There's a family reunion today on my mother's side, over in Midland, MI (hence all the baking yesterday). So we set out Sunday morning to make the drive (it's little over 2 hours from where we live).

Much of the crowd attending this reunion are cousins, aunts, and uncles of my mothers, so it's a crowd I don't get to see very often. It was nice to see everyone and introduce Chris to my extend family members.

Plus, these was quite the table of crockpot concoctions and various home-made desserts. We actually ended up leaving the reunion with more food than we came with!

It was a nice Sunday to hang out and enjoy family and food.

I started the day off with some baking shortly after dinner. There's a family reunion tomorrow and I decided to make two types of dessert bars: Graham Cracker Chewy Bars (which are kind of like Pecan Pie blondies), and Raspberry Oatmeal Bars. I have to say that the stand mixer and the tablet are wonderful devices in the kitchen.

By the time 10am rolled around everything was baked and cooling, which meant a little straightening up and some gaming.
We did some shopping in the early afternoon. As pointed out in this amusing InfoMania graduation speech (starts around 1min mark), we received our regularly scheduled Bed Bath & Beyond coupon. Coupled with a gift card from my friend Lori (thanks Lori!) we snagged a food dehydrator & I got to slicing various fruits and vegetables.
Once everything was loaded into the dehydrator I sliced up the dessert bars for tomorrow's family reunion and decided that I should probably not start cooking anything else, especially something elaborate. Oven makes the apartment a smidge warm, after all.

Work was busy, hectic. So when I came home and saw Leki lounging, I thought it was a great idea.

He always has the best ideas for kicking off the weekend.

Twitter is an interesting place. For one thing, Twitter is where Chris and I met, and we all know how that turned out! So when an awesome nerdy person that we both follow suggested meeting up for drinks and dinner, how could we refuse?

Chris and I headed over to Stella's Lounge, which is a nice little bar near my work with an interesting and tasty menu. We met up with Meghann and her fiance Mike. They are both illustrators, into comics and video games, and all around fun people to hang with. So you can imagine the range of conversation - from the merits of the Superman Returns movie, how awesome Zelda in 3D is, to how over-hyped Avatar was.

Chris and I both had a good time meeting and hanging out with them. We look forward to doing it again sometime.

And that's the magic of Twitter!

What do you do when you have brownies, strawberries, and ice cream? Combine them!

Normally when we make dinner for the two of us, we are eating roughly the same thing. Sure I might have a bigger helping of veggies or Chris a bit more meat, but essentially it's the same meal.

Tonight, instead, I made two different meals using the same base - chicken and rice. So I cooked up Chris's meal first, keeping the various ingredients separate (as you can see at the top of the photo).

Then came time to craft my dish. I fried up some chicken in a pan with some chopped up garlic, then slowly tossed in every vegetable in the house (they're getting old and I still have quite a bit left). So that means zucchini, squash, mushrooms, corn, and spinach. I even tossed in some salsa I bought just to add some flavor (which was ok but I probably would have been ok with a chopped up tomato instead).

When all was said and done I mixed in some white rice, let it simmer and voila! The strange assortment of veggies and chicken was ready for eating.

It wasn't bad, and I'm definitely getting the feel for using veggies I don't normally think to eat more frequently.

Now off to make brownies!

Read some news, went for an after dinner stroll, and then spent a bit of the evening playing Tiny Tower on the iPad and listen to the cat make happy meowing noises.

All in all, a stress-free evening.

I grabbed a few boxes this afternoon, cut some holes in them, taped them together and dubbed it "ferret playground."

So far its small, as we get a few more boxes I'll make the playscape more complicated and interesting for her. That is, of course until the playground grows too large or too unmanageable, as has happen in the past.

Then I'll just have to make her a new toy.

It's the last day of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair and the only weekend day it is open so what better way to spend Saturday than wandering the streets of Ann Arbor with family?
We met up with everyone (my father-in-law and my parents) at The Cottage Inn Pizza for lunch before heading out into the heat and sun for a few hours to look at all of the art booths.
There were lots of interesting things sprinkled throughout all of the booths. Admittedly I think Chris and I have seen several of these people recently at the Grand Haven Art Fair. Mostly it was just fun to chat with everyone and see what's been going on lately. Plus we walked through the Borders bookstore. Everything was on sale but, quite honestly, not as cheap as you'd except a company in liquidation to have things. I suppose they'll do it tiered and sell as much as they can now, then keep dropping the price as time goes on to move what isn't selling fast.

