Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Elektra Opera 2009

We went to the opera last night to see Elektra. We sat in the balcony and I tried to think tall thoughts so I could peer over the ledge and watch Elektra fight with her sister over whether or not to kill their mother. Don't worry, I won't spoil ancient Greek mythology for you if you don't already know.

Kevin and I enjoyed singing along, "Agamemnon! Agamemnon!" I also enjoyed the beautiful chandeliers in the jewel room Met theater (those never get old), watching the man playing the triangle in the orchestra, and pushing the button on the translation box so I could see what Elektra was saying in Spanish, or um, German. This last thing made absolutely no sense to me since the opera Elektra is already in German. Is this translation only for deaf German people? Oh, I know it's probably always the third language, but are Germans who don't speak English the third most likely group to go to the opera in New York? I would guess it would be Chinese or Japanese speakers.

Lincoln Center Met Opera 2009
The Met at Christmastime

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nick and Emily Engagement 2009!

We had more happy news after Christmas, as our good friends and perfect couple, Emily and Nick, got engaged in Manhattan. We met them out at Jimmy's Corner for drinks to celebrate their engagement. Congratulations!

Gorskis Visit NYC 2009
Nick and Emily at Jimmy's Corner

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in NJ 2009

We had a nice first-married Christmas Eve with my parents in New Jersey. Dinner was Cuban-style Noche Buena with pork, delicious black beans and rice, and yucca (by special request). Dessert was flan and toron. Really fantastic.

Christmas Eve 2009 
Me and Kevin on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve 2009
My cute parents

We also had a bit of a photo shoot. My mother just about lost it when Kevin was photographing and he requested that we act "ferocious" instead of the old Tyra Banks stand-by "fierce."

Christmas Eve 2009
We are ferocious!

Christmas day itself we stayed home and had Chinese food for dinner in tribute to what Kevin's family was eating on the Cape. This time, I graciously let Kevin eat his fortune cookie, despite his accusations on Things My Wife Complains About.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Visits from Friends and Family 2009

Before the holidays, Kevin's friend Briggs and his brother Andrew came to visit us for a few days each. Kevin and Briggs went to the usual bars, and the next morning we introduced Briggs to the Brooklyn brunching lifestyle at our favorite brunch spot Abilene. Kevin walked Andrew all around the city and then we went with our friend Akua to see Avatar. By the way, Avatar is the best movie ever (if you ignore all of the general's lines that is).

Holidays 2009

And then Kevin's brother Andrew visits:
Holidays 2009

More on these in next post.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baby Owen 2009!

Belated baby news. My friend Chrissy and her husband Jason had a super cute baby just before Christmas. I was waiting to have a proper picture to post. They opted not to find out the baby's gender early so: It's a boy! Ha ha. My post name gave it away I guess. His name is Owen and he is adorable. (His blog is

Owen Daniel Vonderhaar 2009

Baby Owen 2009
Happy family in time for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Things My Wife Complains About: #10 Eating Fortune Cookies

Holidays 2009

After purchasing a tree, dragging the stand out of the closet, putting the tree up, watering the tree, and stringing the lights, my wife complained that the lights were not distributed evenly enough around the tree. That might be post worthy, but something happened immediately after the conversation that was even more post worthy, which was my wife giving me a fortune cookie that I opened to discover the following message:

"It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness."

Flush with the thrill of serendipity, I triumphantly held the slip of white paper before my wife, who willfully ignored the ancient wisdom of mass-produced fortune, complaining instead that I had eaten the cookie, which she felt entitled to eat, even though she had just eaten her own fortune cookie, message unknown.

Possible Solutions!

1) Don't eat anything before offering it first to wife.
2) Convert to Judiasm and purchase electric menorah.
3) Cancel Christmas and/or Chinese food (hard).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Los Angeles 2009

This weekend, I went to go visit Brooke in Los Angeles. It rained the whole time I was there but I was so excited to see Brooke that I didn't care. She showed me LA, we went shopping and had drinks in the afternoon, and we went to a comedy show in which her boyfriend Marc performed. Good times!

