duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
This is a crazy week at work, since I am working on a project I'm hoping to get done by the end of the week. Lots of paperwork, lots of time on the production floor, and lots of issues to keep track of. If I seem a bit remote when you message me during the day, that's probably why.

This past weekend was OK. [livejournal.com profile] takaza's family came over on Saturday, but since I woke up far too early and had too little sleep, I was a terrible host and not very social. Ah well, we can't all be 100% all the time. Sunday was a pretty lazy day of staying home and working on Midwest FurFest stuff, capped by an online staff meeting that ran longer than I would have liked, but still accomplished a lot. 30 days until the convention, and while there's still a ton of work to be done, it sounds like everyone has things under control.

But that isn't why I wanted to write this entry. The nights are turning cold, the leaves are falling from the trees, and we are well in the grip of autumn. This always gives me the occasion to pull out one of my all-time favorite albums, "When October Goes: Autumn Love Songs". The schmaltzy title aside, this is one of the best and most atmospheric folk music albums I've ever come across. From Megan McDonough's soulful reading of the title track, to Christine Lavin's wistful "Getting Used to Leavin'". this album definitely fits the season for me. My favorite song, though, is "Are You Happy Now?" by Richard Shindell, a talented singer-songwriter. The song has great lyrics like these describing a post-Halloween scene:

I’ve sat all night and now it’s dawn/And I cannot believe my eyes
There’s garbage strewn across the lawn/Where we once stared up at the sky
And streams of paper fill the tree/That hovered over you and me
Shaving cream covers the car/That we picked up in Baltimore
Though I know it’s hard to tell/I hope that what’s-his-name treats you well
I still maintain that he’s a bum/But it’s your money - have some fun

(Here's a live recording of the song, but the quality of the audio does it a disservice)

So yeah. That's what I've been listening to lately. Wow, I just realized that album came out in 1991. I first picked it up while I was working at WSBF-FM, the student radio station at Clemson University. I've loved this album for 17 years and I'll probably keep on enjoying it.
duncandahusky: (Oh really?)
Holy cow, it's been a while since I updated. Last weekend was a real hoot. Saturday was [livejournal.com profile] roho's birthday, so we got together with a bunch of friends and first hit Brightonwoods Orchards, then went back to Roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet's place for a tasty dinner of grilled meats and some excellent cupcakes make by [livejournal.com profile] takaza, including carrot cake cupcakes and my favorite, Boston cream cupcakes {drool}.

Sunday, we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus and headed north to Milwaukee, first to Sprecher Brewing to stock up on cherry cola for Midwest FurFest, then a quick stop by Alterra Coffee to feed my filthy caffeine habit. Once done there, it was off to [livejournal.com profile] hegdish and [livejournal.com profile] drakeduck's place for a very enjoyable shindig featuring more grilled meats and some excellent company. It was great to meet some of the Milwaukee furs we hadn't seen before, as well as some old friends we hadn't seen in ages (hi Mistletoe and Tremaine!). Wonderful company, and Hegdish and Drake were excellent hosts. I look forward to seeing more of them!

Most of this week has been slow at work, which is good since that let me catch up on some MFF business. I've been very busy coordinating between departments, making my credit card squeak with a good bit of ordering, and working with some fine crafters out in California on some fun "spiffy" projects. Evenings have been spent enjoying the autumn chill by snuggling up with Dan on the sofa and catching up on Tivo'd programs. Some TV notes: Heroes is definitely getting better. The Amazing Race bummed me out by eliminating my favorite team. Survivor:Gabon is still in the early (boring) stages where the majority of the show can be watched on fast-forward. Chuck is fun, though we still have a couple of episodes to watch. Also sitting on the Tivo: Life on Mars, Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod, My Own Worst Enemy, and the balance of Reaper from last season. As much as I wish we could keep up with Pushing Daisies, we're too far behind. Shows that are falling into the "Ain't gonna watch it" category: Prototype This (so much potential, but so much suck), Knight Rider (too dumb for words), and Fringe (just can't work up the interest).

As for plans this weekend, I may have to go in to work tomorrow morning for a bit. Then tomorrow afternoon Dan's family is coming over - I just don't have the motivation for cooking for a crowd, so we may just order pizza. Sunday I hope to do as little as possible, though we have an MFF staff meeting online in the evening. Just about a month to go until the con! Gah!

