Archive for the 'Bruno' Category

A Few of My Favorite Things

Posted by Karen in Bruno, Day to Day, Garden, Home Improvements, Weather.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 at 9:56 am

But first, the big news.  Bruno graduated from Doggy Obedience Level II Sunday evening!  Awww.  He can now (sometimes) do all of the following:  sit or lay down and stay while we do whatever the heck we want and make as much of a ruckus as we want, or when someone comes to the door, walk right past huge distractions (dogs, food) while keeping his attention on us, come to us past a huge distraction, sit and look at us while we greet another person with a dog, and more.  The point of this class was mostly to teach him to do things he already knows how to do in a distracted environment, and to igno20080219071848_pict0002_22.jpgre distractions when we want him to, which is pretty freaking hard for our dog friend. 

For him to really get it down Nate and I now have to make it a point to take him into lots of distracting environments just to train him.  That has so not been my favorite thing to do – something about an 85 pound dog pulling your arm off and completely ignoring you…  But now that he’s already come so far and we have a new understanding of how to work with him in those situations I feel more inspired.  Plus, the better he’s able to behave in those situations, the more places we’ll get to take him!  It’s funny though, I think because of his size he has to be so much better behaved, because you can’t just yank him around like a little yappy dog. 

And now for my new favorite things.  Thing #1:  our new citrus juicer.  The last time we made homemade ginger ale, I hand squeezed lik20080219074136_nate_juicer.jpge 30 lemons and limes and then couldn’t open my hands for a week.  I vowed to get some sort of device for the next time.  So we recently picked up this hot little number at one of our favorite stores to browse in, Kitchen Window.  Nate drools over all the pots and pans, I stare at all the different kinds of cupcake sprinkles, and we both sample as many different kinds of gourmet chocolate as possible until they are ready to kick us out.  Anyway, I tend to prefer non-electric appliances when it’s reasonable, both for the reduced energy consumption and the gratification of using your own muscle power.  So amidst all the crazy expensive electric citrus juicers was this bright orange "Retro Hand Juicer", for something like $25!!  We snagged it and have used it almost every day since!  It’s so unbelievably easy and efficient.  We’ve been drinking fresh squeezed grapefruit juice in the morning, and putting fresh squeezed lemon juice in tabouli and hummus, and I can’t wait to make a new keg of ginger ale knowing how much easier it will be! 

Thi20080219075029_spice_rack.jpgng #2:  our new spice rack.  We cook a lot (and by we I mean Nate, let’s be real).  We have 1 spice rack above our stove but still had lots more that couldn’t fit in there.  So we got this one, also at Kitchen Window, and Nate hung it in the little window nook.  And then he got these wee little hooks for measuring spoons and bottle openers (of which we have many).  It makes my brain feel more organized just looking at it. 

Thing #3: this mint plant.  Lime mint to be exact.  We dug it out of our garden at the end of the season last year and 20080219075217_pict0001_28.jpgput it in a little pot in our kitchen.  And then kind of forgot about it.  I mean we watered it and stuff, but never really used it.  It got real leggy and kinda weird.  But then I all of a sudden like had a hankering for some fresh lime in a drink – mandarin vodka and soda water with fresh lime mint – very summer.  But sometimes you need that when it’s -10 degrees outside!  We’ve also been putting it in our salads lately and I’m convinced this little plant is singlehandedly fending off the February Minnesota winter blues!

Speaking of which, I have to be outside all day tomorrow for work.  Do you know what the weather forecast is for 9 a.m., the time I meet the first group?  -9 degrees, but feel like -26 with windchill.  I hate tomorrow so much already.  No amount of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice or fresh lime mint can help me. 

Dog Biscuits and Beer

Posted by Nate in Beer, Bruno.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 at 7:38 am

20080213052500_pict0005.jpg… no, not at the same time.  :)  Last Friday was Winterfest, the annual fundraiser for the MN Craft Brewers Guild, and the first one I’d been able to attend.  It was awesome!  (despite a very chilly half-hour wait in line outside – they only had one person checking IDs at first!)

20080213052516_pict0021.jpgNot sure I could pick a favorite from the evening, but Town Hall won a deserved victory with their Chocolate Raspberry Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout.  Pretty incredible.  Really, that’s half the fun for me at events like this – getting inspired!  (Sorry about that pic, Sierra – you look sober in the one before20080213052446_pict0004.jpg and after, but everyone else looks better here!)

I got to talk to the brewers at a number of the tables and got some good tips on their processes, especially regarding fermentation temperature – more on that in another post, I’ve got some small but vital additions to my brewing process.  Pic at left:  gee, it’s like they’re speaking from experience!!  (but the capitalization…?)

