Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vote on the Next Caran Vacation

Before kids, Chris and I started a project. We decided we wanted to see our hockey team play in every NHL arena. There are only 30, and we figured it was as good a way as any to see parts of the US and Canada we might never see. Unfortunately, it does mean going to cold places in the winter, but I think we can suck it up and deal.

We had a couple of really good years where we knocked out five "foreign" arenas on two coasts (Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose, New Jersey, and Nassau C. on Long Island). Then the kids started gestating and being born, and we had to put things on hold. Still, that's one fifth of the arenas done. There are still some close by, and some not so close.

I now have a $50 credit on Southwest, and in the bad economy, we thought we might be able to get some good deals on travel. So we're thinking that we'll restart our project in 2009 with a long weekend somewhere. So... here are the possibilities. Which should we do?

Sat., Feb. 7 at Phoenix Coyotes - we could perhaps visit Jessey, but we'd want to take the kids, and that's a long flight. Still, we've never been to Phoenix.

Sun., Feb 15 at Buffalo - I've never seen the falls. And this is a big rivalry.

Sat., Feb 28 at Atlanta - This is close enough we could drive in a year where we didn't have plane fare. Also, Chris and I were just there in September. So I'm obviously not as interested in this.

Sat., Mar 7 at Tampa - Um, yeah... I'd totally make us go to Disney World if we did this. I'm just sayin'... it's only 90 miles or so.

Sat., Mar 14 at Washington, DC - Again, we can drive here, although if it's between Atlanta and Washington, I'd pick Washington. Lots for the kids to do there and we have lots of family and friends around there.

So which should we do? What do you think?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

End of the Year Rush

Brace yourselves. I'm going to Disney again. In about 11 days. Leaving on the 10th. And this time, no kids. Going with four girlfriends. For five days. So the pictures for this trip should be quite different than the last trip. And let me just say for the record, if my nose seems a little red, or my cheeks a little flushed in these pictures coming up, it's just that Florida sunshine. It has nothing to do with Jack Daniels. Nothing.

This is the end of our Fall/Winter 2008 rush. It started with the trip to Dragon*Con over Labor Day. Then the trip to Disney with the kids and the Gundlachs, then a smaller convention in High Point, then Northern Virginia for Thanksgiving. Now it's Disney again, and Christmas. If you don't think it seems all that hectic, keep in mind that I work every third weekend. So basically, if we are in town, I'm working. We even had to make the Northern VA tour short so I could work THIS weekend.

And sometime in this chaos, I have to go shopping for Christmas. Fortunately, it wasn't yesterday. People are crazy. Seriously.

So if my posts continue to be few and far between, it's because I don't really have much time to sit and write. The kids continue to be hilarious and frustrating at the same time, we continue to live and work and play, but we don't write so much.

Oh, and we play Rock Band. And let me just say, I am a pretty damn good drummer, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We've Got You Surrounded, Ma'am

Yesterday was the UNC/NC State football game. If you aren't aware, this is a big rivalry. Any game between UNC, NC State, or Duke is always huge because they are all within 20 miles of each other... making for excellent war games. It also means many people manage to marry "across the borders," so to speak, and Chris and I are one of those couples. I've written about it before, but I'm currently too lazy to look up my previous post.

Anyway, back to yesterday. UNC (aka "the Heels," "Carolina," or "The Good Guys" -- I will use those terms interchangably) was completely murdered on the field by NC State (aka "State," "Pack," "Wolfpack," or "bloody hicks." You can tell where my loyalties lie). Murdered. Sliced open and eaten for dinner. It was bad. Seriously.

As it happens, we were expecting company last night for dinner, so as we watched the game, I baked a cake. Then, our friends called us to cancel. They had pulled "an Elizabeth," which means they totally planned two things for the same night without ever really putting together that both things could not actually happen at the same time unless they cloned themselves and their kids.

Since our kids had been Jonesing for some time with other creatures their own age, we scrapped dinner and headed out to Monkey Joes... a bounce house place where the kids can run around, scream, and generally cause a ruckus without destroying our home.

It was very crowded. Lots of people in red State and light blue Carolina shirts milling about. Obviously, this was a promise made to many small children forced to sit in a freezing cold stadium for three hours... "If you sit quietly through this, we'll go to Monkey Joes!"

Anyway, after an hour of battling the bajillion small people, we left and went to Gypsy's Shiny Diner, a Cary landmark that is, as you would expect, a shiny diner. We were seated promptly and fed a little less promptly. As we were digging into our burgers and corn dogs, a table of folks all in red were seated close to us. And now begins my own personal version of "The Birds."

I could tell from the conversation these guys had with the waitress that they were regulars, and that they were expecting more. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, four more red shirts showed up and sat at the table beside us. Five minutes later... four more appeared at the booth adjacent to us, right behind Chris and Marcus. Soon, another four diagonally behind us, and sure enough, another four directly behind me. It was at this point that I could read some of the red shirts, and I learned that this was, in fact, the NCSU Marching Band and not, unfortunately, a particularly gruesome Star Trek episode.

The enemy was here. And they had won. Soundly. And they had me completely surrounded.

I looked up at Chris, and could tell he was reading my mind. I saw immediately that in his own Borgian way, he had already mind-melded with my antagonists and was enjoying the process. All I could say was, "Um... I'm actually starting to feel a little unconfortable." He laughed.

I excused myself to take Athena to the restroom. While I was gone, he completed his assimilation and informed the red shirts of my loyalties. They didn't say anything immediately when I returned, but when Chris got up to pay the bill... it started.

"Shhhhhhh... It's the Heels fan..."
"Don't look directly at her..."
"No, look at her... it will freak her out..."

All in good fun... I hope.

Regardless, I hightailed it out of there before they could peck my eyes out.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Like This Is a Surprise

Elizabeth's Dewey Decimal Section:

649 Child rearing & home care of persons

Elizabeth = 529612508 = 529+612+508 = 1649

600 Technology

Health, agriculture, management, public relations, buildings.

What it says about you:
You are creative and inspired to make the world a better place. You can work hard on something when it catches your interest. Your friends have unique interests in common with you.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yeah... Boring

I've been doing a lot of introspection, thinking, mulling, and generally non-bloggable stuff. I could tell you all about it, but it would only leave you praying for all that time I wasn't posting to repeat.

We're gearing up for the holidays... Since the Disney trip in October, it's just pretty much "on" until the end of the year. Chris and I attended a friend's gaming convention in High Point two weeks after we got back from Disney. Just before that, Marcus had pneumonia (he's better, but not tip top yet -- and I'm almost positive he has asthma). Just before THAT, I had strep. Cut back to now, and Athena has what might have been a sinus infection. So yeah... sickness for everyone. And it's not just us. Basically, everyone in Raleigh seems to be battling something or other on the germ front.

The economic crisis is finally hitting my corner of the world. Because this is such a popular place to live right now, we haven't seen a lot of the problems the rest of the country has been facing, but last month, the county announced a hiring freeze and this month, some drastic cuts to the budget. No jobs have been sacrificed yet, but I'm not going to do anything so naive as post something like "my job is safe." Crap, I just did. Well, you know... I didn't mean it.

Chris and I have been married nine whole years now. Our anniversary was last week. We celebrated it by being a good 300 or so miles apart. But I don't mind. Next year is the 10-year mark, and we have big plans.

Anyway, life is moving quickly here. I'll try to keep you up to speed, but really, it might just make you tired.