Archive for January, 2008

Winter relents: weekend fun!

Posted by Nate in Day to Day, Weather.
Sunday, January 27th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

20080127153000_2223800401_3a12bd0386_o.jpgWhew!  Our last two weeks have had subzero temps overnight and never broke into the teens in the day.  This weekend’s warmup has been just the shot of midwinter hope we needed!  Karen and I went ice skating at a nearby park today, and it was perfect – sun shining, great ice, and happy, smiling people.

Today hit nearly 40(!!) degrees, and tomorrow’s supposed to be the same.  They’re even talking about some rain, which may wreak some havoc on that evening’s broomball game, but overnight it’s supposed to fall back to below zero!  But hey, as long as the ice sticks around and we get some more snow soon, I can live with the ups and downs!

Welcome to the World, Baby Liam!

Posted by Karen in Family, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

20080124114009_trevorliam.jpgHere he is!  The newest addition to the Phillips family, and Duoteam’s new nephew!  Baby Liam was born yesterday at around 2:30pm and weighed in at a hearty 9 lbs 4 oz.  We can’t wait to meet him!  I’m sure we’re going to be best friends.  Mother, baby, and rest of family are all doing well.  And based on the background noise during the brief conversation I had with my brother, the little guy seems to already have some strong lungs!

Congratulations, Daniele, Dean, and Trevor!!!

(I know, I know.  You can’t even see Trevor’s face, let alone Liam’s.  But I just couldn’t wait for more photos!  And this one is pretty darn cute with the whole big brother thing going on.)


Posted by Nate in Broomball.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Well, apparently I only post about broomball when we’re winning, so here’s a post – we won 4-0 tonight!  And I scored the shot I’ve wanted to make forever!  It was a sweet fast break, maybe 3 on 1 or 2 – hard to say, we had several like this that I wasn’t able to make.  I kept shanking it or going over the goal since their goalie was so good he’d be in position as soon as you got the pass.  This one was perfect, right to me, I had great forward momentum and didn’t have to break stride for the swing…  smack!  Screaming along the ice, it hit the goalie’s foot but was strong enough to push through.  YES!!

Everyone else played an amazing game, some great goals including Donnie’s signature pass-to-himself and score…  too pretty.  :)

Man, I love broomball and have fun every game, but I sure do like to win, too.  Hell yeah.

…’course, it’s just not the same without Karen.  Maybe a few more weeks and she can come practice with us.  Stupid tonsils.

Happy Dator!

Posted by Nate in Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 at 7:19 am

What’s Dator?  Well, it’s like "Nator day" crossed with "date day": Dator!  Karen took me on a day-long surprise date on Saturday to thank me for taking care of her while she convalesced – no thanks needed, but hey, I’ll take it!

20080115045544_20080113_153153.jpgAs the itinerary says, I got to sleep a bit while she made some delicious raspberry and white chocolate giant muffins.  Extra exciting because she got to use her new muffin tray!  Some coffee and Bailey’s later and I was off for broomball practice while she ran some errands.

After practice it was time for beer and pretzels at home while we got ready to start the "steppin’ out" portion of the Dator, starti20080115045411_20080112_150106.jpgng with a matinee of Avenue Q!  We tried to take a picture without a flash but it’s pretty blurry.  That’s me giving the preshow music a thumbs-up.  It was pretty cool how quickly our brains accept the puppets as characters – after the first 5 minutes you really stop noticing their handlers and just focus on the puppets.  It was a really fun show!

20080115045428_20080112_182655.jpgWe had a bit of time to kill before the next section, so we popped into a little Scottish bar I’d always wanted to try and had a beer.  20080115045457_20080112_182857.jpgThen off to the Ice Chamber!  I had never heard of this place, and it doesn’t seem to be on their website, so I’m not sure what strings Karen pulled to find it, but it was awesome!  There’s a frozen bar serving martinis, and just outside is a big "table" full of crushed black glass.  20080115045511_20080112_195920.jpgThere’s either propane or natural gas being pumped through a grid under the glass, and the effect is really cool – or, really warm!  It was like sipping martinis around a campfire on a cold night, but with none of the smoke and campfire smell.  Sweet!

(Odd side note – I ran into the new director of the Walker on our way out!  She’d just started earlier that week and we’d met twice before, but I suspect I’m not really on the short list of people she needs to remember…  :)

We were in need of sustenance, but lo and behold the Dator schedule had anticipated this.  Off to the Mission American Kitchen for food – we toyed with getting entrees but ended up splitting several of their mouth-watering appetizers.  Delicious!

20080115045531_20080112_230354.jpgBut it wasn’t over!  Back home, Karen took me upstairs where she’d put up our little Christmas tree and decorated!  Between tonsils and everything, we’d never had a family Christmas.  You can see how excited I am about my presents.  Surprise!!

Whew.  An amazing and super fun Dator!  Thanks, Karen!

How about that…

Posted by Nate in Bike Commuting, Weather.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 at 7:59 am

I’ve been noticing as I leave work that my bike lights seem less and less necessary since it’s been so much brighter. At first I thought maybe it was the snow reflecting more light, but it’s also definitely been staying lighter later.

I was confused since I noticed this about a week ago and the solstice had only just passed – how can it be this much brighter already? And why is the morning still so darn dark if the days are really getting that much longer?

Turns out (and I’m fuzzy on the exact details) that it’s got something to do with the tilt of the earth and the fact our solar orbit is an ellipse rather than a circle. Basically, the sunrise times and sunset times move slightly out of sync. If you graph them they still look sort of like sine waves, but they’re shifted just out of phase.

Our sunrises continue to be later (darker longer) all the way through December 27th, almost a week after the solstice, but our sunsets start getting later (lighter longer) on December 10th! The combination of movement puts our shortest day (and everyone’s) on the 21st, but I never really did the figuring to realize how differently the sunrise and sunsets change.

And now it’s in your brain, too.

Below zero biking!

Posted by Nate in Bike Commuting.
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 at 10:04 am

The good news: the Climitts work great!  I wore some decent gloves under them, and while my fingers were a little cold starting out they were toasty by the time I arrived.  I’m learning to judge when cold digits are going to be a problem: if things are still cold when I make my turn off the greenway (about 3.5 miles in) I’m going to be a sad panda when I make it work.

The bad news: my toes were cold when I made the turn and were indeed popsicles when I arrived.  Doing fine now, and not nearly as bad as my fingers were that first day, but I definitely need to find either better shoes or better socks.  The hiking boots and smartwool combo only seems to cut it down to maybe 0°, not so much on days like today.

Overall today was the toughest ride yet – the coldest and most snow.  I was pretty exhausted trying to crank up the last hill, and the whole ride took much longer than normal.  There’s about an inch of packed powder snow on the greenway and the top is soft enough I’m having to burn energy cutting through it – and the streets by our house are almost entirely ice!  That was actually the sketchiest part, but only a few blocks.

I need to mess with the Climitt/handlebar attachment a bit more when it’s warmer.  My brake cables seem to stick out further than they’re designed for, and while it works as-is I think I can tweak it a bit better.  Right now there’s a little gap where cold air can come in, I’d really like to get them sealed and I think my hands will be warm from start to finish.

Thanks, Laurel!

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!