duncandahusky: (Default)
Right, I have a journal here. I should actually use it :-)

Just to update a few things before they totally slip into the past: Following the craziness that was Wuffmeet, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I slipped into a comfortable winter rhythm. Our cooking has improved, or at least gotten more interesting, with the addition of a Sous Vide Supreme to our kitchen. We are still experimenting and testing recipes, but we've been really impressed with how it cooks steaks and other meats. The fish it makes is to die for, and butter-poached chicken is simply divine. The biggest trick is that seasonings behave differently with low-temperature cooking, so we are still learning what works, what doesn't, and what we still need to try. I'm having a ball with is, and I'm hoping to bring it to Furry Connection North to provide some interesting snacks for our parties!

Our social life has gotten a bit quieter with the departure of close friends [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet to the wilds of the east coast as they move to the heart of Boston. While we were very sad to see them go, I'm really glad to see Roho get his life back from his (former) evil employer. We provided some small help in moving some of their furniture out of their house (I still feel bad about what we did to the wall in their basement stairwell, but I'm told it was a relatively easy fix). Once the movers came and loaded up their stuff, Genet crashed at our place for a few days with Briana, their pretty-but-airheaded Samoyed. She and Buddy got along great (as always), and it was nice to have the extra company. Once all of the contractors were done making their place super-pretty so it could go on the market, she packed up the dog and their two cats and made the long drive to Boston. Here's hoping they can clear all the boxes out of their new place before summer! ;-)

We have been having a lot of fun planning our upcoming cruise to Alaska, coming up around Memorial Day. Somehow our group has reached 18 people from all over - even someone from Sweden! We purchased a good bit of the various parts of the trip over the last month, including flights (Frontier Airlines, MKE-DEN-ANC/SEA-MKE), reservations at a fabulous little lesbian-owned B&B in Anchorage, trains from Anchorage to Seward (where our ship departs) and Vancouver to Seattle, and various shore excursions. Dan is thinking about putting together a group chat on Saturday, March 5, for everyone in our group so we can talk about coordinating schedules and answer any questions that folks might have. We'll be sending around emails for that. This is going to be the longest vacation we've had, and I'm really looking forward to it! We're already brainstorming ideas for group trips for next year as well, including an extended weekend in New Orleans, and a ski weekend at Sugarloaf in Maine. More on that after the cruise!

I should mention that on Groundhog Day we got buried with a blizzard. Twenty inches of snow fell in a very short time, and then the 40-50 mph winds kicked in. We did the smart thing and made sure we had everything we needed and when it started coming down we sat tight at the house. Work for both of us was closed (the first time in a long time!) and we spent the snow day relaxing and Genet made cookies! Our HOA dues have never been more appreciated as we watched the snow removal company try to cope with the huge drifts, though we did get into the act a little bit by excavating Genet's car from the snow.

Somewhere in there was our first Midwest FurFest staff meeting of the year. It's always rough to get started again after the last convention, but there's contracts to sign and plans to get into place. The good news is that Hyatt Regency O'Hare was extremely happy with the convention last year, and now that we all know each other, the coming year will be much easier to plan. We have changed up our meeting schedule a bit, with more online meetings early in the year; this makes sense since most of the staff doesn't really need to spring into action until the summer.

Oh, for those wondering: our conventions schedule this year is to attend Furry Connection North and Midwest FurFest and...that's it. Since the cruise is so long and I only have ten days of vacation, Anthrocon just isn't in the cards for us this year. I wish everyone involved with AC well, though, especially [livejournal.com profile] rooth and [livejournal.com profile] chanur2000, who will be taking over my and Dan's staff positions there, respectively. Good luck, guys!

Finally, Dan and I will be hopping on board the Amtrak Wolverine this evening and taking the train over to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to hang out with the fine folks there for the weekend, and to help determine the beers that will be served at FCN's sponsor lounge. It should be tough, thirsty work! Dan has planned a fun dinner for Saturday night as well. The fun doesn't end there, as it appears that we will be visited by [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd and [livejournal.com profile] bajahyena next weekend, when we will...well, those plans are a secret!

Off to work now - I hope everyone has a great weekend!
duncandahusky: (Crochet)

Yeah, I'm staying inside today.
duncandahusky: (Grr. Argh.)
Another Tuesday, another exciting weekend recap. Well, for some value of exciting.

It was confirmed that we got a full twelve inches of snow on Friday. Fortunately, it warmed up and half of it was melted away by the end of the weekend. Still, it was very pretty to look at on Saturday morning and relax with a nice cup of coffee and some nice music playing. Once [livejournal.com profile] takaza woke up, we got to work cleaning up the living room and dining room, then moving all the furniture into the kitchen to give the carpet a needed steam-cleaning.