Los Angeles 2009
It's raining so fancy martinis are the answer

Los Angeles 2009
Hollywood Walk of Fame

Los Angeles 2009
Outside the Pig n' Whistle from the movie Chinatown

Monday, December 7, 2009

NYPL Christmas Party 2009

After our engagement on the steps of the New York Public Library, I have mentioned to Kevin on occasion that I have never actually been inside the NYPL. So Kevin became a member so that he could take me to their Christmas party so that the first time I went in would be special. Isn't he the sweetest husband?

NYPL Holiday Party 2009
Me outside the NYPL

NYPL Holiday Party 2009
The NYPL Christmas Party

NYPL Holiday Party 2009
Private Concert

NYPL Holiday Party 2009
Kevin's "author picture"

NYPL Holiday Party 2009
Before the tour of the stacks

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Things My Wife Complains About: #9 Not Putting Her to Bed at the Exact Right Moment

Visiting Cathy 2008
My wife prefers being awake to being asleep. It's one of the reasons I married her. Although she loves being awake, it endlessly annoys her that I don't put her to bed at the exact moment she wants to go to bed. I italicize wants because one must differentiate what my wife believes she should do from what she wishes to do. It's my responsibility to recognize this dichotomy, make a unique nightly decision in her best interests, and enforce this decision in a way that respects her autonomy. When I fail to do this correctly, which happens six to seven times a week, it is her burden to complain.

Possible Solutions!

1) Remove all light bulbs, so as to give the apartment more of a sleep-inducing feel
2) Replace collapsing, spring-less mattress with mattress that massages muscles, doesn't cause one to wake in excruciating pain
3) Rock and roll all night and party every day (hard)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009
Thanksgiving 2009
We had a lovely first-married Thanksgiving on the Cape. We went to visit Kevin's mother and her family. His mom even made my favorite dish of sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. Kevin's cousin Katie doesn't usually make it for Thanksgiving so we missed her this year.

I'm used to spending holidays on the Cape. Besides spending the last two Christmases with Kevin's family, my dad's family has been spending Thanksgiving on the Cape for many years. This year we got to have two Thanksgiving dinners, one with the Rogers, and one with the Shutes!

I was completely spoiled this weekend with loads of old family pictures from Kevin's mother and grandmother. Kevin also drove me around to get my hair cut (I cut it all off!) and nails done, and Christmas Tree Shop-shopping. I am one well-rested happy wife.

Thanksgiving 2009
With Kevin's mom

Thanksgiving 2009
Kevin's grandparents have been married for 59 years!

One of the best parts of seeing the Shutes is watching my cousin Griffin grow up. I hate it when I don't see children for many years and they hardly remember who I am. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my brother when he was growing up, and if I had to do over again, I would go out of my way to see him more. I missed seeing my other cousins Graham and Rachel grow up as well. Now I worry about the same thing with my friend's babies.

Thanksgiving 2009
With my parents

Thanksgiving 2009
Cooking dinner together

Thanksgiving 2009
The yearly burning of the sweet potatoes and marshmallows

Thanksgiving 2009
Good times!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Boston Celtics v. NY Knicks 2009

Good times! Can you tell who we were rooting for? Most of us are Celtics fans, though I'm not sure where Brian stands on the issue. Sadly we lost and I don't really want to go into the sadness. But at least we saw a bunch of famous people courtside.

Boston Celtics v. NY Knicks 2009
Mike, Brian, Me, James (low down) Kevin, Jon, and Becky

Boston Celtics v. NY Knicks 2009

Boston Celtics v. NY Knicks 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

David's 21st Birthday 2009!

Last night Kevin and I went out for my brother David's 21st birthday. I accidentally ended up celebrating someone's 21st birthday about two and half years ago, but in general, I haven't done that sort of thing since the year 2000. He celebrated with dinner and dancing at a Latin restaurant/club in the East Village. After sending him some flan with a birthday candle in it, Kevin and I got down with our bad-salsa-dancing selves. We are very bad at salsa, but a large mango martini told me that this was not so.