20080213052338_pict0001.jpgSo that was a great start to the weekend.  The next morning we happened to go into Kitchen Window where I lusted after their enamel-coated pans (no more teflon!) and we managed to find a perfect size dog biscuit cookie cutter.  Inspired, Karen researched a few recipes, and by Sunday evening was turning out trays of the cutest little dog treats I’ve ever seen!

20080213052428_pict0003.jpgNot only are we saving money (somehow those treats are expensive), but we know exactly what’s in them and that it’s all good for him.  No preservatives, no filler, no corners cut.  Hooray!

Christmas in Colorado!

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Family, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 at 1:30 pm

pict0005a.JPGWhat a whirlwind!  We got back the 30th after leaving Christmas eve for Colorado – J&J, Sierra, Steve, me, Karen, and Bruno in a rented Suburban driving cross-country.  We intended to go strpict0001a.JPGaight through, but we ended up crashing for the evening in Columbus, NE, with Karen and Steve’s brother Dean.  His wife Daniele managed to conjure up stockings for us all in the morning, it was amazing!  And Bruno got to play with Maceo, one of their dogs (the other one had to stay in her kennel).

Back on the road to CO the next morning we hit some pretty bad weather in the last pict0013.JPG1/4 of Nebraska…  A few white-knuckle hours later we crossed into Colorado where everything cleared up, and mere hours later we were opening gifts with the family!  I got a sweet shirt, the first issue of Make pict0001.JPGmagazine, and some Climitts for my frozen fingers on my bike – I can’t wait to try them out tomorrow!  Karen got a giant muffin pan, women’s work gloves, portable speakers for her iPod, and some hand / wrist warmers she’s already raving about!

pict0007b.JPGThe next day we went snowshoeing up in Rocky Mountain National Park at a trail I don’t know if I’d ever been on – but it was so cold and windy I neglected to take any pictures!  The wind died down a bit in the trees and the mountains were beautiful.  It was a great break from all the running around.

pict0005b.JPGBruno and Te Beagh reconnected and had a great week playing in the snow.  Regan, two years older than last time they met, was a little less receptive this time – she ended up snapping at pict0007.JPGBruno a few times and one time caught him pretty good on his ear.  I taped some gauze on it so it wouldn’t bleed when he shook his head and he never seemed to mind – heck, he’s an 85 pound dog!  Now if we could just teach him to listen when other dogs say they don’t want to play…

pict0008.JPGThursday we headed to New Belgium brewery for a few samples, then back home for the now-annual Jeopardy game!  This year, instead of making noises to "buzz in" we made colorful paddles to lift.  Laurel drew a nice Christmas tree that ended up on fire – you know, to get the judges’ attention – and I decided it needed a message from a (super-ripped) Smokey the Bear.  Unfortunately that was the pinnacle of our genius for the week – I think we came in dead last in the Jeopardy game.  Ah well, next year!

pict0006.JPGFriday (I think!) we had a nice lunch with Troy and Scotty at Coopersmith’s and got to sample some of their great beer.  It was awesome to see those guys again, even if just for a short time.  Scotty, come back!  Troy, come visit!

Early Saturday morning Laurel and Freddie took off driving for LA via Las Vegas.  Crazy kids! pict0003.JPG The rest of us went by my Grandparent’s new place in Fort Collins for a visit and some snacks.  They miss Chicago but seem to be settling in well.  Then off to City Park to break in Justin’s new sled!  Quentin went over a jump a few times on his stomach and I thought he was going to faceplant, but we all survived without injury.

pict0005.JPGThat night Karen and Steve’s aunt and uncle came up from Denver for another visit to Coopersmith’s – perfect, since they had so many beers I wanted to try!

pict0006a.JPGEarly Sunday morning we were back on the road, and this time we took full advantage of the DVD player built into the Suburban – everyone watched (and I listened to) the first 12 episodes of Lost!  Crazy.  Good weather the whole way, Bruno was perfect in the car, and we got to meet Dean, Daniele, and Trevor for lunch in Omaha.

Finally home and collapsed into bed.  Great to see everyone and celebrate together!

Blog silence

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Day to Day, Projects.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Whew.  I wasn’t sure if I’d find time to post until after the holidays!  It’s been a little hectic around here, for sure.  A quick recap for those wondering what Duoteam’s been up to:

  • img_0479-resized.jpgCelebrating Thanksgiving in Nebraska at Karen’s brother’s house.
  • Karen helped decorate and overall spread good cheer for her office’s holiday party.
  • We’ve both had colds.
  • I haven’t biked to work since the day before Thanksgiving (see above – but I intend to soon!)
  • junie_bruno.JPGI finally started brewing again after blowing my supply at the wedding.
  • It snowed!  We’ve had two storms in a row, and more forecast for tomorrow.  After a disappointing winter last year, we’re off to a good start.
  • Bruno turned 3!  He got to have a little friend over for some massive bouts of tug-o-war.  Fun.

