Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beautiful Atlas V Launch

An Atlas V launched from Cape Canaveral last night, taking into space the next generation of NASA's relay satellites.  What made this launch particularly beautiful was the red tint of the plume due to atmospheric testing chemicals.  Read more about the mission here and see below for an awesome recap of the launch:

(top image from NASA's facebook page)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Making Progress

Over the past week I've cracked down on getting stuff done around my new place. With some help from S of course.   I have all of the tape edging up in the dining room in preparation for the black wall paint that I'm hoping to get up in the next couple of weeks.  S fixed the leaking piping that lead to the ice maker in my fridge and so I was able to turn the water to the washing machine and get about 4 loads of laundry done, including those for towels and sheets, which are now stored in their room-appropriate locations.  We broke out the drill on Sunday and installed the bookshelves in the guest room, reading lights in my bedroom, and the ever important bottle opener that my brothers got me for Hanukkah in the kitchen:
On Monday I got most of the guest room organized by emptying all of the bags of books that lined the shelf under the window (bookshelves are now full!), the wrapping paper and art supplies into the well organized shelves of my craft closet (you can see it in on the left side of the top picture. we'll see how long that lasts...), and clearing the remainder of the linens, i.e. beach towels and afghans, out of the boxes in the other guest room closet.  All I really have left to do in there is hang the curtains and a piece of artwork over the bed and I think I'll be done!  All I have left in my bedroom is the curtains as well (I finally got both curtain rods and curtains, so hopefully this will happen soon!)  Making progress! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Love This

Tina Fey is girl power personified.  She's funny and beautiful and successful and she does it all while being completely honest (with maybe a touch of sarcasm thrown in).  She has a kick ass funny book, a tv show that fans rave about, and she and Amy Poehler nailed it when they hosted the Golden Globes (reviews here, here, and here).  Nearly everything she says is quoteable.  Is there anything this powerhouse woman can't do?  Here are some of my favorite Tina Fey-isms:

“But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—BeyoncĂ© brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”

"A couple of times I've been called on to do things -- jobs or whatever -- where I've felt, Maybe I'm not quite ready. Maybe it's a little early for this to happen to me. But the rules are so ingrained. "Say yes, and you'll figure it out afterward" has helped me to be more adventurous. It has definitely helped me be less afraid."

“Lesson learned? When people say, "You really, really must" do something, it means you don't really have to. No one ever says, "You really, really must deliver the baby during labor." When it's true, it doesn't need to be said.” 

“MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.”

Love her.

(image from here)

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Can Talk Again!!!