David's 21st Birthday 2009
David and his best friends celebrating his 21st with dinner

David's 21st Birthday 2009
Melanie and David

David's 21st Birthday 2009
Blowing out a candle on his flan

We had a fabulous time and we love David and his girlfriend Melanie. His other friends were also friendly and fun. David and I have really odd things in common considering we weren't raised together and it's interesting and weird to figure them out. We both have the family dimple in our shoulder, we have bad senses of direction, we are what people call "light weights" though I don't think either of us minds this, and we feel compelled to label friends as family members. There are other things, but those are the easiest to explain.

Happy birthday, David!

David's 21st Birthday 2009
Everyone on the dance floor

David's 21st Birthday 2009
Familia! and Mango drinks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Donald and Sarah Are Engaged 2009!

For the final treat, while Kevin and I were waiting at the airport and wrangling with Air France, I heard that Donald had proposed to Sarah! To paraphrase Andrew when he heard of my engagement with Kevin, best waiting-at-the-airport news ever. Sarah and Donald are both my good friends from law school so I am doubly excited. Congratulations!

Sarah and Donald at our wedding, June 2009

Tuscany 2009

Two weekends ago, Kevin gave a presentation at a conference in Italy. I tagged along. We stayed in Florence, where Kevin renewed his love for "el Duomo," the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.

From there we caught trains to Pisa and Lucca. Pisa was my favorite. I'm a sucker for the Leaning Tower, even if getting the perfect cheesy shots in front of it took forever. But the city is beautiful and historic in its own right, complete with its own smaller duomo, and I would have spent more time there if I could.

Lucca was probably Kevin's favorite. It is a small charming town with treasures down random streets. The town is supposed to have the best food in Tuscany, and we went to one of the best restaurants for dinner. Kevin got the delicious rabbit ravioli and I got the Tuscan yellow pasta with mushrooms (yellow from extra eggs). His dish was better, or at least, I always think it is.

On day three we missed getting into the Boboli Gardens and lost our guide book, so on a whim we hopped on a bus to Fiesole, the town that sits just above Florence. The town has an amazing night view of the city, and some pretty fantastic restaurants too.

We went to the impressive Uffizi gallery and Boboli Gardens (again) before leaving on the fourth day. More about our trip here:

Florence, Italy 2009
In front of a nice view of Florence and its Duomo

Fiesole, Italy 2009
View from Fiesole of Florence

Pisa, Italy 2009
Pisa! What a dream!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Florence, Italy 2009

In October, Kevin gave a presentation at a conference in Tuscany, and I tagged along. We stayed in Florence, where Kevin renewed his love for "el Duomo," the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. We walked around a lot, and went to the impressive Uffizi gallery and Boboli Gardens (again) before leaving on the last day.

Florence, Italy 2009
In front of a nice view of Florence and its Duomo

Florence, Italy 2009
You can glimpse the Duomo everywhere on the streets of Florence

Florence, Italy 2009
Close up to the facade

Florence, Italy 2009
Boboli Gardens on our last day

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Camera 2009

New Camera 2009
I'm in love. 

Dad wrote me the following email, 10/9/09:

You took a picture of your new camera.
        I'm surprised you didn't rip a big honkin' hole in the universe,
           maybe if you took a picture of your new camera taking a picture of your old camera taking a picture of you new picture  taking....
               yea, that would do it. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Things My Wife Complains About: #8 Loving Fake Football Players More Than Her

Newcomb Hollow Beach 2007
Most men aren't happy that the word "fantasy" now refers almost exclusively to men hurling themselves into other men, but that's the world we willingly created. I've chosen to embrace this world by creating a fantasy team so formidable it has yet to lose. My friends from college and I spend a not insignificant amount of time each week tinkering with our teams, proposing trades to each other, vetoing trades to each other, and writing newsletters about our teams' performances. So when I'm submitting an article to said newsletter late on a Monday night instead of, say, going to bed with my wife, she complains that I love my fake football players more than I love her. She couldn't be more wrong. The players aren't fake, just the entire world we've built around these them. Big, sad difference.

