Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bailey loves...chocolate?

This will go down as a classic Bailey tail, I mean, tale.  :)

Winter is a great time for crock pot cooking and yet we don't use ours nearly as much as we should.  Yesterday, however, Chris thought the perfect way to reward himself after snow and ice removal duty was a dinner of pulled pork sandwiches with BBQ sauce.  Yum.  (I think I'm going to make my husband an honorary Texan...it was that good.)  When I came downstairs early Saturday morning and saw the size of the pork (it was SEVEN POUNDS!) I immediately texted our friend Heather and invited her over for dinner.  I love leftovers, but we would have been eating pulled pork for days on end.

As I said, the pulled pork sandwiches were fantastic and we had a great time with Heather.  She had kindly offered to bring over dessert, so after dinner each of us had a generous slice of chocolate ganache cake from Ross' Bread.
This is a picture from the Ross' Bread website...amazing, right?!
After a big BBQ dinner none of us could finish our cake.  So we left the half-eaten pieces on the dining room table and let the dogs (Heather brought Gracie) out to use the restroom.  Bailey came back in right away and the three of us continued to laugh at Gracie trying to tiptoe through the snow without sinking.

If you know Bailey, you know he's always underfoot.  And all of a sudden...he wasn't.  And he was being waaaay too quiet.  I knew something was up so I ran to the dining room...where all 3 pieces of cake were gone and Bailey was licking his lips.  I called the vet, of course, but they thought Bailey would be okay.  Still, I slept terribly because I kept waking up during the night and checking to make sure he was still breathing.

Don't worry about Bailey, today he's totally fine...but I wish I had some more chocolate cake.  :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bailey loves snow days.

Dear Bailey,

I think you're getting a little too used to the idea of having me around the house all the time.  Between all the delayed starts and snow days, I've been spending quite a bit of time working from home and...I think you're loving it.

Sometimes you just plop yourself right across my knees!  Please keep plopping...you're very warm.


So I hate to break this to you buddy, but spring will be here in 51 days.  All good things must come to an end...but we'll enjoy it while we can, right?

Love,
Jess

PS- Don't tell Chris that I called all this snow a "good thing".  I think he's pretty tired of it.  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm snow tired of winter: an addendum.

Just heard on the local news that this is the snowiest January on record...and they've been keeping records in Connecticut since 1905.  Oh, and after tonight's "winter blitz" (that's what NBC Connecticut has dubbed it), January 2011 will be the snowiest month on record...EVER.  It beats the previous Connecticut record from December 1945.  Unbelievable.  :)

I'm snow tired of winter.

I still love snow, but it amazes me how much we've already gotten this winter!  I grew up somewhere where it never snowed (you can't count the dusting every decade or so) and now I'm getting nor'easters every couple days.  Feast or famine is an understatement.

I made this handy calendar to demonstrate how crazy school has been these past few weeks.  Really, I am just dreading going outside to shovel the driveway and making this calendar was the perfect way to procrastinate a few more minutes.  :)  Each little snowflake is a day we've had off from school.  As you can see, we had an early dismissal today.  And tomorrow is shaping up to be snow day #6...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Raise, er, RAKE the Roof!

When I got into my car for church this morning...it was -7 degrees.  MINUS SEVEN!  Needless to say, it's been an indoor kind of weekend.  Except for the roof raking yesterday.  Chris has already shoveled the snow off the roof several times in the past week, including once in the middle of a freezing rainstorm and once at night (luckily we have awesome floodlights on the front of the house).  But this was the first time he was able to try out his new roof rake.

Truth be told, I do not have a very important role to play in this process.  I wait until Chris has climbed onto the roof and then I hand him the ladder, drill, and/or shovel.  That's about it, he does all the work.  He doesn't even need my help to get down; since the snowbanks are so high, he just jumps!  I stay outside the entire time when Chris is on the big part of the roof, or when it's raining or nighttime.  But yesterday it was so cold he told me to go back inside the house.  And I did.  :)

The view from the mini room...

And there he is!  It still makes me nervous every time he goes up.

