Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! Peace and joy to our family and friends near and far. We hope you get to spend the day remembering your blessings over the year and enjoying the Christmas spirit.

DH and I enjoyed the midnight service last night at Northside UMC, and we're spending quiet day at home with presents, food, and lots of couch time. We'll get to spend some family time next week with my side once my sister is able to fly down. Looking forward to next week! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ornaments - part 3

Today's ornament theme is kitty ornaments! These are ornaments we picked up to honor our feline friend, Thoth. Here he is in the living room, where he likes to admire our Christmas tree. Thankfully, he has no interest in climbing or eating our tree!
This is a cute one that I found shortly after we adopted Thoth. It's made of wood, and the part you can't see is that the torso is hollow with a jingle bell inside.

This is another cute one that's a Hallmark ornament. I thought it would remind Thoth about how important it is to be a good, angelic kitty so that Santa Paws will bring him good treats on Christmas! :)
Other than working a few days this week, I've been baking cookies and writing holiday cards. I plan on making a nice pork tenderloin for our Christmas dinner, so I need to hunt for a good recipe! Suggestions welcome!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Ornaments - part 2

Today I'm highlighting some gifted ornaments.

This glass house with the "Department 56" hanger was given to us my my MIL when we moved into our first house.

This glass Christmas wreath was given to us by my FIL and SMIL when we moved into our first house as well. I believe they got it in Vermont at a glass factory they visited while on a trip. (The name is on the box that I store it in, but of course, that's already back up in the attic.)

This beautifully cross-stitched and beaded ornament was made by our dear friend, Connie. We had a crafty little group going for awhile back in college, and we did a handmade ornament exchange one year. I still love looking at it when I bring it out every year, and it also reminds me of my dear friends, too!

This is a terra cotta ornament, from Florence, Italy, that our dear friend Cyndi brought back for us after she worked there for several months. He has such a jovial face! It reminds me of all the fun game nights and dinner parties that we've had together over the years, and also a reminder that the season is a time to remember all of the blessings we've had over the last year.

On a bit of a side note, but in keeping with the season, I was so pleased to find out that our family was blessed with a new baby cousin yesterday! Congratulations, An and Eric, and welcome, little Jacob, into our family! A wonderful Christmas present, indeed!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ornaments - part 1

In honor of Christmas week, I thought I'd blog about some of the meaningful ornaments we have on our Christmas tree. We like to get ornaments to commemorate where we've traveled or things that have happened in our lives. It makes the tree become sort of a way to document and reminisce what we've done over the years. Here are a few of the ornaments from our beginnings - when David and I got married:

This was our first Hallmark commemorative ornament, 2002 for the year we got married. It says "Our First Christmas 2002" with a couple embracing inside a heart. (Aww...isn't that sweet?)

We spent our first Christmas married down in Fort Lauderdale with DH's cousin's family. Highlights of the trip included being with his cousin's kids (who were about 3 and 5 YO at the time - always fun to be around kids at the holidays!), stone crab claws for Christmas Eve dinner, visiting the beach on Christmas Day, sailing out from the intercoastal waterway out into the open sea on Christmas Day, and looking at Christmas lights on palm trees! This orange (which was really hard to find!) reminds us of the great time we had in Florida!

And a little bonus - my Christmas cactus started to bloom this week. Here's the first bloom, all opened up today!
I hope all of you out there have a wonderful and safe Christmas! More ornaments to come tomorrow!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

O Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Bl├Ątter!
We got our live tree up this weekend! It's petite, but beautiful - I think DH found the perfect tree. We were able to reach the top of it (without a stool), and all of our meaningful ornaments fill in the tree beautifully without even having to bring out the generic metallic balls to fill in the blank spots! I was totally prepared to not have a Douglas fir after DH warned me that he thought most places would not be carrying them this year (thought he had heard about some growning problem with them), but thank you, Home Depot, for still having a small section of them. We've always gotten a Douglas fir. I guess what I like about them (over Fraser firs) is that they are fuller, you can hide the lights better in them, and it looks more like the artificial tree I had growing up. It's a tradition I am pleased we were able to keep. O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum! Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kicking off the Holiday Season


