FREE KITTENS!
1/30/2007 07:40:00 PM | Author: Christa

Stray Kittens on the porch
Originally uploaded by karindalziel.
Looking for a new friend? Or two? Then you've come to the right place!

My friend Karin has two kittens living in her backyard who need a home. She already has 4 cats, and we have 3 plus 2 ferrets. So, we're pretty much maxed out.

But, I bet you aren't! Look at these cute faces, I know you just can't resist!

If you live anywhere near Lincoln, and want a cute friend, please contact Karin and save these kitties.

Thanks!


Hattie! Hattie! Hattie!
1/24/2007 09:02:00 PM | Author: Christa
The triumphant chant rang out over the Saratoga Race Track.

Hattie! Hattie! Hattie!

Tonight was the premiere of the Fried Chicken episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Why should you care?

Because Bobby Flay challenged Jasper Alexander of Hattie's Chicken Shack in my hometown, Saratoga Springs, NY.

And lost! Whoo Hoo!!

Flay never had a chance. Jasper's lightly floured, juicy chicken, from a recipe created by Hattie herself in 1938, versus Flay's double batter-dipped chicken with a honey-chili powder sauce.

The decision was unanimous. All three judges overwhelmingly picked Jasper's fried chicken to win.

John says the next time we're in Saratoga, we're going to Hattie's.

Yea!

Hattie! Hattie! Hattie!
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I AM blogging this!
1/23/2007 11:35:00 PM | Author: Christa
I'm a little behind the times on this one. But, my friend and colleague, Allana, just pointed me to David King's recent series of posts on inviting participation in Web 2.0. Definitely required reading for any web content creators, like me. I am eagerly awaiting more posts in the series!

But, his first example of an unintentional invitation is great! It's from last August, when he celebrated his second blogging anniversary. Hmm....I wonder if I'll ever have one of those?

Watch the video. Read the lyrics. Click the lyrics!

WARNING!
This tune will get stuck in your head and you will not be able to get rid of it!

Bet you didn't know librarians were so talented. Rock on!
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Happiness is a warm gun?
1/17/2007 10:21:00 PM | Author: Christa
Well, Nebraska’s Concealed Handgun Law took effect January 1, 2007. Luckily, a new sign has appeared at the entrance to the building where I work:

PROHIBITED


NOTICE
Carrying a concealed handgun is
PROHIBITED
in or on this place or premises.

Those in control of this property have prohibited permit holders from possessing or carrying a concealed handgun on these premises. Unless otherwise authorized by law, violation of this prohibition is a criminal offense.

Posted Pursuant to the Nebraska Revised Statute §69-2441


I feel safer already. NOT!
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Flickr madness!
1/13/2007 05:12:00 PM | Author: Christa
So, I went a little crazy with Flickr this week. Uploaded a bunch of pics - mostly from our Christmas trip to NY, but a few others too. Here's the lowdown on what you can see at Photos o' Randomness.

Library Bags
I finally added the rest of my library bags pics. All OCLC bags - 9 of 'em! You can see all of the library bags I own in my Library Bags set. I think they reproduce on their own.

Mom's!
There's Mom and Annissa putting lights on the tree.
Mom and Annissa decorating the tree

And the little bit of snow that finally fell on December 30.
Snow on the deck

Snow in the front yard

Christmas in NYC
The day after Christmas we drove down to my sister's house in Beacon. Had a yummy fondue dinner - they got two fondue sets for their wedding, so we had cheese and broth. Then chocolate fountain for dessert! Yeah, I should have taken pics of that. But I was just too busy stuffing my face!

On Wednesday, we took the train into New York City. John, Annissa and my Mom had never seen NY at Christmas, so we had to see it all.

First was Grand Central and the new holiday light show. The inside of Grand Central was a giant kaleidoscope. It was amazing. People just stopped to stare up and watch the snowflakes and NYC scenes spinning and rotating all over the walls.

John wanted to see the NYPL lions. But they aren't wearing the wreaths. I remember them having wreaths around their necks at Christmas. Too bad - they're not as Christmasy now. But still just as impressive.
NYPL Lion

The Tree, of course.
The Tree at Rockefeller Center

Then, we waited in line to get into FAO Schwarz. Yup, there was a line around the building to get into a toy store. But, it was totally worth it. Next year, I'm asking for the stuffed Mammoth. It's only about 10 feet tall and $12,000.00. Oh, and John wants lots and lots of Legos.
The Dark Knight...in Legos!