Anyway, it was a hot one with lots of sunshine. I had a good day, but I was glad to be home with a snuggling kitty and air conditioning. I dont mind lots of walking, but I am wimpy when it comes to heat and humidity.

Also, I learned the Maker Fair in Detroit is next weekend, and we're busy, so I'm kind of bummed. Not that I build anything or have much of an aptitude to do such things, but I thought it would be interesting to walk around and check it out. I know both Chris and his dad enjoy making and creating things. Maybe we can check it out next year.

Captain America opens this weekend, so after work we headed out to meet with Dan and Jeff for an evening of comic-goodness on the silver screen.

It was 90 degrees out when left for lunch today. That's pretty hot. So I decided to head over to the library and enjoy a cool break from work instead sweating over at Rosa Park Circle.

The walk over was a hot one, even walking along the buildings in the shade.

Thick clouds over downtown Grand Rapids this morning.

It's a hot one out there today, but we still managed to sneak in an evening walk.

It's really hot out here and that water looks really inviting...

I'm not a vegetarian, and I've never been big on vegetables, but the veggie burger at Brick Road Pizza is fantastic. That got me thinking that I'd probably eat more vegetables if I found a different way to prepare them. So today I attempted to make my first veggie burger.

The recipe I stumbled across online at allrecipes is for burgers created out of black beans, spices, and some veggies I wont eat (onions, peppers). So I modified its slightly, threw in some corn, and baked them. Not bad for a first try, but no deliciousness from Brick Road Pizza (though I think they use oats or rice as a base instead of beans).

I'll have to keep trying and modifying until I find something super tasty. The ultimate test will be seeing if Comfort and Adam like them (they're vegetarian).

We were out of hamburger buns, so I made them more tube-like to fit a hotdog bun.

We had a few errands to run over by the airport, which meant we hit a few different stores while out there as well. We also stopped at Noodles & Co for a quick bite to eat. It was pretty busy, as you can tell.
On our way back home we swung by the mall. I'm on the hunt for a bag that will work with the renaissance outfit I have, so I have somewhere to stuff my cell phone and wallet. No luck, but I did stumble upon a wall of dragons.

We took a stroll around the mall after work for a change of scenery (from our normal walk) and to avoid some of the heat (although the next few days are supposed to be worse).

This mall has so many reflective surfaces....

Water is pretty important. Especially on warm summer days. So I always try to bring a full water bottle to carry around at lunch, especially for those days I am hanging outside.

Someone's footsteps on Kent Trails after they took a dip in the nearby stream.

I headed over to Rosa Park Circle after work to enjoy the weather and wait for my ride. Just a few minutes after sitting down a nice older gentleman came over, chatted me up a bit, then sat down to play some music on the harmonica.

The sky over Grand Rapids about 20 minutes before some heavy rain and fierce thunderstorms rolled in.

Not unlike Saturday, Sunday was relatively unstructured. So we decided to do a bunch of random stuff, starting with heading over to the Fulton Street Artisan Market. We strolled around a bit in the heat, looking at all of the random arts and crafts.
After we headed over to Brick Road Pizza for a delicious meal. I'm not a huge veggie person, but their veggie burger is fantastic. I need to seriously look into making my own. There's corn in there, and I think rice or oats. I dont know what it is, but it is super tasty.

After that we ran some various errands then hung out indoors for a bit to cool down.
In the evening I played a little bit more with Google+. It's an interesting concept, not that unlike Facebook, but with a cleaner layout and a more intuitive UI for placing people in groups as opposed to how Facebook handles it, which is with their cumbersome lists. I actually like it quite a bit. Maybe that's because I'm adding people to Google+ that I already have on Facebook and Twitter (though there is some overlap).

Anyway, I'm not a huge video chat person. Heck, the Evo Shift not having a front facing camera was a plus. So when we picked up a webcam today so that Chris and I could test Google Hangout (video chat) I wasn't excited.

But, it's much cooler than I thought it would be. As you can see, we called Comfort (and Obi Wan, The Uniques's kitty, joined us as well) to see how it worked.