Possible Solutions!

1) Convince my wife to accept my vice as innocuous, social, and even educational, at least until I drive down to Delaware to place several teaser bets on teams my players are on in critical Week 15 match-ups.
2) Create a fantasy league for my wife based on "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" with points granted for tantrums, Kate emasculating her husband, children mugging for the camera, and Jon defending his dalliances with twenty-something women by claiming he's doing it for his children.
3) Watch a movie or something instead (hard).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sarah and Lukas Engagement Party 2009

It's my theory that love caught like the swine flu at our wedding. Since we got married in June, Wednesday and Clark semi-eloped, and the following wedding guests got engaged: Aubree and Patrick, Cory and Robin, Jeff and Inga, and Sarah and Lukas. And at my most recent count there are three buns in ovens. It's been a good year for a lot of people we love. Congratulations all!

Sarah and Lukas Engagement 2009

This weekend we went to Sarah and Lukas's awesome beer-themed engagement party held- where else- the Astoria Beer Garden. That place is awesome. And look how well their hair matches the balloons and umbrellas.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Brady's 30th Birthday 2009

So Monday night Kelly had a little birthday celebration for her brother Brady's 30th birthday. Kevin and I decided to drive down to Philly after work to celebrate. Turns out, Philly is commuting distance to work! Well, sort of. We had some dinner, ice cream cake (!), and went to the Local and had some drinks. We closed the place on a Monday night. Go Team Brady! Happy birthday, Officiant Brady!

Brady's 30th Birthday 2009
Ice cream cake! It is really exciting, Kelly!

Brady's 30th Birthday 2009
At The Local in Philly with the birthday boy Brady

Monday, September 14, 2009

Newlywed Advice 2009

In 2009,* three months after we were married, Sunny and Trey asked us to give "newlywed advice" at their wedding as part of the tradition of seven blessings in the Jewish ceremony. I was thinking it would be fun to update our wedding advice every five years or so, as we grow in our marriage, and to revisit what we thought in the past.

Here's what we said at Sunny and Trey's wedding:
    Kevin: Nobody will ever look at with you with as much love, admiration, and happiness as your wife on your wedding day. So look at her a lot.

    Ericka: When you go to Bali, tell everyone you are on your honeymoon. It's the only time you'll ever get to do it, and it makes people instantly understand how in love you are and they treat you well. It's also a good time to practice being really nice to each other for the rest of your life.

    Kevin: Indulge the temptation to play with your ring: it's cold when you leave your hand out the car window; it clicks when you pick up a drink. People look at you and know you did something right.

    Ericka: Get used to saying "my husband this" and "my husband that," even when it's better to just say his name. It's a fun and strange transition. You feel adult and loved.

    Kevin: Trey is one of the smartest, most ambitious, most kind-hearted men I've ever met, and Sunny is clearly his match. They deserve a lot of happiness, and we feel blessed to support them on this day.

I think the main themes were to appreciate each other and to shamelessly celebrate your love. That seems to be very "newlywed" indeed.

Clouther Wedding 2009
Seeing each other for the first time on our wedding day

*Full disclosure: This post was retroactively posted in 2014, but the advice was what we wrote down in 2009.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chattanooga, Tennessee 2009

Kevin, Jon, and I had a little time to explore Chattanooga while we were in town for Trey and Sunny's wedding. We started with the Downtown Music Hall where they had their welcome party. The next day wewent to Ruby Falls, a privately owned waterfall inside a cave. Despite living near Luray Caverns for many years, this was my first time in a cave so I was very excited. Man oh man, you have not lived until you have seen a laser-light show in a cave.

Csar-Gettinger Rehearsal Dinner 2009 
Kevin, me, and Jon at the Music Hall

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga 2009
At Ruby Falls with Jon

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga 2009
Laser light show!
Of course, since it was Chattanooga, I also demanded to see a train of some kind, and Kevin demanded to eat BBQ. What a great weekend!

Chattanooga 2009
Chattanooga Choo-Choo!

Chattanooga 2009
Sticky Fingers at Jack's Alley- delish!
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