Right now, though, I'm listening to some excellent blues, Dan is cooking up a delicious dinner in the kitchen, and I have a very tasty beer in front of me. Life is good. I hope everyone has a great weekend!
duncandahusky: (Crochet)
It's Wednesday already? Wasn't it just Wednesday last week? Man, someone should do something about these calendars.

So last weekend was halfway stress-free. On Saturday we had [livejournal.com profile] takaza's family over to celebrate his mother's birthday, albeit belatedly. We all went together and bought her a Wii. She's a big fan of old-school games like Zelda and Final Fantasy stuff, so the online purchase thing is nifty for her. Plus, we played Boom Blox and I think we sold his mother on the game as well as his brother on buying a Wii period. The damn game is like a virus, I swear.

On Sunday I carpooled with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet down to meet with a prospect for our charity for Midwest FurFest this year (Dan went to see The Dark Knight with his family and worked on Anthrocon tax stuff). The meeting went extremely well and I hope to have an announcement on that front later this week. They're very excited to work with us and I think we're going to have a lot of fun and make them a lot of money. From there, we drove over to [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus's place where we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] siriuswolfstar, [livejournal.com profile] simbalion, [livejournal.com profile] feren, and [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon. We all enjoyed an excellent dinner of burgers and tasty sausages (mmm, andouille!) and some excellent beers. It was a very enjoyable evening!

Work has been more than a little crazy of late. I just wrapped up a big project yesterday which is a big relief, though I've got another project next week that will take up all of my time for the first three days of the week. We've also had a slew of new hires and I'm helping out occasionally to get them settled as well.

This weekend should be fun - I'll be at LAFF softball on Saturday to hang out and chat with folks. Not a lot of plans on Sunday, but we'll wing it and see how things go.

I'll leave you with two interesting links: If anyone is in Los Angeles and likes food and The Amazing Race, well, the Food Network is looking for you! Granted, being the Food Network, I'm sure they'll take a good idea and screw it up royally.

Also, it's about damn time. Anthony Bourdain has been touring around Chicago as he finally films an episode of No Reservations here. I don't know most of the places he mentions, but I'm glad to see that one of the highlights will be Hot Doug's, a true Chicago original. (Though I wonder about his choice of local guides. Mancow Mueller? Really?) Anyway, it should be a great episode when it airs.
duncandahusky: (huskypuppy)
Greetings from South Carolina!

I had posted about this under friends-only posts before because I was planning a surprise...and it worked! On Friday I left work at 11:30 AM and drove north to Milwaukee. As I was driving I called my mom and wished her a happy birthday, and apologized for not being there to help celebrate it. I told her I was driving to lunch as we chatted, and then that I had to go because I was "approaching the restaurant". Actually, I was approaching the airport.

I caught a flight on Midwest Airlines from Milwaukee to Atlanta (on a 717, nice comfy wide leather seats, decent food provided - note to [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, their food is designed by the executive chef at Mader's!). Once I got to Atlanta I picked up my rental car, the most stripped-down Chevy Cobalt you have ever seen. No power windows, locks, or anything, and no cruise control. Ugh. Anyway, I drove out through crowded but not crazy traffic and arrived in Anderson, SC, in almost exactly two hours. I pulled up and surprised the heck out of my mom when I got out of the car!

This has been a lovely and relaxing weekend so far. My sister and her two sons are here as well, and we've been having fun swimming, playing video games, and such. For dinner we went to Liberty Hall Inn and Cafe. Their website didn't offer a lot of information, but my sister recommended them. It was a great choice - the dinner was excellent, and our server, Ashlyn, was a real hoot! For dessert we went out to the deck and had a good enough time that one of the other diners came out to see what all the laughing was about, because "y'all are having a lot more fun than my group." After dinner we came home and swam some in the pool and relaxed. It was a very enjoyable evening.

This morning we had kicked around ideas of driving around a bit and maybe even venturing into the North Carolina mountains. Unfortunately the weather is pretty lousy, so we're going to stay near the house instead. After I shower, Mom and I are going to go pick up some breakfast from Panera, and this afternoon I'll probably play my nephews in a few rounds of Boom Blox.