DH and I attended Red and Green Scene last night at Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery, the AIA Atlanta holiday party which was in partnership with USGBC, ASID, IIDA, and ASHRAE Atlanta this year. When I bought tickets about a week ago, there were about 400+ people attending. At the party last night, I heard there were over 700! We had a great time visiting with professionals, friends, vendors, acquaintances, and even met a few new folks. The food was pretty good, although probably a little overly elaborate for heavy hors d' oeuvres (but hey, I feel I got my money's worth), and the lines for food and drinks seemed to be pretty long at times, but hey, they were serving a *bunch* of people. In light of the fact that my office, and probably many others out there, decided to conserve and not host fancy holiday parties for their employees and/or clients this year, we enjoyed our one "fancy" party of the year. Entertainment by the band, Kingsized, along with Two Dames Aflame Burlesque Troupe was great as well as fun! There was a party photographer as well as other friends with cameras at the event, so hopefully I'll have some better ones of me and David soon. That's us with our friend Vanessa above, who is a rep for a flooring company. I hope that all of you out there have a fun, safe, and memorable holiday season this year!

A special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dear little sister, Lena, today! Love you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weekend in Atlanta

We had a great time with family in town this past weekend! I sort of felt like an Atlanta tourist on Saturday. MIL, step-FIL (aka Bonus Dad), SIL, step-SIL (aka Bonus SIL) and stepniece (aka Bonus Niece) came to Atlanta to visit. We went out for Dim Sum, visited the Georgia Aquarium, had late lunch at The Varsity, went to a GT Volleyball game, and then the "kids" went out for coffee and dessert at Cafe Intermezzo while the grandparents put niece to bed. All in all, it was a fabulous weekend with a whirlwind of family and friends joining us intermittently. Bonus Niece had a great time, I think (they also visited Zoo Atlanta and Imagine It Children's Museum while I was at work on Friday), and she is the cutest little girl I have ever met!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Susan G. Komen follow-up

We had a great time at the Susan G. Komen walk last weekend! Although it was cloudy, damp, and slightly windy, we managed to enjoy ourselves, get a couple of freebies, and enjoy the company of many others as we walked the streets of downtown Knoxville. We also celebrated SIL's birthday in style - we went to an awesome German restaurant for dinner where she was serenaded by our waiter on accordian and a kitchen guy on trombone. They played a German polka on the way to the table, Happy Birthday, and then topped it off with Rocky Top since we had already been talking about the Alabama/Tennessee game throughout dinner with the waiter. It was great!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Our in-residence Halloween kitty, Thoth, will be thrilled to greet trick-or-treaters at our door tonight. My candy basket is full, apple pie is baked, and we'll be joining some friends to watch the GT/Vandy game later. Go Jackets!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2009 Komen Knoxville

I'm going to be participating in the 2009 Komen Race for the Cure in Knoxville on October 24th. My SIL decided that this is how she wanted to spend her birthday, so DH and I are on Team Love Cake with her! If you are so inclined, please consider supporting me as we support a cure for breast cancer! See my donor page.
The last time we participated in a Susan G. Komen was in Honolulu with my cousins in 2007, just before a family wedding. As you can see in the group photo, we had a blast, and my cousin's MIL is a cancer survivor! I'm looking forward to being at World's Fair Park, since the last time I was there was 1981 for the World's Fair.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Skateful Weekend

I had a really great weekend! Despite the floods of this past week, deciding not to go to Big Spring Jam in Huntsville so DH could see Silversun Pickups, and more rain this past Saturday, our garage dried out just fine, and we didn't get anymore rain in there over the weekend. To reward our great patience, God gave us an absolutely gorgeous, sunny Sunday! Plus, I finally finished my meds and finally (I hope, fingers crossed) have gotten over my dual ear and sinus infection (double-yuck!).

Friday night, we saw our fave GT Volleyball team defeat NC State! The girls were as awesome as usual, and it was also alumnae night, so we saw 33+ former GTVB women recognized during the break!

