Monday, December 21, 2009

Anthony's Here

My brother makes excellent poses at Christmas time (example above, ~2005). Anthony made it in this afternoon and brought his worldly sense of crazy with him. My parents will show up tomorrow and then the quintet of crazy will be complete.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bandaids Attack

On choir tour in college we had secret angels and the idea was to secretly give gifts to your angel all during tour. We had no money, so we got creative. I don't remember if Keith was, in fact, Jared's secret angel, but every choir member had been given a bandaid to place somewhere on Jared's exterior sometime that day. It was highly amusing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Three for the price of...two?

Some people should not be invited to weddings. Sometimes those people include me.
Mary wanted me to be short. That makes me sad and Mary have small lips.

Woah. Liz (the bride aka the one with the white dress that SHE made) is getting in on the crazy fun with Jessi.


PS. Sorry for not posting yesterday. I am not doing so well with this challenge :/

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Betsy, Julie, and I were co-couselors for the Girls in Science program and we may or may not have had some late night sword fights with other counselors. This was a minor variation of our team picture. Julie doesn't look nearly as weird as Betsy and I. I think it shows the extra crazy required to get Ph.Ds. (Betsy and I are both less than two years from finishing, I believe...)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas is coming

For some reason I was the only one excited about my New Zealand possum hat in Christmas 2004. I think this pose qualifies as an awkward family picture for many reasons...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Post-Marathon Blues

No permissions today either, but I made Ben dinner, so I figure we're even. Ben ran Grandma's marathon in 2006 and didn't shave from February through June in preparation. Then he sprayed blue hair spray on his beard to make it blue. All in all it wasn't a look he needs to recreate anytime soon... John and Chris didn't take NEARLY as drastic measures.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Reid asked for more pictures of other people...and I think he meant people he knew, but hey. I'm ditching my clause about asking for permission unless the pictures are super embarassing. Jeff was VERY excited about graduating (or graduation rehearsal at least) and Rachel and Gina were supporting him in the excitement) while Sarah just thought he was crazy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Early Morning/Wet Hair Katie: Part 3

For the Epic Conclusion of this series, we have this stunning self-portrait, with Andy Exley in the background, taken in the middle of the fifth day on the Steven's Canyon trip when I got desperate and decided to jump into the pothole to swim/wash my hair. This is trust or foolishness, you know that right? Putting a picture of this on the interwebs. That is how much I care about you all and your well being/happiness.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Early Morning/Wet Hair Katie: Part 2

7am, the day after we hiked out of Steven's Canyon: In which I am exhausted, sore, ready for some breakfast, and about to open my eyes for the first time that morning. (Picture by Ben).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Early Morning/Wet Hair Katie: Part 1

Thus begins the series: This was in Switzerland on a goat farm and I'll admit I do not look nearly enthusiastic enough about the fresh butter and cheeses as well as the bread, yogurt, museli, coffee, tea, and cocoa that were our breakfast, but I attribute it to the wet hair. (Picture by Rachel M.)

Belated Post

Ben is really excited about being in Aialik Bay Public Use Cabin, about his dehydrated veggies, about the classy candle holders, and about his clean teeth.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sleepy Katie

At one point in my life (long ago!) I had really short hair, had to be at work at 8am and worked in a concrete room with no windows at all, but I was thanked for not smoking, so it was all ok.
To avoid work and wake myself up, sometimes I'd make an animal cracker zoo on my keyboard.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Unapproved Photo or Why my family is weird: Part 5

Warning: I am on day 4 of a I didn't ask the people in this photo for permission to post it...SORRY!
Christmas pictures in our family often look like this: Dad is excited about his Robert Shaw Chorale cd and Anthony is excited about having picked such a great cd in the first place.

