Sunday, December 23, 2007

Adventurous arrival

Our flight arrived in Minneapolis right on time, no problems, and we started a very long trip home. It had been snowing lightly and blowing hard all morning and wasn't letting up anytime soon. Dad picked us up and took us to the Highland Grill for lunch before we started north. Roads were snowy, and there hadn't been many plows out, so traffic was moving slowly. We were driving 40 mph on many stretches of the freeway, and saw numerous cars in the ditch. By the time we got to Duluth, the lake effect had taken hold - lots more wind gusting around. The freeways had been pretty clear, but the city streets were not. We barely made it up 21st Avenue, gingerly cut across 4th St., but couldn't make it the final half block to our house. We grabbed our computers but abandoned the Volvo and the 2 big suitcases and walked the rest of the way home. Mom had tea and lots of Christmas cookies waiting for us.

Dinner was one of my favorite meals - venison steaks and fried onions. After a rice pudding fortification, we set out to rescue the Volvo. Fred manned the big snowblower and worked on the driveway. The wind had packed it into a four-foot-high drift. Dad took the little snowblower down to the end of the block, to clean up the intersection. Scott and I got shovels and did the details. And... it worked! Mom and Scott and I took Max for a celebratory walk around the block - between the bright white snow, the Christmas lights and the full moon, it was bright out. But still cold and windy, so I was happy to get home and curl up with tea, one more cookie, and a warm laptop. It's wonderful to be home, and such a snowy home at that.

Water Ballet!

Alternate title: It's a Foot!

Many thanks to Becky for putting up with Scott's and my shenanigans in front of the camera!

Tail end of Florida

We're en route to Minnesota - just an hour left until our transition from humid 70-degree weather to icy 0-degree weather is complete.

Work was busy, so I didn't get to spend as much time with Scott's family as I would have liked, and we didn't see many of the sights. Still, it was a nice visit. On Friday morning, we toured Echo, which is a Christian organization that develops plants and agricultural techniques to help feed hungry and malnourished people around the world. We spent two hours there and only managed to see the highlights. We saw some really smart, innovative rooftop gardening ideas. People who live surrounded by concrete can use old tires, carpet and old pop cans to plant vegetables. We also saw a bunch of neat edible tress. The moringa, for instance, has incredibly nutritious leaves and horseradish-like roots, and its seeds can purify water 98%. (Not sure what's left in the last 2% though...) For Christmas, Becky and Sandy had a tree planted in Scott's and my honor.

On Saturday, we celebrated Christmas. We drove north and picked up Becky's mother, and then drove a little farther to where Sandy's mother lives. Fantastic dinner - turkey with all the fixings and apple pie for dessert. We pried some good stories out of Mrs. Anderson - she lived in Indonesia for 2 years and in Brazil for 5 while her husband was working to introduce new crops to those regions. She's 100% Norwegian and was pretty excited when I told her I was going to get to eat lefse this Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The neighborhood

Scott and I went for a lovely crepuscular walk tonight

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thoroughly enjoying my "office" this week. Scott and I are sitting outside on the lanai, about 10 feet from the swimming pool. Beyond that is a pine forest and blue sky.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A tumultous trip across the country

The adventure started on Sunday at 5 p.m. I went to check in online and discovered that we had missed our flight - we were supposed to have left on Saturday night, not on Sunday night. Miraculously, United issued us new tickets at no charge. Scott and I went on a nice little dinner and a movie date (burritos and "Enchanted"), finished packing, and took off first thing Monday morning. It turns out that if we had left on Saturday night, we would have been delayed in Chicago for 12 hours because of weather there. Instead, we had nice, uneventful flights.

The day was an eventful one for the Sheep though - a pretty massive restructuring was announced. (Here's a link to the official blog post about it.) I spent the three-hour layover on the phone, learning about it and discussing it, and a few more hours doing the same once we arrived in Florida. Almost all of us were shocked by the news. It's a sad thing, and it's strange to have to say goodbye to people who were doing wonderful work. (Some of them will continue to work with us as contractors in the short term, thank goodness.) We're all trying to navigate how to work together moving forward - who will fill the holes and how, who to ask for support, who needs to be supported, etc. After more phone calls today, I have a definite sense that everything will be okay. Not smooth or easy, but get-throughable.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Cactus, Day 2

Today's bloom is even bigger than yesterday's, and there's another bloom on the way - I hope it opens before Sunday.

I counted 11 other tiny blossoms getting ready to go.  We'll probably miss them while we're gone traveling.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Finals week... twiddling my thumbs...

I've been remiss in blogging... but my life has been pretty quiet these days. UC Davis is engulfed in finals, and I think I'm looking forward to Thursday night, when Scott is all finished, almost as much as he is. We have at least 4 parties scheduled for this weekend, to make up for the currently muffled social scene.

I'm mostly impatient for our holiday travels to begin. We're leaving for Florida on Sunday, where we'll spend a week with Scott's family. Then we'll spend a week in Duluth, have New Years with Alissa in Minneapolis, and head west to Colorado for a week of skiing with friends. Scott goes home after that, and I'll head back east for a Sheep retreat in South Carolina. That makes four straight weeks of traveling for me!

So, I'm happy that our Christmas cactus bloomed today so that we can enjoy it before we leave.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Color in my living room!

My apartment, originally uploaded by esproat.

I spent last night sewing a sleeve onto the back of my quilt, and tonight after dinner Scott and I hung it up. It fills the space nicely, and I'm definitely happy to have it hanging rather rather than folded up in a closet.

Today was productive overall. Scott and I worked from Mishka's in the morning, and then I ran a bunch of errands. Went to the Davis Craft Center's annual holiday sale and bought some gifts that I'm very excited about giving. More errands, an afternoon nap and some music shopping on, a yummy butternut squash-beet-carrot-bok choy-chipotle stir-fry dinner, quilt hanging, and then a terrific game of Scrabble - our first in months.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ta da!

Here's the top of the quilt!

This is going under the tree for a special someone, and then after Christmas we'll have it quilted professionally (get the top, the batting and the bottom layer of fabric all sewn together). Technically, I *could* do it, but it will turn out 10 times better if we bring it someone with the right equipment - stretchers and a fancy sewing machine.

The border turned out a little wrinkly... but besides that I'm really happy with it. It feels great to have it all bunched up in my lap. The colors are prettier in real life than in the photo.

In other news, today was a cooking-themed day. I spent the morning buying produce at Pedrick's Produce, other stuff at Super Walmart (although I'm still feeling guilty about shopping there) and bacon and kale at the farmers market. I made a pan of pretty good butternut squash and spinach lasagna. (Here's the recipe.) It was a beautiful, sunny 54°F afternoon, so Scott and I took a run through the campus arboretum, which definitely whet our appetites for lasagna.

On the agenda for tonight:
1. Work on a sleeve so I can hang my blue star quilt on the living room wall.
2. Hot tub.