While the carpet dried we went out for a tasty dinner at Scott Dogs, stopped by Antioch Liquors for the first round of purchases for Furry Connection North, then stopped by Garden Fresh Market to do some grocery shopping. It was an expensive trip there, but with boneless skinless chicken breasts and strip steaks on sale, we laid in a supply of both for the freezer. The carpet was almost, but not quite, dry when we got home, so we arranged furniture as best we could and relaxed for the rest of the evening poking at our laptops.

On Sunday, Dan was feeling sort of blah and antisocial, so I struck out on my own for the Easter dinner that [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus was hosting at his place. [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] siriuswolfstar and [livejournal.com profile] simbalion, and [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck were also in attendance. Dinner was a very tasty roasted turkey breast, sausage wrapped in brioche, garlic mashed potatoes, and salad. Just excellent! For dessert, Roho and Genet made their tasty cinnamon monkey bread. They were also kind enough to give me a lift home. I had a blast, but getting to bed at 12:15 AM damn near killed me the following day.

Monday both Dan and I were dragging. After we both got home and took care of some chores around the house, we were feeling a bit better, and Dan made a delicious dinner of chicken and rice. The rest of the week looks like it's going to be pretty low-key, as will this weekend. That's good, though - I like having some quiet time with my wuff!
duncandahusky: (Husky Sign)
When I left for work this morning there were a few snowflakes in the air and the ground was dry. There's eight inches of snow on the ground right now and it is still falling hard. The roads are plowed, at least, but the driveway into our townhouses garages aren't; I had to bull my way through with my little two-wheel-drive and hope I didn't get stuck - yay for snow-driving skills! I shoveled a bit to at least knock down the berm at the end of the driveway so others can get a better shot at getting in, though the whole time the phrase "heart attack snow" (the phrase that they've been bandying about to describe the wet, heavy snow that's falling to day) was running through my head. Yes, I took it easy, but after about ten minutes I could see why they call it that. I'll leave the rest to the Magical Snow Elves and their snow blowers and snow plows.

[livejournal.com profile] takaza wisely took Metra today; he should be on the 4:16 PM train into Grayslake. Hopefully he can get home without getting stuck anywhere.

When all this is done by tomorrow morning we're supposed to have 6-12 inches total. I expect we'll be pretty close to a foot, if not more.
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
I neglected to mention yesterday that I actually won something! One of my favorite food blogs is Serious Eats. Every so often they have giveaways to promote various cookbooks or vendors. I've been entering for months, but never was the lucky name drawn...until Tuesday, when I entered to win Artisanal Chocolate Eggs from John and Kira's, a chocolatier out of Philadelphia. I seem to have won a box of 36 chocolate eggs. Um, wow. A note to all of my friends in the area - hit me up, because it would probably be better if we didn't eat all those ourselves :-) (As an aside, today Serious Eats linked to a recipe I'm tempted to try: Cadbury Creme Eggs Muffins!)

Meanwhile, I've been working with my shiny new laptop. You're right, [livejournal.com profile] kellicjtiger, I wouldn't say it's flat-out pink; after looking at the possibilities, I'd say it's a more light Thulian pink. I'm having fun shifting all of my files from my old laptop, and now that I have space, I'm starting to copy our MP3 library on there too. It's so nice to have a laptop that runs fast and doesn't have to shift into high gear when I click on a YouTube video, for instance.

And finally, it looks like we're in for something like 5-7 inches of wet, heavy snow starting tonight into tomorrow night, with possible thundersnow. As this morning's forecast discussion says, "Happy Astronomical Spring."
duncandahusky: (Ky00t Duncan)
And here we are, Friday at last!

I thought the week might take forever (subjectively) as it always does right before a vacation, but this turned out not to be the case. Having piles of projects at work helps!

So the big snow came and went on Wednesday; in the end we got a hair over 12 inches. The roads were a wreck yesterday morning, so much so that when I went to drop [livejournal.com profile] takaza off at the train station what is normally a less-than-five-minute drive took 15 minutes and we missed his train. Since the schedule on the North Central line sucks, his next shot at a train in was two hours later. I went in to work, then left at 8:45 AM to take him to the 9:18 train. Yeah, not even close. What is normally an eight-minute drive took close to twenty, and when I picked him up and saw the line of cars on Hainesville Road, I knew there was no way we'd make his train. Rather than wait two hours until the next train, I dropped him off at the Grayslake station and he caught the Fox Lake train in, again having to take a taxi from Glenview (that cost even more than last time!).
Unfortunately, as a consequence of not getting in until just before noon, he didn't make it home last night until around 9 PM.

