Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best of 2008

Best New Blog:
The Big Picture, from Boston.com. Always amazing photos of noteworthy events from around the world.

Best Movies:
4. Wall-E
3. The Dark Night
2. Iron Man
1. Slumdog Millionaire

Addictions of the Year:
Lost. I watched all five seasons this year in an embarrassingly short stretch of time.
Facebook. It took me a while to warm up to it, but now I'm hooked. I’m contemplating giving it up for Lent.

Celebrity Crushes of the Year:
Paul Newman- As a young man, stunningly handsome. As an old man, an honorable philanthropist. Rest in Peace.
Jeff Tweedy- I love you, Jeff Tweedy. Let’s run away together.
Robert Downey Jr.- You, too, Robert. Apparently I have a soft spot for creative and talented former addicts.

Album of the Year:
Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
take a listen: Skinny Love

Song of the Year:
A-Punk- Vampire Weekend
Damn, it’s catchy. And that baseline!

Best Events of 2008:
The United States elects a new President.
Boston Celtics win the NBA Championship. (and I was there to see it)
My sister Eri’s wedding.

Most Commented Post on DCoE:
The Butter Roll

Best New T Shirt:
This one.

In hindsight, 2008 was a memorable year, both good and bad. Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting, and best wishes for a joyful and productive 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Adventures in Binghamton

I just returned from an eventful weekend in Binghamton, NY- the hometown of my brother-in-law Ryan. Aside from the aforementioned cheap apartments, Binghamton is famous for three things: carousels, pierogies, and Spiedies. Ryan has often lauded the deliciousness of Spiedies, and I was under the impression that it was a restaurant that he liked. Wrong. Spiedies are meats marinated in a special spiedie sauce, grilled, and served in a sandwich. They are a popular local cuisine available at essentially every deli and restaurant in town. We took a trip to the Spiedie & Rib Pit (Yep! This is the place.) so I could try one for myself. I ate a chicken spiedie and found it to be quite tasty, although perhaps not the most healthy food imaginable.

In addition to eating, I also did a lot of drinking in Binghamton, aided by the fact that the bars are open until 3AM. Friday night we went to see Ryan's brother's band play, and Saturday night I attended his parents annual holiday party. Both nights were loads of fun, but the highlight of the weekend was definitely the human pyramid we constructed shortly after midnight on Saturday...a triumphant feat of agility and strength!
Binghamton may not be your typical vacation destination, (for a very apt description, take a listen to Dar Williams' Southern California Wants to be Western New York.) but I enjoyed exploring the area and will likely return. Still on the to-do list: carousels and pierogies. I had a great time with the Binghamton folks at Eri and Ryan's wedding earlier this year, so it was a lot of fun to visit them on their home turf.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Things I've learned so far while in Binghamton, NY

1. Did you know that if you bowl a perfect 300, the United States Bowling Congress will send you a commemorative ring? Upon verification, of course. Not sure if they extend the courtesy to candlepin players. But I would love to earn one, because this ring sparkles with awesome.

2. You can rent a really nice 2 bedroom apartment for $600 a month. I'm so jealous.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Report

I had a nice Christmas this year, but it was sort of a strange one- for the first time, I was the only one of my siblings who came home for the holidays. In addition to family, church, presents, food, and drinks, there were two noteworthy events.

1. I watched It' s A Wonderful Life for the very first time. I loved it! This holiday classic stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man undergoing a crisis, frustrated because his life hasn't turned out like he had hoped it would. I think part of the reason why I liked the movie so much is that I feel like I can relate to George Bailey. George and I share the same affliction- we're discouraged. Like George, I dreamed of travel and adventure and success and accomplishing great things. But the years go by, and I find myself not living the life I had imagined, and it's hard not to feel disappointed. Maybe everyone can relate to George Bailey, and that's why the movie is so popular.
So an angel comes down and shows George what life would have been like had he never existed, and it opens his eyes to all of his joys and blessings, all of the good things in his life that he's been ignoring. So even though I'm broke and single and live in a rodent-infested apartment and am pretty fucking miserable when it comes to grad school, I am surrounded by amazing friends and a loving family, and that's what really matters. It is a wonderful life, after all. (Hey, it's Christmas, I'm allowed to be cheesy and melodramatic.)

