Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If at First You Don't Succeed

So our witbier exploded. But, turns out our homebrew is in high holiday demand--thanks, Evan. Two weekends ago we tried our hand at making some American Brown Ale. This time, in order to cut our brewing time and (hopefully) end up with a tastier brew, Eddy decided to construct a new lauter tun. Previously, we were using a nylon sack and a whole lot of time. Here he is drilling some holes in a new ale pail.

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Once nested inside a spigotted ale pail, our lautering and sparging went MUCH smoother.

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Mmmm... American Brown Ale...

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Here's our pre-existing wort chilling system. It kind of looks like a walrus. That's why I am doing the tusks here.

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We are happy to announce that this past weekend the brew made it to secondary fermentation. Our laundry room is completely explosion-free!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Behold, I Have Made Cubes

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I finished up my semester today and wanted to celebrate my last Monday off work this year by tackling a sewing project I have been itching to do for months. Ever since Etsy told me to read Dorm Decor, I have been itching to make some door stops for our (many) apartment doors that will NOT stay open and/or closed.

So, Eddy helped me select some fabric--"not too girly" being the primary criteria. I coated the fabric with iron-on vinyl (in order to ward off feline fur). Next, I fashioned some handles and stuffed my cubes with rice.

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Here's the final product:

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Give a Hoot

I like to take my lunch on the fifth floor of the library. Today, seats were scarce because of finals here at UH. When I finally found a seat, my efforts were rewarded. There was a beautiful little owl roosting about 10 feet outside the window. I was kicking myself thinking of how I didn't have a camera with me--not even my phone--when I remembered that I take photographs for a living. I dashed downstairs to snag our digital SLR. Feast your eyes:

Now. This is a very special moment. It has long been thought that during the 1980s my dad resembled owls:

In this crappy photocopy of old half-tone newsprint, it might be difficult to appreciate the glasses. Allow me to assist:
Through the magic of Photoshop, we can draw this comparison even more clearly:

Mom--the only reason you were spared this treatment is because I don't have a photo of you in your owl specs readily available.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thxgiving--We found some stuff under my bed...

We had an awesome time at home with the parents for Thanksgiving. We bid a fond farewell to our favorite Ozark institution, Riverside Inn:

We also found some sweet, sweet "works of art" under my bed:

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This is a book I wrote in 6th grade. The full version of the book is now available on Flickr.

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One of the strangest discoveries was this image on one of the last pages of the book. The resemblance between Eddie and Eddy is shocking.

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Finally, there's this classic. This is a later drawing of Sgt. Drunkie, so it doesn't quite capture just how strange it was that my little brother drew pictures of a drunken military man, but you get the gist.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Eddy!

The other week, we went to Chicago to celebrate my 30th birthday with family and friends, and to visit some of my favorite Chicago places. We started off with a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo on Thursday:

We made sure to see the penguins, Nicci's favorite animal:

On Friday, we went to visit the Museum of Science and Industry, which is apparently (according to their website) the largest science museum in the western hemisphere. I mentioned to the woman at admissions that I was in town for my 30th birthday, and that I used to volunteer at the museum (a long, long time ago), and she gave us a big discount! That was really nice. Here is a picture of me on a climbing wall that represents navigating the ups and downs of business:

On Saturday night, we had a big party at the Street Side Bar and Grill in Logan Square, with a bunch of my friends and family. Here are some of my friends, with a handsome guy in the middle:

Nicci's family also came up from Missouri as a surprise. Nicci didn't even know they were coming! Here is Evan (Nicci's brother) sitting across from me at Street Side, with a reserved expression:

After the party, Nicci was not feeling well, so she went home, but I continued my night of debauchery at Maciej and Christie's sweet new pad. I didn't take any pictures, though, just in case I run for president some day...

After that, Nicci and I checked into our favorite Chicago hotel, the Inn of Chicago. We got a sweet room on the top floor, with a great view of downtown. It faced west, too, so we saw two sunsets over (or through) downtown. Here is a picture of almost the same view, from the hotel's roof deck:

I also worked some more of my birthday magic: the hotel manager gave us free drinks for my birthday!

We enjoyed our last day in Chicago, Sunday, doing some shopping on the Magnificent Mile. Here is Nicci taking a quick, pink break from shopping:

All in all, it was a great trip. Thanks to all my family (and Nicci's family too!) and friends for making my birthday party an excellent night!

Click here for more photos.

Beer and Bites in Portland

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I recently attended an amazing conference in Portland and Eddy was able to join me over the weekend for a fun-filled mini vacation. Turns out, the best things to do in this town are drink microbrew and eat gourmet. Needless to say, we had a great time!

Aside from the celebrated food cart fare, Davis Street Tavern was one of my favorite finds. One day for lunch I enjoyed the Fearless Scottish Ale, the most heavenly crab bisque ever and the salad Nicoise. We also loved Milo City Cafe. Over the course of our trip, we ate there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Best Hungarian mushroom soup ever!

We visited the famed Saturday Market. Lots of great food and beautiful arts and crafts. We also met a few of my Etsy friends. Not surprisingly, Portland has a large population of Etsians. We had a nice chat with one of the owners of appetite home--one of my all-time favorite shops.

Our big outing was to the International Rose Test Garden. It involved a beautiful (but strenuous) march up a mountain.

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Click here for more photos.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two Black Cats

In addition to the fun run, we also revived our escaped convict costumes. Here is a picture of us when we first made them. We also whipped up a batch of vampire cupcakes.

Then we headed over to Dave and Dana's for a delicious dinner and some playtime with their two black cats.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Green Sparkle Hair is the New Little Black Dress

We did a fun run/walk this Halloween with our friends Dave and Dana. Here we are all decked out after the race. But don't worry, we made sure to replenish all of those calories we burned with a trip to 59 Diner afterwards. Happy Halloween!

p.s. Eddy is a carrot, not a pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bling--Part 1

After Eddy proposed to me back in August, we visited our jeweler. Here is a photo of me literally RUNNING to the car 1st thing the next morning--I couldn't even be bothered to turn around for the photo.

On Friday, October 16th, we picked up my engagement ring from our jeweler! Selecting a jeweler was tough for us because--let's face it--I am picky. I began with a very clear idea of exactly what I wanted. If you know me, you know I was willing to accept only very few, very minor compromises in the design.

It all began with this beauty:

This is an image of a 15th century French gimmel ring. Gimmels were popular for many hundreds of years as their interlocking design is symbolic of union. They were commonly inscribed with verses from romantic poems when they were given as tokens of love or marriage. Here is the same ring as above closed as it would appear on the finger.

Here is a more elaborate gimmel shown open and closed. Note the tiny sculptures of a skeleton and a baby decorated with enamel. This ring was meant to symbolize both the beginning and end of life:

Rewind about 6 months when we fell in love with and bought a pear shaped diamond from our jeweler. Here is a pear cut ring that I adore to give you an idea of the stone.

Now, here's how all of these ideas were synthesized into one stellar ring:

NOT! Because the ring is totally bitchin' I want as many people as possible to see the ring in person before I publish photos of it. Look for a Bling--Part 2 in the coming months!

If you would like to learn more about gimmel rings or rings in general, check out the work of Diana Scarisbrick, especially her Rings: Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection and Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty.