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!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cooper Pictures

I haven't posted some of the funny pictures of Cooper in a while, so here is a bit of what our crazy furry child has been up to!

Me messing with Cooper, and Coop smelling Tim's shoes (bleh!)

Tired puppies are good puppies!
Coop all stretched out and chewing on his lizard!

Making Pizza!

Since I moved away from home, one of the most traumatic things was realizing no one was cooking for me anymore! Don't get me wrong, I miss my parents very much, but if you grew up with their home cooking, you'd miss that A LOT too! Ever since I moved out of the dorms I've been doing my best to reproduce my parents cooking. For the most part it wasn't too hard, considering that I LOVE to cook and I had great role models willing to share their secret recipes. But of all the things I could make to remind me of home, one thing I couldn't make was my dad's pizza. His pizza was required (yes, it was assumed it would be made) whenever my high school friends came over and was a stable of my childhood (correction: life). I never ate a frozen pizza or ordered a pizza a day in my life until I left home (and frozen pizza just sucks).

So what's been holding me back? Well, pizza dough is much easier to make with a bread machine (expensive), and pizza requires other accessories like a pizza stone and a pizza peel. Well recently Tim and I had a little thing called a wedding, and all the things that we needed to make our own pizza were suddently available! So tonight we made our first pizza from scratch (with special thanks to the bread machine)!

Me with the before pizza, in case something happened to it while it cooked we would at least would have one picture of our attempt!

Tim with the finished product!

We decided that for a first try it was pretty good, but not quite at the grand master level. It was yummy though!

I also realize that since I have dedicated an entire blog to one of my dad's specialties, a future blog will need to be dedicated to my one of my mom's specialties! More to come!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Halloween started for us when Tim's parents sent us Halloween candy! They also sent Cooper a Halloween bone, and he was SOOO HAPPY! He chewed that bone until it disappeared!

For those who don't know, Halloween is kind of a big deal here in Madison. There is a street downtown called State Street, with bars and restaurants and shops, and only buses, taxis, police and cyclists are allowed onto the road. It's a neat place, about a mile long, and it leads right up to the Capitol. It's a popular place not just for students but for residents of the city as well. And on Halloween it is where 40,000 people gather in costume! When I was in college, Halloween was a bit out of control, with store windows being broken, riots breaking out, etc. No one was ever hurt, but they decided to make "Freakfest" a closed event and started charging entrance to the street after 7pm. To make it more interesting, they started having bands play and putting food vendors on the streets.

It sounds cool, but unfortunately I'm a bit halloweened out having been here for so many years, and dealing with drunks on State Street has lost its appeal (yes, I'm old and married and old). Instead this year I went to a few parties with the graduate students in my program. Tim unfortunately was given the schedule from hell, and had to work Friday 4-10, Saturday 8-2, 3-6, and cover a sporting event that night, and Sunday 9-7. Needless to say he was not able to come out on Halloween. I went to 2 parties that weekend, and here are a few pictures from them (oh year, I dressed up as a genie, gypsy, something):

The first year CMP students (missing Utibe!), and myself and Danielle

Lyndsae and Toni, devil and rockstar

Danielle and Lyndase and Bob Marley, and Toni and the boy

It was a fun weekend, although I did call it quits early so I could come home and be old with Tim and watch TV (slacker didn't want to come out). That's ok, I forgive him, I would not have wanted to either! It was a fun weekend though!