2. Matching sweater alert! My grandmother gave out two sets of matching sweaters this year- one to me and my mom, and the other to two of my cousins. Here are a couple of shots from our sweateriffic photo shoot:

Tomorrow I head out to Binghamton, NY, a.k.a. the Carousel Capital of the World so I'll post again next week with tales from the trip and a Best of 2008. I hope that everyone has an enjoyable holiday week!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And to all a good night.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My evolving feelings towards winter

Friday: Hooray, snowstorm! Everyone gets to leave early from work! I can't wait to go home and watch movies all night as the snow falls outside.

Saturday: It's so pretty outside! You know, I almost feel bad for my sister and her husband who live in San Diego. Snow days are great!

Sunday: It's still snowing? And what is up with this freezing rain and slushy mix?

Monday: I should probably move my car, but I just can't muster the will to dig it out from its frozen tomb. I guess I won't be driving anywhere for a few days.

Tuesday: Fuck, it's cold. Winter, I hate you.

Unrelated, but here's your feel-good link of the day: a British physics professor has invented eyeglasses that can be adjusted to the wearer's prescription without the aid of an optician. The goal is to distribute them to them to the world's poorest populations: "The implications of bringing glasses within the reach of poor communities are enormous, says the scientist. Literacy rates improve hugely, fishermen are able to mend their nets, women to weave clothing." Pretty cool, eh? It's so cold I'm turning Canadian.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

I have a new favorite movie of the year...Slumdog Millionaire. Directed by Trainspotting's Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire is filmed in India with an all-Indian cast. Our hero is the humble Jamal Malik, who has become an unlikely finalist for the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" So unlikely, in fact, that he has been arrested because no one can believe that an uneducated boy from the slums could know all of the answers without cheating. During the interrogation, Jamal's life story unfolds, as he explains each answer anecdote by anecdote. And what a story it is- poverty, tragedy, love, sibling rivalry, loyalty, betrayal, murder, adventure, and hope. The movie is vibrant and larger than life, with breathtaking cinematography and a pitch-perfect soundtrack. And the actors are all amazing, especially the kids. Slumdog Millionaire is successful in capturing the essence of modern India- highlighting the beauty without shying away from the horrors (...the intentional maiming of children? Ghastly.) But you certainly won't walk away depressed: eschewing the notion that a movie has to be sad to be powerful, Jamal triumphs, and the movie closes with a delightful dance number nod to Bollywood. It's the sort of movie that I can recommend to anyone and everyone, without hesitation. Go see Slumdog Millionaire. You will like it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

DCoE Book Club, Part II

For those of you reading American Pastoral by Philip Roth...here's part I as a refresher.

In this section of the book, the narrator fades into the background and the Swede becomes the protagonist, and the story veers into dark territory. The Swede: successful, kind, handsome, and living the American dream, right up until his teenage daughter blows everything to smithereens. Literally. Merry Levov has transformed from a sweet, stuttering little girl into a sullen and angry teenager. A bomb explodes, a man is killed, and Merry, the alleged bomber, vanishes. Her parents are left behind to try to piece their lives back together and try to make sense of something that has none.

Roth's story draws you in...I wanted to reach into the pages and smack the ridiculous teenage Merry, and, like the Swede, felt enraged by the antics of fellow "activist" Rita Cohen. That scene with her in the hotel was just downright awful...I hated her! One thing that I enjoy is the complexity of the story and all of the characters- at first, I thought the Swede's wife Dawn would stay in the background, but she is featured prominently in the middle part of the book. I also like the tales of glove manufacturing, something that a lesser author may have simply glossed over.

Here are some vocabulary words from this section:
riven: torn apart, split into pieces
unstinting: not restricting or holding back
foundries: places where metals are cast

For those of you reading along, let's try to finish the whole thing by Sunday, January 4th. As always, feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments.

Friday, December 19, 2008

TGIF Smorgasbord

I have a long, slow day ahead of me in the lab...so here are a bunch of miniposts for your and my entertainment.

