Sunday, December 30, 2007

My sincerest apologies...

...for having not updated this in several weeks. We've been insanely busy finishing up our respective semesters, preparing for the holidays, dealing with leaky windows, etc. And then we had perhaps our most authentic midwest experience to date: our travel plans were affected by the weather. This has literally NEVER happened to me before; I mean, I've dealt with delayed flights and all those kinds of inconveniences, but this time we were fully defeated. We showed up at the airport, Vinny in tow, we got in line, Matt looked at the flight info screen, Matt informed me that our flight was canceled, lady at desk said next flight she could get us out on wasn't until two days later--Christmas Eve. Bad. So we turned around and left the airport one half hour later, especially irritated by the fact that it was warmer that day than it had been in weeks (44 degrees) and it was the FOG that kept the planes on the ground.

The saving grace: to make ourselves feel better, we went out to dinner that night at the Third Ward Cafe, a very sweet and quiet little restaurant in the downtown warehouse district. The food and wine were spectacular and it seemed, momentarily, that our travel delay was a blessing in disguise because we'd get to spend a couple of quality days together.

Then the next day it was -4 degrees with wind chill and we no longer felt blessed. We hardly left the house and when we did I almost died. That is not an exaggeration. Thankfully, Christmas Eve was clear and sunny, and our flight was only delayed a few minutes, and we made it home safe and sound.

We had a fantastic vacation in San Diego, which was absolutely gorgeous and sunny and WARM the whole week. Although, clearly the 50s and low 60s aren't warm for San Diegans. I saw SO many girls wearing UGG boots and furry outerwear and thought--rather haughtily, I fully admit--about how there is actually a legitimate use for such things in places like Antarctica, Greenland, Wisconsin, and likely much of Canada. Anyway, we spent much time with family, and we even got my dad out of the house (he is currently recovering from his knee replacement surgery) for a really lovely Christmas dinner at the Leach house. In one week I think we saw every person we know even remotely well in San Diego. I over-ate the entire time and I don't regret it because I had so much good food, including the requisite Santana's burrito which was TO DIE FOR. For Christmas I received numerous cold weather essentials and was actually quite excited to return to Milwaukee and try them out. As it happened, it was 10 degrees when we arrived home today and therefore the calf-length down-filled parka and the ear-flap yeti hat came in handy almost immediately. How convenient!!!

I was overall very happy to get home, despite the fact that our house was at 42 degrees when we walked in, we have no food in the fridge, and the windows are still leaky. It's funny--I kind of missed the snow and the cold. Is that absolutely ridiculous? Am I going to be completely eating my words in one month when "cold" doesn't even begin to describe the hell that is REAL winter in the upper midwest? Probably, but for now I feel better equipped than ever (apparel-wise) to face the onslaught, and I'm rather happy to be back in the frozen tundra. We went and picked up kitty, and I actually kind of missed him, too. He's been acting suspiciously nice to us all evening, so I'm kind of wondering what expensive piece of electronics he will ruin tomorrow to even things out.

Oh, and our neighbor got Vinny a yellow Sponge Bob Square Pants sweater for Christmas. It is absolutely fantastic and I will post a picture as soon as I think to do so because it's one of the most hysterical things I have ever, ever seen.

That was a sort of shoddy summary of the past few weeks but it will have to suffice, because it's almost midnight and I am taking Matt to the hospital early tomorrow morning for his ACL repair surgery. Wish him luck. He'll be spending one night there (I might, too, who knows) and will return home Wednesday morning. He has already announced that during his convalescence he will attempt to contribute to this blog, so check back frequently if you're interested in his account of the recovery process, which will most likely not accurately portray how much a slave he is making of me, so I'll try to write about it too in order to set the record straight. :)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SNOW DAY! (ice day?)

Wisconsin is ridiculous. I have proof:

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Due to an overnight ICE storm and the current preponderance of palm-sized (I swear) snow "flakes," I am sitting at home, drinking tea and writing in this blog, instead of working.


Furthermore, it is a whopping 32 degrees outside, which doesn't much impress my fellow Californians but now strikes me as rather balmy compared to the EIGHT sniveling degrees it was a few mornings ago.

All would be fine and dandy if I wasn't ever-so-slightly worried about the fact that the Subaru is currently becoming rather effectively snowed in and I'm supposed to pick Matt up from school in about an hour. I'm no good with a shovel (I don't yet even own a pair of boots) and our neighbor and his snowblower appear to also be taking a snow day....this could be a problem. Sorry Matt.

