Saturday, December 26, 2009


Happy Christmahanakwanzikah everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed their respective holiday! My family doesn't celebrate Christmas (unless a Chinese food and a movie counts!), and Tim and I don't really care, but it's always nice to have a day designated to spend with family. Unfortunately that's not quite how things worked out for us this year. To make a very long story short, I was unable to go home because of difficulties finding a lab for graduate school. It's disappointing, because it has been over a year since I have been home to Connecticut, but sometimes that's just how it goes. Instead, Tim and I are planning on visiting my parents Memorial Day weekend, during which the Stamford Young Artist's Philharmonic (an ensemble I was a part of during high school) will be celebrating their 50th year under the founding director (more to come in May)! So at least I'll get to go home then! We weren't able to visit Tim's parents either because he did not request off soon enough. We'll see them for New Years though!
In the meantime, Tim and I were stuck in Madison celebrating Christmas with each other and our puppy (bummer!). Since my schedule had been up in the air, Tim had not requested off, so he was scheduled to work the days leading up to Christmas, as well as the days after Christmas (lots of returns). But with lots of snow and freezing rain and regular rain and more snow heading our way, I'm not too disappointed that we stayed put! We watched The Big Bang Theory episodes (great TV show, highly recommend it!), a couple movies, a basketball game (guess who), made soup, opened presents, and had a very relaxing day. Here are some pictures:

To start off the "Christmas spirit", our very kind neighbors, Sarah, Wayne and their daughter Autumn brought us a plate of cookies! I got them some dog toys for their new puppy, Harley, to say thank you!

The highlight of Cooper's day was this GIANT rawhide shaped like a candycane! Rawhides never last very long, but I knew this one would take him awhile (and it was only $3)! He still isn't even sure how to chew on it yet!

He tried carrying it around, but it was hard to maneuver around the furniture, and it almost doesn't fit in his mouth. He didn't even notice his other toys because he was so busy chewing on it all day (and he hasn't even made a dent! Success!).

This is going to be part of my present from Tim (the other part is still a mystery)! It's a magnet that goes on your car; I LOVE IT (sorry, science trumps religion)! This also official confirms that we can NEVER move to the South... ever. For Tim, I finally cracked and got him a Sam's Club membership (I think it made his year). His favorite thing from Sam's Club are cheeseballs (imagine styrofoam balls covered in cheese; see picture). I also got him a new Wii video game!

We also made one of my FAVORITE recipes, cheddar cheese corn chowder! Unfortunately I never seem to make it in small enough quantities, so we have enough to last us through a nuclear winter! Cooper finally tired of working on his bone and cuddled up with me for the remainder of the night (it feels so good to be loved!).

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So, is it winter yet?

Um, yes. How do I know? Well, it got a little cold, and it started snowing. And then it didn't stop snowing. In fact, it snowed 18 inches overnight!

We woke up to snow EVERYWHERE! It was almost up to my knee, and that is my poor car buried (along with many others)!

Madison declared a national snow emergency and the entire city shut down. The University even cancelled school the night before because it was so bad already (and being a student again, I got to enjoy a snow day for the first time since high school)!!! To celebrate this momentous occasion (this may have been the first snow day in 20 years at UW), some of the students decided to make a snowball, while others decided that the fabulous compactability of the snow would be great for breaking the windows of passing cars (eek, glad I was not downtown!). As if the sky opening up and dumping all the fury of winter on us in one night wasn't enough! Luckily we do not live anywhere near downtown, but that also meant our streets were not plowed first. The road through our complex was plowed, but that was as far as we could get!

More pictures of craziness.

Cooper suddenly rediscovered that he is a hunting dog (who knew?) and was trying to track the small animals that had burrowed through the snow (no, he has never done this when it's warm out). This resulted in one wet dog but luckily no dead animals (phew)!

Luckily all of my classes were cancelled (did I mention it was a snow day?!), and Tim did not have to work, so we were able to sit at home, make a fire, and actually enjoy seeing each other for an entire day! Unfortunately the temperature dropped today to zero degrees, so in addition to having enough snow to build a village, it all turned to ice (and caused the buses to run 20 minutes behind schedule today). Luckily I have Yak Traks to get me through it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Due to a magnificent stroke of luck, Tim knows a guy who knows a guy who was able to get us tickets to a Monday night Packers football game! I was stoked! In fact, Tim bought me a Packers jersey for my birthday to prepare (Donald Driver, in case you were wondering)!

I have never been to a Packers game, and really I can't image many stadiums are like Lambeau. It is completely open, no roof, and the stadium is packed regardless of the weather. So as the temperature drops throughout the season, you have to know that the only other people at Lambeau are the most dedicated bunch! Tim has put his name in to get season tickets, and last we checked, he is 70,149th in line (no, I'm not exaggerating). Going to a Packers game is a big deal in this state, and I was so excited that we were going! We got tickets with two of Tim's coworkers, so we were able to carpool up, pregame, and scream at the game with good friends!

It was close to 15 degrees that night, but having survived many winters in Wisconsin we were all prepared. I wore 3 pairs of pants, 2 warm shirts my jersey and a winter coat. We also had hand warmers and toe warmers to keep our appendages from falling off. It was cold, but we were packed in so tightly that we were keeping each other warm. And really when you are at Lambeau watching the packers in the Frozen Tundra, you don't even notice that you are cold! I even spent part of the time not wearing my jacket so people could see my jersey (but that did not last for longer than 15 minutes!