My weekend was pretty rough since the laryngitis was still in full force for most of it.  I attempted to go out and have fun on Saturday, and I was successful until eventually all of the activity caught up with me and I got a horrible headache and started feeling light-headed.  My friends told me I all of a sudden just turned white.  So I spend Saturday evening/night and most of Sunday in bed.  But the good news is by Sunday evening my voice was coming back!  It was about 80% back by my afternoon presentation today too, which was a relief.  As for the part of my weekend that I did spend out and about, here's the rundown:
We woke up Saturday morning somewhat late, but since I hadn't been feeling well we just let ourselves go along at a leisurely pace.  Around 11:30, K showed up and we all headed over to a small gathering of food trucks for "breakfast".  We all chose to eat at St. John's Fire, which was a new one for us, and oh my was it delicious!  I got the Hot & Crispy Chicken sandwich filled with what I think was a sesame breaded chicken filet, fig preserves, applewood smoked bacon, and torched brie and I also got to taste the fried crawfish mac and cheese balls - yum!  Apparently the Cajun egg roll and tex-mex fries were also quite tasty.  From there we headed out on the Houston Modern Home Tour.  After we got through 4 of the 7 houses on the list we hit up Lankford's Grocery (we've been wanting to try them for a while, but they're only open til 3pm Monday-Saturday!).  They are known for their burgers and they didn't disappoint.  I tried the classic burger with swiss and avocado and it was juicy and delicious.  S got the Wasabi burger with pineapple, red onions, and swiss as well as one of their pineapple shakes (the guy is a sucker for pineapple) and he polished it all off, so it must have been good!  After our late "lunch" we hit up our fifth and final house on the tour, which was up in the Heights, and since we were in the area we dropped in on some friends for a bit.  It was around here that the day caught up with me and I was dropped off at home before S and K headed back out for the Houston Auto Show and a birthday celebration with friends at Liberty Station.  It sounded like a really fun evening and I was bummed to miss it, but I had to listen to my body and it said "sleep!"
Here are some of the highlights from the Modern House Tour.  Our overwhelming favorite was the first home we went to, which was a classic mid-century modern ranch style with big windows, a built in bar (look on the website - it was amazing), and it even had a vintage built in television.  The top left picture is the front entry way at that house.  I loved all of it.  While we were there, we noticed a "for sale by owner open house" sign a few houses down - another mid-century ranch, so we moseyed on over there and checked that one out too - original kitchen cabinets, gorgeous stone floors, and a a built-in barbecue out back had me drooling, but when they indicated that the selling price was somewhere in the $800-900K range the glaze left my eyes pretty quickly...  From there the houses became decidedly more modern.  Very minimal, clean lines, sparse furnishings and kind of cold feeling.  We weren't totally digging them, but there were a few stand out features like free standing bathtubs (want one!!!), art work, a very cool teal bathroom with huge art, a bronze branch chandelier and a super modern sink, and a fun bar vignette just inside the entrance to a gorgeous rooftop deck.  Check out the website for more pictures too!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Have a Fun Weekend!

Number 1 thing I'm looking forward to this weekend?  Sleeping in.  This week has been a lesson in frustration.  I had six presentations this week and only had my voice for half of them.  Luckily they've all gone well, but asking someone else who is not as familiar with the charts to present the work that I did is not the best of feelings regardless.  The worst part of the week: trying to talk on the phone with no voice.  I was told I sound like someone straight out of a horror movie when I was attempting to speak on a telecom earlier today.  Not to mention that talking is probably one of the worst things I could do right now if I want my voice to come back...

So back to my original point, I desperately need to just sleep in, relax, unwind, and (hopefully) heal my throat.  Beyond that my weekend is looking pretty busy, though.  A group of us are going on a Modern House Tour tomorrow, which is home design voyeurism at it's best!  And afterwards we're going to the Houston Auto Show (because S needs to do something manly after house snooping).  I'm sure mixed in there will be some good food and the evening will likely culminate with some drinking as it is one friend's birthday weekend!

Sunday I'm hoping to get stuff done around the house.  Like maybe painting my dining room.  We'll see how that goes, as I've been somewhat lacking in productivity lately. 

What about you?  Any fun plans?

(image from here)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Interstellar Time Travel

NASA isn't just the shuttle and the International Space Station.  As I've said many times before, NASA is working on technologies that most people don't know a thing about.  They have an entire page on their website that details CURRENT missions, and the list tops out at a whopping 99!  The list of future missions isn't quite as long, but the projects listed are truly notable.  One that has gotten a lot of press in the past (it isn't exactly new news, but it's new to this blog) is the James Webb Telescope.  In fact, the James Webb Telescope will be heading to JSC in the near future for testing in our one-of-a-kind, largest in the world vacuum chamber (the same one the lunar landers were tested in!).  In the interest of showing you how NASA truly Increases the Awesome, I wanted to show you a video by my favorite vlogger detailing just how incredible this new pieces of technology will be, letting us see billions of years into our past and the formation of our universe...

(top image from here)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


So I've had such a bad cough in the last couple of days (left over from the cold I had 2 WEEKS ago!), that I've once again managed to lose my voice.  Thank goodness it happened after my 3 presentations today (though those were pretty raspy).  And I'm hoping I get it back before my 2 big presentations on Friday.  Luckily the cough is starting to dissipate and that's really the only major symptom of being sick that I still have.  What is it with the cold/flu season this year?  It's a bitch.  I can barely even whisper right now, let alone talk...