Batman on rooftop with gargoyle

All the big names have holiday light shows. Cartier had a cascade of huge jewelry boxes falling down the front of the building.
Cartier at Christmas
Every 15 minutes the largest red gift box over the door would open slowly and play “Carol of the Bells". Saks 5th Avenue had a dancing snowflake light show coordinated to Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas music on the facade of their building. And if you could tear your eyes away from that and look across the street, you would see more snowflake lights falling down the side of the Rockefeller Center building.

It was a long day, with lots of walking, but it was totally worth it. You can see more pics in the NYC set.

Snowy Saratoga
On Saturday afternoon, Mom, John, Annissa and I went into Saratoga just to walk around and see the city. The little bit of snow was just right.

But we can't go to Saratoga without a trip to Ben & Jerry's. Even if it is nighttime...in the middle of winter.
John and Annissa at Ben & Jerry's

See it all in the Saratoga set.

Snowy Iowa
This was just too cool looking not to take a picture of.
Flying over snowy Iowa
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Only in Upstate NY
1/03/2007 10:13:00 PM | Author: Christa
So, we're going thru security this morning at the Albany airport to catch our flight back to Nebraska.

John's bag goes thru the x-ray machine, then Nissa's. I'm next and I hear the machine go BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Hmmm....I wonder what that's all about? Is my bag coming out soon? I peek back to take a look.

The TSA agent sees me glancing at my bag in the bin and she asks, "Is this your brown bag?"

"....Yes." Damn, they're gonna make me throw out my emergency toothpaste and deodorant.

"Do you have a Peppermint Pig?"

Blink. Huh? OH! "Yes! Yes I do!" I reply, laughing.

"OK." She smiles and sends the bin with my bag out of the x-ray machine and down the ramp to me.
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The Christmas that almost wasn't
1/02/2007 08:36:00 PM | Author: Christa
We were supposed to have 3 days to do all of the Christmas preparations. But, instead, we spent 3 days trying to get to Mom's.

So, on Sunday, December 24, we:

  • Slept late
  • Put up the tree
  • Decorated the tree
  • Wrapped ALL our presents
  • Ordered way too much delicious Italian food from Christina's Pizzeria
Oh, and discovered that almost everyone at my Aunt's house, where we were planning on going for Christmas, was sick with a stomach bug.

Whoa! Stop right there!

The same thing happened 2 years ago, but we went anyway. And then the four of us (Me, Mom, Sis, and Sis's husband) ended up sick with the worst illness I have ever experienced. I literally couldn't sit up on the couch for more than 5 minutes. I had to lay down in bed between bouts of vomiting. The next day, I was totally exhausted, but I had to fly home anyway. It was terrible.

Needless to say, this time, it took us about .000001 milliseconds to decide that we were NOT going to my Aunt's for Christmas. We were all perfectly content spending a relaxing Christmas day at Mom's. She even had turkey, gravy and stuffing in the freezer, so we were all set for our own Christmas dinner.

On Christmas, we got to sleep in, stay in our pjs for most of the day, and have a nice dinner. John whipped up some mashed potatoes, we cracked open a can of cranberry sauce, and we were set.

Late in the afternoon, we did go to my Great Aunt's house for visiting, a second dinner, dessert, and Peppermint Pig smashing. No one was sick there, so it was safe.

After the worst 3 day traveling ordeal ever, it was a very good Christmas day.
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Are we there yet?!?!
1/02/2007 08:04:00 PM | Author: Christa
Atlanta Airport Sunset

You're probably wondering where I've been for the last week. There's a lot to tell, so there will be a couple of posts coming, filling you in on all the gory details.

We did finally make it to New York. It only took us three days, two delayed flights, 1 canceled flight, 1 missed flight, switching airlines, and 1 night in an Atlanta hotel....and a partridge in a pear tree! Well, actually, there were no live birds involved, but we did make it.

Day 1 - Thursday, December 21

As you know, we tried to leave on Thursday night. But our flight from Lincoln to Chicago was delayed, and the flight from Chicago to Albany was canceled. So we were rebooked on a new itinerary for Friday night - Omaha to Atlanta to Albany. Also, in order to do this we had to be switched from United to Delta.

Day 2 - Friday, December 22

We left the house at noon. Our flight out wasn't until 6:30, but we didn't want to have any problems. At check-in, we learned that we need to have our seat assignments done at the gate. No problem. We're hours early, so we can get good seats, even after we eat lunch. Yes, the food booths are before security at the Omaha airport. John was happy - he got his fave Philly cheesesteak.