I'll be here until tomorrow; my flight from Atlanta leaves at 7:55 PM. I'll probably head out early in the afternoon and kill some time around Atlanta before going to the airport. Maybe drop off the car and jump downtown on MARTA? We'll see. For now, I'm off to shower, and then breakfast!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
None of this makes a coherent single entry, so you get a bunch of random stuff:

I just finished a quick meeting with my boss. Granted, he technically only had two months of me being an employee of $employer (in addition to the nine moths prior working the exact same job as a contractor), but he gave me an excellent annual review and is very happy with my work. This makes me positively giddy :-) Speaking of work-related things, I had lunch earlier today with [livejournal.com profile] tozier_wah, which was very cool since he just works across the campus from me. We need to make that a weekly thing or something. We had a great discussion about Midwest FurFest and I think I might have something to keep him busy during the con this year :-)

Yesterday I was all virtuous and stuff and went ahead and got my voting for next week's primary out of the way. It was very cool that the Lake County website had a sample of the exact ballot that I would be presented with so I was able to do a little research on the local candidates and make some informed decisions. Plus I had a nice chat with the poll workers, who were very nice folks.

We're having [livejournal.com profile] takaza's family over on Saturday evening, along with some friends, for a night of gaming. I'm working up a nice menu too - maybe French Onion Soup, and roasted chicken. I think we need some more wine - perhaps a trip to Wine Knows is in order. We also need to do some thorough cleaning of the place, which is pretty standard before company. It's one of the reasons I like to have company over with some regularity: left to our own devices, we keep the clutter to a minimum, but I need a reason to get really motivated to deep clean and take a toothbrush to the baseboards :-)

Apparently, I'm going on a trip in a week and a half. I say "apparently" because, well, I don't know where I'm going. You see, Dan has put together some kind of trip for us to celebrate my fortieth birthday, and all I know is that we're flying off...somewhere (he won't say where)...for a four-day vacation. About all I know is that it's domestic, since neither of us have valid passports, but other than that I have no clue. I also know that no amount of begging for clues from Dan will yield any further information, so I probably appear annoyingly incurious, but I'm very content in the knowledge that Dan knows me well, and whatever he has put together will be truly amazing. And whether it's amazing or not, I'll have my love there with me, so that makes it amazing in itself. (I'm sure he's made all kinds of posts in his journal about this that I can't see, and all of you who have read and heard about this from him are dying of laughter. Hey, I'm OK with that. I'll just sit here in quiet anticipation :-)

Oh, and one last note: I would note that one of my favorite coffees, Dark Roast Sumatran, from one of my favorite coffee providers, Alterra Coffee, is on sale at 10% off. With shipping by Priority Mail only $4.60, if you order a couple of pounds (like I usually do) it's comparable to buying coffee off the shelf from some of the higher-end providers. (I also recently discovered the Brazil Traditional Dry, which is simply outstanding as well).
duncandahusky: (Tom and Dan)
So, when last we left our intrepid heroes they had arrived in Nashville, en route to South Carolina.

Our intention had been to grab a quick breakfast at the Pancake Pantry before heading out of town. Before we left I noted comments about long lines, and found an alternative - Fido, just a half-block away. Sure enough, the line for the Pancake Pantry was out the door, so we opted instead for Fido. I have to admit I was attracted to Fido not just by the name, but by the vibe of the place; it reminded me very much of Gillies in Blacksburg, VA, home of many fond memories for me. I had the "Bayou Benedict", which was a poached egg with Hollandaise sauce over cheese grits with an andouille sausage on the side. Excellent! The French press of coffee helped too :-) We finished off our Nashville mini-tour with a quick stop by the cookware shop across from the Pancake Pantry; Dan picked up a few small things, but the best part of the visit was talking with the proprietors, who were real characters. We were glad we stopped in.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We got down to Anderson, SC, and checked into the La Quinta Inn there (verdict: cheap and clean. What, you wanted more for $50 a night?). Over the course of the weekend I discovered that my laptop power supply connector was over-flexed enough at the laptop end that moving it while plugged in made interesting clicking noises and smelled of ozone, so I elected to stay off the net (but for my cell phone) and quick-order a replacement power supply.