Movies I've watched recently:

The Visitor. A depressed college professor travels to New York City for the first time in years and discovers a young immigrant couple living in his apartment. It's slow, sweet, and sad film, featuring great acting and lovely shots of the city.

Enchanted. A Disney cartoon princess comes to life in modern New York City. Yes, it's a ridiculous plot but I still liked the movie.

Cool Hand Luke. After Paul Newman died, I added a couple of his well-known films to my Netflix queue. In this 1967 movie, Paul Newman portrays Luke Jackson, a feisty, popular inmate in a rural Southern prison. It's set in the 1940s, when prisons were segregated. The plot is somewhat similar to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, but comes across as much more dated, with the nicknames and the aw-shucks dialogue. As for the young Paul Newman? The man was smoking hot...and shirtless in about 50% of the movie.

Movies I want to see:

Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, and that Swedish vampire movie (not Twilight). Anyone see them yet?

Restaurant Recommendations:

Pho Republique has become one of my favorite hangouts...it's much more grad-student friendly (read: cheap and casual) than most of the other places in the South End. Good food, excellent drinks, friendly staff, and a funky, relaxed atmosphere. What's not to like? I went there last night to celebrate a friend's birthday...wow, we almost look like Beautiful People in this photo:
Well, that's about it...enjoy the snow and have a great weekend, everyone! Also, for those of you reading American Pastoral...I will post about it this weekend, I promise.
And here's a discussion topic for the comments...Yankee Swaps. Any good or bad stories? We have two separate ones at work, and I made out like a bandit.. I got a waffle maker in one, and a bottle of vodka in the other. Hooray! My labmate Caro was 0 for 2, though- she got a desk calendar from 2006 and a bunch of cancelled stamps. Ouch. And another coworker ended up with a ceramic turtle that you use to heat scented oils. Yikes.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adventures in yoga

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the people who write Stuff White People Like have been secretly following me around…graduate school, New Balance shoes, and now this: yoga. I have never been a fan of group exercise classes, preferring to run or lift weights on my own. A lot of this stems from the fact that I’m horribly uncoordinated, and I find it intimidating to be a beginner at something surrounded by people who are much better at it. Like, I don’t want to be that idiot who has no idea what he or she is doing and therefore slows down the class for everybody else. Because when I’m not that idiot, I hate that idiot. Back Bay Yoga Studios offers an introductory rate of $25 for two weeks of unlimited classes, so I talked my friend Caro into signing up with me (idiocy loves company). It’s a great deal for beginners, because you have the opportunity to try out several different classes and can learn which types of yoga you do and do not like. I’d never been inside a yoga studio before, and yikes, it’s not like a gym. At all. I was all “hey, where’s the locker room?” and they were all, oh, “you mean the tiny room with a screen people change behind and cubbies for all of your belongings? And no bathroom or showers? Right around the corner.”
I tried ashtanga, vinyasa, and forrest. I enjoyed all three, but I preferred the classes that were less crowded and more geared towards beginners (i.e. the instructors walk around and help you with the poses.) Never really got the ujjayi breath down (it kinda felt like I was trying to hock up a lungy, so I abandoned it) but yoga was more of a workout than I expected, as evidenced by the next day’s soreness. And I did feel good and relaxed at the end of each class. Overall, I enjoyed my yoga trial but don’t see myself running off to India anytime soon. Running is still my exercise of choice- it’s free, it’s a great workout, and it doesn’t require carrying a cumbersome mat on public transportation. However, during these cold winter months, I might throw a little yoga into the mix.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Pictures of 70's rock stars at their parents' houses. Lots of awesomeness. I especially enjoy Elton John's mom's boots.