I did not know this, but every time the Packers score, instead of playing some fight song, they play "I don't wanna work, I just want to bang on the drum all day!" Best celebration song ever!

My friend Lyndsae from grad school was also at the game! She traversed across the entire stadium just so we could get this one picture together!

And the best part was that the Packers won! GO PACK GO!

The drive up took us about 3 hours, and the drive home took us about 4 (traffic as you can imagine was terrible!). We did not get home until 4:30am, and Tim had to work at 8:30am! Somehow he made it, but either way, it was totally worth it ;o)

Saturday, November 28, 2009


For the first time in my entire life, I missed Thanksgiving this year :o( Being Jewish, we don't celebrate Christmas, so this is the only family holiday that I have, so I was pretty sad to not be going home. Unfortunately plane tickets were insanely expensive, and it just wasn't worth the money for me to go home for a few days since Tim could not leave Madison (he had to work Black Friday). Instead Tim and I are going to try and go home around New Years together. Although I was not able to be with my family, we were lucky that Tim's family could come down to spend the day with us. Jennifer and I split the cooking, so that I could still make my parents classic recipes (I would have cried if I could not have anything from home!). Although it was not the same as being with my family, it was a WONDERFUL day with Tim's family! All of the food was delicious, we ate until we couldn't move, and then watched football (Go Packers!). Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because the whole point is to eat until you pass out!

The Court Family tradition on Thanksgiving is to do a mock fantasy football draft with Tim, Dan, John, and their college buddy Ben. They pick players from the Thursday games, and keep track of who does the best! John (and I) came in second, but Dan ended up winning!

Jennifer with the set table, and the group of us before chowing down!

I sure ate my fair share of food!

All the prepared food, and the Jennie-O turkey in a bag!

Cooper got a Thanksgiving bone, which meant that he did not beg during dinner! He dropped a piece in the couch and tried to retrieve it, burying his whole face between the cushions!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My 25th Birthday!

For the first time in a while, my birthday was NOT in the middle of the week and it was NOT 2 days before Thanksgiving. It was on a Friday, so I could go out, and everyone had not yet left to go home for the holiday so I had friends to spend it with! And I turned a quarter of a century old! Yay! I decided to celebrate Essen Haus style, with good beer and good company! Lots of people came throughout the night, Lyndsae made me cake and brought me party hats, and I got to dance with some random guy who actually knew how to dance (I cannot however, so it did not help his image)! I had a blast! Unfortunately they were out of boots, so we had to order a 5 liter stein! Can't say no to more beer!

The group of us at our gigantic table, and Lyndsae!

Enrique showing us how to drink like a true gay man, and fun with party hats!

My wonderful husband, who doned a party hat just for this picture (party pooper)!

Justin and Liz came out, and they recommended the great beer that we got!!

Some of my old coworkers came out, and Lyndsae showed cake in my face! I was not prepared!

Thanks for a wonderful night everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

As an early birthday present, Tim's parents got me tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Madison yesterday (thank you so much!). For those who don't know, this is a talented group of musicians and singers that play the rock band verison (not the video game, but real rock music) of classical songs. Think Beethoven with an electric guitar and an electric violin... it's awesome! Overall the show was good, but Tim and I were a bit disapointed by the first half. The show in Madison was their Christmas show, which meant that instead of the rock songs we were expecting, it was set up like a Church Christmas show... a narrator told a happy story with a merry ending, ballads, a little jazz. Overall much calmer and quieter music than we were expecting. They are an incredibly talented group of musicans and singers, so it was still amazing, just not quite what we had anticipated.

The show lasted about 2 hours (or so we thought), and then they decided to play us a few songs from their new album Nightcastle. And by a few songs, they played for an additional hour (make that 3 hours total)!! But FINALLY they started playing the rock songs we had anticipated! Not to mention their highly choreographed light show with lazers, fire, and a stage that lifted into the air! They had dueling guitars, dueling violins, flashing video screens, and did I mention fire?! It was a really awesome show! Here are a few pictures from the night, and a video so you can see the mayhem that ensued! I took the best pictures I could considering I'm no professional and I wasn't allowed to use a flash. Bare with me!

The Narrator who told the Christmas Story: something about two men, a snow storm, and a good (alcoholic) beverage. Because what Christmas story doesn't begin at a bar?!

One of the many effects from the moving lights and video screens.

Yay electric violins! And another awesome example of their light show.

They filled the Kohl Center with smoke so that they could shoot the lazers across the entire venue. It was a pretty cool effect, though I hope my retinas didn't suffer too much! You can't see much else in this picture.

Parts of the stage being lifted into the air!

Guitar solo, vocal backup, drums in the back, and more lazers!

Dueling guitars. They competed for who had the better half of the audience by performing and then getting us to cheer. It was pretty funny!

Suddenly they moved from the main stage to a hidden stage right in front of us that air lifted off the ground (possibly with the help of the ropes attached to the ceiling!).

This is one hell of a way to end a show! Lights, lazers, fire, electric instruments, and flying performers. Seriously, what more could you want?!

Well, so much for the video, I can't figure out how to upload it. One day I'll figure out all the little tricks to Blogger, but for now, trust me it was a cool show!