Chris used the widest drill bit he has to drill an opening in the ice dam.  It's way too cold for any snow to be melting now, but when it warms up, it can find a way off the roof through this opening (instead of just pooling up behind the dam).

And that's the rake!

Looks like hard work.  :/
Oh, and did I mention that there's an 80% chance for a wintry mix on Wednesday?  How many times can we get snow?!  It's been like Groundhog Day, except that instead of repeating the same day over and over we repeat the same snowstorm every five or six days.  Stay tuned for Wednesday!  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Houston, we have a problem.

So...I'm home.  Been home all day.  Chris too.

Today was my 5th snow day for the year.  Already.  And it's only mid-January!

I guess I should have thought of a better title for this post.  Because really, if we were living in Houston this wouldn't be a problem at all.

It's supposed to stay above freezing tonight and into tomorrow, which will hopefully melt the rest of the snow off the roof.

Wish it would have warmed up a few days ago...before I had to shovel all the snow off the deck.  It was like a thousand cubic feet of snow.  Yes, I did the math.

BUT, I shouldn't be complaining because I am very grateful to have a roof over my head and a cozy place to hide from this weather.

Even so...counting down the days until spring.  :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wildlife

I was getting ready for Sunday School this morning (I had to skip big church...more on that in a bit) when I looked out our window and saw these guys:


Despite the fact that back in 2008 a deer ran into my new car only a week and a half after I bought it...I still think it's fun to see them in my backyard.  It was obvious to us that momma deer checked things out first, and finally these three little guys followed behind her.  Look at how deep they are in the snow!


And the reason I had to leave church right after I taught Sunday School was because we had a reservation at the Shepaug Dam Bald Eagle Observatory!  It's open weekend mornings from 9:00-1:00, starting in December and continuing through March.  The eagles made a comeback in Connecticut in 1992 and have been wintering near this dam in Southbury ever since.

There was a whole slew of volunteers from the CT Audubon Society who helped us see where the eagles were located.  There were only two there today, but last weekend they had about 20!  We thought this pie graph describing the bald eagle's activity patterns could also be used to describe Bailey's day-to-day activities.  Just replace perching with sleeping, and flying with wandering around the house.  :)


You can see the dam through the observation hut's window.  The eagles picked this spot because the water right below the dam doesn't freeze, meaning they can catch fish throughout the winter.


The new zoom lens Chris got us for Christmas is fantastic, but still didn't have quite enough zoom to get close to the eagle!  :)  We were pretty far away.  Still, I think if you click on the photo to enlarge it you might be able to see the eagle in the tree.  Here's a fun fact: did you know that eagles are five years old before they get the white feathers on their head??  I didn't.  :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

American Idiot

Thanks, Nielsen!  Because of you (and our dedication to pressing your buttons) we went into the city today to see American Idiot on Broadway.  And, I have to say, it was pretty amazing.


A little racy?  For sure.  Violence, swearing, etc., all in there.  And with a definite message about the direction that our country is headed if we don't fix things soon.  Which doesn't bode well for my family's (and I think my husband's) opinion that I've somehow been brainwashed by this blue state I'm living in.  But I haven't.  I just lean a little to the left every now and again.  Blame it on the N-N-N-N-N-NPR.

(This is longer than the original video I posted, but the bad words are bleeped out here...and whoops! they were not on last night's video.)


Anyway, the show was great!  Awesomely talented cast.  After the show we had Thai at a swanky (but remarkably affordable) restaurant called Room Service.  Check out the gorgeous chandelier behind my handsome husband:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowpocalypse: Part Deux. AKA, Snowmageddon: Storm of the Century.

I could totally have a second career naming cheesy action films.  Just saying.

Chris thought I missed the snowstorm of the season while I was down in Arkansas for Christmas.  Today, we realized he was wrong.  We woke up this morning to TWO FEET of beautiful, white, fluffy snow on the ground.  Pow, as my sis-in-law would call it.  :)  TWO FEET!  That's taller than Bailey.  He's still too intimidated by the snow to venture into the yard.