And so we have this weekend. As I mentioned before, Dan is dragging me off on a four-day trip to celebrate my 40th birthday. I still have no idea where we're going, though I have some suspicions. I'm sure it will be fun and memorable. They say that over the years a couple tends to get more like each other, and watching Dan fret about planning and worrying about the trip, I have to laugh. Normally he's unflappable and easygoing; being so nervous about things, he reminds me of...me. But that's exactly why I'm not worried, because I know I'm in good hands :-) That doesn't mean the excitment isn't getting to me, though - I woke up this morning at 3:45 AM with a touch of reflux and after a half-hour couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up. I hope we're not going to be out super-late tonight! Anyway, I intend to bring the camera along and be Mr. Annoying Shutterbug (if I can remember!) so hopefully I'll have lots of pictures to show off when we get back.

Now if only 2 PM would get here so I can get out of here!

Home Safe.

Feb. 6th, 2008 03:01 pm
duncandahusky: (License)
[livejournal.com profile] takaza and I are now at home, safe. There's a good 8-10 inches of snow on the ground and it's still coming down hard. And horizontally.

Whiteouts suck.
duncandahusky: (Husky - WTF?)
What fun! Last night we only saw about two inches of snow, followed by rain, followed by snow as the snow/rain line danced over our area before an area of relative calm moved in. I was fully prepared to bag work this morning and work from home (yes, I did have stuff to work on!), but there was no good reason to call in. Of course, the snow started up again after I dropped [livejournal.com profile] takaza off at the train station, and by the time I had driven the four miles to work visibility had dropped to about a quarter mile. According to the National Weather Service, we're in for 12"-14" of snow by 6 PM tonight; that's a whole lot of snow in a relatively short time. I'm going to keep an eye on things and if it starts to get really bad out there, I'll be heading home.
duncandahusky: (Chewy!)
After all that hemming and hawing about what to serve on Saturday, we wound up punting and changing the proposed menu completely. [livejournal.com profile] takaza got up shockingly early (9 AM) and by 11 AM we were on the road running errands. We decided to make a big ol' pot of chili and supplement it with tasty accoutrements like rice, queso fresco, and chopped onions. I made a batch of homemade cornbread that unfortunately not only turned out dry and flavorless but, when I was trying to get it out of the Pyrex glass pan, the pan slipped and landed on the inside of my forearm, giving me a large, nasty-looking burn (fortunately, it only looks nasty - it's about as painful as a sunburn).

We wound up with 12 guests in attendance, including Dan's family. We had a really fun time, and there was good food, good beer, good wine, and good company. The evening seemed to fly by. We finally said good night to everyone by midnight. As usual, we didn't get to play as many games as Dan would have liked - next time, we need to focus less on the food and more on the games.

Sunday was delightfully lazy. We snacked off leftovers, and finally got around to watching the Super Bowl about an hour after it had started, Tivo-style. That made the game (and the commercials) much more enjoyable, and since I didn't really have a favorite to win, it was nice to just watch and appreciate some good football.

This week has been crawling by, as I knew it would - don't the weeks before vacations always slow down? I fully intend to take some work home with me this afternoon, though, since the forecast is for 8"-12" of snow up here, with the worst of it falling between 4 AM and noon tomorrow. If it's really bad, I have no intention of trying to get in to work. That's fine, though - I have a stack of about 50 SOP's I need to read by the end of the week, and I can do it at home or here.

By the way, on a complete tangent: Does anyone else use Del.icio.us? I can be found on there under the username DuncanHusky. I tend to use it to bookmark good recipes that I want to come back to, funny comics, and other random things (random example: the amusing comic "I Am a Host at The Olive Garden").
duncandahusky: (Default)
Yesterday was a bit of an oddity. Both [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I had to work; Dan had to help out in his office for a bit following their relocation on Friday, and I had to go in as part of a plant-wide work day in exchange for everyone getting Monday the 24th off. I was OK with this. The majority of my department sacrificed a vacation day not to come in, but considering I went in at 9 AM and left at 1 PM, I'm glad I went in (plus I don't have any vacation days left!).

Once I got home, I worked on the dish I was making for [livejournal.com profile] datahawk's birthday party while waiting for Dan to come home from work. And waited. And waited. Right when I really started to get worried I heard the garage door open. You see, it was snowing heavily by that point, and he had to drive Route 12 from Palatine to Volo at 25-30 mph. After he got home, the snowfall intensified, and after much discussion and deliberation and worrying, we decided that it just wasn't a good idea to try to make the 42-mile drive down to the party. We're sad we couldn't attend, and I hope that everyone had a great time.

