Archive for May, 2006

Arizona wedding

Posted by Nate in Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Travel.
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 at 2:38 pm

This is Karen and I about 24 hours ago, hiking a canyon north of Tucson, AZ. Did you know saguaro cacti don’t start branching out until they’re at least 50-60 years old? That probably puts this monster behind me at over 100 years old. Whoa. The saguaros were blooming while we were there, and I found out each saguaro flower opens just once, in the cool of the night, and then closes forever by about noon the next day. If it was pollenated, it will produce fruit, if not… try again next year.

We were in AZ for Karen’s brother’s wedding, a very nice ceremony and reception with lots of good food and fun. Karen was in the wedding party and looked great, but we’ll have to wait for the official photos to come back since I don’t think either of us got any.

The wedding was on Friday, leaving us Saturday and Sunday to explore Tucson and lounge by the pool, and we managed to hit three local brewpubs! There are even a few we didn’t make it to — who knew there were so many in Tucson? Not me. Good times all around, good people, and congratulations to Dean and Daniele!

Parents projects part 3

Posted by Nate in Family, Home Improvements.
Wednesday, May 10th, 2006 at 8:54 pm

Once again – work for me and Karen, and the parents (plus Sierra) at home. Rick got up early to go birdwatching at Murphy-Hanrehan park, a decent drive south-west of the cities – and he saw a new bird! Good news! (He’s got so many now, new species are harder and harder to come by…)

Of course that wasn’t a busy enough day for him, so he took advantage of a mostly-dry day and tackled the terribly leaky garage roof. I’d noticed all winter that whenever we had a melting spell that somehow water was coming in on the South roof edge and soaking into the plywood wall! No good at all, and it was on my short list of projects to hit this summer… But, unbelievably, I hadn’t even been up on the roof to look at it yet. Earlier in the week Rick scaled a rickety lumber stack and fence to take a look and informed me that the shingles were totally shot right along the wall line. I’m guessing a combination of south-facing sunshine and ice dams for too many winters, plus some pooling right at the edge there.

Either way, time to replace them, and we just happened to have a stack of shingles left over from the previous owner and a bunch of roofing nails from an earlier roof project. He told me afterwards that he used almost a whole gallon of roofing cement to patch everything up, so that thing’s going to outlast the whole garage! No more leaking!

Meanwhile, Marianne and Sierra hit the town for some shopping, errands, and general running around. After work everyone rendezvoused at the Herkimer for happy hour and Smarty Party planning. Perfect.

Parents projects part 2 + Soccer

Posted by Nate in Family, Landscaping, Soccer.
Tuesday, May 9th, 2006 at 10:11 pm

 Today was a big day for everyone – more house projects for the parents, the season opener of soccer for DuoTeam, and a surprise for me!

First, the forecast: rain on and off the rest of the week. One of the projects on the wish list was resealing the deck, and it looked like it was today or never… Of course they went for it, that’s Rick with the sander at left. Oh, and look, Helpy’s doing his thing! Awesome!

Next they applied some compound that was supposed to open the pores of the wood up so it would accept the sealant better. This was then hosed off, allowed to dry, and the new sealant applied. I don’t have an actual "after" picture because sure enough as I pulled my bike through the back gate it started to rain and the wind kicked up and Karen and I had to run to cover the deck. But trust me it looks WAY better than it did!

That night Karen and I had our first soccer game of the season. We’re playing 6 on 6 co-rec, which means a smaller field and smaller goals and way more fun. Our team is actually pretty inexperienced, but we play well together (broomball) which makes an enormous difference. The bad guys snuck to an early 1-0 lead after we put poor Peter in goal (he hasn’t played soccer in forever), but then Scott (the ninja) jumped in goal and everything changed. That guy’s amazing – aggressively coming out to challenge their shooters, cutting down the angle, making smart plays, the whole works. And he has a hell of a foot! He’s able to launch his goal kicks the length of the field, which is awesome, but sometimes hard to get in their zone in time after coming to help defend. Whew. I know it’s a short field, but man… Lots of running!

We ended up winning (I scored twice and we shut them down after that first goal)!! It was a ton of fun – but even more fun was The Surprise: the Pinolera showed up! Apparently everyone knew but me, and I must say I was genuinely surprised! What fun! I couldn’t believe it when she strolled up to the soccer field!!

The day ended on a superb note, as we toasted our winning game at the Chatterbox. Sweet.

Parents projects part 1

Posted by Nate in Family, Landscaping.
Monday, May 8th, 2006 at 6:53 pm

Karen and I went to work as normal on Monday, leaving my parents home with a wish list of projects. (That sounds weird, but it was honestly their idea – and really, what else are they going to do all day? (ok, fine, other than relax, read, explore, have fun…))

Anyway, they jumped into it and tackled the back yard: we’ve been having some lawn issues (rhymes with "big dog"), massively exacerbated by the new rain garden work. What to do? Sod it up!

