Sunday, January 30, 2011

** Random Thoughts **

** Yes, woo, Packers going to the Super Bowl. Seriously though, I'm already tired of hearing about it. And it's still a week away. Gah. **

** Power outage at a plant with 23 blown film lines? Damn near catastrophic. Only thing worse? Fire. **

** For the first time ever we have to pay more taxes to the Federal government. State pretty much offsets, but still. Boo! **

** I heart Nicki Minaj. The best skit last night on SNL was because of her. **

** I manned up and scheduled my wisdom teeth extraction surgery. June 9 @ 8am. Double boo! **

** Wicked in T-10! **

** I'm over this winter thing. Groundhog - you better not see your shadow... **

2011 Awards Season: Inception

My Comments:
It took about two and a half weeks for us to get around to watching this movie. Not only is the thing two and half hours long (grr!!), but we were both sick for awhile and my brain was having enough trouble trying to comprehend how so much snot could be in my nose. I didn't think I'd have the ability to try and understand a movie that was hyped as very confusing in that condition.

All in all, I don't know what all the fuss was about. Maybe I totally missed something, but once it actually got to the plot it wasn't that confusing. Intriguing, yes. But confusing? I don't know. Christopher Nolan always makes really great movies with lots of awesome special effects and thought-provoking plot points. But it's not like this was The Matrix or something. I STILL don't know what that one was all about...

Anywho, good movie, not sure it's the best yet since I've seen so few of them so far, but I was definitely impressed.

My Grade: A-

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Nominations this morning added a whopping 12 titles to the list:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
I Am Love
The Tempest
The Way Back
The Wolfman
Tron: Legacy
Iron Man 2
Another Year

Argh. I might start eliminating stupid categories like sound editing...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

*test pattern*

Sorry for the dead air here. I'll be back soon. Between unexpected travel and a double whammy flu/cold epidemic it's been a rough couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

2011 Awards Season: How to Train Your Dragon

My Comments:
This was a really cute movie. Not a very original story overall, but excellent presentation. Not sure it would be too good in 3D or IMAX - probably ended up making a whole lot of people sick.

Best line of the movie: "Thank you for nothing, you useless reptile."

And is it just me, or does Toothless look a little bit like Carly?

My Grade: A-

Friday, January 07, 2011


Today an era ended. An era with grandparents.

My grandfather passed away a year ago this last December. My grandmother left us this morning.

I don't have a lot of pictures of either of them. We've always lived so far away, my grandfather almost never left the house and in the past few years my grandmother's health has prevented her from travelling as well. I can't find anything from the past few trips in that direction. The last photo after the one above from Lori's wedding is this one, from my brother's college graduation.

Holy cow, we were all so young.

But time keeps marching, and so must we. I'm sure my grandparents are happy to be back together again.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2011 Awards Season: Green Zone

My Comments:
I don't think I can fairly comment on this movie since I didn't really watch it. I watched the beginning, got bored, and got my book. Kind of like what happened with The Hurt Locker. Must be a war movie thing. I looked up every once in a while when something exploded, but I really have no idea what the plot was... except for there were no WMD. Uh, duh.

My Grade: DNF

Monday, January 03, 2011

Million Word Monday: Carly Roasting on an Open Fire

Carly recently decided it wasn't enough to just lay near the fireplace...

Nope, she had to be right on top of the action, candle garden be damned.


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Charleston and Charlotte - a much belated recap

I told you I'd get to this eventually...

We left the house a little after 8:30, made a pit stop in Fond du Lac - not because of MY small bladder this time - and got to the airport in plenty of time. There was no line at all at security and the wood made it through no problem, although it did look like they backed the bags up a few times trying to figure out what it was. The plane rides were fine. Tiny seats compared to the sweet Midwest ones we had back in May though. We had a very short layover in Atlanta, and we were able to leave our things on the plane, which was nice. I was really tempted to take a picture of the "Panda Veranda" store but I didn't. Then just a hop, skip, and a jump over to Charleston. The rental car took a little longer than anticipated - the agent kept trying to upsell to a sportier car when all Adam wanted was a Sonata. We ended up with a Kia Optima. Decent. It has that annoying beeping when you lock the car that I hate.

The drive from the airport to the hotel was supposed to be 5 minutes. It ended up being half an hour. There was construction on the highway, three lanes merging into one, and then the GPS told us to go right off the exit and make some crazy loops when all we would have had to do is go left. The entrance to the hotel kind of came out of nowhere and we took a hard right, but made it. We got checked in and discovered the room they gave us had two full size beds, not the king we'd paid for. They switched us, giving us the king but not sleep number. Adam filed a complaint with Expedia and we got a $50 hotel credit.