My favorite new blog of 2008, the Boston Globe's The Big Picture, has posted The Year 2008 in Photographs (Part 1 of 3). Haunting and amazing shots, from all over the world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weekend Report (slightly belated)

On Friday, I attended The Slutcracker at the Somerville Theater. Oh yes, it's a brilliantly named burlesque show based upon Tchaikovsky's famous ballet. I didn't really know what to expect, and it much more like the actual Nutcracker than I expected- same score, similar plot, only dancing, no dialogue or singing. Only with lots of pasties. And a pole dancer. And Clara's toy that comes alive, well, let's just say that it's not a nutcracker, and it's not a tree that grows. Overall, it wasn't nearly as raunchy as I imagined (um, which was good, I guess, because I went with a bunch of coworkers), but it was hilarious, creative, and very entertaining. We made a full night of Davis Square, with dinner at Redbones beforehand and drinks at the Burren afterwards. Both places were a lot of fun and I'd hang out in Davis Square a lot more often if it weren't for the $30 cab ride home. Ah well.

The rest of the weekend was very busy and fun. I ventured out to the burbs for a Christmas party, but was rewarded with Harpoon Winter Warmer for my efforts. My niece Maggie also had her 2nd birthday party...look at how cute she is! I also like how she's wearing a shirt with her own picture on it. Take that, Paris Hilton.

And now for something completely different:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Inappropriately named foodstuff, Part IV

You know, there are several things I've been meaning to post about, like my fun weekend (the Slutcracker, a Harpoon beer party, and my niece Maggie's 2nd birthday extravaganza) and the book club update (coming soon, I promise!).

But, I'm sorry, cock soup? Seriously?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Items classified by temperature, according to Keith Richards and Mick Jagger

burning bush
burning fire
bleeding volcano

permanently stalled engine
ice cream cone
arctic zone

She's So Cold, by The Rolling Stones (Right Click and Save Target As to download.)

p.s. best baseline ever

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Movie Game!

Okay, I've seen this little game on several blogs and I've decided to try it out.

1. Pick 15 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search or other search functions.

The movies that I selected as my favorites may not all be critically acclaimed, but if I happen to be flipping through channels and come across one of these, I will automatically stop what I am doing and watch the whole thing. Most of them are pretty well-known, but I tried to avoid the most obvious quotes to make it a little more challenging.

1. “Now me and my loser friends are gonna head out to buy Aerosmith tickets.” Dazed and Confused. Nice work, Phil!

2. “Check out the big brain on Brett!” Pulp Fiction. Phil again, but JR gets credit for noticing that it should be Brad, not Brett. I'm 99.9% positive that it is Brad and IMDb is wrong on that.

3. “Probably some local fisherman, out for a pleasure cruise, at night... in... eel-infested waters...” The Princess Bride. Tom.

4. “Down here, it's our time. It's our time down here.” The Goonies, in perhaps the most inspirational soliloquy of all time. Phil. oops, I meant Tom.

5. “You never wanted my friendship and you were afraid to be in my debt.” The Godfather. Ryan.

6. “Somewhere out there is a lady who I think will never be a nun.” The Sound of Music. Yes, Tom!

7. "Some hate the English. I don't. They're just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers." Trainspotting. Yay, Ryan!

8. “You're gonna be a great writer someday, Gordie. You might even write about us guys if you ever get hard-up for material.” Stand By Me. Phil.

9. “I don't even own *a* gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack.” Wayne's World. Phil is on a roll.

10. “I'm not questioning your powers of observation I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.” V for Vendetta. and Matty V for the Victory!

11. “I've no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world is more interesting with you in it.” The Silence of the Lambs. Tom.

12. “It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.” Tombstone. Phil with a late guess.

13. “Yeah, well, don't worry about me. I'm gonna slingin' pizza for the rest of my life.” Mystic Pizza. Hot damn, Phil.

14. “But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl who takes care of a screaming baby.” Labyrinth. Eri.

15. “You used to be fun. You used to be warped and twisted and hilarious... and I mean that in the best way - I mean it as a compliment!” Say Anything. MJ!

Okay, readers, show me what you got. No cheating!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Make it dark and sinister, and preferably with an umlaut.

I enjoyed this brief but highly entertaining interview with Christophe Szpajdel, a Belgian man who has designed over 7000 logos, mostly for death metal bands.

Best line: "But a lot of extreme metal bands deal with the destruction of mankind, which I think is needed. Maybe not a complete destruction, but at least a drastic cull."

