LOTR Day

We’ve been wanting to do a Lord of the Rings movie marathon for some time now. It just so happens that for the holidays we received a nice big TV from Ian’s family — perfect for watching movies! So we set to it and on January 2nd, we had our LOTR marathon complete with an array of Middle Earth cuisine.

Lord of the Rings movies and our TV

Yes! The extended editions, of course!

Farmer Maggot's crops for elevenses

Farmer Maggot’s crops for elevenses

Lembas bread-1

Lembas bread (actually some sugar cookies)

Beef stew in bowl

Dinner: Shire Beef Stew

Mount Doom Lava Cakes-6

And for dessert: Mount Doom Lava Cakes with Caradhras cream

Where have we been?

Actually, we’ve been in our new home! It doesn’t need much work or anything, but we’ve been spending a lot of time enjoying it (and commuting to and from it). We’ve got all the furniture set up (minus some future purchases we’d like to make!). We’re a little short on the details/decorations, but that will come in time.

We’ve actually spent a good amount of time enjoying this room:

New Home - Just Moved In-25

And enjoying some nice meals because of it!

Linguine and shrimp, panzanella salad, brussels sprouts

The newest treat of our new home is that it came with a surprise living under our deck!

Found a Meatball in our backyard

Since then we’ve taken the cat to the vet to get checked out and now she lives with us. We named her Meatball the Cat. Everyone say hello to Meatball!

Especially since Meatball was living outdoors, we thought it would be nice to let her out once in a while — We were wrong! About two weeks before Christmas, we were having some breakfast and Meatball the Cat was meowing that she wanted to go outside. We didn’t ask her why she wanted to venture out of doors, but simply let her go free. About two minutes later we heard the angriest, scaredy-cat sound you could imagine. I look out one door and just see puffs of fur. I look out the other door and  I see an nasty looking stranger cat sitting on my front step. Where’s Meatball? Hiding in terror, apparently!

After shoo’ing away the mean cat, I found Meatball huddling on the ledge by our front door on the other side of the railing. Luckily she didn’t jump or fall. I left her in and it was immediately obvious that her front left paw was injured, as she was holding it up and barely walking on it. Then she shook it and blood spurted out on the floor and walls. Great.

We took her to the vet (another vet bill? yay!). Luckily it wasn’t too serious, but she did need kitty-stitches and left with a cone on her head and lots of drugs pulsing through her kitty veins.

Meatball the Cat-8

As a bonus she wasn’t allowed to jump and I’m not sure if you noticed, but she’s a cat. So we had to build her a little kitty prison…I mean fort. Good thing we had a bunch of cardboard boxes from moving. We duct taped a few together and made a nice little home for her to stay in the basement. It has separate cardboard rooms for eating, sleeping and pooping.
That lasted about two days before she tore through the air holes and escaped her cardboard prison to roam free in the basement. We did the best we could. I built another bigger fort which lasted a bit longer.

Eventually she got to go back to the vet for a check-up and they said she was all better! Yay! Happy Lil’ Meats!

Meatball the Cat-5

We Moved!

This past Halloween Val and I moved into our new home! It’s all very exciting and very tiring! Thank you to everyone who came out and helped us make it happen!

This is a picture of our cute little Cape-style house (picture courtesy of Google Street View):

Picture of our house

I need to take pictures of my own…once I find the box with my camera in it! It wouldn’t hurt to put away some boxes too!

While the house is a complete mess of stuff to un-pack we were sure to have a bowl of candy ready by the door and we did get some cute trick-or-treaters!

Once we’ll a little more settled in we’ll have people over, but even now if you’re in the area and want to stop by just let us know! Maybe we’ll even let you un-pack a box.

And yes, if you know someone who wants to live in Waltham, there is an apartment with his/her/their name on it.

Apartment For Rent

Over the past months Val and I have been trying to purchase our first home. The good news is that we found one and are in the process of purchasing it. It’s still early in the game and anything can happen. But, if all goes well we’ll be moving out of our apartment and into our house at the end of October.

Since our apartment lease won’t be up by then our landlord/lady will release us if a suitable tenant is found.