We quickly changed and headed downtown for dinner. Adam had made advanced reservations for Coast. Parking was a little hairy, but we ended up in a garage right around the corner from the restaurant. It wasn't too unreasonable - $1/hr. Dinner - I had Monterray Chicken. Adam had paella (aka, "hello ocean on my plate!") Both were good. After we ate we went on a walk to find some dessert. Passed on gelato - they had all kind of weird flavors but no chocolate! We took a long detour to an ice cream shop that was closed, and eventually ended up at 32 - a frozen yogurt bar. They've got a very neat concept - get a cup, fill it with whatever flavor combination you want, add your toppings, and pay per ounce. I got Milky Way, vanilla, and chocolate. They were all very good, without that tangy aftertaste that most fro-yo has. We walked back to the car, went back to the hotel (no traffic this time) and called it a night after researching our routes for the next day.

We got up way too early for being on vacation sans cat alarms. We showered, dressed, and headed out to breakfast. Since we were staying at a Radisson there was no breakfast included in our room price. I convinced Adam to go to a Waffle House. It's just something you have to do when you're down south. I couldn't sell him on the grits though. I, of course, indulged.

Our next stop was the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the US.

This was hands down my favorite stop of the whole trip. It was off season - they had just finished up their last harvest a week or two before we were there - so it was not at all busy. There was a trolley tour of the grounds, all the free tea you wanted, a neat factory tour, and all kinds of other interesting stuff.

After drinking enough raspberry sweet tea to keep afloat for a few days, we headed to our next stop, the Firefly Distillery and Irvin House Winery. This winery makes five kinds of muscadine wines. While I wouldn't say I'm a convert, I didn't mind the Magnolia. Adam especially enjoyed their decor.

"You're Hired!" (a la Donald Trump)

Just next door to the winery tasting building was the distillery tasting building. We sampled some sweet tea vodka in various flavors along with a really good bourbon. We bought some wine to bring to Evan and Jodi but didn't purchase any vodka. Stupid airline rules...

After we finished boozing it for the morning we stopped by the Angel Oak.

a humongously ginormus oak tree in a public park.

Adam showed off his strength...

and we bought some praline pecans in their gift shop.

By this time we figured we should probably think about lunch. We headed back downtown and went to A.W. Shucks. Adam got the Market Platter (once again, pretty much the ocean on a plate) and I went the highly unoriginal route and got chicken tenders.

After lunch we took a walk to The Market and perused the wares. We also hit up Alpha Dog, Omega Cat and got that cute Christmas towel and strawberry catnip toy.

That was pretty much all we could afford - that place is crazy expensive!

After determining there was nothing else we needed or wanted at The Market we made a side stop at a Belgian chocolate shop and then we hopped back in the car and went down to The Battery. It was a beautiful day so we walked along the shore for awhile. Then I hugged a palmetto or two.

On our way back to the car we encountered a bride and her attendants hoofing it through the park, so that was a little different.

A quick stop at Walmart for some wrapping supplies and we headed back to the hotel. We managed to hit the traffic at almost exactly the same time as the previous night so it took four times longer than it should have. Rather than try to get all the way back into downtown for dinner we chose to go to Fatz Cafe instead. I got ribs (I know, what?) and Adam got a chicken wrap. Role reversal anyone? They had really good rolls. So good that Adam even ordered some to go. We stopped at another ice cream place for dessert and then called it a night.

We checked out of the hotel and went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel. We don't have one anywhere near us so we always try to take advantage when we're near one. Once again we had kind of a meal reversal - Adam got French toast and I got a sampler plate with biscuits and gravy, grits, sausage, hash browns.

Then it was off to North Carolina. The drive wasn't bad. Our first stop in the new state was at Tiger World.

It's a neat place that doesn't seem to mainstream. Also could have been because it was the off season. In any case, wasn't busy at all. I think there were two other groups of people there. The lions roared up a storm every 10 minutes or so.

The tiger was in a bad mood.

The monkeys were insane, shaking their cage and furiously humping a crate.

There was a localized peacock infestation.

I don't know that we'd go back again, but it was a neat place.