Monday, December 7, 2009


This is what happens when you miscalculate the public transportation options (none?) and how long it will take you to bike (2.5 hours) and decide to ride a bike from Leeds to Harewood to a King's Singers concert because you promised you'd sell cds (and not steal £750).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Startled Look

Ben has an unnatural talent for catching me on camera at awkward times, like this one...apparently whatever I'm reading (my new camera guide?) is very, very startling, in a somewhat boring way.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

To Meet the Demand, a photo of Ben

Contrary to popular belief, Ben cannot see through his eyelids, not even when he's looking at the glaciers in Aialik Bay.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Not the typical walk on the beach

Walking around with a cane and a big boot normally isn't much fun, but I was probably envisioning the seals walking around with a cane and a big boot which would be even less fun.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Anthony!

Once upon a time my little brother was little and liked wearing a pig snout over his belly button.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Posing for a Goofy Picture

It's a good thing that we weren't models for the Turnagain Arm Tourist Board because I think Ben wouldn't have made the enthusiasm cut...

December Challenge

I missed December first, but my December Challenge is to post a picture a day. The pictures are to be embarrassing and/or silly. If they are not of me, I will get permission from the subject to post them here, especially if they are REALLY embarrassing. I am also not allowed to write more than one sentence of text to accompany the picture. So here goes....

November Statistics

For those of you who are interested, here's the statistics from Google Analytics for the month of November. Keep in mind that these statistics are only from my website, so if you read the blog via facebook or a RSS reader and don't click through to the original post, you aren't counted in these numbers.

Traffic was up 562.07% with 384 visits from 145 visitors. People read the blog from 15 countries, 26 states, and 84 cities. The average person spent 2.5 minutes on the site and only 35% of the visits were from new visitors.

With that in mind, I'm going to start a new challenge. I like seeing positive numbers in my Google Analytics account everyday. Even if they're small, one is greater than zero and somehow that has become exciting.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Minnesota State Fair Food

Today, for the conclusion of the November blogging challenge, I thought I'd finally finish my wrap up of the Minnesota State Fair with the food portion of the day. Thanks to everyone who has commented this month! It's been fun and I'm going to try to keep it up (but not QUITE so frantic a pace).
The gang at the beginning of the day

I went to the State Fair with five friends on a Saturday in August. We spent nearly 12 hours at the fair and photographed almost every morsel of food that entered our mouths. This is the documentation of that process. Ratings will follow each picture. Thanks to all involved for appearing in pictures, even when you look goofy, and to Tricia for letting me use all her pictures.

Abby with Sparkling Apple Cider Float
Sparkling apple cider with cinnamon ice cream in it.

Apple Cider Float: D (not worth it)

Posing with my Cream Puff
Standard cream puff. I ended up with powdered sugar all over my jacket and whipped cream all over my face.
Cream Puff: B+ (Worth it, but not spectacular)

Big Fat Bacon (on a stick)
Slices of bacon (1/3 of a pound) on a stick. Simple concept. Pretty fatty.

Big Bacon on a Stick: ? (Untasted by me)

Deep Fried Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Reese's battered and then deep fried. On toothpicks so they are kindof on sticks.

Deep Fried Reese's: A (Ben) C (Katie)

Chocolate Belgian Waffle on a Stick
Sadly, not served on a stick due to the strawberries and whipped cream.

Chocolate Belgian Waffle: ? (Untasted by me)

Fries and Soda
Fries and Soda. There's not much to be said about that.
Fries: A (Mmm, perfect)
Soda: ?

Green Pepper Rings and Cotton Candy
Green Pepper Rings are like onion rings but made with green pepper instead of onion.

Green Pepper Rings: B+

Cotton Candy is self explanatory.

Cotton Candy: ?

Fry Dog and Caramel Roll
Fry Dogs are a treat originally from South Korea, I think. The concept is a hot dog on a stick coated with french fries in a batter.

Fry Dog: C- (Concept sounded better in theory)

Caramel Rolls are self explanatory.

Caramel Roll: B

Hot Dish on a Stick
Hot Dish on a stick is a Minnesotan treat. (Hot dish being a Minnesotan term for casserole.) Hot Dish on a stick is tater tots and meatballs alternated on the stick, dipped in batter, and deep fried. They are served with two dipping sauces...cream of mushroom soup and ketchup.

