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when you feel nothing but absolute joy in your heart.
Last night was one of those moments.

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Now that the inaguration is over and everything interesting that was going to happen this winter has already happened, it seems time to update the ol’ blog.

First the big news: we’re officially homeowners! We moved in on October 30th, just in time to stock up on Halloween candy for neighborhood trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately we got home from work too late to actually hand out any candy.

November was a blur of unpacking and preparing the place for our very first house-guests. Scott’s parents spent a long Thanksgiving weekend with us here in San Leandro, and we all enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner with friends.

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When Thanksgiving and all our visitors had gone, we lost no time preparing for the next holiday. After a quick trip to Orchard Supply Hardware to procure a ladder and some lights, we climbed up on the roof and did some decorating:

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The next weekend we drove down to Los Gatos to cut down our first real-live Christmas tree. Apparently noble firs don’t grow down here, so we opted for the local variety, a redwood:

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When Christmas finally arrived, Scott got a little surprise under the tree:

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Her name is Daisy, and no, she didn’t really sit calmly under the tree for more than about 30 seconds. We actually picked her up on Christmas Eve from the local PetSmart where an animal rescue group does pet adoptions. Now Princess has a friend…or an enemy…or just someone to chase around the house while we’re at work all day.

The day AFTER Christmas, the Dahl clan descended upon San Leandro. Katie’s parents and brother flew in from Portland that morning, and sister plus boyfriend arrived from DC that evening. The next day was our pseudo-Christmas, complete with gift-exchange, another turkey, and of course, a huge mess after it was all over:

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The family stuck around for a few days, but by New Year’s everyone had retreated back to their respective hometowns. We celebrated the New Year here in the Bay Area with friends, but apparently without a camera.

2009 has been relatively uneventful so far. If anything else interesting happens maybe we’ll post again…in the meantime, cheer for the Steelers, and admire our adorable kitten:

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change of address

our house!

Unless I’ve jinxed the whole deal by posting this, we should be homeowners by this time next month!

After more than eight months of house-hunting and half a dozen rejected offers, we’ve finally got a signed contract on a three bedroom house in San Leandro.

Now Scott can play Rock Band without worrying about neighbors downstairs!

Bear Bait

Katie and I will head out tomorrow to Castle Crags, a state park in Northern California in order to go camping. This will give us an opportunity for us to use our awesome tent away from a cow pasture. We also got a new nifty camping stove that we’ll be trying out for the first time.

Castle Crags SP

We’ll be there for three nights and probably be nigh unreachable with modern technology such as cell phones, email, or Twitter.
We’ll respond to any carrier pigeons that you send, assuming we don’t get consumed by bears.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, one and all! I got you a little present.

Katie and I went to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom a few days ago for their Winter Wonderland celebration. Despite most of their summer rides seemingly closed, we got to take some pictures in front of the world’s largest Christmas tree (so they claim!) and smell some camels.

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Today, we plan to see Sweeney Todd and eat a Christmas ham!

We hope your holidays are as joyful as ours!

Yes, the “Kampground” was more resort-like than anticipated, but it was also more like a cow pasture than anticipated! A herd of cows and two donkeys, which are actually owned by the KOA, reside just on the other side of a barbed wire fence, about four feet from out tent.

Camping with livestock!

Really, the whole complex appears to have been planted down in the middle of a grazing field, with a random smattering of trees seeming terribly out of place. My guess is that it used to be someone’s farmland, and they decided to make money off of it by allowing people to pitch tents and start fires in the great outdoors. They put in a pool and a “kamper’s kitchen,” fenced in the cows, and began collecting money from families who don’t know that real camp sites generally boast more vegetation than livestock. I bet they get a tax break or something for having the animals…I had a drama teacher in high school whose parents kept emus because it meant their land was a “farm.”

I sound too bitter, though. We really did have fun, despite the irritating family the next site over (read: about 20 feet) with the son who sang loud songs about farting. But next time we’ll opt for a campground that doesn’t have karaoke.

