Year In Review: 2013

2013 Juliet beer foil

January
I don’t know why i waited a whole year to talk about last NYE. It’s not even worth mentioning, but i said i would. We had the party with our friends here at our house. People were falling asleep before midnight. And that’s pretty much all i remember about it.

In January i read The Night Circus, and it changed my life. It ignited a passion for fiction that’s carrying on into 2014, and i imagine well beyond.

February
In February we went to Colorado to celebrate my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday. We visited Celestial Seasonings, Oskar Blues, and a bar that was tapping Pliny The Younger. That’s right, we had PTY on tap. And we also got to have it side-by-side with the Elder. Huge difference. It was amazing.

Hop slam at El Bait
Also, we had a pour of Hop Slam at El Bait Shop.

March
I think it was in March that i quit sleeping in on the weekends. I thought it was pretty great. We got more done on the weekends and getting up in the morning seemed a little easier. I also went to a Barre/Pilates class a few times on Saturday mornings, and it was a kick-butt class that i liked a lot. But sleeping in just feels so good, i eventually went back to that instead. Maybe i’ll try again in 2014…

April
We had some sort of fun party, but i can’t remember why. Later i went out with my friends Emily and Sara to celebrate their golden birthday. Someone mistook us for high school kids, so that was pretty encouraging.

May
In May it snowed! That was crazy. I took my mom to see The Great Gatsby on Mother’s day. We both loved it. And i re-read the book and that was also dreamy and great.

June
In June we made the 3.5-hour trek to Decorah to celebrate both our two-year wedding anniversary and the exclusive release of Toppling Goliath’s fabulous Kentucky Brunch stout. We drank beer at 7:30 in the morning. Later, we met up with my brothers, my sister-in-law, and my nephew. A few of the aforementioned may have been there just to be warm bodies, but i also had a lot of fun hanging out with them. Each person present was eligible to buy a bottle of the coveted beer, and Nathan and i had arrived just early enough to also be invited to buy a second bottle apiece. People were passing open bottles of rare beers around the taproom. It was a really fun experience, and i hope the timing will be this good for us again in 2014.

July
In July we went to an Independence Day party at my cousin’s lovely new house out in the west. I played volleyball in my dress and drank Bud Light and watched the kiddies play on many-colored scooters in the street. It was great except for the very big kid trying desperately to sound cool during the fireworks show. Oh well, it was worth enduring his incessant talking for the great view.

80/35 also happened in July. Dancing along with Yeasayer was super fun. I like that band very very much.

Later in the month, Nathan and i went to Chicago and stayed at a friend’s condo, which was great. We went to The Publican for the second time, had some tasty Korean food, hit up some bottle shops, and went to the Pitchfork music festival. We decided to go to the Animal Body Worlds exhibit at the museum before the concert, so we only wound up seeing two acts: Joanna Newsom and Bjork. Those were the only two i really cared about anyhow. And because we’d been to the museum earlier in the day, i recognized the Tesla coil Bjork was using to create some of the booming bass notes in her songs. ROCK.

August
In August we had my ‘90s-themed birthday party. It was wonderful. We had two TVs set up in the living room with N64 on the flat-screen and Super Nintendo on the old CRT. We made Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’n Crunch cupcakes and ate all manner of nostalgic junk food: Gushers, Cool Ranch Doritos, Frappuccinos, Pop Rocks, Jones Soda, Pizza Rolls, Jell-o shots… Several people got stomach aches. I also found a box of Polly Pockets and Little Mermaid dolls in the basement that i didn’t know i still had. I’m so glad Nathan had the idea for this party. It was perfect.

The '90s party group

We went to the fair on my actual birthday. I don’t know why i’ve never done that before. On my birthday, i mean. It was a great way to spend the day, since it fell in the middle of the week this year. At the end of the month i took a couple of girlfriends to see Geographer with me, and i was gratified that they enjoyed the show almost as much as i did. What a good band.

September
In September Grandpa died, and i already wrote about how much that sucked, and how seeing my siblings at least made it a little better. We managed to still have Nathan’s birthday celebration, though, which was a gastronomic dream featuring delectable cheeses, delicious pork products, and of course many rare and wonderful beers. Stouts, to be precise.

