Sunday, January 31, 2010

to the nines

so, my nephew's ninth birthday was yesterday and I've invaded my brother's house for the weekend...with his happy blessings of course :-)

yesterday I watched him play basketball then we traveled over to this little town's laser tag facility where he and about a million other boys his age proceeded to go absolutely insane. It wasn't to much different from a summer reading program at the library so I had no problem with it. Pizza and one very superb birthday cake were had by all. We learned that this was that business's last day of business and the next thing I know we are loading a Galaga/Ms. Pacman and Deerhunter arcade games into the back of his truck and heading home.

The boys who came back to the house for the sleepover were OVER THE MOON. I'm sure you can imagine. Dave and I stayed up until midnight playing the infernal machines.

Today it was roller skating. I had a firm talk with myself as to not chickening out on skating. I did chicken out over the ice skating but in my mind that was a win since ice is a hell of a lot slippier than rink floor. Especially this rink floor which was concrete. I can assure you of that, as can my right knee. I have a glorious bruise right on the kneecap where I mananged to land both times I fell. It doesn't hurt to walk on, bend, or twist so I'm 99.9% sure it's simply the bruise it appears to be. I have already taken the maximum dose of Aleve in hopes of averting any other ill effects. I'll have to let you know on that one.

We've been playing more Galaga, Ms. Pacman, Deerhunter, Beetles Rock Band, and Metallica Guitar Hero this evening. My niece, dear readers, KICKS ASS! She plays expert on guitar and bass and rarely makes a mistake. It is a sight to behold for sure.

I like to play the drums...on easy :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

! ! ! this just in ! ! !

Patron to me: I learned how to use Google. I've learned to narrow down my sophistication.

Yes, yes you have.

that is all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Road, finally!!!

KT and I have waited so patiently since November 25th...SO PATIENTLY!

The Road is finally in Birmingham at Lee Branch and we are going to see it after work today! This movie is based on Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same title. Other of McCarthy's titles that have been made into movies include No Country For Old Men and All the Pretty Horses.

I saw The Lovely Bones (also based on a book) last night and it was visually beautiful but lacked the heart and soul of the book. They took the events of almost ten years and condensed them down into about 2 and, unfortunately, it showed.

What movies have you seen lately? Theater or home, doesn't matter!

Monday, January 18, 2010

march will be here before I know it

and it will once again be time for my biannual tattoo!

I like to get them in the cities where we go to winter conferences though I don't wish to speak about the cluster f*&k that was Minneapolis. Although with the drama going on in that shop, I'm kinda glad the tattoo didn't happen. It's still in my file with half a dozen other things that will make it on me over the years. I'd been looking online at different shops in Portland, Oregon when serendipity raised her head once again.

We got a cart of new books in and on that cart was Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink by Jeff Johnson. He works at the Sea Tramp Tattoo Company, the oldest tattoo shop in Portland...ding! I have fallen in love with this book! I'm trying to pick an image so I can get in touch with them to try desperately to get an appointment.

Check out this short documentary!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

binky is not amused

but i am!

Bink would have shredded the paper...then me.

movies in 2009: the list

I'm gearing up for my 2010 movie viewing season and I'm pretty excited about it as I have joined a movie fan meetup group. The first January meeting is this saturday and the poll so far is leaning towards The Lovely Bones but rest assured, I'll let you know!

woodstock or bust!

We just drove through really on our way to the sledding hill but it was quite a picturesque little town capitalizing heavily off of its name and reputation. All those little shops! I would love to go back and see what fun things I can seek out there.

fun signs in and around kingston

Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses! HousES - plural! How on earth did I not know this existed?! They say "family oriented" but I have to say that I really like their idea of that! I am now officially JONESING to go here.

This ranks right up there with Chicago's Wow Bao Hot Asian Buns


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real snow days

As we prepare for the massive 1 inch of accumulation expected here in Birmingham, Alabama, I believe it's the perfect time to reflect on my time in the snow up north. Granted, it's 40 degrees here and the real problem will be with ice since we have no real infrastructure in place for any cold weather type problems. Let's face it, the only real snow I remember here was in 1993. Anyway, moving on!

Here we are outside our hotel. I have no recollection where we were going, but we were geared up for just about anything!

Me, my brother David, my sister-in-law Karen, neice Shelby and nephew Conner posing for the camera. We walked from s-i-l's sister's house down to a little zoo in a park near the house. A guy had a gas-powered little snow shovel thing getting the walkways clear and we went right in. This is also right next to the hill where we held the late night New Year's Eve sledding I mentioned in a previous post.

On New Year's Eve we had dinner at a wonderful French restaurant called Le Cancard Enchaine. Their website is not was I'd call robust, but there's a nice picture. It was a very comfortable place and the food was beyond anything I've had before (other customer reviews/comments). I did sample some of Dave's escargo (cooked in butter and there any other way?!) and sincerely wished I'd gotten some for myself but I did have an absolutely decadent goat cheese salad. Around the table we had steak, beef bourguignon, rack of lamb, and grilled salmon. We shared food, conversation, laughter and had wine (the kids did not of course) all the while and it was one of the best New Year's Eves in my memory! We did not go into the city (apprx 200 miles from where we were) but instead sledded at the park of course then watched all the celebrations on tv and munched on all the snacks we picked up at the grocery store when we bought our sleds.