Saturday night, we went to see the sneak preview of Whip It, a movie that is opening up next weekend about a girl growing up in smalltown Texas with a former beauty pagent mom, who finds her niche in the Austin roller derby. It's the first movie that Drew Barrymore has directed, and she also acted in it as one of the "Hurl Scouts" - the main roller derby team featured in the movie. I thought it was a really enjoyable film, and also got a cool t-shirt that reads: "WHIP IT - BE YOUR OWN HERO," complete with an image of a 2x2 rollerskate. Bonus!

Sunday morning, we got to see our former GT Wesley Foundation campus minister, Rev. Bridgette Young, preach at the Emory University ecumenical service in Cannon Chapel. We were very excited to be able to see her in action as well as briefly visit with her, as she recently moved to Nashville to take on a new position as the new Assistant General Secretary for Campus Ministry in the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry. She was not only our campus minister, but she also married us almost 7.5 years ago! And she told us that we were truly the happiest couple she has ever married, because we genuinely liked being around each other. I thought that was such a great compliment! The service was wonderful, and I especially loved hearing the Voices of Inner Strength (Emory's gospel choir) and their performance of our closing song, Flow to You. Truly an inspirational way to get my week started!


Sunday afternoon and evening, we continued our skate-themed weekend by going to watch the Southern Fried Smackdown - the first regional roller derby that the Atlanta Rollergirls have ever sponsored. It was some awesome action, and those girls skated their hearts out. There were teams from Texas, Kansas, Florida, Tennessee, and of course, Atlanta. The trophy was also pretty awesome - the Southern Fried Smackdown logo cut into the bottom of a cast iron skillet - it was impressive! Way to skate, girls!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching Up & The Exciting Adventures of Thoth

Okay, I'm clearly behind here. Let's see if I can recount the goings-on over the last few weeks...

Shortly after we returned from Houston, we received word that David's Grandmother Clo was not doing well. Basically her heart was wearing out, and she was not getting enough oxygen. Dear Grandmother Clo passed on August 29th*, and we quickly made arrangements to be in Cullman, AL, for her funeral on September 3rd*. She lived a good, long 94 years, and I know she is happy to be with Grandaddy Art after being without him all these years. I feel truly blessed to have known her. We did have a great opportunity to hear stories about her life, and to help start clearing things out of her house. It's quite a task when someone has lived in a house for over 40 years! (Another adventure, for another post).

Meanwhile, back at the "ranch," our kitty, Thoth, had somehow managed his escape out of the house while we were packing the car Thursday morning to leave. We were gone Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday, returning at about 11 pm. I was outside the front door peeking in the sidelight and saw no cat. Unlocked the front door and stepped into the foyer and still no cat. Went into kitchen and saw food bowl, still piled up with food as we had left it. (Begin PANIC!) I turned to yell out to DH, "The cat is NOT in the house!" Of course, DH had to say, "That, or he's dead somewhere in the house." Yeah, not a great thought, although it would be highly unlikely that he just dropped dead in the house right after we left and didn't touch a bite of his food. SIL and doggie had already planned to spend the night at a friend's house to visit, so she and the doggie headed out to assist in our kitty recovery efforts. Meanwhile, I searched behind all closed doors in the house to make sure he wasn't trapped in a closet somewhere, and DH searched the grounds shaking the kitty treats (which doesn't normally work, but it was worth a try since it had been a few days). I resigned to going to bed because I was exhausted and still suffering from clogged sinuses. We left some kibble and water on the front steps, and left the front door open so we could glance out of the storm door occasionally. DH stayed up and watched movies and checked outside the front door periodically. At about 2:45 am (Sunday), I felt a cat being dropped next to me in bed! DH happened to look outside, and Thoth was sitting on the front steps. He immediately started meowing when he caught sight of DH, and then immediately purring after he walked in the front door and DH picked him up (if you know our cat, this is unusual!). (End PANIC!) Other than being a little dirty, he was just fine. He spent the better part of Sunday either grooming or napping. And being very loving (also unusual!). We enjoyed it while we could. I was glad that he appeared very happy to see us.