Here are the details:

Spacious 2 bedroom apartment on quiet residential street in Waltham. Right off Rt. 20 close to Watertown and Newton. Less than 3 miles to Brandeis campus. About 1 mile to Bentley. Bus stop at end of street (70, 70A) or walk to commuter rail. About 1.5 miles to action-packed Moody street with restaurants and entertainment.

Apartment has plenty of closet space and new windows. Spacious updated kitchen with eat-in area and gorgeous living room space. Bedrooms, living room and hallway all have beautiful hardwood floors. Tiled bath, recently painted. Includes 2 off-street parking spaces (landlord plows it in winter)! Shared laundry (washer/dryer) in basement. Personal locked storage space in basement too.

Other area amenities include grocery shopping (Shaws, Stop & Shop, Russo’s), Charles river walk/bike path, tennis courts, and basketball courts.

Some pictures…
One of the bedrooms (we used it as an office / guest room)
Bedroom 2

Living room:
Living Room

Another view of living room:
Living Room

Kitchen with plenty of cabinets:
Kitchen

Awesome hallway:
Hallway

Bedroom:
Bedroom 1

Eat-In Kitchen:

Eat-In Kitchen

Full bathroom:

Bathroom

Apartment available November. $1200/month. Call listing agent Eric for more information and to request a showing 617-965-2114.

Now you can live like Ian And Val! Limited time offer. Some exclusions may apply.
UPDATE: Apartment no longer available!

Oh hai!

Hey, how’s it going? Long time, no see! I know you must be sitting at home wondering day in and day out what is up with Ian and Val (dot com)?!? We’ve been busy with a ton of stuff and I will confide in you that I haven’t been posting much. Let’s give a quick round-up of what we’ve been up to:

Anniversary

Anniversary Flowers and Meal-2

We celebrated our one-year anniversary! Can you believe it? We treated ourselves to a fancy meal and stay at the Wayside Inn (where we got married). Here’s us by the grist mill:

Ian and Val by Grist Mill-3

Siblings birthdays have happened. On Chris’s birthday, for some reason nobody was in the mood for corner or even any end piece!

IMG_0108

Adam shared a cake with us (for our anniversary):
IMG_0133

Walk for Hunger. We joined some of our college alumni (okay, more like alumni who happen to be staff) to do the Walk for Hunger. Now we know we can (barely) physically walk 20 miles straight.
Walk for Hunger-8

Gore Place Fiber Fest. Val is definitely still up to her knitting tricks. We once again went to the Gore Place sheep shearing event to look through yarn and watch guys jump around in excitement:

2009 Gore Place Sheep Shearing Festival-7

Val also had a birthday. We’re now the same age again. Look cute flowers:
Flowers-9

Webs. As a sort of birthday treat, we traveled to Webs (the physical store for yarn.com). Look at Val with her cute Ravelry.com bag:
Val at Webs

The only treat Val really needed was that her favorite band of all time (Green Day of course) has released a new album! As a special treat, I purchased a thing online so she could download the MP3s right away and later this month she will be receiving a package with CD, vinyl and artwork. Should be cool.
Val and I are enjoying going on some bike rides together though we want to do it even more. Val’s pretty good considering she just learned how to ride last Spring! We got a bike rack for our car recently, so that should help expand the bike riding fun.
Bike Gears

I graduated from Brandeis (again). I attended Brandeis’s commencement and received my Master of Science degree in Information Technology Management.
Ian-2

Our friend Sue also got her Masters (on the same day). We were able to help her celebrate a few weeks later at a little party. Not too long before though, we were are her home for a nice dinner. Let’s just say, Sue can get silly:

Sue gets silly

Ali’s graduation! Val’s sister, Ali, graduated from High School! w00t!
Ali's Graduation-65

Her graduation was pretty massive (nearly 500 students). That was so many that they held the event at the DCU Center! Crazy! After she graduated we went out for a great meal at a fancy Italian restaurant called Via. The food was great and there was yummy gelato for dessert! Always remember that desert is the sandy places and dessert is the treat — you put in the extra ‘S’ because you always want seconds of dessert (not sand).

