Archive for November, 2006

From Thanksgiving to the Toilet Bowl!

Posted by Karen in Bruno, Friends, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Homebrewing.
Monday, November 27th, 2006 at 11:59 pm


I declartable-spread.JPGe Thanksgiving a raging success!  This was Duoteam’s first real adult dinner party.  We used china, dude.  And I was a decorating fool, it was so freaking festive in here.  As I was scurrying around filling dishes with different kinds of candy and nuts and lighting pumpkin-scented candles I suddenly realized that I have become my grandma. 

There was so much food that some of it was barely even touched.  Here’s a list of what I can remember: turkey, ham, Turducknate-plate.JPGen, chestnut soup, pralined yams, beer yams, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy, regular stuffing, oyster stuffing, broccoli salad, green bean casserole, regular rolls and pumpkin rolls with orange butter, pumpkin dip with graham crackers, candied oranges with chocolate ganache, and cranberries.  To drink there was a wide variety of homebrew (Nate’s as well as Scott and Cody’s), homemade ginger ale, brandy, and wine.  Here is a weirdly lit picture of Nate with two, count ‘em, two platefulls ready to go.  That’s my boy.

Wait,firemen2.JPG back up.  The Turducken.  The thing of legend and/or myth.  The long-awaited turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken.  And in this case, stuffed with creole shrimp.  I decided to postpone being a vegetarian for this Thanksgiving so as to help out with the vast quantities of meat and because frankly, if a Turducken is in your house you damn well better try it!  But there ended up being so much other awesome food that I was just way more excited about, so I didn’t really eat much of the meat.  I tried some of the Turducken, and for me personally, it was kind of a let-down.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  n-s-pie.JPGBut here is an awesome photo of the boys during deep-frying of the turkey. 

Then for dessert there were 3 different kinds of pumpkin pie: regular, lots of coconut, and just a little coconut with bourbon.  And fresh whipped cream.  Mmmmm.  We all ate ourselves into serious discomfort.  Sierra fell asleepsierra-dog-toys.JPG and Nate proceeded to put things on top of her and take pictures.  Like a pumpkin.  And all of Bruno’s toys.  Eventually we all wandered out to the park to play some horseshoes (Grandma and Grandpa Schroeder just gave us a set – sweet!).  Sierra and I dominated. 

In the evening more friends joined us for some mulled wine and Hoopla.  I haven’t spent much time with my friends for awhile now, so for me it was so great just to have everyone together.  And to not be crabby.  And to not fall asleep in the middle of all the fun. 
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Every year Cody puts together a post-Thanksgiving football game which he likes to call the Toilet Bowl.   This was the first year that the Toilet Bowl was held in Minneapolis, and in fact it was at Corcoran Park in our front yard.  We had quiophelia.JPGte a turn-out!  I overheard Cody say later "I’m just not used to playing with people who are… physically fit."  In addition to the football, there were babies!  Or I guess, a baby and a toddler, since Ophelia suddenly became an official toddler, temper tantrums and all (I have yet to actually witness one, I’ve just heard tell from Anni).  Part of the reason for the grbruno-duke.JPGeat turn-out was because Madeline brought her entire family.  This meant a surprise visit from Dusty and Victoria, who were our neighbors for like 3 days before they moved to Iowa.  Boo.  But they brought with them their new dog and Bruno’s new best friend, Duke! 
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After the football, everyone came over for some snacks and even more homebrew with the addition of Dusty and Victoria’s brews.  The great Pumpkin Beer-Off took place, which was a taste test between Nate and Scotty’s pumpkin beers.  Here is Peacock, showing us her tasting technique, and possibly her future parenting technique…  Needless to say, both beers were delightful and enjoyed by all.  But Nate’s "Liquid Pie" is a tough one to beat.

I’ve missed my friends.  I’ve missed Nate.  I’ve missed having people over and just enjoying their good company.  This was a much-needed holiday, and I’m so thankful to have gotten to spend it with such wonderful people.  And I’m thankful for this pumpkin-turkey.  pict0004.JPG

1-888-5-OPT-OUT

Posted by Nate in Consumers, Homeowners, Recycling.
Sunday, November 19th, 2006 at 6:54 pm


Almost as soon as we’d moved into our house last year I noticed a huge increase in junk mail.  A lot of it was related to being new homeowners (Equity Loans!  House Insurance!  Mortgage Insurance!), but even more was just generic coupons and ads and credit offers.