Overlaid on all that, our dear friend Cyndi was returning from Denmark a month early, due to the illness of her Aunt Kaye. Unfortuately, Aunt Kaye passed away a few days before she returned. Despite the consequences of her early return, we were still very happy to finally see her after a long year away, and met her at the airport and visited with her parents and brother at the same time. We were also able to stop by her house and have dinner with her family ("Crazy Chicken" - again, another story for another post) on our way back from Alabama, so that was also an enjoyable time despite everyone's sadness.

This past week, we've enjoyed a few GT volleyball games with the restart of the season, the last of the Louvre exhibit at the High Museum, an Australian Rules Football game. I also participated in the Corporate Challenge 5K walk last week, and finally rejoined the CRC after a little hiatus, so I'll be working off a little weight I put on earlier this year by being holed up studying for my AREs. (Thank goodness they're over!) On that note, I, along with two other coworkers, made it in to the "Achievements" column in our local Atlanta Business Chronicle. Nice recognition!


*Update - I got the dates a week off and corrected them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Houston = humid but fun

DH and I had a whirlwind long weekend in Houston. It was the convergence of many relatives. Simply put, several convenient coincidences allowed members of both my mom's and dad's side of the family to be there while we were. This meant herding cats bunnies (my cousin Justus has 2 house bunnies, Badger and Peppercorn) relatives, several cars, big meals out, and random sightseeing - all typical at my extended family reunions/vacations.

Highlights from our trip:

Thursday: We arrived mid-morning in Houston. After a quick stop at my aunt's house, we headed to lunch at Ninfa's on Navigation (awesome fajitas and homemade tortillas), a trip to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, taking photos of ducks and ducklings at my cousin's girlfriend's office park pond, visiting my maternal Grandma and Grandpa's resting spot, a big Chinese dinner with family at Fung's Kitchen, and hole-in-the-wall Mexican shaved ice.

Friday: Breakfast and coffee at Brasil, an outing at the Menil Collection (including the Cy Twombly Gallery, Rothko Chapel, and Dan Flavin Installation), hanging out at my cousin Justus's apartment (where we stayed), visiting cousins Eric and An's place (playing with doggie Skyy), and attending my cousin Marina's Rehearsal Dinner at Cafe Ginger.

Saturday: Early morning play time and photo shoot of the bunnies and cousin Justus, breakfast at Baby Barnaby's, a walk downtown to see some of the skyscrapers (yes, nerdy architect stuff), coffee at "The End of the Universe", a visit to the Beer Can House, and, of course, my cousin Marina's wedding at The Houston Club. The bride and groom were beautiful and handsome (respectively) and a great time was had by all! (We also played a late game of Ticket to Ride, which I actually won! So of course I had to add that in there.)

Sunday: I took an early walk with my cousin and his girlfriend through their Montrose neighborhood and took some photos while DH caught a few more winks, then we headed to Laredo Taqueria for some late breakfast (excellent tacos and homemade tortillas!), a group of cousins headed to the theater to catch District 9 (interesting) and took us by a Jamba Juice (to satisfy my craving - they really need to open some up in Georgia!), a quick stop at the Williams Water Wall and Galleria Mall before another big Chinese dinner at Confucious Seafood Restaurant with the family, then a cousin outing to see the Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders - our first ever MLS game!

Monday: We hopped onto a flight at the crack of dawn and got back in to work in Atlanta at noon. (Thanks, Justus, for getting up so early!)

Click on the images below to see my photo albums:

Houston - Part 1


Houston - Part 2 - Marina and Nicholas


Houston - Part 3

Monday, August 10, 2009

Busy Bee

Not much to post about lately, just life going on as usual - house projects, work projects, weekend visitors, movie outings, and my arch-nemesis, house cleaning! I did get a new camera backpack and camera strap to try out. We're taking a trip via airplane soon, so I thought it would be a good time to test out the camera backpack. I searched all over the internet trying to find one with easy access, sleek design, and good price. In addition with some feedback from friends, I decided to go ahead and get one with a small laptop sleeve in it as well (even though I don't have said laptop yet) and room for at least a shoe-mount flash and maybe 2-3 other lenses (also don't have those yet). I ended up ordering the Kata DR-466 Digital Rucksack with Reflex E camera strap. Additional bonus: there's a $15 rebate currently for the backback I ordered ($20 if you get a more expensive one). The camera strap comes in three sections - a cushy neck section, and then two straps that go on either side of the camera. There are release clips that allow you to remove the neck strap and hook the two ends to D-rings on the backpack straps, transferring and distributing the weight of the camera to your shoulders through the backpack straps and relieving your neck. The neck strap portion has two small zippered compartments - one on either end. I can fit my USB SD card reader and my tiny Nikon ML-L3 wireless remote control in there nicely. I could also put an SD card in there, but with a 16 GB card, I don't really need to carry around extra memory! I did read many online reviews before purchasing, and one thing that I already knew was that the Reflex E strap by itself could be a bit long if you are short, which indeed it is, but at the same time, the end lengths are perfect when you hook it onto the backpack. Really, I think I need the neck portion shortened. But the strap by itself does allow you to carry the camera cross-body and lift the camera to take a photo without having to shimmy your arm back out of the strap or shimmy it around your in order to lift the camera up to eye-level. Thought it was a pretty cool system, so I'll have to review it once I use it more.

Me testing out the new camera backpack and strap with my assistant, Thoth.
Some great bee shots that DH took the other day as they buzzed around our driveway hydrangea - you can see the pollen on the bee's rear in the second photo.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stamp happy

Not a craft project...I got my official Registered Architect stamp today. Actually, another co-worker and I both got our stamps today, so we had a little fun testing them out. Don't really plan to be using it any time soon, but you can be sure to see them on our Christmas cards this year! :)


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tree Removal

Late Sunday night during a heavy rain storm, one of our silver maple trees fell in our driveway. We were very thankful to have a few friends that offered to help with either a chainsaw or truck. In the end, our friend Adam came by this morning with both to help us cut it up and haul it to the county landscape waste area. Luckily, the tree missed the house, just made a very small dent in the back of my car trunk where a small branch hit it, and didn't damage the driveway. It was the last of three major branch trunks on that tree, and we knew it was starting to rot at the base. Thanks very much to Adam and DH for getting this done!!
Before:


After:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thanks for the flowers!

I got these gorgeous flowers at work this afternoon - delivered by FTD. They are so beautiful! It did come with a note, "I am so proud of you!" but no name. Thanks to the sender - they made my day! :)

Update: Flowers are from my *fabulous* SIL! Thanks, Jenn! You're the best!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Call me Registered Architect!

I got my FINAL PASS for my FINAL ARE in my inbox this afternoon! It's hard to believe after all the school and work and studying that I finally got through this exam! I am more relieved than anything that I will not have to be retaking anything in 6 months. It's been a lifelong quest and I am very proud to finally have achieved it.

There's still paperwork and money to be exchanged in the upcoming weeks, but as far as I am concerned, you can call me Ina Bachmann, RA! (Registered Architect, for those that don't know.) Bye-bye "Intern Architect," hello liability! Thanks to all of you who have offered up support, prayers, kind words, and good thoughts! :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Orlando Part 1: Sea World

We arrived late Sunday evening in Orlando and enjoyed a great Cuban dinner at Bongos Cuban Cafe at Downtown Disney. We were able to stroll around the West Side area very briefly after dinner, as the shops were closing. But we planned to come back another day to check more of it out.

Monday morning, we took our time getting up and getting ready. I ran over to the resort grocery store to grab a few things for breakfast - milk, eggs, cereal. We finally got out the door around 11:30 am and headed to Sea World. We were met by a whole line of cars queued to get into the parking lot (as we expected). Luckily, the parking and tram part went quickly, and we were soon at the ticket booth. SIL works for A-B, so she had 1/2 price coupons for admission, which was very nice. We started by checking out the "Believe" Shamu Show, which was a great start to the day. Our seats were labeled as part of the splash section, but we never actually had any of the killer whales get close enough to our seats to get us wet. As hot as it was, it might have actually been refreshing!