Hot Dish on a Stick: A-

Lemonade is the classic summer drink at the fair.
Lemonade: B+ (I can't give it an A if it wasn't fresh pressed...)

Deep Fried Cream Cheese on a Stick
A big chunk of cream cheese, put on a stick, battered and deep fried and served with pepper jelly. Bizarre but not unlike cream cheese wontons. Far better than the Cheese on a Stick that was velveeta, I'm sure.
Deep Fried Cream Cheese on a Stick: B+ (for creativity)

Peach Glazed Pig Cheeks
Peach glazed pig cheeks were weird, but slightly peachy and served on toothpicks (thus they could be classified as on a stick). Famous Dave's always has something new and this was it. Still, halibut cheeks are yummier...

Peach glazed pig cheeks: B (too much gristle and fat)

Frozen chocolate banana
Who doesn't love chocolate dipped frozen bananas?

Frozen chocolate banana: B+

Tornado Potato

After the fry dog disappointed, I was worried about this other South Korean treat, but the Tornado Potato brought everything the Fry Dog lacked. This mean monster is like a GIANT potato chip made from one potato. They have cool tools to make them and the stick to the stick so that people can share. There were also different seasonings to sprinkle. I would have/could have eaten about 10 of these. Scary.

Tornado Potato: A+

Honey Ice Cream with Sunflower Seeds
Honey ice cream got Abby SUPER excited. I don't like honey, so I was less excited.
Honey Ice Cream with sunflower seeds: ?

Lingonberry Ice Cream
The Scandinavians sure knew what they were doing. I think this cone cost me $5, but it was worth it. AMAZING ice cream. Ok, not as good as Italian gelato, but hey, it didn't have chocolate in it. (And so good, Scott and Tricia got some minutes later.)
Lingonberry ice cream: A

At this point we did not eat for about an hour or two. We had too much oil in our bellies. But then we recovered and the eating resumed...

Deep Fried Cheese Curds

Take cheese curds, dip in batter, deep fry. Sadly, then they lose their squeak :( They may or may not be consumed with ketchup.

Deep Fried Cheese Curds: B+

Texas Steak Dinner on a Stick
These were basically steak and veggie kabobs with a dinner roll thrown on the end. Quite bizarre. I was debating whether or not I was hungry, so I didn't get one.
Texas Steak Dinner on a Stick: ?

I finally decided I was really really hungry and got a fajita. I forgot to take a picture of it until Tricia chastised me and caught me mid bite.
Fajita: B (really small, but met my needs)
Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Splits and Uffda Treat
A Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Split is a banana wrapped in lefse and deep fried. Then it's topped with ice cream and mixed berries (lingon berries included) and whipped cream. Then you eat it and it is delicious.
Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Split: A- (it wasn't on a stick, so it doesn't get an A)
Uffda Treat is a scoop of cheesecake filling in a krumkake shell, topped with a pecan praline sauce.
Uffda Treat: C (primarily for not being as awesome as the banana split)

Sweet Martha Cookies and Milk
You must end your state fair experience with Sweet Martha Cookies (chocolate chip is the only choice) and Milk. Get a Bucket of Cookies and run to the all-you-can-drink-milk-for-a-dollar booth. Sit on the grass and eat and drink. Only not more than about two glasses of milk cause you might get sick.
Sweet Martha Cookies: A
Milk: A+

If you are interested in coming to the 2010 Great Minnesota Get Together, you should let me know ASAP, so I can book a space on my floor for you. I already have at least two people coming, so it should be a great time. Every year they add new foods and so your culinary horizons of deep fried food and deep fried food on sticks can continually be expanded. Until then, you may want to eat salad.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crafting with Mom or Why my family is weird: Part 4

Mom said that she wanted to do crafts one day while I was home. I said ok, envisioning the crafts from several Christmases ago where she and Anthony cut out 50 paper snowflakes. No. This years craft involved a blowtorch. N0t the small one, but the big one. It's so big, it may be called something different than a blowtorch. It's a BERNZOMATIC. We needed it at several points for our undisclosed craft.