After we finished walking and talking with the animals we headed back into Charlotte to find the mall. We had some final gift...assemblage to take care of. After that was done we headed over to Evan and Jodi's place. After completely missing their driveway the first time, we made it on the second attempt. We visited with Evan, Gabriel, and Caroline. We had dinner with them - a delicious quinoa, butternut squash, and spinach dish. After Jodi got home we gave the kids their presents - Uno Moo for Gabriel and a cat from Build-a-Bear for Caroline. Ok, so the Uno Moo was kind of for me too... but Gabriel had a blast taking the animals out of the barn and putting them back in. After the kids were in bed we had some ice cream and wine. Dessert of champions.

We were up bright and early. I don't remember why... I think I must have had some memory-erasing experience. Like in Men in Black when they wave that wand. Hmm.


After... whatever that was... we took showers and went to watch a bunch of 4 year olds play "soccer." It was amusing. After half an hour of utter chaos, we went to an early lunch at Rooster's Wood Fire. I had a chicken sandwich, Adam had a BBQ pork sandwich and Gabriel had a mac & cheese pizza. Then it was naptime. Not just for Gabriel and Caroline. For us too. Then it was time to run some errands. We went along for the fun of it. Jodi got a new phone and I got some exercise while following an "eager to show of her newfound mobility" Caroline. Then we went to Costco. Man, I wish we had one of those around here. Blows Sam's Club out of the water. Then it was back home for dinner, wine, and cake. Oh, the cake.


We were up by 5am by accident. We joined the rest of the family for breakfast at Amelie's Bakery. Pain au chocolat, eclairs, cream puffs, lavender lemonade. It was heavenly. While Jodi and Caroline stayed at home, Evan, Gabriel, Adam, and I went to a park and then to Earth Fare - another part of the market that hasn't gotten anywhere close to us.

Before we knew it it was time for us to leave. We drove back to Charleston, stopping for lunch at Carolina Wing & Rib House. Because of ridiculously slow service (and an unscheduled pit stop) we had to haul ass to get to the airport. We made it with about 10 minutes to spare. So much for the hour and half recommended timeframe. Luckily the security process was a breeze so we had no trouble getting to the plane. The flights back were unmemorable. We got back to Milwaukee on time, deplaned, found the car, and headed back home. We stopped for a drive-thru dinner on the way since it was too late for a formal dinner (boo... Cheesecake Factory!) We got home around 11, released a very crabby Carly from her prison, quickly unpacked, and prepared for the next day, when we both had to go back to work.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Caturday: Refined Version

Excuse me, sir - do you have any Grey Poupon?

2011 Awards Season: Easy A

My Comments:
Emma Stone reminds me so much of Laura Prepon and Lauren Ambrose. Maybe it's a smart-mouthed redhead thing?

Anyway, was this movie written by Kevin Williamson? Because it was like a long episode of "Dawson's Creek", full of witty dialogue that absolutely no high schooler would ever say. Outside of that, it wasn't bad. I don't know that it was award nomination good, and I really don't think Emma has much of a chance of winning, but it was a fun one to watch. Also - greatest fake sex scene ever. How's that for a selling point?

My Grade: B

Christmas Around Here

The kitties were thrilled with a whole new installment of catnip filled toys courtesy of my mom. They were a new shape this year - kind of a pyramid shaped crocheted looking thing. They seem to be standing up better than the fabric pouches, which are decimated in a matter of days. JC hogged them most of the first day.

But Ted has taken to chomping noisily on the corners so we'll see.

I got a new a grill pan - dishwasher safe!

a new cat pendant that I can't get to focus at all...

Trust me, it's a cat. Not a teapot. (ahem)

and my Christmas, birthday, and next Christmas gift to myself:

I couldn't resist when Adam gave me a 10% off coupon, a $5 reward zone card, and a Best Buy gift card.

I also got a cute purple case to help me not wreck it right away.

I haven't downloaded a lot yet. The complete Anne of Green Gables series for 99 cents was too good to pass up though. So far I'm really liking it. It's a bit heavy in my purse, but much easier to cart around than an actual book.

Adam scored an orbital sander and some clamps. Or were they vices? I don't know. Let's just go with some tools for his workshop. :)

We also got a set of pasta bowls and a huge basket full of pasta and anything you could ever want to put on it from my Dad and Cheryl. Yum, carbs. Adam's mom and dad must have called my dad and Cheryl because they also gave us pasta - me in cat shapes, Adam in golf shapes.

Christmas was really low key around here. We didn't do anything specific to just us. We had the Paalman Christmas on the 24th before church and went down for some Chinese food for the Dodds Christmas on the 25th. Other than that I just enjoyed my seeming plethora of days off by doing a whole lot of nothing. It was great.

But now it's back to work. Woo for year-end!