We’re so proud of Ali! She’ll be attending UMass in the Fall. Here’s Val with straight hair modeling a zipper hoodie for Ali’s new school:

Val with straight hair-10

Thanks for checking back at IanAndVal.com. Coming soon…strawberries!

Passover 2009

Happy Passover!

Miss bread yet? Believe it or not, Val and I are doing fine without bread (so far at least!).

For our last bread-meal before passover we had peanut butter sandwiches. I couldn’t decide what would go on the other half of the sandwich, so I split it in thirds: jelly, nutella, marshmallow fluff. Val thought…well, she thought it was unique!

My last bread meal

The night before Passover Val was doing putting finishing touches on some work so I prepared a Passover treat to bring to the Seder. I made a peach and raspberry Passover cobbler (recipe from Food Network).

Passover Cobbler

It was pretty good, although pretty much tasted like fruit and matzah meal…which it was.

Seder at my parents’ house was nice.

Seder

For the second Seder, Val had more time to prepare…

Val presenting chocolate flourless cake

We made an awesome flourless chocolate cake. Oh and like the cobbler, it’s parve (dairy-free) so my lactose intollerant sister could enjoy it too!

Flourless chocolate cake w/raspberries

Recipe for the above from Food Network (I think).

So as you can see the Seders were quite tasty! Since then we’ve enjoyed matzah meal latkes (pancakes), salads and more. Ongoing pictures of Passover 2009 at Flickr.

So, Happy Passover and Happy Easter! We’ll be going to Val’s family on Sunday! Quite the delicious week!

Apples Versus Bananas

Comparisons

Apples and bananas? That’s like comparing apples to oranges!

First of all, I never understood that expression. What is so wrong about comparing apples and oranges? They’re not so different that a comparison wouldn’t make sense. They’re both food and heck, they’re both hand-fruit! One is red, one is orange. I could compare the skin, taste, etc. And guess what, I just compared two fruit.

Could you compare other fruit? Oranges and kiwi? How about apples and bananas? I think, “that’s like comparing apples and bananas” has a nice ring to it. Of course you could compare them.

Nannerpuss?

Seen above: Comparing bananas to pancakes.

Instead the expression should be something more outlandish like, “Hey, that’s like comparing apples to penguins” or maybe “You can’t go comparing apples and metal swingsets.” I’m sure there are even ways to make those comparisons, but at least it’s more of a stretch.

Bananagrams

Two friends came over for dinner a little while back and they brought a fun game called Bananagrams. Basically it’s a banana filled with scrabble-like tiles. The game is basically Scrabble without a board…and there’s a banana involved. It was fun.

In fact, Bananagrams was so much fun that we had to get our own right away. Val called up a Barnes and Noble and asked if they had it in stock. They said yes and asked if we wanted to reserve a copy. Val said that wasn’t necessary, but they said it wasn’t a problem, so she replied, “Sure, put it under ‘Ian’.” Great.

We went to the store. They had plenty of Bananagrams, but instead I proudly marched up to the front counter, placed my hands on my hips and exclaimed, “Hello. I am here for the Bananagrams.” They reached up and handed me our reserved copy.

Days later we ended up playing Bananagrams with both of our families, who seemed to enjoy it. We ended up buying some for our sisters for Christmas and Chanukah. Unfortunately people enjoyed the game, so they already had copies of it! I think my sister bought one and received two as gifts! Ali only got two!
Oh well, live and learn. Bananagrams was becoming quite popular!

Revenge of Scrabble

Banangrams was getting increasingly more attention. They moved from bins in the game aisle to the center aisle. They got fun signs and hung from wall racks, in boxes and even had little packages hung from those banana holder things (you know the ones so your bananas don’t get bruised from being on the counter). I felt happy for Bananagrams. They seemed to be doing well.

In fact they seemed so popular in fact that one must wonder what Scrabble thinks. Now, I don’t know the real order of things or have any secret knowledge. All I know if that I recently went to Barnes and Noble and I have this whole imaginary story in my mind based on what I saw.

I think Scrabble was pissed. “How dare they!” they must have thought.