After "Believe," we were getting hungry, so we headed over to The Terrace to grab a bratwurst sandwich to share (hoping it would tide us over for a little while) and water. SIL checked out the A-B store, then we headed over to the Clydesdale Hamlet to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. They have 6 Clydesdales in the barn there, and they were enormous! Beautiful horses to see in person!

Next, we checked out Shark Encounter. Then we headed for the sea lion and otter show, but it was already packed out. Made a mental note to show up really early for the next show. DH wanted to ride a ride at this point, so he and SIL headed for Manta. I usually like most roller coasters, but for some reason I was not in a roller coaster mood this day, and I was also uneasy about leaving my very nice and expensive camera in a locker, so I told them to go ahead and I would look around some other exhibits that I wanted to see while they were in line for Manta. I checked out the underwater sting ray tank at the base of Manta - it was pretty cool because you were looking up through the bottom of the tank and could see the undersides of all of the rays swimming around. Then I went to see the penguins and puffins and decided it was about time to head over to the sea lion and otter show to wait in line. The seating area was still closed off, so I walked nearby to Pacific Point to see the sea lions and seals. They were all basking in the sun and sleeping. One baby sea lion was trying to nurse, much to the protest of the mama trying to nap. DH and SIL called about then having gotten off Manta, and we met outside the Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island stage to wait for seats to open. After about 10 minutes, they let us in and we got pretty good seats. As folks trickled into the seats, a mime clown appeared and proceeded to deceive, harass (in fun), and mimic the crowd shuffling in. He would hold up fingers as if to ask how many seats a family was looking for, then motion them to follow him, then he would lead them past all the seats and out the exit on the other side! He went up to a family that entered with an elderly lady in a wheelchair, took over pushing the wheelchair for them, and zoomed her around the front until she finally turned around and realized that her daughter was no longer pushing her chair! And taking the cake was the elderly lady that showed up in an electric scooter. He hopped onto the scooter, standing and straddling her lap, proceeded to drive the scooter, shooing the crowd in front of him, around the front to a spot where she could park in the wheelchair section! He was a hoot to watch! Finally the show started, and as we learned, otters are not as easy to train as sea lions. But the show was fun, and we got to see 2 sea lions, an otter, and a walrus in action. The "sword fight" with the otter was pretty cute. And the trainers/actors did make the best of a couple of miscues with the animals.

DH and SIL went to ride Kraken next. I decided to sit that one out as well, and watched the Journey to Atlantis water ride for awhile, and checked out Manatee Rescue Dolphin Cove while I waited on them. The manatees were not that exciting, even though they were *slowly* feeding on lettuce. The dolphins were much more fun to watch. There was one side of the cove cordoned off for people who wanted to pay to feed some small fish to the dolphins. They had a nice overlook on the opposite side, so I went up there to watch the feedings. The dolphins showed a lot of personality - some would pop right up alongside the feeding area, allow their heads and sides to be petted, and some even purposefully splashed people! They are some smart and funny animals for sure!

After DH and SIL finished riding Kraken, they met me by Dolphin Cove and we walked the rest of the park. Stopped by the Sting Ray Lagoon and Turtle Point to see the big sea turtles.

At this point, it was about 5 in the evening, and we were pretty worn out and ready to head back. So we said bye to Shamu and headed home to wash up and get dinner. We ended up going back to Downtown Disney Marketplace to have dinner at Portobello Italian Trattoria. The food was pretty good, and we had a very accomodating waiter. Afterwards, we checked out the Lego store and World of Disney store. We scoped out a few things to think about purchasing, then headed back to get some sleep so we could get up early for Animal Kingdom on Tuesday. More about AK in Part 2!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fabulous Fourth!

We had a busy but great Fourth of July long weekend. I got up on the 4th at my usual crack-of-dawn hour to get DH and SIL to MARTA for the Peachtree Road Race. Although DH is still sporting a week-old broken rib, he walked it without problem. It was too bad he couldn't run - he actually got a group 3 number this year - best number ever! SIL had a group 6 number, so she ran and caught up with DH walking and they did the last bit together. After a brief scare and driving back home to find that my wallet had been in the glove compartment the whole time, I staked out my usual spot at the Colony Square fountain to watch. I am so proud of my PRR-ers!

