Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Change of Pace

Greetings, New York City Squirrel Fanboys and Fangirls. B and I are heading out on our honeymoon roadtrip tomorrow morning before the sun even rises. We don't know how long the roadtrip will be, but it will certainly be at least four weeks. Unless, of course, I find out that I'm not as squirrely as I thought I was and that I hate living in the forest.

We're going to be traveling around the American West, hopping between national parks and state parks and spending a lot of time around a campfire. We clearly won't have much Internet access. We will, however, have B's Palm Pre, and I'm hoping to post pictures regularly in this blog of where we are and what we're doing.

I am hoping to find lots of squirrels and squirrel-related items along our trip, so hopefully the theme of this blog will remain the same. I was happy to see, on our way to Seattle the other day, that there are, indeed, other squirrel lovers out there and that they tend to own restaurants and motels. I'm hoping to meet some of them along the way.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Post-Minnesota - What I've Been Doing

Oh, you know, the usual. Reading other people's blogs while I neglect my own. Playing piano in the mornings and drinking way too much coffee. Watching old Star Trek movies on the VCR. Oh, all those things and HOLDING A BABY SQUIRREL!

It was the best day of my life. Okay, well, my wedding day probably technically ranks higher than the day I first held a baby squirrel, but still. It was an amazing three minutes in my life. I should mention that I was able to hold this little squirrel because he was rescued by some close family friends. He and his brother are being kept in a cage and fed every 3 hours by this family destined for sainthood, and we happened to show up around feeding time. They're absolutely adorable, with tiny little bushy tails and soft fur and tiny little ears. Perfect specimens of squirrelness!

Besides holding squirrels, B and I have been preparing for our upcoming honeymoon, also known as our roadtrip also known as our first anniversary trip. We're efficient like that. I think I've posted a picture of our chosen vehicle for this trip, my mother's Volkswagon Westaflia Vanagon. I've spent quite a bit of time in the last few days stuffing it full of camping and cooking gear.

Luckily the van (or "Westy" as I've been affectionatly calling her) has lots of good storage space so I think we're going to be very comfortable.

Oh, and I've been purchasing beer of the appropriate theme for our honeymoon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Beanie Baby Chipmunk

It's amazing the things you find when you come home and actually take the time to examine the contents of your room. I have a giant shelf full of stuffed animals, and for the first time I looked up at that shelf and thought to myself, "Hey, maybe there's a squirrel in there somewhere."

Like most children of the 90s I was not safe from the Beanie Baby craze and I have at least ten of them, as does my sister and mother. I mean, they are cute, but they sure didn't turn out to be the investment that 8-year-old Casey had hoped they would be. Oh well, I was still happy to find this guy. His little black and white stripes are so charming and so almost accurate. Perhaps this was even the first squirrel item I purchased as a young not-yet-blossoming squirrel lover?

And yes, chipmunks are a type of squirrel. In fact, they are a ground squirrel, much like prairie dogs. Look it up if you don't believe me.

Friday, September 11, 2009

But Casey, why were you in Ohio?

That's an excellent question. As it turns out, we had a wedding in Ohio to attend last weekend and therefore our presence was required in the great state of Ohio.

The wedding was fantastic. The bride is a Hindu, and the groom a Catholic, and so they had separate ceremonies and receptions for each, with the Hindu ceremonies in the morning and the Catholic ceremony in the evening. The Hindu ceremonies had a red theme, and the bride wore a beautiful red sari and mounds of gold jewelry. She looked spectacular.

Unfortunately I try to not post pictures of people's faces on my blog so you'll have to instead admire the pretty centerpiece and table number. And the red can of Pepper, MD.

Oh and I did I mention that the lunch reception was Indian food only? Full disclosure here: I have never liked Indian food much, so I wasn't very excited about this reception, but wow. I've really changed my mind about Indian food. I loved almost everything I tried.

The dessert was especially good (it's that little brown bar on the lower left) and we never found out what it was called. Also, there was a dish that had large chunks of cheese in it. It's not in the picture because I inhaled it before I managed to get my camera out.