You can’t quite tell what a huge difference it makes since you don’t have a "before" picture, but it was essentially bare dirt in this area. Also, since this picture was taken the grass around the rain garden has taken off like a shot and the whole thing looks awesome. At right, Bruno does his part to hold the new sod in place. Way to go, Helpy!

Parents in town!

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Family, Homebrewing.
Sunday, May 7th, 2006 at 6:29 pm

Karen and I were lucky enough to arrange a 10-day visit with my parents, who arrived Friday the 5th and will stay through the 15th. We had a hectic weekend planned, followed by a hectic week…

Saturday first thing we hit the local Farmers’ Market – no veggies on sale yet, but we got some good cheese and bread "for the party". (or for us ;) Next off to the Living Green Expo where we attended a workshop on rain gardens – that’s right, Karen’s getting her rain garden. Today we started work on the rain garden, went to the May Day festivities at Powderhorn Park (where Nate had a minor meltdown), came home and finished the work, then ate at Pizza Luce. Yum. (I’ll leave it to Karen to post about the rain garden)

I spent a few hours each night working on the Kegenator – I had to add three new taps, keg 2 new beers and some sparkling water, and add on to the CO2 manifold for two of the three pressures I was running.

Then it was unveiled – the coolest birthday present ever: The Kegenator was officially done!! Thanks, mom and Quentin, for the best sign I can imagine!!!

Detox Redux

Posted by Nate in Day to Day.
Saturday, May 6th, 2006 at 10:11 pm

So… yeah. A week of brown rice or quinoa for breakfast, steamed veggies for lunch, and a dressing-less salad for dinner. For a week. No beer. No snacks. No munchies. No coffee.

And it actually was good for me. Neither of us went to bed before midnight almost the whole week (I was launching and working, Karen was wrapping up grad school) and yet we were able to wake up and function without caffeine. By the end of the week I was amazed by how much more awake I was during the day even on less sleep. Weird.

I’m glad to be back on normal food, for sure… Beer especially – I’ve got some crazy good beers coming on tap right about now. (Smarty Party invitees, take note) But the detox diet enforced once and for all the wisdom of taking in a bulk of calories for breakfast, rather than lunch and dinner. That’s something I hope to maintain.

Would I do it again? Probably. Once or twice a year, maybe. It was remarkably easy towards the end, and we were both almost reluctant to go back off it. There are lessons to be learned from eating closer to the source, less processed, less refined, less "messed with" food… But in the meantime, I’m going to go get a beer.

Detox Day 6

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Garden.
Thursday, May 4th, 2006 at 9:44 am

Well, it’s actually Day 7 now. So yesterday was a breeze, I felt awesome, had lots of energy (in spite of once again not getting enough sleep – notice a trend?), no cravings, felt very in control. And as it was our last full day of detoxing, I even found myself feeling a little like sad or something, like I wasn’t quite ready to be done. Weird, considering I was full of hate and panic a mere 3 days earlier. But we’ve sort of gotten the system down now, all the prepping and cooking and steaming, and I’m sort of used to it. And I feel good! But what to do? There is beer to be drunk and we are just the Duo Team to do it. And then there are visitors, and farmers markets, and festivals, and parties… life is just so HARD! Well, we’re hoping that some of this does get a little incorporated into our normal life. Soon enough we will have CSA veggies galore and can steam them away to our heart’s content!

And speaking of veggies – wook at da itty bitty widdle cucumbers! You’re so cute! Yes you are!

Detox Day 5

Posted by Karen in Day to Day.
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006 at 11:02 pm

Today was actually pretty – dare I say it? – easy. I was pretty much fine all day. I had plenty of energy in spite of once again not getting quite enough sleep and having nightmares about giant cockroaches with turtle shell backs. I felt good, got lots of work done, and actually didn’t have cravings for anything all day. I think that means that I may just have succeeded in "resetting" myself, one of the purposes of detoxing. Well, at least somewhat. I REALLY wanted to put croutons or nuts or cheese or something on my salad, and my dinner left me wholly unsatisfied. But I was even over that pretty quick. Not that I’ll be like a completely changed person or anything, but hopefully at least a little bit.

Nate also said that he was feeling pretty good, but regarding the cravings, had this to say: "Beer, beer, beer, beer."

The rain mostly stopped today, but our first soccer game of the season was canceled anyway because the fields were too wet. Wah.

Detox Day 4

Posted by Karen in Day to Day.
Monday, May 1st, 2006 at 9:22 pm

Why is Karen so crabby? Is it her body withdrawing from salt and sugar? Is it the cravings for a big fat sandwich, sweet and sour mock duck, or things she doesn’t even eat like beef jerky? Is it that Nate used the dish scrubber to clean dog hair and dirt out of the vaccuum, which she discovered as she was using it to scrub a dish and grody things started coming out of it? No one can really say. She actually did have lots of energy today in spite of too little sleep the past few nights, and was a rock star report writer at work. But not even that could drive the thoughts of the root beer on tap in her basement from her head…

Still raining.