We spent the evening at friends Steph and Chris's house for burgers and fireworks. I got to play with my new toy - a Nikon ML-L3 wireless remote control that I managed to pick up from Showcase during lunch on Thursday. DH and I got some great long-exposure shots of sparklers and fireworks. Can you see Chris spelling his name with his sparkler? So fun!
Sunday through Wednesday we spent trekking with SIL to Orlando to spend some time at the parks. We stayed at my parents' newly-renovated timeshare, so that was great! We spent Monday at Sea World and Tuesday at Animal Kingdom. Saw lots of animals, rode some rides, and luckily didn't get rained on until late afternoon Tuesday, right after the AK parade. I'll post more details and pics in a day or two!

Friday, July 3, 2009

New TV Setup

Before:

and After:

It took a few hours over the course of 4 days, but we took our time and finally got our new TV stand put together. I think it looks great! Plenty of room for the Wii and accessories on the left side, center speaker and receiver in the center, and the other components on the right. The three drawers fit Will controllers, manuals, and remotes nicely. We like it very much!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Birthday fun

David's birthday "burgers"
Blowing out the candles
Big bite!
We had a nice, small gathering to celebrate DH's birthday last night. We met up for dinner at FIGO Pasta in Virginia-Highland, then headed over to GT for Flicks on 5th, a series of movies being shown outside on 5th Street at Technology Square over the summer. Last night featured Slumdog Millionaire, which some of us had already seen. There were a couple of skips in the viewing, so those who saw it for the first time should definitely rent it and watch it again sometime. It was a little on the warm side, but not too bad. My birthday "burgers" turned out really cute, but really too much sweetness. Next time, I'll try making them with the mini muffin pan and smaller rounds of brownies so that they are more bite-sized and less sugar! Looking forward to spending some time this evening with our new TV and getting the DVD player hooked up so we can check out how a movie looks on it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

PASS #8!

I had Pass #8 for Pre-Design sitting in my Inbox this morning - YAY! One left to go, scheduled for June 29th - Lateral Forces. It will be nice to get a break from studying in July...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Joining the digital age

We finally made our new TV selection today. It not only took the DTV transition, but also the long, slow, failing of our current, 12-yr-old, 20" CRT to get us to join the digital age in TVs. (No, we still don't have cable.) In the end, after all the research, comparing costs between stores, reading specs, and dragging our feet, we decided to go with a 40" Samsung LCD, 1080p, 120 Hz, blah blah blah. Looking forward to its delivery sometime this week. I guess we'll be entertaining ourselves with DVDs and Wii in the meantime. (Unless you want to invite us over to watch TV.) Happy Early Birthday, DH!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kitty Photo Shoot




Playing with my camera is a lot more fun than studying, unfortunately. But this photo shoot with Thoth didn't last all that long. He had his back turned to me and gave me the silent treatment after a few minutes. These were longer exposure, therefore some of the blurriness. I think I got a couple good ones. Double-headed kitty turned out funny, so I'm posting it too.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Counter Service

A couple of shots from our meal at Marietta Pizza Company this evening:
Pizzas coming out of the kitchen.

Our neighbor's pie and beer, and the beer taps beyond.

My slice and DH's stromboli - yum!
There's something to be said about sitting at a counter in a food establishment. A lot of times DH and I get a table, but every once in awhile, if a restaurant is really busy, there always seem to be two spots at the counter for us. I guess in my younger years, I remember the Aiken and Charleston Woolworth stores having a counter, but I don't think I ever ate at one. These days, my favorite counters in Atlanta are the ones at Ria's Bluebird Cafe, OK Cafe, and Marietta Pizza Company. There are also counter seats at Baraonda with great view of the pizza oven, but I haven't had the opportunity to sit there yet. Also, I am sure there are many others out there that I just haven't run across yet. (Suggestions welcome.)

When a place is really busy, we always seem to get good attention at the counter by the barkeep or whoever is running the counter. They always seem like the busiest person in the place, since they are waiting tables, pouring drinks, and working the register sometimes, but I have always had pretty snappy and attentive service. And I certainly do appreciate it!