The Catholic ceremony was also lovely, as was the reception. Also, there was a new color theme for this ceremony and reception, a nice green and yellow and black.

And we changed table numbers. Crazy, eh? It was really like attending two separate weddings in one day. All in all it was a fantastic day for all of us guests, and definitely worth the little side trip to Ohio!

When did this become a food blog?

So we were in Ohio last weekend and had a chance to try some tasty Ohio meals.

Have you been to Ohio? I had driven through before, but never stopped to say hello. We were in the Cincinnati area too, which was completely new to both of us. We both like to sample the regional flavors when we visit new places (see the Florida post about food), and so we set off in search of some Cincinnati cuisine.

Our first stop was Skyline Chili, the fast food of choice for citizens of Cincinnati. It's not really fast food, at least not to me, because they have a seating area with table service. They also bring you oyster crackers when you get there.

They are famous for, obviously, their chili. We sampled some chili fries, among other things, and the chili was way different than any other I've tried. Also they put tons of cheese on top. TONS OF CHEESE. Even more cheese than I would put on something and I'm cheese-crazed!

Next we tried what was advertised to us as the best ice cream in the United States. Graeter's Ice Cream was started in the Cincinnati area and is made using the "French pot" method or something like that. I read about it in the pamphlet at the store but am too lazy to go look it up online and verify that fact. Sorry.

The greatest thing about Graeter's was their chocolate chips. They put giant chips in their ice cream and they're tasty and melt in your mouth.

I had peanut butter chip ice cream. It was very good, although I would hesitate to call this the best ice cream in the country. I actually had some Mitchell's Ice Cream in San Francisco earlier this summer and it was definitely one of the Ten Best Things I've Ever Eaten.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Well, we had another birthday last weekend. Our niece M (you may recall her from the building of the mouse house back in June) turned five, and the family had very small party for her.

Of course, her birthday was a little more fun than our two-year-old niece's birthday just a few weeks ago. Two-year-old C wasn't very interested in opening presents, and didn't really seem to know what was going on when we lit the candles on the cake. But five-year-old M definitely knew what was going on. When she showed up at our house earlier in the day she bolted into our room, saw the wrapped present on the bed and shouted, "Is that for ME?!?!" And I said, "Yes, it's for you! I hear it's your birthday." To which she replied, "It's MY BIRTHDAY!!!!" and then ran in circles a few times before demanding to know whether or not we had bought her a pony.

Oh, and there was Funfetti cake, and I love Funfetti cake. My sister-in-law makes it for all the kids' birthdays so she's a Funfetti master. And I am a fan of the Funfetti, or, as B pointed out, a "fanfetti."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Macalester Wedding!

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, a pair of friends from Macalester were married last weekend. I don't know if others find this to be true, but I've noticed that in our post-college existence we've become mighty dependent on weddings to bring our group of friends back together. We've still got plenty of friends left to tie the knot, but I'm already concerned about the day when we run out of college weddings. What will we do then? I guess we'll just have to attend reunion every five years.

The ceremony was held in a little church in a strange part of downtown Saint Paul.

The inside of the church was just gorgeous, but my camera doesn't do well in lower light so you'll have to make do with the pictures from the outside. I was very pleased to see how they did the ceremony. Both the bride and groom stood at the altar with the officiant, and both sets of parents and siblings stood right there with them. The parents wrote beautiful things to say to the two of them and it was quite touching. Later, as they bride and groom exited the church, we tossed lavender at them, which smelled wonderful. I thought that was a nice touch.

Later the reception was held on the U of M campus and it was a mighty classy affair! I pretty much devoured the entire plate of artichoke dip that greeted me at the entrance (I'm getting hungry just thinking about it). They had a great selection of hosted beer, and they had some particularly fun signature cocktails, including this little espresso drink. Note the coffee beans floating in it!

I didn't partake because I don't drink liquor, but I loved watching the little coffee beans float around.

