We just got back from a relaxing and enjoyable trip home. Here are a few highlights:
- Before we left, Jennie and I both went to graduation. Jennie recieved her Bachelor's Degree and I got a Master's Degree. Jennie's parents and brother Jim came out to watch and we had a good time. I'm lucky to have such not-crazy (future) in-laws, I feel as comfortable with them as I do my own family.
- The drive back was uneventful and fairly easy (in my opinion). It rained most of the way. Kira was very good in the car, and loved running around Penn State when we got there. Also, Herwig's (an Austrian restaurant in downtown State College) rocks. Their potato salad = the greatest...I now have an obsession with German/Austrian Potato salad.
- We got ice skates from the Crosses, so we all laced up our skates this year at the annual Christmas Eve ice skating event. I had tons of fun - for once my skates didn't murder my ankles/calves and I skated for the entire time. We're hoping to bust them out at Tenney Park now that we're back in Madison, but the ice is still too thin. We apparently brought the cold weather back with us.
- We did Christmas Eve at my parents' house and Christmas Day at Jennie's. It's a good thing our families have offsetting traditions, it made things super-easy for both of us. I bought Jennie tickets to Giselle (next week) and a print of one of her favorite poems (see http://www.storypeople.com. Jennie bought me tickets to Man of La Mancha and will get me tickets to the Cubs home opener in April (Jennie Rules!).
- We got a bunch of wedding-related tasks complete. Getting a hotel for out-of-towners was by far the most difficult. It's nice to have a bunch of this stuff out of the way. Our main tasks remaining is to get the stuff together for our officiant and to figure out what we're going to do for a rehearsal dinner (most of the restaurants we called are booked).
- Jennie had a great job fall into her lap - she's teaching sewing for the UW Theatre department starting tomorrow. She's looking for another part-time job to suppelement it. Right now her front-runner is to work at a kennel out on the west side, near Woodman's.
- We caught up with various friends that we haven't seen in awhile, several of which will be involved in the wedding in some capacity. We hung out with Millie and Kate a few times, and I drove down to UVA and had a fun evening with my old friend Matt Harrington. I forgot how great a college town Charlottesville is.
- Sarah was in town this Christmas and it was nice to see her too. She made curry for all of us one night and it was freaking awesome. We're probably going to try to add it to our repertoire once we figure out all the ingredients we need, and where to find them.
- We took a trip down to Fredericksburg to hang with Jim and cook him things to put in his lonely refrigerator. We've managed to get him to watch the first 5 seasons of Buffy, so now there's someone else who gets our Buffy-related jokes. Also he's revived an interest in Madden for me...I just started a franchise on the Madden 2006 copy he left me when he was out here. As if I didn't have a bunch of other games to play....not to mention homework/research.
- We found an awesome book while packing up books in preparation for painting. It was all about code traffic and the special forces in WW2. Jennie finished the book right before we went to the Spy museum in DC with my parents, which further heightened the experience. We're both super interested in WW2 + cryptography related stuff now - I got a book on Turing and Jennie bought two books on various special forces stuff related to the book we read.
- We ate at Legal Seafood in DC, which was awesome, and I feel like there's now a precedent to eat as much of the good East Coast seafood as we can while we're at home. It's just not the same here in Wisconsin. I feel like both of us have really turned a corner in our appreciation of seafood - we were pretty much only shrimp and crab eaters before. Now we've found we actually like some fish! If only good fish weren't so expensive and tricky to cook...
- I bought a few wedding-related clothes (including some nifty suspenders!) at Tyson's, which can be a scary place traffic-wise. Jennie got some awesome new clothes including a cool new winter coat. We ate at Legal Seafood there, the second time this trip (yay swordfish!)
- The drive back was fairly uneventful. It certainly did not feel like the 14+ hours that it took. There was some snow along the way but none of it was really sticking. The best part was in western ohio, where all the trees were coated with ice. The sun was going down at that point, so all the foliage looked like it was made of shimmering crystals. It was pretty awesome.
Those are all the highlights I can think of for now. We'll be back in VA in 3 weeks for Jennie's cousin's wedding.
As for now, I'm starting my RA-ship tomorrow. My schedule for the upcoming semester is pretty awesome: I only have class on TR. My goal is to come in on MWF for most of the day as well, since I'm most productive at the office when I don't have a pile of computer/video games to tempt me. It makes scheduling things super great - I don't have to worry about missing class to go to the wedding next month...and it would make it easier for me to take the day off and go to a Cubs day game (like the home opener - so excited).