Katie and I went camping this past weekend. We headed out Saturday morning and got back Sunday afternoon, driving up through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge to a KOA Campground (or, sorry, “Kampground”) near Petaluma, CA. We had recently gotten an REI tent as an anniversary present from my parents, and also purchased various other necessities. We packed up the car, ate at the Millbrae Pancake House on the way, and were excited to experience the great outdoors.

Our Tent

The Awesome? Camping is really fun. We ate hot dogs cooked over a campfire and chili cooked over a very small (and somewhat ineffective) camping stove and it all tasted fantastic. We were able to zip our two sleeping bags together and snuggle in the tent, read (or in Katie’s case, attempt to learn to crochet) without distractions, and just sit around a cozy campfire.

The Lame? KOA Kampsites might as well be resorts. A pool, shuffleboard courts, live music from cover bands, free WiFi. When did camping become about amenities? The whole point is to rough it, to experience nature, to have to walk to a bathroom, to cook over a dinky stove. We were within two minutes walking distance of a “Kamping Kitchen” which we would never have dared to use out of principle. It seemed like a contradiction in many ways.

Verdict: we’d love to go camping again, but probably won’t be making a reservation at a KOA anytime soon. Some of the national parks around here also offer camping sites, but we would have had to reserve them well in advance. I guess we’ll just have to start planning ahead. Oh, and I’ll have to get over my fear of a bear attacking our tent in the middle of the night.

1 year later?

My, my, how quickly a year can pass. It really doesn’t feel like we’ve been married (more than) a year now, and yet here we are.

Scott eating anniversary cake

For our 1 year anniversary, we trekked back to Pittsburgh for a few days to do everything we missed about Pittsburgh. A lot of it had to do with food.
We…

  • Had a BBQ at Brian’s and hung out with friends both old and Nilesh
  • Retrieved our cake from Brian’s freezer for traditional pigging out
  • Went to Kennywood and did not ride the Turtle
  • Visited Flagstaff Hill and the Schenley Park Visitor’s Center
  • Ate at the Grand Concourse
  • Ate at Bangkok Balcony
  • Ate at Uncle Sam’s
  • Ate at Dumpy’s Rib Shack
  • Went to the South Side (twice)
  • Went to Mt. Washington
  • Played 9 Square (and Dodgewall!)
  • Forgot to eat at Dave and Andy’s or Rita’s (Oops!)

It was a magical time for all involved, and the sorry forgetful fact that we managed to forget D&As and Ritas simply means we’ll have to return to Pittsburgh at some point. We finished most of our cake (leaving the icing, which had become its own entity, it seemed), rented a pretty sweet Mitsubishi Eclipse while we were there, and managed to see the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. All in all, a very enjoyable anniversary vacation to our hometown.

As a bonus, Katie got to fly back to San Francisco in first class. I played Puzzle Quest on my DS.

Almost Famous!

This Friday, June 15th, People Magazine’s first “Real Weddings” edition hits newsstands. Why should you care? Because WE’RE IN IT. Apparently good things come to those who post ridiculous wedding dances on youtube.

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But that’s not all! The CBS morning show is doing a segment on the magazine on Tuesday, and they apparently intend to show the video clip itself.

In other news, Scott’s dad came for a short visit in early May, followed a few weeks later by Katie’s sister, Tracy. Everyone seems to approve of the apartment, except possibly the cat.

For Memorial Day weekend, we drove up to Ashland, OR (about halfway between San Francisco and Portland) and met up with Katie’s parents. Katie and the old folks enjoyed the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of As You Like It, but would have liked it more had Scott not had to stay behind in the hotel, sick.

We’re hoping to get back to Pittsburgh in July for our first anniversary, if for no other reason than to finally eat the cake that’s been taking up space in Beej’s freezer since we moved. Honestly, I don’t think either Scott or I got more than a bite at the wedding…hopefully that mango filling is still good a year later.

Everyone’s employed!

Katie works here now!

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