(picture from here)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good as Gold

I have a new addition to my vintage-filled home!  I can still remember the first time I saw this gorgeous, Hollywood Regency brass etagere (fancy word for shelf) in the Almeda Antique Mall in the Houston area, and I fell in love.  Problem was, it was October 2011 and I was unemployed and still living in Florida.  Bummer.  I remember going back again with my friends a number of months later and it was still there.  And I still drooled over it.  But there was no way it would fit in my tiny apartment in Webster, TX.  Bummer #2.  But now I'm in a new, bigger, awesome duplex.  It's in Houston and it has room to spare!  I was reminded of it when I spotted this "bar cart" on etsy for over $400 with shipping (looks familiar, right?), so that same day I drove over to the antique mall to see if the brass shelving unit of my dreams was still there.  To my immense surprise and delight, it was and they were only asking $350 for this huge brass and glass beauty.  I talked them down to $300 and it was mine!!!  S helped me pick it up and move into my dining room this weekend and I'm SO psyched!  Especially since I found the same shelf here and here for over $1000 and an iron and wood version here for over $1,500!!! I got mine for only $300 people!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Recap

My weekend plans wound up switching up a bunch as the days progressed, but it was a fantastic couple of days regardless!  On Friday night S picked up his friend K from the airport and we proceeded to have a delightful evening of talking, drinking, eating (we tried Papa Mio, which we once again walked to - loving city life!), and Rummikub

K crashed in the guest room and the next day, after a relaxing morning of sleeping in, we all headed out to the Mini Maker Faire, not to see the cool new technologies, but to hit up a great gathering of food trucks.  We lunched at Coreanos, which was hailed by the Smithsonian magazine as the best food truck in Texas and the 8th best food truck in America!  I tried the OG, which was a burrito filled with short ribs, a sesame oil slaw, fries, and deliciousness.  For desert I hit up the Monster PBJ truck for a sweet toasted sandwich filled with nutella, fresh strawberries and bananas, and some almond butter.  S got his favorite - the strawberry irish cream creme brulee waffle with toasted marshmallow from the Waffle Bus and K tried out a cupcake push pop from Cupcake on a Stick.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous out, so we snagged a blanket from the car and spent our afternoon picnic-ing under the sun.  It was fantastic.

That evening I whipped up a batch of the vege and quinoa "fried rice" I mentioned in Thursday's post (I added an extra 2 cups of quinoa and also some shrimp), picked up some egg rolls en route, and made my way over to B's house.  I hadn't seen her and the fam since before the holidays, so it was a fun evening of catch up, Phase 10, some good food, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and roasting mashmallows for smores around their new fire pit!

Sunday S headed to his parents house to work on his car and I tagged along.  While we were there, he accompanied me to the Antique Mall where I picked up a new addition to the house (more to come later!).  After that we lunched and then I sat around and chatted with his mom for a while.  I had big cooking plans for that evening, so I drove home and rested on the couch for a second, and then got to work.  Butternut squash and lentil soup was first on my list and it turned out REALLY good!  I also put together the start of the braised lamb and pea pasta dish that I also mentioned on Thursday.  I seared the lamb, softened/browned the pancetta, onion, celery, and carrot, and combined all of those in the crock pot with some red wine, canned diced tomatoes, fresh rosemary, and beef consomme (where on Earth does one find veal stock?!?) to cook overnight.  When I woke up this morning and transferred the lamb concoction to containers for refrigeration, it smelled heavenly and the meat was falling off the bone.  Just need to shred the meat, reduce the liquid, add the peas, and cook the pasta and my gourmet dish will be ready!

Did you do anything fun over the weekend?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Well, I skipped one post this week and missed my "Increasing the Awesome", but hopefully as I figure out my schedule for the new year, the posts will get more regular.  My week was busy - being the new lead for the air analysis hardware on ISS has been challenging, but I think I'm picking up on things quickly enough that I'm not totally out of my league.  But it will be nice to have a break from work this weekend.