I just got a call from the emergency information system in Waterbury and was informed that the schools will be closed again tomorrow.  Not surprised.  There was already a lot of snow still on the ground in Waterbury...I have no idea where they're going to put two more feet of snow.  Unfortunately Chris won't be able to stay home with me again tomorrow.  I enjoyed having him here today.  :)

Here are a few pics from today.  We took a ton (because really when will I see this much snow again?) and the rest are on Picassa.  If you'd like to see them all, you can click right here.
Still snowing this morning.  Good thing Chris re-roofed the little shed, huh?!

I'm slightly concerned about the amount of snow on the roof of our house...

The deck.  Whoa.

24 inches!

So pretty.

This is the picture I was taking...

...when Chris was taking this one!

After snowblowing the driveway...not an easy task.

Have you ever jumped face first into a snow bank?  If you haven't, you must try it.

White everywhere!!!

The sun finally came out for a little bit this afternoon.

The path the snowblower took from the garage to the front of the house.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Art

Chris and I have had these pictures hanging in the master bedroom since we moved into the house:


I found them from a photographer at the Red Stick Farmer's Market, Baton Rouge's downtown farmer market, and my Dad wanted to buy them for me.  They are of two of my favorite spots in New Orleans:


But since our bed is all white (we can't agree on bedding at all so we're sticking with plain white until...one day...we might find something we both like) I thought we could use some art with a little more color up there.

So for Christmas I ordered six prints from http://www.kodakgallery.com/ of a few favorite pictures we've taken recently.  Kodak Gallery offers professional printing, and these were done in the metallic color setting.  It really makes them shimmer.  The frames were only $6.99 apiece from Michael's.  If I tried to buy six actual frames with mats included it would have been at least $100, maybe more.  I wasn't sure if I'd like the look of the glass with the clips, but I love it!  (It does look better in person.)  Someday I might add three more frames to make a total of nine (I love things that are square), but for now, this is it.


And here are the pics:
Near the Lake of the Clouds Hut

Crossing a stream at the start of the hike to Lake of the Clouds

Brave little bird in St. Lucia (I think my F-I-L may have taken this one!)

Cappucino in Mennagio on our honeymoon...yum

Hiking up Mt. Jefferson

Italian honeymoon on a rainy afternoon

Friday, January 7, 2011

We represent.

For almost two years, both Chris and I have represented 30,000 people in each of our demographics.

The reason?  Nielsen Ratings.  Do you remember after last year's Super Bowl (Geaux Saints!) when it was announced that the game had beat the record of most viewers previously held by the final episode of the show MASH?  That data comes from Nielsen, and little boxes like this:

Whenever the TV was turned on, the button for Jessica and the button for Chris would automatically start blinking red.  Whoever was watching had to press their designated number and then say OK (we had a remote control, too.)

Two years ago a woman from Nielsen knocked on our door and asked if we would like to participate in their program.  (Apparently it is very difficult to locate people in our age range in Fairfield County or households without children...we were a rare find.  :)  They would compensate us for our time every 6 months and they would remove the equipment at any time if we wanted to stop.  Paid to do something we would do anyway?  No brainer!

It did get annoying, though.  The buttons start blinking every 40 minutes or so, just to make sure you're still watching and haven't walked away from the TV.  It's a tad disruptive in the middle of a movie.  But, now the two years are over and we're taking our last $100 check to see American Idiot in the city!  Should be fun.

Good riddance to the Nielsen box!

They came and took the box away on Tuesday.  The next morning I heard a story on NPR about the latest Nielsen findings.  Of all of the highly viewed shows they mentioned...we don't watch a single one of them!  We represent 60,000 people and still they don't mention The Office or How I Met Your Mother?

There are also a few shows that we watch separately.  Like, for example...I watch Glee.  Please don't judge me.  :)  And Chris' guilty pleasures are Ax Men and Pawn Stars.  Those shows weren't mentioned in the report either.  Oh well.  I shouldn't be surprised.  The #1 show is still American Idol and I have never watched that show.  To each their own!

Blinded

Nope, this post has nothing to do with my job.  Which, subsequently, is the reason I'm blogging in the middle of the day...it's a SNOW DAY!  (Although it certainly doesn't look like it will be another snowmageddon...it's just past noon and finally started to snow lightly.)

