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Apparently Chicago is prone to hurricanes. First Gustav and then Ike, with a vengeance. With all the flooded roads between here and Argonne it took at least an hour each way in the car. I guess I’ll bike again tomorrow since that’s a shorter-feeling 90 minutes. The one downside: the stench of mildew and sewage at certain points along the way.

In other news…not much going on! Postdoc is humming along well I guess and I’m still cooking a lot. Although I’m dreading the demise of the farmer’s market in October. Andrea is spending about 14 hours a day on her sewing machine, so I guess that was a good b-day present on my part. Honestly, I haven’t felt much urge to update this l’il website since she’s been out here, but I’ll try to once in a while.

Here are some pictures I found on the camera…explanations below.

(working across) nanoprobe, taken downstream; my peach b-day cake; new, nappable couch with our heroes; new, nappable couch with Andrea and Nubia (not exactly chopped liver); Andrea’s homemade beer cozies (get yours now!); a flock of Fisters; four pictures from a fancy dinner I made (local cheeses from down the street, beet salad, corn flan, scallops and roasted cipollini, shrimp with toasted cumin, ricotta/marscapone/lemoncurd/berry tart); Lester and his new, homemade cat toy; a bunch of tomatoes prior to getting sauced.

Here at (timfoolery) we aim to deliver the best customer service possible. In response to a recent comment, we offer the following pictures and our sincerest apologies. We hope you’ll find our pictures to your liking. We know that when you surf the internets you have many clicking options, and hope you will click here again for your boredom-fighting needs. 

We were soaked last weekend while the tornadoes and floods stomped across the midwest. I guess we could have closed our windows. Alas, a stack of prized family photos were soaked, which lester was happy to keep company while they dried.

Next, we got a box of worms in the mail. Now usually I would consider this a hate crime, but we actually paid to have these worms sent to us to eat our garbage! We’re surreptitiously worm composting in our basement storage unit. Though it appears that this can be more complex than you would think, we just dumped a pile of food scraps with some dirt and this box of worms and are crossing our fingers.

The poofy purple flowers (Allium) were found at our Oak Park Farmers’ Market. They didn’t last long and don’t dry well, but brought a lot of joy to our little hearts anyways. May they bring some joy to you, too, gentle reader.

Famed mystery writer, Barbara Fister (known as “mom” to some), is passing through town while dodging tornadoes on her book tour. Her newly published detective novel, In the Wind, follows her critically-acclaimed On Edge. I chanced upon her new book at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop and was instantly pulled into the Anni’s world. If you’re in Oak Park, it’s also at the library right now — on display!

Back in Chicago, we’ve been cooking up a southern storm. The past few days have seen a mess of collards, cornbread with honey butter, jerk chicken, and gumbo. Tim schooled me in roux-making and added ham hocks to complete the gumbo.

Due to the inattention this blog has been getting from our flaxen-haired hero, I will interject from time to time to make sure that you, the fair reader, is properly apprised of our Tim’s activities. Where shall I begin? Shall we talk about the dos-carnes-fajitas with cucumber lemonade that Tim prepared last night? Or, the near-identity theft that befell our hero until the bank error in his favor, collect $1000 (oh wait, that was his) was discovered?

Let’s go a little further back to a few weekends ago, when we ventured to Tennessee. Why go to that god-worshipped-yet-foresaken land, you ask? I ask my parents that very question almost daily as an adult looking back on an embittered childhood, to which they mumble something about a pension and food. Turns out, my dear Amy was getting married to Brian, which warranted a trip to the country of rolling hills and pudgy bellies. Tim caught up on his sweettea drinking and grits eating. Here’s a shot of me with Susan and Jennie with our Amy, taken by Tova, the wedding photographer:

The second picture features Tim’s mom and sister who both happened to converge upon Chicago this past weekend because of two separate and very different conferences. Those stories are not really mine to share. Going through old pictures of our Tim brings hearty laughter to many, especially remembering the “fancy clothes period” where our Tim insisted on wearing sweater vests around the streets of St. Peter.

Otherwise, our hero has been in good spirits. In this update, it would be remiss of me not to mention our hero’s new workout regimen guided by his new personal Y trainer, “Tracy.” Previously, I often found him red-faced and grunting at the sit-up machine trying to build the biggest stomach muscle ever by piling on the most weights. Hopefully, some professional guidance will help direct his efforts more productively.

