into playing with me again.

I spent some time on Sunday re-watching the series Firefly – which I have some thoughts about, but oh, look at the time. I have gotten long-winded, haven’t I? Well that’s refreshing after all the short little link posts, I’ll bet.

Slideshow of photos from the weekend:

Continue ReadingWeekend Update – My Fair Lady, Roller Derby and Canasta

Weekend Update 2010-08-23

We spent a good chunk of Saturday at my mom’s helping her clean out her garage and get rid of stuff that needed to go to heavy trash. I’m pretty happy at what we were able to accomplish there. It seems much easier to help other people organize their stuff for some reason than it does for the stuff at our house.

Sunday we went to the last day of the Indiana State Fair and rode rides on the midway, then attended the Demolition Derby. I haven’t seen a crash-em up derby since I was a kid; I think we went to one near my grandparents house in Iowa. That was pretty entertaining although not exactly environmentally sound. The crowd was definitely red-state – there wasn’t any overtly political talk from the hosts “onstage” but there was long and heart-felt salute to the troops and extended discussion of the wonders of Wal-Mart.

I’ll have to see how my photos of the event came out; I missed the huge flaming fireball when one of the cars caught fire, but I think I have decent photos of the firemen putting it out. I took some fun photos of the food booths, but skipped the fried balls of death therein.

Deep Fried

Continue ReadingWeekend Update 2010-08-23

Weekend Update 2010-06-15

We managed to miss out on pride this weekend – I didn’t feel well due to something I ate on Friday (or Thursday) and I didn’t want to spend the entire festival in a port-a-let, or trying to find a port-a-let, or thinking about poo.

I felt enough better by noon to visit the INDIEhandicraft Exchange at the Harrison Center, although I still made about 5 trips to the restroom. But we got presents we needed to procure, and a few things for ourselves, and lots of ideas for creative projects.

We intended to go to Pride after, but we headed home and I continued to try to recover.

Sometime on Saturday our DVR died. I noticed it early Saturday morning, and did a reboot, but it didn’t fix itself. Boo. Now I need to grab some time to take it in and exchange it. Fortunately, we had watched most of what we had recorded and only had a few figure skating episodes and the last 3 Johnny Weir shows left.

On Sunday we had a bunch of work to get done around the house in the morning, and it was already blazing hot out. We managed to get lots of stuff checked off our to-do list, then went to see Sex and the City 2. It was silly and fun. Some of puns were too over the top, and some of their treatment of international relations was goofy – I doubt there are women wearing designer fashion under their traditional religious garb in Abu Dhabi – but it wasn’t as terrible as some reviewers frothed at the mouth about. And frankly, Samantha’s sexual proclivities (fictional though they are) are 100% fine, and the Islamic religious reaction to them (fictional though they are) was probably pretty accurately portrayed, and also dead wrong, from a moral standpoint. So there!

And we visited Alcatraz after and came home to do some serious reading.

Continue ReadingWeekend Update 2010-06-15

Weekend Update 2010-01-19

Nope, I haven’t quit the 365 photo project, I’m just behind on putting the photos I’ve taken up. I know – three day weekend for me and I couldn’t get it done. But I was working on the project — I want to do some portrait work, and we have a southern-exposure window that I wanted to put a chair in front of so I could take some pictures in natural light. That entailed taking down the Christmas tree, rearranging the library, and moving the trunk from in front of the window. Lots of work, but now I have a place to seat people in pretty lighting.

I’m trying to create some variety and different opportunities, because all my pictures are of knitting and cats. 😉 It hard to come up with entertaining things to photograph when I hate the cold and am hibernating at home a lot.

I’m the knitting cat lady! Yes, knitting and cats. And dogs – wouldn’t want to forget the pooch.
Scarves I'm knitting
Gratuitous knitting photo

Things will also pick up once it gets warmer. This coming weekend we’re going to a skating competition for Stephanie and I’ll have a lot of pictures there, and we do get out a lot more in the spring.
Stephanie took me out last night to a Asian/Vietnamese food place on the east side of town – Sandra Rice and Noodles. OMG. The best lemongrass chicken I’ve ever had, hands down. Simply wonderful. I have leftovers that I can’t wait to get at. We tacked a dessert on to the order so we could use a coupon – rice pudding that was the best afterthought ever. Really delicious. It’s on Pendleton Pike, so it’s a bit out of the way, but definitely worth the drive from downtown for us. Yum yum yum. I wish I were a better writer when it comes to food, but I’m not good at separating flavors and identifying what went into a dish. And I tend to only talk about places I really enjoy, so every food review sounds the same – “Yummy, delicious, best ever.” Not terribly helpful to anyone, other than to let you know what I like.

Continue ReadingWeekend Update 2010-01-19

Weekend Updates 2009-08-31

I took Thursday and Friday of last week off and created for myself a four day weekend. That was fun. I got some organizing projects done around the house, and played around a bit with a photography project. The end result of the photography project wasn’t great – but I know what I need to do to fix it, so I just need to reshoot, and I had a lot of fun playing with it, so I’m happy about what I learned.

The household organizing – I’m pretty happy about that too. It was mainly little stuff, but stuff that makes a difference. We had seven or eight redundant flower vases that we purged, keeping our favorites. I rearranged appliances in the kitchen, and threw out some liquor that has been hanging around my kitchen since I was a renter and not a home owner – one bottle that I know a friend brought to a party I threw in February of 1999. (Yikes!) Not big drinkers we. You can look into the site https://certifiedfixed.com/service-areas/sarasota-appliance-repair-fl/ – if you are looking for quality and affordable appliances repair services.