My plans are currently to start hanging some artwork/shelving around the house, clean (the cat hair tumbleweed is getting out of hand!), do some major cooking (see yesterday's post), and hang out with friends.  I've finally gotten around to measuring my windows/walls so I can buy curtain rods, rugs and such, so hopefully my new place will start coming together by the end of the month and I can start posting pictures!

Have a wonderful weekend!  Do you have anything fun planned?

(image from here)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Get Cooking

So I did a lot of cooking when I was in Florida for the holidays, but I've done approximately zero since I returned home.  Since I was sick part of the time and traveling last weekend, I sort of have an excuse, but I'm at the point where I can't keep eating out.  It's getting expensive and fattening.  Plus I've been in the mood to start cooking again anyway.  I've been eying a few new recipes like the braised lamb and pea pasta pictured above and quinoa and vege "fried rice"
I also want to try these two super easy finger foods: avocado and goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto, and fig jam and brie puff pastry bites.  Yes, they both revolve around cheese, but it's just small quantities, so I feel I can justify it.  I simply adore anything made with avocado and I've been trying to find a use for the fig jam I bought back at the Greek Festival last year, so these are perfect.  And wouldn't they be fantastic for a fun dinner with maybe a side salad?  If they pass the test, I may have to roll them out a dinner party as well!
A coworker brought a huge box of homegrown grapefruit into work today and left it in the common area for us to help ourselves.  I snagged 2 and plan to make them into a grapefruit brulee for breakfast this weekend with some scrambled quail eggs and sauteed mushrooms.  I've been having egg cravings lately so I need to stock up on quail eggs.  I also want to use them to make these chocolate pots.  And while I'm on a desert kick, I also want to try my hand at homemade marshmallows - maybe vanilla cardamom flavored?

I'm going to hit up the grocery store this afternoon in hopes that I can make at least a few of these dishes come to fruition.  I'll let you know how they turn out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

To Buy or Not To Buy, That is the Question

Yeah, so the holidays took a little more out of me financially than I had planned, and I'm attempting to budget a bit because I still want to buy a few things to update my new place like a bar cart and shelf for my dining room.  I'm not exactly on a spending hiatus, as I previously was, but I'm trying to save for the stuff I really want/need.  Especially since I have so many trips planned for this coming year too.  But, as usual, I'm lusting over a couple of things online and I can't decide if I should cave in or not...
I've been eyeing this Marmot vest for a couple of years now.  I tried it on in store once and it was so gorgeous.  It's on sale right now (which is rare in a size and color I want), but it's still not cheap.  It would be so warm and comfy and cute for my ski trip though....
I've decided I want the Sedgewick bar cart, and I know that, per my earlier statement, it is being budgeted for and therefore it shouldn't be a problem.  But it's pricey.  And I could definitely find a vintage one for cheaper.  So do I go for the instant gratification and splurge on the awesome new one or let my liquor bottles remain in boxes behind my couch until the day I happen across the perfect vintage piece?  I'm getting antsy with my decorating and instant gratification is sounding oh so good....
I'm always on the lookout for the perfect slouchy t-shirt.  Most supposedly "perfect" ones run around $80, which I will absolutely not spend on a t-shirt.  I've heard good things about this brand and at $17 it will hardly break the bank, but for some reason I'm still hesitating.  I don't really need another t-shirt, but what if it truly is a perfect, slouchy one??
And finally, I've been eying these cheeky Jonathan Adler Calories, Carbs, and Confections canisters for a while and they finally went on sale.  They're not too pricey (only $36 for the set), and they'd look super cute on the shelves I plan to install in my kitchen, especially since they go with my citrus color theme.  But once again, they're strictly a want, not a need.

What do you think?  Should I cave on any of these??

Monday, January 14, 2013

Such a Good Weekend Back Home!