You can have a sidebar of text chat, plus you can watch YouTube together. All you need is one person in the hangout to go to YouTube (button at the bottom of the screen), pick a video, and the option for everyone else in the hangout to switch to YouTube comes up. Click than that BAM, you're all watching the same video at the same time. Plus, everyone can control the video, so if you need to pause but you didn't start the video, no problem. It also mutes everyone's microphones by default and you have to push a button to talk (or pause the video) - that way you dont accidentally talk over the video.

Anyway, I've been having fun messing around with Google+ all weekend. If you're on there (or are interested in an invite), look me up. You can find me on Google+ here.

Today ended up more productive than I thought it would be. It started early with getting some normal "you're getting older" blood work done and a credit union pit stop.

We then headed out to a mini comic-con at Grand Rapids Public Library. As you can see, mini is the correct word.
Then we headed out to Chris's work, I dropped him off, got some work done on the car, then picked him up for lunch at Richmond Park.

I'd only really been in the area by the park a few times when looking for a house years ago, so it was nice to get a better look at the park (which apparently has a pool/splash park). It's larger than I remembered, and there were far less ducks swamping park-goers than I last saw.

On my way to meet Lori for lunch today I noticed rows of arrows (or are those houses?) crisscrossing Rosa Park Circle. Not sure what they're for, but they're interesting looking.

Nice weather, clear skies, wooded stroll. I'd say nice way to spend the evening.

I'm afraid of the dentist (like a lot of people are) so I spent the last few days acting hysterical, insisting that Chris reassure me everything will be ok.

And it was. No cavities, no work that needed to be done. Just the wisdom teeth that are there and recommended to be removed but aren't really causing a problem at the moment.

Hooray for no cavities!

Today was almost like the long weekend, except instead of having hours back to back for reading I just had one-my lunch break.

I need to spend more weekends and weeknights just reading. I also need to find more engrossing books...

There's a craft/art fair in downtown Grandville in conjunction with a carinval for the 4th of July. So after a late breakfast we headed out to see the festivities.
We timed managed to time it where we were walking down the road just after the parade, a glittering float in the distance followed by police escort, marking the end of the parade.
The craft/art fair section was fine enough and about what you'd expect. There were plenty of random food booths tossed between the craft tables, which seemed like odd placement. We also stumbled across chainsaw carving and plenty of carnival food.

All in all it reminded me a bit like the Oak Park 4th of July celebrations, although without the awesome train structure for kids and with a much less lively band playing.

This afternoon Leki was determined to show me some of his tips for hanging out and enjoying an unstructured day. Here's just one of various poses and activities he insisted on. Other tips for relaxing included napping, purring, snuggling, and bird-watching.

With my phone rooted and a Saturday wide open (previous plans to head to the east side of the state changed), it was time to flash my phone with a new ROM. There is a stock 2.3 Gingerbread ROM with root access available, so I decided to try that one first before getting into anything to fancy.

Thanks to xda forums, ROM manager, and Titanium Backup, the entire process was painless - much easier than the cheap Android tablets (especially on the Eken).

Since flashing the ROM didn't take long, I had plenty of time to hang out, have a tasty lunch, and read a bit.
Later in the afternoon we went to the local laundromat to do some laundry. Roughly 70% of their washers now appear broken with no indication that they're going to be fixed anytime soon.
Despite the pain at the laundromat, the day has been relaxing and fun. Even the cat has enjoyed the day, shifting from human to couch to human all day long.
So here's an entire blogpost from the Blogger app on Android. A much nicer app than the wanna-be blogging app on IOS.

Edit (7/3/2011): apparently when using the android Blogger app the photos get tossed to the bottom and have a weird box-pattern (see cat photo) in them. I replaced a few photos and rearranged them to how they should be in the blog post. Now I'm not quite so impressed with the app. 

With a weekday off and a 4-day weekend ahead, today quickly turned into a day of errands.I finally got spare keys made (what a pain to have to have programmed car keys), a doctor appointment down, and grocery shopping.

Plus, thanks to the awesome xda forums, I rooted the EVO Shift this morning and was able to remove those pesky pre-loaded apps (I'm looking at you NASCAR and NFL apps).