However, he is not the mastermind behind the scariest logo of all time:

Ah yes, Martin's Supermarkets of Nothern Indiana. Count On Us.....FOR BLOOD-SOAKED DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Very Pinkle Soccer Party

My soccer team had our pink-themed end-of-season/holiday party this past weekend, featuring pink clothing, pink drinks, and the legendary Pinkles Swap.

For beverages, I adopted Caity's suggestion and changed the name:

The Pinkle
5 oz. citron vodka
1 oz. blackberry brandy
6 oz. pink lemonade
Mix well and serve over ice.

Now, onto the photos:

This year's swap was more outrageous that ever- talking flyswatters, yodeling pickles, and lots and lots of naughty gifts: "pornaments for your XXXmas tree." Here's the whole crew holding up their swap booty:

I ended up taking home a framed, autograph picture of one of my teammates back in his heyday, which is sort of funny because I had just unearthed one of my own childhood soccer photos (see two posts down).

I shall cherish it always.

For Celtics fans

One of the guys at Basketbawful (my favorite NBA blog) has created a very fun tribute poem and video to Larry Bird: The Night Before Birdmas.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wanna bang?

I got my haircut yesterday and asked for bangs.
This is the look I was hoping for:

This is the look I was hoping to avoid:

This is the look I ended up with:

Saturday, December 06, 2008

DCoE Book Club: Week 1

The first two chapters of American Pastoral set the stage for the rest of the book. We are introduced to the protagonist, Swede Levov, through the eyes of the narrator, Skip Zuckerman, who idolized the popular and successful athlete fondly known as “The Swede” in their hometown of Newark, NJ. The hardworking, Jewish families of the 1940’s town placed the Swede was placed on a pedestal- he was their vision of the American dream realized: a tall, blonde, handsome, and brave boy who enlisted in the Marines and married a former Miss New Jersey. Decades later, the Swede contacts Skip (who is now a famous author) and asks him for help in writing a tribute for his deceased father. Intrigued, Skip meets him for dinner, only to become disappointed in the blandness that is the adult Swede. This section reminded me a little of a dream I once had, in which I was dating Tom Brady. At first, I was like “Wow this is so awesome I can’t believe I’m dating Tom Brady!” But then, he turned out to be really, really boring and I broke up with him because I couldn’t take it any more. Dream Tom Brady = Complete Letdown. So that’s how Skip felt after meeting the Swede, but the whole time the reader is aware that it’s just a set-up. There is much more to the Swede than what meets the eye, but neither we nor our narrator have found out what. At the end of the second chapter, Skip is just about to leave his 40th high school reunion when he learns that his childhood friend Jerry Levov, who just happens to be the Swede’s younger brother, is in attendance.

So far, I really like the book. I’ve never read anything by Roth before, and his writing style is admirable- vividly descriptive, yet crisp and clean. The language captures the essence of the characters and the settings to enrich the interesting plot. It’s not an easy read, but it’s not a slow one either. One of my favorite sequences was the anecdote about Jerry Levov making a coat out of hamster skins in an attempt to win the affections of his high school crush. (It didn’t work.)

Here’s a vocab list from the first two chapters:

Suffused: to spread through or over, as with liquid, color, or light
Imprecations: curses
Contingency: the condition of being dependent on chance; uncertainty
Paragon: a model of excellence or perfection of a kind; a peerless example
Piker: a cautious gambler
Insuperable: impossible to overcome; insurmountable

If you’re currently reading American Pastoral or have in the past, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments. For those of who following along with the book club, please read to the end of Chapter 5 (p. 231 in my version) by next Sunday. I’m currently reading Chapter 4, so I’ll warn you that after the first two chapters, the story veers into a very dark place. Happy reading!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Wanted: Pink Drinks

Tomorrow night I am hosting the end of season party for the baddest, pinkest team in town, and I'm searching for the baddest, pinkest drink to serve. If you have any suggestions for pink drinks (other than cosmos...I'm not a huge fan), please leave them in the comments!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dok Bua Thai Kitchen

Finally, a post about food that isn't gross! Earlier this week, Caro and I had dinner at Dok Bua in Brookline, near Coolidge Corner. Unfortunately they don't have a real website (grrrrr), so I linked to their Yelp page. Anyways, the restaurant itself is bright and cheery, with a fish tank and a gumball machine- it's definitely the type of place where you'd go to grab a bite with friends and not a venue where you'd linger over a cocktail looking sultry. Because that's what I normally do when I eat Thai food. The menu is essentially a glossy picture book, which non-Thai diners will probably find helpful. Here's Caro modeling our beverage selections, green tea and Thai iced tea.

