OK, so obviously the blog experiment has been a failure. It’s been almost a year since I put anything even remotely up-to-date on this thing. And a lot has been happening. The thing is, I’m not so thrilled with the blog thing. I’m bored with it. Just like every journal I’ve ever tried to keep, this too will fall by the wayside. For those of you who pay attention, sorry :( Maybe once Baby Awesome is born in December, I’ll retool the blog and make it all about baby, but I have some serious misgivings about posting baby online for all the world to see. So probably, this will be it for the blog…
Last weekend we went to Burlington, VT, for a taste of city life again. We drove up in the afternoon on 2/7/09, and first tried to go to an exhibition of unpublished novels Jess had read about in her book of weird New England places. After wandering around the library for a while, Jess went to ask the librarian. Apparently, much to the joy of the librarian, the exhibit closed months ago. He really hated that exhibit it seemed. After that we walked over to the waterfront looking for the winter festival. We didn’t find the festival, but we walked out onto Lake Champlain, which was frozen. After a childhood spent with stringent admonishments against walking on any frozen waterways (it’s not really cold enough to safely freeze ponds or lakes in VA), I walked out on the lake with deep misgivings. Luckily, winter in northern Vermont is much tougher, and the lake was definitely safe. I survived. After the walk, we went to get Thai food, then went on another quest for a strange Vermont experience in one of the buildings on the UVM campus. According Jess’ tour book, there was a museum of kitsch. We found no museum, sadly – the building was closed. In resigned defeat, we walked back into the downtown to Ben and Jerry’s, where everyone but Yin Ying and me had dessert. By then we all had to get back to NH. Burlington is a cute town. Fricking freezing, but cute, and it was nice to visit a city again.
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on our blog, and suffice it to say it was a crazy holiday season. Starting in early November, Ryan and I were gone nearly every weekend until New Years. Then I launched into finals at Harvard, which finished this week. Crazy. We had a great time with family during the holidays, though. Got to see Ryan’s family in Michigan during Thanksgiving, and thankfully Ann and Jim are both doing well in spite of some health issues. The first weekend in December we went down to Philly for my cousin Susan’s wedding (that’s where we took this picture – they had a photobooth at the wedding!). The wedding was fantastic – best wedding ever. We had tons of delicious food, danced, drank, and the best part was we got to spend time with my dad’s family, who I never see and who are all a ton of fun. Now that we live on the East Coast hopefully we can see more of the Stricks/Hoeys! As usual, we ran around like crazy people during the week we were in C-ville for Christmas, but as always it was a welcome chance to see both of our families. Had a great day with my dad, spent time with Mom and had the usual hilarious birthday party for Jenifer and Lauri (can’t believe my little sister is 25), and got to hang out with Jim and Rhonda, including a visit to Jill and the girls in DC. All in all, it was a pretty typical but happy holiday. Right after we got back from Virginia, my friend Elizabeth came to visit for a few days, and we went skiing (hilarious – Ryan fell down A LOT), went out on the town, so to speak (not much “town” here in NH), and played a lot of Wii. Now that the holidays and my exams are over, Ryan and I are looking forward to a breather. Ryan finally submitted his thesis before Christmas, so he’s now all done with NU work, and can finally get back to his new favorite hobby, woodworking. And of course he’s training for another marathon, this one in Burlington, VT in the spring. This weekend, we’re going to check out Montpelier, see what sort of urban delights we can find. God, I miss the city.
(October 25) We went to the big Pumpkin Festival in Keene this year, and brought our own pumpkin to add to the masses of them. Keene, a town in southern NH, hosts this festival, and has set and broken their own world records for the number of jack-o-lanterns all in one place. Apparently people come from all over New England to this thing. Behind Ryan in the picture is one of 2 or three giant towers of pumpkins, plus there were rows and rows of shelves near the ground on the streets of the town for people to put their pumpkins. The pumpkins on the tower were special pumpkins that had been wired with electric lights on cords, but the shelves and sidewalks in town were covered with low-tech pumpkins like ours. Local groups (like police, schools, etc.) ran food booths, there were fireworks at the end of the night, and overall we had a good time. Some of those pumpkins were amazing, like one particular Obama pumpkin. All in all, good clean New England fun :)
Check out the three pumpkins Ryan and I carved to put outside of our house. The two on the right are mine – both are from the Nightmare Before Christmas. The one on the left is Ryan’s, the Boognish from Ween. I also carved a pumpkin to take with us to the Keene Pumpkin Festival. These though were pretty exciting. The best part of having the pumpkins was on Halloween, when a tiny little girl (maybe 4 years old?) dressed like a little adorable witch came up to the door and identified the right pumpkin as Oogie Woogie. At this point I was surprised she had seen the movie, and said something to that effect. She was ready to go along with that and say she’d seen it, but her dad promptly stepped in and said she hadn’t seen it but that they have the movie, and they’ve told her about the characters (the movie itself is too scary for her). Her dad also recognized the Boognish, a big plus for Ryan. She then chatted us up a bit, and as she left, she announced that she loves the Nightmare Before Christmas. Hilarious. Little kids rock.
(October 19) So you can’t exactly tell it from this picture, but we’ve made friends! No longer do Ryan and I always have to take pictures of ourselves – now there are others there with us to do it! Case in point, Jessica took this picture of us at the pumpkin patch today. Sean and Jessica are our new friends – they went to brunch and the pumpkin patch with us, they went to India Queen the week before, it was madness. Ryan’s coworkers are thankfully all spectacularly nice, and a lot of fun, so it has been great to start socializing with them. NH is pretty dull without people to do silly things with us, like going to the pumpkin patch and buying FIVE, yes five, pumpkins. I couldn’t stop myself. I plan to carve at least three of them. Ryan gets to carve one of the smaller ones.
(October 18) This picture doesn’t even do the view justice, since it was taken about a week and a half after the peak foliage. The leaves here really are spectacular. They make it almost worthwhile that it will soon be frigid and snowing here. We live in a postcard. Ryan and Shara took this picture while hiking on Wednesday.