So I just spend a lovely 3 day weekend back home up in Chi-town.  I left my place ridiculously early on Friday morning, around 5 am, and after a mildly stressful flight on Spirit Airlines (there is NO legroom in those seats!) I arrived in to O'hare around 10 am.  My mom picked me up and took me back to the house where I immediately downed a handful of her homemade, yolk-free chocolate chip cookies that are ALWAYS stashed in the freezer.  Heaven.  We then made our way to the nail salon for a little mother-daughter manicure.  After my dad got home that evening I was invited to join them for their weekly bowling league where I filled in for a couple of games and got one of my best scores ever: 131!
Saturday was fairly low key.  I actually went to the gym for the first time in 2013 and got in 45 minutes of cardio on a bike and then did about another 45 minutes of stretching.  I used a list of stretches from the P90x X-stretch video and tried to recreate that routine best as I could.  It felt good!  After the gym we lunched and then relaxed around the house for a while - I got about 75 pages into a new book that I'm quite enjoying. Then we made our way back out that evening for dinner at the Crystal Lake Rib House where I partook in some delicious ribs and my parents both tried to shovel their way through the biggest pulled pork sandwiches I've ever seen.  We topped our evening off with a movie: Lincoln.  I hadn't been thrilled about seeing it, but I have to admit that for a historical story I was pleasantly surprised.  Daniel Day Lewis played a great character and really brought good ole Honest Abe's famed story telling skills to life.
Sunday we woke up to snow!  It wasn't the dangerous road kind, more just a light dusting really (see the first picture), but I was excited regardless.  Sunday was also the reason I had made my way back out to Chicago for the weekend in the first place as it was the day of my dear, incredible friend K's baby shower!  My mom and I headed into the city a bit early so we could catch extra quality time with K and then we drove her over to the party.  Since we've been friends for more than 10 years now, I've gotten to know a lot of her family and friends over time and it was great to see a lot of them again at the shower.  K looked gorgeous as usual and it was just so wonderful to get to spend time with her.  Next time I'm out in the Chicago area to see her, she'll be a mommy!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Really sorry I've been dropping the ball on blog posts again.  It's been a crazy busy week with work and I'm still recovering from being sick, so priorities have shifted.  Yesterday we had annual space toilet maintenance on ISS and I had to be at work and on console at 2:30 am.  Yup.  Then I had a meeting I had to support at 12, which pushed my business day out to approximately 11 hours of pretty much non-stop work.  Since I got out of work while government offices were still actually open, I finally made my way over to the Texas Tax Office to renew my expired car registration (oops) and then to the mechanic to get my, once again lapsed, emission check done so I didn't have to drive in fear any longer.  After that and a couple more errands, plus the fact that I'm still sporting a runny nose and sporadic cough, needless to say I was dead on my feet.

The nice part is, I was able to flex some extra time off for today, so I get to head home early and relax on the couch.  I might even try to get around to hanging some stuff on the walls in my  new place!  Now that I've taken down all of the holiday decorations it's looking rather naked in there.  And I promise I'll start posting some pictures soon.  I just need to get more unpacking and decorating done first.  And unfortunately that won't be happening this weekend since I'm once again going to be traveling - this time to Chicago to see the fam and to celebrate my best friend K's impending bundle of joy at her baby shower!  So don't expect a post tomorrow.

Damn, this year is not off to an auspicious start in terms of my blogging...

(image from here)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Who Wants a Mustache Ride?

Best discovery this weekend:  there's a park near my house that has a seesaw shaped like a mustache - who wants a mustache ride???  They also have a community garden - I must find out how to get involved with that!!!  Though with my black thumb, they'd probably kick me out rather quickly....

I spent most of my weekend relaxing, as advertised.  The kitties were THRILLED.  After being "abandoned" for nearly 2 weeks, they barely left my side all weekend and remained in a near constant state of purr.  I did make it out of the house a couple of times.  Once to eat at the Black Labrador, a British pub not too far from my place.  It's walking distance but since it was raining we opted to drive.  The food, especially the shepherd's pie was awesome, but the service was less than stellar.  I'd go back, but it would definitely be on a day I wasn't in any kind of rush what-so-ever.  We finished the meal off with a Monty Python - hot cocoa, coffee, butterscotch liqueur, and homemade whipped cream.  Best drink for a cold rainy day!  We met up with friends for a bit on Saturday night at Fox and Hound and also hit up the Monster PB&J truck again on Sunday.  We opted to walk there because the weather was gorgeous and that's when I discovered the park and the mustache.  