The Bernzomatic

Mom liked to wave the BERNZOMATIC around wildly while I was trying to heat up the knife to cut the wax. She made me nervous. Luckily, it turns out that my nervousness was deserved. She lit the newspaper (guarding the countertops) on fire.

The burnt newsprint, knife, and chunk of wax.

Our craft also involved a cutting board. At one point we needed to heat up a nail (with the BERNZOMATIC) and dad fashioned a vice grip with these needlenose pliers and a rubber band. Cause in my house, that's the way we roll.

Needlenose pliers with rubberband, nail, and drips of wax

Sorry anxious readers, but I cannot reveal what the craft was, for that would go against the rule of the craft society. But stay tuned for tomorrow's November FINALE post (which will also not be a reveal, but will be equally exciting).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wandering around Berea

Draper Carillon Tower, 2005

It's strange to wander around a place you know well that you haven't really seen in two or three years. Things change, people change, and places themselves change. I gave Ben a tour of Berea College this morning and we peeked inside buildings and walked around places I hadn't looked at in years. So I guess there were two things that struck me 1) lots of things have changed since I last really looked around the college and 2) it is strange to introduce Ben to places that have been so integral to seven years of my life, especially since they were so long ago and the places have changes so much.

Part of the strangeness is that almost every square foot of the campus holds strong memories for me, but almost all the memories revolve around people and almost none of those people are still in Berea. While I have gotten to see a number of them this week, our lives have changed and we are no longer the people we were back when I was in college. Some of my friends have babies or husbands or boyfriends. They have traveled and changed jobs and changed life paths. While Berea helped them become who they are today, they did not stop growing once they left, and that is what makes them interesting, but also what makes it odd to see them year after year. Like people, I expect that the college will stand still when I leave. No buildings will be renovated, no faculty will be hired or fired, nothing will change. But it does, because that's the way things work. So just as my friends move on, so the college does. And while there's nothing wrong with that, it's just a little surprising every time. My stomach does a little jolt, (like looking into the Pearsons lobby...seriously????), and then I'm fine. I've moved on too, and I love my life.

On the day the picture above was taken, we were practicing for graduation. The next day we would stand in front of relatives, friends, and DESMOND TUTU beneath this tower and receive our diplomas. We've all gone different ways since then, but many of us find our way back to Berea because, like an old friend, no matter how much the college changes, some part of us will always belong to this amazing place.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crazy Pets

Maggie in the windowsill

My parents, for years, had two pets, a dog and a cat. For our first six year in Kentucky, Traveler (our collie) was a single child. He mourned the loss of our cat deeply. He moped around and every Himalayan cat he saw, he thought would want to play with him, cause it must be Rumbler. (We had left her in Alaska because we'd been long term petsitting, we'd never "owned" her.") Then in 2004, dad's co-worker decided that my parents needed a cat and Maggie (Margaret Thatcher) came into their lives. Traveler loved Maggie and it was common to see Maggie sleeping on top of Traveler or Traveler helping Maggie groom the hair on the top of her head.

So, perhaps it wasn't surprising when Maggie took Traveler's death incredibly hard. She knew it was coming (as we all did). He stayed outside for the 48 hours before he died and she apparently refused to leave his side, even for food and water. When I say he stayed outside, that was primarily because he couldn't walk up stairs or control bodily functions, and by that point he wasn't eating. It wasn't very cold and they'd made the shed up for him. But Maggie stayed with him. Mom brought him inside (carrying him) before she took him to the vet, and I don't know if Maggie came in too, but when mom came home from the vet, Travy wasn't there, and my parents say that Maggie hasn't been the same since. She's been much more needy and has craved attention.