[livejournal.com profile] takaza, my sister, and I did the majority of the cooking for the weekend. I made a penne pasta with Italian sausage on Sunday night, then on Monday night Ruth (my sister) made fettuccine with scallops and shrimp in a cream sauce while Dan made his famous Macaroni and Cheese (with bacon!). For Christmas Day, I made the turkey, the stuffing, and the gravy, Dan made mashed potatoes, and Ruth made green beans with pancetta, as well as pecan and pumpkin pies. We weren't hurting for food :-)

There was the usual last-minute shopping, and gift giving and receiving. Everyone was happy, especially my nephews. Mom stood out in the cold on a Sunday morning a few weeks back to score a Wii for them. Once they received that, they were pretty much dead to the world for the rest of the day.

We got on the road at 6 AM on Wednesday morning and, as noted before, drove 15 hours straight to get home at exactly 8 PM Central Time. It was a fun trip and I'm glad we went, but man am I exhausted.

So, today. I have today and tomorrow off from work as well as Monday; Dan has to work today and tomorrow, but has Monday off as well. He had some interesting stuff happen with work this morning, but that's his story to tell. Suffice to say that things are looking very good for him in the coming year. I've been doing load after load of laundry all morning, and mainly bumming around on the net. Around noon I'll take a shower and see about doing some shopping in preparation for the coming weekend - Sam's Club and the grocery store, here I come! I need to get pretty much all of my errands done today since it appears that the weather is going to be horrid tomorrow, with 5-7 inches of snow falling between 9 AM and 6 PM. What fun!

We did snag a few pictures from the weekend, including the 2007 Christmas Family Photo:

From left to right, that's Me, Dan (aka [livejournal.com profile] takaza), Bella (in Dan's arms), Dad, my nephew Tim, my brother-in-law Marvin, my nephew Chris, my sister Ruth, Holly (in Ruth's arms), and Mom.

Click for more pictures! )


Dec. 26th, 2007 09:29 pm
duncandahusky: (License)
After fifteen hours straight of driving, we're home.

Oh yeah, that's why we don't do that very often.

Me sleep now.

duncandahusky: (License)
And here we are at launch day, so to speak. In a few hours, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I will be getting into his car and heading southwards. Our tentative itinerary will take us through Chambana and Effingham, then down to Nashville, TN for the night. Then tomorrow morning, we'll continue through Chattanooga, Atlanta, then up to Anderson, South Carolina. (Apparently many Chicago furries migrate to South Carolina at Christmastime. Who knew?) I do hope that we'll be able to hit some back roads along the way, and I grabbed a subscription to Roadfood in hopes of discovering some nifty little out-of-the-way restaurants along the way.

Dan and I did our gift-giving last night. As I had mentioned before, since we bought ourselves a freezer we were just going to get each other small gifts for Christmas. Anyway, I did succeed in getting two of Dan's presents to him: a book on digital photography, and the collected Firefly miniseries "Serenity: Those Left Behind". Dan surprised me with something that has been in the back of my head but I had been holding off on: a whole new set of brewing equipment! This was an awesome surprise and I'm looking forward to getting back into brewing after the holidays. Unfortunately, one of Dan's packages is still en route, and at this point it appears that it's going to be delivered after we leave. Awesome! As I was writing this the package was delivered. He has to wait until I get home to open it, though :-)

Looking ahead, it sounds like this is going to be a busy holiday for us. Dan, my sister, and I will be in charge of cooking while we're in South Carolina, and coming up with a selection of foods that pleases everyone. Tuesday night will of course be the traditional Christmas Turkey (a la Alton Brown, natch). Then Wednesday the 26th we'll be driving all the way back to Chicago in one shot - won't that be fun? Dan has to work the 27th and 28th, but I have those days off for a change. I suspect I'll be quite busy those days, cooking and shopping for the weekend. We'll deal with that later, though.
duncandahusky: (Default)
The past few days have been something of a mixed bag. We didn't do much on Friday, but on Saturday I got up early to head off to the doctor. As I had in April for my other foot, I had to go in for a matricectomy on my left foot. Click for potentially squicky medical details. ) One nice thing this time around: last time I had this done I had to soak my foot twice a day. No, I just have what is essentially a medicated Band-Aid I put on the toe after showering each day. Much easier!