I had kind of an insane christmas:

driving to Minnesota with Lester
visiting family and friends
playing  tons of cards
eating tons of ‘pean food
flying to San Diego on christmas day in the snow
meeting Andrea and her family
eating tons of ‘rean food
[sort of] deep sea fishing
hiking in the desert
hiking on the coast
meeting Cynthia, Elaine, and Tony and [sad attempts on my part] dancing
flying home/drive back to Chicago with Lester
facing harsh reality that I didn’t get any work done for the previous couple weeks

So: I took some pictures when I was at home, but I didn’t take any in San Diego since Andrea is better at it than me.  Hopefully she’ll put some up in her picasa page.  Until then here you go and I’ve included a couple pics of some of the many wonderful presents I got: an Andrea-made toothbrush holder and a handmade rug.  (these were all taken in the low light always present in our house that often results in interesting mixture of blurry and still)

thisiswhatidoallday.jpg  jesuschewtoy.jpg dealem.jpg nomomitsonherface.jpg sadie.jpg somefood.jpg kroshka.jpg toothbrusholder.jpg warpandweftrug.jpg

Here are some pictures from when my parents visited. Having spent quite a bit of time in Chicago this summer, they knew exactly where they wanted to go: Devon and Little Village (Villaita). Devon is the Indian/Pakistani/Bangledeshi strip north of the city and Little Village is a long Mexican stretch just east of Cicero. Seemingly gritty, they seemed to be bustling with families, even late at night on this unseasonable warm weekend. (80F late in the fall in Chicago–wtf?) Anyways, enough yammering, here’s the pictures.

andrea_pants.jpg villaita_signs.jpg nuevo_mariachi.jpg magaritaville.jpg out_devon_feast.jpg islam.jpg our_restaurant_in_devon.jpg patriotism.jpg georgianbakery.jpg devon1.jpg

Well, Andrea came and went in three short days. We had a really good time, but it made me long for my old life in Seattle again. I guess I don’t have much else to say about that…

Beamrun’s a coming and so are my parents. I figured I wouldn’t have time to go to a toy store for Charlotte’s 4th birthday, so I picked up something online. Looks pretty hug-able (mine was brown and cheaper for some reason)

If you didn’t already see from the comments in the last post, my mom’s photostream at flickr is pretty awesome. My parents were stationed in Hyde Park for six weeks (?) this summer and thoroughly explored the city. In some ways, the best part is the captions, which can tell quite a story sometimes.

Before I put up some high-larious photos with me and Andrea’s parents, I need to put up a couple photos from when my parents were here last week. Right before we did some shopping at the market, we noticed a bunch of funny-looking pigs in a scuzzy barred-up studio downtown. As you probably know, these are painted replicas of Rachel, the famous bronze piggy bank, to commemorate 100 years of Pike Place Market. They’ve been all over town since 2001, much like the freakishly popular Peanuts on Parade program that littered Snoopy’s all over St. Paul years back.

We got a few veggie items at Pike’s Place, but I had already hit the [superior] U-district farmer’s market the day before and got a real spring chicken among other things. I did the chicken with some lavender and thyme at the market and roasted it with fennel, asparagus, garlic ramps, onions, and carrots. (it was good) I also splurged and gave asked the folks at Estrella to give pick out $15-20 of cheese, we got the four varieties seen on the right.

That was a good meal with some good Oregon wine (and some good company!), so I was inspired to try a similar concoction with a duck last week that Adam and Andrea snacked on. Same kind of thing, only this time I roasted some garlic in the cooking pan and smeared the cloves (and some honey) all over the bird about ten minutes before it was done. I stuffed the duck with its neck, a little rosemary, and an orange. The flavor was pretty great, but I need more practice on ducks. I had trouble telling when it was done since it was the first duck I ever cooked and my meat thermometer conked out. Tonight, Andrea’s mom special-requested Paella, based on a picture and recipe on my old site. Pressure’s on!

Goodness me, I’ve run out of school.

Here’s a picture of me during my PhD defense (thanks Andrea!)

phd1.jpg

…and here’s the after-party.  Everything went smoothly and only took 2 hours, but I was exhausted.

phd2.jpg

Pretty neat that my parents came out for the talk!  I agree with them: all that pomp and circumstance is for losers.  It’s way more fun to watch your kids sweat!  Us family types had a very nice dinner at Brad’s swingside cafe followed by beer and pool with some of my buddies at the usual place.  Good times.
Ummm…what else..I got the official job offer (i.e. salary) today, so I may not have to use the job hunt tag much longer.   Oh yeah, and I got a neat new phone.  One of those mp3 ones…and it has this ridiculous function where you can hum a tune into it and it will translate the tune into a score and save it as a midi file.  Thanks to everyone who came to my talk–or who would’ve if they didn’t have a talk of their own–or who forgot by accident–or who e-mailed from far away places–or who didn’t know about it, but would’ve (really!) if they had–or who flew all the way from Minnesota just to see it–or who came, even though they’re not in the physics program, just to be supportive–you were a helluva an audience.