Instead, we spent the evening relaxing, watching the snow fall, and catching up on some of the tons of stuff we have on the Tivo. Dan also made some tasty macaroni and cheese. I trundled off to bed early, while he stayed up to watch stuff I'm not interested in, like "ER".

The sun is out this morning and it looks like the snow has ended. The Magical Snow Elves have come through and plowed our driveway and shoveled our sidewalk, which is lovely. We don't have much plans for today besides laundry and making plans for Christmas. I may try to get a bit of cooking done for Wuffmeet, though, if I feel motivated to run to the store. This is the first time in a few months that we've had a day completely that we didn't need to do anything, and it's a lovely, though strange, feeling!
duncandahusky: (Cooking - Kitchen Aid)
Well, the snow came and went, as predicted. I think when all is said and done we got about eight inches up here. It's not too big a deal, but the roads were pretty sloppy this morning. It took me twice as long as usual to get to work - 15 minutes! Man, I love living nearby.

So [livejournal.com profile] takaza is still off in Detroit training, which means one more night of living the bachelor life. Last night was terribly exciting: relaxing on the sofa, reading the paper, chatting with folks on the muck and by IM, and listening to a good net radio station. Woo, life in the fast lane! :-) Tonight may be a bit different, though. Now that we have a little extra freezer space to work it, it occurred to me that the dinner that we traditionally cook for the first night of our New Year's shindig could be made in advance and frozen. This would take a lot of pressure off me right before the party, which is always a Good Thing. I'm thinking about making a curried lamb and lentil stew tonight. I also want to make a tasty chili, and Dan will be making a beef stew. How crazy will we get? Who knows. This adds an extra bit of flexibility, though, and I love the idea of being able to offer a couple of different dishes.
I expect I'll be stopping at home after work to track down the recipe(s) I want, then it'll be off to the store to pick up ingredients.

Hm, need to make some plans for the weekend, too. I'll work on that.
duncandahusky: (huskyface)
Great fun here yesterday, as we got five or six inches of wet, heavy snow. This caused numerous blackouts in the area as tree limbs started falling on power lines, but nothing too bad. It played heck with a lot of people's commutes, even doubling the length of my commute! 'Course, since it only takes me five minutes to get to work, I don't expect a lot of sympathy.

It's been a boring week so far; not a whole lot going on at work, and evenings have been quiet. Just for a change of pace, I'll be heading down to the doctor's office after work today to have an ingrown toenail looked at (right there with ya, [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck!). It's gotten bad enough that it's making me limp a bit and the pain is waking me up at night, so yeah - time to see what can be done. This will probably be my last visit to this doctor - while she was convenient to my last job, that's no longer the case. Her office is a good half-hour away (and 45-60 minutes back, with traffic). Couple this with the fact that what used to be a small office with a receptionist, one nurse, and one doctor, all of whom knew you by name (and I their names) and were all quite friendly, has suddenly grown to a three-doctor practice with multiple support staff. I understand the economics of it, but it's like I’m going from being a valued patient whose history the doctor knew without looking at the chart to just a another insurance claim to be filed. Time to check with Aetna and see what doctors are on their plan in the Round Lake/Grayslake area.

Meanwhile, it looks like I'll be doing some work around the house this weekend, finally getting the bathtub in the master bath unclogged, and probably pull the elbows from under the kitchen sink and clean those (oh, those are gonna be gross) as well as doing some house cleaning. On Sunday, it appears we'll be seeing some hockey with friends, which is always fun as well.

Time to go grab a soda, I think...
duncandahusky: (Heroes fanboy)
Well, this was the weekend of "Gonna do it...but didn't." But in the end, that's OK, I reckon.

The weather forecast for Saturday was dismal, but as the day approached the arrival of the sleet/snow/icy death was pushed further back, finally to late afternoon. We'd been intending to stay in all weekend, but an enticing invitation from [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet found me joining them for lunch in Libertyville ([livejournal.com profile] takaza had actually believed me when I said we'd be staying in all weekend, and very reasonably opted to sleep in instead). We met up at The Firkin. I really liked this place! Imagine someplace like The Hopleaf only without quite the insane number of beers and a bigger menu (and not insanely packed!). They have a good 25 beers on draft though (as well as Sprecher's root beer, cream soda, and ginger ale!), and appear to change them regularly. I was in a bock mood, so I started out with an Anchor Bock, which was delicious, then moved to the always-reliable Spaten Optimator. Since they were running Creole/Cajun specials for Mardi Gras, I opted for the smoked alligator sausage and blackened chicken fettuccine, which was...well, it was capable, and the sausage was good. I'd probably stick to their regular menu, which is supposed to be much better.