We recently purchased blinds for three of the rooms upstairs: the office, the mini-room (which is sort of my office), and the master bedroom.  Both the office and mini-room had those really cheap (like $5) plastic shades that you glue onto the window frame and hold up with clips.  Yuck.  But they where there when we bought the house so they stayed.  And the master bedroom had nothing on the windows at all.  Okay in the summer when the trees are full of leaves, not so okay in the winter when the trees are bare.  Granted, we don't have any neighbors, but we do live on a busy road.  :)

The roman shades were a steal from JCPenney's website (cheaper than in-store) and what a difference they make!  Should have done this years ago.
Office Before

Office After

Office Before

Office After

Mini-room Before

Mini-room After

Master Before

Master After


And, for anyone who was worried, our master bedroom is at the back of the house so it's not like anyone from the road could really see into the windows, but I still feel more comfortable with the shades up.  :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Christmas of the Snowpocalypse

Happy 2011!

I can't believe that I've been out of high school for over a decade now!  It's a rare occurrence if I get carded anymore.  And I no longer get asked for a hall pass while at work.  Although I did answer the phone the other day and the caller asked if he "could talk to my dad."  :)

But back to 2010.  Chris and I made plans to spend the Christmas holiday down in Arkansas with my family.  He hasn't seen them since last Christmas and I haven't been down for a visit since my mom's surgery in April.  Our friend Heather offered to watch Bailey while we were gone (he adores her).  Of course he got to open his Christmas stocking before he left.

Hmm...what's in here??

Who needs hands?!

The service was great and we made a special dinner when we got home (since we would have to leave early Christmas morning for the airport) and used our wedding china.

Christmas morning (our 2nd as husband and wife! :) while I was finishing our suitcases, Chris came upstairs with some bad news: our flights had been cancelled.  They connected through Atlanta and since that region was expecting some icy/snowy weather...Delta had preemptively cancelled the flights.  And decided not to answer their phones.  Chris couldn't get through to anyone.  Somehow, he managed to book an alternate flight for me online from a different airport, but he couldn't book that same flight for himself.  He was booked for the 26th.

We were in such a rush to get to the airport, we didn't even get to open all our gifts!
The Delta employees at the airport were really nice, but even they couldn't get Chris booked on the same flights as me.  So, after much debate, we decided to cancel his flight altogether.  We knew with the blizzard coming the next day that his new flight was going to be cancelled anyway, and since he had to come home on Tuesday to go back to work...it seemed like the most practical idea.  We made a good decision (over 10,000 flights ended up cancelled over the holiday weekend) but it still wasn't fun to spend Christmas apart.

Even without Chris, I had a wonderful time in Arkansas with the fam.  And, on Thursday we got the best news ever...my Mom doesn't have cancer!!!  All the tests the past few weeks indicated that she did, which made me all the more ready to get home and see her.  But when we went to the cancer center in Little Rock they were almost 100% certain that she doesn't!  She still needs to have a lot of tests done because there is obviously something wrong...but it's NOT cancer.  It was the first time I saw her smile all week.  :)

The girls at Grandma and Pop's house

And the men (yes, one glance at this picture and it is not hard to figure out that we are in Arkansas)

To entertain the nieces, I showed them how to make their own lollipops.  (Kaylee is modeling the I heart NY shirts that we got for all 5 nieces and nephews...it made shopping so much easier getting them all the same thing!  We're totally doing this every year.)

And she lost her very first tooth a few days after Christmas!  The Tooth Fairy left her a dollar.  She is going to "save it so [she] can get rich."  A girl after her Uncle Chris' own heart.
-----

I flew home on New Year's Eve, anxious to see my husband, my dog, and the sixteen inches of snow they got while I was gone!  Some of the snow had already melted, but Chris' time lapse video made me feel like I was right here for it!  He set up the webcam to take one picture every minute.


Chris picked up a cowboy steak for our New Year's Eve dinner.  It was a deliciously ridiculous amount of meat.

January 1 almost felt like spring, so we took Bailey to Huntington Park.  Not a bad way to start the New Year!