pict0004.JPGI’ve also been tweaking the mostly-working-perfectly wakeup system, just today I adjusted the sensor to determine when the alarm is going off and fixed a little bug in the light timing.  I had to program it to start about an hour before we want to get up since it takes that long for our house to get up to the temperature we want – it’s been near zero in the mornings for the last few weeks.

pict0003.JPGNot sure who’s interested in the details, but in the pic at right you can see the components that went into this.  From roughly left to right: the cannibalized innards of a 5V power supply ($2 at Savers!), the kit I put together to fade the 120V light, and on the right is a barebones Arduino board soldered into a little PC board I got from Radio Shack that’s also holding the rest of the circuitry I designed.  Nothing too complex, and I know I could have gotten it in a smaller box, but this one holds the light nicely.

Pretty nice in action, too.  It’s nice waking up to some light instead of bleak & cold darkness.  I’ve found it’s much more of a psychological effect (for me, anyway), where I’ll wake up with the light and the sound and know that there’s more time in the cycle before I’m "supposed" to get up, but I’ve been making an effort to not be tied to this "scheduled" wakeup time.  If I’m awake and it’s close enough, I get up!  Hard to break myself of the "but the alarm won’t go off for another 10 minutes!" thing – but I think that just leads to bad sleep in the morning.  Anyway.  Good progress, and I definitely like it better than any other alarm I’ve used.

That’s all for now!  Keep bugging Karen, maybe she’ll post!

Wedding Planning

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Wedding.
Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 at 8:03 pm

pict3312.JPGHad a blast this weekend up on the North Shore of Lake Superior — we would normally avoid it on a popular holiday weekend, but it ended up being basically the only weekend we could squeeze it in.  And we really needed to research / start to flesh out some of the wedding plans.

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pict3332.JPGIn the video you can see Mr. Man exploring the lake and the beach.  He was pretty shy about the water at first but really enjoyed — drinking only, no swimming for this guy yet! — the rivers and streams running into the lake.  pict3311.JPGNext is a clip of this cluster (herd?  pack?) of swallowtails all landing in the same area – it was right where a car normally would park, so I’m hoping it was some naturally occurring mineral deposit and not antifreeze they were after.  Pretty cool, anyway.  Finally, looks like there’s been a change of plans and Karen has to marry Bruno now.  Hee hee.

The first night we were scheduled to meet with Michael and Maureen, the innkeepers at the Cascade Lodge, so we put Bruno in his kennel in our cabin and headed down.  Just as we reached the lodge Karen remembered she’d forgot the walnut bread we meant to give to them as a gift, so I ran back up to the cabin to get it.  As I got near the cabin I could hear Boo Boo crying, and at first I thought he was just howling since he was alone — really crazy, since he’s never made a peep like that since we got him.

pict3310.JPGI got to the door and could see inside to the kennel and realized he was crying so hard because his face had gotten stuck in the door of the kennel!!  I almost broke the door down getting in and quickly saw that he’d somehow tried to push the door open and gotten his nose out, and now his lower canine tooth was hooked on the metal door which was smashing the rest of his face back into the hard plastic.  He couldn’t close his mouth so he was drooling and crying and panicking really bad and I couldn’t seem to get his tooth unhooked or get the door open.  Karen arrived and tried to calm him down while I worked on the door and eventually got it open.  The poor little guy!!!  It was really, really terrible seeing him like that, totally stuck and freaking out and in pain.

pict3317.JPGIt turned out that in transit the metal latch on the door had bent and wasn’t properly closing on the top half so he was able to pry it open a bit.  I fixed it, but we decided to let him stay in the room without the kennel for the rest of the trip, after his bad experience with it…  Whew.

The meeting with Michael and Maureen went extremely well, even better than we could have hoped.  They’re great people, loved the bread, and it turns out he’s a homebrewer!  Not much lately since they’ve been busy, but in the past, and he was raving about the water from their well being the best for brewing.  I think I heard them mention it had even crossed their mind at one point to open a brewpub in the restaurant and I told them to sign me up!!  Heh.  First things first, but man would that be awesome!

pict3305.JPGHopefully Karen will post with more details, I want to wrap this up before it becomes a novel.  In short, great weekend, great place, very relaxing and fun, and some fantastic progress on the wedding planning process!  Sneak peak on the right:  I snuck up a bottle of the sparkling cranberry mead and we sampled it.  Fan.  Tas.  Tic.  Awesome.

Two quick things

Posted by Nate in Bruno.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007 at 4:26 pm

bruno_chicken1.jpgbruno_chicken2.jpgBruno got a chicken.  It’s supposed to be indestructible.  It’s not.

garden1.jpggarden2.jpgThe raingarden is looking awesome as it starts it second year of growth.  I can’t wait for summer.

I heart winter (again).