So anyway, I got back from the doctor's office at about noon and pretty much sat and stayed on the sofa. Poor [livejournal.com profile] takaza was a whirlwind through the house, cleaning the place up single-handedly in preparation for his family coming over to celebrate his mom's birthday. After a bit we went out to run some errands, though I pretty much stayed in the car with my foot propped up. We did go into Tony's Butcher Shop in Grayslake, since it took less time than going all the way up to Antioch Packing House. This was the second time we've gone there, and we won't be going back. Between the surly service ("What kind of hot dogs are these?" "The best ones."), high prices, and low quality (bones in the ground beef, cartilage in the brats). We got home just in time for Dan's mom to show up, then after a while his sister and brother (and his brother's sister-in-law) arrived. Dan busied himself playing host and grilling up dinner, and was pretty much consigned to the sofa. Since the anesthetic had worn off by then, I was quite OK with this, though I felt kind of useless. We played some games later in the evening, which was quite fun, though by 10 or so everyone was worn out. After we saw everyone off, I popped a Tylenol 3 and we went to bed. I slept quite poorly, waking up every time I moved my foot.

And on Sunday? On Sunday we didn't do diddly, and it was great. We watched a whole lot of Tivo and relaxed, and didn't even leave the house.

So here we are at Monday. My foot isn't hurting too badly, though I'm propping it up at every opportunity. The boss is out this week, so there's a corresponding lack of immediacy pervading the office. Dan is going to be off in Indiana for a few days this week, so I'll be on my own for at least one night. Then this weekend there's Indian food on Friday (om nom nom!) and LAFF Softball on Saturday (yes, I intend to be there, though not play). But for now, back to work!
duncandahusky: (Honda Element)
Hmm, I'm getting slack about updating again. That's not so good.

Last week we had to get both of our Honda Elements serviced, mine to have the upholstery repaired before the warranty expired and [livejournal.com profile] takaza's for its 60,000 mile service. Rosen Honda in Gurnee proved a mixed bag in terms of getting this accomplished. Just setting up the service was difficult, as it took no less than four calls just to get through to the service department, including getting hung up on twice. I dropped my car off on Wednesday night, and got a call on Thursday that they had completely disassembled the driver's seat and opened the box with the new seat cover only to find that it was the wrong color. We therefore had to leave the care there Thursday night as well. I picked it up on Friday afternoon after work, dropping off Dan's car in the process with the request that the service be completed by noon on Saturday.

I stopped to get gas before heading down to pick up Dan and it's a good thing I did, because while filling up I saw that in the process of putting the car through the car wash just before giving it back to me, they had torn off the rear windshield wiper and it was hanging by a wire. I high-tailed it back to the dealership and arrived just as the parts department closed. The service guy was very apologetic and fixed things up enough that the car wouldn't be damaged until I could bring it back the next day to get the wiper assembly replaced.

From there I headed south to meet Dan at the Buffalo Grove Metra station (gods, I hate Lake-Cook Road on Friday afternoons). We killed some time playing minigolf at my favorite place in the area, Par King, then met up with [livejournal.com profile] daveqat and [livejournal.com profile] synicism for dinner at Osteria di Tramonto. Dinner was fabulous, as always; I had the cavatelli with roasted escarole and chicken; Dan had chicken Parmesan, Dave went with the hanger steak, and Jim had rack of lamb. All were excellent, and my chocolate torte after dinner was superb.

On Saturday, Dan and I went to pick up his car. $520 later - ouch! - the car is in excellent shape, though I'm told the front brake pads need replacing soon. Somehow I'm certain that I can get it done cheaper than the $289 they're offering; heck, from what I understand, if I had the service manual and a couple more tools I could do it myself. It's something to consider after Anthrocon, perhaps; in the meantime, since he's putting all of maybe four miles a day on the car going to and from the train station, it's not hugely urgent.

We stopped by Lovin' Over Cakery for some tasty dessert stuff, then headed over to Dan's mom's place for an afternoon of games and lots and lots of food. She had roasted a 20+ pound turkey (!) and had made all of the trappings. This just for me, Dan, Dan's brother and sister, and her. We had a great time playing Scene It! Squabble (truly annoying, with offensive gender stereotypes for all!), Apples to Apples, and Balderdash. I enjoyed Balderdash the most, though I'm thinking that we need to pick up a copy of Malarky, which encourages a little more elaborate tale-spinning. We capped off the evening with a family portrait, which Dan posted in his journal.