They also had beautiful centerpieces, in my opinion. Very country cottage but incredibly elegant at the same time.

I admit, though, that I never noticed centerpieces at weddings until I got married. Now that I've planned a wedding I notice all sorts of details at other weddings that I would've never noticed before.

This was a wonderful wedding, and we're so happy for A and B (particularly happy for them that they never have to plan a wedding ever again!) and so pleased to have been there on their special day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hail, hail to thee, our college dear.

B and I have been living in Minnesota all summer, and yet we've neglected to visit our dear alma mater, Macalester College, located in beautiful Saint Paul, Minnesota. We took advantage of the fact that a few of our good friends were in town for a wedding and went for a walk around the campus.

Macalester has recently built a new athletic facility. I was one of approximately five people on campus who actually used the old athletic facility, and despite the fact that I do not self-identify as an athlete I wholeheartedly agreed that we needed a new one.

I couldn't believe it when we walked into the new gym. It was gorgeous, huge, beautiful. Beautiful design. Fantastic aesthetics. I was so impressed. I was also pleased to see that they incorporated the M in the center of the old basketball court as part of a sitting area now.

Yeah, I know it's upside-down. I was too lazy to move to take the picture. The other best part of it was the Kofi Annan Ping Pong Table. Oh yes, you heard me right.

I think the current students playing ping pong at the table were a little annoyed that us old people were walking around and giggling and taking pictures while they were trying to concentrate on their game. But I think it's just fantastic that Macalester has taken its ridiculous Kofi obsession to a new level.

We later managed to sneak into the new Markim Hall, the home of the Institute for Global Citizenship, on the corner of Grand and Snelling. Now this is a beautiful building. The outside is a little to Kagin-esque for me, but the inside is wonderful. They've made it as green as possible by doing things like using recycled glass to decorate the floor.

And they attempt to incorporate natural light into the building with things like these fantastic skylights (which we hear doubles as a sundial).

I was so impressed with how the campus looks. It actually made me anxious to get the next Annual Fund mailing so that I can send them all my monies. The college is doing a fantastic job, in my opinion, with these new buildings and I'm excited to see what they have in store for the new art building someday.
And no, I don't work in the Development Office!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Squirrel Tote Bag

My most recent squirrel acquisition happens to be an awesome tote bag, lovingly purchased for me by my sister-in-law.

I was quite excited to receive this, as I don't actually have a good tote bag; I accidentally put my favorite one in storage when we moved out of our apartment. I think this one might become my new favorite, though. It's a really nice size and has an interior pocket for things like money. I told Brandon that I was going to bring this on our honeymoon and he seemed to think that was a good idea.

Isn't it cool how people sometimes randomly buy you squirrel stuff?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Squirrel Coaster

This particular squirrel item has been in my possession since early July and somehow I keep forgetting to exhibit it here on my blog.

This squirrel coaster was purchased for me by my in-laws while I was visiting my hometown and taking that little trip to San Francisco. They found it at a little arts and crafts fair and decided to buy it for me. I have mentioned that all my nieces (well, the ones who are sentient) are also obsessed with squirrels now, and it's been spreading to the adults as well! They tell me when they see squirrels in the yard or if they see one on their commute. It's funny.

It's also quite fitting that they are the ones to purchase this for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Squirrel Stuff I Own: Ground Squirrel Shot Glass

Yes, everyone's favorite series, Squirrel Stuff I Own, is back! Turns out I've acquired two new squirrel-related objects since we moved away from New York City, and I'm now going to share them with you!

The first is the most recent acquisition in my collection, lovingly purchased for me by my husband, B. It's a prairie dog shot glass!

Yes, that's a little plastic prairie dog standing upright in the shot glass! I think B was trying to purchase it on the sly, but you can't hide squirrel stuff from me, and he should know better than to try. I accosted him in Wall Drug and demanded to see what he was carrying with him. My eyes lit up when I saw what he had bought for me. Better than flowers! What a perfect husband.

Of course, I'll never use it for its intended purpose because I don't think I've had a shot of liquor since... 2005?