I bought some better storage containers for winter apparel and cleaned out the dining room closet so we can get at our winter stuff more easily. The cats are now fascinated by the free space in the closet. They keep wandering in there to see I’m not sure what. Maybe they’re just astonished that we have a space in the house that’s actually organized. I know I am.

I also wrangled Drusilla and Huckleberry to the vet on separate days for long overdue checkups and shots. Everyone is apparently healthy, if a bit grumpy about the wrangling process.

For a friend’s birthday, we went to see Julie & Julia, which I loved. Don’t go to that movie hungry – you’ll be ravenous when you leave the theater. And possibly a bit in love with Julia Child, or at least Meryl Streep. I particularly enjoyed the segments about blogger Julie Powell, the parts of the movie that were critically panned by apparently everyone. But then, I’ve been blogging since the 90s, so I thought her story was hilarious, where others thought she was self-involved.

The eye candy of mid-century modern furniture in both Julia and Julie’s abodes is worth going, and I’m strongly considering wearing my strand of faux pearls from now on. At least I’ll know by people’s reactions who actually still reads my blog.

Continue ReadingWeekend Updates 2009-08-31

Weekend Update, early August

So, we got a scooter. The plan is to ride it to work. For now, Stephanie and I are both going to share the Buddy 125, and later, if it works out money-wise, I’ll get my own Scooter. It’s been 20-some years since I rode my brother’s moped, so I’m shaky on the corners, but I zipped around the neighborhood pretty well. I need to do that a bit more before I set out to work. Which is fine, anyway, since it’s supposed to rain for several days.

Other than that we had a low-key weekend at home. We harvested cucumbers and zucchini from the vegetable garden and pulled lots of weeds. It was hot all weekend.

I did a bit of photo editing; I’m drastically behind on that. Stuck somewhere in early July right now. I’m having a hard time getting motivated about it. I’ll have to figure out how to get unstuck.

Continue ReadingWeekend Update, early August

Xmas Busy Busy Busy

Christmas Garland

Last night I did some major decorating of the front porch – we have garlands around all the porch posts with big red bows on them, and giant red bells hanging. Stephanie gave me candle lights for the windows for Xmas last year — they’re cool because they’re wireless and come on automagically, so you don’t have to find outlets for them, and you don’t have to run all over the house turning them on. Fun.

Now I just need to string lights. It’s the first time I’ve really done that around the porch; before now we didn’t have an outlet, and I’ve not had a good porch in previous houses. Once I get it worked out this year, though, it will go quickly in future holiday seasons.

I also managed to do a tiny bit of raking in the front yard last night. We’re pretty far behind on that task this year. It’s pretty embarrassing since the leaves came down much earlier than in years past, and because neighbors have been done for awhile. We seem to always be the shabbiest house on the block.

I packed a couple of boxes of discard books in the car this morning to take to the used bookstore. So progress is occurring…

Continue ReadingXmas Busy Busy Busy

Weekend Update (wedding shower recap)

Wow, I haven’t done a weekend update in quite a while, have I? Sorry. Mostly, that’s because we’ve been doing lots of wedding planning stuff on the weekends, and I vowed not to recap the wedding planning lest it drive me stark raving mad with stress. I can see why people elope, really. But hey, have you checked out Urban Weddings yet? It’s been a lifesaver in finding venues without adding extra stress! With their curated directory, we’ve found some amazing options that fit our vision perfectly. Lessen the stress by having a wedding registry so you are guaranteed to receive the gifts you want on your wedding.

Our friend Jen threw us a really great wedding shower this weekend, complete with mad-lib wedding vows, Steph and Stephanie Trivia (which Douglas won; huge surprise) lovely food, and a Curious George piñata, which I slightly felt guilty about beating with a stick, but got over when it was pointed out that he was filled with DELICIOUS CANDY filled with their favorite Birthday Favors. Too bad, George. Give up the goodies. I had way too much champagne punch, and had a massive case of the giggles when Stephanie read our mad-lib vows. I’ll have to reprint them here, because they were GREAT.

Photos from our shower

Our Wedding Shower

Over the last couple weekends I’ve been doing some painting in the kitchen. Because we have some drywall work to hire out on the ceiling where the roof was leaking, there are some parts where we can’t paint yet. I’ve been working on the rest in sections, mainly trying to get the large area where we wanted to hang pictures done. It took us 4 tries to get the color right. I think I now have a formula for color correction from “the way it looks in the Lowe’s paint aisle.” It will be much better than the original bright orangy-yellow color it is now. We picked a warm oatmeal color that really complements the cabinets, the white woodwork, and our dishes and the wood floor. I spend Sunday hanging pictures in the kitchen and working on my Dad’s website while Stephanie did some errands.

I’m really enjoying the Smart Car. Stephanie has been somewhat frustrated with the transmission; it shifts from one gear to another rather slowly. We also had to take him in for an engine light thing last week, too. But he’s darned cute.

It’s been really lovely taking walks around the neighborhood the last couple weeks; the trees are in full flower and spring flowers are blooming. I took a bunch of great pictures on walks.

[ Old Northside photoset ]

Around Old Northside

Continue ReadingWeekend Update (wedding shower recap)