Then we were off to the gate. And we discovered something new! Did you know that switching airlines and getting your tickets the day of your flight marks you for "Special Screening"? Yup. All three of us got pulled aside for the full pat-down. Much fun.

At the gate, I asked about getting our seat assignments. We had to wait for the agent that would be in charge of our flight. So we waited, and as we waited, we see our flight departure time change. Only about an hour later, but we have over a 2 hour layover in Atlanta. No problem! (I have learned that I really need to stop saying that.)

Finally, the agent for our flight arrives, and I am the first in line. After a long wait for the computer to come up, he checks on our seats.

"Did the United agent call to find out if there were seats available?", he asks.

"Um...no."

"Hmm. They're supposed to do that before they book you on our flights." Uh oh.

"You're sure he didn't call?"

"Nope, he never picked up a phone, just checked the computer, and printed out our tickets."

"Hmmm."

After another long, stressful pause, he apparently decided that he had no choice but to give us seats, so he did. Oh, and then he informed us that we were on standby for our Atlanta-Albany flight. What?!?! The United guy didn't say anything about standby!

So, we can't get our seat assignments until we get to Atlanta. If we have any seats at all. Yeah, we're not happy.

Now we wait, wait, wait. It is the beginning of much waiting for us.

Our Atlanta flight takes off, now about 2 hours late. Sigh. All we can do is hope that the Albany flight is delayed, too. We land in Atlanta about 25 minutes past the departure time of our flight to Albany. Race thru the airport, up to the empty gate, only to learn that it has already left.

It's 10:00pm, and we must rebook our flight to Albany.

Back to the long line of people waiting at the bank of rebooking phones. After much searching, the very nice man on the phone eventually tells me that the next flight with 3 seats available is tomorrow night, at 9:40pm. Yup, 24 hours later. And, because the cause of our delayed flight was "air traffic control" (whatever that means) he isn't allowed to check any other airlines, only Delta. By this point, I am really about to lose it. I make sure that we actually have seats - Exit Row 8 A,B,C. We are confirmed for Saturday night.

But what about tonight?

The guy on the phone can't issue us any vouchers. We must go to a gate agent in the airport. The very nice lady at a gate tells us that, also because the cause of our delayed flight was "air traffic control", she cannot issue us hotel or food vouchers. All we can get is the discounted government rate for the Comfort Inn - $56/night. I'm speechless....shocked....are you freaking kidding me?? We have 24 hours to wait and we get no compensation for hotel or food? The airlines have quite a racket going.

Off to the shuttles to the hotels. The complete lack of organization was stunning! At the Atlanta airport, there are about 12 parking spots for the shuttle vans to the hotels. Each hotel has it's own van. But, get this - the spots are not assigned! So, in the rain, you have masses of people running back and forth to see if the van that has just pulled into a spot is for their hotel. Wow. After about 45 minutes we finally made it onto a van to the Comfort Inn - standing room only, of course.

I think the best part of the day was the hotel. It was quiet and relaxing and dry. John and I went across the street to the gas station for some necessities. Then we all tried to get some sleep.

Day 3 - Saturday, December 23

Let's see - our flight leaves at 9:40pm. Hotel checkout is at noon. That gives us about 9 hours to kill. Sigh.

Check in at Delta. The agent looks at Nissa and asks, "How old is she?".

"14."

"Oh, well, she has to be 16 to sit in the Exit row seats."

ARGH!!!

The guy on the phone last night didn't say anything about an age restriction! He said he had to question me before he gave us the seats - he asked if we could read English, if we could lift a certain amount of weight, and if we were willing to help the flight attendants. But nothing about age! So, the seats we thought we had, we actually don't! We have to be switched - we can only get 2 seats together and one alone. OK, at least we have seats. We can deal. Flying sucks.

Hey, look, our tickets are marked "SSS"! We get to go past all of these people waiting in line at security! Awesome! Um...well...no, not really. We're marked "Special Screening" again. Which means we are now in a line with other people who are also "Special Screening". Which means we all have to get the full wanding and pat-down. Joy.

Had a leisurely, yummy lunch at Paschals Restaurant/La Carrousel Bar. Then took a walking tour of concourses B and C for about an hour. Bought some computer and gaming magazines. Found a nice corner spot at the gate for our flight and set up camp. We had books, DS, PSP, mags, and all the napping we could stand. John first, then Nissa:

Sleeping

After that, it was a very uneventful day. Got on our flight, got to Albany on time. Mom was there to pick us up. Our luggage had arrived earlier in the day, and all 4 bags were there. A short time later, we were all passed out in comfy beds at Mom's house.

Epilogue

John says next year we are driving.
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