We went to this almost 200 year old ski resort, Mohonk Mountain House, where Dave, Karen, and the kids went ice skating! It was so beautiful and I took about a million pictures but this is one of my favorites. Visit their website to see the whole complex. Anyway, the wind was blowing pretty fiercely on top of this hill and the snow was coming off the roof in waves but it was a little too dark for that to show up like I'd hoped in this photo but the sunset's pretty so I'll take it. The ice rink open-sided and it was COLD up there but I loved every minute of it! I did not ice skate as that is not one of my talents and I had no wish to injure myself the day before we let but loved watching everyone else. There was a huge fireplace, easily the size a bathroom or walkin closet, and I spent most of my time there.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

run, forrest, run

....which is what the Southwest flight attendant said to those of us making tight connections in Chicago yesterday. He listed the flights that were being held (mechanical troubles kept us on the tarmac for what felt like forever in Albany. It was snowing very hard on the way to the airport yesterday morning and the plows were not out yet so it was a nerve racking ride to the airport since we were running late anyway. We ran to the plane, only to have that mechanical trouble and have to sit forevah) and then said, "for the rest of you, run forrest run." I thought that was pretty funny.

Our flight was not mentioned as one being held but we ran for it anyway despite that it had been scheduled to leave 10 minutes earlier and lo and behold, they'd held it. Then they held it longer for the luggage to make it. Dave said he didn't think it be there come Birmingham, but I told him hope springs eternal and you know what? We had luggage when we got home. You rock, Southwest!

I had the grumpiest young lady sitting next to me the whole way...just really rude and annoying. I was pretty glad that she put her head down and either slept or pretended to the whole way back to Birmingham because I don't know if I could have stood her exasperated sighs too much longer. Also, the flight attendant had to tell her about 6 times to turn off her iPod and on the last go around just stood there to make sure she followed his request. I mean, is it really all that hard to wait 10 or 15 minutes to get above 10,000 feet?

I finally got to have a meal at about 2pm yesterday and I was starving! Other than that I'd been running on adrenaline and the 12 peanuts and 3 oz of liquid you get on board the airplane. I was on two airplanes so I guess technically I had 24 peanuts and 6oz of ginger ale. Turbulence...ick! I was home by 3, in pj's by 3:05, and dozing in the recliner not long after. I gave up and went to bed at 5:30pm and woke up a little before 8 this morning.

The only casualties of the trip, I suppose, are that I have some windburn on my face and a snotty nose. Oddly enough, it's not too much warmer here in Birmingham, Alabama that it was in Albany, New York.

I'm going to undecorate the house today and then go grocery shopping with my left over Christmas money. I have a ton of book group reading that MUST GET DONE this week while I'm on vacation. The only problem with being in three bookgroups is that I have to dovetail the reading I have to do with that which I want to do and sometimes those two agendas are more like arguing siblings than a single cohesive vision...right now it is like arguing siblings on a 600 mile car ride in a subcompact vehicle.

that is all.

Friday, January 1, 2010

dashing through the snow...

...on a cheap, thin, foam flat sled!

Yes my friends, the winter wonderland here in Kingston, New York has firmly brought out my inner 8 year old...except for the fact that I'm currently drinking a beer after an extended sit in the hotel's hot tub. Which I needed since my inner 8 year old could not quite reconcile itself with my 32-year old body.

We bought these cheap-@$$ sleds at a local grocery store then snuck into a nearby park for some late night New Year's Eve sledding. I completely forgot that we'd just eaten dinner at a swanky French restaurant, Le Canard something something, AND that I still had on nice clothes and my best sweater. My clothes were so full of snow when we got done that I had to take off some layers and leave them in the trunk of the car for the ride back to the hotel!

Today we went up to a great sledding hill in Woodstock..yes, THAT Woodstock :-) Lots of little hippy-ish shops and this one outstanding sledding hill. It was tall but quite packed down and icy and it was KiLlEr on the spine and tailbone. We visited Pine Hill (BeAuTiFuL!!!!!) then spied the supremo sledding hill of all time in some random person's yard. My brother, being the completely unfazed creature that he is, simply walked up and asked if we could obliterate their yard with sleds. Oh yeah, they were up for it :-)

Their little 10 year old boy got all his cool sleds and snow boards out and we made an evening of it! This was a totally epic hill for small, cheap sleds. I don't know his exact title, but he is my sister-in-law's sister's husband. Anyway, Victor took a turn on the hill and totally FLEW down, almost straddling a powerpole guide wire. I ran into a tree twice and my nephew Conner caught some sweet air off of a great jump. I have no idea if it was manmade or naturally occuring but he enjoyed it either way! Shelby was working her side of the mountain and nearly slid of into the street several times! Too much fun...not really, I could have had a little more :-)

We sledded and sweated for almost 2 hours before retiring to a little Mexican restaurant with THE best salsa evah! Three potent margaritas and one seafood burrito later, we were back at the hotel in the hot tub, soaking out the soreness and snacking on endless unhealthy items. Playing in the snow always makes you hungry :-) Just to keep things lively, Dave and I ran out into the snow (in our bathing suits), made a snow angel each then ran back in and jumped in the hot tub. Not quite the polar bear club, but not far off!

Tomorrow is our last day for fun activities as our flight leaves at 8am on Sunday morning. I have had an absolute BLAST and have been burning up the digital camera! Who knows when I'll see snow again after all? If I don't get another chance at blogging before I get back home, see ya on the flip side!