How dare Bananagrams sell a Scrabble-like game. So what if it doesn’t have a board or comes in a fruit. A fruit?!? What the heck! We can do that! We’re Scrabble. Let’s put Scrabble in a banana! No, that will seem like copying them. Let’s see. What can we do? What’s better than a banana? …I’ve got it! Let’s put Scrabble into an apple! They won’t see it coming! Yes, it’s brilliant! Scrabble Apple.

Battle of the Spelling Fruits

I found it pretty funny. I love it. When you’re in the mood to buy a scrabble-like game without the board and perhaps in a fruit-shaped package, you walk into the store and see this. Two excellent scrabble-like games in fruits! But, which to pick? The problem is there is no right choice. To judge one better than the other would be comparing apples and bananas…that’s like comparing apples and oranges.

Done with Winter?

It’s starting to get pretty cold outside, which makes me want to stay inside. Can I just hibernate for the winter?

Staying indoors, I just finished reading Pillars of the Earth. It’s probably one of the most violent, explicitly sexual, and Catholic books I’ve ever read. But it was exciting and held my attention. I breezed through the 900+ pages! So, I just bought the sequel, World Without End, but I haven’t started it yet.

Who wants to go outside and freeze? It’s this post-holiday time of year that I start to get annoyed with winter. Luckily Val keeps us warm with a plethora of knitted items. She just made these mittens for herself based on a pattern someone came up with that’s supposed to look like mittens the main character-girl wore in the movie Twilight:

IMG_0642

She also made me this awesome scarf, although I did help out with a few rows of it!

Ian wearing Noro striped scarf-1

Yesterday was interesting. We bundled up and went over to our friend’s Rachel’s place. She prepared a meal solely of dipping items. Dessert was of course fondue. She brought it out and was chatting with Val while I was playing a little Mario on her NES when suddenly I hear a loud CRACK! It startled me and my initial reaction was that I dropped something on her glass coffee table! I look down and realized what happened. For some reason her ceramic fondue pot cracked clear in half! It had the sterno underneath it, but it was made to be a fondue pot! Pretty scary, but luckily no injuries.

One sad thing is that my cell phone has finally let me down. I’ve had my EnV for 2+ years and it’s been a good companion, but alas the battery will no longer hold a significant charge. Now I am faced with a dubious dilemma: what to get next? Do I stick with Verizon and get something like the EnV2? Do I get a fancy phone like a Blackberry or do I leave Verizon and give in to the iPhone hype? I’m not really considering Android because tmobile’s coverage map is not that impressive. I think I’m excited by the iPhone, but I’m not sure if I want to pay extra every month for it!

If I do decide to get an iPhone, I’m pretty sure Val will want one too! I’m already out of my contract, but Val still has enough month to go. Regardless of what we do, we’ll probably team up and do a family plan (how cute, eh?). I think Val is excited by the iPhone, although she tells me we should save our money and buy a house or a Nintendo Wii instead. Decisions, decisions!

And now it’s another Sunday. Sigh. Weekends go by too fast, but at least we can think of planning fun lunches for the work week. It’s mostly because of Val that we have pretty lunches like this:

January laptop lunches-5

We’ve been trying to eat somewhat healthy (and save some money by not buying lunch every day). So far these bento / laptop lunches keep us entertained.

Chrishanukah 2008

Happy interfaith holiday season!

Interfaith Holiday Season
I can’t believe the holiday season is already wrapping up! We just came back from a action-packed night at my parent’s house for the last night of C(h)an(n)uk(k)a(h). Food and family were nice, but it was really cool seeing all the candles lit on multiple menorahs (or should I say hot?). Here’s our menorah fully lit:

Our Menorah on Last Night-5
Last week we spent Christmas with Val’s family and had a nice time there too. The lasagna was a great. It was nice spending time with them and of course giving and receiving presents is always fun! The cat sure loved helping us to unwrap our presents!

Cat opening presents-3
We have a little time off from work left so we’re going to try and enjoy it and relax a bit. Before we know it we’ll be in 2009!

More Chrishanukah 2008 pictures are on Flickr.