We ordered an appetizer, but I have no idea what it was named or what it contained. Some sort of crispy dried shrimp, coconut, and peanut mixture on top of a leaf that resembles cabbage, but isn't. I do know that it sure was tasty! Here's a photo; maybe one of you can solve the mystery:

For entrees, I had Stir Fried Eggplant with Chili and Basil and Caro went for the classic, Pad Thai.

Both were delicious! I liked Bok Dua and would definitely go back- the extensive menu listed several dishes I would like to try, although they don't offer my favorite- drunken noodles. Plus, the prices were grad-student friendly. I must give the caveat that I've never met a Thai restaurant that I didn't like, so Bok Dua isn't all that different from Brown Sugar or other Boston Thai places, but with its good food, friendly service, and low prices, it's definitely worth a visit.

Bizarre Canned Goods, the West Virginia edition

Some of you may be aware of my fascination with unusual food products, especially those that come in cans. Like dumpcake and spotted dick. Well, here's the latest discovery- Pork Brains with Milk Gravy. Mmmmm.

No, I did not try it. Even I have boundaries, people.

Monday, December 01, 2008

West Virginia, Wild and Wonderful

I spent the weekend in Morgantown, West Virginia hanging out with several Peace Corps friends and spouses, and it was a fantastic time. We fell quickly back into old patterns: staying up late, playing (or listening to, in my case) music, drinking, smoking(not all of us), telling stories about diarrhea, and laughing, but this time around, we added a little Appalachian flair. We only left the house once. Here are the photos.

I picked up my friend Dan in New York City, and we stopped for lunch at this diner somewhere in central Pennsylvania. Chicken Lickin'!

The evening's entertainment:

A late-night photo of the Nicaragua Five:

On Saturday, our host Jeff gave us a little lesson in local culture by teaching us a new game, Nails. All you need is a tree stump, some nails, and a hammer. And beer. Everyone sticks their designated nail into the stump, and the object is to hammer other people's nails flush into the wood. You earn one whack by flipping the hammer in the air and catching it, two by tossing it under a leg, and three by throwing it behind your back. The tricky part is that you're not allowed to line up- you have to start your swing with the hammer raised above your shoulder. Oh, and you have to have a beer in your hand both during the hammer toss and the swing. Some action photos:

Here are pictures from our big excursion to Mario's Fishbowl (which was awesome, so if you're ever in Morgantown, check it out):

After drinking a fishbowl, I made a very unwise decision. You know how in certain townie bars, there's a jar of pickled eggs sitting on the counter? And every time you see it, you wonder what kind of idiot would actually eat something from that jar? Well, now you know. My friend John dared me to eat one. Then, he double dog dared me, and said that he would eat one, too. I couldn't refuse. My womanhood was a stake (okay not really). The worst part was that he insisted that we eat the eggs in one single bite. Here's the photo series (Not Safe For The Faint of Stomach). I mean, just look at that jar; isn't it inviting? I love how an egg costs $0.65. No, not $0.50, or $0.75; these puppies go for exactly 65. And you ask why they are pink? Two words: beet juice.

In that last shot I am definitely on the verge of vomit.
After the Fishbowl, we headed back to the homestead, where a festival of meat awaited us. A fellow Peace Corps volunteer from our group who was featured on NPR this year shipped us a bunch of products from his farm in Illinois.

In the end, I had a fantastic time relaxing and catching up with old friends. I learned two things this weekend. 1. Traffic the Sunday after Thanksgiving is as bad as they say, and 2. If there's ever a contest for Best Song Lyric Ever, they might as well change it to Second Best Song Lyric Ever, because "I'd sure like to check you for ticks." already won first place.