On Sunday, Dan and I worked on various Anthrocon and Midwest FurFest tasks, taking a break to hit the grocery store. Dan made a tasty turkey and rice dish with kielbasa using the huge amount of leftover turkey his mom gave us before we left the night before. We "attended" the MFF online staff meeting, then I edited the log and sent the notes out shortly afterwards. The rest of the evening, we watched a bit of TiVo and the Robot Chicken Star Wars Special, then headed off to bed.

So, this week: Poker Night on Wednesday, and I need to run various errands after work on Wednesday and Thursday. Next weekend is Dan's employer's company picnic, and we're going to be running the bingo games again this year. Should be...um, fun. Yeah, that's it. Fun. :-)
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
You know, as exhausted as I felt at work on Friday, I was astonished at how much energy I had when I got home. It turned out that the power had actually come back on at 8:30 AM, which meant that while the freezer was pretty much OK, some serious culling needed to be done in the refrigerator. Fortunately, it wasn't too bad - mostly party leftovers and anything with dairy in it (including, sadly, the Keke Key Lime Pie liqueur). Once [livejournal.com profile] takaza got home, we talked a bit about dinner and decided that we both wanted something more than a hot dog. We decided that Indian food sounded good, so we met up with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet for dinner at Bombay City. The food was, as always, delicious and the company was excellent as well. It was fortunate that we weren't far from home, because once the food coma set in, I was very quickly ready to fall asleep.

Saturday found Dan and over at his mother's house with some family to play some games. I have to admit I had some trepidation going in, but I was readily accepted and we had a whole lot of fun. We played Scene It, Apples to Apples, and Taboo, and it was a blast. It was even better since we moved the table out to the deck and we got to enjoy a perfectly beautiful day outside. At about 7:30, it was time to head south to [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin's birthday party. Because it was such a beautiful evening, we wound up taking back roads through Crystal Lake down to Randall Road, all the way down to Aurora. It was a very pleasant drive along the western edge of the densest Chicago suburbs. When we got to the Holiday Inn Select Naperville (her party was held in conjunction with Duckon), we hung out for a little while, but as is always so typical, between being tired and having a long drive ahead of us, we had to leave before the party really got going well. It was a pleasure to see so many of our friends, albeit briefly. One nifty thing: On the way out through the parking lot we passed by the Tesla coil demonstration. I thought to grab our camera out of the car and grabbed a quick 30-second video of the powerful electrical arcs, which were set to music:

On Sunday, we met up with Roho and Genet to see Waitress. It was a lovely movie, and I really enjoyed it. Not too deep or profound, but enjoyable nonetheless. Keri Russell was fantastic in her role, Nathan Fillion was adorable as always, and the late director was also very good in her supporting role; it's a crying shame that she passed away before the move was released. After the movie we retired back to our place for a marathon of home improvement shows, including Hometime, The Real Estate Pros, and Flip This House (as well as some Good Eats and Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares). We ordered some pizza somewhere in there, and mainly just relaxed and hung out. Quite a nice, low-stress day. Right before bed, though, I was contacted with an interesting bit of news that left me a bit gobsmacked and made getting to sleep difficult. Nothing bad, just surprising.

And so we have this week. Looks like I may have to work some off hours this week (and maybe the next few weeks) to support a project here, which is fine. If anything, it's unusual that I haven't been asked to do this before, and it's not as if it's mandatory (the boss is cool like that). We'll work something out.
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Man, you know it's getting time to post in your journal when your mom complains about she hasn't read anything new there lately ;-)

Well, on Saturday we started out by taking [livejournal.com profile] takaza's mom to lunch for her birthday. I understand that she's just happy to spend time with us, but I admit that I'm used to making a bit more of a to-do over such things; she was just fine with us going to Steak and Shake, which she'd never been to before. Dan and I grew up with very different family dynamics. Neither is better or worse than the other, but sometimes it can be a bit weird. We had fun, though, and it was a pleasant lunch. Afterwards we went to [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet's place and had a fun evening with them and [livejournal.com profile] datahawk, [livejournal.com profile] feren, [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. A surprisingly small amount of alcohol was consumed, and we all were feeling pretty tired before midnight even rolled around. Ah well.