Anyway, it has been snowing off and on for days. It is absolutely unbelievable; my neighbors and coworkers claim there hasn't been this much snow in years. I can't even begin to describe it. I took this picture the other night:

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We have been suitably lazy homebodies, given the weather. I wear like 8 layers even indoors, drink obscene amounts of tea and hot cocoa, and you better believe it is next to impossible to get out of bed at 6 in the morning. Matt spends most of his time "studying," on the couch, under a blanket, with the furry ones. Exhibit A:

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Vinny also wears layers, and he sometimes won't get out of bed all day. Kitty doesn't seem much affected, however, and continues on his quest to destroy all valuable items in this apartment.

Oh thank god, our neighbor is blowing the driveway. Well, it appears Matt might make it home today after all.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend Part Two/It's FREAKING COLD here/go me!/Snow Dog!

I will firstly summarize the rest of our Thanksgiving weekend with Thor, Dio, and Antigone: it was awesome. Lots of eating, lots of drinking, and even lots of sight seeing despite the chilly temperatures. I appreciated Dio's tenacity; I know she is not built for freezing temperatures, but she did a great job of bundling up and pushing through. On Saturday we visited the art museum and Discovery World, and then cruised the River Walk a bit. It was cold but very pretty that day, clear and sunny.

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Later we assembled the fake Christmas tree my neighbor lent us and decorated it with some cheap decorations from Drew's Variety Store in downtown Tosa. I won't lie, this tree is verging on Charlie Brown. But hey, it was free! We ate dinner at home that night, took a cold weather/warm drink walk through the Highlands, and watched a movie. On Sunday, we went to Whitefish Bay, a charming and somewhat upscale little city north of downtown. I love that area. We walked through some of the neighborhoods until we found shore access, and then played on the beach for a half hour or so. It was beautiful.

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We then took a tour of Sprecher Brewery, only about five minutes from Whitefish Bay in Glendale. They make German style beers and also some very good sodas (root beer, cream soda, orange soda, etc.) so we all had beverages to try. We ate cheese curds (still not sold on those) and bought a growler of Bavarian Black.

All of us were feeling pretty good by the time we went to Il Mito, one of my most favorite Italian restaurants ever, for dinner. We had an amazing meal and drank a bunch of wine and were very, very merry. The night continued in that fashion, and all of us were somewhat regretting the extent of the merriness the next morning, especially me, since I had to go to work at 8 am. :(

We said goodbye to our visitors that evening and were very sad to see them go. It was so nice having family come to us for Thanksgiving; pretty much a perfect weekend.

The rest of this past week was rather uneventful except for a) the RIDICULOUS temperatures (when I got in my car Wednesday morning it was 18 degrees outside--I almost lost my fingers on the 2 minute walk from my car to the door of the hospital), and b) the fact that I had to take this irritating Human Growth and Development test that I had efficiently not studied at all for. Passing this test would essentially get me out of a class required of applicants to the MSN program at UW Milwaukee. The subject matter somewhat overlapped with the general Psych class I took during the summer, and I really did not want to have to take the entire class just to apply to a program that is really just a back up for me. So I decided to give the test a go, since all I needed to do was pass to get credit. Suffice it to say, I squeeked by--I got the absolute minimum score needed to pass. While I am not necessarily proud of this, I'm fairly pleased with the fact that with a minimal amount of effort I got credit for a 3 unit class. So, go me!

Moving on--we are in the midst of a real, honest-to-god snowstorm. It has snowed for a good 6 hours so far today. Here's how it looked at 11 am:

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Around 1:30 pm, it looked like this:

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And by 3:30 pm, our neighbor was out with the snow blower, clearing our driveway and sidewalk of several inches of snow.

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It's wild. I shoved Vinny out the door and he was truly confused; he went out in the snow last week but there was much less of it.

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He was tentative at first but within a few minutes he was bounding around the yard, kicking up snow everywhere, having a ball. He likes it! He's a snow dog!! Who would have ever guessed?

Despite the cold we are warm and happy in our apartment, which we have not left all day. The cat is entertaining himself by intermittently destroying parts of the Christmas tree, and Vinny has been under the covers in bed ever since his little romp in the snow. I'm glad this storm is happening on a weekend so that we can be lazy and enjoy it.