We also were mildly productive around the house with S setting up my internet for me (Comcast sucks, btw...) and I took down all of my holiday decorations and got a few boxes and bags from the move emptied.  But overall we rested, and I recovered from my cold.  I'm down to a sporadic cough and mild runny nose now and I'm feeling pretty well rested.  It was a good weekend....

Did you do anything fun?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Have a Fantastic First Weekend of 2013

Well, the first weekend of 2013 is here and I'm sick.  Bleh.  So I plan to spend my weekend just relaxing and recovering.   I'm looking forward to sleeping in and snuggling in bed, reading some new books S got me for the holidays, and chilling on the couch watching movies.  I might even throw in a board game just to mix things up!

I spent part of my day today going through my old and new planners and transferring all important dates and events to the 2013 planner.  As I was going through the old one, it occurred to me just how much I've accomplished in the past year.  I moved into a new abode - twice!, started and excelled at a new job, explored Texas a LOT (Austin, bluebonnets, the rodeo...), got back into the dating game, learned to speak basic Russian, cooked great food, learned to knit, and got to spend a lot of great time with friends, including new ones I've made in Texas!  Despite being sick, 2013 is starting off pretty great already too: I'm officially the lead for the hardware that monitors the air on the ISS as of today, I absolutely love my new home in the city, I'm dating a great guy, and my calendar for 2013 is already filling up with fantastic trips and travel adventures including two weddings!  So excited for what the new year is bringing!

(picture from here)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

And I'm Back!

Well I definitely dropped the ball on my pre-holiday blog posts - I was crazy busy with moving and work and getting my stuff packed and something had to fall by the wayside and unfortunately it was the blog.  So a belated Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all! 
My holiday break was spent in sunny, semi-warm Florida with family.  We went for bike rides in the mornings, did last minute holiday shopping, went to the beach/pool in the afternoon (I actually got a mini-tan this time!), hung out with my cousin and her two adorable little girls, did the traditional Jewish Christmas of Chinese food and movie (saw Les Miserables - incredible) and also had a cousin's-night-out later in the week to see Django (also fantastic).  I spent one day hanging out with my cousin's daughters and we attempted to make chocolate covered pretzels.  The older one didn't like getting dirty and the younger liked it so much that chocolate wound up all over her face - but we had fun!  And amazingly enough there was minimal family drama and we all just enjoyed each other's company!
I ate a lot of good food this trip.  Naturally we hit up the Chinese restaurant a couple of times, my mom made her special chocolate chip cookies which I may have eaten daily for breakfast, and my awesome cousin baked some delicious yolk-free champagne cupcakes for New Years Eve!  I also did a lot of cooking on this trip.  My mom was on an elimination diet (like the one I did years ago when I found out about my egg-yolk sensitivity) and among the list of things she couldn't have were baker's yeast, sugar, soy, and lettuce.  My dad is also lactose intolerant and of course I have my egg issues.  So I broke out some of my modified detox diet recipes to feed the family good meals that met everyone's dietary restrictions.  We ate roasted veges with chicken, butternut squash soup with turkey bacon, lots of salads, shrimp and asparagus risotto, and I even made some sugar-free and dairy-free deserts like an apple blueberry crumble and coconut milk rice pudding.  Both used agave nectar instead of sugar.
The whole trip culminated with a family trip to the bowling alley on New Year's Eve.  And when I say family, I mean grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!  It was a hoot watching my grandma bowl.  I actually did pretty well too - my first game I broke 100 AND beat my brother!  I admit it went downhill after that, but I blame the balls at the alley.  They had a ridge on the inside of the thumb hole that kept rubbing and gave me a blister.  Regardless, we all had a lot of fun and it was wonderful to ring in 2013 with the family!