Sunday began with the traditional trip to Las Vegas Restaurant, where I had their always-fabulous Las Vegas skillet. From there we headed back into the city and lazed around the house for a while. For dinner, Dan and I tried to come up with something new and different to do with the large amount of fresh corn that we purchased. Dan cut the kernels off the cobs, then I sautéed up some garlic and added the corn to the pan. A little salt, a little pepper, some paprika, and...bleah. It's not often that our culinary experiments go awry, but this one was to neither of our liking; the sweetness of the corn was a weird match for the garlic, and while the paprika started to bridge the gap, it just wasn't enough.

Monday and Tuesday were unremarkable, except that the weather cooled down enough to make going outside actually a pleasant prospect. I took the bus down to Lincoln Square and spent about an hour and a half outside of The Grind reading The Reader and enjoying a tasty blueberry smoothie. the weather was nice enough (low 70's and low humidity) that I decided to walk back. My stroll took me past Kempf Plaza where tango tunes from the 40's and 50's were being played on a tinny speaker while older couples danced around the plaza (please pardon my lousy cameraphone quality). I had to stop for a while and enjoy the music and the spectacle - it was a magical thing on a cool summer evening. The rest of the walk home, the music played in my head and provided a moody background to the quiet neighborhoods.

When I called Dan after work on Wednesday he mentioned that parking was going to be limited on the street in front of [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus's place for the next four days while they re-pave, so we decided that it would be better for him to just leave his car at work and we can car-pool for a few days. After I picked him up, we drove over to the Renaissance Schaumburg and Convention Center to check them out. They just opened the place six weeks ago, and they're still a bit rough around the edges (missing signage, lights missing on the elevators, wallpaper edges still showing a bit). Once they get everything ironed out, though, the place is going to be nothing short of amazing. And huge, too! I'll be curious to compare that against the still-under-construction Westin Lombard Yorktown Center once that is complete. (No one should read this as an indication that MFF is moving anywhere, but it's always good to know all of the available venues in the area.)

And so, tonight. Linnaeus is hosting a Happy Hour at The Red Lion, and I hope to make it to that. Hope to see some of y'all there!
duncandahusky: (huskyface)
Traffic in Chicago on Friday afternoons sucks; traffic on Friday afternoons when it's raining is just downright retarded. This would explain why it took us two hours to get from Mount Prospect to Naperville last Friday afternoon. The trip was worth it, though! We had an OK dinner at Famous Dave's (thereby scratching my yen for BBQ - almost. Now I just want some good BBQ). The company was excellent, though, as we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin, [livejournal.com profile] foxish, [livejournal.com profile] emrldgirrl, [livejournal.com profile] datahawk, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. After dinner we headed over to the theater and saw Clerks 2, which was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. Like most of Smith's movies, it's very quotable, and educational, too (hence the title of this post :-)

On Saturday we had a pleasant morning and early afternoon of bumming around the house, then headed out to Sheffield Walk to see Carbon Leaf. That was a heck of a lot more people in too small a space than I was prepared to deal with. The sound mix, alas, was abominable, and between the crowds and incoming rain, Dan and I bailed about halfway through the set. We retreated to Bobtail for tasty ice cream, and were joined there by Linnaeus. Devin and Data picked up Kyttin and met us in Lincoln Square, but we eventually opted to adjourn back to Linnaeus' place for dinner from the taquiera on the corner nearby. Dinner was yummy, and it's always fun to hang out with friends.

Sunday found us driving up to McHenry County to visit with Dan's mom. Her Tivo wasn't connecting and we suspected we knew the problem but had to be there to fix it. Sure enough, the Netgear wireless router had somehow completely reset itself; fixing it was a two-minute thing, very simple. We got a delicious lunch out of the deal, though, and a nice afternoon of familial socializing. We headed home and lazed around the house for the rest of the evening, watching a little more Tivo.