Posted by Karen in Broomball, Bruno, Family, Friends, Weather.
Sunday, March 18th, 2007 at 7:10 pm

This is very belated, but still needs to be written about.  I’m a fan of winter.  I’m a big fan of spring, summer, and fall too, but it seems like a lot of people either whine all winter long about the cold and the snow, or just kind of quietly suffer through it.  Not me.  I love it.  There are so many fun things you can only do during winter!  Broomball for example, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, skiing, snowball fights… 

So imagine my surprise when this year I found myself hating winter!  Before we left for Ghana and Scotland it was too warm so there was no ice for us to play broomball on – major bummer.  Then when we got back it was like a million below zero and we had to just jump in to broomball games, no fun practices with our awesome team to get us all excited.  And I had a cold.  So I kind of went to the games and froze my butt off and was miserable and whiny the whole time.  But then we had a great fun weekend session of play-till-you-can-physically-play-no-more broomball, and things started looking up. 

copy-of-pict3159.JPGAnd then it snowed.  Heaps and heaps of snow!  FINALLY!  Nate and I took Bruno snowshoeing at Powderhorn Park and the little buddy got pretty tuckered out.  He had been getting pretty short walks when it was way below zero, so he may not have been in primo shape.  And then it snowed heaps and heaps more just a few days later!  So I got to go snowshoeing two more days that weekend!  And it was the most perfect weather, all sunshine!

pict0029.JPGI took Nicole with me on the first day, her first time snowshoeing, awww.  We went to explore some trails along the Mississippi where I will be spending quite a bit of time this spring and summer.  There’s a small but wonderful oak savanna there that volunteers have worked really hard to restore and maintain, and even in the winter it was a sight to see.  I took this totally ridiculous picture of us.  I’m such a friggin genius that I thought I was wisely blocking the sun from my eyes. 

pict0031.JPGSierra went with me the next day, and we went to Fort Snelling State Park.  We took Bruno with us because I realized from the previous day that the trails would be packed down enough for him.  There are so many people here who love to play in the snow and it’s amazing how fast they get out in it!  It can make it hard to find some nice deep fresh stuff, which is what I prefer to snowshoe in, but it’s so great to know so many people are getting out there, getting exercise, enjoying the snow, the sun, the fresh air.  We went on a long hike around Pike Island, and there were so many people out walking, skiing, snowshoeing, so many dogs, so many deer!  Bruno was completely overstimulated.

pict0005.JPGSo I completely fell in love with winter again, and just in the nick of time.  It’s all melting now, and I would have been worried if I hadn’t enjoyed any of the season.  But now I am getting excited about shedding some layers, digging in the dirt, planting things, and getting to actually do some of the events I’ve been planning at work!

(not) pictures of our trip!

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Friends.
Wednesday, February 7th, 2007 at 10:59 am

Cutest picture ever:
(Bruno playing in the snow)

Creepiest picture ever:
(Cody on Halloween)

Quick update

Posted by Nate in Broomball, Bruno, Day to Day, Travel, Work.
Friday, February 2nd, 2007 at 12:11 pm

  1. We’re back!  Ghana and Scotland each deserve their own post, but the brief summary is: unbelievably cool.  Really interesting, educational, and fun, great people, great scenery, and delicious food and drink.
  2. Broomball is back!  This week we had games on Tuesday (we won 3-1, I scored by batting one in out of the air and Peter K had two amazing goals), Thursday (we won 2-0, I scored from the edge and Jason worked some serious magic), then have a makeup game scheduled tomorrow!  (plus normal games in the week, plus my team at work is playing Monday)  Holy broomball, Batman!
  3. It’s cold.  Really, really cold.  -9F air temp when I walked Bruno this morning, we only made it two blocks before his little paws got full of ice and he was limping so we hustled back — too fast, it turned out.  He got all excited running home and saw our neighbor and picked up speed and I caught my boot on the sidewalk and wiped out really hard on my bad knee.  Damn.  Probably ok, but man did that dog walk suck.
  4. Yep, cold.  The next three days the high temp is going to be maybe 0F with windchills in the -20 to -30 range.
  5. Karen got a job!!  She can post more, but briefly in her words: "I get to be outside in beautiful places, working with people and ecology, educating and raising awareness about issues that are important to me, and facilitating restoration and land conservation.  I pretty much feel like I just won the lottery.  Like I can’t believe I get to do all this stuff AND get paid for it!"
  6. Her having a steady job is actually a really excited new phase for us – when I arrived in St. Paul she had just quit the nonprofit she’d been with for years and picked up temp work before deciding to go back to school.  It’s been a hectic three years, and I gotta say I’m looking forward to this next step – and super proud of her.  Way to go, kid!

More as we continue to catch up and recoup from our trip – we’re both still fighting colds, her more than me.  Stupid colds.  Peace and stay warm!  Go Bears!

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. 
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! 
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