I picked up some forms almost a year ago intending to send them off ASAP and stop the junk mail, but as things happen I only just sent them last week.  The big one is the Mail Preference Service, with information here.  Also at that link is info on 18885OPTOUT which gets you out of credit card offers.  (MPS charges you if you do it through their site, but you can just send it in by hand and it’s free)  Lastly I sent in the info for ADVO, another agency that I think we’re getting a ton of stuff from.

Sure, we recycle all our junk mail, but how cool would it be to just not get it in the first place?  Those requests take a while to process, but fingers crossed that they’ll cut down on the junk.  I’ll post an update in a few months (if I remember).

Fall Planting, Projects, and … Beer

Posted by Nate in Beer, Home Improvements, Landscaping.
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006 at 8:24 pm


Decided to ride my bike to work today out of respect for national "You Should Probably Start Some Rehab On That Knee" day.  (That and the fact it was almost 70 degrees (!!!) today.)  It went well, mostly, some tightness on the way in, pretty ok on the way home, and now it’s kinda sore – but I still think it’s the right thing to do.  Gotta strengthen up the surrounding muscles, especially considering I haven’t done anything more strenuous than walk the dog since the injury…

11-7-2006-8-38-23-am_0001.JPGThe plant nursery at Karen’s work ended up giving away all their remaining stock with the disclaimer that plugs planted in the fall have probably only a 70% chance of survival.  Of course she snapped up as many flats as she could and proceeded to shove them in the ground all over our yard!  At left is the new view of Duoteam HQ from the front.  My biggest concern with yards I see with native plants all over is that I think it really enhances credibility ("No, really, our yard isn’t overgrown, they’re native plants!") if there’s a clear demarcation and sense of "order" to it.  So I pulled a bunch of leftover concrete pavers (?) and made a border along the walk.  Needs some touchup in Spring, but pretty sweet.  10-30-2006-6-36-10-pm_0002.JPGThe next night Karen planted the rest in the back yard, and since it gets dark shortly after 5 now I rigged up some work lights for her.  She’s crazy – but it should look great next summer!

Inside the house I continue to put off the basement.  (This weekend, really.)  But in the meantime I knocked off a long-time item from my list: shelves in the office.  Floating shelves, no less.  I pretty much followed the outlines described here, and it was actually pretty easy once I got started.

11-5-2006-2-23-56-pm_0003.JPGBasically you slice and dice a hollow-core door, attach a cleat to the wall, and tie the door section to the cleat – voila, shelves!  Above you can see the door cut and the cardboard "honeycomb" being knocked out.  At right is the cleat on the wall.  I feel really good about the strength of those cleats – two11-7-2006-8-12-28-am_0008.JPG 1/4" toggle bolts with the toggle grabbing onto the wood lath behind about 1/2" or more of plaster, so I was able to crank them down pretty well.

Cutting the cleats was the hardest part.  I needed a board 1 1/8" thick to fit exactly inside the door, but had no easy way to cut one accurately.  I knew the frame on my circular saw cut 1 5/8" from the edge…  And I had some 1/2" MDF left over from the kitchen shelves…  So I screwed the MDF onto a 2×4 with another board attached for the fence and ta da!  1 5/8" – 1/2" = 1 1/8"!  11-7-2006-8-31-36-am_0012.JPGIt worked perfectly, and after a good dose of wood glue and some 1" brads, those shelves are as strong as possible.  Still can’t load them up with a full bookshelf or anything, but they should handle a lot.

11-5-2006-9-23-36-pm_0005.JPGFinally, I took Karen on a mystery date on Sunday, which ended up being a Belgian beer dinner at the Birchwood Cafe.  Five courses, five beers, an accordian player, and it was all organic / local food!  At the end there was a secret bonus beer and we got to pick out a glass to take home – Karen grabbed hers early and is flaunting it in the picture.  After all that work, it was great to just relax, eat, and drink!