After lunch we walked around a bit until I was safe to drive to enjoy the shops of downtown Libertyville. We found a fun little kitchen shop that offers cooking classes, then got ice cream from a little shop that also hosted children's parties on Saturdays. Gah. Anyway, I took my leave of R&G and headed back home.

As for the rest of the weekend? Wow. Not much to say. Saturday night Dan made a fabulous lasagna-esque thing with chicken, tomato sauce, bacon, and lots of cheese. I played a whole lot of Okami (yeah, I'm an addict). And we watched the snow come down from Saturday afternoon through Sunday night; I think we finished off with about six inches of snow and sleet, all told. I also made a very tasty chocolate bread pudding on Sunday night, though the recipe could have been slightly sweeter.

So here we are this week. We have a housewarming party coming up and a good bit of stuff to get done before then. Tonight my main goal is to get the drapes in the master bedroom up, and put a few finishing touches on the guest bedroom as well. That's pretty much all the structural stuff - after that it's just cleaning and cooking.

Oh, and last night? Yeah, we watched Heroes. And were suitably blown away by all the wonderful plot tidbits that were leaked out. I very much agree with those who have said that that episode alone qualifies Jack Coleman ("Mr. Bennett") for an Emmy. For those counting along, that was episode 17 of 23 for the first season, so the finale is coming soon!
duncandahusky: (Oh really?)
So yeah, we got about seven inches of snow the other day. I was reminded why it's kind of nice to live in a townhouse...

Click here for picture goodness )
duncandahusky: (License)
Yeah, as y'all may have heard, we got a little snow in the Chicago area today. In the city itself it wasn't too bad - I estimated that there was maybe two or three inches of wet, heavy snow on my car when I went out at 6:30 this morning. Once I extricated myself from where I had been parked in (gods, I hate parking on the street!) it was time to begin the fun:

North on Jersey to Peterson, Peterson west to the Edens, the Edens north to Touhy (took 15 minutes), Touhy west to Caldwell (traffic light was out), Caldwell north to Golf, Golf west to the Tri-State Tollway. Tri-State Tollway north (25 mph all the way, snow depth and accumulation rate increasing as I go - stop twice to clear snow out from under wipers). Try to get off at 137/Buckley Road - accident on the ramp between a truck and a car, no dice. Continue north to 120/Belvidere Road - truck stuck on the ramp, no dice. Continue north to 132/Grand Ave. Grand Ave. west (parts still unplowed, a good 10" of snow on the ground) to US 45. US 45 south to IL 120. IL 120 west to Wilson Road.

Total travel time: Three Hours. It's normally a 45-minute drive.

Well, that was fun.

I expect the roads are going to suck even worse tonight as everything starts freezing. With luck, I'll be heading northwards after work to Antioch rather than deal with all of the foolishness in the city. We'll see...
duncandahusky: (Default)
Slow morning at the office, and no one really seems to want to get down to work. Fine by me! we've got the company "Holiday Dinner" today, which means a free roast beef meal for lunch (best advice from cow-orkers: "DON'T EAT THE SHRIMP SALAD!"). Incidentally, yesterday I applied for two positions here, one of which seems tailored to me: they're looking for someone with a masters in chemical engineering who has experience with scale-up and a familiarity with a GMP environment. Hey, that's me! Of course, there's not a lot of chance that I'll hear back from them, but hope springs eternal.

So, now we have snow in the forecast. Not a big deal, only 1-3 inches (though I note that while CBS 2 is saying 4-7 inches, the National Weather Service and Tom Skilling are sticking with 1-3). The big problem is that the heaviest snow is supposed to be late afternoon/early evening, which is to say, evening rush hour. Bring the pain! I'd leave early, or at least I'd have taken the train, except I have a doctor's appointment at 4 PM in Lincolnshire. I figure if I get home by 7 PM, I'll be doing good.

Hmm. Not much going on tonight - some leftovers for dinner, and the penultimate episode of Survivor for the season. I was revisiting some old episodes over at my favorite reality-show-snark website, Television Without Pity, and I came across this amusing comment in this week's Amazing Race recaplet:
At any rate, a defensive posture for the finale -- Anybody But The Weavers -- is my personal plan. Because the season has already been boring and confusing, and if those people win a million dollars, it will become unspeakably evil.
Yeah, I think I can agree with that.

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