Ben is not a cat person. I think of him as a dog person, but neither of us has pets at the moment. So I didn't know what his reaction to spending a week with a cat would be. Maggie has latched onto him though. Dad thinks it's because he's the calmest presence in the room, but if Ben is seated, Maggie will find lap space and sit there for as long as possible. It doesn't matter if he's reading, doing sudoku, or on a laptop, she will be there. I, naturally, have been teasing him about this and he now claims that we can't get a cat because the cat would like him better and then I would feel neglected and would get another cat, leading to a vicious cycle. For now though, I'll just enjoy having a cat wandering around and I'll enjoy the notion that maybe, one time, the cat will pick me...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Quite Interesting

First things first, I hope you all had an excellent day lounging around eating lots of food. Or, if you aren't in the US, I hope you had an excellent day doing whatever you did.

Secondly, if you don't know about the BBC program Quite Interesting, you should. Hosted by none other than Stephen Fry, the show is one part interesting facts, one part random facts, one part random made up facts, and five parts hilarity.Add to the mix some of Britain (and occasionally America's) top comedians, some very smart people, and the wit that is that of Stephen Fry and you have yourselves an amusing show. Alan Davies, perhaps most well known as Jonathan Creek, is the only panelist to appear in every episode and is the numbskull of the bunch. The show is best described by watching, so here's a clip.

Enjoyed that? Check out more clips on YouTube. The first episode of season G came out tonight in the UK, so I was thinking about that, especially as I talked to an American friend about her current life in the UK and her US shopping list (rolls - crescent and normal, biscuits, hershey's, popcorn, and Mexican food). In addition the folks over on twitter at qikipedia posted a teaser for tonight's episode, which I showed to my parents and Ben. Then they wanted to see more, so we watched Season A, episode 1 where they talk about Adams, Andrews, and Anteaters.

In some ways QI is like Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, but without the need to be time sensitive or (for the most part) culturally relevant. They are also much more crass than they could EVER be on US tv or radio. Unfortunately the DVDs are only sold as region two (western Europe) so you can either watch on YouTube or obtain episodes less than legally. I would LOVE to purchase the DVDs, and have contemplated buying another DVD player for my desktop just to buy and watch British shows...but I haven't done that yet. Anyways, if you're looking for smart and funny entertainment, you might want to check it out.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your break if you have one. Otherwise. I hope you have a most enjoyable Friday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Shortage Strikes Close to Home

This year our Thanksgiving has been disrupted by The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2009.
This year, it turns out, our grocery stores do not look like this:

Instead, where the canned pumpkin should be, there were pre-made pies. Because while there is a shortage of canned pumpkin, apparently the bakery had enough to make pies. I find this to be highly suspicious... Anyways, after searching high and low for pumpkin and finally asking only to find that I was stupid and should have bought my pumpkin a month ago, we thought we'd trick them and go to the organic section.

The organic section of Kroger's felt like home. Or as much like the Wedge as Kroger's can possibly feel like. With still no pumpkin in sight, we bought frozen sweet potatoes. (Ironically, the same brand that we would have bought at the Wedge.) The thing is, at my house we are weird. (Previously established here, here, and here.) We don't eat pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. We eat pumpkin cake. It's like pumpkin pie met yellow cake and they had a baby called pumpkin cake. It is delicious, especially with cool whip and/or whipped cream on top. Yum Yum Yum. So we couldn't just buy a bakery pie.

Once at home, we went to two gas stations thinking that maybe they'd have pumpkin. Ok, that's a lie. Really we went on a walk to several gas stations, bought a paper, and coconut m&ms and also happened to peruse the shelves where they'd keep pumpkin, but no pumpkin was in sight.

So our pumpkin cake this year is a sweet potato cake. Mom's eaten a slice already and claims it tastes no different. The true test will be tomorrow. The northerner in me says it just can't be the same, but the southerner in me tells me to give it a try. Now I know though, pumpkin purchases cannot be put off til the last minute.