Bodhi feeding a giraffe
At the zoo with Bodhi and Amy

We also went to a cabin in Minnesota with a group of our friends at the end of September. It was a welcome release from the stress that had been building up all summer for me. Nathan and i celebrated five years together over—what else?—a lovely rare cherry stout. I wanted to stay at that cabin indefinitely, even though the plumbing situation was a little sketchy.

Every day i'm puzzlin'
We got really into the puzzles.

October
I don’t think we did a lot in October. Drank pumpkin beers… I carved a pumpkin with my girlfriends… We went to a Halloween party dressed as Washed-Up Batman (Nathan) and the host of the party (me)—who, by the way, was a large redheaded man. They didn’t get what i was at first, but once they were told they enjoyed the little details i’d put into it: his wrist tattoo, a pocket knife, an orange beard, Nathan’s jeans, etc. It was fun.

My jack o' lantern

November
In November i surprised myself by doing NaNoWriMo. And finishing! But i still just feel like what i wrote is very short and very stupid. I hope that some day i’ll come up with a story worth telling. I plan to try again next year.

Nathan cooked Thanksgiving dinner for four with very little help from me. It was a really wonderful meal.

Nathan's thanksgiving dinner

December
This month we’ve been spending a lot of time with friends and family, which is what the holidays are all about. We went to California early in the month to see my grandparents. I got them to tell me some stories about how they met and what their first jobs were like and about my great grandfather, who shares a few pretty prominent traits with Katniss’s dad. He had two daughters, he worked as a coal miner, he liked to practice archery, and he had a vegetable garden. Makes me want to try archery even more than i (and every other female in the country) already wanted to.

We also hit a few breweries while we were in California, and i had one of the best meals of my life in a place that didn’t even have chairs (The Lost Abbey). The beer, called Duck Duck Gooze, was expensive, and the food, from a truck called Devilicious, was cheap, and everything was fantastically delicious. I had a pork belly sandwich and parmesan truffle fries that blew my mind.


Here’s to another great year. Cheers!

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Transitions & Adventures

Happy Monday, everybody! This weekend was marked by some fun new experiences. At the end of the day on Friday my workplace bid adieu to one of our designers by having a happy hour drink with him on the company’s dime. Gotta love that – especially because it means my job security just increased a fair amount. That’s a feeling i’ve been waiting for for years.*

Saturday we celebrated my friend Calee‘s move back to Ames from Des Moines by hitting the town with her. We got barbecue at Uncle Wendel’s and then went to see the Des Moines Derby Dames‘ roller-derby bout. We lost to the Old Capital City Roller Girls, but it was a fun experience despite the fact that i had to sit on a concrete floor in my short skirt. Hopefully next time they’ll do it in a venue with more seating.

derby

After that we headed to The Lift where i had a grand total of 3.25 drinks and ended up drunk enough to say quite a few silly things, but unfortunately not so wasted that i couldn’t remember them. That Bradie was trying to kill me. I don’t really want to talk about it except to say that i’m sorry if i offended anyone but i had a good time. 🙂

Yesterday evening we went over to my grandpa’s house where my mother had been seeing barred owls in the trees for the past few nights. At first we didn’t see them, but Mom was sure they were around because of the commotion from the smaller birds. Sure enough, we spotted one just as we were about to leave. There are four of them hanging around; two adults and two nearly-full-sized babies. We watched all four fly from branch to branch, saw them get pecked by the smaller birds, made noises at the juveniles who made noises back at us and bobbed their heads, and saw one adult feed her babies a small animal.

As it was getting dark, one of the younger owls perched on a post right in the backyard. I got about five paces away from it to try to take photos. It didn’t really work out because of the darkness, but it was amazing to just watch her calmly examine the ground for mice and occasionally swivel her head around to look at us.

owlie
This is how i wish my photos had turned out.

It’s been hot and humid here the past couple of days, and that will probably continue for the rest of the week. I’ve been working out several times a week in preparation for dress shopping, but i’m not sure how i’m going to run outside now. I don’t do hot & muggy.

*EDIT: Oh man, i forgot to write about our awesome waitress on Friday night! We went to a place called Paradise Pizza in WDM that we’d never been to, and we had a waitress who was probably just starting out. And had probably never been to a restaurant before. She brought us our beers with straws in them, and brought the check out to us before asking how the meal was or if we wanted any dessert. She wandered around looking bored when she wasn’t helping us. It was an all-around hilarious thing to see. 😆