And here we are at today. Ever since Friday, I've had a pain in my right ear that has gotten worse and worse. I suspected I knew the problem, and I just got back from the doctor who confirmed it: Otitis Externa, or Swimmer's Ear. A round of levofloxacin (a relative of Cipro) should take care of it, and the Tylenol with codeine to help the pain at night won't hurt either :-) Having taken care of that, I'm off in a few minutes to pick up Dan and then we'll wander our way down to Lombard to celebrate [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck's birthday. Yay!

Oh, and for locals: if you haven't seen it, there's a coffee get-together in the city on Wednesday!
duncandahusky: (License)
And so, five days and approximately 1,800 miles later, we're home again. A quick recap:

On Thursday, we left for my parents' place in Anderson, South Carolina. We only drove about two-thirds of the way there, stopping for the night in Knoxville, Tennessee (sorry we didn't call, [livejournal.com profile] partran, but we got in pretty late). We got up early the next morning and drove the last five hours down to my parents'. We tried to stop in Canton, North Carolina, to return the NC license plates for the Alero and Dan's old plates for his Element, but first we found that the DMV office had moved, and then that it was closed for the day. We shrugged and continued on, getting in at around 12:30 PM. My sister, her husband, and my two nephews were already there, having driven in from St. Louis the day before.

It was a great weekend, and it was really good to spend time with my family. [livejournal.com profile] takaza seemed to have a good time as well, and got along well with Chris (age 10) and Tim (age 8). Ruth and I did most of the cooking during the weekend, which I'm sure was a welcome break for my mom, and Dan and Marvin (my brother-in-law) did yeoman work with cleanup detail. Dad was looking fantastic for someone who had had back surgery just a few weeks prior. I was glad to see him up and standing for hours at a time, when before the surgery he was able to remain upright for less than a minute.

We did the traditional gift-giving on Christmas morning. Chris and Tim, of course, got a pile of loot; they seemed to enjoy the Legos and video games they received, and judging from the background noise from last night's phone call, Dan's choice for Apples to Apples Junior for the family was a huge hit. Ruth and Marvin will get a lot of use out of the accessories we got for their new digital camera, and Mom and Dad seemed to like our gift to them: a Tivo. I think they're still figuring out how to work it and why it's such a wonderful thing, but I suspect they'll come around with time. We had some fun trying to set it up since they had no telephone jack in the room we put it and even if they did, all they have is Vonage, which does not play well with Tivo. We wound up having to take the Tivo back to our hotel room for it to dial in and get all of the program updates. Fortunately, we had prepared for the possibility and we had picked up a wireless router and adapter for the Tivo; once we had all the program updates it was a breeze to get it hooked into the network. They should be good to go!

For Dan, I got a gift that I know he will enjoy: A night out on the town, with gift certificates for dinner at Heaven on Seven and two tickets for Blue Man Group (I'll point out those are to be used for him and anyone of his choosing - it's tacky to buy someone gifts that you'll use yourself :-) I won't list all the gifts I received except to say that they were all wonderful, and all very much appreciated. (OK, I will mention that I'm going to really enjoy the Thermapen that Dan got me, though!)

Christmas was over all too soon and yesterday we hit the road at 5:45 AM Central Time. We made great time; the only bad weather we ran into was some light rain/snow flurries and high winds through the NC mountains. Surprisingly, the traffic into Chicago wasn't horrible and we pulled into the garage right around 6:00 PM - darned good time!

Today, Dan is off from work, but I'm here like a good worker drone. Naturally, about half of the office is out until next week, but that makes things a bit more bearable. [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, who is already babysitting a surprisingly well-behaved large, white bird (I thought it was a cockatiel, but looking at pictures of them now I'm not so sure), surprised me this morning with another friend that he's keeping an eye on: Nita (she's in the center of that pic). She's a real cutie, but alas, only visiting for one day. But hey, any dog time is always good.

I slept poorly, so I suspect today is going to drag. Nevertheless, it should be pretty mellow - I've got some projects I'm working on, and it's nice to have some peace and quiet in which to do it. Looking ahead, Dan and I are going to see the Blackhawks tomorrow night, and then there's the LAFF New Year's Party this weekend. I'll be in touch with those of you who have volunteered to help out at the door - with luck, we can keep it down to 30 minutes apiece, leaving folks time to go and have fun with other stuff. But now, back to work!

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